The Min-Max Way

Change happens at different speeds it's just your job to accept it at whatever speed it comes at you. 


Nothing pleases me more than signing up new people that are already committed to change. They know their situation. Maybe they've worked out their entire lives or never worked out or tried dozens of different gyms with dozens of different programs all the while trying to find just one thing that will stick, that will create the change they've been thirsting for. It's an amazing honor when they come to our gym. They chose the smallest gym in the valley when they could have chosen football fields worth of equipment, swimming pools and yoga studios. They chose a small pull-up rig with some weights and a community of dedicated nerds. My perception is that they want to get back to basics. They've done the fad programs. The 90-day intense fat-burn cardio pump. The 30-day lemon cleanse. The 3-week shredding diet!!!

Define your quest, your party and your loot, then roll for damages because you'll lose some hit points along the way

With so many different ways to create change, I can see how difficult the decision can be. Hell, I've been through those myself. I bought P90X, a pullup bar and some bands. I did that for a few weeks on and off. I built my own little gym in my garage complete with a wooden squat rack and a steel pipe pull-up bar that nearly broke my ribs when I first tried it out. I crafted weights from water jugs and followed DVD after DVD trying desperately to get back into some kind of shape. Nothing really worked and eventually I took that gym apart. 

When I turned 38, I needed something...anything to make a difference. My shoulders were small. My waist was starting to hang over my pants. I was starting to look like an old man and I hated it. Something needs to happen now. I didn't know it then, but what I decided was to "min-max" my life. 


Min-maxing is the practice of playing a role-playing gamewargame or video game with the intent of creating the "best" character by means of minimizing undesired or unimportant traits and maximizing desired ones. 

This is a hard decision for some and the reason is that it takes a lot of time, effort and consistency. Basically, everything that isn't classically in line with what we call "fun". But it can be. All I said to myself was "Get to gym." and when I was there I just nodded my head in agreement with whatever was going on. I had to get rid of my fear, my conscience and little voices in our heads that tell us to go home, curl up into the couch and catch up on Sleepy Hollow (which I actually need to do. I've heard good things.). I struggled. I whimpered and I slumped to my car after every workout with a 120 bpm that just wouldn't go down for an hour. I was nauseous sometimes, too. I constantly checked my heart rate and the corners of my vision would grow dark which I knew was the first sign of passing out. The first few months were filled with serious doubts. I even quit for a couple months. But I needed to put "quit" aside and really turn the corner. I needed to make it to the other side without having any idea how long it would take me to get there.  After a month of getting back into it, I decided to do "Murph" which is a workout that consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, 1 mile run. It takes most people an hour or so and it took me about that. 

Yep, that's me slumped over. Barely able to finish. I was still massively out of shape but I completed it and I continued to complete that workout for a couple years after that. It's not fun, but it is a moment for me that meant something. It meant a corner had been turned.



That's the real question. What's the purpose of min-maxxing? More to the point, what's your purpose? Mine, these next few weeks and months is: TO BE AN EXAMPLE. All caps, baby! I'm the head coach of a gym, ferchrissakes. I thought I could just be a gym owner and that's it. But it isn't. I need to be a coach, too, and that means getting into the fight with all of my nerds. They need to see that I work just as hard as they do, even harder. They need to see where they could go with time, effort and consistency. I need to minimize the undesired and max out the desired. 

Also, I need to train the things I'm bad at. Consistency will get me that handstand walk, so I need to practice it everyday. Consistency will get me that strict muscle-up, so I need to practice it every day. Consistency will increase my back squat, so I need to work at it every day. Consistency will increase my 500m run time, so I need to work at it every day. It can honestly be as simple as that because what comes after it is hard. Is frustrating and will tell you to turn back.




So, what's standing in your way? What is that thing that you say every time you want to start something difficult? What is your Balrog? How can you say, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" this time? For me, I needed a quest (change my life), a party (a new gym with new peeps) and some loot (bigger shoulders, smaller waistline). Define your quest, your party and your loot, then roll for damages because you'll lose some hit points along the way, but we're here to help. I'm here to be by your side and tell you to get up when you don't want to and you're here for me, too. 

So your homework for this week, heck, forever is:

  1. Define Your Quest
  2. Gather Your Party
  3. Get Your Loot