Stillness and Connectedness 

It is so interesting to see the ongoing assault proclaiming value (or lack there) of social media, importance  (or lack there) of technology in th classroom, greatness (or lack there) of connectedness, vitalness (or lack there) of access, etc..

I have long been done with both sides. Entrenched ideology is scary and both are so buried they are blinded and continue doubling down.

And this leaves a generation of youth lost. One side marvels at our technological creation. One side longs to return to a time that is gone. In particular, schools continue archaic ways and absolute positions at the expense of innovation.

I seek is meaningful, thoughtful directions that are bold but done with a spirit larger than one moment, issue, item. I want mindfulness, mindsets, and wellness to be our unifier. I hope for purpose, a purpose larger than personal interest masquerading as greater good. 

Until then, this gets my attention because it is a crossroads for human potential. Until then, I’ll find stillness in craziness. Until then, my energy is my soul. 

And I hope the words like Pico Iyer move us not towards an absolute or entrenched ideology but towards how to make the present meaningful and powerful: “Not many years ago, it was access to information and movement that seemed our greatest luxury; nowadays it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize”.

Live. Laugh. Love.

100 Day Mindset Challenge

I’m obsessed with the potential of mindsets on human performance and potential. No… not the singular notion of “growth” mindset but rather the various mindsets we cultivated through experiences, skill development, and disposition frameworks. 

Born from this passion is an idea to challenge my kids over the next 100 days to dive a bit more deeply into their mindsets. 

Process

I leave my children a note each day that is food for their development. This has shown to significantly mold their thinking and actions. However, I wanted to simplify and amplify this in a bit of a different way. Thus, the 100 day challenge.

  • Each day, I will leave them a baseball card that was created from a meaningful Instagram post focused on mindsets
  • Each baseball card has the Instagram post on one side and a challenge on the opposite
  • On the challenge side, there is room for their thoughts and determined action
  • Over the 100 days, they will have 100 challenges added to their ring along with their thoughts.
  • For the remaining 265 days of this year, they will work on those challenges by randomly or purposefully selecting a card daily.

Drop the Ego to Connect and Grow

Maybe it was my Grandpa Thomson, the greatest story spinner I know. Perhaps it is my dad, the best conversation seeker I know. Or maybe my mentor Jeff Johnson, the most masterful connector I know. Most most likely, all three instilled in me a sense of childlike wonder that seeks out the wisdom of all those around me.

Life is so much about these connections and the energy each offers. I know that I am who I am today and I grow better daily BECAUSE of every person I encounter. These people offer insights that level up my mind, body, and heart on the journey for the creation of my best self.

It takes an unselfish, giving spirit. It takes listening skills. It takes an open heart and an open mind.  But it starts perhaps with dropping the ego and building the confidence that you only look foolish when your mindset is closed and fixed.

Olympic Coach Sommers said, "If you want to be a stud later, be a pud now". I must be well on my way because I constantly put myself in situations where I look and am a pud. _______ This picture means everything to me. Today, I learned so much. This day was about soaking up every piece of knowledge possible. Not just in words and teachings but in actions, approach, mindset, and outlook. It isn't about the weight, lifting, or ego. This is about learning, growing, friendship, and life. These moments are priceless and shape our very being long after the sport has passed us. Find and experience these pieces of life as much as possible. They are the essence of joy. ______ Thank you @fattestillinoislifter not only for identifying my areas of needed growth and showing me progressions to build upon, but for your mindset and passion. The athletes at Barbell Central@ are amazing with such wisdom but Barzeen, you my friend, are other level in terms of spirit, kindness, and wisdom. I hope I can somehow return the love! ______ #livelaughlove #mindset #growth #lift #lifting #BigvsSmall #ISuckatHeavy #crossfit #powerlifting #training #community #learn #lesson #Levelup #neverdone #CheckOutOurCalves #genetics

A post shared by Ryan Bretag (@ryanbretag) on

Olympic Coach Sommers calls it being a pud: “If you want to be a stud later, be a pud now”. Egotistical people don’t have the confidence to be a pud, to recognize how much growth from others is possible, and to maintain a beginner’s mindset, a child-like wonder. Confidence is knowing you can do anything BUT understanding that means in part being open to learning from everyone and anyone.

Michael Strahan said one of his keys to success is knowing that “help will come from the most unexpected places. Be open to everything around you”. To see, however, means letting go of the blinding nature of ego.

Why I CrossFit

I walked into one of my therapist who hasn’t seen me since the summer and she said, “wow… you look different!” My stomach dropped and the look on my face must have been horrifying.

She quickly explained that in the past, it was clear that I was a “body builder who spent time sculpting the body” but now ” you look more like an athlete, a pro baseball player”. And as we talked more and more, the discussion was about CrossFit and this new adventure of mine.

Why CrossFit, Ryan?

I’m an athlete is the short answer. I’m an athlete focused on human performance and developing habits, skills, and dispositions though diverse experiences. I’m always seeking the next challenge and next opportunity for growth in this area as well as the athletic mindset. That is the somewhat longer answer.
Really. Why CrossFit, Ryan?

The full story is a bit longer. When I awoke in my 30s to find my athletic self gone, I returned to my roots: athletics and fitness. 

Bigger. Faster. Stronger. These were the words that guided my youth and early adulthood, one that was highly focused on athletics and human performance. But competition fueled that engine: football, baseball, basketball, powerlifting, and a taste of bodybuilding. 

So being in my mid 30s, I saw a simple connection: bodybuilding. I set my target and went to work. In two years, I did fairly well ending on the national stage as a physique competitor. But here is the truth:

  1. I didn’t feel athletic
  2. I didn’t feel healthy
  3. I didn’t feel functional
  4. I didn’t feel good

This isn’t about that sport, which I will forever hold close to my heart. It is about ultimately my heart and soul always longing for a sport that 

  • Wants an array of atheletic abilities
  • Focuses on intense training that comes from as many angles as possible
  • Attacks the human condition from all angles: body, mind, heart, and self.
  • Honors the jack of all trades athlete 
  • Challenges you mentally and physically
  • Forces you to constantly grow and acquire more skills, techniques, and experiences from every source possible
  • Thrives on hard work, multiple sessions training 
  • Designs nutrition protocols for peak athletic performance and overall wellness more than physical transformation 
  • Targets mentally and physically, hyper competitive athletes 
  • Evolves as human performance and capacity evolves
  • Pushes you outside of the comfort zone of  a singular idea and mandates well-rounded, diverse experiences 
  • And the list goes on…

So it wasn’t surprising that my path crossed with Crossfit; it, however, surprising that it didn’t occur earlier. 

I didn’t understand CrossFit. No. I was ignorant of it. I thought it was a) a program for off-season athletes b) a sport that was kind of like weightlifting. 

But as I trained for my physique shows, I had five different people from far different walks in life mention to me that I was built for and trained like a CrossFitter. I vowed to give it a try at some point.

Then, Colorado. I spent a considerable amount of time there between two national shows this past summer where I was exposed to the philosophy and underpinnings of it. I spent time experiencing it. I fell for it and decided that after the summer, I would get off the stage and try it.

In my short time with it, I can only say two things

  1. Where have you been all my life
  2. I’ve found my sport! (Yeah… too old and too late but better late than never!)

What I’ve Also Found: A Different Option than the Traditional Gym for many People

The real magic is what it means for fitness no matter who you are nor what your goals. 

For obvious reasons, traditional gyms are the choice for many looking to get healthy and fit. The lure of a plethora of equipment, tons of weight, galleries of machines, and all the bells and whistles just sucks people in to the world that we’ve all been told is the solution. But that story plays out over and over for many. These items guarantee you nothing and leave many bored, confused, frustrated, intimidated, and ultimately unsuccessful. Many quit saying “I don’t have time”, “I wasn’t seeing results…”, “I was bored/lost/etc.” or “I felt stupid”

CrossFit is a CURE

Then there is CrossFit boxes. Of all the reasons people tell me why they give up, CrossFit boxes counter this with 

  1. Community and Coaches
  2. Utility and Usefulness
  3. Resources and Results
  4. Energy and Excitement 

Sharing Gift of Wellness; Cereal Celebration Menu

I continue to riff on the idea of spreading the gift of wellness via acts of kindness and play. Modeling in action and speaking about it only go so far. Immersing people into experiences are where change is likely to occur: Acts of Kindness + Great Attitude = Positive Change. 


Today, we tackled breakfast and the default of many working adults: either skipping it entirely or eating something quick (and perhaps too often unhealthy). And cereal becomes one such default if kids are in the mix. 


This is the menu shared with colleagues today at our Quest Cereal Celebration. People of all different ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels enjoyed this experience and shared how the food was surprisingly good! Hopefully, this gives these tremendous colleagues other options for them, their family, and their friends!


The Menu

A. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal

  1. Chop up two Quest Nutrition Beyond Cereal cinnamon roll bar into 30 pieces each and place in a bowl 
  2. Pour Almond Milk, Fairlife Milk, or MuscleEgg vanilla in a bowl
  3. Sprinkle with Cinnamon 
  4. Enjoy!!

Macros (w Muscleegg) Cal: 360 Pro: 49 Carbs: 36 (6 net) Fat: 9

 B. Waffle Sticks

  1. Slice a Quest Beyond Cereal Maple bar in three
  2. Fill a ramekins with sugar free syrup
  3. Dip and eat

Macros: Cal: 110 Pro: 12 Carbs: 17 (3 net) Fat: 4.5

C. Protein Hot Chocolate

  1. Heat up water (or aforementioned milk)
  2. In a shaker, put one serving of Quest Nutrion chocolate protein with 16oz hot liquid.  
  3. Shake and pour into 2-4 mugs 
  4. Shave pieces of a Quest Nutrition S’mores protein bar into each cup 

Macros (w water and without bar shavings) Cal: 110 Pro: 23 Carbs: 4 (2 net) Fat:0

D. Blueberry Muffins

  1. Cube a Quest Nutrition blueberry muffin bar into 6-8 pieces 
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Place  piece on baking sheet for 3 minute, flip, and bake for another 3-5 minutes

Macros  Cal: 190 Pro: 21 Carbs: 22 (5 net) Fat: 6

E. Cookie Jar Cereal

  1. Chopped the Quest Beyond Cereal chocolate bar into 32 pieces and place in a bowel
  2. Microwave Quest chocolate chip bar for 10 sec, break into 12 pieces, roll into balls
  3. Bake rolled balls for 5 min at 350 degrees
  4. Place the baked cookies into the bowl with Beyond Cereal bar
  5. Pour 3/4c of liquid in the bowl and sprinkle with cocoa 
  6.  Place bowl in fridge for 3-5 minutes
  7. Pull bowl out and pour remaining 1/4c of liquid in bowl.
  8. Boom!!!

Macros (w Muscleegg) Cal: 440 Pro: 58 Carbs: 41 (8 net) Fat: 10