This is impromptu. Everything about this post goes against the grain. Everything goes against what we are taught in school. Be smart. Follow the process.

I’m here to shake that shit up.

I’m leading with my heart. The human being is complex. Our souls are complex… and they sure as eff don’t follow linear strategy.

It just makes sense to post now so you all just get a bonus post today. Hell, depending on where you’re at in the world this counts for tomorrow. Anyway, this one’s really spontaneous.

Everything happens for a reason. You and I put things out into the world subconsciously, allow the magic to happen and take what cards are dealt our way.

Here’s the spin…

Music has a very powerful way of channeling feelings, evoking emotion and setting the stage for what you’re in for. It can be scary. It can be wild. it can be whatever you want it to be. It’s the moment. It has no rules. There’s no meter. There are no right or wrong notes. Just go. Just play.

As I write this post the music keeps on flowing…

It’s almost like your “vibe attracts your tribe” extends to “the song is where you belong” – Music makes memories.

There was a reason I tuned in, Strombo. I didn’t know it at the time. I’d say you’d never know what that show did for me… but you just spoke to exactly what I was writing. I’d say that’s eerie, but that’s my whole point. Now you’ll read this and it’ll all make sense.

-sidenote-

If you don’t already, go follow The Strombo Show. @thestromboshow on the socials… this guy’s been golden since I first got into music and I’d strongly encourage you to have a look and see what he’s crafting up.

Also, CBC Radio 2, on point with all of your programming and discovery of amazing music.

Toronto… you have a compelling argument…

Til next time… here’s the thing that started this all. Metric’s “Empty”. A song that represents 2006-2007 to a tee for me, my growing up and my dual struggle with finding myself, and pleasing the rest of the world’s expectations of what was to become of me.  It was a song my girlfriend and I listened to in the car, and she was the first person that introduced me to Metric and I’ll forever be grateful for that. Thank you, Sarah.

Sleep well, loves.

M

xo

 

 

Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

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Whether it’s coming in and bossing out on the olympic platform, running a sprint for 3 minutes, or maxing out her previous record dead lift, my athlete of the month goes to Karen.

 

It’s crazy to think that this rock star has dropped about 40lbs in a year, started Olympic Lifting and setting Powerlift records nearly every time she touches the bar and – what I think is the most important change – has truly integrated a healthy lifestyle into the daily routine. Day in, day out.

I’m here to write about my experience of working with Karen. I can’t begin to tell you how much I feel as though she has helped me grow as a coach. Not just because I can basically toss any exercise at her and she’ll fine a way to get it done, but because how ridiculously determined she is. This is what it takes to make positive change in your life.

Let’s start with her dedication to getting comfortable in being uncomfortable.

Comfortable

She had never tried Olympic Lifting, let alone even really know what exactly it was one year ago.

I showed her how to throw a barbell over her head… the rest is history.

Just to put it in perspective she clean and jerked 105lbs (that’s shown in the video up there…)

She deadlifts, she runs, she squats, she makes everyone around her happier and she absolutely kills it at work. Sure she might dislike doing the exercise at times, but she puts her head down and goes.

Things sound pretty good, eh? It wasn’t an easy road. Combine daily (sometimes painstaking) lessons and habits to help refocus her relationship with food and her nutrition, overcoming scheduling bumps, vacations, sickness – all the typical excuses… with life’s general random “curveballs” and you’ve still got an individual that never missed a session. A date with herself. A date with change. A date with progress, over perfection.

I’m honoured to get to work with Karen towards her craziest goals. Together with her attitude and what skills I can pass along I really see the sky as the limit. it’s amazing what the power of the mind can do.

Thank you, Karen. Stoked to see what’s next and keep this going.

Stay sweet.

M

 

…mean you see the stars the most.” – K.Flay

K.Flay is pure magic.

Let’s start with her show. From the controlled chaos in the live performance of “Black Wave” to the introspective and hope-filled lyrics of “Dreamers”, this ‘Frisco native was a late bloomer to her now quite obvious calling. The first time I saw her perform was in the summer of 2017 as an opening act for my favourites, Mother Mother. After the first 30 seconds of her opening song, I knew this was going to be a superstar. Mother Mother had their work cut out for them, that’s for sure…

She lit it up.

Huge highlight for me from that show was her impeccable lyricist ability and unreal flow. Her a Capella, free form rap, mixed in with edge electronica-fused alt rock was just something I’d never heard before. Stand out.

Diving in a little deeper, her story is quite impressive.

I want to look at a line in her opening track “Dreamers” off of her 2017 release Everywhere is Some Where

Dreamersimg_3311

I came to in a cold sweat with a nosebleed feeling hopeless
Thought I maybe might be dead til I got my pen sat down and wrote this 

Suddenly I felt fine inside a mind so full of ghosts
The darkest nights mean you see the stars the most

The endless hope in this line is the motivation for me to keep pushing. What’s it mean to you?

It’s Bell’s “Let’s Talk” Day here in Canada today. For every text, share and like on social media Bell donates a nickel to help the Canadian Mental Health Association bring awareness to something that affects the majority of us. Yet, we’re still blinded by a stigma that cripples lives. Join me in spreading the love, saying “what’s up” to someone today and asking how they are from a genuine place. If you suspect some one is dealing with mental health issues, don’t stand by. There are plenty of resources out there to help get people well. Mind and body.

Check out my friend, and former bandmate, Joel Porayko’s project video on bringing an end to the stigma. Big thanks to all of you put yourselves out there. My MusicFit crew, my RMH crew, your support is endless and I am forever grateful.

Contact any of these providers if you or someone you know is battling with mental illness. Together we can bring an end to the stigma. Get well. Stay well.

My Top Three Picks For Mental Health Wellness Counselling and Awareness

CMHA (Calgary) (local assistance programs, links and counselling)

Unison Benevolent Fund (national assistance program for musicians and industry)

Elephant Artist Relief (local artist relief organization, they also have a whole directory of related organizations in the US and Canada)

Until next time, namaste sweet. And open up that conversation…

M

 

Have you ever held on to something and felt like you were out of control? Like it was just out of reach… Ever so slowly, slipping out of your hands?

I thought I would feel that for the first time last week as I held on to my Omi’s hand as she lay motionless, helpless in her hospital bed in Cold Lake, Alberta. I did my best to pull out the golden-boy grandson routine of sheer comedic relief, but truth be told it was all a defence mechanism for me. I’ve never really experienced an up-close and personal encounter with the imminent signs of death and a loved one before. I mean, kind of back in 2010 when my dad ended up in the hospital over night from an aortic aneurysm. But hell, my now ex and I just showed up that Sunday morning by his bedside as he came to from the anaesthesia of post-surgery. It wasn’t as real as holding on to a hand that you’ve known all your life to give you all the support and love you could handle as a child. To hold on to that and to fear the moment when that grip finally slipped away… that was real. That, ironically is life.

However, I didn’t experience it.

My apparent good-willed humour and the presence of other loved ones such as my mother must have given Omi a renewed lease on life. A reminder as to why she was still kickin’. At 86 years old, she’s had one helluva time through the thick and the thin alongside my Opa, who is quite possibly the greatest man on this planet. Sure, they squabble, as any married couple will, but their undying love for one another was grossly magnified during the last week. A week I hadn’t prepared for and certainly didn’t expect to come out much wiser, stronger and empowered from.

I learned that the healing power of touch is awesomely underestimated. We went up to Cold Lake on Monday expecting to say farewell to my mother’s mother. Instead, our thoughtfulness, our compassion and our love incited a passion in Omi to hold on and stick around until next time we get to visit (which for my folks looks like about a month). And that’s okay. At this time, mini goals are all it takes. One step at a time. Day by day. One hospital meal of crushed ice and orange antibiotics at a time…

Make a plan. It’s there for you to use as a guide if nothing else. Clearly my Omi’s plan changed when we got there this past week. Eff, was she ever surprised. When you make a plan at least you can go off the grid a bit when you want to. Shake things up and understand the power of your presence around everyone, loved or not in your day to day interactions. The impact you have with the silliest things such as touch goes a really long way.

Thanks for hearing me out. And thanks for sharing

 

So today marked the first real CrossFit workout I’ve had since I went in Maui about 4 years ago. One word: Community.

Curtis Laughren, an old friend of mine has established his box as so much more than a place to lift heavy things and put them back down again. He’s grown a family of individuals that come together, support and rally each other through the toughest physical demands they can put their bodies through every time they step on the floor. What’s more is that today was a holiday! The floor was packed. Every one to the athletes came up and introduced themselves to me. It was quite a humbling experience to see so many encouraging, forward thinking and mindful athletes together in one space. I was back in my element today. Part of the team. A feeling I haven’t had for nearly two years since speed skating came to an abrupt end in the fall of 2015.

I walked in and immediately felt like I was home. The sweat-culture of sport, intensity and collaborative competition hit me like a hurricane the minute I stepped inside. Greeted by Curtis, peering through the Concept2 rowers (AKA death machines…) standing on end in “park”, to see who the new guy was. Huge smile and big handshake waiting for me, it was at that point I knew that this was the next step in my athletic career.

We spent the first 15 minutes in RAMP (for those wondering, that’s smart trainer talk for warm up [Range Of Motion, Activation, Movement Prep…]) and then we got to some warm up movements on the bar. The workout today was modelling the CrossFit Games workouts that just took place this past weekend, so today “Amanda” and a strength Powerlifting style 5-3-1+ sets of deadlifts was on the docket.

What’s Amanda?

It’s a drop set 9-7-5 series focused around two big, sexy movements. The Olympic Snatch and the Muscle Up. Rawr…

I’m pretty good with the bar, so the snatch wasn’t a problem (insert endless jokes here….), but my shoulders have never been right since I separated the left one making saves in football (soccer) nearly 10 years ago. Actually, side note – that’s one of the biggest motivations for me trying this box out. My overall goal is to be able to complete 10 Muscle Ups before 2018. For today, Curtis and I scaled them down to strict pull-ups so my Amanda was really like a “Mandy”…. The beta version 1.8 and still pretty cool.

I had a nice and light 75lbs on the bar just to go through the snatch patterning and pounded out my modified Amanda in a quick 4:18. In hindsight I should have thrown 115lbs on the bar, but I feel good about my first day. It can still be intimidating to walk into a gym where you’re the new guy…even for an experienced, multiple-certified trainer like myself, guys… so I was pumped to just experience today.

Then came the deads…

I crushed a 265lb deadlift today, which I just calculated to be about 113% of my previous best. So I set a PR on my deads today. Which is cool. But don’t tell my cardiologist yet. She’ll get worried again. I didn’t hold my breathe, Doc. Don’t worry. No Valsalva over here.

The point to my story is that the biggest determining factor of anything you do is your social support system. If you’re around a bunch of people that are in support of your actions, you’ll be much more likely to achieve. If you’re not, you won’t. Plain and simple. They say we are a product of the five people we hang out around the most. As a kid playing hockey I always wanted to play on the top line, I always wanted to be better. I wanted to be around the guys that were better than me. Nothing much has changed.

August 7, 2017 marks the actualization of bettering myself in the areas of my wellbeing that I’ve neglected for whatever reason… injury, laziness, lack of knowledge or special care. I’ve removed those excuses from the equation, and CrossFit Above All is the support system, the community, the family I have been lacking to drive me to progression in my personal and athletic growth. I am beyond stoked to see what happens. Thank you Curtis et al.

Do something awesome today. Until next time, stay sweet.

Peace.

-M

PS. If you’re in the Calgary area, check out www.crossfitaboveall.com

Curtis hosts multiple free classes each week for you to try out and see what it’s like to be a part of a common goal of personal growth and strength, both in the gym and out.

 

Great thoughts were shared yesterday from a true friend with an absolutely inspiring outlook on life. Things started to spark for me today, as I’m currently pushing through ongoing injuries. It seems as though each week there’s something new. Not crippling. Just there. I’ve come to terms that I’ll remain under 100% health for the strong majority of the next 3 years at least, but the most important takeaway is that I manage. It’s like playoff hockey. Everyone is playing hurt. Whether it’s a physical setback, state of mind or “funk” or just the unwillingness to push through, remaining positive with an optimistic vision on all situations will keep me from crumbling. 

End of the day, I asked for this. So when I have those moments a little voice kicks in and says – “Who told you it’d be easy?”

I’m immediately brought back to reality. 

The mind is very interesting. We tell ourselves we can or cannot do something and whatever we verbalize, generally comes true.

For me, mindset is huge. My newly shaped life has me yearning for a trusted companion that speaks the same language as me. Literally and figuratively…(guess I should brush up on my German, huh?) almost to the point of “I can’t tell who is talking” because the mindset, attitude, passion and zest to succeed and be happy is so overwhelmingly similar. That’s what I want. That’s who I am! That’s what I do!

Do we all have some intrinsic passion for something? I have my doubts, but that is a personal dilemma, best saved for another day. Only those who breathe that passion get it. I get it.
Recently, a lot of things have been happening, all very synced… And it’s nice to think that maybe… Just maybe… If I verbalize it. Manifesto.

Make it happen.