How To Be A Bad Ass Human Being

Tips For Being A Bad Ass Human Being

Human beings are amazing, we can do so much with our bodies and minds every single day of our lives. My own existence is something that I simply do not thank God for on a regular. Rather I piss-moan and groan about how much my life sucks. Anyone who knows anything about my own story, knows that the deck was stacked against me. And yet, by the grace of God I have gone onto obtain multiple degrees and certifications. Even though doctors told me I would always be dependent on others, and even though educational professionals told me I didn’t have what it took to attend university. We human beings have forgotten how beautiful our own existence is, we have lost sight of the fact that we can all be bad asses in our own right. So what are a few tips to become that person?

Finding Your Mental Resolve: We don’t like to hear this, but the only way we truly find our resolve, the only we become mentally and emotionally tougher is through hardship and challenges. Some of us have had very tough and painful lives, and because of that, it’s easy to feel defeated and buried under the ashes of life. Yet, we have forgotten that we can rise from those ashes. I am not always a believer of pulling up oneself by their boot straps. Though, at times in life, you will have to do that. Much more I am a believer of being shaped and allowing yourself to be molded and mentored by other people who truly care about you. I am eternally grateful that God gave me parents who not only told me I was strong, but showed me I was. I am also thankful that God let me experience all the suffering in my life. I’m thankful that he led me through the valley of death. Because it made me who I am today. Find the good in your life, face the darkness in your own life, try more and more every day, to not listen to the lies in your mind any longer. Suffering comes for us all, in different ways throughout our lives. As such, we should always have our armor ready when the fight comes, in the name of not being blindsided by an attack. Some of us are so comfortable with our own comfort, that the slightest bit of adversity sends us packing. Learn to be steady and calm and adversity, because the storm always passes.

Enjoy Solitude: This is art form, I have been working on more and more in my life. I have come to love solitude, by myself and without distraction. Some of us are afraid to be alone with our own thoughts, have to always be doing something. But there’s really happiness and healing, in being able to be still, and see what resonates inside us. It’s in the stillness of the night, that we can discover who we are, what we have to work on and where we want to go. It was in the solitude of my heart, that I discovered that the creator of the heavens and earth was drawing me to himself, he was making me a new creation, a strong soldier and a seeker of how he sees me. Get comfortable being your own company, interact with the thoughts in your own mind, no matter how dark and uncomfortable they may be. Get a journey, write things down, it could be a method of healing from trauma, holding yourself accountable for goals. Our biggest problem in society, is that we are constantly seeking information outward and we are not spending enough time discovering who we are and how bad ass we can be. Start seeking solitude today, even if you’re a parent, find time early in the morning, or even for a few minutes before bed. Take stock of your life. You will be better because of it.

Listen To Others: I’ve always been more of a listener than talker, and I honestly like it that way. Listening to others should be pretty self-explanatory, but some of us talk so much and we don’t listen enough. When we do that, we miss out on being teachable. We miss out on exercising empathy and compassion for others, who might be in a time of darkness. With utilizing our ability to listen, rather than speak. We have a better chance at showing others a light covered path to hope.

Become The Healthiest You: This will look different for each person, because we all have different abilities. But we all could be a bit, or even a lot more healthier in our lives. As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I haven’t worked with a lot of people with different abilities. The reoccurring theme, with working with a wide variety of clients, is that if you commit to the process of getting better each day, with proper nutrition and exercise you will see results. Yes, things take time, but that’s the beauty of it, in that we get to embrace the process and see the small changes gradually. The instant gratification that we crave with our health and the rest of our lives isn’t real. Nutrition and fitness are two categories of life that have been made overall complicated. As a whole, I feel that quite a few us could do much better, by saying no to a lot of processed foods, and yes to more water, protein, and some fruits and vegetables if you like them. (I’m not convinced that we need them and function fully).
In terms of fitness, you don’t always have to have a gym membership. Nor do you have to go balls to wall for hours on end. I did CrossFit for a number of years, and as much as I love it. Not all your workouts have to be that intense to get a good workout in. If you’re new to the world of fitness, I suggest taking a few 10 minute walks every day, (gradually work your way to a jog) while starting to master the push up (even if it’s on your knees) along with other variations and challenges to pushups as you go along. And mastering a good squat form- in different variations, weighted and single legged squats. Because we all do it every day. Just with those exercises alone, you can do a lot with those daily movements and habits.
Next, get yourself a pull up bar or some rings, you really can build a lean strong body with these two pieces of equipment. With rings, you can utilize harder variations of push- ups, dips, planks and bridges to build the core- etc.
Kettle Bells are great too, especially the swing, because it’s a total body movement that even throws in cardio at the same time.

Adapt And Rise

Our excuses to not take care of ourselves are no more.

The reasons we have to not better ourselves, don’t stand up to what the modern day adaptive athlete can do.

Being born with Cerebral Palsy, I was told that there was a low chance of survival, and if I lived. I wouldn’t amount to much. If you heard this story before and feel like you’re reading the same blog over again, I’m sorry but this is my story. And I will gladly proclaim how God took a frail child and turned him into a warrior.

On this day, maybe you feel down and out, depressed, suicidal, feel alone and feel like you could never amount to much. I get it, I’ve been there, but I’m here today to tell you that you can rise above and conquer all of that. Maybe you have bad health, or hate the way your body looks. Okay, lets start making changes right this second.

Maybe you have no use of your legs, okay, you can have a strong upper body!

Maybe you have one leg or arm, that just means that you have to be willing to adapt to your circumstances. There are ways to adapt upper body lifts to those with only one arm. If you have a prosthetic leg, awesome  there’re so many ways you can adapt exercises and functional movements to fit your needs.

Have an autoimmune, still not the end of the world, take the journey of finding good coaches that can help you. Go slow, listen to your body. And go fourth in your journey.

Please understand that, in no way do I intend to sound un-compassionate. Nor am I implying that any of this will be easy. It is because of compassion and love, that I am imploring you  today to not sit in your excuses and settle for anything less then your best.

Do I have my bad days? Yes,  but warriors rise after they fall, they get up after a needed rest.  Greatness comes from darkness, use the pain, use the hurt to drive forward to a better tomorrow. I’ll say it again, there are no short cuts, no self help books or remedies that can make the journey any easier.

What will help is hope. faith. Love and community. These are real things with eternal significants. Whatever is holding you back today, whatever is keeping you from progress. Face it. Don’t give it authority a second longer. Your life matters. Make the most of it.

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What Frustrates Me About CrossFit- And Why Winning Isn’t Everything.

No, I’m not here to say that I’ve changed my mind about Crossfit. I don’t think it’s dangerous, nor do I believe that it’s a cult or a fad. I believe that Crossfit is changing the very landscape as we speak.  As a person with cerebral palsy, and as one who has gone through several years with traditional physical therapy, nothing has made me strong or as mobile as the methodology of CrossFit.

As an adaptive Crossfit athlete, I have been doing this sport for almost over 3-4 years and competed in four different tournaments. All of which have been able-bodied events, I never thought that I would be involved in a sport like this.

I’ll never forget the feeling of walking into Crossfit Omaha with my dad and being the only person with cerebral palsy there. Honestly, that’s how it’s always been that way, so I wasn’t expecting anything else.

I’m not sure what other people were thinking when they saw me walk in there, maybe there was some doubt. Or maybe it was the doubt that was deep in my mind.  From that point on, I some so many other adaptive athletes rising as well, which is awesome. I would watch countless videos on youtube both of other adaptive athletes and abled bodied people.

What frustrates me then, is the illusions that these videos give off. Most of them suggest that people that do Crossfit are automatically brought into a family type setting where people cheer you on as though you are some hero. Sounds awesome right? But I very rarely experience this illusion of grandeur that these videos produce.

In fact, the support that  I do have comes from a  small group of people. I know what you’re thinking “well, at least you have people supporting right?”

Yes, you’re right, I am very thankful. My frustration and struggle then, is two-fold:

1) As hard as I work to get better, I still feel as though I’m “The  Lone Crossfitter” the guy who has to adapt everything, who doesn’t have full overhead movement at doesn’t move as fast or explosive as others. That I’ll never be apart of the winning team, or even take the podium as an individual.

2) I think this is where myself and others are going so wrong. In that, we have becoming so focused on winning. Certainly, it’s not wrong to want to win; I’ve never gone to a competition of any kind and not want to win. The problem is, then, that when you become some focused on winning that one can lose sight of what Crossfit is about altogether. And that is changing people’s lives!

It can be so deadly to be so focused on winning; your joy can be stripped from you so quickly. Honestly, I want to taste what it’s like to be on the winning team. But as much as much as I’d like to experience that.  I must always remind myself that there is much joy is teaching an adaptive athlete how to get up off the ground or teaching them to take steps without much aid slowly walk on their own. Or watching someone gain more mobility all together, there’s more of a victory in that than anything else.

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Reflection on Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

 

March is cerebral palsy awareness month, I’ve made a few posts on FB but I thought that a full-length post would be  good as well. I have lived with cerebral palsy (cp) for 30 years now. Yes, I’m 30 years of age, but I don’t feel it or look it. For that, I can thank the genetics that is in me. Cerebral Palsy is a condition that I have, not who I am.

Cerebral Palsy may be an extension of myself, but it is not who I am. First and foremost I am a child of God, who is loved from the earth to the heavens. This is where my identity lies. God knew my small frame long before time began, he wonderfully made me and gave me worth and dignity.

Having cerebral palsy then is a way that he has gifted me to reach out to others. It has allowed me to empathise with those who feel lonely, hurt and rejected by society. I can honestly say that if I didn’t have cerebral palsy, I probably wouldn’t have as big as a heart for people as I do now.

If anything, I probably would be more selfish and self-focused than I already am. That being said, there are many dark days that come with having this condition. There are many days that I wish I was different or like everybody else. Meaning that I wish I could run, walk and sprint. There are days when I cry out to God wishing things were different.

In these moments of self-pity and feeling of  helplessness, I ask the “what if?” and “why me?” questions. We all ask these questions, so to an extent its okay, God can handle these questions. Cerebral palsy is in no way easy to live with, it has taken me quite a long time to be at peace with myself, God and others.

The biggest truth that I can leave you with is that God loves you and created you with passion and purpose and no one can take that from you. People may not understand what we go through, they may even make fun of how we are. But I fearlessly proclaim that you’re loved beyond anything you could ever long for. Even in the times when you feel most alone, the most rejected the most misunderstood you’re loved.

I’ll be honest, there have been times where I have wanted to die. Just to be free from this body full of scars, but some how God keeps this smile on my face. But I say again, you are loved . Never give up the fight. Chase your dreams. Don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve, be who you are.

Another truth I submit to you is this, you are not a burden. If people do not make time for you, if they do not take the time to get to know you. That is merely a reflection of them and has nothing to do with you. Futher more, do not be afraid to love, do not be afraid to speak hope and encouragement. I truly believe that we can be the change we want to be in the world.

It may seem like you get nothing back in return, but as it is quoted in the movie Gladiator: “What we do in life echoes in eternity”. Do not shy away from pushing yourself physichally, I have been doing Brazillian Jiujitsu for almost 6 years and CrossFit for almost 2-3 years. With both of these elements in my life, my body has never been stronger. Even when doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to do much on my own, even when teachers told me I wouldn’t amount to much. It is by Gods grace I am who I am.

The same reality can be present in your or own life, you just have to take that small step forward. That might require asking for help, swallowing your pride and letting others be your teacher. It might require you sitting down and discovering your dreams and who you are as a person. Regardless, you can rest assured that there is no glass ceiling over our heads precerebral_palsy_awarenessventing us from conquering the obstacles that stand in our way.

Be well my friends.

-Brandon

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Confession of a CrossFitter

“I Have a Dream”

Four very powerful words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther. Ralph Waldo Emerson also once said ““Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”

I believe that people in our society have had the ability to dream stripped from their hands, and it’s not necessarily our own fault. When we look at our current reality daily living is getting more and more expensive and a lot of us have to simply face facts. Some have even laid aside their own dreams, some for good reason, be it a wife and kids. They come first.

As a college student, majoring in Psychology (primarily substance abuse), the mind is something that I love, There is a real love for getting to simply sit and listen to ones story, while walking with them on their journey toward recovery. Were all addicts, as I like to say.

While that passion stays, two more have grown stronger. I’ve always had a real love for fitness, I’ve been into strength training for a long time, largely due to my dad buying me my first set of dumb bells. Over the past year I have fallen head over heels with CrossFit, it’s changed  my life and body in so many ways, and there are so many adaptive athletes popping up all over the place. Each person driving themselves to the max and beyond. I used to take muscle relaxers to help deal with pain and fall asleep, now I only do that if the pain is extremely bad.

I’m eating far more cleaner and have gained lots of healthy weight, each week I look forward to working with my coach, she pushes me each and every week and I leave more enthralled with what my body can do. There are rumors circulating that the Reebok CrossFit games will create a adaptive division, the joy that this brings me is almost unspeakable. I never thought I’d day this, but I want to make this dream a reality. I know I’ll need to work even harder then I have before, it won’t be easy and I know it’ll take time.

I know I’ll have to finish my undergrad, work  and have to base everything around training, as well as Jiujitsu training (which I have entire other dream for all together). I know, it sounds crazy, but I believe I can truly do this. I know that it will be the most tiring season of my life. But I always believe that I am in the perfect position to do this. I’m still really young, my body is holding up well and constantly improving, plus I have a killer work ethic and the heart of a lion. Beyond taking a stab at getting to the games, I want to obtain my certifications to be a certified CrossFit coach.

There is just something about seeing ones life change through doing CrossFit, that I want to be apart of and pass on to others. Plus I would like to think that all my psychology training could fit into all of this some how.

So here is to chasing a dream

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