July 2011


Gonna keep it light today.  Funny story, especially if you’ve traveled this road.

Dear Diary,

For my birthday this year, I purchased a week of personal training at the local health club. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
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MONDAY:
Started my day at 6:00 am. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god– with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile.  Woo Hoo!!

Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!

Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around.
This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
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TUESDAY:
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it!  My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile.  His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!  It’s a whole new life for me.
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WEDNESDAY:
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it.
I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals.  Driving was OK as long as I didn’t try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.
Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.

My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster.  Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators?
Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life.  He said some other shit too.
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THURSDAY:
Asshole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl.  I couldn’t help being a half an hour late– it took me that long to tie my shoes.
He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom.  He sent some skinny bitch to find me.
Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine– which I sank.
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FRIDAY:
I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world.
Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic, little aerobics instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it.
Christo wanted me to work on my triceps.  I don’t have any triceps! And if you don’t want dents in the floor, don’t hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.

The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher.  Why couldn’t it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
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SATURDAY:
Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today.  Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel..
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SUNDAY:
I’m having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over.  I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun– like a root canal or a hysterectomy.

I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

So this is a message to all the exercisers and people out there who try and fail time after time at plan after plan.  No matter what you do, no matter which plan you try, there is one key ingredient that if it is not there you will continue to fail.  That ingredient is what I like to call the “Want-to”.  The Want-to is a magical thing.  It can make the untalented successful and the unmotivated go.  The Want-to can turn a so-so workout into the best of your life.  But if it is missing, it can take the best laid plans, programs and strategies and render them useless.

To explain the Want-to, let’s once again take the examples of the small ones in our lives.  Be it your children, nieces, nephews or whatever.  You know what’s best for them, right?  You’re an adult and that’s your job.  But what if what’s best for them is not what they are in to at the moment?  What do you get in response?  “I don’t WANT TO!”  And whatever it is does not get done, or if it does, then you have to end up re-doing it yourself anyway, right?  I have a 5 and 3 year old at home, and this is a battle that I have every single day (well almost, anyway).  And they’re just kids.

Now let’s take that to the adult level.  You are a fully functioning rational adult, right?  And you know that you are supposed to eat well and be consistently active.  You also know that if you don’t and aren’t that there are a whole host of bad conditions out there awaiting you like heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and even cancer.  But you have GOT to have the Want-to.  The Want-to is that magical ingredient that can ONLY be supplied from within.  If you ain’t got it, there ain’t no one who can give it to you.  Period.  If you don’t want to be well, eat well, live well, then you are doomed from the start.  So the key is to find YOUR OWN PERSONAL WANT-TO.  Search your mind, search your body, search the depths of your soul.  Find your reason to do it.  Maybe you have an obese sibling, or a diabetic uncle, or you want to be able to attend your children’s high school and college graduations.  If you don’t find t Want-to, you may miss them all.  So make up your mind and take a stand against bad health and early death.  Find that Want-to and get on the ball.  Once you find it, use it!  If you need help with that part, I just so happen to know a bunch of people who can help you use your new-found Want-to to get where you need to go.

Food!  One of the best words in the english language, as far as I’m concerned.  We buy it, grow it, cook it and eat it.  But what and how much?  The answer comes to choices and portions.  I have written in the past about the choices part (https://thetruthaboutexercise.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/why-people-struggle-with-weight-loss), so today I’m going to focus on the portions.  How much do you need to be eating on a daily basis to maintain, gain or lose any weight, what-so-ever.  Well, the inner workings of the body, as we know, are ridiculously complex.  But we’ll keep it as simple as possible.  Now, remember, what I’m printing are ESTIMATES.  No yelling if your numbers don’t work out.  In order to know how much you have to eat, the first thing you need to do is disregard the nutrition labels on your food.  They are based on a flat 2000 calorie diet.  Yours could very well be different.  Use the labels to count what you take in and record that over a 3 day period.  You can use a website (www.fitday.com).  It is free diet tracking software.  Or, if you just want it on your phone, the “My Fitness Pal” app is free and really good.  This way, you can track what you take in and get a good average.  That will count as your “intake” portion of the math.  Then comes the fun part, calculating how much your body burns on a daily basis.  We’ll do it as simply as possible.  The first thing you have to do is categorize yourself into a “low”, “moderate”, or “high” activity classification.  The key here is to be honest with yourself.  Here are some definitions:

Low – Little to no activity at all outside of your normal daily routine.  Maybe walking the dog, etc.  You burn 17 calories/pound (male) or 16 calories/pound (female)

Moderate – Regular physical activity.  You get to the gym a few times a week and/or do some cardio at least 4 days per week and amass at least 30 minutes per session.  You burn 19 cal/lb (male) or 17 cal/lb (female)

High – You play a sport and/or are training for a specific event.  Typically you workout at least 5 days per week.  You burn 23 cal/lb (male) or 20 cal/lb (female)

Now, you just take the numbers associated with your category and multiply by your body weight, and that is roughly (very roughly) how many calories you output on a daily basis.  Now, compare that to your intake.  If you are pretty close to equal numbers, it means your body weight is probably pretty stable.  If your intake is more, you are gaining weight, and if your output is more, then you are losing weight.  For example, I know a 155 lb male who is moderately active.  That means he burns 2945 calories per day (155 x 19).  It just so happens that he also eats right around 3000 calories per day.  Therefore, his weight is relatively constant.  Now, if you want to lose weight, the obvious answer is to either a) cut calories, b) increase activity, or c) a little of both.  However, if you are losing weight, try to shoot for about no more than a -500 calorie/day deficit.  This will equal about 1lb of weight loss per week.  A safe, sustainable number.  Bigger amounts tend to be a lot of water and lean tissue, neither of which you want to lose.  So do the math.  F out where you are and where you need to be.  You may be surprised at the results.

Good morning to everyone!  I’m sorry that I didn’t post on my usual Monday, but I’ve been under the weather with the nasty sinuses this weekend.  With that in mind, it brings me to today’s topic.  For decades, at the first sign of a sniffle, infection or issue, we have run to the doctor’s office.  They prescribe medicine and we’re happy….until something else pops up.  We go back, get more drugs and call it a day.  Then we get sick with something else.  Is anyone sensing a pattern here?  It’s the constant cycle of medicine and drugs that is helping KEEP us sick.  Now I’m not saying that I’m totally against medicine or medical drugs by any stretch of the imagination.  There are certain things that need to be medicated.  But there are a number of things that don’t.  There are things like cholesterol, blood pressure and in many cases, diabetes (just to name a few) that really don’t, or at least shouldn’t require us to be drugged on a daily basis.  The problem with many drugs (not all, but many) is that they are very reactionary.  They treat symptoms.  Treating the symptoms of a sickness is like trying to kill a weed by just cutting it off at the ground.  You still have the root underneath, and as long as that’s there, the weed will grow back.  Fact is, the symptoms of sickness are often just indicators of something deeper.  And just treating the symptoms is not good enough.  Plus, have you read the label on some of these medications?!  The side effects of some of these are straight up frightening…GI distress, vomiting, and memory loss just to name a few.  This is what I’m signing up for?  No, I’d rather go the alternative route, if it is available to me.  Things like Chiropractic, accupuncture and diet/exercise therapy have been shown in study after study after study to help alleviate not only the symptoms of problems, but the problems themselves because these alternative therapies go much deeper.  They take into account the whole system, and how everything in the body works with everything else.  Traditional medicine TENDS to look at the problem area independently without regard for how that effects the rest of the systems.  So what happens is that one system gets fixed, but it is at the cost of another, and you come up with another ailment.  I have believed for years that we are an over medicated society.  We have drugs and diagnoses for everything.  Much of which is fueled by massive drug companies who, no offense, could give a flying crap about your actual health and well-being.  If it’s profitable, they’re interested.  Healthy people aren’t profitable.  Connect the dots.  Anyway, that’s another discussion for another day.  But next time you get sick or get an owie, don’t run to the doc.  If your arm is broken, OK, then.  But if you have the sniffles, or if your back hurts, try something else.  Especially if what you’re doing now isn’t working.

OK!  I’ve had it!  Everybody pisses and moans about the same old thing, but then they fight the very thing that could help it.  If you ask anyone what is one of the foundational problems with our country today, obesity comes up.  Ask the government…obesity leads to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.  Even certain cancers have shown links to obesity.  Ask the military.  They have had to lower their physical fitness standards so that they can get enough enrollment.  Makes you feel safe, right?  Ask parents.  Youth obesity is one of the fastes growing epidemics in our country.  1 out of every 4 children under the age of 19 is considered obese.  There is some error in the stats, but 1 out of 5 at best.  Now the other thing that we know about our society is that we are generally lazy.  And the problem with exercise is that it is a luxury expense.  Now you have a lot of people right now who are in a little bit of a hard time.  That makes luxury expenses go away.  Things like Personal Training get cut, but massages and chiropractic stick.  Why?  Because they are covered under insurance, that’s why!  You can go to a chiro and get a massage and a pop and walk out with nothing out of pocket.  Other “therapeutic treatments” are considered under the same umbrella.  But the ultimate therapy is exercise.  People have been looking for the fountain of youth since ancient times.  This is it people!  There are 8 risk factors that are considered to increase the risk of heart disease.  Exercise has a directly positive impact on 5 of them.  5!  Exercise lowers the body fat %, lowers the risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, cancers, etc.  Do it!  Push your government and employers to pay you back for it.  Now the good thing is that the new health care bill would cover personal training as a “preventative medical expense”.  You could get training with little to no money out of pocket.  Win!  You could get healthy.  Win!  Hell, your premiums are un-godly anyway, you may as well get something tangible out of it.  Use the system.  Write a letter, make a phone call.  There is a point in your life where your health will become a priority.  The only question is whether it is now, when you have control over it, or later when you are forced into treatment for a serious disease.  I know that I would prefer to be in the former category and work on my own terms.  If you are lazy, fat and out of shape, it will catch up with you.  Facts are facts.  Take the steps now.  Be smart and pro-active.  Don’t wait!

Good morning to everyone!  OK, today isn’t an original post, but I found this article and found it absolutely fascinating, so I thought that I would share.  Read on!

Modern man a wimp says anthropologist
Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:24am EDT

By John Mehaffey
LONDON (Reuters) – Many prehistoric Australian aboriginals could have outrun world 100 and 200 meters record holder Usain Bolt in modern conditions.  Some Tutsi men in Rwanda exceeded the current world high jump record of 2.45 meters during initiation ceremonies in which they had to jump at least their own height to progress to manhood.  Any Neanderthal woman could have beaten former bodybuilder and current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestle.  These and other eye-catching claims are detailed in a book by Australian anthropologist Peter McAllister entitled “Manthropology” and provocatively sub-titled “The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male.”  McAllister sets out his stall in the opening sentence of the prologue.  “If you’re reading this then you — or the male you have bought it for — are the worst man in history. “No ifs, no buts — the worst man, period…As a class we are in fact the sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet.”  Delving into a wide range of source material McAllister finds evidence he believes proves that modern man is inferior to his predecessors in, among other fields, the basic Olympic athletics disciplines of running and jumping.  His conclusions about the speed of Australian aboriginals 20,000 years ago are based on a set of footprints, preserved in a fossilized claypan lake bed, of six men chasing prey.

FLEET-FOOTED ABORIGINALS

An analysis of the footsteps of one of the men, dubbed T8, shows he reached speeds of 37 kph on a soft, muddy lake edge. Bolt, by comparison, reached a top speed of 42 kph during his then world 100 meters record of 9.69 seconds at last year’s Beijing Olympics.  In an interview in the English university town of Cambridge where he was temporarily resident, McAllister said that, with modern training, spiked shoes and rubberized tracks, aboriginal hunters might have reached speeds of 45 kph.  “We can assume they are running close to their maximum if they are chasing an animal,” he said.  “But if they can do that speed of 37 kph on very soft ground I suspect there is a strong chance they would have outdone Usain Bolt if they had all the advantages that he does.  “We can tell that T8 is accelerating toward the end of his tracks.”  McAllister said it was probable that any number of T8’s contemporaries could have run as fast.
“We have to remember too how incredibly rare these fossilizations are,” he said. “What are the odds that you would get the fastest runner in Australia at that particular time in that particular place in such a way that was going to be preserved?”  Turning to the high jump, McAllister said photographs taken by a German anthropologist showed young men jumping heights of up to 2.52 meters in the early years of last century.

STARK DECLINE

“It was an initiation ritual, everybody had to do it. They had to be able to jump their own height to progress to manhood,” he said.

“It was something they did all the time and they lived very active lives from a very early age. They developed very phenomenal abilities in jumping. They were jumping from boyhood onwards to prove themselves.”

McAllister said a Neanderthal woman had 10 percent more muscle bulk than modern European man. Trained to capacity she would have reached 90 percent of Schwarzenegger’s bulk at his peak in the 1970s.

“But because of the quirk of her physiology, with a much shorter lower arm, she would slam him to the table without a problem,” he said.

Manthropology abounds with other examples:

* Roman legions completed more than one-and-a-half marathons a day carrying more than half their body weight in equipment.

* Athens employed 30,000 rowers who could all exceed the achievements of modern oarsmen.

* Australian aboriginals threw a hardwood spear 110 meters or more (the current world javelin record is 98.48).

McAllister said it was difficult to equate the ancient spear with the modern javelin but added: “Given other evidence of Aboriginal man’s superb athleticism you’d have to wonder whether they couldn’t have taken out every modern javelin event they entered.”

Why the decline?

“We are so inactive these days and have been since the industrial revolution really kicked into gear,” McAllister replied. “These people were much more robust than we were.

“We don’t see that because we convert to what things were like about 30 years ago. There’s been such a stark improvement in times, technique has improved out of sight, times and heights have all improved vastly since then but if you go back further it’s a different story.

“At the start of the industrial revolution there are statistics about how much harder people worked then.
“The human body is very plastic and it responds to stress. We have lost 40 percent of the shafts of our long bones because we have much less of a muscular load placed upon them these days.

“We are simply not exposed to the same loads or challenges that people were in the ancient past and even in the recent past so our bodies haven’t developed. Even the level of training that we do, our elite athletes, doesn’t come close to replicating that.

“We wouldn’t want to go back to the brutality of those days but there are some things we would do well to profit from.”

If you are bound and determined to be good to your body in 2011 and beyond, here are a few tips that will help you avoid overtraining and exercise fatigue.

  1. Start Slowly – The easiest way to get yourself frustrated is by trying to do too much, too soon.  You and I both know that you were a great athlete in high school and in pretty good shape in college too, but over the course of the years, the body has taken a pounding, and if you try and overdo your workout routine, it is going to quit on you.  The best bet is to start with lighter weights and higher repetitions that you are used to.  Let the body make the adjustments that it needs to make gradually.  This will also help to alleviate the muscle soreness that comes along with performing activities that you haven’t been used to doing in awhile.  Don’t feel intimidated or bad because you are doing lightweight work while everyone else is trying to push the envelope.  When they can’t workout because of soreness
    and end up quitting, you will still be going strong.
  2. Set Goals – Now, setting goals does not only mean that you want to have
    the abs of Janet Jackson and Madonna’s arms.  These are long-term goals that have been achieved through a LOT of hard work (an unlimited cash flow never hurt either).  Setting goals is most like climbing stairs; you want to get to the top of the staircase, but you have to hit every step onthe way up to get there.  So, with that in mind, go ahead and set that top of the staircase long-term goal, but set a
    number of short-term goals in order to get there.  I usually like to go with three short-term goals per long-term goal.  This is an achievable number, and each time that you hit one of the short-term stepping-stones, you will feel better and better about yourself.  Also, when you get to that ultimate goal, make that your base and set a new set of steps for yourself.
  3. Stay Positive – Keeping a positive mental attitude goes a long way
    towards insuring a great workout routine.  You will get out of your workout only what you put in to it.  If negative thoughts get the best of you, then a workout is going to become a chore instead of an outlet, and the  likelihood of dropout dramatically increases.
  4. Stick to It – Over the course of any routine, personal trainers will  tell you that you are going to hit rough spots and plateaus in the road to  fitness.  Don’t let these get you  frustrated.  Keep your spirits up and  know that for each plateau, there is even better greatness over the top of that  hill.
  5. Keep Variety – The quickest way out of any workout routine is  boredom.  If fitness isn’t fun, then it  is quickly out the door.  In order to  combat this, keep a lot of variety in your workout.  Don’t do the same exercises for certain  muscle groups every workout.  Find more  than one or two cardiovascular activities that you like doing.  If weather permits, get outside.  Breath the fresh air and take in the scenery,  even if it’s just for a 30-minute walk.   You’ll feel better about yourself and better about your workout if it’s  different each time.

These five tips ought to help you stay in the groove  long after the others have faded out of the gym.  Then, come summer time and vacation season,  you’ll be the ultimate winner since you stuck with your program and made your  goals.  If you don’t think that you could
do this by yourself, hire a personal trainer, even for a little while.  Not only will they provide you with terrific  variety and safe exercise, but also they will give you some extra motivation  along the way.  So, take the time now to celebrate the summer with your family and friends.  Fitness can be fun; you simply need to find a  way to make it that way for you.

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