Hello world!

Welcome to Ability to Adapt! 

After thinking about an intro article, I simply decided to jump feet first into a topic. There’s enough information on the front pages to give you an idea of what you may find here as new articles are added.

So in the next post you’ll find my first article on this new site. So, please be patient and as time goes on I’ll be adding new articles here and videos on my YouTube channel, often interconnected.

And in time I will be adding in a subscription site where information not presented here will be available, for a small fee. I’ll announce when that is ready.

We’ll cover a wide range of topics here on my blog and also on my YouTube channel. Some topics may on the surface appear to be unrelated to physical training.

However, every single topic we consider will relate to our physical and mental capabilities .

We will consider things that hopefully will enable us to improve our ability to adapt, improvise and overcome whatever challenge we are facing.

But don’t worry, this isn’t some dooms-day-prep-gun-toting-survival-zombie-apocalypse-site, lol.

It’s about having fun while facing new challenges in training and developing various capabilities through that process. It’s about learning new things that can help us in everyday life, sports and recreation.

And interestingly enough, those same things can help us when unexpected challenges occur.

There’s more to training the mind and body than just bench presses or training strength or endurance.

Doing the same thing over and over will develop a skill.

But at some point the return on investment of training time diminishes to the point it has a minimal impact on further improvement of that skill.

In other words, at some point improvement of the skill is barely discernable despite continued training of the skill.

There is a point where enough is enough.

It’s been found that children learning to write letters freehand develop better skills than those  who trace an image of the letter or simply type a letter.

Why?

Because the brain is allowed to make mistakes, correct them, make more mistakes, correct them and this process is called practice. The brain is given the opportunity to fail and then through practice finally succeed.

So exposing our mind through bodily movements to new stimuli carries the mind along this same path of learning something new.

There’s a place in training for sticking with basics. And there’s a place in training for continually exposing the mind and body to new things, to variety.

The mind and body want and need both. 

Well, you get both here.

Walter

 

 

 

 

18. HF Survival Knife and Multipurpose

18 HF Survival Knife and Multipurpose

In the video linked below I give reasons why I think the HF Survival knife isn’t a very good tool.

But the video is more than just that, as I share some other thoughts about tools and multipurpose thinking.

One thing mentioned in the video is weight. Often people from all sorts of sports and forms of recreation look at tools or equipment that can serve a multitude of purposes.

And on the surface this can seem like a good thing. Sometimes it works out great and other times it leads to frustration.

Often, people will try to find equipment that is light-weight.

Light-weight shoes and boots, light weight bicycles, motorcycles, tents, knives, axes, clothing, sleeping bags, tarps and the list goes on and on.

A multipurpose tool is meant to replace several pieces of equipment and thus save weight.

Yet all too often the person is packing around 20-50 pounds or more of excess body fat.

My thinking is, rather than paying the big $$ on acquiring some light-weight multipurpose piece of equipment, why not try getting into better shape?

Get stronger and better conditioned and that bicycle or motorcycle or pack won’t feel so heavy.

This is often where the search for multipurpose equipment of any sort comes into play. The thinking goes:

“If I can buy something that serves many purposes then it will keep me from having to move or pack around as much weight.”

Now in some cases this is a good thing, depending on the goal. If you’re trying to get from point A to point B as fast as possible as in a race or competition, something light-weight and multipurpose may be the way to go.

But generally someone who is in a race or competition is already conditioned to what they are trying to accomplish and hopefully has trained strength and endurance so they can reach their goal.

Even then redundancy is often a wise thing, as the saying goes: “One is none, two is one.”

That’s why vehicles have a spare tire. That’s why that flare gun came with more than one flare.

When it comes to acquiring training equipment for the gym, look at your goals.

If you’re an aspiring Powerlifter it makes no sense to buy an Olympic Barbell meant for training the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch.

If you are into playing tennis and that’s your sport, loading up on equipment meant for strongman training makes no sense either.

Often the sport picks the person. And in the same vein, the sport picks the method of training and the equipment you should invest in.

Some pieces of equipment lend themselves to being used in a wide variety of ways. Others are pretty much one ticket items.

For example, a bicycle: you pedal it and that’s about it. Now of course it can be used to train for long distance riding, short sprints, commuting and transportation. But it still is only useful for pedaling and basically building endurance to varying degrees.

How about a barbell?

We use it to lift weight plates, whether solid metal plates or bumper plates of some sort. In that sense that’s all it’s good for, holding weight plates so they are easier to lift and we can progressively adjust the load.

Yet with the barbell you can develop all sorts of qualities or skills: the three power lifts, the world of Olympic lifts and the regressions or breakdowns of the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. You can do barbell complexes to develop work-capacity. You can focus on pure strength or hypertrophy.

Is one tool better than the other?

Well, it depends on YOUR personal goals.

If we’re going to compete in the El Tour de Tucson as a serious competitor the typical $100 box-store bicycle won’t cut it. We’ll need a top of the line bicycle.

If we’re going to bomb around the neighborhood on a bike for a bit of aerobic training in conjunction with lifting weights for strength and health the box-store bike will work.

What’s our goal?

Are we trying to improve in a particular sport?

Maybe we’re trying to improve our ability to function in our occupation?

Maybe we want to do better in a certain form of recreation, like skiing?

Or maybe we want just general all-around functional capabilities? And if this is the case, what level do we want to take that to?

That’s the thing with any sport or certain occupations and even in our personal training. They all contain various levels of skills or we might say qualities.

This too must be addressed in figuring out not only what and how to train but also with what tools, implements or pieces of equipment.

We can be a recreational skier. Or we may compete on a local ski team or we’re going to the Olympics. Pretty much all sports and forms of recreation are like this. Even occupations have various skill levels within themselves: security guard, LEO, SWAT, each a major step up in level of skills.

Each level is sort of like steps leading up to a platform where we can say:
“I’ve reached this level.”

You may even get a certificate for doing that, but it’s expected you will continue to build and hone your abilities.

We can stay there at that level and try to improve within that level or we can begin the climb up the steps or ladder to the next level.

A person can display the same skill level as an international soccer player and yet still be content with playing local games with friends. We’ve all met people who could have played for a professional team at some point in their life.

Even with Dan John’s Q1 and Q2 there are varying levels. Quadrant 1 is a lot of qualities at a low level. This is what Dan John calls PE class in grade school.

So let’s think about that for a minute.

A 13 year old has a higher and deeper level of Q1 skills than an 8 year old.

And the level of Q1 skills and ability to express them improves by the time the teenager hits his 18th year of age. And if that person continues to play a variety of sports and engages in various forms of other types of training, his Q1 capabilities will become even greater by the time he reaches 22 years of age.

That person is still displaying Q1 qualities but at an ever increasing level of difficulty and mastery.

If this course is continued that person could eventually hit the upper levels of Q1 and transition into Q2 which are the skills and qualities displayed by, for example, NFL and Rugby players and certain tactical-type occupations.

Thus, if we determine what level we want to attain in any particular sport, occupation or outdoor activity, this knowledge can help us decide what type of equipment to invest in. And it can help us somewhat answer the questions of what, where, when, why and how to train.

I said somewhat because everything in the training world is not always a concrete fact.

Certain pieces of equipment or tools are great for many things; others operate best in a singular mode.

Narrow it down by investing in tools that give you what you want and need and will carry you to the level of capability you desire.

And always keep in mind:

If you are a cyclist, you pedal. If you’re a swimmer you swim. If you’re a powerlifter you lift. If you’re a baseball player you hit baseballs.

Train according to your sport.

If you’re into multipurpose capabilities or functionality, you’re going to have to do more than the program minimum and arm-chair-surfing.

Send your roots out deep and wide.

There’s a dirty little secret to the analogy of strength being like a glass, and it applies to all sorts of skills and qualities. We’ll hit that subject in the next article.

Enjoy the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25Vqk6sWToU

17. The Canopy and Other Stuff

17 The Canopy and Other Stuff

What do you do when things become difficult?

What do you do when you don’t have what you need or conditions are not exactly in your favor?

Well, hopefully we don’t just throw our hands into the air and give up.

When it comes to training, we might not always have the best place to train.

We might not have the best equipment or the environment may not be conducive to training.

I for one, have often had to train outdoors.

Probably the use of the term “had to” isn’t entirely correct, lol.

I actually enjoy training outside much more than indoors, and will always train outdoors if at all possible, having lifted and trained in all kinds of weather: rain, snow, howling winds and extreme heat and humidity and conditions of single digit humidity, which has its own challenges.

I’m not saying this is always easy or even the best way to do things. Of course, it’s a lot nicer to train outside when the weather is more to our liking and personal tolerance.

At certain times of the year, whether due to high heat or very cold temperatures, it may be wiser to train inside in a controlled environment.

If the body is too cold, training can be difficult and must be undertaken carefully to avoid injury, and the same is true if it’s too hot and humid or hot and dry.

Exposing ourselves to the outdoor environment can actually be an integral part of our training, a toughening up so-to-speak, so we can handle more extreme conditions.

But in so doing, we need to be aware the conditions may hinder training effect and recovery; and even carry a certain amount of risk of life.

If a person finds themselves in a lost scenario situation in the great outdoors, survival often depends on finding proper shelter.

Or if you can’t find proper shelter,  you improvise, adapt and build your shelter.

With that in mind, if some of the training we want to do needs to be done outdoors and the weather is extreme one way or another, what do we do?

Well, in a survival situation you adapt as best you can mentally and physically to your environment. But you also adapt the micro-climate as best you can to make things more bearable.

You build a shelter to serve as shade, a wind break, snow or rain shield. You create a smaller environment to heat or keep cool.

So in the linked video I build a canopy/awning in my tiny back yard, to somewhat control the outdoor temperatures.

I’m adapting my outdoor environment to my personal situation. I’ve had heat exhaustion before, and once that happens you just can’t deal with the heat as well as you once did.

It’s also a fact of life, that the older you get the less apt your body is able to deal with temperature extremes.

So, rather than relegate myself to training indoors, where I have hardly any room to train the way I want (and some things I can’t do indoors), I decided to change the micro-climate of my backyard.

I used salvaged materials. Metal from a scrapyard cost about $100 and the billboard vinyl about $35. The grommet machine was around $50. But it is something I can use for many other projects.

Always invest in tools and materials and the time it takes to learn how to use them properly.

I feel much the same way about training. Not only learn about different ways to train but actually try it out long enough to determine the effect on your own mind and body.

Otherwise, how do you really know that back-squats work for you or perhaps front squats are much better for you and your individual needs, past injuries, skeletal make-up and goals?

Don’t be an internet athlete.

And realize that there is a difference between an athlete and an athletic person. Most people are not athletes but they most certainly can be or become very athletic.

Unless you’re in paid professional sports, where your sport dictates how you train, or you only have a few years left to live, most of us have plenty of years left to train and explore the world of the training environment.

Don’t be afraid to explore that training environment, because the bigger the pool of experience you can dip into, the greater can be your ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

And when you acquire enough knowledge and experience, then you can better shape the training environment to suit yourself in that particular part of your life journey.

“Suit yourself” can mean selfishly doing whatever we want.

But “suit” also carries the definition of a group of things forming a unit (which can be applied to a group of exercises forming a training routine/program) and the thought of something tailored for you: a suit jacket. It can also mean to “suit up” get dressed or get prepared.

So with enough experience in a variety of methods and tools of training you can begin to suit yourself or tailor the suit to fit you personally.

That’s what a great coach or PT will do.

With the right humble and modest mindset and documented training journals and ear to the ground, a person can gradually become their own tailor.

You have to listen when your body says: “Don’t do this anymore!” when it comes to particular exercises, implements, training modalities or even something as seemingly benign as training outdoors in any kind of weather.

Being humble in training means others can and do have more knowledge and that can be a great source of learning.

Being modest in training means you do recognize your limitations. Sorry, just because you wake up in the morning, walk to work or drink bullet-proof coffee does not make you superhuman , contrary to what some may infer.

Maybe we once deadlifted 8 times bodyweight (internet athlete) but a lower back injury that gets tweaked here and there from training is a sure sign playing teeter-tooter with a risk-to-reward ratio on deadlifts just isn’t a smart investment.

Life, occupation, injuries, age and other things will affect what, where, when, why and how we should train.

So do we adapt to this journey and adapt how we train?

Or do we stubbornly keep trying to use what once worked, but now simply seems to keep us in regressing-injury-recovery-mode?

Here’s the video on my Canopy build and a few other thoughts sprinkled within: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyw_im3owYI

16. YJ Jeep Glove Box Install Part III

16. YJ Jeep Glove Box Install Part III

Well, in the video below I finally finish my glove box for my Jeep.

It took a while, as I was also working on another project I needed to get done.

These past three videos are long, lol, but I wanted to give some good information on this topic/project so that it may help other Jeep owners looking to tackle the same issue that I had.

Also, I include a lot of little tips, tricks and knowledge that many people just don’t know.

In my eyes, working with the hands on physical projects is all a part of training the mind and body. 

If you take an office worker and a common laborer, and both train with weights, often the laborer will have a much broader range of qualities and skills.

Why?

The laborer is exposed to much more physical and mental input from his occupation. He has developed many skills that people often are not even aware of.

The laborer will often have better tactile perception in the hands and feet, better spatial awareness and balance.  If they are an outdoor worker, he’ll generally be better able to deal with outdoor environments.

The list goes on.

Am I saying leave your office job in your air-conditioned and heated office and become a laborer?

No, I’m not, though one could  hope, lol.

The sad part of it is, many people don’t put much of a premium on labor, unless of course it’s an emergency.

Laborer’s often work for single digit hourly wages in triple digit temperatures.

Go figure.

So if you’re an office worker, don’t be afraid to tackle projects that involve physical effort.

Buy tools, learn to use them.

Open up your world outside the flow of electrons in your computer.

For around $1,200. a person can buy a complete set of hand tools to create and build wood furniture and all sorts of other wood-working projects.

For about $1,500 to $2k.  a person can set up a nice little tool-equipped area to work with metal.

Too expensive?

Well, compare it to your college education. How much of that knowledge (if you even remember what you learned) are you actually using?

Invest in tools and the ability to use them. It’s knowledge that can be used to help yourself, help family, friends and strangers.

It’s funny how someone who has never worked with tools will often complain how sore they got the first time they had to actually work with their hands and body.

You want a stronger mind and body?

Learn to use tools.

As Tim Taylor (Tim Allen) of the old TV show Home Improvement would say:

“More Power!”

Here’s the last video on the Jeep glove box, and then we’ll move on to other things:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAWJ9Y1GNaE

15. 1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ Glove Box Fabrication Part II

15. Part II 1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ Glove Box Fabrication

Some people visiting my site, AbilityToAdapt.com, may wonder what’s going on here.

“Isn’t this site supposed to be about training?”

Well, yes it is.

However, I figured since some low-life broke into my Jeep and stole my glove box door, rather than pay $200 for a new metal glove box, I would build it myself and record the information so that hopefully it will help someone else.

The other part of the reason for sharing my glove box rebuild is that I’m a firm believer in using tools.

If we develop abilities and skills in using tools, the mind and hands are familiar with creatively working out solutions.

And if we can do that, is learning a new skill or adapting an old skill in the training realm all that hard?

Not if we are used to using the hands and mind in creating and building!

The past years living in a city has proven interesting to me in a variety of ways.

One of which is while talking to those that work in a store, restaurant service or office environment, during the course of conversation, what my latest project is often comes up.

And it’s surprising how many times people will ask how I know how to do all those things.

They’ll mention their father never taught them how to work with tools, how to build or repair anything.

They’ll often mention they’ve had the same type of non-tool-using job their whole short life and wouldn’t have a clue of where to begin doing the things I’ve done or am working on.

Which is actually sad to me.

Learning new skills outside of our comfortable little box broadens and deepens the ability of the mind to accomplish more.

If all we’ve ever done is watch movies, play video games and work on some keyboard in our office, how are we going to improvise, adapt and overcome (IAO) challenges unless it falls into the narrow category our life has outlined for us.

People often say “Think outside the box.”

Yet how can we do that if we never get outside the box to begin with?

The key word in that saying that is often focused on is “think”.

If we’ve always had the same kind of job, the same kind of interests and never explore and get our hands dirty doing other things, how in the world are we going to IAO when situations become more challenging?

How are we going to “think” our way through a problem we’ve never seen before if we have a narrow boxed in thinking pattern?

Our ability to improvise and adapt and think outside the box has never been stretched and strengthened.

Often we hear the phrase “stronger minds mean stronger bodies” or “develop a stronger mind to develop a stronger body” or some such thing.

Are these just cute little sayings we’re bandying about?

Sadly, exposure to new ideas often occurs through some movie or video game.

Or, just as bad, from merely reading about something different.

Don’t get me wrong, reading is good, but as an ancient book said at Eccl.12:12

“… To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion to them is wearisome to the flesh.”

People often say knowledge is power.

Not true.

Knowledge is merely knowledge, an awareness of something.

Knowledge becomes power when we purposely use that knowledge to accomplish a goal.

And it’s best for all involved when  that knowledge is used for some good purpose.

I once had a little discussion with a person about people playing Nintendo’s Wii games. They actually felt such persons were pretty capable.

I was asked: “Have you ever played a Wii? You can get pretty breathless playing the games you know, and it teaches you how to use sports actions.”

Wow, we really do live in a different world, lol.

So I asked him, if you had to choose between two people to be on your team in a real sport or on a deserted island, or in some other challenging situation, who would you choose?

The Wii expert?

Or the person who had real life experience playing sports out on a field mixing it up with other people, making and using tools and having experience camping in the rough, or for example, some tough old farmer?

I know for sure I wouldn’t pick some Wii type person to be on my We Team.

Here’s a thought:

How do we learn?

Often the biggest contributor to learning is using the hands.

Think about it.

You want a stronger, more athletic body?

You want a stronger more resilient mind?

You want to create a stronger connection between the two?

Take the hands on approach to learning new skills and you’ll get a stronger mind and body.

Pick some new project, some new program, and some new skill in any area that suits you. Get your mind involved by getting your hands involved.

Get mentally physical and physically mental, if that makes sense.

You’ll be better for it.

It’s been proven that the person who writes down thoughts with pen or pencil and paper retains more than the person who taps letters on a keyboard.

Every keystroke has the same tactile feel and sound.

Every letter put to paper has a different feel to it, a different stroke, varying pressure and lifting and resettling of the writing instrument.

The pencil has a greater tactile sensation to it and the feel of the paper below the hand and the drag of the pencil or pen across the paper all serve to ingrain the skill, coupled with the smell of the pencil or ink and the smell of the paper and the sounds they create as you creatively write.

Writing or drawing with pen or pencil and paper is a physical creation in reality vs the flat, pixelated virtual reality of online typing.

Get physically involved in learning.

Here’s Part II of three parts on the glove box build, and my apologies for not getting this done last week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dza08KtOy_I

14. Jeep YJs and Fabrication

14. Jeep YJs and Fabrication

I know, I know, this is supposed to be a site about training and developing the ability to adapt.

What does fabricating a glove-box out of scrap metal have to do with anything?

Having the ability to adapt entails many things, such as forward thinking, mental plasticity and versatility. It includes the ability to improvise when what is needed is not at hand. It includes problem solving.

The list is a mile long.

Some people have it and some just don’t seem to get it.

In this case, metal fabrication involves many processes:

Forward thinking.
Measuring and calculating.
Design and layout.
Cutting or shearing.
Forming or bending.
Machining (of which drilling is a part).
Welding and problem solving throughout the entire process.
Physically and mentally manipulating various materials and tools.
Grinding, filing and finishing.

Then there is the issue of not having the right tool or tools or material to complete a particular part of the process, and this is where creative thinking and improvisation comes into play.

Developing new skills, facing new experiences and working through the whole challenge helps a person become more adaptable.

You’re forced to think on the fly.

Well, not the bug buzzing around your head!

Some people get stumped if they don’t have a particular tool or the know-how to do something. They’d just as soon as leave it to someone else to figure out.

Or pay them to do it for them.

Really, it’s no different in the training and nutrition world, lol.

Sometimes it’s better to pay an expert, but basic skills can carry over to many things.

So learn basic skills.

You can never go wrong if you invest in the right tools for building things and learn how to use them and in taking care of your mind and body.

As a mechanic once told me:

“The only difference between an expert and an amateur is the expert knows how to fix his mistakes.”

Everyone makes mistakes and for the most part it’s how we learn, at least until we get smarter.

Hopefully we’ve gotten smarter.

Some things we can learn by observing the mistakes others make so we don’t have to go down the same bone-headed path.

But some things must be developed though use.

By-and-large, facing challenges is a good thing.

We just need to be sure it’s not some life-threatening challenge because of our own or others irrational thinking and poor judgement, lol.

So why the video on building a glove-box for an old Jeep?

Well, for one thing it may help others who are in the same predicament.

It’s an opportunity to teach some persons how to use different tools and handle different materials.

It may help someone else get more creative as they watch the video, maybe even coming up with a better way of doing things than the way I did.

It’s a challenge for me to do something constructive that I haven’t done before.

It’s an opportunity to get creative, use my imagination and adapt and improvise in this particular environment.

All I’m doing is using basic skills and adapting to this particular challenge and this helps me become more valuable in helping others.

Some people may look at it with the view of “the more things I know and can do, the more capable I am and the less I need to rely on others.”

Well, that can be true, but that’s the wrong way to view it.

That’s an introverted way of looking at things.

Better to think outside of ourselves, because the more we can do the more we can help others.

Because if something happens to our family, friends or neighbors, the more capable we are the greater the chance we can do something to help.

And if all of that is just too complex, making things is just plain fun, lol.

Below you’ll find the video link.  It’s long and detailed and its Part I of, hopefully, just two parts.

So I suggest grabbing some pizza, lol and your favorite beverage. Hope you enjoy!

Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcyNWcDp43I