A Tighter Grip.

I don’t even know where to begin

All I know is that I want to get a grip on myself.

My anxiety has been so bad.

My emotions have been everywhere.

And sometimes I feel like my chest is going to implode.

I find myself crying when I am alone.

I find myself utterly sensitive to the energies around me.

One moment I am happy and the next, anger, sadness, frustration rage.

I hate this…. I hate this.

My soul is desperate for change.

I want to know what it’s like to feel stable.

I hate feeling like such a wreck.

Perhaps its only a season or moment in time.

All I want is to break free. And not be dominated by this internal, unstable and insecure war inside me.

I want to get to the bottom of this, one breath at a time, one step at a time.

 

30581717_10160320954690165_3981544508107457198_n

 

Cerebral Palsy. Body Image and Internal Healing.

I’m starting to see a correlation between cerebral palsy and body image, this correlation stems from being in contact with numerous people who live with cerebral palsy through social media. In this particular regard, I’m speaking about having a negative self image.

You may look at the image of me below, and not think that I am “fat” all, but when I look at myself. That is what I see.

unnamed.jpg

When I look at the sides of my stomach, I think “Ugh gross” then I start thinking or obsessing over what I eat and upping the intensity of my daily workouts. Which is not a bad thing at all. It is a problem though, when you are in the middle of your workout and you can’t stop dwelling on how disgusting you feel and look.

I posted that above photo on instagram a few weeks ago, lots of people said that I looked great, or that we all had those feelings, or even “that’s just skin!” The comments were heart warming and helped me to think more positively.. For awhile, but then I would find myself in the downward spiral of self destruction and sabotage.

My workouts have consisted of lots of burpees, probably two-four hundred every single day. Along with Kettle and Bar Bell lifting. I sweat a lot, recover well but am utterly hungry the rest of the day.  Nor am I afraid of eating my carbs, protein and Beer… My one beer after work.

The engine is constantly stoked, and I’m constantly pushing my mind and body.. But there is this area of my life, that needs change. I’m tried all the thought stopping methods, all the positive affirmations etc. And still nothing helps the crap shoot stop.

After CF today, I came home, ate and then went to wash my stinky self. There I was, looking at my body with contempt. And then I thought, “this has to stop!” Truly the only thing that gets me through life is my faith. So after redirecting my thoughts back to it, I whispered to God:

“God, you don’t want me to hate my body, I know that. Help me to see myself differently, as you do.” At that moment, something clicked on inside of me. I’m not saying that you have to do, as I do, that is something that you have to decide and work through for yourself.

What I am saying though, is that these destructive thinking has to stop, or at least be put in its rightful place. A vast majority of therapists would saying that working out is killing me, and steer me away from it as they would most addictions. But I don’t think that that is the end all be all solution.

Yes, some things might need to change, or pause. But this is less a physical issue, and more a mental, emotional and spiritual issue. And until those issues heal, nothing we change the way we long for.

So! We have to understand that this is going to be a long journey, with plenty of ups and downs and twists and turns. We have to accept where we are at. I know that this is something that will not want to be heard, you might spend lots of time in a wheel chair, and be on lots of meds. Okay, we can work with that, the fact is that we cannot give up.

There are plenty of exercises that can be done from a seated position, plenty of ways to even build stamina too. I should get on making videos regarding these topics. Yet the biggest component is learning to take care of ourselves from a place of love and not so much a “I have to” but an “I want to” there’s a huge difference.

Change your forward thinking: Think less on your image, and think more about prolonged health, mobility, strength and focus. So that we can be the strongest version of ourselves, not so much for ourselves but for others.

The internal healing is more tangible than we believe, more closer than we think. Much like any medicine though, it takes time for the benefits to show up, but rest assured. Through discipline and diligence change will come.

Blessings!

-Brandon

 

 

 

 

God Spoke To Me

There I was sitting on the toilet this morning, as I always do. Taking care of the demons in my stomach. Truth be told, I have not been feeling all that great about myself the past few days. For reasons that I do not wish to share on this blog.

But there I was, the few places that I pray are when I am in the shower, working out or on the toilet. I tend to pray more privately these days… As I was sitting on my throne, I was noticing all the negative thoughts coming out from my mind, making their way to my heart.

When I heard and felt a soft whisper say from underneath all of the crap coming out of (non pun intended).

Your my son… 

I know its crazy, and this blog might very well make you think that of me. So be it. For many religious crack heads have said that God spoke to them, well, let me tell you quickly why my experience is different. The words that were spoken to me, can be back up with scripture.

Psalm 2:7

Matthew 3:17

Luke 15:11-32

To name a few, I don’t think this is as crazy, because God speaks to various people in various ways through out the whole of scripture. Further more, the Lord reminding me that I am his son, is far (far) different than some other Christian claiming “the phone rang and that was a sign I was meant to marry this person!”

I know my soul needed these words today, I needed to be reminded of my true identity today. Does this happen often to me? No, but when it does. Its very special to me. Today my hope and prayer is that you know that God loves you, in Christ all things can be made new.

images.duckduckgo

The Lies I Believe And The Power of Ephesians

Contrary to popular belief, or how social media my portray I don’t wake up with a smile on my face all the time. In fact, some mornings I wake up and it seems as though, there is a spiritual war going inside me. A war against regret, doubt, shame, hopelessness and so much more.

The lies I believe:

You’re not good enough

you don’t have what it takes

nobody actually cares

no women will ever want you

you’ll never be all that you dreamed of being

God hates you

Just give up.

There’s more lies in there I’m sure, but you get the point and maybe you can relate. Sometimes I’m not even sure how these thoughts enter my mind. I could just wake up that way! Wake up feeling like I’m in a fight for my life, my mind, my eternal destiny. I have to be reminded that I’m not hopeless, that the God of the university is for me and on my side. His eyes are ever upon me. The one thing that has caused me to hold on and fight back against all these thoughts, is the love letter of Ephesians. I could easily copy and paste the entire 6 chapters in this blog, but I think I will settle for Eph 1:3-14

eBlessed be fthe God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing gin the heavenly places, 4 heven as he ichose us in him jbefore the foundation of the world, that we should be kholy and blameless before him. In love 5 lhe predestined us2 for madoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, naccording to the purpose of his will, 6 oto the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in pthe Beloved. 7 qIn him we have rredemption sthrough his blood, tthe forgiveness of our trespasses, uaccording to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 vmaking known3 to us the mystery of his will, naccording to his purpose, which he wset forth in Christ 10 as a plan for xthe fullness of time, yto unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained zan inheritance, ahaving been predestined baccording to the purpose of him who works all things according to cthe counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be dto the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard ethe word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, fwere sealed with the gpromised Holy Spirit, 14 who is hthe guarantee4 of our iinheritance until jwe acquire kpossession of it,5 lto the praise of his glory.

I can think of no other writing in the world, that makes my mind and soul come alive in this way. I can think of no other spiritual or religious text that makes me want to put on my armor, grab my brave heart sword (metaphorically speaking) and start slaying these lies in my head. Because Christ has overcame it all for me. He has done the same for you, so that you no longer have to be chained to these crippling thoughts any longer.

24650837_10159748603495165_359226427_o

What DC Movies Have Taught Me

The past few days I have seen two DC movies: Justice League and the new Thor. Both were really good, laced with a good mix of humor and action, but within each movie I find myself being drawn into a deeper meaning, and deeper purpose and pulled from my current reality.

This is what good movies are supposed to do, right? They are meant to engage all the aspects of the human condition. Their meant to make us, laugh, cry, think, scream in terror (if you’re into that) and they’re meant to be a secret escape. Kinda like the movie Last Action Hero, where a kid get so drawn into his favorite action hero, he actually becomes a part of it.

Or in the movie side kicks, when a young protagonist becomes the side kick of Chuck Norris. I know, that doesn’t happen to us. But it almost any Marvel Movie or any action hero installment, there is almost a message of justice (and the longing for it) hope, losing it and being able to find it again. These movies speak of loss and triumph, of death and resurrection.

These are all eternal and divine things, that I believe are inside of us all. Things that science by it’s self cannot explain on its own. These are good and holy things that we should not simply dismiss, nor should we chalk them  to be mere chemical reactions in our brains.

I think that for myself, I want to (try) and let myself watch a Marvel movie, or something like it. One) just to let myself escape the hardness of this world, Two) to not lose hope, the fact is, is that sometimes when can be so aware of our own reality. That we become numb to hope, change, truth, justice, love etc.

That we embrace a sort of nihilism without even knowing it. So my challenge to you, is to let yourself get lost in a DC movie, I think our souls depend on it in a way. And let getting being lost in these movies propel us to be the hero in someone else’s life.

images.duckduckgo

The Hell of Depression and The Will To Keep Going.

Living with depression sucks, it’s not a new topic for me to write about, nor is it something that the overly positive like to discuss. Talking about depression can be like a sudden down pour on a sunny day. As I feel depression start to creep back into my life, I find myself trying to do everything I can to keep it a bay.

I make sure that I’m eating healthy as possible. Getting adequate amounts of sleep and staying consistent in the gym. As well as staying disciplined spiritually, spending time in prayer and quite contemplation, reading books that water my soul.

But you know what? There’re days when having depression just simply sucks. There’s days where I am far from optimistic and very negative. The other day at the gym, my attitude was horrible. My heart was so set on doing heavy back squats, but I was met with a wrench in my system… Tempo squats… I had never done one up until this point, it felt so new and weird to me.

I tried to keep (or rather fake) a good attitude, I did the best I could to stick to the prescribed workout. But my mind and body were not having it. I mean, I quit during the last set and nothing was clicking for me on this day. My mind was full of shit thoughts. I didn’t want to be at the gym, I didn’t want to do this workout…. I just wanted to do what Brandon wanted to do.

I wanted to run away, and be as far away as I could from the human population. Those thoughts, feelings and emotions are still with me even in this moment. I’ve tried getting all the anger out through fitness, it helps for a moment, but still I feel the only that would help these feelings inside me would be letting out a scream that would cut through the expanse of the universe.

It’s a bit of a stretch I know, but it’s true. What is helping me the most right now, is that it is okay to want to scream, punch things (preferably a punching bag and not a person or wall), cry, run, sprint, lift heavy things, scribble in a journal whatever it is. The point is that you don’t have to stomach the feelings, thoughts, emotions that depression brings.

Stomaching these things only makes things worse. If you have a crappy attitude, acknowledge it, apologies for it if you have to, chalk it up as a bad day if you have to. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from it.  If you are a friend, mentor or coach and you have someone like this in your life. Know that they are going through a rough patch, don’t take it personally, don’t fire back.

Rather, lovingly motivate them and remind them that this one day or season isn’t the end for them.  Listen to them, hear them out, scream, cry do whatever it takes. But don’t give up on them. Remind them that you they are loved, remind them of their worth and potential, remind them that one day or season doesn’t define them.

In the words of ChurchHill, if your going through hell, keep going.

Keep going…  I don’t care if it takes awhile to get going… I don’t care if you have to fall out of bed, get going.  You might even need sometime to rest, but get up and keep going. If you have a routine, stick to it regardless of how you feel. It will keep you from sinking deep into yourself. It will keep your head above water.

We can rise above and conquer, this hell of depression doesn’t have to win.

22221752_10159488738480165_6088987456495498205_n

You Don’t Always PR

In the CrossFit and fitness world at large, there is a term called a PR or personal record. Where an athlete sets a new personal record for their most weight lifted and so on. As an individual, I chase the new PR’s. Right now, my current back squat is 365 and by the end of the year I’d love to smash the big 400.

On my dead lift, I can’t seem to break past the 290 mark, the right side of my body doesn’t seem to want to budge. And there is honestly a lot of flaws in my approach. On other lifts, preferably lifts that require over head movement. IT SUCKS! Again, my left side has full extension, my right side not quite.

It’s frustrating, because on the inside I know I can do it. But getting my body, mind and spirit to have that conversation is rather difficult. Largely due to living with cerebral palsy. Sometimes I leave the gym not so happy with myself, even fall into moments of self pity. What the real problem is though, is that I want to skip the gradual process of slowly adding weight, slowly gaining more mobility to simply wanting the big numbers. Which has happened before.

Even my coaches tell me, that not everyday is a heavy day. But do I listen, hell no not at first. That’s no ones fault by my own. Two things we (or I) must remember in fitness or life:

  1. Go slow- find joy in the process. I somehow feel rushed, as though I am running out of time in my life, which is illogical. Or I have to catch up to others, in a form of competition, which is also illogical. For you and I, the truth of the matter is that there is no hurry, there is no one to compete with. It is more than okay to push and challenge ourselves but not at the expense of our joy.
  2. Our self worth (my self worth) is not found in the numbers that we put up or what we produce in our work on a daily basis. Nope, our self worth and human dignity is found in Gods bestowing upon us.

I/we need to apply these truths to ourselves each and every day. And if we must, help others to see that truth as well.

Enjoy the process

Live present

Eat Healthy

Set you sight on things above.

13063203_10156930639830165_7238437404090356356_o

 

 

 

 

 

Progress For Emily

It’s been a few weeks since I released a list of body weight movements that I like to do,  specifically, I wanted people with cerebral palsy and people with other adaptive needs, to have it if they couldn’t afford or have access to a gym or coach. In my mind, there is no reason not to be in the best shape we can be. Unless we are one hundred percent dependent upon the care of others.

I posted the blog in every adaptive forum that I could, but it didn’t gain much attraction. But when I came in contact with a awesome women by the name of Emily, who wanted to interview me about my company (adaptive defense methods) we talked a lot about fitness.

I can remember her telling me that she wasn’t as strong as she once was, and sadly lost a lot of tone in her body. She normally had seen a physical therapist but hadn’t had access to one. Without thinking I sent her the body weight movement list, I knew deep down that it would help her.

At first she seemed a bit nervous, maybe even hesitant. But through a ton of reassurance and belief  she embarked on the journey. Start with basic and simple stuff like push ups, planks hip ups etc. Things that seem easy, but when done in a AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) or HIT method (High intensity training) they can be a huge shock to the system and challenge the mind and body.

For those with cerebral palsy, we can use up to three times more energy than an abled bodied person. So the idea behind mixing up a high intensity body weight workout, was to get the fastest results possible. As I said before, it’s only been a few weeks, but Emily has been very consistent and is already seeing results in her core, arms and legs. Trust me, there’s still a long way to go in her journey, but the sky is the limit for her. The same can be said for you, if you only make the choice to challenge yourself each and every single day. Make dedication and discipline your friend and you will go far.

 

22789860_10159571362870165_1434135776_o

 

 

 

 

When Your Not So Skinny…

 

The other morning, I was laying on the couch with my niece, my nephew had just gone off to school and I was probably in an out of sleep probably more than a handful of times. When I awoke, my niece was still there beside me watching videos on her Ipad. Most of the videos were toy reviews on YouTube. But one thing that stood out to me was a cartoon we were watching.

I don’t remember the name, but a particular scene a small group of kids were in a science lab, observing two girls who drink a green concoction. Girl A, after drinking it became tone and slender like, and was able to run for a long time on a treadmill. The small group of kids then had eyes bigger than their own heads as they awed over how pretty Girl A looked.

Girl B drank the same green drink and she went from a skinny girl, to a large muscle pound person. The kids were disgusted by her appearance. I couldn’t help but feel sad after watching this. I realized that in this instance, our culture still puts so much esteem on the tone person. But has much less esteem for the bigger muscle bound person. In fact, some think it is down right ugly.

But I ask, what are we teaching the future generation? Is the standard of beauty and fitness still given to the slim and slender type? Though there is nothing wrong with it. The average women who does CrossFit today, that has a lot of muscle to her and a six pack on her is seen as manly looking. And in fact they are ridiculed and shamed by those who do not approve.

I gather that one might not find it attractive on a personal level, but to shame them and say ugly things about them is filled with stupidity. For unless you spent time with them daily, and you saw how hard they worked to get to that point, then you wouldn’t be able to say much. But you damn sure would stand in awe and applaud.

As for the fat shaming that our culture puts into practice, I say this: 1) they probably already know that they are not as healthy as they could be or want to be. So rather than ripping them down all the more, how about you try and spur them on with words of hope and encouragement? I bet much more good would be done in this way. Plus, the filth we have to say about others, is more often than not aimed out ourselves.

2) When you see a larger person in the gym, trying to better themselves. Don’t shame them or speak ill of them. They got out of bed, decided to get after it and make changes to be better and live better.

The culture at large is slowly being revamped, but we have a lot of work to yet be done. We can’t change everyone’s mind. But to those that we can, it’s a job well done.

 

images.duckduckgo-2

Brandon’s No Excuse WorkOut

The following workout routine (or body movements) are taken liberally from various fitness channels, and are designed to strengthen and condition the entire body, with maximum efficiency. Movements can be mixed up or done in longer duration. Please understand that this is only meant to supplement and help as a guide and no way, shape or form takes the place of one on one train with a coach near you. Please understand that it is my lifelong passion to help adaptive athletes whether they a walker, crutches, are in a wheel chair or simply do have mobility in one area or another in their body. There is almost a way to be stronger and healthier, you only need to be able to set aside your excuses. You have to be willing to sacrifice what you are. For what you can be. If you any questions, please find my contact information below.

 

Pushups- kneeling or standard way. sets of 5 on up

 

Push up plank- hold for as long as possible in lock out position

 

adaptive burpee- sets of 5 on up (lie flat on ground, perform push up, slide knees under you and come to kneeling position and back down).

 

hip ups- eventually you want to do these with some weight

 

adaptive kneeling air squat- sets of 5 on up

 

inverted row or pull up, if you do not have access to a bar bell, you can do rows with dumbbell, kettle bell or even a gallon of water.

 

weighted squat with dumb bell

 

Floor press with kettle bells, dumbbells or barbell

 

adaptive burpee to standing, thus, after you come to kneeling position, you can use a walker or anything near you to stand up. Then lower self back down for next rep.

 

This is called a no excuse workout for a reason, you can do these every day to build or tone muscle and break a sweat.

 

Let me know if I can help further, as always drink plenty of water, eat lots of protein, lots of green, some fruit and stay away from processed junk.

 

Blessings,

 

-Brandon

Email: Brandon.Ryan1984@gmail.com

19388464_10158958907500165_8708618184264721949_o