Thursday, December 17, 2015

Getting started

Where to begin?

A regular enough question.  One that is asked regularly.  I always feel a little weird when asked. Because , honestly, I'm not in the greatest shape. I know guys, and girls, that are killling it on a way higher level than I am. So I sometimes feel a little awkward in these moments.

Just to be clear, if you have asked me, and I seemed standoffish it's because I'm uncertain I am the right person to be asking. But I do feel humbled that you asked.

Now then, to the question at hand: where to start?

Go for a walk.

That's all. Doesn't have to be complex. Through on the shoes and venture out.  You don't have to have some grand design, or meticulously crafted calorie intake to outtake formula.

Just go for a walk.

If you are not a regularly active person, this is the best way to go out and move.  Going for a walk is easy. There is no fancy equipment you need. No complex plan. And.... It's totally free. Ah yissss.... Free... Mmmm free.

A walk does a few things for you. First off it gives you a chance to have a moment of quiet, rare enough these days. Second it feels good. Third it is the easiest way to let you body know that things are changing.

Weight lifting is wonderful, but it puts a ton of stress , good stress, on you nervous system. But, if you not already acctive, it could be too much. Also, going from 0 to 60 without letting the engine warm up is a recipe for disaster.  Going for a walk let's you just move with out strain.

I found that getting started, most of my hiccups stemmed directly from the fact that I tried to much too early.  So I would get frustrated, and down on myself because I wasn't "sticking to the plan". So I would miss a work out here and one there.... Sometimes a whole week would burn up in my ennui.

A plan is good, but getting fit has to become a habit, and anyone who has had to change a habit knows that it's all about baby steps. Getting in shape is a habit of being active, just as much as being unfit is a result of the the habit of sitting on one's duff.

So, you have to take the time to make that new activity a habit.  A month... It is generally accepted that it takes a month to break or create a habit. So pick a time each day and just go for a walk. You'll be surprised how easy it is. After a month... Add something. But for that first month, just do twenty minutes,  ten out, ten back. Get to a point that you can carry a conversation, but feel a good rate moving.

It's really that easy getting started, just go for a walk.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Fuel

So last time we talked it was about the basics of "you can do it"

Let's go ahead and keep on that path and start looking at the how.

First thing is first. I talked about how the change in eating was , and still is, the trickiest part of the process.  Always will be.

You can run millions of miles, hoist ton after ton of weights, but with a bad intake of food, you'll get absolutely nowhere. Bad diet means bad shape. That's the long and short of the matter. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect about it. No one is. I love donuts, milkshakes and chocolate. Oh, and French fires... mmmm french fries.

To be honest, on a whole most of us eat like junk. We know how to eat right but we generally don't.  And why? I hear you ask , because eating right is hard, as well as boring.

But, as AA has taught so many, admitting your problem is the first step to overcoming it.  I love junk food. Of all the food types it is my favorite. Of course, my love of junk food will also lead to an early grave by way of my heart trying to explode outta my chest.

The trick is, how do we mix our love of fries against our, understandable, love of life.  In all things moderation is key. 

We've all had the day after way too many buffalo wings, beer, and the like. We all know exactly how we felt. Junky.

Then again we've all had the day that we did it all right and go to bed easily.  I know which one I prefer.

There are a lot , A LOT , of snake oil diets out there but none of them really stand the test of time.  All proteins, no carbs, half gallon of celery juice.... You name it and some shiester has tied to peddle it.  Nothing in my life has done me better than, eat smart.  If you have to pour a whole meal out of a box and let it simmer until it congeals, it's most likely not a sound choice.

I try to stick to the "outside wall" theory when at the store. Stay out of the aisles as much as possible. For there is not but salt and preservatives in those lands. 

The grocery, meat.. dairy. These are the path to good eating. And you'll find that you actually get more food there for your buck than not. Seriously.

My wife is able to feed all four of us , heartily, for a little over a hundred bucks a week. Think about that. A week's worth of food for four people, the baby doesn't count , for 25$ a head. Because she stays outta the aisles. As a result we are all doing very good and I have few concerns about the nutrition we get.

So... Eat smart. Eat cheap. And from time to time... Get some fries.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

You can do it

Okay, bit of a divergence from the normal here but I feel the need to address a serious issue that is outside of the main realm that I normally rant about.

There is a terrible social stigma going around... fat shaming...

Don't do this.. Doing this makes you a dick...and not the good kind that the ladies like to swap stories about over mimosas.  The bad kind... that girls like to snicker about over mimosas...

There's a significant difference.

On that note, being obese is bad.  Not only for yourself but for those that you love.  Trust me, they do love you.  I know that there are a mass of reasons that people over eat, don't exercise, and generally don't take better care of the bodies that they are gifted with.  If you are suffering from some sort of depression or mental wall that makes it harder for you to get fit, that's okay, I get it.  I will never say boo on the matter.  Being mentally or emotionally damaged is a shitty place to be in.  I love you.

Now then, if you are just plain out lazy and find the idea of working out too insurmountable, or are just plain out lazy... please please please, pay heed.

Five years ago I found myself in a pitiable state.  I was walking through my bedroom and passed by the massive mirror that we have.  I had my robe on and saw that my gut actually was sticking out past the robe... like, by a lot!  I rushed to the living room looked at my wife and said "When did this happen?"

She looked sheepishly down at the knitting in her hands and said "I noticed a few weeks ago, I didn't want to say anything".  For the record, if you are a spouse, you are obliged to tell you other when they are letting themselves go.  You are the only person that gets to and not come across as a jerk.

So... I go back to the mirror, take my shirt off,  and stare at the mass that I had become.  I wouldn't say I was disgusted, but I certainly was not okay with what was staring back at me. I had developed man boobs... there was a little "v" shaped fold where my arms met my chest and the slope of my shoulder was, shall we say... smooth.  In short, I had let myself go.   I was not sad, I was angry.  There I am, 30 years old and I have completely let my body go to waste.  How could I let myself get there?  It was easy, I didn't do anything.  I was eating what I wanted when I wanted, which normally boiled down to something fried and yummy.  Or sweet... I like sweets.  I sat around all day at the office, then I would drive home and sit around all evening watching a movie or painting a miniature, sometime both at the same time, because multi-tasking is keen.

I decide then and there... time to get rid of this.

The next morning, I'm up early.  A run... I'll go for a run.  Strap on the shoes, step out the front door,   and off I go to the glorious world of physical fitness.  At the end of the block I want to die.  Standing under street light I am gasping for air like there is not enough in the world.  My legs feel like they are on fire.  For a moment, I got the sweaty teeth. Mind you I wasn't sprinting or anything like that I knew better than that,  but the simple fact that a slight jog down the street at a medium pace had left me in a state of "about to yak last night’s dinner"  Deciding that that was enough, I stroll back to the house. I'd caught my wind back, barely, by the time that I had gotten back inside.

I felt like hell, but I had done it!  I was super proud, but then I realized that I had to do it again the next day.  I believe my exact words were "Fuck that".  The next day, I was up early again.  I shrewdly decided that today was not a "running" day.  I had no interest in seeing that street corner again in less than 24 hours.  Out in the living room I looked at the clock, silently cursed 530am and got down to do some pushups.  Because fit people do pushups...

Guess what?  I was able to get through a massive, earth shattering, world record setting.. 7 pushups.. On my knees... I needed a water break. 

Slowly, I began to not come to the edge of my mortality, so I decided to go ahead and try my hand at the gym, just to see if I could.  The first time I went I felt so out of place.  I was staring at all of the machines... those looked easy, there was no way that I was going to try the big barbells, I knew for a fact that I couldn't do that.  After about 45 minutes of "working out" I felt like I had achieved something great.  Sure I hadn't done an Arnold caliber work out, but I did it.

I kept going.  Eventually my wife started tagging along. We had a daily meet after work at the gym then would go home for dinner.

Food was the hardest issue.  Because eating healthy is no fun, at first.  You start to get to like it after a while though.  Of course there were days that I decided "Screw it, I want a freaking burger" but those were getting fewer and farther apart. 

I kept at it, there have been ups and downs but in the end I know that I am in far better shape than I was that night I stood in front of that mirror.  I have kids now so finding the time for working out is more difficult, but I want it.  I don't want to be the dad that gets winded chasing his kids around.  I want my sons and daughter to look at me and think, "My dad is the strongest dad in the world".  I want them to see that working out is good, fun and simple.

I say simple, it is not easy but it is simple.  If you want to make a better you then you have to decide that you want it more than you want anything else.  You have to want it more than that movie, more than sleeping in,  and more than the large fries and strawberry milkshake.  You have to want it more than you want to breathe.  Because if you want it any less you won't do it. 

It's hard getting up at 4am to make it to the gym.  It's hard to not have sugar in your coffee. It's hard to not go out one night because you know that you are going to be up early and you have deadlifts on the schedule.  It is worth it though.  Every time that you do something that you didn't think you could.  Every time you wrap your hands around a barbell, knowing that you've never lifted something that heavy, pull with all of your might, and find out that you can lift that much weight.

One of my favorite things to in the world is toss my children in the air.  They love it too. I would not be able to do this without the dedication that it takes to make it so I can. 

I am I there yet?  No, not by a long shot. I still look at myself and think "I can do better" I'm stronger now than I have ever been in my life, but I want to be stronger.  I want to be slimmer.  I want to look like my heroes from the comics and movies.

I want to look like I can wash shirts on my stomach.

These are my goals though.  You will set your own. But set them you must.  We need you in the world.  You're important.  You count.  And you owe it to yourself to be the best you that you can possibly be.

But at the end, know that if I can get my ass outta bed to get it done, you can do it.

If you need help or advice, or just a talk about life and how to make it better, hit me up.