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  • Jeremy Likness

Halfway to Nowhere

I hit a major milestone yesterday. I made it to the midpoint of my new workout plan. I started out with a goal to do several workouts in a row, but after experiencing some soreness and joint pain I realized I fare much better when alternating the workouts with cardio days. I called this milestone "halfway to nowhere" because the goal is arbitrary. To get from point A to B, you always have to cross at least half the distance. Of course, if you keep going halfway, you'll never reach the destination.


The trick is to aim for point C beyond point B. So, I always set goals that overreach a bit and then progress to them before changing the plan. I also make sure to celebrate my progress.


Here is a side-by-side snapshot of my first and most recent workout. I'm at 110 burpees per workout and will increase that to 120 by the end of the plan.

Not a bad progression! I've come quite far. I built the program by starting at the end and working backwards. I wanted to be able to do several one-armed push-ups, one-legged squats, and to be able to hold a handstand for a minute, so I built a progression from my starting ability to my goal. Here's something I never imagined I'd be capable of doing:

What's really nice about the workouts I'm doing is the fact they can be done almost anywhere. The only exercise I'm sometimes challenged to get done is pull-ups. Otherwise, a hotel room, kitchen floor, or patch of driveway are all sufficient "gyms" to get my workout done. A lot of the exercises are designed to combat Parkinson's Disease symptoms. For example, balance is an issue, so I incorporate exercises and stretches that require balance. Here are some one-legged squats.

Every morning I write down my exercises on a whiteboard for easy reference while I'm working out. My wife works out in our downstairs "gym" too. When I went down the other day, I found this surprise on my whiteboard!

A special note from my wife

Beast Mode! I love it. I also enjoy making those green checkmarks for every workout I complete.


It feels like it was years ago that I thought, "I wonder how many burpees I can do in a day." Now I do over one hundred every workout. I want to emphasize that I didn't start out with that goal. I took a challenge and it was so empowering I used it to create the next one. I recently had an epiphany when I realized all of my consistent training has revolved around goals. In 2000, when I lost over 65 pounds and became a top 2000 finisher among over 1 million contestants in a physique transformation competition, the goal was the challenge. When I shifted from bodybuilding to distance running, the goal was the race. Now the goal is a moving target: stay ahead of Parkinson's Disease.


Community


I joined a local group for Young Onset Parkinson's Disease shortly after I was diagnosed. The pandemic struck about the same time. Fortunately, the group adapted quickly and organized some online video calls where I got to meet and collaborate with others who are dealing with the disease. Of course, video is nothing like being in person, so I was very happy for the opportunity to meet with the group outside at Kubota Garden. The group was very careful and split people into smaller groups of around five to honor social distancing and minimize direct contact. We were fortunate to get paired with a couple who lives in our hometown.


It was an overcast day but the leaves had all just turned colors and provided a beautiful contrast as you can see in this Instagram post.


Fundraising Update


I started a fundraiser earlier this year with the lofty goal of raising $15k for Parkinson's Disease research by the end of the year. I am overwhelmed by the amazing response from the community at large. I was touched when my mom, daughter and son-in-law all donated as a gift for my birthday. Due to so much generosity, I've raised over $10,000 dollars and am now less than $5k from my goal. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.


I recognize that giving is highly personal and motivated by beliefs and circumstances. If you are passionate about contributing to supporting those who have been negatively impacted or displaced by the pandemic, by all means do so! If you find you have the means and would like to contribute to a foundation that is dedicated to putting themselves out of business by finding a cure for Parkinson's Disease, consider donating here.


💡 Tip: if your work matches donations and you have to contribute through their portal, most of the time you are able to leave a comment or remark as part of your contribution. If you mention "Blog Fundraiser" and the link (https://fundraise.michaeljfox.org/tf-2020/strengthwithparkinsons) I'll get credit. I'm fine either way because it all ends up in the same place for the same great cause.


Gratitude


My heart remains full of gratitude. I may have faced major challenges this year, but I've also received amazing blessings. I'm thankful for a wonderful job with great colleagues, new friendships in our church and neighborhood, a strong relationship with my wife that grows every year, wonderful children who have grown up to be amazing adults, and my general health which besides a few ornery cells that are on strike from producing dopamine is doing great at the moment. My relationship with Jesus is strong and I look forward to returning to see my church family in person soon.


I will close by sharing an amazing day I experienced not long ago. I woke up to this amazing sunrise:

Sunrise and a planet low on the horizon

And as if that wasn't enough, this is how the day ended. Same tree, same direction, but a completely different view. How beautiful!


Sunset illuminating purple clouds

We live on a beautiful planet! God's handiwork is everywhere you look. That's why I'm not stressed about the election, because I know that neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden are in charge. God is, and he has our back.


Regards,



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