Stop trying to be a Tough Mudder fucker
First do no harm
Stop Trying to be a Tough Mudder fucker
Last month I participated in the unholy, sadomaschist, and infection-laden event called Tough Mudder. I was looking forward to it because a lot of people I love have really enjoyed it in the past.
I actually finished the 15k, celebrated my upper body strength by going through all sorts of monkey bar obstacles, survived death by electrocution and managed to stay hydrated throughout. I ended up walking due to a running injury but throughly enjoyed my time laughing and frolicking with my friends.
To celebrate my torture at the finish line , they gave me cheap beer (to enhance my dehydration) and a branded t-shirt and head band so that I can become a walking billboard for their upcoming events. *yay*
Sadly, I could not say the same for my friend who convinced me to go. He tragically dislocated his shoulder on obstacle #2. Luckily Obstacle #1 involved crawling through muddy trenches, so at least he got his money’s worth! *hooray*
I also can’t say the same for the hundreds of participants who contracted Aeromonas - a water and soil borne infection that turned the Sonoma event into a public health situation. *Nice one*
A few more things happened over the past two weeks that drew my attention to the deep need for me to write this article:
While practicing for the event, my friend and I both contracted muscle problems in our legs as we ran longer miles, which brought our training to a halt. I noticed a part of me that wanted me to push further, luckily I identified it and told it to relax so that we can still go to the race.
A friend tore her forearm muscles by pushing herself to do inverse pull-ups after a long couple of months of no exercise. The case was rhabdomyolysis (when muscles break down and release a protein that may block your kidneys). She ended up in the ER.
A client of mine passed my health assessment with flying colors on all fronts (he was in great shape, ate super healthy, slept well, etc.) until I asked him about addiction. Turns out he has been exercising so hard to cope with stress and relationship troubles that he continuously injured himself.
Why are we this way? Welcome to the age of the extreme.
There is a big problem in the way modern society is built which is that we are all extreme and yet we compare ourselves to other extremists who we think are “average”.
Take this tough mudder fucker called David Goggins for instance.
This guy is an ex-Marine, elite athlete, whose whole spiel is about going beyond what your body feels comfortable with.
Alongside him are other subjects of world fascination such as Joe Rogan and Andrew Tate who all look pretty buff and send out this message that everyone needs to challenge themselves (exactly how they do it themselves).
Now, I am happy to declare that all three of these are certainly more in their masculine element than me.
Yes they are all great men who have accomplished measurably great things.
They are all role models in their own right.
In their own circles and to people that aspire to be like them.
Not me though.
These mudder fuckers do not inspire me. I am interested in their story, but I do not relate it to mine.
I measure my life in a different way.
Even Andrew Huberman, Tim Ferris and Peter Attia, who I learn from and do relate to, are still complete extremists.
Their protocols do help people, but are also quite ridiculously rigid and processed! There is no space for the individual human experience with some of their content.
What they preach certainly works for them or the people that are like them.
The same goes for women who glorify the Kardashians, Oprah, Beyoncé and Barbie (who isn’t even a real person btw!).
But when you and I -who are NOT marines, elite athletes, MMA fighters, celebrity talk show hosts, world famous singers- take these people as role models, bad things start to happen.
The problem here is that while you and I sit on the couch after work, eating a ready made meal, and watch them on youtube or instagram, we compare ourselves to them.
The reason why this resonates with us, is because it challenges our current sedentary life, or poverty, or whatever other ailments of scarcity we may be shaming ourselves about.
So to solve that problem, we buy into a narrative that we need to function more like these extremists, and that this is our way out of:
*being a nobody
*being a loser
*the rat race
*__________ insert your favorite method of self-shame and flagellation here.
This, coupled with our strive to achieve, and our misplaced desires for ambition bring us to a place of self-harm hiding under the guise of self-love.
So the answer neither lies in giving into society or in adopting other people’s identites as our own.
The best answer I have found so far is…Misogi.
Find the right challenge for you (read: Do you even Misogi brah?)
You have all heard about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, but have you heard of your stretch zone? It is the point beyond which you panic (or tear your muscles or damage your knees).
Last week I shared the concept of Misogi with you, which is a Japanese concept of an annual challenge that pushes just enough out of your comfort zone so that you can feel challenged.
Here is how it works:
Misogi involves picking a physical challenge that is within one's capabilities to ensure completion.
The two guidelines of Misogi are not discussing it publicly and choosing a quirky task to remove artificial metrics.
Examples of Misogi include carrying an 85-pound boulder underwater and climbing a local mountain in a single day.
The purpose of Misogi is personal growth and pushing one's limits without seeking social recognition.
I challenge you to find your own Misogi today that will challenge our modern sedentary life without it being something that you are dreading and that you are adopting just because the masses are doing it.
I challenge you to find out your Misogi and do it without telling me or anyone about it.
Remember that is has to be WITHIN your limits, and not something that you push yourself towards injury to complete.
Make it fun, enjoy yourself, and fucking laugh about it!
With love and wishing you well,