Tag Archives: excuses

The Small Stuff Adds Up

It’s been quite some time since I penned (or typed rather) a blog post. I wish I could give a good excuse, but really, who isn’t busy? I guess the good part is that while I have been busy, it has not affected my commitment to eating right and working out like a madman.

This post will be brief and to the point. One of the thoughts that’s been running through my head lately is the idea that the small things we do each day add up – either positively or negatively. Most Americans strive so hard to live a life of comfort that they often do themselves a physical disservice. We drive around searching for the closest parking space to the store, take the elevator or escalator instead of walking up or down the stairs, eat finger foods because it seems to be the simplest way to eat, wear slip-on shoes, etc., etc., etc.

All these little things surely make us comfortable but certainly don’t do us any benefit from a fitness standpoint. I’m sure you’ve been around someone (hopefully not yourself) who had difficulty breathing after walking up a single flight of stairs. You don’t get into that type of physical condition overnight; but the wrong type of small stuff will add up over time, and the sum often adds up a little nuisance called obesity (among other ~enjoyable~ medical maladies).

A small late night snack here, a small late night snack there, an elevator ride here, a small get-together that certainly must include food (likely unhealthy), a skipped workout, driving somewhere you could walk to… the small stuff truly adds up. Take stock of your daily habits (perhaps even journal them) and evaluate the small stuff that comprises your day. Do the small habits, routines, and decisions of your day guide you to maintaining healthy physical fitness, or do they contribute to a slow, steady decline toward a very unhealthy person that doesn’t become the person you should be?

While you may never develop an appetite for rigorous, intense workouts or have the fortitude to correctly eat almost all the time, you can pay attention to the small stuff and ensure that the small stuff is adding up to a positive outcome.

Very simply, the choice is yours…

Advertisements

Food For Thought

For the few of you who subscribe to this blog, let me apologize for letting it go dormant for a month. No excuses except I’ve been busy working out, eating right, doing yardwork… basically living life!

In my time away from blogging, I have been watching some documentaries on NetFlix about food, nutrition, weight loss, health, etc. Let me state that I watch these documentaries with an open, inquisitive mind. I do not blindly accept the ideas postulated as gospel truth, but I am open to considering the possibilities.

Food Matters – very interesting conjecture about how eating healthy, raw, and superfoods is the answer to most medical problems instead of looking for another pill to pop. A few ideas that resonated with me: starting every morning with water before anything else (including my daily coffee), eating at least a 51% raw food diet to eliminate toxicity, and high dosage vitamin B or C therapy as a means to treat certain conditions. Previous to watching this documentary, I was not familiary with Max Gerson who promoted the Gerson Therapy and founded the Gerson Institute – fascinating man with revolutionary ideas!

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead – the story of 2 men who directly confronted their unhealthy lifestyles and morbid obesity by adopting a diet of strictly juicing fresh fruits and vegetables. No consumption of anything else besides their daily juice. While adhering to such a strict diet is certainly not for everyone, their ability to stick with it as well as their resulting weight loss and health improvement were nothing short of phenomenal. Amazing that these men spoke to so many people throughout the documentary and presented them with the truth that eating nutritious food can extend and improve quality of life, yet their message was largely ignored. So many people are willing to live lives that ignore or defy this simple truth.

Hungry for Change – documentary that focuses on what exactly goes into the popular food products sold at most grocery stores. Really made me stop and think about sugar consumption and how much sugar we consume today compared to just 100 years ago. Certainly opened my eyes to examining food labels more closely. Don’t trust the trendy slogans on the food packaging!

For me, this is a continuation in my quest to learn more about nutrition, food products, ingredients, super foods and how all of this correlates to the society we live in that allows genetic modification of food, relies on drugs and medications to deal with problems most likely caused by the foods we eat, and places a much lower emphasis on nutrition in comparison to the other ‘important’ things of life.

Next up for me, I am considering joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) this summer. For me, it seems to be a fantastic way to regularly get fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown in a way that I believe in. Not only will I have greater trust in the produce I am eating (and getting great benefit from it), I will be locally supporting farms that believe in the growth and harvesting of organic, hormone-free, GMO-free fruits and vegetables. Certainly, risks are involved with such a decision, which is why I am going to research this idea further. Local Harvest is a great resource for explaining the pros and cons of such a decision.

If you have seen any of the listed documentaries or have others to share or have an opinion about CSA’s, I would love to get your input. Please comment!

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

The title lists a very simple equation, and yet the solution seems to evade so many people. Let me write it out again:

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

It’s not to say that Hard Work is more important than Nutrition – I just happened to list them alphabetically. The opposite is probably true that proper nutrition will benefit you more long-term than hard work if you could only pick one. By Hard Work, I mean strenuous, physically-exerting exercise. And by Proper Nutrition, I mean eating foods that are actually good for the body (that’s a dissertation in itself) and getting proper sleep and hydration.

I often run into people that I haven’t seen in awhile, and they typically remark how much thinner and more fit I look. Of course, they want to know what I’ve been doing to achieve my level of fitness. When I tell them about my workouts and changed eating habits, their peaked interest usually dwindles. It amazes me that practical living and hard work are a major turnoff to people. I mean, when you see how hard people will work to live in a certain community or get to a certain position at work, it’s obvious that hard work is not a foreign concept to them; and they seem to have enough common sense that they would seriously evaluate the food their body intakes.

Let me reiterate:

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

There are no quick fixes or magic potions that will turn you from a lump of dough to a fit, vibrant person. It will take hard, strenuous work. I have stated it before, but I am a strong advocate of working out with kettlebells and bodyweight exercise.

image

The benefits are clear:

  1. You will get strong
  2. You don’t need much space
  3. You don’t need to go to a gym
  4. You don’t need to make much of a financial commitment
  5. You can accomplish a lot of hard work in a fairly short period of time

It will take some effort to research the foods you eat, read the labels, understand what ingredients/foods/medicines are good or bad for you, make well-informed food purchases, plan and prepare nutritious meals, etc.

image

Again, the benefits are clear:

  1. If you are overweight, you will lose weight
  2. You will be healthier with a stronger immune system
  3. You will have more natural energy (this will fit perfectly into your strenuous workouts)
  4. You will be likely live longer
  5. You will maintain the weight your body was designed to support and your joints will thank you profusely for that

The solution to true fitness couldn’t really be this simple, could it? If you read most of the trendy health and fitness magazines, then to them, the answer is no. There’s always a new gimmick workout or diet (or even diet pill). There’s a huge industry devoted to the millions of people who keep futilely chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

If you truly want to live a longer, healthier life where…

  • You are physically strong
  • You are able to run and play with your kids (or grandkids)
  • You wear normal clothing sizes
  • You get sick less often
  • You won’t need an untimely knee replacement
  • You won’t increase your risk of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

Then review the formula 1 more time:

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

Decide today to be equally committed to both components of the solution, and you will be the better for it. Don’t expect many others to join you, but hey, you are living your life in your body. Only you can directly change and affect you.

Myth-Scuses!

In January 2012, I decided that I was going to take control of my life in terms of health, well-being, and physical fitness. The reasons that I got to the point of being unhealthy, lazy, couch-potato-like, and out-of-shape were because of the excuses that I convinced my mind to believe. Not only did I buy into these excuses, but they weren’t even true – ‘myth-scuses’, if you will.

Here are the 5 myth-scuses that enabled me to live a life where I often felt unenergized and tired:

  1. I Don’t Have Time – I’m Too Busy
  2. Maybe I’m Just Getting Older
  3. I Can’t Afford a Gym Membership
  4. I Can’t Afford to Eat Healthy
  5. I Can’t Stay Motivated

As time goes by, I will elaborate on how I confronted each of these ideas, but for this post, I will just focus on the first idea. I work in IT supporting conferencing technologies, specifically audio and video conferencing. The nature of this work sometimes consists of additional night or weekend work as well as being on call at times. The increasing responsibilities of my job as well as taking on responsibilities at my church teaching children began to consume the majority of my time. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not going down the road of telling you that I came to the conclusion that my job was not important. It is very important – it pays bills, it provides for needs, it generates relationships, etc. In retrospect, I have found that when I am shape and maintaining an intake of healthy foods that I am able to contribute a greater focused energy to my responsibilities than I was previously able to.

In my mind, I believed that in order to be in shape, that I needed hours and hours a week to accomplish this goal. In college, I competed in intramural sports as well as lifted weights at the gym 5-6 times a week. Since this did keep me in shape at that time, I equated that amount of time to what I would need now. I did not consider that perhaps my time then was not used as effectively as it could have been to generate results, nor I did I think for a second that my methods of working out could be wrong or misguided. At any rate, I convinced myself that if I couldn’t spend hours and hours a week working out, well then, I guess I just wasn’t going to work out at all. A few pushups on some rare occasion would be enough, right? (ha!)

Early this year, I discovered the concept of high intensity interval training (HIIT), and more specifically Tabata training. For someone like me who likes to give maximum effort at whatever I decide to do (and this unfortunately included sitting on the couch for long periods of time), high intensity was a perfect fit. I don’t know that I understood it at the time; but I do believe now that if that if high intensity training is the only thing you do, that you will lose a lot of weight but probably not have much else to show for it. Nonetheless, what an eye opener to learn that by packing maximum intensity in intervals into brief workouts that I could burn more calories (and continue burning calories) than I would through traditional cardio methods.

In the first few months, I did a lot of high intensity training mostly with bodyweight exercises such as burpees, lateral jumps, squats, and pushups. And to circle back to the original idea that I didn’t have time in my busy day to work out, well let’s just say that was going out the window. I was completing workouts 3-4 times a week in 15-30 minutes. There were other factors that I will expound on later, and I still had (have, really) so much more to learn; but more than anything, it was a step in the right direction.

What are some of the ‘myth-scuses’ that have held you back??