Part 1

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A great non-impact way to stay in shape and improve cardiovascular endurance

Ever since my crash I have struggled with debilitating hip and back pain.  There are nights when it hurts so bad that I cannot sleep, at all.  Times when I wake up and need to take 40 minutes to work up the will to move.  There are days when it hurts to walk and bending over is a chore.  There are days when it makes the thought of getting out of bed seem so hard, like climbing a mountain with broken legs.  Sometimes it just seems impossible and I am only 34 years old.  So that is the physical side of the pain.  What do you think that sort of thing does to ones mental state?  

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Doesn’t hurt to fall in – it’s just water.

If left unchecked….. it could destroy a person from the inside out.  I have missed a lot of amazing things in my life due to this pain and the overall way that it makes me feel.  Social media can oftentimes paint a perfect picture of health and happiness and I don’t like showing the bad side of things because it not only reminds me of it, but it has a negative energy associated with it and that’s not what I am about anymore.  So why am I talking about it now?  To show others experiencing the same thing, they can battle through it. How do I know, you ask?  Because I am.

First of all, realize that your mind controls your body.  It is a muscle and like all muscles, it can be trained and conditioned to deal with things.  While it may not like or want to deal with things that suck, it most definitely can.  I hurt every single day.  No embellishment,  lie or exaggeration.  Literally, every single day.  For years I let that control not only my state of mind but my life.  I had to leave my job of over 10 years due to the pain and possibility of being hurt worse.  For more on that, Click Here (it will open in a new window.)  I let pain push me around and dictate how to live my life.  I gave in and let it take over.  It was a chain reaction that just continued on and on.  Those that knew me at that time, knew that I was a completely different person than I am today.  I was miserable, angry, tired, sick and depressed (not clinically  but more in a general sense).  I had a hard time finding the good in things.  I drank more than I care to admit and ate whatever I wanted.  Do you know how easy it would be to just continue on in life like this?  I could easily look to doctors and pills to save the day and then feel bad for myself and let myself go.  I could get drunk every weekend and eat fast food and stop working out because I am in pain.  But that lifestyle would only serve to worsen the pain my body has to deal with and it would be 50 times more likely I would just get more depressed.  It’s like an avalanch tearing down a mountain.  Its fast and it happens before you realize it.  That is the most critical point right there… the point in which you start feeling bad for yourself.  That is the fork in the road.  You either give up and let go or you prepare for a fight.  Can’t have both.

I was at that fork in the road.  Then, with the help of some amazing people in my life and my belief that I could get through it no matter what, I started fighting back.  I read some books on staying positive and the power of positive mental conditioning.  I made a cognitive choice to get up every morning no matter how bad I felt.  I began to surround myself with people who lifted me up instead of tearing me down or allowed me to continue as I was.  I dedicated myself to going to the gym every single day in order to build my core muscles that help stabilize my back and hips.  I worked on mobility building exercises and worked at staying flexible in the gym.  I don’t lift heavy weights in the gym, yet you might not know that by looking at me.  It’s all about form and technique with lighter weight in order to grow truly strong.  I made a point to spend more time on my standup paddle board (which, despite how it looks, is one amazing tool to help build the core, loosen up a tight back as well as sharpen cardio endurance without damaging or creating impact.)  I spent more time swimming and challenging myself to remain in good posture.  I cut the booze and garbage out of my diet and focused on eating clean(er) than ever before.  The list goes on and on.  I made some major life changes.  None of those more important than my mental outlook.  I will have these injuries for the rest of my life, with a prognosis for it to get worse with each passing year (depressing right?) yet I will not let it push me around.  I will fight and never quit!

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Working on Balance with Buoy Turns

Check back next Wednesday for Part II of this blog.  After Part II has concluded I will be discussing my plans for the rest of the year and the incredible journey ahead.  If you like traveling or road trips you will definitely not want to miss this!   

Next Up:  VLOG 7

7 thoughts

  1. Matt, you are truly an amazing person!!! From your service to our country, to your ability to rise above! You are a great thinker! You have always been able to see the big picture which is a rare ability. You always end up seeing the bright side even with all you have to deal with, and have had to deal with. You are a great role model for all of us! I am so proud, but your whole family is too! Thank you for being the amazing person that you are!!! I will of course continue to pray for you and I hope that many more will add you to their prayer list! We all love you so much!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dude! This is so inspiring. Great to see you using your SUP for a great non-impact workout as well as a stress reliever! I love getting out on the lake, especially in summer. Great read man, do you ever feature your writing with any other sites?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely man, it’s super peaceful huh? I can’t wait to get back out there this year. If you’d like to feature some articles like this with us at creators.co then feel free to get in touch with me here and I’d be happy to chat – mike.fleck@creators.co

        Also, if you’re on FB at all we have a cool community of active people (from gym goers to hikers) who I think would love to read what you have here, would be awesome to have you part of it – https://www.facebook.com/groups/theactiveyou/

        Liked by 1 person

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