The Greatest Year on Earth

The Five Points of a Fitness Year: 4.6, Life, Toolmaker, Understanding, Sea Worn Driftwood

Alright, so you may be wondering what exactly my title means. I actually came up with the five points of a fitness year back in early 2016 after listening to Nightwish’s epic track, The Greatest Show on Earth. This is an epic track with five parts, and I started wondering if I could relate this to fitness. My people back in Weirton are very familiar with the track, as I would play both Life and The Toolmaker regularly, as the two parts give me chills (as does Richard Dawkins’ statement in The Understanding) to this day, and the song has been out for over two years now.

So, what are the five parts of a fitness year? What does 4.6 mean? If you listen to The Greatest Show on Earth, 4.6 is practically a five-and-a-half-minute opening. Yes, this song has a five-and-a-half-minute intro and no, I actually don’t believe that’s a world record. But I like to relate this opening to the winter season. Why? Because in 4.6, much of the intro is rather slow, but starts to progressively get faster, faster, and faster, until Dawkins says his first piece. What happens in the winter? Some of us begin our big time, spring and summertime shred early, while many others wait until spring, or the Monday after Easter, in order to start shedding the bodyfat. Personally, I’ll do whatever my body tells me during 4.6, or better yet, the months of December, January, and February (I consider winter beginning December 1st). If my body tells me to start cutting in December, which it has done in the years 2011 and 2013, I start my cutting phase. If not, as in the year 2014, then I’ll hold off. My favorite thing about 4.6 is the build up to the next phase…Life.

Doesn’t it sound right? Spring equals life, so my second phase naturally has to be Life. Starting March 1st and ending May 31st, Life is practically the beginning. “The cosmic law of gravity pulls the newborns around the fire” can just be interpreted in so many ways from a fitness sense. For one, it can mean one lighting their metabolism ablaze, which they should be working on during 4.6, whether it’s a bulk or a shred. Once Life hits, you better be in a shred phase, or close to. The weather is warmer, the days are longer, that Ice Queen named winter is no longer covering the earth with a breathtaking cloak, the trees have budded, and you better be on your way to something phenomenal. If not, then what are you waiting for? Light up that metabolism, get moving more, and start really pushing it. Do you know what I love about the Life Phase? We can start to get out and do more outdoor activities. We have a track, a neighborhood, a wooded or forested trail, places to go, people to meet on Mulberry Street, a voice for the trees, are you getting my point? Hey, I love trails, and the forest is indeed my throne, my natural home, and a place where the Elvenpath was born. So, I’ll follow Tapio, ruler of the forest, and his lovely wife, Mielikki, and get my much-needed cardio in the cradle of nature. And when you’re in Pittsburgh, there is plenty of scenery like this. Shred up while viewing the calming scenery and silence within the sheltering shades of the forest.

What comes next? It is the phase of The Toolmaker. So, what exactly is The Toolmaker? In The Greatest Show on Earth, it is the dawn of humankind. It gave birth to poetry, idolatry, and the God of gaps. In fitness, it means the summertime shred should be in full force. So, I know we all love our summertime concerts from country music bands where the majority of the crowd is unaware the genre’s origins has Celtic-pagan roots, but that’s none of my business. What is my business is the fitness business and helping save America from a continuous timeline of yo-yo dieting, where one watches their weight go up and down for sometimes decades. Well, since The Toolmaker phase covers the months June, July, and August, the hottest months of the year, do yourself a favor and get in as much physical activity as possible. And guys, during those Fourth of July Parties, celebrate your independence by being independent. What I mean by this statement is to not conform to your family’s cultural norms and just be you. By that I mean if it’s workout time, you go workout! The sun should be out, and so should those major guns you’ve been working hard to show off during 4.6 and Life. So, if it’s an arm party, you better be in that gym in the morning before the festivities. If you have to do cardio during the festivities, you do cardio and just because it’s a holiday, don’t skip out. If your excuse is that it’s too dark that night to workout, I’m calling you out, because haven’t you ever seen the movie, The Sandlot? Fourth of July Party, kids are playing baseball that night because the sky is lit up with fireworks. Man, I love that movie, especially in the summer. So, here are your choices: either shred your body to where the body fat percentage is so low, you can say ‘you were here’ or let it go to waste by attending concerts, parties, and other events while forgetting about your fitness and pre-maturely putting body fat you worked so hard to lose during the other two phases and you can say ‘you were here.’ Because, after this, we need to have an Understanding.

Then the piano solo starts back up again, with some supplementation from the Ullian Pipes from the talented Troy Donockley. Then Richard Dawkins starts back up with his best solo ever, stating that although we will pass on one day,

“That makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The number of potential people that could have been here in my place, far outnumber the sand grains of the Sahara.”

Read over that quote a few more times, because I want that to really ring a bell. When I call this phase The Understanding, I really want it to be an understanding. We need to understand something, and that something is that during the months of September, October, and November, we just went eight months, since January, and either made it, or didn’t make it, to this phase. If we made it, we need to understand that we can only get better from here on out. If we slipped up once more, I really want you to take this quote to heart. Most people are never going to be born. Do you realize what this statement means? So many of us think down on ourselves. We all think we’re born losers, or just born to pay taxes and die. We always get these negative thoughts, with that evil voice telling us we cannot withstand the storm. We forget to realize that we are the storm. Look, we have a one in three-hundred and sixty-million shot at just being born. Yet here we are, the winners of the lottery of life, against all odds, we’re here.

Dawkins finishes his quote as,

“How dare we complain about returning to that prior state, to which the vast majority have never stirred.”

I think our lives serve a purpose, and a fitness-oriented life makes that purpose all the more worthwhile. It matters not who we are or what we do, but being fitness-oriented will help us succeed at a much better, faster rate. Why? It is because we’re disciplined, and we learn that through our fitness lifestyle. So, whenever you feel down on yourself, remember a few things:

  • We’re all way more valuable than we think we are.
  • We have more potential than we could ever realize.
  • We’re all unique in our own way, and through that uniqueness, we can find ways to better ourselves. Never allow society force you to conform to social norms.
  • If we won the lottery of birth, our lives do indeed serve a purpose. You aren’t here just to pass by, pay taxes, die, and move on to what’s next. We’re in physical form because we do serve a purpose to this fallen world.
  • We can stand up and fight any challenge thrown in our direction, we just have to realize we can do so, and realize our true power. I really, really believe there are people out here who want to make us feel as though we are powerless, but we really do possess more power than we believe. We need to realize we’re just as powerful as the politicians who believe they can control our lives through laws, but the only laws we must abide to are the laws of nature. We need to never forget that.


So, what exactly is the final phase in the fitness year? It is the final piano solo in the song, where it is declared that “Endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have, and are being, evolved.” Now, while I neither believe in evolution nor do I believe in a four point six-billion-year Earth, I do love this statement. So, what do I perceive evolution to be? For me, evolution is simply our own physical changes throughout the course of our life, or in this sense, our own fitness year in our fitness calendar. So, the fifth part here is simply going to be called Sea-Worn Driftwood. And that, my friends, is the Holiday Season, extending from the fourth Thursday in November to New Year’s Eve. It’s an awkward month for most of us, but for me, it is the final stretch in the year, a last chance, in other words, to put my body on the path I on which I want it to be. So, while everyone else finds an excuse to celebrate during the final few weeks of the year, I’ll be in the gym, working with myself and with others on battling it out until my annual Midnight Madness workout at midnight on December 24th, my third favorite day of the year, next to October 31st (Halloween), and December 21st (Keep your eye on the sky, Odin is leading a Wild Hunt)!

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