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2020… The Quiz You Should Have Been Studying For - Tucson Personal Trainer Blog

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2020… The Quiz You Should Have Been Studying For - Tucson Personal Trainer Blog

By: Jerry Trubman, Owner and Founder

Ten years ago, I went through one of the single most trying times of my life. I won’t go into details, but since then, almost nothing in my life has been the same. In the midst of it all, I didn’t think I would ever live to see it through. But, of course… I did.

We all go through these seasons in our lives. Many of us are going through one now.

As I’ve written in the past, some of the most beautiful things in the world come from discomfort – a sort of tension if you will. There are countless examples, but to name a few…

  • Our bodies will atrophy if we just sit around and do nothing… we must put them through the tension of physical work to keep them running optimally.  
  • Kids who are overly coddled usually become pretty lousy adults (a bird that never leaves the nest is a turkey).
  • A piano is nothing more than a wooden box full of hammers and wires. It isn’t until you tighten down those wires really tight and strike them with the hammers that the beauty of music comes out.

You may find yourself under a lot of tension right now. Since we’re past the point of initial panic, we can poke our heads out and ask a valuable question:

How can this be one of the best things that ever happened to me?

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If you’re the journaling type, the entry could look like this, “2020 was one of the best years of my life because…”

Personally, the hardships I went through ten years ago taught me some of the most valuable lessons of my life. I’ve experienced some good times since those days, but I’ll be honest, those hardships still haunt me. I made dumb personal and financial decisions, and vowed to never make those same mistakes again. We never know how dumb we are being until something really bad happens and the rug is pulled out from under us. Warren Buffet says, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.” 

In many ways, 2020 functions as a test we should have been studying for.

Speaking personally, 2020 has been one of the best years of my life because it provided the opportunity to see if I REALLY learned the lessons from my past that I thought I did.

Some people came face-to-face with some harsh realities about themselves. The excuse of, “Oh I’d totally do this and this if I just had the time” was a lie. Turns out… no, you wouldn’t do all that stuff. You’d just keep sitting on the couch staring at your phone like you did before.

I’ve seen people get in seriously great shape during the shutdowns, while others went the other way. Most of our students who stuck around on Zoom and other virtual training came back and didn’t miss a beat. Others had a really rough time coming back. A few disappeared never to be seen again. I hope they’re ok. 

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Speaking of tests, I’ve never considered myself a ‘doomsday prepper’. I’m too much of a minimalist to stockpile a bunch of crap I’ll never use. However, my wife and I have tried to figure out what sort of things we need to do in order to be better prepared for surprises life may throw at us.

We’ve whittled it down to four things…

Got Cash? – You may not be one of those people who keeps tons of extra supplies in the house. That’s ok. I’ve always believed that if SHTF, a nice big pile of cash can get you through a rough patch. Most supplies are perishable to some degree, cash is not.

To be clear, I’m not talking about an ‘emergency fund’ that you keep at the bank… I mean actual green bills. But since we’re talking about emergency funds, if you’re one of the many Americans who didn’t keep at least 3 months of living expenses in a liquid account, the 2020 pop quiz has probably made you realize what a bad idea that was.

The cash I’m speaking of is above and beyond that. How much cash? I suppose that depends on your financial situation. But even a thousand bucks can easily get you out of harm’s way if you find yourself in an unsafe situation. 10-20% of your emergency fund is a good starting point.

Bug-Out Bag – There are countless blogs on this subject, so I won’t bore you with details here. I’ve got my own version that my fellow gym rats may recognize… I carry a backpack all the time that contains a small toiletry bag, a USB drive with important docs, and some extra clothes: It’s called my gym bag. It’s not a perfect bug-out bag, and is not doomsday-prepper approved, but it’s enough to let me function for a few days and buy some time to get to a safe place.

Do you know how to acquire food if the grocery store is not open? – Ever since my family and I immigrated to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union, this is something we thought we’d never have to deal with again. But in late March, my local grocery store reminded me of mother country!

My wife has started learning how to grow food in our yard, and I’ve been getting training on how to hunt. It’s a skill that I’ve always wanted to learn, but didn’t think it was important enough to actually pursue. 2020 changed my mind. 

How prepared is your body and mind? – Last, and most importantly, I hope 2020 has taught you the critical importance of keeping your mind and body ready for anything that life throws at it. When the StrongFirst Bodyweight certification first came out, one of the marketing slogans was, “In case civilization is temporary.” It was pretty cheeky at the time, but it’s not so funny anymore now, is it?

I’m not talking about getting on a Mr. Olympia stage, I’m talking about having the ability to walk for miles with your 30lb bug-out bag and not get tired. I’m talking about being able to move quickly to get out of harm’s way. I’m talking about being able to defend yourself from a bad guy. I’m talking about having the mental fortitude to endure less-than-favorable conditions for a short amount of time without losing it.

I posted a picture I found online of a thermostat with a sticky note attached to it that said, “Before you adjust this thermostat, do you have socks on? A long sleeve shirt? Pants? Can you see your breath?” It was intended to be funny, and some of the comments cracked me up… people talking about how life is too short to experience this slight discomfort. If this funny little picture about the smallest amount of discomfort triggers you like that, how are you going to respond to something REALLY uncomfortable?

Remember kids, adaptation is the reason we’re still here, and the dinosaurs aren’t. Voluntary hardship trains the mind to endure circumstances that involuntary hardships can sometimes create.

I’m not generally one to dwell on the stuff I’ve talked about in this post. I’m more of a hope-for-the-best kind of guy. But it’s still wise to also prepare for the worst. In either case, I hope you’re doing well with this pop quiz called 2020, and I look forward to seeing you on the other side.  

Until next time,

Jerry Trubman is a coach, clinician, author, blogger, and powerlifting state champion. With over two decades of lifting experience, he has devoted himself to seeking out better answers, and distilling them into practical programs that produce great results. Jerry has coached "Team Protocol" to 4 National Powerlifting Championships in the 100% Raw federation. He writes the internationally-read blog, “The Healthy Addiction” and lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife, Marie. To subscribe to his blog, click here.

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