6 things skateboarding taught me about fat loss
Around Christmas time of this year, I had the chance to hang out with some of my old skateboarding buddies.
It was so great to catch up with them and chat about the good ol’ days of tearing up the streets of Stonewall.
We laughed, reminisced and reflected on how we would skate for hours without even knowing any time had passed and how we would crush our bodies doing tricks.
This really got me thinking about how much of my life was molded by what I did back in my skateboarding days.
Looking back, skateboarding taught me a ton about discipline, persistence, commitment and life in general.
Here are 6 lessons that skateboarding taught me about life and getting in shape:
1. Feedback not failure
Man, did we skate hard,
Like really hard.
We would throw ourself down stairs,
And down rails with a disregard for own safety that I do not recommend to anyone.
Nonetheless, with all of that hard-skating came some pretty hard falls too.
I think the worst one for me was when I broke my elbow at my 14th birthday.
I was pretty chapped that I couldn’t skate but a broken arm meant a few extra dates with my girl at the time…Hilary Duff.
Albeit, those dates included me sitting at home watching Lizzie McGuire, I was still happy.
But, that’s so yesterday….let me get to the point.
I didn’t see the falls as failures.
I saw the falls as a commitment to the process.
I was even proud of my broken arm, it meant to me that I was so committed to the process that I broke bones over it.
I didn’t mope around and think:
“I am such a loser and a failure for falling”
“I’ll never be able to do it”
I saw the falls as feedback that I could improve the way I was doing things.
Maybe it meant that I needed more pop out of my board,
Maybe it meant less kick out of my front leg,
Maybe it meant more speed on the approach,
But I never thought of my falls as failures, only feedback.
Feedback that I integrated and implemented on my next attempts.
Body transformation is the same thing.
So, you weren’t able to get lean protein at every meal today…big deal.
That doesn’t make you a failure.
That is valuable feedback.
Maybe you need to have lean protein sources ready and prepped so you can just grab-and-go for lunch.
Maybe you need to learn some new cooking techniques or recipes to make your lean protein taste better.
Maybe you need to learn how to make a supershake because you have no time to make breakfast in the morning.
Whatever it is, that feedback you get is literally your path to success.
Like my man, Marcus Aurelius says:
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
So, don’t beat yourself up for “failing”,
See it as feedback and take action on that feedback.
2-Falling sucked but giving up on a trick was worse
For me, the thought of giving up was never an option.
So much so, that we would crush ourselves to land something.
And as much as we fell, it was so much worse to admit defeat.
The truth is success is often just a short step from “failure”.
One of my favourite stories on this is the “parable of the pump” by my all-time favourite personal development guru, Zig Ziglar.
Check out 3:26 on this video:
So, although the lure is giving up may be close, recognize that:
A. Quitting sucks
B. Just a short step from failure is success
3. The best fun was when I was with my people
One of my favourite things to do is ask people that have lived,
That have had success,
And that have accumulated a lifetime of wisdom,
What they think is most important in life?
Or what the key to happiness is?
Almost everyone one of them, in some way or another, says that relationships are the key to happiness in life.
Some of the best times of my childhood were definitely on a skateboard,
But the absolute best times were when I was with my buddies….on my skateboard.
The richest memories come from enjoying your accomplishments with others.
My boys were almost as excited as me when I hit a trick,
And that is something incredibly special.
Not only that, but, hands-down, I did my best tricks when I was with the boys.
I was surrounded by a community of like-minded dudes who I loved and respected and I just wanted to show them what I could do.
Also, I didn’t want to look like a quitter in front of them.
A strong support system is invaluable when it comes to any success in life.
These people can provide advice, feedback and accountability,
Or just good old fashioned love, fun and friendship.
Find your tribe and get to work.
3. You don’t have to dread exercise
I loved to skate.
I would wake up at 6am, grab my board and hit the pavement.
I would skateboard on a sheet of plywood in my basement in the winter.
I would look for dry patches of concrete to skate on on the warmer days of the winter.
I looked forward to every April when we could skate outside again,
and I hated October knowing my days skating outside were numbered.
I didn’t even think about how much physical activity I accumulated on my board,
but I guess it would equal out to about 3 or more hours per day.
I would skate for 30 minutes or so before breakfast, skate to school, skate for 30-45 minutes at lunch and then for a couple hours after my homework was done.
I loved every minute of it.
And It kept me in shape.
I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed to do it.
I didn’t make excuses not to do it.
I didn’t hate my life when I was doing it.
So, why can’t you do the same?
What exercise or activity did you do as a kid?
What are you good at today?
What activity are you excited to do?
Why can’t you do it now?
Why not join a recreational hockey league?
Why not join a women’s volleyball league?
Why not garden?
Why not put your dog in agility classes and have fun chasing them around?
This shit should be friggin’ fun!
4. Comfort zones
There were times when I was scared to try a trick,
And there were times when I felt really uncomfortable making that first attempt,
But that is living, baby!
For me, I was not a hand-rails guy.
I would rather jump over the stairs than do something on the rail beside it,
But the first time I hit that boardslide on that 3-stair rail,
Man, did that feel good.
My confidence shot up,
And It made my comfort zone that much bigger.
That is what growth and development are all about.
If your comfort zone is currently a 5’ x 5’ square, take it to 6’ x 6’.
Don’t be irresponsible and do something you clearly cannot do,
Just progressively stretch your zone of comfort.
There is no growth without some sort of discomfort.
Sometimes life can get crazy
and although we don’t need to be told
often times we do need to be reminded.
Again, I absolutely loved skateboarding, but I always kept my board either in my room next to the door or at the front landing where I would see it.
I would wake up, see my board and head out.
Habits are great, but using triggers to set the habits into action are another tool for your arsenal.
Whether it’s putting your fish oil on the counter,
Your shoes by the door,
Or your water bottle by the stove,
Heathy actions are aided by a supportive environment.
6. Willpower / discipline
Willpower is interesting.
Take this quote by my man, Henry Ford:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
Certainly the current research on willpower suggests this.
Willpower was once seen as a finite resource that was depleted throughout the day.
We now know that the more you exert willpower the easier it is to exert willpower in other activities requiring it.
What ultimately determines if an individual can harness the power of discipline depends on whether you believe discipline is finite or something that can be improved.
If you see willpower as a depleting resource, your willpower will be depleted throughout the day.
If you think showing willpower in one activity will make willpower easier to practice at another activity, then you will reap the benefits of that.
Here’s the deal….thinking makes it so.
I believed I could wake up early and skate,
I believed I could do the tricks I set out to do,
I believed that I would not quit until I had landed them,
And guess what?
The times when I started skateboarding were the times when I started:
showing willpower in homework and study habits,
cleaning our house,
Doing my chores,
Hitting the gym,
And making smarter food choices.
My willpower in skateboarding translated into willpower into other activities.
How you do one thing is how you do everything.
It’s crazy to think that something as juvenile as skateboarding could have such an effect on me as an adult.
Not only has skateboarding imprinted in my brain some precious memories with my friends,
But it also taught me how to be a man, how to be a good coach, how to be a professional and even, how to stay in shape.