The Power of Words…

Words…Oh how powerful they are! They can lift us up, tear us down, bring out emotion and turn our lives around. When put together in a rhyme, they can be beautiful or sad or angry. When strung together in a cohesive story, they can paint a picture in our minds.

Words…So powerful and strong.

Today, I want to talk about two words in particular: Gain and Loss.

Those two words can have so many different meanings and can generate so many emotions. To gain money is a wonderful thing. To post a loss in finances is bad. The famous phrase: “What good is it to gain the world but lose your soul?” Generally, Gain is good and Loss is bad.

Except when your journey is weight loss. Then it’s the opposite.

But yet, I still hear people saying “OH MY GOD! I’ve been so damn diligent on my diet and I’ve only lost 1 pound this week!” or “I’ve been on this diet for a month and I’ve only lost four pounds!”

In saying these types of things, you are stripping these very powerful words of their power. That, my friends, is NOT a good thing. You see, you’re stripping them of their power but only on the surface. In reality what you’re doing is distorting their power. The word Loss still has its power but instead of relishing in this one situation when Loss is a good thing, you’ve mutated it into being a bad thing. Instead of having its power to encourage and motivate, it now discourages.

And, continued thinking like that WILL lead to giving up.

Let this word have its positive powers! LOSS! SO powerful, so wonderful. So, you lost one pound in a week? You’re still better than you were last week! So you “only” lost four pounds in the month? YOU’RE FOUR POUND LIGHTER THAN YOU WERE LAST MONTH!!! Celebrate! Rejoice! You are WINNING!!

And, this poor word that spends 99% of its time being a terrible thing? It will get to be the positive thing it wants to be!

Until next time — Rejoice in the journey, my friends….

Suddenly, Everything Changes

You’re fat. You’re obese. You’re chubby. Yes, these are not the politically correct terms for being “overweight” but let’s get real. I won’t say we’ve all been described by those terms but I know I have. And then, you make a life change. And those terms no longer apply. The world doesn’t see you in the same light. And you don’t see yourself in that light, either.

Suddenly, everything changes.

I’m not saying it’s an instant change. Oh no, as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, you’ll be thin and in shape and still seeing yourself in the mirror as a “chub”. Then, it will hit you. In my case it sort of hit me all at once. I am better than I was.

Suddenly, the things I previously accepted as the best that I could get weren’t good enough. That food I ate that I LOVED now tasted like dog crap. That job I had that was hard to even motivate myself to go to, wasn’t good enough. The weight loss I’d managed wasn’t good enough. I didn’t need to lose more weight. I needed to do something even better with my new body. I needed to get sculpted, become “built”. And so my views turned. I adjusted my daily workout. I started studying bodybuilding. And I’ve started to see results.

You see, when you’ve accomplished what I pray you all will accomplish along with me, you suddenly realize that there’s nothing you can’t do.

And, just as suddenly, you have the energy and drive to do it!

change

You’ll look at the things, attitudes, situations and even the people in your life and see them with new eyes. Then, I imagine, once you’re really “built”, you’ll have even a keener eye. A keener attitude and outlook.

And, in my opinion, all those things that you see in a different light, that you no longer deem worthy, should be removed.

I know that sounds cold but hear me out here. All those things that you no longer view as worthwhile additions to your life contributed to what you USED to be. Remove them, discard them. Be HAPPY with everything you see around you. You’ve earned that. And, when you look at your life, I sincerely hope you see this:

 

mephobia

 

Until Next Time – Stay Awesome!

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better…

I see it literally every day at the gym. There’s a guy who has clearly worked his ass off to get “jacked”. He’s got the huge arms, the six pack abs, the monstrous legs. He’s worked his ass off day in and day out to get himself like that. Maybe he’s using steroids, maybe he’s not. Either way, he looks like a Greek God and he works out like one. He’s benching HUGE amounts of weight like you and I would pick up a piece of paper. No, he is NOT showing off. He’s doing what he does. He’s doing what he did to get that way in the first place. And, over there? Joe Average. He’s the guy who’s just starting on his journey. He really can’t handle very much weight. He really can’t handle very many reps. He doesn’t have the body of a Greek God, his is more soft. Quite a bit more flabby. But there he is, working out nonetheless.

Then, he looks over at the Greek God. And his hand reaches for his own weights. He jacks that puppy up another 20 pounds and, with all his remaining strength, he lifts the weights skyward. “I can do this”, he thinks. He barely manages his way through one reasonably well-positioned rep. Time for rep two! Once again, the weights head toward the gym roof. He gets them about half way to their goal.

And then he hears and feels a “pop”. His right arm goes dead. The weight crashes down, barely missing crushing his chest. And, just like that, his workout regime is as dead as his arm. He tore a ligament or a tendon. He overworked his already tired muscles. And now, for probably a month or more, he won’t be lifting anything heavier than a scrap of paper. And, even that, with an effort.

Why would anyone do that you ask? Simple. Ego. Plain, stupid ego. Mr. Average looked at the Greek God and thought to himself “Man, I can’t let some other dude show me up like that!” When the reality of it was that “Greek God” wasn’t showing ANYONE up. He was just doing what he does. He was working out to keep the body that he created. And Mr. Average might have had that same body or even better if he hadn’t let his foolish pride get a hold of him. Maybe “GG” was actually having an off day. Maybe he was actually lifting LESS than usual and feeling shitty about it. Or, maybe he was just about to achieve a personal goal and he was personally proud of it. Whatever he was doing, it has NOTHING to do with what you’re doing.

competition 2

That is a VERY simple concept but yet so hard to get through to some people. Don’t compete with the Greek God. Don’t compete with the perfect, Barbie Doll at the gym. COMPETE WITH YOURSELF! Instead of looking at the person next to you, look in the mirror. Envision yourself yesterday. Envision what you did yesterday. Now, beat that. Ever so slightly, beat that. Don’t go off a cliff beating it. Just beat it a little. Then do the same thing the next day. Beat yesterday’s you.

You know what will happen if you do that? Quite possibly, at some point in the future, you’ll see some guy reaching for his weights and you’ll be thinking “Wow, that guy doesn’t look like he can handle that much weight!” And then, as that guy crashes to the ground in pain, you’ll realize that he was looking at YOU just before he upped his weights to way too high…

 

Until Next Time – Stay Strong and Focused.

Gonna Slap That Taste Out of Your Mouth!

Many many years ago, the food industry discovered something amazing. If they could make your food taste good, you’d buy it. And usually in mass quantities. They also had to make it look good but that wasn’t quite as important. There were study groups done. People were brought in to taste the food and give feedback. How does it taste? What do you think of the appearance? There was, however, a notable exception to the feedback they sought. “How does it make you feel?” “Is it good for you?”

The term “Blind Taste Test” was coined. And the marketing world rejoiced! They discovered a very simple thing. Appeal to one of the senses and people will want that sense appeased again and again. If someone made a specific consistency of poo and made it particularly tasty, people would pay to eat it. Now that may be a bit of an extreme example but it essentially is the basis for all of the junk food on the market. No better example of this exists than McDonald’s. Allow me to share a personal experience. About a year and a half ago, which happens to coincide with the very last time I ever ate fast food, I’d forgotten to prepare my lunch for work. I wasn’t into healthy eating yet. I figured, what the heck, I’ll grab Mickey D’s for lunch. Now, at that time, I hadn’t had fast food for lunch in a while. Not for the sake of health but for the sake of economy. I was bringing leftovers for lunch to save money. So, that day, I drove over to the Mickey D drive-thru and ordered up an old favorite, two double cheeseburgers, small fries and a large Diet Coke. YUM! Lunch was served! I sat in my car and delighted in the greasy goodness. Then I took the remnants of my large soda and returned to work. Sitting at my desk, with a ton of work in front of me, I discovered something that was truly eye-opening (or eye-closing as you will see). I felt like crap. Suddenly I was tired. I had the after lunch drag like I hadn’t had in months. I actually felt my eyes closing a couple of times. In case anyone didn’t know, falling asleep on the job is NOT a good thing! I started thinking about why I was so damn sleepy. I’d actually gotten a pretty good night’s sleep the night before. I eliminated every possible contributing factor but one. That garbage I’d put in myself at lunch was actually performing the opposite task of what food is supposed to do. Rather than fueling my body, it was draining my body. I visualized my system looking at this glob of useless crap and thinking “What the hell am I supposed to do with this??” “Hey brain? Do you recognize this stuff? No? Stomach? Do you? No?” You get the picture. I think my body was using all of its available energy trying to figure out what to do with the non-useful calories I’d just supplied it.

That was a bit of an epiphany for me. My mother, though not in any way practiced in the arts of proper eating, had a saying she would throw out fairly often. “Eat to live, don’t live to eat”. That moment when I’d eaten the double garbage burgers was the moment when I truly knew the meaning of that saying. Food is NOT intended to satisfy any of your senses. Of course, I get that it’s easier to eat something if it has a good smell, taste, texture, etc… BUT that is not its primary purpose. Food’s entire reason for existence is to fuel your body. Now, you have a choice. You can pull up to the pump and fill your main vehicle with the cheapest, lowest grade fuel out there and end up with knocking, pinging and, eventually a blown engine. Or you can choose premium. And therein lies the comparison to our cars and our bodies. A car is, in many cases, the second biggest financial investment we will make. We pamper it, we give it the specific fuel it needs. We change the oil and use the best oil we can get. We wash it, detail it. We make sure that baby purrs like a kitten. But the one body we were given, the body that we have to live with our whole lives, we treat like it’s disposable. If it tastes good, we’ll shove it in our mouths. Look below, and tell me if you can identify this:

cocoa

Grab a hold of that and have yourself a good, long taste! That, my dear readers, is chocolate in its raw form. The chocolate manufacturers knew that you’d never buy THAT! So, they cook it up, process it, color it and load that puppy FULL of processed sugar! Now, there’s something that people will eat! Oh wait! Let’s form it into nice little shapes so it’s kind of cool looking. There we go:

chocolate-bar

Nice! people are going to buy the shit outta THAT! What? Nutritional value? Well, it had some before we processed it but who cares about that? This shit TASTES good!

Back to my car comparison. if someone came up with a gasoline that smelled like roses, had a rich, golden appearance and even felt good but would blow your engine in 30K miles, would you use it? I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t. But that standard doesn’t hold true for our own, precious bodies.

C’mon, people! THINK about what you’re putting in yourself! There are a TON of options that actually taste good, feel good, look good AND are good for you. It’s just a matter of adjusting your tastes. Which, by the way, is something that can be done with consistency. I used to be a freak about donuts. Dunkin’, Krispy, Entemann’s it didn’t matter. Donuts were life for me. Today, a year plus after I worked on changing my perceptions of food, I look at a donut and get zero cravings. In some way they now repulse me. You can get there, too. Just start thinking about every thing that you are putting in your mouth. Ask yourself “What am I getting out of this?” If the answer is just “It tastes good” or “It smells good” then don’t eat it. Get something that tastes good, smells good AND can fuel you properly. Go for Premium instead of Regular. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

Eat to live, don’t live to eat

Until next time, stay strong

You Say You Want a Resolution?

Ladies & Gentlemen, they’re gone. The Resolutionaries are gone. Just like that, February left us and, with it, the fakers. Now, that is a very judgmental way to describe them, I know but the reality is, that’s what they are. These are the people that made a resolution on New Year’s Eve to get fit and lose weight in the New Year. They came equipped with their fad diets, pricey workout clothes and a wide eyed “Deer in the headlights” look. Some of them went to the only piece of equipment they vaguely recognized, the treadmill, and started running as fast as they could….for all of two minutes. Some of them just wandered around the gym with no idea what to do. They go from one piece of equipment to the next with no earthly idea how to operate it. Then, after a few early morning sessions at the gym, they wake up to their 4:30 alarm, hit the snooze button and say “I just don’t feel like going to the gym today.”

reward

These people come specifically to Planet Fitness because they don’t have to sign a contract. They’re paying month to month so they can just cancel at any time. There’s zero commitment. Why do I get judgmental about them you ask? Because if you’re going to make a resolution, KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU’RE RESOLVING TO DO! If I buy something for $20 (the current monthly Planet Fitness charge) I would insist on having the directions for use and reading them. Planet Fitness goes one better than that. They actually offer, for free, someone to walk you through the use of the machines! But the faker Resolutionaries don’t use that resource. They know what they’re doing!

In reality, they have no clue what they’re doing but they’re not invested enough to learn. Getting fit is a commitment. A lifetime commitment that cannot be taken too lightly. The Resolutionaries don’t know that and aren’t willing to learn. I’ve always said there’s a huge difference between stupid and ignorant. Ignorant is you don’t know. Stupid is you’re not willing to learn. The fakers are the ones not willing to learn and there are many of them.

Another sure sign of a Resolutionary is the ones sitting on a piece of equipment and texting or browsing the internet rather than working out. They are the ones getting in the way of those that really ARE trying. And that’s just wrong. If 1000 people come to the gym after a New Year’s resolution, probably 75% of them won’t make it through February. I have no basis in fact for those numbers other than my personal observance but I’d bet I’m accurate.

So, please don’t be discouraged when you go into the gym and you can’t get to the piece of equipment you need to use because some Resolutionary is texting his plans for the evening. Just look around you and try to get on a different machine or on the free weights. Remember, it’s not always how much you exercise, it’s also THAT you exercise. Keep moving no matter who or what stands in your way. And, don’t worry, they’ll be gone soon.

Be An Inspiration

About six months ago, I had just completed my normal morning workout and headed into the locker room to get ready for work.I was pretty much getting to my “goal weight” and I was starting to actually see some definition. I was so damn proud of myself! As a matter of fact, I was so busy staring at this new version of myself in the mirror that I almost failed to see the guy sitting there on the bench with his head down.

And, being “Mr. Humble”, I almost just turned to my locker and avoided him. What a douche move that would have been. But I didn’t. I asked him if he was alright. See, he wasn’t just sitting on the bench. He was sitting on the bench with his head in his hands. When he looked up at me, that’s when I realized that I was almost literally looking at myself from six months earlier. He was probably about 60-70 pounds overweight. He was sweating profusely. He looked like he’d just gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson. He was maybe a year or two younger than me. He was me, six months ago.

Then he said to me, “I can’t do this”. And that was when I knew that this was my chance. This was an opportunity to pay it forward for being able to get to where I was. I said to him, “Bro, want to know a secret? Six months ago, I was exactly you. I was about the same weight you are and I was the one saying I couldn’t do it. But, you know what? I did do it. One day at a time, one challenge at a time, one victory at a time, I did it. I’m still not where I want to be (and, six months later, I’m still not) but I feel better and look better than I ever have. Now do me a favor? Take your shower, get dressed, get out of here and just promise me you’ll come back tomorrow. Don’t promise the next day, week or year. Just tomorrow. And then, tomorrow, promise yourself that you’ll come back the next day. Can you do that?”

And he promised me. I didn’t hang out and talk to him any more. But I saw him the next day and just gave him a nod and a smile. Then I saw him the next day, and the next and the next month and so on… We’ve apparently changed schedules but I have seen him recently. And you know what? he was pretty damn slim. He was starting to show some definition.

My first instinct was to claim some mental credit for it. But I stopped myself. I just kick started him. HE did the rest.

I think I inspired him. And, even more than the weight I’ve lost and the changes I’ve made, that feels INCREDIBLE.

Be an inspiration if you can. You won’t regret it, I promise.

inspiration

Until Next Time, Be Well My Friends!

I’m Really Not That Good at This

So, here I am. I’m writing a fitness blog. I’m trying to teach people in my life how to get and stay fit. I’m preaching health every chance I get. And…

I’m a smoker.

Yup, Mr. “Old & Fit” smokes a pack and a half a day. Now, understand that I AM trying to quit. I’ve recently started taking Chantix. However, I still smoke.

mistakes-4

And there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that I’m going to let that stop me from fixing everything else that I’ve been doing that’s unhealthy.

If you had a car that doesn’t have great air conditioning but everything else was perfect, would you scrap it? Would you stop fixing the brakes and changing the oil? Of course not! You’d try and fix the A/C while still maintaining everything else.

Never EVER let one thing in your life that’s not perfect effect all the good things you’re doing! If you can’t seem to get your diet right, but you’re exercise routine is on point, keep exercising and work on your diet. Don’t fall into the “I can’t do this” trap because you CAN. I fully recognize that I may not be able to quit smoking. But I’m damn sure going to keep trying. I’ve set a quit date of March 15, 2017. If I miss that date, I’ll set a new one and try and not do again what I did wrong in my first attempt. Eventually, I’ll probably get it right and stop smoking. Because I CAN do it.

 

And so can you!

Why Are You Doing This?

I know, in a previous blog, I touched on having to be doing this lifestyle change for yourself but I wanted to expound on that point a little here.

I want you to really think about why you’re changing your whole life. Why are you shaking up everything to get healthy? I see, every day, the people that came and signed up at the gym in January. The place is packed like it never is any other time of the year. These new people, I like to call the “Resolutionaries”.

These are the people that decided, some of them in December 31st, to “get fit in the New Year!” And the vast majority of them will be gone come March. Back to their “normal”, unhealthy lives. I am seriously NOT judging anyone. This is simply the cold, hard truth. I saw it last year and I’m starting to see it again this year. However, there is a very minute group of Resolutionaries that stay. After that new gym smell wears off, they remain. They’re the ones that are doing what they do for the right reasons. The others, the failed Resolutionaries, did it either for the wrong reasons or in the wrong way.

What is the “wrong reasons and the wrong way” you ask? They came to the gym expecting miracles. And, when those miracles didn’t occur, they threw up their hands and went to Waffle House for some comfort food. Wrong reasons? How about “because my friend is doing it”, “because I just got divorced and I want to attract men/women” or, my favorite, “He/she dumped me. I’m going to show them!”. Ah yes, the dreaded “revenge body”. Wrong way? Try going in to the gym and trying to pump every weight they have. Going to the gym but not changing the way you eat. These are the wrong reasons and the wrong way.

Then there’s the Resolutionaries that stayed. Every day, I see a young lady. She is morbidly obese. She has no idea that I watch her (and not in a creepy way). She gets on that damn treadmill every day. The sweat pours off her as she continues forward on her journey. I look at her for no other reason than admiration. She, I’d be willing to bet, is doing this for the RIGHT reason. And, there is only ONE right reason. FOR YOURSELF. To feel better, to live longer, to enjoy the time you live. That, and only that, is the right reason!

The right way? There is only ONE right way.to do this. NO fad diets (paleo, Clean 30, etc…). NO splurging in the beginning. Cleanse yourself. Allow yourself to ONLY eat good things. NO MORE FAST FOOD! McDonald’s is the devil! Want to know how to recognize an unacceptable diet? Any dietary change that tries to remove something from your daily eating is total and complete bullshit. Now, don’t think that I’m saying that anything that removes Mickey D’s double cheeseburgers is wrong. I’m not. If it removes carbohydrates, proteins, fats, sugars or any other NATURAL thing that your body NEEDS, it’s a fad diet and it’s bullshit. Eat fruit, vegetables, meats, breads. Just eat them in a measured and moderate way. You’ll lose weight the right way, gradually.

One last thing. Do not set your expectations to unrealistic levels. You CANNOT lose 20 pounds in one week in any way that is even remotely healthy! It must be gradual and something that you work for.

You fought hard to get to this weight. You’re going to have to fight just as hard to lose it.

Now go FIGHT!

– Next Blog Sunday February 16 – Topic TBD – See you then!

Vitamins, Supplements & Shakes, Oh My!

Let’s Juice up! Athletes use steroids and I want that John Cena body!

Let’s face facts. If you want to get illegal steroids, it’s easy. Just going to Planet Fitness, I can tell you there’s at LEAST four different people that I’m relatively sure I could buy them from. It’s easy and it’s dangerous. You’ll kill yourself with steroids or, at the very least, do serious damage to your body. Isn’t the goal here to get healthier?? Yes, that’s the goal and you’re not going to reach it by doing this…

Steroid Muscles

Now, I’m not doing this without a little support. During the weight loss period of my journey, I would often have a protein shake for breakfast. I highly recommend Body Fortress Whey Protein Powder in the chocolate flavor. It’s yummy and it’s filling. And, speaking of protein, You definitely want to increase your protein intake when you start on and continue your journey to life change. Protein makes your body work harder to digest. Therefore, you are actually burning calories while you’re digesting! Also, proteins are the building blocks for muscle. Just a little side note.

I also take vitamins daily. I take a multivitamin, B Complex and Fish Oil. I also take what is known as a “pre-workout”. A pre-workout supplement is something that you’re probably not going to want to introduce early on in your life transformation. It’s not so much for weight loss as for helping to jack up your workout and build muscle. You’re not going to necessarily be looking to build muscle in the first phases of your life transformation. You’re first going to be looking to burn fat. Which is not to say that building SOME muscle is a bad thing. Toning your muscles is a good way to accelerate the fat burning process. You’re just not going to make muscle building the focus of your early transformation.

Back to the pre-workout. The one I use is “Six-Star Explosion” and it’s available at Walmart. It’s also cheaper and provides just as much of everything as the more expensive brands. The keys you’re looking for in a pre-workout is that they contain more creatine than caffeine. I get it, the pre-workout shake is supposed to be an energy booster. However, if that was the goal of taking a pre-workout, I’d just as soon drink a Red Bull. The creatine is key. It builds muscle and gives you more of that “body builder” look.

That’s it, that’s all I use and all I’ve ever used. I used the vitamins and protein shakes from day one. I added in the pre-workout after I’d achieved my goal weight. In my honest opinion, you don’t need anything else. Now, there will be a TON of body builders who would disagree with me but I stand by this and have the results to prove it.

20120915131303-no-supplement

Next Blog – Why Are You Doing This? – Look for it February 15th, 2017

What is “Old”?

What is Old? That is a question for the ages. I can tell you what’s NOT old pretty easily. Not old is someone who has only been on the Earth a few years. Not old is a baby. Not old is a high schooler. Not old is….everyone.

We, as a society, had to assign words to describe things. We know a pencil is a pencil because that’s the word we chose to describe well….a pencil.

We also chose the word “old” to describe something. That word, however, doesn’t have as cut and dried of a meaning as words like “pencil”. “Pencil” is a solid, clear and instantly descriptive word.

writting-pencil-design_1095-187

Yup. that’s a pencil. No doubt about it!

But, tell me, what one of these pictures is the definitive definition of “old”?

The women in the pictures above range in age from 41 to 77 Years old. Are any of THEM “old” by our definition? The “oldest” one, the 77 year-old, is the African-American woman who’s flexing. Her name is Ernestine Shepherd and she is a world class body builder.

There have been many blogs, tweets and Facebook statuses about people being “labeled”. Especially now, in our current political climate. But the word “old” remains unscathed by the current opposition to labels. “He’s too old for her” “She’s too old to dress like that” “He’s an old man trying to recapture his youth” are all phrases that I have heard and that were accepted as just something people say.

Well, I oppose THAT. By definition, I am considered “old”. I’m 56. And yet, I feel better than I felt when I was 18. “Old” has obtained a negative connotation. It’s definition, from the Webster dictionary:

definition-of-old

“Dating from the remote past”??!! Well, that escalated quickly! I do, however, like that one definition: “Distinguished from an object of the same kind by being of an earlier date”.

We’re ALL “the same kind”. I am distinguished from my 33 year-old best friend because I am from an earlier date? Nah. I am distinguished from her because I have different experiences, because I have a different belief system, because I have different views on some things. Not because I’ve been defined as “old” and she has not. “Old”, by the generally accepted view, means more like “Aging, getting broken down, wearing out.”

I ain’t old. If you’re reading this and you’re 100 in calendar years, you ain’t old, either. You, me, we, have all lived a certain number of years. Years that have been defined by a calendar, that was invented by someone, that may have been “on in years”. Then the invention of language brought us “old” and that was defined by someone.

Be defined ONLY by what YOU feel and want and you will NEVER be “old”.

forever-young

Next Blog: Supplements, Vitamins, Shakes, Oh My! – Coming February 12th