Never Stop Learning

Learning as a kid sucked. I hated school. The only reason I kept going back was because of the girls, sports and P.E. Oh ya did I forget to mention I did not want my mom to get a call from the principal or face the dreaded truancy officer.

Learning as an adult is awesome. In todays fast paced digital age one is either forced to learn or get left behind. We learn from our mistakes or we are doomed to repeat them. We either learn on the job, get promoted or die a slow miserable death in the same crappy job stuck in the same crappy cubicle. Depressing right? It makes one eager to learn doesn’t it? Ya I thought so.

How does learning relate to all things health and fitness? Well I will tell you but first tell me the most recent thing that you have learned that had an immediate impact on you. Please comment below.

A few weeks back I was at the gym doing dumbbell chest presses when I noticed a guy using a stability ball. He was actually doing the same exercise I was. I waited until he was in between sets before I approached him. I walked over and asked him why he was not using the bench. I was more intrigued with his use of the stability ball. He explained that using the stability ball strengthens his core and isolates the chest more using the ball verses the flat bench.

He then walked me through the movement and explained how to position oneself on the ball. He then asked me if I wanted to give it a try. I said yes. I proceeded to grab my 70lb dumbbells. He quickly told me to put them back and grab the 45’s.

I struggled with the movement but after a few reps I was able to get the hang of it. I was really able to feel the difference using the ball verses the bench. My pectoral muscles were on fire. My core felt stronger. My mind muscle connection was heightened. I was fatigued after 2 sets of 10 reps.

I thanked the gentleman for teaching me something new that day. I will start to incorporate more stability ball exercises into my workouts. I love learning new things especially when it comes to all things health and fitness.

Learning new things keeps my workouts fresh. I am able to keep my muscles guessing. I am able to minimize plateauing. I am able to grow and pass along new things to the gym newbie. A clever acronym for LEARN is Lifestyle Education Attitude Relationship Nutrition. Make health and fitness a lifestyle. Educate yourself. Have a positive attitude. Have a great relationship with yourself. Follow a nutrition plan not a diet.

Remember,

‘You Cannot Out Train A Bad Diet’

Greg

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Art Takes Time And So Do We.

I visited the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art today. The true masterpiece was standing beside me. True beauty does not require attention. I borrowed that line from a movie. Any guesses? Comment below but if you keep reading I will tell you the answer.

I am on a constant almost relentless mission to better myself. I am constantly improving my mind, body and spirit. I am happy to say it is a job that will never end. To improve my body I keep a consistent workout regiment an nutrition plan. To improve my mind and spirit I practice meditating and read as much as possible. I also practice living in the hear and now and practice acceptance.

The gym newbie, myself and a vast consensus go to the gym and try to watch what we eat. As a health and fitness enthusiast I want to reach perfection body, mind and spirit. We are all just like that white canvas artists paint on.

We all start out as a blank canvas. We are our own canvas. We are responsible for painting our own canvas. We choose our designs and colors. We decide how fast or slow to paint. We decide our self worth and how much we sell our painting for.

We should never rush our painting or expect our outcome. With every repetition and set we paint our canvas. With every ‘eating clean meal we get one step closer to a finish product.

Hey gym newbie don’t rush through your painting. Don’t have expectations. Don’t set a deadline for the final product. Enjoy every rep, set and cardio session.

Remember,

‘You Cannot Out Train A Bad Diet’

Greg

Answer: The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’

Come On Man!

I am pretty well-mannered and easy going guy. I almost lost it today. Thank God for my 5 second rule. I pause 5 seconds before reacting or responding to anything.

I was doing super-sets of pull-ups and lat cable pulldowns on the adjoining cable pulley. Someone asked me if I was using the hammer strength machine which was nowhere near the pull-up bars or cable pulley. Another person saw me just finish my pull-ups and switch to the pulley. I just picked up the pulley when he asked me if I was done. I replied no so he proceeded to stand right next to me.

I asked to move or are going to stand right next to me. He said yes. Now there are some written rules in the gym but there is a universal set of rules or basic common sense edicate. I was close to punching both of them but my freedom is more important. Plus I didn’t want to give them that power and satisfaction. I paused 5 seconds then walked away. I get the alpha-male syndrome because I am also an alpha male but common really? You can still be an alpha male but dude have some humility man!

Remember,

‘You Cannot Out Train A Bad Diet’

Greg

Excuses Just Create More Excuses

I have been asked recently to write a few meal plans and workout plans for a few of my colleagues at work. I actually enjoy doing this so I always jump at then chance when presented. The one question I ask every potential client or friend who asks for my help I simply ask why? It sounds condescending I know but there is a reason. I will circle back around to the ‘why’ in just a moment so stick with me. If you’ve read my past blogs you will probably know the answer so this parts to my new readers.

When I begin a new plan I do an intake. I document the clients current weight, measurements, activity level and current eating habits. I even go as far as asking them to as best they could write down everything they ate yesterday. Not too hard, right?

Not one could tell me a single thing. Sure some tell me some random thing they either ate or drank. Now I don’t expect them to be accurate or even remotely accurate. I want to get an assessment of their maintenance calories. I want to get a margin for their calorie deficit to trigger weight-loss. I also want to a projectery for their excepted weight-loss. I then begin to build their nutrition and workout plan. Anyone nowadays can write their own plan thanks to the internet.

I want to circle back around to the ‘why’. I did a simple search on the internet regarding excuses and weigh-loss. The excuses ranged from it’s to expensive to eat clean to I don’t have the time. I can go on but you get the idea.

If the client knows the ‘true’ reason that reason will answer any current or future reason they may be conjuring up. Their ‘reason’ will push them through any road block or attempts to want to quit.

Remember,

‘You Cannot Out Train A Bad Diet’

Greg

Nothing Beats Hard Work

I was in the waiting room of my optometrist today when I overheard a kid talking to his mom about artificial intelligence. The kid when on to say that why would humans create something that would eventually make those that created AI become obsolete? This kid could not have been more that 12 or 13 years old. Pretty genius for a teenager right? Well I thought so that’s why I mentioned it in tonights blog.

I believe AI is good for mankind. It shows the evolution and potential in the human race. Plus when used effectively AI has the potential to improve the quality of our lives. It is a ‘life-hack’ if you will. There are many versions of ‘AI’ that equate to the health and fitness industry. Over the years we have seen everything to the shake weight to the thigh-master to the fit bit. These devices help us reach our health and fitness goals faster. They improve our quality of life. The shake weight is debatable.

There is one thing that withstands the test of time, hard work. Simple and to the point. We can buy all the gadgets and gizmos in the world but that weight is not going to lift itself. That calorie will not just magically disappear. We have to put in the work. That guy who creates AI still has to put in the long hours and sleepless nights.

My readers will probably agree that everyone wants to improve his or her quality of life myself included. I am all for being a progressive society. I am a fan of anything that will help me accelerate my health and fitness progression. I’m all about burning calories in the least amount of time that’s why I love doing some type of HIIT cardio. I use an app to track my meals. I use a step counter to help keep track of my calories burned. I use a virtual personal trainer to motivate me during my workouts and to provide me accountability.

Hey gym newbie you are going to make it. Use whatever devise, app or gadget you can get your hands on to help you on your health and fitness journey. But don’t forget nothing will ever replace actual hard work.

Remember,

‘You Cannot Out Train A Bad Diet’

Greg

Body Image

If I have not been that obvious or open in my past blogs I have not had a drink since December 2009. Sobriety is not todays topic but it has its place and I will tie it all in later so please keep reading. If you are a new reader my blogs are about all things health and fitness related. In addition I share my personal experiences, successes and failures that I have encountered in my fitness journey so the reader won’t have too. I am still considered a newbie to the health and fitness world. I have only been seriously training for about two years now and I’m 43. And for the record these opinions are just that, opinions. I can only give the reader my viewpoint based on first-hand experience. I encourage the reader to make up their own conclusions, ask questions and do their own research and share it; especially if that research is their own first-hand experience.

Back to todays topic, body image. A controversial one yes but important to talk about. We see all over social media pictures of what ‘society’ portrays what the ideal man and woman should look like. It seems like every decade or so these images change ever so slightly but the basics are a constant. Men are muscular with the classic ‘V’ tapered waist and women are tall and slender. These images are in fact images. Yes there are actually real people that do actually resemble these images. Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media (https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-body-image). I could not find a concrete percentage for men. There were to many variables in the studies I found online but I’m sure it’s just as alarming as the percentages for women.

I was listening to one of my favorite songs today while on a break at work. On the way home I asked myself why this is one of my favorite songs. The beat, the way it makes me feel; nope. It was the lyrics. The lyrics really touched me on a very personal level. The song is called ‘Creature Comfort’ by Arcade Fire. I may not know the true meaning behind the song so I can only give you my interpretation. The song has a lyric ‘Some girls hate themselves Hide under the covers with sleeping pills And some girls cut themselves Stand in the mirror and wait for the feedback. As someone in recovery I know many women and men who were cutters. In addition I know several women who suffer from eating disorders. These are their additions. Alcohol was my addiction.

How does all this relate to all things health and fitness you may be asking? Well I’ll tell you. In general people go to the gym to exercise, loose weight and to get healthier but what is the constant and why? People want to look better me included. I want that six pack, that v-taper, that classic greek god look. Women want that slender look, that classic hour-glass physique. And why do they want it? They (me included) are not happy with the one they already have.

The last thing the gym newbie needs is to develop a negative self body image. The last thing the gym newbie needs to do is compare themselves to anyone but themselves. I say this a lot but it’s worth repeating, we will never look like our personal trainers. We will never look like that seasoned lifter with 8% body fat. We will never look like that 18 year old blonde receptionist with that hour-glass physique. Once we can understand that message, love ourselves for who we are and how God made us the rest of our health and fitness journey will all be downhill from there. I did not start to comprehend that message until I got sober in 2009. I learned to love myself again. The infamous IG quote says it best, ‘We Don’t Have To Worry About Fitting In; We Are Custom Made’!

Remember,

‘You Cannot Out Train A Bad Diet’

Greg

Music Is Therapy!

Everyone including myself has that one special song that really hits us. This song or songs trigger a significant moment in our lives. It can be ‘our song’ played at your wedding, that song was playing during our first dance or the song takes us back to our childhood etc. whatever it is music connects us with our memories.

My list of songs do not trigger specific events in my timeline they just motivate the hell out of me. I really connect with the lyrics. I also connect with the beat , tempo and the message I get from the song. Only the artist can understand their motives for writing the song. Only I can interpret the song and the message I get from it.

So how does relate to all things health and fitness related? Well I’ll tell but first let me tell you about one of my favorite songs, ‘Oil and Water’ by Incubus. The message I get from this song is that there will always be people that we don’t get along with no matter how hard we try. Oil and Water will never mix. I will never mix with some people and that’s OK. I learned that we have to accept people for who they are. We don’t have to like them just accept them.

I say this a lot but its worth mentioning again. We will never look like our personal trainer. We will never look like that body builder at our local gym. We can only look better than we were yesterday. Once we stop comparing ourselves to others then oil and water will start to mix. Someone new to health and fitness that gets this message will always have a leg up on the competition. At that moment the competition is you!

Remember,

‘You Cannot Out Train A Bad Diet’

Greg

No More Opportunities In Disguise!

We here the phrase, ‘don’t let that opportunity pass you by’ all the time. I usually have an ‘ah-ha’ moment right after the opportunity has passed me by. By the time I acknowledge the opportunity it is to far ahead to catch up.

The good thing is that we get a do over in life every day we wake up. With each day comes new opportunities. We can work harder, write one more page of that novel, eat healthier or finally ask out that that cute barista who works at that coffee shop you go every morning.

My defect as with many others perhaps is that I get excited about opportunities but then ten minutes later it’s gone. It’s like that scene in Swingers where Vince Vaughn and his buds get charged up when they decide to go to Las Vegas. Five minutes later they are seen in the car bored because the excitement wore off. They just realized they still have a four hour drive ahead of them.

If I Look at my albatross analytically the truth be told I like routine and familiarity. I’m sure my readers do too and that’s OK. Humans are creatures of habit. When something or someone breaks up that routine that is your opportunity in disguise. Sometimes we do not see it that way. We have the glass is half empty mentality. So how do we switch from a half empty to a half full mentality?

Hopefully one of my readers has some insight but I will give you my two cents from a health and fitness perspective. First there are some basics to living a healthy lifestyle. Eat clean or moderately clean, exercise and get lots of sleep. Thats common knowledge. Pretty simple yes, hard to do no. My readers might be saying to themselves right now yes. Greg what about this or that? But Greg I don’t have money for a gym membership. Healthy foods are to expensive. I don’t have the time or resources. If you had the kinds of obstacles or busy life I have you would say yes too!

These responses are coming from a ‘glass half empty’ mindset. We need to recondition ourselves to a ‘glass half full’ mentality. When this shift takes place an onslaught of opportunities will start to emerge. We can take the stairs, park in the back lot of our work, bring lunches to work, prep our meals for the week, get a standing desk at work, go for walks on our breaks etc. These are just a few examples.

There are countless other’s but here is just one link (https://personalexcellence.co/blog/healthy-living/). When we start to shift changes will become apparent. No longer will others point out lost opportunities. You will have the ‘glass half full’ mentality.

There were two prisoners looking out of their jail cell window. One saw the mud, the other saw the stars.

Remember,

‘You Cannot Out Train A Bad Diet’

Greg

New Year New You

A thought came to me the other day as I was posting a workout on social media; new year, new you. With a new year comes resolutions, new laws, new elections, new policies at work, new friends etc. Why do we wait for a new year to make some changes? I understand the policy, law changes and elections but what about resolutions or changes for ourselves?

I don’t know about the reader but last I checked changes that I make are usually initiated by myself. Sure I make some changes out of fear. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has done this. I’ve made changes because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I say let’s not wait for things, circumstances, our health, or anything else get so bad they force us to change. Don’t wait to be sick and tired. I let my drinking and health get so unbearable I had no recourse but to change. I propose to the reader to write down things they want to change. More importantly find out the underlining reasons for the desire to change. What benefits would change bring? Lastly write down specific quantitative steps you can do for 21 days straight to induce change. 21 days is not a random number. It takes an average of 21 days to develop or break a habit. These changes need to be interwoven into the fabric of your life so that these changes will become a part of you.

We have the ability to change and reinvent ourselves daily if we choose too. If you have read my past blogs I mentioned changing wither because we have to or because we want to. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘If Nothing Changes Then Nothing Changes’!

Hey gym newbie don’t let things, people or circumstances dictate your desire to change. Be proactive. Tell your support group your changes. If you don’t have a support group then get one. Mark off each day on a calendar for 21 days. Two weeks after the 21 day mark make an assessment. Are the changes remaining intact without you having to think about it? If so, great. If not start another 21 day countdown. I’m sure you don’t have to remind yourself to brush your teeth or get dressed before leaving the house. Probably not right? It’s an extreme example but I think I’ve made my point. Every morning right out of bed I do pushups and crunches to failure. For me this routine has become automatic. I believe in you gym newbie. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Remember,

‘You Cannot Out Train A bad Diet’

Greg

When Reality Sets In…?

Where do I begin with this blog? I’m not sure. It all started six months ago; June 2017 to be exact. I decided to run a full marathon. I figured I ran a half marathon when I turned 40 so at 43 a full should be OK right? I may be a bit older but I’m much stronger and more conditioned than when I was 40. I never looked back since that day last year. I was off to the races.

I trained three to four days a week straight for the next six months. I was pretty strict on my macros (not counting a few cheat meals here and there plus Thanksgiving and Christmas). I ran a couple days a week in addition to my regular weightlifting routine. My first reality hit when I paid the registration fee (non-refundable; OUCH). The next wave hit me when I downloaded the course map. Holy shit! I am going to be running through three cities. My last reality hit me the night before the race (yesterday 01/13/18). I just realized what I got myself into. I went into the race confident and well prepared. A quarterback can prepare all he wants but when he gets sacked for the first time his reality becomes his true reality. I felt like I got sacked by the great Reggie White when I passed mile twenty. Before I go into that let me recap the events preluding to that point.

I go to bed the night before at 9pm. I am a night owl so I was having trouble forcing myself to sleep. I woke up at 5am. I started late and was an hour behind the pack. I had some catching up to do. I finally caught up and finished with a time of 4:52 hours; total miles 26:61. Not bad for my first full marathon. I’m considering doing it again. I want to run it in under 4 hours.

Back to how my reality set in. I started out pretty fast. I was energized, well fueled and feeling really good. This was just like my runs at home. I past the 13 mile mark at 1:45. I’m right on pace. As I ran through Phoenix and Scottsdale my second wave of reality hit. I remember driving through these streets what the hell am I voluntarily running down the middle of them? No price money, accolades, three blondes waiting for me at the finish line; nope. I was doing this for me, my biggest most toughest opponent I have and will ever face in my life. If you do not get that statement then read it again and again until you do. Moving on.

When I hit mile 20 my third and final wave of reality crashed over me. Pain! Lots and lots of pain. No muscle cramps, (got a small cramp on my side from guzzling way to much water, gatorade and gu energy packs) but the kind of pain where my mind was having a shouting match with this pain and the pain was winning. The pain was coming from behind my legs behind the knee. On the anatomy chart the area where my pain was coming from is called the Popliteal fossa. It might have been a common peroneal nerve or tibial nerve but all as I know I wanted it to stop immediately. If I stopped running I might cramp up and I might throw in the towel. Not me. I spent way too much time and effort to not finish. I pushed through. I literally had to distract my mind or else. My mind was focused on the pain and it seemed to increase every time I acknowledged a thought which was screaming pain.

I decided use the A.A. Motto take it one day at a time. I traded in days for steps. I literally started to watch my feet. This not only took my attention away from the markers but also the pain. This slowed me down a bit but I didn’t care at this point. I kept going and passed the 22 mile mark without even realizing it. Four and a quarter miles to go. I’m feeling better at this point. Not long the pain monster reared its little ugly head. He came back about five times until the finish. Every time it surfaced I went back to watching my feet.

Onto a better, happier and more glorious reality that came at mile 26; the bridge. I knew the course fairly well from the half I ran in 2015. I new when I hit the bridge the finish was just on the other side. I took off running as fast as I could until I had nothing left. I almost fainted while they were taking my picture.

On a side note chocolate milk, 2 bananas, 2 granola bars and 2 bottles of water never tasted so good in my life. And the hot shower I took when I got home; mind blowing!

Remember,

‘You Cannot Out Train A Bad Diet’

Greg