Transformation 5.0

Chaos, Perspective, and Coping Mechanisms


What happens when shit hits the fan?

When the going gets tough, do the tough get going?  Or when the going gets tough, do Ben and Jerry and a host of old bad habits come marching in?

No matter what you thought you knew, when shit hits the fan, you will know how committed you are to change.

Tough times provide the perfect excuse not to change.  They’re unexpected.  They’re at least mildly disconcerting and at most they shake the ground you stand on.  They stir up all sorts of old stress coping mechanisms.

Yesterday I hit a tough stretch.  Nothing to write home about, but it was a solid blend of family drama, time crunch, an appointment at the accountant (always fun!), and work overload.  During a stretch of 4 key hours, it had my head spinning.

Tying the tough stretch into the Transformation, it also vetoed lunch hour.  I blinked and it was gone.  A huge workout was in the rear-view and significant hunger waited on the road ahead.

I rallied.  I leaned on Rise Bars to curb hunger.  I walked and listened to music to relieve stress.  I had fun with my afternoon and evening clients.  It all worked out.


[From someone considering positive change] “Before I begin I’ll wait until life clears up and I have a clean stretch of time ahead of me.”

[From someone in the Transformation going through something unexpected] “I wish I’d chosen an easier time to change.”

These are two scenarios that have played out time and time again over the years.  And I couldn’t disagree with the quotes more.

Mark this down.  The best time to transform is now, and you will be better off, not worse off, if now comes with solid doses of challenges and stress.

Life is chaos.  There is very rarely a clean stretch of time waiting at the end of the rainbow.

If you change during an artificially easy time frame, you will be unprepared to sustain your results when shit hits the fan.  Conversely, if you change during regular life, challenges and all, you will be prepared to sustain and build on your results.



As are most concepts associated with positive change, the above is difficult to internalize.  To repeat for the 1,000th time: this positive change stuff ain’t easy!  To repeat for the 1,001st time: it’s damn worth your effort.

Let’s close today’s musings with some takeaways.  They’ve helped me, and I hope they help you as well.  When shit hits the fan:

  • Do not, do not, do not use food and drink as a stress coping mechanism.  If stress hits and you subconsciously reach for food and drink first, you must change this behavior pattern.  Immediately.
  • Don’t simply remove the above mechanism.  Instead, actively replace it with something else concrete.
  • Examples of “something else concrete”: walking, hiking, exercise, reading, music, guided meditation, binaural beats (look it up), leaning on a friend/family member, journaling, gardening, hobbies (photography, design, construction, etc.)
  • In the moment of stress, change your state.  Clap your hands, stand up, lay down, get outside, get inside.  Change what’s going on around you to change what’s going on inside of you.
  • Travel to a serene, beautiful environment.
  • Have easily accessible food (e.g. my Rise Bars) available in a pinch.
  • Take a nap.
  • Practice Stoicism.  You may remember this quote from Epictetus: “learn to distinguish what you can and can’t control”.  Focus on what you can control.
  • Have faith in yourself and have faith that this too shall pass.

Day 28 Recap

In the midst of the madness was Monday’s big exercise strength block.  The protocol:

3x through, no rest between exercises, 1:00 between rounds:

  • Alternating grip pull-up
  • Leg press
  • Dumbbell chest press

3x through, no rest between exercises, 1:00 between rounds:

  • Dumbbell single arm row
  • Dumbbell walking lunge
  • Dumbbell seated overhead press
  • Dumbbell reverse fly

3x through, no rest between exercises, :30 between rounds:

  • Dumbbell front-lateral shoulder raise
  • Triceps rope pulldown
  • Dumbbell standing bicep curl
  • Single leg calf raise

3x through, no rest between exercises, :30 between rounds:

  • Dumbbell bench pullover
  • Cable side-to-side chop
  • Cable slow press

Steps and miles checked in at 15,456 and 8.35 (add 20%).

Sleep checked in at 8 hours and 38 minutes (10 restless minutes).  As a hilarious cap to the day, I found my Fitbit on the floor in the morning.  I thought it might skew the data, but it looks like it stayed stationary once it left my wrist, thus recording me as peacefully sleeping.

The nutrition

Breakfast: Grass-fed yogurt, (28g) whey protein isolate, (5g) creatine, raw cacao nibs, chia seeds, coconut flakes, organic blueberries, banana, cinnamon.  Black gold.

Day 15 Breakfast

Pre-Workout: Raw Tea.


Post-Workout: Grass-fed whole milk.

Day 14 Post Workout

Early Afternoon Snack (aka “shit has hit the fan” snack): Rise Bar.


Late Afternoon Snack: Rise Bar.


Dinner: Free range chicken thighs, brown rice in chicken stock, broccoli, green peas.


Daily Fuel

Just in case you missed it above and/or didn’t look it up, let’s revisit binaural beats.

The gist of binaural beats is playing tones in each of your ears that have slightly different frequencies.  The types of tones and frequencies used can have positive effects on mental states like creativity, meditation, and relaxation.  Here’s the Wiki page for more information.

While the specific effects of binaural beats are up for debate, I’ve found them to be effective (especially those associated with relaxation).  I use the Brain Wave app for iPhone.  It’s worth a shot.  A user tip: the more noise blocking your headphones, the better.

(Thanks to Christopher Williams – aka Squatchy – for the initial recommendation!)



Image Credit: Fan –

Image Credit: Keep Calm –


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