What's Your "Y"
Justin Friedman, Pro Baseball
How has your sport journey evolved?
"My journey through sports and fitness is one that is constantly evolving. The quote that comes to mind in response to this is from Bruce Lee:
'Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.'
I think over the years the biggest change for me has been optimization of everything and how deliberate each rep has become."
What (or who) has been your main source of motivation or inspiration?
"I draw inspiration from everywhere. Baseball is the art form through which I express myself and is something I have always felt called to do since as early as I can remember.
What is the biggest mental challenge you've had to face in your sport and how have you conquered that?
"In my experience, it isn't so much weathering one storm that is the hard part; the real challenge lies in taking beating after beating and continuing to get back up.
As Winston Churchill said,
'Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
Consistency in the face of so many unpredictable obstacles is the real challenge, not any one difficult event because frankly there have been far too many to count or list.
For me, remaining consistent means that I can separate the task at hand from how I am feeling without invalidating the pain I am experiencing."
What do you do to make sure you're physically and mentally prepared for a game?"In short, everything--studying film, reading research, training, getting good sleep, recovery, nutrition, the list goes on. Every day is designed around optimizing performance and making sure that I have done everything in my power to go out there and perform to the best of my abilities."
Describe your recovery strategies. How do you know if those recovery strategies are working?
"People often treat recovery like a scheduled appointment when in reality there are so many things that go into it--a good night's sleep being one of the most underrated. I can not really isolate one aspect of my recovery and say that it is the key for me because I truly believe it is the combination of everything done religiously and adapted as necessary.
Stim, sauna, ice baths, contrast, nutrition, myofascial release, sleep, meditation, mobility sessions, workload management, etc. all play their part in making sure that I can push myself further than my competition because I can recover better.
Overtime, the gap between those who recover well and those who don't gets exponentially larger because while you're still sore and beat up I will be out there working."
What's Your "Y"?
"Well for starters my family has done so much to provide me with the opportunity to pursue my dreams and I am motivated every day to give them a return on their investment in me.
At the core of it for me, though, is the endless pursuit of mastery. With each level you progress to a whole new world of information opens up to you."
What keeps you going and training as hard as you do?"There is always more to learn and ways to get better and I love the process of unlocking my utmost potential. Perfection is unattainable, but pursuing it anyways and seeing just how close you can get is not. That is what I am after; I want to discover just how much I am capable of doing."
Where do you see yourself as an athlete in 5 years?
"This question is so important to me because it is asked so often in interviews and I used to hate answering it. My real answer is this: I don't. If my career thus far has taught me anything it is that putting a timeline on your journey is pointless. I know where I am going and I know that I will get there. When I get there are so many factors outside of my control and the "how" is constantly evolving and adapting to circumstances and new information as well. If I were to put a timeline on my achievements and then not accomplish them within that self-imposed constraint then it would be easy to see that as a failure when in reality all it means is that I did not reach my goal by some arbitrary expiration date that I never should have set in the first place.
So I really have no clue where I will be in precisely 5 years, but I do know who I am and where I am headed. I'm sure the route and plan will change a lot along the way, but I will arrive one way or another!"