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Quaran-teams, Cheeseburgers & Meditation: A Muay Thai Coach’s List of Resources During ‘The Great Pause’

It’s hard to believe that we are a full 9 weeks from when we had to temporarily close our doors on the eerily appropriate Friday the 13th of March. One of the things that has been a huge inspiration for myself during our time away from the academy has been seeing how my peers, role models, friends, students, and more have been adapting to ‘The Great Pause’. Because I’ve been fortunate enough to have so many amazing people share their resources, schedules, and routines with me during this time, the prospect of sharing mine was both exciting and nerve-wracking!

While every day is not anywhere near a ‘Perfect-10’ when it comes to hitting the constructive things I’d like to get accomplished, workouts, writings, and more done; I find that even being able to utilize a couple of the following avenues can have a tremendous impact on our mental, emotional and physical health. I’d love to hear how everyone else has been spending their time, or any amazing resources that have been a ‘game-changer’ for your health during our ‘Safer at Home’ Regulations as well, so feel free to email me at matthew@eastontc.com!

Creativity: There are so many amazing ways for us to flex our right brain, and for myself, having time to do so doesn’t mean I always do, so there a few simple things that seem to force a positive and satisfied stimulus within myself at a moment’s notice:

  1. Adult Coloring Books – This one is kind of silly, but I recently nabbed a decent set of colored pencils and a sharpener (very important for me, don’t go too cheap or your linework will be frustrating and you can end up back in a kindergarten tantrum before you know it) and a couple of books. My favorite has been The Beauty of Horror 1: A GOREgeous Coloring Book, but there are a number that are a little less intense!

2. Arts & CraftsOkay, this one is a little embarrassing, but I want to share anything and everything that I’ve been up to during our closures. After some YouTubing and note taking, I dusted off an old hobby from 5th Grade: FINGER-BOARDING, and built out an entire skate park out of cardboard, wood, duct tape, and a hot glue gun. Now, I am not saying that everyone needs to Fingerboard… in fact we all probably shouldn’t waste our time on such silly pursuits, but the act of brainstorming, planning, building, executing and trial & error was so rewarding on my days off, that I began to make it a regular practice. Don’t be afraid to try something silly or childish if it means flexing your creativity muscles!

Fitness/Martial Arts/Meditation:

Zoom Classes: If you’ve ever wanted to try dance, yoga, any form of fitness, and more; there has never been a better time to try! From taking martial arts classes at different academies, to hip-hop and more, I’ve been so lucky to be able to try some different avenues of physical expression in my spare time during this break. And while I don’t see myself pursuing many of them more seriously, it was such a great experience to be exposed to a new activity and be a White Belt again. I can’t recommend enough that we put ourselves in situations where we are the ‘worst’ in the room at something. I think that forced growth and exposure to yourself is therapeutic for me, and I’ve been seeking it out more and more! Finding my Quaran-Teams in unlikely places, and using that group to keep me accountable helps me so much!

Boulder Athletics Daily Workouts – Formerly Easton Boulder’s Crossfit arm, Boulder Athletics has been sharing daily, weekly workout program using just body weight, or minimal equipment such as a backpack, etc. Check them out on Instagram!

Weightlifting:

It’s been fun to dive back into solo exercises ; specifically weightlifting, which is also a fun lesson in human anatomy (there are always multiple lessons to be consumed happening in front of us, no matter what we are doing!). The process of holding myself to an actual training schedule is as close as I’ve been to having some fitness structure since we’ve closed, and that reward of finishing something that you hold yourself to is maybe the best feeling I can think of. Whether it’s running x amount of times in a week, exercising, etc. making promises to myself and fulfilling them does something extraordinary for my psyche; and if I can be honest and respectful of myself and my own time, it is much easier to do the same with other people’s. 

Meditation: 

Per the recommendation of Professors Mike Tousignant, Ian Lieberman and Peter Straub, Sam Harris’ Waking Up app has been such a gigantic help. The process of meditation always seemed so daunting to me, and I had tried in the past to no avail, until I started using this guided app. There is an introductory course of 50 10-15 min. lessons that tremendously helped hone my meditation lens; a new daily meditation every day, as well as countless tools to track your experiences and progress. It’s amazing what 10 mins a day for even a few weeks can open up, and at this point, if I miss a day, it is GLARINGLY obvious. 

Books/Audible: 

Firstly, for those who have had trouble staying consistent with their reading, go download Audible now. I’ll wait… But seriously! Here are some of the books I’ve been enjoying reading or listening to:

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Fiction) by Ken Kesey – This one is narrated by John C. Reilly on Audible which almost makes it like listening to a one-man play. Incredible story-telling and one of the most influential pieces of fiction in the past 60 years (in my humble, uneducated opinion).

Atomic Habits (Personal Development) by James Clear – This book has helped me become so much more self-aware of the reason we do things, bad habits and more. Also check out Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habits if you like this one. 

Born A Crime (Biography) by Trevor Noah – The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah has maybe one of the most fascinating, engaging, funny and tragic success stories going from a literally illegal human (during South African Apartheid it was illegal for a white and black person to have romantic relationships let alone raise a child, so just the fact of him living was proof of a crime) to a major network television star. Noah has perhaps one of the most unique world-views I’ve come across, and there were multiple times I just drove around so that I could keep listening to the Audio Book. This was recommended by Amal Easton and was easily the book I read fastest in the past year.

The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Alfred Lansing (if you think what we are going through is difficult, read this story!) The tragic, but triumphant story of the Endurance and Shackleton’s attempt to make the first crossing of the Antarctic on foot. Weaving a treacherous path through the freezing Weddell Sea, they had come within eighty-five miles of their destination when their ship, Endurance, was trapped in the ice pack. Soon the ship was crushed like matchwood, leaving the crew stranded on the floes. Their ordeal would last for twenty months, and they would make two near-fatal attempts to escape by open boat before their final rescue.

The Game by Ken Dryden: My favorite ice hockey book, and an incredible glimpse of life in general from one of the greatest players and by far the most scholarly mind in the history of the sport. Dryden graduated Law School from Cornell, won 6 Stanley Cups in 8 years, then became a member of Canadian Parliament just to name but a few of one of my idol’s many accomplishments. Side note: As a fellow goaltender in the sport, I proudly wore Dryden’s #29 when I played Jr. A Hockey for the Bozeman Icedogs!

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg: I think this should be read by every person on this planet, and have used this book to help my communication skills improve tenfold!

So may more to share, so please reach out if you’d like any more recommendations!

Music/Records/Hobbies:

Vinyl! You certainly aren’t aware, but years ago I worked in many facets of the independent music industry from managing a record label, managing different artists, putting on events, promoting, producing & DJ-ing, and writing for a number of publications before finding my wings at Easton. Music has always had such an influence on me both aesthetically and aurally, and I think is one of the things that defines my person. For many of us growing up; getting a new album or CD was a very physical, visceral experience. My sister and I would pull out the liner notes, read the lyrics as we listened, read the thank-yous and credits; and not to sound like a crotchety old hipster, but I feel that physical attachment to music has largely been unavailable to the streaming generation. While I missed out on this for a large part of my life; getting an actual record player and making the act of physical music discovery a focal point again has been so much fun! Not only does music sounds so much better on vinyl; collecting things seems to appeal to a large swath of humanity, myself included! Music and martial arts are probably the two biggest influences on my personality, and the act of perusing for and purchasing music has opened up such a fun world. Some of my favorite records in our growing collection are: Rumors by Fleetwood Mac (2nd original pressing), My Molly by Ariel Pink (autographed and out of print), John Maus – A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material (Very few pressings), Boy Harsher – Yr Body Is Nothing (autographed) and Roxy Music – Avalon (2nd pressing).

Some of my favorite ways to get new (old) records:  

discogs.com

Once They Are Open, these are my favorite stores to ‘Crate-Dig’:

Albums on the Hill – Boulder

Bart’s Music Cellar – Boulder

Twist & Shout Records – Denver

Love Vinyl Records – Arvada

T.V./Movies/Documentaries: Okay, try not to judge me, but a lot of this ‘Great Pause’ has resulted in me watching some pretty unintelligent trash TV, so I’ll share just a few of the things I find beneficial that aren’t Tiger King. These are all on Netflix (hopefully you like food programming!)

Explained (is there a more educational show?)

Mindhunter

Ugly Delicious

The Chef Show

Chef’s Table

2019 was an amazing year for my personal taste of films. We also got really into the Academy Awards this year and recommend the following 2019 films for your viewing pleasure:

Joker, Parasite, The Lighthouse, Jojo Rabbit, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, 1917, Honey Boy.

Bonus Section: Personal Obsessions: 

Who doesn’t like burgers? (Please don’t answer that!) Okay, if you follow me on social media, I apologize if you’ve been subject to rants around this subject but… CHEESEBURGERS: The obsession started mildly with The Burger Show (Season 4 just wrapped!) on Complex’s First We Feast YouTube channel some years back. Then I came across the burger authority of the United States, George Motz, and his ultra-handy Burger Bible, Hamburger America. Diving into the regional methods and nuances of burgers wasn’t something I ever thought a) would be so deeply ingrained into the history of our country and b) would take up so much bandwidth in my brain but alas, here we are. Not to mention the amount of actual history I’ve become privy to simply through learning about one of America’s oldest and identifying foods has been staggering! And now I’m four weeks into a ‘Masterclass’, the ‘Burger Scholar Sessions’ and wanted to share. While we all have different dietary restrictions, eating habits, macros, etc.  I think the biggest piece of this paragraph was having something that I genuinely wanted to learn more about and was excited to do so. Who cares what it is?! Find your inner Cheeseburgers!

Masterclass: By far one of the most valuable things I’ve spent money on in the past few years has been the Masterclass platform. Hearing the top 1% of experts teach and share about their respective fields of business or study has been so enriching. It is a bit of an investment (about $100/year) but something that actually has made me feel good about investing in… my mind! Below are the courses I’ve found to be very beneficial to me thus far, and hope you can share any of yours if you’re taking any Masterclasses as well!

Neil DeGRasse Tyson’s ‘Scientific Thinking’ course

Bob Iger’s ‘Leadership and Business’ course

Spike Lee’s ‘Film’ course

Timbaland’s ‘Music Production’ course

Thomas Keller’s Chef Course

So there you have it. Just about everything that has been keeping me from flying off the handle during the great pause. I do hope this helps generate some ideas of things to do or try.

Anything you’ve been putting off wanting to try… The time is now!

Let us know how you’ve been getting through and using your time constructively these past few months as well!

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