I almost broke my arm at Victor Pride’s house.
Well, that’s being a bit melodramatic, but I did crash a motobike into a tree. My arm was swollen and if I weren’t a man of size, the collision could have broken a bone. I never should have hit the tree at all.
I grew up riding dirt bikes and had spent plenty of time riding mopeds, so when Victor brought me a motobike to drive through the mean streets of Saigon, I hopped on, hit the accelerator, lost control of the bike, and had a choice – have the bike land on my leg or steer it into a tree.
The accident wasn’t caused by lack of skill. It was caused by lack of mindfulness.
Had I been more mindful, I would have “checked in” before driving the bike.
“Checking in” is an important mindfulness concept that I picked up from professional bodybuilder and Mr. Olympia contender Kai Greene.
In his day-in-the-life video, Greene takes the audience through a gym warm-up. Greene doesn’t hop on a treadmill to get blood flowing or start lifting right away.
Instead, Green begins his warm-up with a purpose. The magic isn’t in warming his body up. The magic happens when you start checking in.
(A Day in the Life of Kai Greene.)
With each step, Greene begins the process of checking in by asking himself:
- Why am I here?
- What’s the point of this hard work?
- What muscle groups am I going to train?
- Do I want to be Mr. Olympia?
Kai Greene gets out of his head and into his body.
Although I use an entirely different warm-up in the gym, I use the Kai Greene method of checking in before training.
(I use this mobility warm-up from UFC fighter Cat Zingano.)
I feel my ligaments stretch. I feel the tightness in my hamstrings. As I kick, I imagine my feet becoming planted with the ground.
I wasn’t checked in before getting on the motobike.
I thoughtlessly, and with a low level of consciousness, hopped onto the moto.
If I had been aware and checked in, I would have observed:
- You’ve been traveling for 20 hours.
- You’re in a different time zone.
- Is now the time to ride?
Had I gone through the mindfulness exercise, I would have either not ridden or I would have ridden safely:
- Put your hands on the brakes.
- The hands stay on the brakes at all time.
- Feel your hips planted into the seat.
- Feel your feet on the motobike.
See the difference?
You can use the mindfulness technique of checking in for anything you do.
If you’re about to binge eat/lose your temper/scream at your kids/cheat on your wife: Stop.
- Why am I about to do this?
- Will I feel better or worse about myself in 30 minutes?
- Am I the kind of person who behaves this way?
You can, of course, do whatever you want to do. Eat what you want, scream at people, cheat on your wife. Morality is an issue between you and your god.
But be mindful about what you do. Your choices should be high consciousness and considered.
You can also use the mindfulness technique of checking in to improve your lifting sessions, become a better wrestler or BJJ player.
- Why am I at the gym?
- Why I am here rather than someone else?
- I feel my hips loosening up.
- My feet are planted into the ground.
- My body is loosening up.
Become more mindful by checking in.
Try these techniques out and let me know how well they work for you.