It has only been 70 days. Really, it is not that big of a deal. However, I want to encourage others who are chasing excellence to pursue more self-experimentation. Maybe you can learn about yourself from reading about what happened when I took a break from alcohol for 70 days.
Here’s The Point Of This Article
This is about doing some self-experimentation. This break from alcohol is about doing some self-discovery. If you want, you can use this article to find out about you. This is about getting to that next level in your climbing. Or maybe you need to get to that next level in your life.
Maybe nothing happens when you take a break from alcohol. Who knows? But if you decide to go for it, I will cheer for you.
This is not an article about how you need to stop drinking; or, that alcohol is from the devil. That is not what this is about. I really don’t care if you are a rock climber (or not) and you drink – or drink a lot, a lot. As long as you don’t drink and drive; and, as long as you leave no trace, I don’t care about your drinking habits.
These Are The Questions I Asked Myself
- Why am I not making gains like I think I should?
- Am I being injured too often?
- Why am I not less fat around my middle?
- What if I am only one adjustment away from making great gains in my climbing skills?
- Jason, you work out every day. You’ve been eating better. But you’ve got this plateau. You’ve stopped improving. Why?
I Simply Decided To Completely Stop Drinking Any Alcohol
I just wanted to find out for myself if alcohol was holding me back from making the gains that I thought I should be making – in climbing and in other parts of my life.
Another reason that it was easy for me to just decide, was the timeliness of reading an article from one of my online mentors, Ed Latimore. Ed is an undefeated pro-boxer and he wrote this article: 10 Observations From 2 Years Of Not Drinking.
Ed writes, “…most people can’t stop drinking…”
That sentence made me have some introspection. I like to have control over myself. I like self-experiments where I tell myself that I am doing such and such just for the discipline of it. Yes, this is worth pursuing.
The Benefits I Have Felt In These Last 70 Days During This Break From Alcohol
- I consistently sleep better
- I have more energy
- My body is different – I am the meatiest and the most lean I have ever been in my life (picture above)
- I deal with stress better
My ‘Why’ For Taking A Break From Alcohol
The short answer is that I had a paradigm shift in my thinking about my life when I read Scott Adams (the creator of the Dilbert comic) excellent book “How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big.”
As I had always been a fan of setting big goals, it struck me odd that Scott claims that “Goals are for losers, systems are for winners.”
What in the world did that mean? Aren’t goals and systems basically the same thing?
Adams says, “…for our purposes, let’s say a goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don’t sometime in the future. A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.”
I had set goals before, such as do P90X, and, take a break from alcohol while I do P90X. And I hit those goals…mostly. I ended up doing P90X for about 60 days; and I ended up rewarding myself with some delicious wine after about 30 days of sobriety. I made some gains as I wrote about here; but, that goal went away. I went back to life, which meant NOT doing P90X, and went back to drinking wine with most meals.
All my life, I had always set goals. And not just goals – I set big, audacious goals. I would hit some and miss most.
But let me corral this back to climbing. I have a goal: I want to climb V10. Up to now, I only have a few V6’s under my belt. That’s a goal – and that was before I began to understand systems…
I had to evaluate what I was doing with my training and with the nutrients (or non-nutrients) that I was putting into my body. Did I have a lazy habit of consuming alcohol – just whenever. And did that lazy habit slowly turn a glass of wine turned into two glasses of wine. Then, two turned into a little bit more wine. Then I needed a snack – adding more calories – and probably not the good calories either.
And I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting stronger. And I couldn’t figure out why I carried fat on my belly and sides.
“Damn, Jason!” I said to myself. I really knew all along. I simply lacked the impetus to change. And, now, I have it.
I feel lucky that I now have a
- Health System
- Eating System
- Get Stronger for Climbing System
- Sleep better System
- Make more money System
- Learn new things System
Look at how they are intertwined. Look at how taking a break from alcohol touches, directly or indirectly, all of those systems. Maybe you will discover that you have some very similar life systems. And it wouldn’t surprise me if you have some very different life systems. That doesn’t matter. What is important is that you look at your climbing (or your life) and ask yourself, “What do I think about goals and systems?”
Other Parts Of My Get Stronger For Climbing System Include:
- Wim Hof Breathing Method
- Body Weight Workout at home
- Ketogenic Diet
- Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil
- Beta Alanine
Wim Hof: I watched the Wim Hof interview on the Joe Rogan Podcast. It was fascinating to see the amount of energy this man has. And the Guinness records he holds…and the control of his immune system that he claims. All were intriguing enough to me to include it into my life.
- I have never been good at holding my breath. The first time I tired it, I held my breath for 1:37 and I thought that was pretty good. I recently achieved a personal best of 4:35.
- I now have integrated a short breathing sesh / meditation into my daily routine.
- And, by the way, the cold shower component of his method is another one of those I do it for the discipline of it.
Body Weight Workout: I do a body weight workout at home. Every single person is different, so I am not going over the details of my routine. The only recommendation that I make is to add rings to your workout.
Ketogenic Diet: I’ve written about my ketogenic diet here, so I won’t go over that again.
Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil: I am more and more convinced that Omega 3’s from cod liver oil, and the EPA and DHA they provide, are a necessity in my diet. You can research and google that to your heart’s content.
Beta Alanine: I truly feel stronger when I am taking Beta Alanine. This is one supplement that I choose to take.
Get psyched! It is not too late to start…anything. It is not too late to make small changes in your life where you only have unlimited upside potential. What if a simple change, like taking a break from alcohol, provides you with a system to take your climbing – or your life – to the next level.
Read more about finding out what diet method might work to help you loose weight and improve your climbing in HCRBeta’s Diet and Exercise Category
Jason Clements is the founder of and writer for HCRBeta, Hike Climb Relax: How to… Jason has served as the President of the Kansas City Climbing Club. He lives in Shawnee, Kansas and also runs the cell phone recycling company, Cells for Cells, which recycles cell phones to raise money for families battling cancer. You can follow Jason on Facebook or on Twitter @jasonclements.
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