20 February 2016

Winning Takes Work!

By A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L.
"The universe is transformation; our life is what our thoughts make it." ~ Marcus Aurelius
A student recently came to me for advice on a personal problem. He was frustrated! He told me all he'd been doing and he was upset the results he expected to see weren't happening.

After getting some specific details I proceeded to tell him where I felt some simple changes could make a difference.

He looked and me I said "that sounds hard!"

I said, "well it is. I didn't say it would be easy. But it's simple."

The whole exchange forced me to compare our conversation to a larger metaphor on life.

So few people really achieve what they hope to in life and they're often puzzled why. But upon closer examination, you see people putting in an ordinary amount of effort, but somehow expecting some kind of extraordinary results. I wish it were that easy, but it isn't. It just doesn't work that way.

If you've ever chopped a tree (or seen it done) with an axe like I have, there's a vital life lesson you can learn from the process. It's doesn't matter how tired your arms are or how much they hurt, and how much you feel like quitting because the tree just won't fall over. It won't until you put in all the work needed. Nothing less. You've got to keep swinging!

Maybe you started thinking the job would be over after 100 strokes and you get there and the tree is still standing. Is it really that hard to figure out what to do? Of course not, you gotta keep on swinging. It's not over till it's over.

It's the same way in life. Things don't always happen as easy or as quickly as we hope or think they should. That doesn't mean it won't happen. But if we give up too soon, it guarantees we'll fail.

If we want to get the most out of a given situation, be it our job, school, relationship, athletics or what have you, we have to give it our all. Continued, persistent effort of doing the things we know we need to do really does pay off. As basic and simple as this may sound, hearing it is one thing. Knowing it is another. Yet applying it is where we usually fall short.

Life is hard! Winning takes work.

A lot of times when we think we're doing all we can do and we even say so in conversation, a brutally honest close examination reveals something else.

The older I get, the more I realize, there really are no shortcuts to success. This doesn't mean we won't get unexpected blessings and surprises sometimes, but I've found it is those who are most prepared for opportunity are the ones given the most opportunities in life.

In other words, I'm saying don't ever give up. Keep working. Work hard for what you want. Don't give in. When things aren't going your way and you're not achieving the results you believe you deserve, sometimes you have to stop, step back, and self assess. Make sure you're really doing all you can do towards getting your goals. If not, begin. It's never too late. If you're still alive.

Physical culturist and former multisport athlete, James MacArthur, has trained for, competed in, practiced and even failed at more sports and physical endeavours than a crossfitter on crack! And has the x-rays to prove it. Currently no longer involved in competition, a lifelong fan of being fit, MacArthur guides, instructs and motivates select few individuals seeking to make the most of their natural talent and abilities.

14 January 2016

Virtual Team Challenge - Row With It!

The Numbers
  • 66 - Team Navy's current position out of 435 teams from around the world
  • 814,225 - total team meters
  • 101,000 - my total meters rowed so far
  • 1 - my position on team as the one with the most cumulative distance... so far
Current as of 0700 EST

Day 14 of the 31 day challenge finds me in good spirits, and over all highly motivated. 

Some mild signs of fatigue are starting to show. 

Thankfully, my pre-existing foot injury has shown no signs of irritation or worsening. The healing and recovery is actually progressing quite well.

I've rowed everyday since the first of the year. Some days even rowing twice.

Being part of a challenge offers extra motivation along with an element of excitement. It's much more fun than working or exercising without passion or purpose.

I believe one of the primary reasons people quit exercising is because they find themselves in a place where it's no longer fun anymore. Couple that with vague, indistinct goals and not having a firm "why" and eventually - much sooner than later for many - exercise gets blown off.

07 January 2016

Fitness For The Long Haul

"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second." ~ William James

By A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L.

Gyms from coast to coast are jam packed with new members right now. But strangely by summertime most will have fallen off. Old school gym rats like myself has seen this same routine, year after year, for decades!

Losing weight and or exercising more still ranks higher on the list of New Year's resolutions than anything else. Americans are obsessed with the idea of getting in shape. Yet judging by the rate of obesity increasing each year, we're evidently not very good at it.

Why is it so many fail? Repeatedly.

Part of the problem is most of us really don't know what the heck we're doing, or even why we're doing it. More on that later.

We want big results and we want them now. When we don't get that kind of instant gratification, eventually we lose interest and before you know it, half the year has passed and you realize you really haven't stuck to goal of "exercising more" or getting in shape.

We view fitness as an end result of "working out" then the rest of our lives are completely incongruous with healthy living.

We're a nation that loves excess. We eat too much (of the wrong foods), drink and party too much, smoke too much, work too much (mostly sitting on our butts), watch TV and even cruise on the internet too much. After doing all sorts of things that destroy health, we convince ourselves that somehow a little exercise, or even a lot, will fix everything and make it all okay.

Instead of making healthy living and exercise part of a more balanced lifestyle, we view it as a task, something to be checked off daily to-do lists. That sounds like work. Don't we spend enough time doing that already?

Perhaps it's time we rethink the whole way we see exercise and getting in shape. More than just something we do, it should actually be part of who we are.

A more balanced, healthy approach to living needs to become an essential and interwoven part of our existence. It is only then do we stand a realistic chance of success.

In the coming weeks and months I'll use this space to share with you my best ideas and concepts on how to live more dynamically and achieve better overall fitness. This will be an ongoing journey of discovery. I hope you'll join me.
Physical culturist and former multisport athlete, James MacArthur, has trained for, competed in, practiced and even failed at more sports and physical endeavours than a crossfitter on crack! And has the x-rays to prove it. Currently no longer involved in competition, a lifelong fan of being fit, MacArthur guides, instructs and motivates select few individuals seeking to make the most of their natural talent and abilities.

29 March 2015

Jesus Didn't Drive A Cadillac #PalmSunday

Followers of Christ should not forget who they're following and how He rolled
Note; artist rendering used for illustrative purposes only, NOT AN ACTUAL PAINTING OF YESHUA
"And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'"

-- Yeshua (The Christ) as recorded in Mark 8:34

As Christians around the world celebrate "Palm Sunday," I hope that among the ceremonies and festivities, the powerful, profound simplicity represented by Yeshua (The Christ) is not lost.

When Yeshua walked the earth, he actively denounced the established organized religion of the day and the way in which it was practiced. The hypocrisy of the holier-than-thou hyper-religionists was a regular topic of his ire.

Benny Hinn's Malibu mansion. I wonder how many times extra rooms have been opened up to the homeless?
"Therefore, whatever you want people to do for you, do the same for them, because this summarizes the Law and the Prophets."

-- Yeshua (The Christ) as recorded in Mathew 7:12 (ISV)

Joel Osteen's Texas estate.

He had no huge castle, palatial temple built with the building fund, elaborate attire, or other fancy trappings often associated with modern ministers and the church today.

Despite certain interpretations, an understanding of the era shows travelling by donkey as being the modern day equivalent to a Honda Civic. Basic, reliable transportation.

Pastor Creflo Dollar. A fitting name no?

Far from ostentatious or making a statement of status, like say a Bentley or Gulfstream jet, the donkey simply got you where you needed to go. Slowly.

Like everything else about the life of Yeshua, selection of this mode of transportation, on this particular day (walking was the usual way), was more than just coincidence or happenstance. It was an example. An example for the people then, but especially for us now.

Truth is, royalty rode mighty stallions. Camels were common. For the ultra fancy, a chauffeur driven chariot might be had.

But no other animal placed it's rider as low to the ground, and on the same level, accessible to the masses, as did the donkey. A man riding a donkey literally has his feet close to the ground. Other animals have the rider up high, looking down on the people. The donkey places you among the people.

Ministry is about serving. Serving those in need, not serving ourselves. Not lifting us up above others. But about sometimes even getting down on our knees if need be (see foot washing and communion the way it's described in the bible), in order to perform our duty to our fellow man.

Oh that pastors and parishioners would take this object lesson to heart.

Make no mistake, in the time of Christ there were rides available far exceeding the luxury of a donkey. None were chosen.

Whether you like it or not, it's true; Jesus didn't drive a Cadillac. I'm just saying.