How we live

In Peter Singer’s book, How Are We To Live, two interesting points are made:

  1. In order for the world we live in to sustain billions of us, we need to move on from consumption being the main source of fulfillment. I would annotate this with - move on from unsustainable consumption.

  2. Linked to the above, once we have our basic needs met, it appears that no further level of attainment provides lasting fulfilment…in other words we adapt to the stuff we have and do not become happier the more we accumulate.

If consuming or getting more and more things does not lead to a fulfilling life, then it would make sense to stop ruining our planet and health in the attempt to consume more. Easier said than done right?

Well perhaps. There is no arguing that it feels like a challenge to overcome and move away from the way we are used to living, because it is embedded in the very structure of our society - from all levels of government and planning, to the nature of our economy and our sense of safety with our work.

And yet changes are happening and indeed must happen. Our youth are out in numbers protesting the lack of action towards dealing with climate change. There are leaders in the world acting from the view of human value over pure economics while retaining the realities of what is required for a functioning society to work. There are businesses and initiatives looking toward and developing solutions for sustainable growth or lateral thinking towards development.

How does all this link to health, fitness and performance? Well I think most of us have felt the challenge of wanting to be a part of positive change in the world and not knowing where to start. My view is that one way to start is by undertaking a self-evaluation of our state of health and fitness for life i.e. whether or not you are operating at the best level you can in order to make sound, value-based and sustainable decisions with a clear mind. Decisions that lead to effective actions. Actions that lead to change at a macro level when we all participate.

If you are tired, sick, distracted, grumpy, stress or depressed, chances are you will struggle to take the first step and in turn the small actions or habits that lead to bigger change.

So while on the surface it may seem self-indulgent or individually focused to prioritise your health and fitness, I suggest it actually is our responsibility to do so, particularly if we are lucky enough to live under circumstances with which we have the luxury of the choice. Even if done in the name of a ”bikini body” or ”washboard abs”, if that incentive carrot gets us started along the way, it still is better than the alternative.

So next time you are setting time for the gym or to cook a healthy meal or take time out for rest and recovery, you can celebrate also the first steps toward the change we need world-wide for the future of humanity. A bold statement perhaps, but without a bold change in thinking with related action, there won’t be the bigger changes we all need.

Do It

In Linchpin Seth Godin encourages us to make art, our art, our unique contribution that makes us indispensable in a rapidly changing world.

I like that idea, especially that our art is not to be taken in the literal sense. Art is in the hands of the creator. Whether that be a carefully sculpted article, a well-crafted marketing campaign or the fine attention to detail the barista gives to his or her hundredth latte of the day. Art is in everything and anything we choose to do with our full mind, body and heart.

Taking it further, if we don´t grab the idea of art being in everything with both hands and make sure it fills our every day focus, the barrage of insidious nonsense and noise of the irrelevant will instead. However, the question lingers: is the search to do art a first world problem in sheep´s clothing? A problem of life being too easy to the point of the subtle softening of the spirit that pure survival and hard work chips away at every day? Is my art of coaching fitness, health and performance a real contribution or a privilege of modern society? By imposing challenge and struggle in the form of exercise and self-improvement, does it help keep human kind humble, empathetic, hard-working and engaged in the privilege of life? To stop self-destruction in lieu of a purposeless wasteful life? Or is this just my personal fascination that doesn´t matter to anyone else?

For a long time I believed that pursuing my art, including writing my thoughts, ideas and suggestions here for the world to read, was a bit of a “meh” creation of extra noise to the huge ever growing pile that is already on the internet. Now I see that if I don´t write and share I am passively enabling the noise to rage, instead of actively working to steer it in the direction I believe is meaningful and impactful. Writing and contributing is a part of my art of coaching in this lifetime…and to answer the question of does it matter? - I believe it does more than I perhaps know!

I am lucky to finally understand this and do something about it. If you are reading these words, thank you. Thank you for choosing to listen to my voice and my ideas. In a time scarce society, time is a priceless currency that I do not undervalue anymore.

So now it is time to just write and contribute again and again until something semi-coherent erupts and echoes from these pages and with those I am lucky to coach. Pretentious nonsense or not, if it matches my voice, aka my mind, the then all is well because I know there is value there. If nothing else it is at least real; meaningful and a small contribution toward your meaningful life and your contribution of art. 

Fitness To Health Podcast Episode 2: Aleks Stramkals - CrossFitter and Dad (Part 2)

Show Notes

  • 00.37 What ”superpower” Aleks would choose and why

  • 3.38 The value of mistakes

  • 7.23 Aleks’s health and fitness identity

  • 9.17 Aleks’s take on books, gadgets or apps to help with his health and fitness

  • 13.40 On mental toughness and related book recommendations 

  • 17.00 The challenge of keeping fit while being father i.e. looking at challenge of fatherhood and making priorities happen

  • 21.21 Why Aleks loves doing CrossFit

  • 22.45  Future plans for Aleks

  • 27.21 How you can find out more about Aleks

    Two books on running and mental toughess mentioned:

    Born to run by Christopher McDougal

    Hell Week - 7 Days to be your best self

    Alek´s Instagram: aleksstramkals

Fitness To Health Podcast Episode 1: Aleks Stramkals - CrossFitter and Dad (Part 1)

Show Notes

  • 3.48 How Aleks starts his day with his priorities and health as a focus

  • 7.42 How Aleks’s routine has changed over time

  • 8.40 Having kids, the challenges and how Aleks prioritises his health and fitness

  • 12.30 Aleks reflecting on being a first time father vs today and how his approach to his health and fitness has changed

  • 17.20 Moving to Finland and comparing the ability to train and prioritise fitness when living away from family and kids vs when at home.

  • 23.08 What does Aleks do if his day doesn’t go as planned and needs to change, particularly with training

  • 25.20 Dealing with the all or nothing mindset with training

  • 25.54 Exercise at home being normal part of your life with kids

  • 27.50 Finding your own “fitness groove” with your kids