[Ed’s note: This isn’t the usual style of post, and there won’t be homework. There are, however, some cool videos towards the end. Stick with it.]
2013, most fundamentally, was the first year that I could say, without a doubt, that I felt like a proper man. I mean, I’ve had jobs and filed taxes and written books and given speeches and stuff since I left my teens – and I am, after all, 34 – but I’ve also led a fairly stress-free life compared to a lot of people, and I don’t have the responsibilities (read: kids) that many people do. But 2013 was big: I got an improved job with a whole slew of new responsibilities, found myself in a position where I had to lead and motivate a team, talked my way through some tough situations and produced some of the best work I’ve ever done (in my opinion, anyway). I proposed to my girlfriend in a steakhouse (she said yes!) and grew a moustache. I dealt with some other stuff that I’m not going to go into here, but that was enormously stressful at the time. And I came out the other side feeling like, whatever happens, I will be okay – I’ll take care of myself, and the people that I care about. So that’s pretty cool.
Oh, you wanted to hear about my stupid adventures? No problem.
- After a few idiotically self-inflicted injuries at the start of the year (tweaked neck from doing kettlebell snatches, pulled hamstring from an aerial cartwheel, trapped ulnar nerve from, erm, something), I refocused on a few simple goals and then smashed them. To be more specific, I hit a 75kg snatch and a 120kg front squat, flipped a 350kg and did a farmer’s walk with 105kg in each hand…with a hangover. I also got the hang of muscle-ups, which I’ve been trying for about five years – and then, three weeks later, busted out 30 of them in under 15 minutes. The secret is pretending to headbutt someone.
- It was a good year for meeting my personal heroes. Firstly I met the incomparable Anderson Silva – who is, I maintain, the greatest fighter who has ever lived – and learned the wrestling switch off him (that’s me in the super-sweet RDDW rashguard). Secondly, I met Dan John, whose ideas on training have been a huge influence on my own, and whose books I’ve read about five times each – he was decent enough to give me a reading list and some hints on my Olympic lifting, and is also an incredibly nice man. Finally, I’ve actually met Mark Twight before – at a Gym Jones seminar back in 2011 – but this year I managed to sit down for a few pints of Guinness with him, to talk training, cycling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He helped me clarify a lot of my own thinking about all those areas – mainly by being much smarter than me.
- Finally, I said ‘Yes!’ to doing a lot of stupid things, which is always a fine way to push your boundaries and have a good time. This year, the standouts were doing a 55km kayak marathon across four Swedish lakes (it took me nine hours) and filming side-project Marker Pen Knife Fights with some friends of mine (click that link to see my moustache. SPOILERS: I look like a total boss).
All in all, a good year. But next year will be better. Live hard!
HOMEWORK: No homework! Enjoy the holidays!