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Thoughts are Things: A Special Operator's Recipe for Life Long Performance

Posted by George Corbo on January 09, 2018

Thoughts are Things

By Guest Writer: Brian Babcock

manimal blog

“Oh my God, I’m dying!” “I’m so sore, you kill me. I’m 50 remember??!”

These are the kinds of emotional responses to physical stress I hear when I train a successful client of mine. She’s an influential southern California businessperson, whom I enjoy taking the opportunity to train whenever our schedules align.

Two important base elements to note in this paragraph are:

  1. I don’t use any training tools with her that are complicated or out of the ordinary. We focus on the basics: bodyweight calisthenics, lightweight dumbbells and using my favorite tool, the TRX straps.
  2. When I am able to work with her, I clearly challenge her to a level of fitness that she’d not normally pursue or achieve on her own.

She has another full time trainer that she trains with at least four times a week, so this always leaves me wondering, “What exactly, is taking place normally… if when we train together, I’m supposedly… killing her?!” Additionally, when she and I train, I intentionally make it a point to keep the number of repetitions very reasonable, because we aren’t able to train together regularly or often. I can’t/won’t press the intensity as if we were meeting on a multi-session weekly basis.

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One of my foundational training philosophies is this: “Anyone can do five of anything.” Now this of course depends on the exercise and the level of effort needed to perform it, but trust me, everything that I do with this aforementioned client, I make sure they’re exercises that she is wholly capable of doing. Another of my methodologies is: “Say it. Show it. Then do it”. This is to leave no doubt about what it is that we are attempting to accomplish.

Where the cart comes off of the rails is when I tell her the amount of repetitions I need her to do; even if the number is minimal, she can have the tendency to immediately revert to a self-defeating mode of telling herself that she won’t be able to “do it”. Even though I have 100% belief she has the ability to get the work in front of her done, she doubts herself, and often it itself, is the source of her being defeated by the task.

This brings me back to her comment I shared at the opener of this post: “I’m 50 remember??!” Oh, I remember, but to that statement, I immediately ponder, “What really are you trying to imply by saying that?” What does your age have anything to do with getting your workout finished and in the books?

To put things into perspective regarding me: I’m a life long martial artist. I’ve traveled the world, training in many modalities with many sensei. I’ve lived the life story of 10 men, gaining a wealth of life experience and AFTER all of this I decided to join the military to become a member of the special operations community. Sixteen years later and having recently completed a milestone as a team leader, I’m still quite relevant and always known for being a performer. I train and mentor younger team members on an almost weekly rotation, especially in martial arts as it applies to our field. My core styles over my lifetime have been Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, but when I work on close quarter combatives concepts, I employ an anything goes, anytime/anyplace mindset and applicability. In our career field, it’s a must to spend as much quality time as humanly possible preparing for that “anytime/anyplace”, with excellence.

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Almost all of my co-workers are young enough to be my children, literally. I failed to mention my age though. But, I don’t particularly see the need to note my age, as I never focus on it. It did come into play when going through the process of getting an age waiver for the special programs though, as I was already four years past the maximum allowed. If obsessing on being old means that I have to slow down, I don’t want anything to do with that. As a matter of fact, I don’t know any other way to be, and it’s likely if I did, I wouldn’t be where I am in life. I really can’t imagine being any other way.

Some of my peers, whom I respect wholeheartedly, at times say and/or act like they’re broken and feeble. I always speak supportively against this mindset when I observe it. That said, I am a firm believer in the ideology of my body as a vehicle, being “Rode hard and put down wet!” (Get your mind out of the gutter, this is a common phrase applied to using tools hard and quickly putting them away without a lot of excessive care, but expecting them to perform flawlessly again, when needed!) This more hardcore, no nonsense approach makes ME personally, feel “alive”.

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To further that motivation, I’d like to share just three tenets that I live by:

  1. “Consistency is the key”- A mentor long ago planted the seed of belief in me that true consistency is where you get your solid results, as we are creatures of habit. Setting a solid pattern and following through. No matter your schedule, it’s always better for you to do something, than to do nothing at all.
  2. “Thoughts are things and thoughts have wings”- My father used to say this to me and now it’s something I live by. Your thoughts will have as much traction as you allow them, so knowing how to have influence over them will allow you to overcome most, if not all obstacles. “
  3. “Home Run Theory”- This third and final tenet, I’ve recently adopted from my special operations community. I find it genius, and have observed many of our members try to make happen daily. One example of my daily efforts for a home run would be this:
    1. “Base hit”- Go surfing or get out on my SUP in the bay to start the day.
    2. “Double”- Get a work out done in the gym before going into the office.
    3. “Triple”- At lunchtime, go to “Fight Club” and sweat with my brothers in arms.
    4. “Home Run!”- At the end of the day, have great sex (or at least attempt to) before going to sleep.

Rinse and repeat. Simple. These evolutions can be placed in any order and sometimes you may not be realistically able to have a “Home Run” everyday. Having this template to go off of for a minimum goal and baseline though truly helps to set the tone for each day, and honestly makes me feel so much better on a daily basis.

thoughts are things manimal blog

Closing out, I consider myself a fortunate and driven individual who truly loves being alive. I know that everyone does not have my same motivation. But, this just means to me that all of us can make minor changes to our lives to enhance our living experiences and stand apart from the status quo of complacency. I challenge you to do whatever you can, each and every day to fill your cup to the brim and drink.

…oh, and by the way, I turn 50 this year. Whatever that means.



George Corbo
George Corbo

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