Hello, Again

Hello, again.

It is now February 2018 and it has now been over 10 months since I last updated or touched ‘Renaissance Nerd.’  In the period of time since the last post, much has changed in our world and especially mine.  Independent of this change, a constant still burns within.  A desire to pursue and stretch our current abilities to their fullest capacity in order to establish newly discovered abilities, skills, and achievement.  The duality of the arts (right-brained) and science (left-brained) still astonishes and drives me to endless curiosity in the chaotic and ordered world in which we occupy and survive or thrive.

In this second go-round of the blog, I will bring more original content from myself, Pat Jones.

We’ll dive into my experiences at Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Ignite program.

We’ll discuss how in the world I earned a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering after spending more than half of my time on academic probation and staring down just 10 weeks to research, experiment, collect data, analyze said data, defend, and publish a thesis.

We’ll go on an adventure across Europe as I re-visit the life-altering journey with only a 55-liter backpack, a passport, and a cell phone.  And, a few croissants.  And, a couple shots of espresso.

We’ll peel back the layers of my history – even the dark ones.

How I earned a 0.91-grade point average at Virginia Tech.  How I am an only child but also a brother and the journey I took to understand my place within it all.  How I landed in the computer and communication field in the Navy after beginning a pursuit of becoming a naval aviator.  How I broke through the glass ceiling of becoming a first-generation college graduate.

We’ll explore previous professional odd jobs I held prior to joining the Navy.  Wal-Mart people greeter, Burger King drive-thru teller, to a new car salesman.  The lessons learned (and not learned) from an 18-year old new, Chevrolet and Cadillac car salesman are quite entertaining.  As I type that, I still chuckle that people financed vehicles from myself when I was 18 – ha.

We’ll examine literature and documentaries in which I have enjoyed in recently and believe you will enjoy, too.  As the personal library continues to grow, so too should our discussion and engagement with the material.

We’ll understand how I became fit-to-fat-to-fit.  I am certain I have done more transformations than Optimus Prime within the last 4 years.

We’ll bring in and revisit our previous blog post guests.  We’ll learn and understand where they are on their personal journey from the last time we heard from them.

Friends, I am very excited to re-engage with ‘Renaissance Nerd’ and share my thoughts, memories, and experiences with each of you.

Hello, again.


What Motivates You?

Recently, I have been selected to attend Stanford’s Ignite program.  During the application process, applicants are expected to answer (in less than 400 words) five reflective based questions.  Today, I will share with you one of my favorite responses which provides some perspective and insight into my upbringing and my most revered traits – resilience.  The answer is tailored to the Stanford Ignite program; however, this is one of my favorite stories during my senior year of high school when I found myself applying to college.


What motivates you?

What would you do with $40?

Dinner?  A ticket for admission to your favorite event?  Perhaps a tank of gas for your new vehicle?

In early 2002, the federal government informed my family $40 was the estimated contribution required for me to attend college in the fall.  $40.  For the entire year.  $40.

“Patrick, there must be some mistake,” my teacher AP English said as she reviewed the numbers of my financial standing.  “I have not seen a number so low – are you sure you put in the correct numbers?”

There was zero doubt in my mind that I correctly entered the information.  At the age of 17, I knew I was an outlier – applying to college confirmed this notion. During the first week of class, our teacher inquired who had and who had not taken the SAT.  She initially started with asking, “Who had,” and quickly pivoted to “Who had not…” based on the overwhelming initial response.  When she asked, “Who had not,” one person in class raised their hand.  Me.

As a first-generation college graduate, the entire process is daunting.  Beginning with applications in high school to receiving a Bachelor degree on graduation is foreign.  Completely foreign.  When you are the first person in your family to embark on this journey, you are forced early on to confront an associated guilt and an explanation of why to the uninitiated (aka, the entire family) quickly and frequently.

The process to become a first-generation college graduate from high school senior to graduating from the United States Naval Academy ultimately took 8 years.  One year at Virginia Tech.  Three years as an enlisted Sailor.  Four years as a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy.  In those eight years, and subsequently the following seven, a burning passion to blaze my own path has remained constant.

My motivation is for those to whom I lead and serve in any organization or in any capacity.  As I continually blaze this path, I create the path for others who may follow and for those of whom I lead.

Stanford IGNITE will assist me in a transitional path of junior Naval Officer to private sector in the coming years.  Once the obligation to the United States Navy for Naval Postgraduate School is complete, I will blaze a new path harnessing the skills and tools IGNITE indoctrinated me with in 2017.

So, what would I do with $40?  Keep it.  Keep it as a reminder of the price in order to create your own path.


Iron Fist: Unfairly or Justifiably Slapped?

There’s been a surprising amount of cyber ink spilled about Netflix’s Iron Fist so… yeah, I’m going to spill some more. But before I really begin:


Iron Fist is a perfectly fine show on Netflix, the 4th in the line of Marvel “Super”hero TV shows on the network and the one which was in the least envious position of being the last solo run before the much talked-about “Defenders” series which will include all four. In it, Finn Jones, ably portraying Danny Rand, returns to the life and inheritance of a billionaire after being thought dead for 15 years. In the interim, he has learned all martial arts taught in the ‘unknown’ Chinese city of K’unn L’unn.
Far Fetched? Dude, it’s modeled after a Marvel Comic book first debuting in the 70’s, along with one of the most garish costumes you’ve ever seen. Seriously, look it up. It’s awful in the best possible way.
All that stated, I will be the first to say there are some definite issues which faced Iron Fist and prevented it from being far more loved.
The first is a whole lot of people up in arms that Danny Rand is white. I don’t mean to be a spoiler, but Danny Rand _IS_ white. That was the whole point of the character. He was an outsider in K’unn L’unn which already made him an outcast in that city in and his training, so he fought uphill there. Then coming back as a warrior monk to modern day New York and becoming a billionaire further ostracized him from his contemporaries. He was an outsider both at home and away. I won’t say that making him Asian would have been better or worse. I’m just going to say that Danny Rand, as he was written, is white specifically to address the outsider nature of the character in all situations.
Second, the fight scenes are very different than we’re used to seeing as of late. Kung Fu, Jujutsu (not to be confused with Jiu Jitsu, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), and Aikido are all incredibly different in both intention and visualization than the martial arts we’re used to seeing portrayed. Daredevil was a blend of Eskrima, Boxing, Krav Maga, a little Capoeria, and Muay Thai blended into create an incredibly gritty, “realistic” fighting style for the show. Luke Cage was very basic street fighting, but often times very little technique at all as you’d expect from a man who has unbreakable tissue on his body and  unrivaled strength (sans the Incredible Hulk). Jessica Jones rarely fought and when she did it was often a simple slap that would nearly kill people. So seeing a man hitting a lotus kick or tiger claw to an enemy looks campy… but folks it’s real technique. I can’t speak to its efficacy but it isn’t the point.  The point it it just doesn’t LOOK like you’re used to. The same case with Aikido. Heavily based on wrist locks and arm throws, it looks disjointed (pardon the pun) and odd when placed in the same scene as basic wrestling. It doesn’t make it any less a martial art… it just looks different.
All those points included, I readily give MAJOR credit to Iron Fist for the incorporation of Drunken Boxing into a scene. It was well done and I felt Jackie Chan would be proud.
Third, It was using plot points from Daredevil rather than create it’s own mythos, so it was immediately behind the eight ball in terms of expectations. Daredevil is very widely loved, and when they introduced the Hand, it was after their universe had already been meticulously created and slowly crafted.
Iron Fist, however, plunged us directly into the Iron Fist vs. Hand idea without the slightest understanding of why we should really care.  What did the Hand want in K’unn L’unn?  Why were the Iron Fists the good guys?  What does this mean to the world at large?
None of those questions were well answered and the show seemed somewhat less urgent. In fact, I started calling it Daredevil-Lite for these exact reasons.
The pacing of the show showed that they seemed to want to craft the world around the Hand narrative, but that should have been done first with the Hand explanations coming after.   It’s one of the reasons the show seemed to drag along at times.
Finally, the grossly inflated expectations on the show after following Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, all of which greatly exceeded somewhat low expectations placed on them. Each benefited from people not understanding what to expect. Iron Fist was painted into a corner and failed in many eyes because people “knew” what to expect and simply didn’t get it. Which, if you’ve ever been the victim of unreasonable expectations, you know isn’t fair. If Iron Fist came out first we’d be reading reports of “Unexpected hit from Marvel” rather than “Disappointing offering from Marvel,” and “Marvel’s first miss.”
Iron Fist is worth your time. I’d even suggest watching it FIRST if you’ve never watched any of the Marvel franchise Netflix shows before. Give it a chance, open your mind, and relax:

Iron Fist shall succeed – because, he always has.

Leadership & Character

While undertaking the Navy Ethics and Leadership Center’s re-designed Intermediate Leadership Course (formerly the Department Head Leadership Course), we are asked to examine and reflect on a question pertaining to the day’s material.

Today, Day 2, focused on the correlation (if any) between leadership and character.  Ironically, the required reading for the day’s lecture came from a work, ‘Leadership:  The Warrior’s Art’ that I have had in my personal library since graduation of boot camp in January 2004.  For some reason while at a brick & mortar book store in downtown Chicago, this book spoke to me.  My Uncle purchased it for me and here we are now, 13 years later, taking a deep dive into a piece of literature as a Lieutenant (O-3) I randomly selected as a Seaman (E-3).

Briefly, here is how I, Patrick, define both leadership and character:

Leadership:  the intersection of the art and science to captivate, inspire, and motivate others to effectively accomplish a shared cause, task, or objective.

Character:  the aggregate of mental, moral, and ethical traits in which an individual possesses.

A commonality of each is they are both capable of being improved upon through a regiment of education, experience, and reflection.  Can individuals be taught to be exceptional leaders?  In a word:  no.  I firmly believe we are genetically disposed to a certain plateau or limit – we’ll consider this the ceiling.  We each have a ceiling of leadership potential.  Conversely, we each have a floor of leadership potential, too.  Collectively, we can raise the floor of everyone’s talent floor but individuals will peg out at various points due to their respective ceiling.  Case in point – no matter how many basketball shots I undertake at this stage of my life, I will not be an exceptional basketball player.  I accept this reality.  If I wanted, I can still show up to the local YMCA and play a game of pick-up basketball, but the ‘Y’ is not Oracle Arena.

Where does character enter into leadership?

Character is the compass in which guides your choices and actions in leadership

The capacity to lead any organization – scaled from self to a corporation – is guided by their character.  Through their character will determine the course of the rudder of the organization.  Are each mutually exclusively?  Not at all.  One can be of poor character and achieve successful results in a leadership position.  These results; however, are fleeting and short lived.  For example, see Enron.

Conversely, one can be of the highest character but yield ineffective results as a leader.  A common quote:  They’re a great person but…. is all too often cited to describe this person.  Nice, but not effective.

Ideally, we have a leader who is of sound character and produces effective results for their respective people and organization.  A short passage from ‘Extreme Ownership’ {which is a MUST read] to paraphrase:

The Dichotomy of Leadership (1*)

A good leader must be:

  • confident but not cocky;
  • courageous but not foolhardy;
  • competitive but a gracious loser;
  • attentive to details but not obsessed by them;
  • strong but have endurance;
  • a leader and follower;
  • humble not passive;
  • aggressive not overbearing;
  • quiet not silent;
  • calm but not robotic, logical but not devoid of emotions;
  • close with the troops but not so close that one becomes more important than another or more important than the good of the team; not so close that they forget who is in charge.

A good leader has nothing to prove, but everything to prove.

1* – ‘Extreme Ownership.’  Willink, Jocko.  Babin, Leif.  Pg. 277 – 278

How can a ‘good’ leader balance and find their way along this dichotomy of leadership?  Using their compass to find their true north star.

Hacking & Reading: 6 Tips to Start Reading More Starting Today

“What is the last book you read?”

Can you answer this question?  If not, why not?  If so, what is it?

If the answer to this question is a Shakespearean play that was forced down your throat in high school, this article is for you.

Typically, I average AT LEAST a book per week.  AT LEAST.  Here are a few helpful tips to aid you in your journey of reading more starting today:

 1.  Commitment

A sure fire way to read more this week than you did last week?  Read.  Actually read.  Common sense is not always common practice.  Go to a brick and mortar or Amazon and purchase a book.  For all you Amazon Prime lovers, invest in a recycle unit.  Mother Nature thanks you, and you will need one.

2.  Infidelity

It is 100% okay and legal (I just verified) to cheat on your cellular device with a spine-bound book.  You already read a novel’s worth a week worth of status updates from people you despise and do not like.  Social media is engineered, ENGINEERED, for your attention.  What you value is a derivative of what earns your attention.  Mindlessly sharing an article, political belief adds little to no value and robbed you of your greatest resource – time.

3.  Consistency

Carve out a period of time each day for you and your book.  5 minutes.  10 minutes.  15 minutes.  Meditation and mindful practice is all the rage these days.  I can not begin to describe the value of losing myself in a book for a few moments.  5 minutes later, I was centered.  I highly recommend reading first thing in the morning as part of a routine.  Step 1 – Get out of bed.  Step 2 – Make coffee.  Step 3 – Read for (insert time).

4.  Ambiance

Once I am ready to read and mellow out to a current read, I set the mood.  Noise cancelling headphones playing white noise is a strong recommendation.  Particularly the composers Hans Zimmer (I listened to the ‘Inception’ soundtrack while writing the herniated disc blog post) or Brian Eno.  If Brian Eno’s work is good enough for airports to mellow out frantic passengers, it’s good enough for you as you take a few minutes and read.

5.  Move On

Be prepared to move on from a book that is not working for you like you would any other relationship.  Does the author’s tone, delivery, or diction not resonate with you?  F*ck it.  Move on.

A friend recently did not enjoy a read and was powering and laboring through a read.  I recommended he move on since he understood the author’s thesis and another 100 plus pages of case studies was not going to deepen his understanding.  So, he moved on.

He moved on to a book that immediately resonated with him and one in which he strongly recommended to a group of his peers.  Moral of the story:  you’re not married to a book.  Understand the concepts and move on to the next one.

6.  Listen

Always have an audio book in the queue for your commute or low intensity steady state cardio.  Personally, I subscribe to Audible, and listen to at least one new book each month.  February, I made it through 3 in 10% less days (that whole 28 versus 31 days thing).  Playback at 1.5x.  You’ll easily turn a 10 hour book into 6 hours and 40 minutes – 3 hours and 20 minutes of saved time listening.  If you can not listen to 1.5x playback I would offer that you are not fully invested and all-in.  Go all-in.

Read.  Read some more.

Let me know what you’re currently reading!






Think Like an Engineer

How do you know if you are on the right path? Is there content in your actions, is your current situation a means to an end? Are you able to equate your life to a great purpose?  I asked myself these questions all the time, and always struggled to answer them.  My story is a quest for purpose to find answers to why, just like an annoying kid that keeps asking why and won’t let it go.

I need to know why, I need to ask the question, “Does this make sense? Does this work?”  I have a hard time with bureaucracy, the layers and layers of road blocks and administrative actions that create ten times more work for the executor, than the actual action itself.  I need things to make sense, I try to rationalize all things in life (Disclaimer: does not always work well in relationships) and extract the all the details then complete the task.

During four deployments to the Middle East, there were plenty of tasks to accomplish to get the mission done, I was fortunate enough to have a lot of control and authority over my division.  Some things were done by the book – many were not.  I wrestled with the question, was it ok to fail due to bureaucratic red tape, or could I do something to accomplish the mission?  More often than not, the answer is you can always do something, it requires you to take action and it is not always pretty. I was surprised that working with people in the military that are content with not doing their job, kicking the stone down the road and neglect their responsibilities.  I could not tolerate this type of behavior, or be around people that were mentally prepared to fail.  So I asked myself, “Does this make sense? Does this work?”  These were the questions that guided my transition out of the military.  The system no longer made sense to me, and I could not subject myself to that self-torment any longer.

With the decision to start a new life and forgo the security of a paycheck was easier than I thought, but I needed to find purpose outside of the military and went searching.  This landed me at a job fair with Fortune 500 companies and some of the best graduate school programs in the world, and needless to say, after a panic attack, I did not find purpose working for someone else’s vision.  So this left me with the challenge to create my own purpose and own “why.” After much soul searching and many self-help books about finding purpose, I concluded my core principles are that I like building things and solving problems.  With my “why” clarified, I could now answer the more mundane questions of “what” and “how.”  I landed on coffee because how multifaceted and intricate the whole process is, from farm to cup, it is a very dynamic and problem infested business that would allow me to build connections and bridges all over the world while solve complex systems. Boom! Nailed it!  The details and roadmap are still being written, but the hardest part has been answered, and I can now free to live with purpose.

This process is not always clear, with many smoke screens and muddy waters ahead.  The best advice I can offer is to just ask yourself the questions above, and think like an engineer, “Does this make sense? Does this work?”  The answer might not be as clear as you would hope.  Job security, money, mortgage and marriage are all very real and complicated issues that have to be addressed, and I guarantee you will continue with your current path while the pain and discomfort are minimal.  For us humans, it normally takes a large pain point to clarify our purpose, and in efforts to avoid that, I urge you to ask yourself the tough questions now, so the universe does not have to for you.  Discover your passion, and fight to live with purpose, it is why we are all here.  When our time is up, the number of integers in your bank account will not define you, it will be erased from history, but your impact in this world, that legacy is worth living for.

2 Herniated Discs: 5 Lessons a Year Later

“Fuck.  This sucks.”

A year later, I can recall saying this like it was yesterday.

Alone.  Naked with a bathroom towel around my waist.  Shaving cream on my face.

As I laid on my bedroom floor, breathing heavier and heavier, I knew something was wrong – more importantly, something was not right.  Shooting and excruciating pain resonated down my left leg.  Pain – originating in my lower back spread like wildfire down my left glute, hamstring, and calf – made EVERYTHING impossible.

Sitting in a chair?  Nope.  Walking?  Nope.  Standing in front of a mirror in order to shave?  Nope

Well, everything with the exception of laying in bed and watching ‘The Office’  (Michael Scott, what a guy).

This was day number 3 of these symptoms and I knew I had to seek medical treatment.  Once I decided to go to the hospital, it became a logistical nightmare.  Getting dressed.  Putting on my shoes.  Oh, and I had to remove the shaving cream, too.  The worst part of getting myself to the hospital?  My vehicle is a 6-speed manual transmission.  Now, I consider myself a spiritual man, but without question, I saw Jesus and Buddha each and every time I shifted gears.  Traffic lights that were red, that is when I saw the Devil.  I may have made it 3 miles before I stopped my car, and lowered the seat long enough to allow the spasming muscles to calm long enough so I could make it to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, my vitals were taken and I was ushered back to the Emergency Room.  “On a Scale of 1 – 10, how is your pain, Sir?”  Naturally, what is this relative to so I ask, “10 – what’s an example of a 10?”  Nurse, “Giving childbirth.”  Despite the endless pain I still mustered a bit of wit, “Based on my vast experience of childbirth – it’s an 11…[the nurse didn’t look happy]…but seriously, an 8.”

The nurse would have the last laugh as she had me stand and perform several poses (it felt like a god damn yoga routine) for x-rays.  After wanting to collapse on the floor like a sandbag, the Dr. came in to give me his analysis.  “Mr. Jones, it appears that you may have herniated a disc,”  [no shit]  “and I will go ahead a prescribe you some painkillers and you’ll need to follow up with your primary care provider.”

The days and weeks that followed, it took me nearly a month to ‘feel’ remotely better.  I rapidly lost weight due to a combination of the narcotics and the pain.  Once the pain subsided, stomach ulcers formed due to the medication and lack of food in my digestive tract.  Win-win.

How did you hurt your back?

Simply put, there is no one true causal factor.  The only people who injure their backs in one secular event are ones involved in a traumatic accident.  For me, a collection of factors compounded the symptoms from a ‘tweak’ to herniated discs.  In no particular order, these include:

  • Golf (asymmetric loading at its finest, i.e., Tiger Woods),
  • Running (years later, I now understand why one leg hurt more than the other),
  • EXTENDED hours of sitting at a computer desk,
  • Minor Back ‘tweak’,
  • Stress,
  • Weight gain (can’t train [what is life?] + can’t move+ stress = might as well eat),
  • Weightlifting form (once you’re on a slope of shitty movement patterns, adding weight is not advised to said shitty movement patterns).

One particular afternoon, 365 pounds squat for a set of 5 sent a shooting pain down my back.  I knew something was wrong.  At the time in my training, I was avoiding the deadlift because of symptomatic sciatica in my left leg.  Huge mistake.  Instead of strengthening my back, I avoided it.

The above bullet points were the dynamite and the lighting of the fuse occurred when I bent over to pick up a barbell with a flexed, unbraced spine and then – boom.  Herniation of the L5/S1 disc.  Herniation of the L4/L5 disc.  Basically, a pair of jelly donuts leaked their contents and this jelly placed pressure on nerves that triggered pain.  A lot of pain.  But damn, I do love me some donuts.

What have I learned?

Well, it has been a year since I was in the hospital for the back injury.  Here are 5 things herniating a couple of discs in my back have taught me:

1.   Recovery (without surgery) is an on-going process.

I had to deconstruct the whole model – everything.  Once pain symptoms were removed from the injury, the real work began to deconstruct the casual factors that made the discs herniate originally.  I’ll tell you what will not correct postural alignment – creating a bench press that far exceeds what your body can structurally squat or deadlift.  Benching 290 lbs for 3 sets of 5 reps is cool and all but not when you cannot bend over and pick up 135 lbs without shooting pain.

2.  Hinge, squat, flexion, and extension – oh my!

I will not forget the first time I put my spine in slight extension in order to maintain a ‘neutral’ spine for single arm barbell rows [hey, have to start somewhere] – my SI joint popped into place.  In the last 6 months, I can not begin to tell you how much my body has adjusted and realigned stemming from postural issues since 2015.

The very movements commonly believed that are ‘bad’ for your back are the exact movements required to make your back better.  Squat.  Deadlift.  Progressive, incremental loading.  Sandbag movements.  Lower back tight?  Take a 120 lbs. sandbag for a walk.  I GUARANTEE your back will thank you.

Quick test – bend over and touch your toes.  Can’t do it?  Fix yourself.  Another test – sit in the bottom of a squat for 10 minutes.  Can’t do it?  Fix yourself.

3.  The best kind of fitness is one in which you remain consistent.

If you discuss fitness, a sensitive topic for many which serve as an extension of their identity.  CrossFit.  Powerlifting.  Strongman.  Bodybuilding.  MMA.  BJJ.  Yoga.  Running.  Triathlon.  Pilates.

Ultimately, who. fucking. cares.  Live a healthy life.  If your vitals and blood work comes back a hot mess, something is wrong – you are not fit regardless of the medium of fitness in which you choose to practice.

The one that works for you is one that you implement and remain consistent with each day and improve upon each day, too.

Hypertrophy gains in order to bring out your delts?  Fuck yeah – do you.

Another fahve pounds for 3 sets of fahve on your linear progression?  Fuck yeah – do you.

Editor’s Note:  The sole ‘fuck no’ is reserved for those who sell Ponzi schemed juices and cleansers – you’re the absolute worst.

4.  The ghost of yesterday haunts you for as long as you choose.

I once competed in an NPC Men’s Physique Show.  I once ran 26.2 miles.  After the injury, I looked more like the Michelin Man [an anterior pelvic tilt does wonders for your abs] and I could barely walk from my car to work.

I was defeated.  Defeated by the comparision of who I was in that moment against who I was in years prior.  During the rehabilitation process of physically deconstructing everything, I too had to deconstruct the expectations I placed upon myself.

The greater the expectation, the greater I grew unsatisfied with the day’s small win.  I ran 1.0 mile today – still slow as fuck.  I deadlifted 225 lbs pain free – still weak as fuck.  This iterative loop played over.  And over.  And over.

Of all places, the loop stopped while at a yoga class.  Standing half naked in black, Nike shorts with my Michelin Man physique – I stared myself in the mirror.  And then I chuckled and smiled.  I could do a hot yoga pose before with minimal effort, but now, I was all over the damn place.  All I could do was just laugh.  At that moment, I accepted who and what I became and ultimately where I was at on that day.  Yoga is a practice in which you, your mind, and body serve as a vessel for your interpretation of that pose on that given day.  My vessel resembled a tugboat on that day but damn it, it was a glorious tugboat at that, too.

5.  I am not dead.

Read that again.  I am not dead.  Fitness hurts.  A lot.  I ‘feel’ like I could hurt myself again.  Well, so be it.  More people get hurt by inactivity than actual activity.  And the time to get stronger, bigger, and faster is now.  As you read this, I hope you eliminate any and all excuse as to why you did not get to the gym.

The only thing worse than being unable to physically go to the gym is mentally choosing not to go when you’re physically able.

And so, in that vein, today, you’ll find me at the gym squatting, benching, and doing a couple of 800m sprints.