Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Built to Last

C and I getting ready for our new routine.

Built to Last - a book that applies not only to corporations, but to anything worth building.

Built to Last

Anything that is not “built to last” will eventually fail. I’m about 30 pages shy of finishing the book Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras for a seminar class in cost accounting. The book details a six year study of eighteen corporations that the authors have deemed “visionary companies” They rigorously compared each company to a comparison company in the same field. The comparison companies selected were also successful, just not to the same degree as the visionary companies. The authors sought to ascertain what ideologies, traits, and practices were exhibited in the visionary companies alone. What ideals made (and continue to make) them timeless and stoic in an ever-changing business environment?

In the preface, Collins and Porras offer that the operating principles found in the visionary companies should not only be applied to the management of corporations, but to the personal lives of their readers. I wholeheartedly agree.

When it comes to the maintenance of a fit and healthy lifestyle there are those who seem to lead such a life effortlessly. For many though, it requires a concerted, even forced, effort where success is achieved in spurts without a feeling of sustainability.

In reading Built to Last I began to relate the business principles presented to my own attitudes about fitness and nutrition. Adhering not just on paper, but in action, to your core ideology is the essential basis of sustainability. Your core values, your personal acknowledgements are meant to get at the gut of who you are and stand the test of time and change. Mine are:

1) I am better at everything else in my life when I am training.

2) I am what I eat.

From your gut-level values stem your core principles, the guidelines with which you apply your core values to life, day in and day out.

My primary operating principle is:

To have time to work out no matter what else is going on. There is no time constraint or excuse to the contrary.

Fall quarter is less than two weeks old and I am already stretched thin. My class load is the most demanding, in terms of time commitments, since I began college. My time deficit is substantial. Nightly unwind time has already hit the chopping block, posts to my blog will be very sporadic, and I’m already shaving down to six hours of sleep to make it work. If I gave up working out I could gain a much needed six to eight hours a week to allot to other demands. Yet I don’t even view that as an option. The times in my life that I have given up regular training I have floundered. Built to Last lends clarity as to why. A fish without water cannot swim. Likewise, a corporation breaking from its core values will stumble, just as a Figure Mommy breaking from hers will.

We all have individual values beyond those of society’s accepted moral and ethical behaviors. We all have something that makes us tick, makes our hearts smile. Mine happens to be the endorphin rush, the stress relief, and the tangible reward of new muscle built from hard work and discipline that, to me, defines bodybuilding.

For a corporation, a clock must be built that can tick on, not missing a beat, through changes in leadership. For a person, a clock must be built that can tick on, not missing a beat, through changes in life.

What are your core values? Do you hold true to them?

This quarter has already thrown me curveballs. My son caught a cold and couldn’t start preschool when I started classes. My mom saved me there. I hurt my right heel, although I’m not sure how. It has been tender to any pressure for five days now, a bone bruise I’m guessing. If it doesn’t go away within a week I’ll go see a doctor about it, in the meantime I’ve canceled cardio to not aggravate it. I still get in and do my weights. I lessen rest time and focus on super-setting and giant sets. These tactics can get your heart rate up and sweat flowing. You don’t have to have traditional cardio to get your NO2 max up or burn fat. All things are adaptable…when you have core values to guide you.

Today’s 55 minute Chest & Triceps Training Session

Warm-up: Don “weighted vest” aka 4-year-old child in piggyback stance and proceed to jog from commuter lot to preschool entrance.

Chest and Triceps:

4 sets bench press maxing out at 100 lbs for 7 reps

Giant Set (repeated 4 times): dumbbell kickbacks 10-12 reps, dumbbell flies 10-12 reps, weighted bench dips 10-12 reps, push-ups to failure.

Super Set: (repeated 4 times: Barbell skull crushers 10-12 reps s/s with dumbbell incline bench chest press 6-8 reps.

Triceps Polish: One-armed dumbbell overhead triceps extensions to failure alternating arms for 3 sets.

Cardio: 2 laps...realized it was aggravating heel (still, ugh) and off to the showers

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