“Does the Hoosier [Doctor] Have Pull-Up Nature? (And Why Should I Care?)”
Alright CWI fans (and others). This is what I was teasing about yesterday. And not only was I doing pull-ups in the gym this weekend, I was having epiphanies. Three to be exact.
Eagle-eyed viewers of the video of yours truly on a pull-up machine will note the presence of a Bluetooth headset in the video. While working out at Bob’s Gym this weekend, I was in fact, listening to motivational guru Tony Robbins in my ear. Tony’s advice to people for living a top performing life was to “live your life as if you are a public figure” – so that, in essence, you are the same ALL the time. The ultimate hypocrisy for me as a wellness-oriented physician, it seems, would be to preach wellness, dietary discretion, appropriate weight, and “taking your supplements” all day and then eat like a pig on the weekend and live slothfully.
My first epiphany was that I need to make sure to keep my own act together, and my fitness, wellness, and supplementation habits congruent with what I’m preaching. Generally, in the past, I have approximated congruency, but really haven’t been living it to the max. That has now changed. I am determined, in social media and in my daily life, to model for my patients (as well as anyone else tuned into this blog) what is possible with clean living, adequate supplementation, rational exercise, and common-sense wellness activities (such as simply getting enough sleep at night).
My second epiphany was that progress is made in INCREMENTS. (More about that later.) I have several patients that are morbidly obese, and they are heroically trying to do something about it. Frequently they started out with thyroid glands that were off kilter, adrenals that were shot, and sex hormones in their bodies that were kaput. How in the world did they even have a fighting chance to start with?? But, after appropriate medical tuning up, there is still a long way to go to get back to optimal levels of wellness. And you have to start somewhere, and you have to take “baby steps.” Depressed patients need to take it one step at a time. ADHD’ers, whose life has been a disaster, have to take it one step at a time, even after they get their concentration together (sometimes for the first time). People grieving the loss of a loved one, or a relationship, or a job, have to take it one step at a time.
The third epiphany was a phrase that stuck in my mind from years ago when I read Harvey Mackay’s book, Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. Among other things, in this provocatively titled and eminently enjoyable read, Harvey talked about the idea that “we could all use a little coaching.” He himself has had a golf coach, tennis coach, professional speaking coach, and Chinese language coach, just to name a few. He notes that Olympic athletes have coaches, tennis pros have coaches, and so forth. Why? Because even the best of us, the most talented, the most gifted, the most intellectually brilliant can be helped and assisted by someone outside of ourselves that can see the issues and pinpoint them. Frequently, these coaches will have specialized knowledge that we ourselves don’t possess. There is a difference, for example, in the skill set of a tennis player with unbelievable coordination, muscle strength, and indefatigable cardiovascular stamina, versus a coach that has an eye for a microsecond hesitation in a backswing. Both are valid skill sets. Both are complementary.
Here’s the deal on the pull-ups:
- They are, best I can tell, executed PERFECTLY.
- There are 10 of them. That was my goal.
- The interesting thing is that they were executed on a piece of gym equipment that allows the user to have a variable amount of “assist.” No, I was not pulling up all of the Cady weight by myself. And I got to thinking about Harvey. “We could all use a little coaching.” And I got to thinking about the principle of INCREMENTS.
- And finally, I reflected on my first career teaching both lay people as well as college students how to play the piano. I taught everyone – from mentally challenged children to a 60+ year old grandmother who sent me Christmas cards yearly until she died – the same way. PERFECT fundamentals. PERFECT execution. And then we will add complexity, and speed things up, and make it more challenging.
Here’s the punchline: That’s the way it is in life. That’s the way it with pull-ups. That’s the way it is in making progress from whatever hormonal, mental, intellectual, psychosocial, vocational, emotional, or relationship challenge that you have. There typically is an increased abundance of misery over the holidays. Unresolved issues, unresolved family conflicts, personal hurts and grudges nourished and fed over the years can fester and cause a sort of “emotional infection” that can have a full bloom of expression in the emotional pressure cooker of the Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza/holiday season and the various meanings attached to it. Happily, I know that some of my patients now, who are stable and are progressing, are still continuing to make progress, bit by bit. (If you’re reading this, you know who you are, and you have my profound admiration.) But there are many souls out there in cyberspace-land who are hurting, grieving, and lost.
For me, personally, I plan on continuing to make progress in my own fitness as 2013 winds down and into 2014 and beyond. I am “moving the pin” on that piece of gym equipment every week to every 2 weeks. By the end of 2014, at the latest, I will be doing those pull-ups without assistance. But I will get there INCREMENTALLY. One pull-up at a time. One set a time. One small drop of assistance at a time.
For you, dear reader, I commend this mindset to you as well. So here are my holiday tips – which started out in a gym of all places:
- If there are issues in your life that you need help with, and you could “use a little coaching,” please find a talented professional to help you. If Olympic athletes and tennis pros need coaches, as talented as they are, chances are that you can’t “shrink yourself.” Or hormonally extricate ourself. It just doesn’t work out that well. If you are depressed, get help. There has NEVER been a better time in psychiatry (with increasingly powerful and side-effect free medications, not to mention transcranial magnetic stimulation) to get powerful, life-changing assistance.
- Secondly, if you are on a healing pathway or journey, recognize that you can’t get from where you are to the ultimate, blissfully fulfilling outcome in one fell swoop. Incremental progress is [typically] the order of the day. That’s how I’m planning it in my life. Please be reasonable with yourself and your expectations as well. As one of my mentors, Jim Rohn said, “All life expects is measurable progress in reasonable time.”
- Thirdly, if you have goals, acknowledge them. If they have occurred to you, there may well be a way to obtain them. In the words of peak performance expert, David Nagle, “You can’t have a desire for something without the means for receiving it being present as well.” In our economically stressful, financially challenged, time-pressured world, that might seem a stretch. But just sit with the concept for awhile. I have personally found it very liberating.
Oh! And what if it wasn’t YOUR doctor that was in the gym this weekend? Don’t get me wrong. I know a lot of my doctor buddies are very fitness and health conscious and could leave me choking in their aerobically tuned, cardiovascularly perfected dust. On the other hand, others….? Not so much. I think it behooves us, if we are going to get “coached” on wellness rather than simply having disease treated (after we’ve got it already), that perhaps we should make inquiries about other docs and health care professionals in our area that would be able to assist us in our own personal health and wellness quests.
From me, as well as all the staff and the professionals at Cady Wellness Institute, we wish you a very wonderful, happy, joyous, and HEALTHY holiday season.
Louis B. Cady, MD