Passion, Prowlers, and Presence

Schedule changes are the bane of my existence.  Not in an obsessive compulsive everything-has-to-be-perfect type of way, but because I like getting a lot done.  In learning how to find balance,  I made the uncommon decision last week to take a day off at MFF.  I’d be presenting at 10:30am in Newport Rhode Island, and knew that it wouldn’t be a fun drive a late night and limited sleep.  I believe this was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.

Allowing myself the time to arrive in Rhode Island earlier in the day on Tuesday also opened the opportunity to visit two of my  peers in the field of strength and conditioning, Tony Bonvechio and Henry Lau.  After a humorous towel-wrapped introduction in an Adelphi locker room, Tony and I became part of the same training “crew” at Adelphi, fueled by a love for heavy weights, heavy metal, and heart palpitations whenever a professor discussed VO2 MAX.  I first met Henry at a Human Performance Live Forum hosted at Ranfone Training Systems in Hamden, CT, and we quickly hit it off.  Tony and Henry are both in Providence, RI., and we’re able to keep in touch thanks to these fancy computer machines.  Thanks to those fancy automobiles, we were all able to meet at Next Level Fitness Center, where Henry is changing lives, to get our lift on.

There’s a problem here, though.  I have no social proof that I was there, or that we were together.  I tagged them in several tweets and Facebook statuses, hoping our mutual friends would get excited. However, we don’t have a single picture or video for those we hope to inspire.  It was on my to-do list when I met them, and I even brought my new GoPro into the gym, just in case we wanted training session videos, or exercise demos, or even a coaching video.  None of that. (As such, there is intentionally no media in this post.)

Instead, we spent three hours at the gym, intermittently training and talking shop.  We re-enacted Lord of the Flies with a sled serving as the conch shell while we traversed the turf, rotating pushers, breathing, talking.  It was a textbook demonstration of the “Talk Test.”

After three hours of training and chatting, we decided we had enough, and that it was time to eat.  Allowing for shower breaks, we met on Thayer Street in Providence, and dinner was served at East Side Pockets, and I’m pretty sure our meals where the same aside for meat preference.  How long does it take to eat a gyro?  3 hours.

Bites of falafel were exchanged for bites of wisdom, and we discussed everything from training philosophy, to our latest learnings in physiology, to the intricacies of human psychology.  At times we noted how they were completely different, or entirely the same, or in that mysterious gray area that turns science into art.

We spoke with shared passion for improving and empowering, all with the awareness of the magic that we were creating.  Our collective noted that we weren’t buried in our devices and apps, but were mindful and present in every aspect of the conversation.  The group think and metacognition was powerful.  The ability to spend an extra three hours discussing what we love was powerful. It wasn’t about knowing the most or being right.  We framed six hours of conversation as growth-based, “What can we do better?” 

As we became aware of the time and it’s effect on our preferred sleep habits, we noted that this, what we had just done, is under appreciated.  Spending time with people, conversing and consuming around a table, is underrated.  Spending time remaining silent, because you’re pushing a sled or have a mouthful of food, is underrated.  Spending time discussing what you’re passionate about is underrated.  Spending time being present is underrated.

My presentation for the Eastern District Association of the Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance’s Annual Convention, changed on Wednesday morning.  I included several references to our Tuesday night adventure, and reinforced my own realizations that these are the people who foster friendship; those who make magic.

Tony, Henry; thank you for the Passion, Prowlers, and Presence.  Let’s make this a trend.

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