As this is my first blog post, I wanted it to be somewhat meaningful, useful and a bit of a story telling part with some practical points to take away for the readers if you’ve found my blog online. Let’s jump straight into it.

One of the reasons why I wanted to start a project related to the idea of “feeling alive” is because it’s one of my personal favourite life mottos. I’ll explain why and how it started. When I arrived into the UK back in 2009 and started going to a local school here in Milton Keynes, it was like a fresh new start for everything. I’ve packed my things, left home and came to a different land/different country to start from ground zero again. It was such a memorable experience! I’ve learned English from watching cartoons prior to that when I was a kid and to see and hear everything in English in person wherever I went, whatever I saw was like a “wow” factor for me, I couldn’t believe it. It was so cool! Since joining the school in Wolverton, The Radcliffe School, the people there were a starting catalyst for me to start changing, for the better. I didn’t have any money since I was dependant on my mum and couldn’t afford to go to certain sports clubs or take part in some group activities as most of it involved money, which I clearly didn’t have nor did I want to ask my mum for it. Even buying separate equipment like weights or something like that was off limits to me. It was hard making ends meet as it is. So I thought, what can I start doing that’s cheap? Running is cheap, right? Ok, let’s do that. And that was the starting point of it all.

You must of heard of ‘runners high’, right? Well, it’s true. It’s there, it exists and it’s one of the most powerful feelings ever. However, there’s better ways of doing it which I’ll explain later down the line. So, I started running, I wanted to loose weight as I was always the chubby kid in class back in Lithuania. I still remember to this day, the first probably 100m to 200m that I ran. I was gasping for air, badly. My lungs felt tight, I had ‘stiches’ or as what we say in Lithuanian, a ‘runners pump’ (a.k.a. Pompa). I was ashamed, disappointed, bitter, angry and frustrated with myself. I let myself go to such an extent that I couldn’t even do the most basic of shit. Like what the fuck?! After having several moments to reflect upon the bad habits that I’ve created and formed from years prior, I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but the burning desire and determination to change was greater than the short term pain. My palms were sweaty, knees and arms felt heavy. There was vomits on the road already, mom’s spaghetti. 

Running in a way was like a symbolism of some sorts. It was like I was running away from all of my problems, no matter how bad it got, no matter how many times it occurred, no matter how painful it was. If I had running, I had something to look forwards to to tackle the inner struggles and demons. So I ran. I ran and I ran and I ran until I could run no more. Eventually building up to distances of 1km, 2km, 5km and 10km. As the years progressed, eventually I reached the 10km mark where I was able to do the whole distance in under 1 hour. I was quite happy about that. I wanted to set myself a new challenge like never before. Could I run 10km for 30 days straight? To me at the time it seemed ludicrous. With every single step that I took past the 5km mark it always felt a bit more like mind vs body. My body was giving up already but my mind was telling me to push further. Often times feeling extremely fatigued and out of breath. Gasping for air. Even if it took me multiple shorter or longer breaks I promised myself that I will do this to prove a point to myself that I can. I was stubborn as hell. I started doing the 10km runs every single day without fail, up until the point when I reached day 7. On day 7 I stopped because I realized something. I’ve already proven a point to myself that if I wanted to I could carry on easily, because the habits and discipline were already there. I was craving results, I wanted have self-satisfaction, to be proud of oneself after genuinely putting in more work than ever before. To be able to do something that I could never ever do before that. But… there was problem. As soon as I stopped after day seven and stopped doing long distance running all together, I was unhappy. But at the same time I didn’t want to continue with it anymore because a) I proved a point to myself already and b) I didn’t get the “amazing physique” results that I thought I would in the process. You must of heard of the of famous common/folk sayings where if you want to loose weight/fat, just run. Right? Wrong. There were other factors that I didn’t understand at the time in full such as calorie deficits, the importance of sleep, recovery, nutrition and hormone regulations. The importance of having a good strong and healthy immune system, adaptation periods and more. Mind you, at that stage I ate pretty healthy already in comparison to most of my peers. Or so I thought. I had classmates taking the piss out of me in school whenever I used to rock up with my bag of apples or some kind of other fruits for school lunches. I used to bring a good 2kg to 4kg of apples daily. I was trying to set healthier habits for myself despite some downfalls from time to time and instead of eating chicken burgers or fries at school like how the rest of the majority did, I munched on these bad boys, day in and day out. Plus they were a lot cheaper from the local markets than going into Tesco’s, Asda’s and etc.

I didn’t get the full or most of the appearance results that I wanted have when looking back at everything that I did. So I picked every single thing apart, bit by bit to see where did it all go wrong. Calorie deficits was one of them. Ok, so I had to work on that, even though it was hard because I’ve always had a huge appetite and whenever I’m stressed or depressed, I reach out to food to solve all my problems. No matter what kind of food it is, I’ll just eat and mega dose on anything and everything until I have the feeling of a full stomach or being too full. Either or. Usually too full. I started diving in a bit deeper then into all sorts of sports science, fitness, training type topics to see what results people had in what areas and how can I replicate the same. I was looking for mentor ideas, solutions and perspectives. Maybe there’s something that I don’t know that someone else does know. Long distance runners upon further inspection as to how the majority of the public, top athletes, amateur athletes, semi-pro’s and etc. looked like didn’t have the traits that I was looking for. Of course some might say that you are limited as to what you can or can’t have due to your genetic expression, but I can re-assure you that even if you’re limited in something, like say height, you can always work on other aspects. There’s always something, somehow that you can improve. Like an artist in their own craft, you keep refining as time goes by. Of course some of them were very lean, most were not and it was a constant observed repeatable theme. Skinny fat of some shape or form, unless you’re more into bodybuilding or take your fitness game very seriously, then you’d be in the single body fat percentages. Regardless, that wasn’t what the majority had. What’s the point of looking at outliers if you have no guarantee if you’ll ever reach that point? It’s somewhat bias because I’m sure everyone who’s reading this has at some point in their lives thought to themselves, well it looks like it might be hard but I could do this. How many have actually achieved it? Probably very few. If you’re one of the very few, I salute you in your hard work and efforts. I had an idea of what kind of “athlete” I’d like to be if money was never an issue. I’d like to be fast, strong & explosive/powerful. Agile, fluid and adaptable. Great. What sports produced those outcomes? Rugby, running track athletes/sprinters, gymnasts, NFL players, powerlifters, calisthenics athletes from all over the world. Guys doing street workouts with whatever that they could find or use, focusing mainly on old school Rocky Balboa basic type training. Basic bodyweight movements such as pull ups, push ups, dips, squats, jumps, muscle ups, handstand walks and holds and more. One of the most under rated movements, especially between the gym goers and bro science community. And funny enough, the majority of these people had very good impressive physiques. I was onto something. I binge watched motivational YouTube videos online on calisthenics athletes day in and day out as I had problems starting and forcing myself to do even the most basic of bodyweight movements like push ups. It was hard. You’re reading about a guy that wasn’t even able to do 1 bloody pull up and used to be one of the weakest kids in the class, I couldn’t even do beyond 10 push ups without failure. How embarrassing… No wonder I got picked on and bullied in school. It was my own fault too. Take responsibility for everything in life, no matter how big or small it is. Every decision you make is all down on you. You reap what you sow.

After starting bodyweight training and unlocking my first ever pull up in full. I was euphoric to say the least! Finally after weeks if not months of trial and error, dabbling around with different reps, sets and whatever the hell that I was able to do at the time, I finally did it. My dream came true. At this point, I was fired up, I proved a point to myself in running and now I proved a point to myself in exercising harder physically (each to their own as to what you find hard in exercising). But that wasn’t enough, I wanted to push beyond that limit and see what else I could do and unlock. It seems so silly now when I’m writing this but it was a blessing in disguise which led to more experimentations and adaptation of different other movements into the training regimes later down the line that allowed me to become non-average. I hated the feeling of being average as I’ve had average results and less prior to that and it gave me no joy in life. Now, whilst trying to exert all my might onto something it felt relieving. Like a stress reliever every single time with every single set and every single rep. I started getting stronger and stronger, faster and faster and my god was it addicting. Instead of being bitter, I started becoming better. Good day, bad day, it doesn’t matter. If I focused on that one thing at a time with all my might each time, I knew all of this in the long run will pay off. No matter how long, no matter how slow, no matter how hard it gets. 

Fast track from that, I’ve dabbed around a bit more into deadlifting, heavy sled pushing, plyometric jumping and plyometric push ups and dips, resulting in movements such as triple clap behind the back push ups in one swoop without ever landing my face into the ground, not even once from the very begininng. During my first year of university at Nottingham Trent University in Clifton Campus, I started doing sprints in and out around halls. Nearly every single day, in and out, in and out, until I couldn’t walk no more and the fatigue level was unbearable. I even got nicknamed as “The Sprint Guy” from Clifton Campus. Despite the multiple health set backs and downfalls that occurred during that time and after which I’ll write about in future blog posts, I’m coming back again in full force. Maybe not at the speed that I’d like to, but getting there nonetheless.

This is the thing that I also learned and didn’t do for years prior until I dabbed around in more fitness and health related content online. I didn’t take notes or make a log book, journal or whatever other form of “tracker” to see how the progress is going and if anything needs tweaking. Thanks to content creators on YouTube from the likes Elliott Hulse, Brandon Carter, Eduard Checo (Barstarzz), Hannibal, Adam Raw, Littlebeastm, Brooklyn Tank, Vadym Oleynik, Ross Edgley, the HodgeTwins and many, many more. I’ve learned a lot and strive to keep on learning. Thanks to all the new comers in the industry as well, your inspiration was also a positive knock-on compound effect.

Thanks to the different ideas, topics and thoughts shared by these people and many more. I started dabbing around in weighted bodyweight exercises after and that was one of the final pieces of the puzzle for the “art of feeling alive”. I’ve managed to unlock higher strength levels.

Whether you’d like to admit it or not, movement is therapy and a solution to virtually nearly every single problem that you have (or close to it anyways). In one way or another, we all need it, we all crave it and can’t live without it. Have you ever seen little kids play when they’re growing up? What do they mostly do? They sprint from one place to another as fast as they can, and they scream and shout and are extremely happy doing so. This is one of the reasons why I chose to continue with sprints and to refine the craft even more. Even though I may not be a top professional level sprint athlete, I can re-assure you for someone who weighs over 100kg+ at 6 foot tall (1.83cm), being as fast as humanly possible comes in very, very handy in life. It’s a practical movement to have and to continue training further. If you’re ever in need to run away from a life and death related situation, if you’re ever in need to get somewhere really quickly and most importantly it is a form of ‘play’ when done right, same way how the kids do it too. And look at them, nearly every single child, from any community, background, race, nation, continent, culture, you name it, is always extremely satisfied to be running short, small high energy burst distances. And they feel alive! You can see it from their faces.

This is how the “art of feeling alive” was born and continued evolving as an idea or ideology. I wanted to do things that would make me feel alive. To feel like life was flowing through my veins again. The adrenaline rush, the deeper heavier breathing, the burst of energy that follows after. The sheer joy of moving in many different ways that are also beneficial in your day to day life as well. The aim of the game was to make everything more challenging. With every single rep and every single set. Every single sweat drop off your forehead, the personal deep satisfaction that you get afterwards, where you know that you’ve done everything that you could in your power for that day, for that moment, in that time with whatever that you had at hand in front of you. That is the art of feeling alive.

In a way you could say it’s also a metaphorical meaning to grit, discipline, dedication, hard work, reflecting and refining, improvement, feedback, relaxation and/or a combination of all or some if not more.

A person that is truly alive is obvious to sense and see. You can sense their aura, their unique energy in person, when you meet them, when you talk to them, when you share ideas and have conversations together. They’re glowing. They’re somehow different from the rest. They stand out instantly. They bring substance to the table. They’re energized and full of life. Words lack the ability to describe it all perhaps. Think about all the people that you’ve met in your life. There’s going to be some individuals that left long, lasting positive influences on you at some point, somehow, someway. Maybe at the time you didn’t realize it nor know how, but you have a memory of them now. They left an imprint with their presence. A positive, powerful imprint to say the least. A memory like no other.

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