Happy Monday! Time for another week full of opportunities to learn, grow, and live.

I know it can be the most dreaded day of the week especially when you are coming off a really great weekend or if you are returning to a job you don't enjoy all that much, but still your attitude will determine what you get out of it.

There is always something to be gained and learned from each situation. It may be that it teaches us a new lesson or reminds us of an old one. Or it may be an opportunity to practice a virtue such as patience, grace, or honesty.

Now that I am done lecturing you I am going to brag about being on vacation.

Nah just kidding, but I do want to tell you about what we did yesterday and a couple of things it reinforced for me.

We decided that since there was no planned activities we'd go for a hike. It was something that was kind of on my personal agenda to get done while we were out here and when my wife's aunt mentioned she'd like to do it as well I pitched my propose hike to Mohawk lake. She was game and we ended up getting quite a few other people in our party to go with us.

I guess I didn't do a very good job on explaining what the hike was going to be like because there were some who came with us who were surprised at how rigorous it was. It ended up being 1,700 feet of elevation and 5 miles of walking. I had a blast and so did everyone else. It was well worth the hike up.

This is what was awaiting us at the end of the hike!

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I am definitely hooked and am going to be looking into doing it more.

The first thing the hike did for me, was it reinforced the importance of enjoying the fitness you work so hard to gain and maintain. For those who enjoy the gym and enjoy training those things can become and end in and of themselves. But the fact is training is meant to enhance our lives and allow us to partake in experiences that enrich them.

Hiking allowed me to enjoy the fitness I have worked hard to gain and maintain. It allowed me to test my stamina and endurance. It gave me opportunities to use range of motions in joints that I have worked hard to gain access to and it gave me opportunities to display the strength I covet each week at home. And of course I'd be regretful if I didn't capture the pistol-squat-on-the-side-of-a-moutain picture!

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I definitely need to be making more time to enjoy my fitness and I think hiking and climbing gives me the perfect outlet for it.

The second thing the hike taught me is actually two things, (1) pushing on when you'd rather quit is always worth it and (2) God always sends you the people you need the most at the right moment.

One of the people who came on the hike with us was my wife, Kelsey. I love her to death and I really don't care about this, but she isn't as gung-ho about training and fitness as me. I mean she isn't in horrible shape, but a 5 mile hike is quite a feat for her.

However there was a moment near the top of the hike when she began to doubt whether she would be able to continue to go on. She had what I'd equate to a mild panic attack. I think it was brought on by a number of factors including how thin the air was and how difficult it made it to bear, being fatigued, and having a bit of anxiety about the height. Never mind it was raining as well.

It was kind of scary there for a few moments as none of us really had any idea what to do except reassure her that everything was going to be okay and let her rest for a bit. I had held her through a similar attack the first night we were living together, but other than that this kind of episode is not a common occurrence for her.

She started to ask to turn around and said she didn't think she could keep going up.

But then at that very moment a fellow female hiker coming back down the trail noticed Kelsey was struggling and immediately rushed to help. I mean she didn't even contemplate or ask whether Kelsey needed or would accept the help. I don't know this woman's thought process myself, but I believe that at that moment God tugged on that woman's heart to help my Kelsey and instead of fighting it she listened and acted on it (hint there is a lesson there).

The woman showed Kelsey a counseling intervention known as Emotional Freedom Technique. It involves tapping yourself on certain areas of your body and repeating self affirmations to yourself as well. I have never heard of it before and I am not sure of its efficacy, but it worked awesome on Kelsey and after just a few minutes Kelsey was ready to start climbing again and she knew she had to keep going. She couldn't quit this far up. Not to mention she had a new skill for dealing with those types of situations and to help psych her up before tackling something like this.

We made it to the top and the view was worth it all. I was really proud of Kelsey for continuing and I was even more thankful for God tugging at the heart of what was probably the only other female hiker on that trail that day with that particular training and life experiences to help Kelsey regain her calm.

It was incredible!

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It allowed Kelsey to have an experience she will never forget and showed her that she is capable of so much more than she gives herself credit for. She now knows that the point at which you want to quit the most is the point at which you have to keep going because the finish line is only a bit farther ahead and that no matter the struggle the right people will be there to help you when you need it. You just have to have faith and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I hope maybe this resonates with you in some way and maybe reminds you of lessons yourself have learned along the way.

The experience definitely ranks in the top 10 of my life. And we all made it down again in one piece.

Post hike.

Now enough of my stories and life lessons let's talk about some great reading material for this week.

1. Why Do We Give Caffeine A Free Pass by Eric Cressey

I love coffee and I will admit on days I abuse it, but for the most part I like to think I drink it responsibly and primarily because I enjoy it. However Mr. Cressey brings up a really great point about being careful that we aren't using and glorifying coffee in order to cover up bad choices we are making in other areas of our lives.

2. The Difference Between External and Internal Impingement of the Shoulder by Tony Gentilcore

Do you have shoulder pain? Maybe been told that it was caused by impingement? Yet no one could ever tell you what was causing it exactly and how to go about fixing or improving it? Yeah that's pretty typical and in my experience has been the standard of care for people I refer to the traditional orthopedic clinics. However impingement of the shoulder is more complicated than how it's presented and each scenario calls for a bit different plan of attack. Mr. Gentilcore probably can talk circles around me when it comes to the anatomy of the shoulder, assessing it, and correcting it. He does a great job of breaking it down and explaining it here.

3. 7 Reasons Why You Should Not Do A Sugar Detox by Nia Shanks

Sugar will kill you! Well at least that's what a lot of people want you to believe. There are even now such things as sugar detoxes or cleanses. It's getting pretty ridiculous how far this pendulum has swung in the wrong direction. Is sugar bad for you? Yes and no. The wrong sugar in the wrong amount could be detrimental. However the right sugar in the right amounts can help you function and perform your best. Ms. Shanks tackles this sugar detox topic like a champ!

Happy moving and heavy lifting!

Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training