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US BMX Olympic Team Trials today…Go BARRY NOBLES!

I just posted on facebook that I wish I could be in 2 places at once – giving my rapid fat loss seminar and watching the demonstrations today at Crispim Jiu-Jitsu.

Make that THREE places!

In case you didn’t know, the original sport I fell in love with (BMX racing) and did all throughout my youth, is now (beginning in 2008) an Olympic sport!

Today they’re having the US BMX Olympic team trials down in Chula Vista, CA.  They’ve whittled the field down to 8 riders…as in the best 8 BMX racers in the entire United States!  (btw, the US is by far the toughest and most competitive country in BMX, which makes sense because this is where it started.)

8 best BMX racers in the US!

I have nothing but love for ALL eight of these guys…but I gotta pull for family.  Family as in my friend from Alabama – Barry “the Alabama Slamma” Nobles.  Not only can this kid ride a bike like no one I’ve ever seen, he’s as down-to-earth and humble as one can be.

Barry’s known for his insane ability to ‘ride a bike’ – let me explain.

There are guys who are great, fast racers; there are guys who can jump crazy big jumps and do insane tricks while in the air; there are guys who can ride great on the street and do cool tricks on concrete stuff; some can do the same on wood ramps; and there are guys who can ride mountain bikes really well.  But, as in any sport, you have to specialize and chose what you wanna be really good at.

Barry is unique in that he can do ALL of those EXTREMELY well!  It’s absolutely insane!!

The Olympic trials are supposed to be on NBC Sports this evening.  If you can, check it out!  Even if you’re not a big BMX fan, you’ll enjoy watching it, I’m sure.

And if you don’t already have a favorite to pull for – I suggest becoming a fan of Barry Nobles ;)  If you’re on twitter, you should follow him @BarryNobles95 – he updates his status there regularly, and you’ll enjoy watching him livin’ the dream as he says.

Good luck, Barry!

 

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The Joy of Ignorance

“Clay don’t know sh!t!” said Crispim to the class.  “You wouldn’t do what he did.  He don’t know what he’s doing…he’s a damn white belt!” he continues as he looks over at me and smiles.  I try my best to not look as dizzy and disoriented as I was and reciprocate back with a smile.

in a Crispim choke...not the safest place to be

As a fan of mixed martial arts (MMA), I’d often wondered what it felt like to get choked out. Now I know.

(In case you’ve wondered the same, the best way I can describe it is…imagine being given a fast acting general anesthetic before surgery, while simultaneously having your head, face, & neck compressed in a big set of clamps.  Odd thing is, in the choke that made me so dizzy I could barely tap, the clamps are actually two human arms, one of which was my own!)

It’s a normal human emotion to feel frustration and disappointment when you’re absolutely horrible at something.  Ironically, that’s not at ALL how I feel about being so ignorant and unskilled in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  In fact, I find sheer joy and pleasure in being so bad!  Allow me to explain.

I’ll never forget a feeling or thought I had back when I was 17.  At the time I was an accomplished BMX racer, and no doubt about it…winning lots of races was fun!  But I found that the better I got and the higher up the ranks I climbed, more and more pressure came with that success.  It got to the point where it wasn’t fun.  I’d let BMX racing become more like a job than a hobby.

After really struggling one weekend at a national race, I found myself almost resenting my success.  I wanted to go back to the days when I could go to a race and no one knew who I was or had any expectations of me at all.  As lucky as I was to be racing in the pro ranks, I literally would have traded that in to become a beginner all over again.

It was fun back then.  Just being able to balance on the starting gate with both feet on the pedals was an exciting accomplishment, and if I beat a couple people and didn’t crash, then that was icing on the cake!

some BMX race action

A couple years after having that ‘this is no fun’ feeling, I hung up my custom-made racing bike and put on a skimpy pair of (what felt like) panties and competing in a bodybuilding competition.  Although very humbling to go from being a ‘somebody’ in one sport to a ‘nobody’ in another sport, it also brought a huge sense of relief.

Sure, I was disappointed to get 2nd place in my first bodybuilding show, especially considering there were only two in my class, but I couldn’t wait to get to work to put some muscle on that 5′ 11″ 156 lb body of mine.  And who knows, maybe I’d even beat someone next time!

Over about 10 years I managed to gain about 40 pounds of muscle, and eventually I did beat some people in bodybuilding. Heck, I even won a couple shows, but once again, with that came more pressure.  Even to the point where competitive bodybuilding wasn’t fun for me anymore.

Looking Back

I’m a very introspective, self-analytical person.  Too much so, I’m sure.  But as I’ve reflected on myself, my life, and what makes me happy, there’s one thing I’ve learned – I enjoy improving.  

I used to think it was winning that drove me.  In fact, when I used to be asked why I raced BMX, my reply was “because I like winning.”

Now it’s so obvious that it wasn’t winning I enjoyed, it was improving that I enjoyed and gained personal satisfaction from.  And I’m not alone in this.  I’ve since learned that it’s a basic psychological principle that self-improvement is something that all humans enjoy and gain satisfaction from.  It increases our self efficacy – or feeling ‘in control’ of ourself and our life.

Why Ignorance is Fun

ignorance (noun) – lack of knowledge

The word ignorant typically has a negative connotation, but I don’t think it should.  Ignorance is simply not having the knowledge or facts/information about a particular topic.  You can be a genius in one area, while being ignorant in another.

What I hope to encourage you to do is to embrace your ignorance.  Not just that, embrace it, enjoy it, and even appreciate it!

Crispim (right) and Georges St-Pierre (GSP)

I have so much admiration and respect for those who – like Alexander Crispim – are geniuses in the gentle art of Brazilian Jui Jitsu.  And for a long time I’ve wanted to learn the craft.  So I finally decided to embrace my BJJ ignorance and begin at the beginning…way down at the very bottom of the proverbial totem pole.  And it is a BLAST!

Despite the fact that my head almost got popped like a pimple, (and by a man much smaller than me, mind you), I enjoyed every single second of it…because I’m now a tiny bit less ignorant about the topic I’ve set out to study.

Every single day I leave class, despite being a model for how NOT to do BJJ (I actually put my gi pants on backwards the first time) I go home feeling like I’ve accomplished so much!  I suppose it’s because I’m slowly becoming someone I respect – as in a skilled practitioner of Brazilian Jui Jitsu.

My hope is that we can all embrace the fact that we are ignorant in certain areas.  By doing that, we’re able to let go of the fear of being bad, even horrible, at something and can then enjoy, appreciate, and find joy in the learning process.

Enjoy life, my friend!

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“My Stroke of Insight” – why I think you should read it.

A habit that I’ve recently implemented is to watch something good first thing in the morning before starting work.  By “good” I mean motivational,  inspirational, spiritual, educational, etc.

Today I started my search for good material at the TED talks page on YouTube.  I soon found a video of a presentation by Dr Jill Bolte, neuroanatomist and author, titled “How it feels to have a stroke”.  (The title certainly doesn’t do the video justice, as you’ll see if you watch it down below.)

Dr Bolte is a brain injury expert who just so happened to have a stroke one morning.  Although tragic, it gave her a LOT of insight as to how our brains work, especially in terms of happiness, blissful happiness.

She wrote a great book about her experience called “My Stroke of Insight – a Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.”

I read the book in 2010 and really, really enjoyed and benefitted from it, which is why I’m telling you about it now.  ;)

Brief Overview

As a very brief overview, Dr Bolte’s stroke occurred in the left hemisphere of her brain.  The damage was so extensive she lost an extensive portion of function in her left hemisphere.  Yet the odd thing is…she experienced a peaceful happiness like never before!

She goes on to explain (pardon my oversimplification) how the left brain is our critic, and it’s the portion of the brain that creates our “I/me/my” identity.

Yet the right hemisphere, which was functioning perfectly during and after her stroke, produced feelings of peacefulness, contentment, and for lack of a better term – happiness.  With her left brain offline and her right brain online, she felt as if she was a mass of peaceful energy not contained by her body.  And she felt connected to the energy around her as if she were part of it.

Who Would Enjoy the Book?

I know my explanation will not come close to doing the book justice.  So please don’t take my butchered, limited explanation to decide if you should read it or not.

If you’re someone (like me) who enjoys reading/watching things that provide information or insight into how you may be able to improve the quality of your life, then you’ll love the book.  And for those (again like me) who simply enjoy learning and understanding how the human body & mind work, you’ll love My Stroke of Insight, too.

It’s not every day that you get to read about the first hand experiences of a neuroanatomist having a stroke!

Although I wouldn’t quite say the book changed my life, it sure did give me a LOT of insight as to how happy we can be if we can quiet the persistent left-brain chatter.  I’ve begun to implement some of the wisdom gained from her book and with great success.

Rating My Stroke of Insight

I guess if I were to rate the book, I’d give it 4.5 / 5 stars.

Even if you don’t read the book, which is a fairly quick & easy read, at least watch her TED Talks presentation.

Peace, Love, & Happiness :)

Dr Clay

 

Resources: here’s the book at Amazon.  (As I went to find it on Amazon to give you the link, I noticed the book is rated 4.5 / 5 stars on there, as well…kinda funny/coincidental.

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The Journey to the Jr Nationals in Chicago with Paris P

 

My trip from San Jose to Houston was, with no exaggeration, the worst airline travel experience I have ever had in my life.  But, hey, I did make it safely, so I really am grateful…but it was a lame trip to say the least!  (Missing 3 flights in 2 days is rarely fun.)

So I finally made it to my old home town to meet up with Paris and begin the final bits of preparation for the Jr Nationals in Chicago, where Paris is competing.

Luckily (ha) he and I only missed one flight while heading from Houston to Chicago.

While in the airport killing time, I decided to do a blog post from there.  So I told Paris to pose for a pic, and this is what I got.

I think this is his "hi, my name is Paris" face.

Sure, it’s a nice pic, but it’s not the intimidating face I was going for.  So I said “come on, man, look like you’re ready to do some DAMAGE!  Show me your mean mug!”  I just knew my directing abilities would be perfect, but I guess not…

Paris airport goofy

"Show me your MEAN MUG!"

Whether due to my poor directing or Paris’ poor acting, this is pretty much the exact opposite of what I was going for.

(24 hours later…)

I’m chillin’ in the hotel room while Paris is napping…. and I’m getting a little bored.  And when people get bored, they can get up to no good.

So I figured I’d finish this  post and the lovely photo of Paris above – especially since he said “man, you’re not gonna post that are you?!”

“Of course not.” I reassured him.  ;)

Your friend in fitness,

Dr Clay

PS: took a few pics of Paris posing just a bit ago and will post soon

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Chuck Liddell UFC commercial skit – Hillarious!

So what would a former UFC Champion and knockout artist – i.e. Chuck Liddell – be like as a business executive with the UFC? watch this video :)

I’m SOOO looking forward to the upcoming (this Saturday, April 30th) fight between Georges St-Pierre vs Jake Shields!

And for once, I will be happy whoever wins – love GSP and his work ethic, mental approach, professionalism, etc….but what’s not to like about the underdog Jake Shields? And he is, after all, a ‘local boy’ who lives here in the Bay area.

I’m torn…

1) who are you pulling for?
2) who do you think will win?