A Day in My Life

A day in the life.  So much of my day is planned around making sure I get a workout in.  To fitness enthusiasts you know exactly what I’m talking about.  I need to and I want to.  Today I knew I had my Gym to myself after 4.  I had already thought about that before I went to bed last night.  One could compare that to an addict knowing they can get their fix at a certain time the next day or a successful business man knowing he’s planned his day well.  Look at it either way.  I don’t care.  Works for me.  Knowing the day was clear I didn’t have to jam my workout in this am before work.  I could help Joanna get ready for school and take the dogs out an extra time so they done poop In the house.  I finished job one and didn’t have clients this afternoon so the treadmill was mine!  And after that I could work legs and do squats listening to the new U2 “album” as loud as I want!  Ahh Heaven.  I feel at peace working out and I like my space when I train.  It’s a reset.  My own time.  I’ve loved it most my life.  I could say who doesn’t but that’s a silly question because the answer is most people.  When I don’t get it in or I don’t get my space I feel cheated.  The day isn’t as good.  As I’m writing in this external journal my mind drifted to tomorrow.  When will I train tomorrow?  I can’t in am because I have clients. I work job one tomorrow from 7-2 so I can’t then.  From 3-4:30 there should be no clients in the gym.  There you go!  Planned. It’s not stress planning this. It’s a disappointment when I can’t.  I get pissed!  I’m thinking that if others felt, not thought this way our country would be more fit.   My day was good. I worked hard, ate pretty healthy, had moments of authenticity, had some laughs and got in a 75 minute workout.    

Nancy Rowan

I did a 4k running race yesterday.  Yes, this is a 4k and not a 5k.  It's an interesting distance.  Nancy Rowan a client and friend of mine (and many) passed away way too young last year.  This was a shock to all of us.  She was a fixture to our running and wellness community for years.  Nancy started this Red Solo 4k race several years back at the Pavilion in Port Orange.  Yesterday was the race put on in her honor.  It felt right to go.   She and I had partnered in this race in the past.  She already is missed and based on the turnout the wellness community chooses to remember her.  Many people can sit home and complain about their life and many others choose to put on events that will get people out of their homes and a part of community.  Nancy was one of those people.   Nancy never ran to be better than people.  In all the years I knew her she only stated she loved to run.  She was a seeker of wellness and fitness.  I never heard her once state that she'd like to beat a particular competitor.  She wanted to perhaps run a certain time, but ultimately she just wanted to run.  Nancy made running social.  She put on a smile at every race she either produced, directed, or ran.   Nancy didn't speak much about spirituality but in part that's what made her spiritual.  Her actions showed her beliefs.  When we serve others we really don't need to tell people what we do.  I was happy to be there yesterday.  It was hot, it was humid.  It's August.  I know given the chance she would have been too.  Instead my bet is that Nancy is putting on races up in Heaven.  She's running with the saints and putting a smile on their faces.  Great race yesterday Nancy.  Thank you.  And God Bless.  

A Day At The Races

I ran the Tomoka Marathon 5k this morning here in the Daytona Beach area. This marathon is Daytona's only one, and they have a half marathon and 5k as well. I ran the 5k simply because I had a friend running the marathon and it was her first. I wanted to watch her finish. To me, getting up early to exercise isn't a chore so what the heck.

I was thinking on the way to the race how my emotional wellness has evolved over the years. I've done countless different endurance events over the past 25 years, and for the majority of those years I took myself way too seriously. I would obsess over times and my placing. I was not always a good sport either.  When you're in the middle of an endurance event there is a lot of suffering. The legs are heavy, the lungs are maxed out, and every fiber of your being wants to quit. But the competitive side won't let you. So you're stuck. You are stuck in the suffering. How did I handle pain? I got angry. If I was passed while suffering, there were few "good jobs". There was a resentful mutter and glare.  

Wellness is emotional health as much as physical health. In the peak of my physical fitness I wish I could say I was equally composed. But I wasn't. My self-esteem was too wrapped up in my performance. If i wasn't good I wasn't OK. In those early days, I'd spend car rides on the way to races obsessing over what I would need to do to control the situation. I'd want to get to triathlons early to get the best bike spot. If I went with friends, my words were of encouragement, but my heart wanted to beat them...needed to beat them.  

Back to today. Thankfully, if we continue to seek betterment of our body, mind, and spirit, we'll grow. On the way up to the race this AM, I listened to a spiritual podcast that I typically do, and my thoughts were very different than years ago. I was thinking about how I really don't care how I do or feel today, and that I'm most concerned with my friend and friends having a good day. My energy was spent on hoping they were safe and confident. During the event I still suffered. I don't think you can run a 5k with your perceived best effort without wishing it was over. But, this pain doesn't make me angry anymore. I've finished hundreds of races. Now I use this energy to help those who are suffering next to me.

Today my biggest concern on the course was keeping the young kids to the right of the cones so they stayed safe from cars. Their suffering made them worry about racing and not cars. I may have not even noticed 10 years ago. We are all a work in progress, and I felt victorious today as I finished in the middle of the pack, with my healthy it's not about me perspective. Endurance racing gives me an opportunity to not only build my fitness, but more importantly, my character. 

Tough Love

Is there a best kind of personal trainer? I think there is. I don't mean in regards to credentials. That should be a given. Sadly, that's not what we see as a criteria often enough. But I'm not really talking about that. What is the best personal trainer personality?  

I believe the best personal trainer is similar to a good parent. Not a buddy but a parent. I see so many trainers that act like buddies and some clients call that a good trainer. But that's similar to a good buddy you like for a season. That changes when the you know what hits the fan. What we want when that happens is a person that has answers!  They may say it gruffly, insensitively, and lack tact, but we don't care. We want help. We got a ticket and we can't afford it. It might feel good for a buddy to agree with us that all cops are jerks, but we remember the attorney who says, "Look idiot, go to driving school and you'll get out of that one with less damage, and slow down!".   

A good trainer is like a good parent. There are rules.The trainer teaches the rules and they let the person feel the consequence if they don't follow them.  I hate the "It's OK, no biggie, you tried". Bullshit! First off client, know that the trainer is lying to you, they feel like you're totally slacking and they just don't want to deal with you. Next, it is OK. It's on you. I still care for my clients if they don't succeed but rules are rules. Good trainers and parents need to be tough. Tough love.   

Somebody doesn't follow the eating plan a good trainer points out that's the reason they didn't reach their goal.  They don't scratch their head and send them to have their thyroid checked.   

A good trainer and parent loves their clients and kids no mstter what but that doesn't mean their soft.  In fact the opposite Is true.  When you care your tough.  When you don't care your soft.   

Good parents, teachers, and trainers have one huge thing in common and that is they want to be respected more than be liked.  Wanting everybody to like you is a deep rooted insecurity.  The trainer that has that tendency has many clients that are failing to find success.  

Body Building Is A Lifestyle

When you really get down to it, real body builders may be the healthiest group on the planet. Of humans that is. I know that may sound wrong or debatable at the least, but let's look at it. 

Yes body builders get a bad wrap. Most we think of are over developed, cut-off-sweat-shirt-wearing, lunks. But there are insecure, attention seeking people in every group. Body builders just stand out. Why? They bring out the insecurities in you "secure" types who are judging them. God forbid he looks better than you because he works hard and he's disciplined. No way. He's taking steroids and getting butt implants! Maybe, or maybe he just wants it more than you do. Yes, body building has been greatly compromised by drugs. But that's drugs. We humans like to cheat. Cheat ourselves. 

Natural body building is an awesome lifestyle. It is simply sculpting your body naturally, without drugs to look the best you can look. Natural bodybuilders workout daily. They eat very clean. They keep the main focus of working out on maintaining as much lean muscle tissue on the body as they age. What is wrong with that? They do not take illegal drugs so therefore they don't look like freaks. They just look good, young. Again, what is wrong with that? A healthy person mentally, spiritually, and physically is healthy no matter what they do for physical exercise. Body builders who act insecure by dressing like meatheads would do the same thing on the baseball field. It's no different than the 70 year old woman dressing like she's 30. There is a sadness to it. But a natural healthy body builder is just trying to be his best. If he's at the beach and you notice his "ripped" physique, why hate? You have your shirt off too. It's the beach. He's just looks better. If it brings out your own insecurities do something about it.  

Start going to the gym. I'm 50 now. I don't look like I did at 25. When I see that jacked 20 year old at the beach, I say good for him, he looks awesome. It takes hard work to look awesome. I feel that way because I'm secure. And, yes, a lifetime natural body builder. We can be secure. It takes emotional workouts to be secure. I'm always willing to put in the work. Peace. 

Use It Or Lose It

We grow or we atrophy.  It's really a matter of choice.  Keep moving forward by walking, jogging, and/or running and we'll keep that ability far longer than If we don't.  Keep going up stairs and we'll keep that skill.  Keep opening up tough jars and we'll stay strong.  Carry our own groceries and we'll keep that strength.  Use our glutes, quads, hamstrings, pecs, lats, Delts, bi's, tri's, abs, and low back and those muscles will stay strong and taught.  Neglect them and they won't.  Get the heart rate up on a regular basis and the heart will work for you.  Don't exercise it and it will shrink up and stop. Choice not fate.  Use the brain: read, pay your own bills, learn skills, study computers.  If you do your brain still stay strong.  We are so much more adaptable than most people realize.  But we have to turn the key.  Our body want start itself.  

Know The What And The How Doesn't Matter

What is it that you're really trying to accomplish? When that answer gets firmly established what to do to get there takes care of itself. Sounds easy? It is.  The hard part is figuring what the what really is.   

I think this takes years to figure out.  Maybe even decades.  Could it be found sooner?  Perhaps it could with lots of self reflection and brutal honesty.   

In my 20's I really wanted to get a trophy In a body building contest. I did but did I? Goal reached but not fulfilled. Later I wanted to join the ranks of the triathletes I was in graduate school with.  hey seemed healthy, laid back. Popular. Ahh... Maybe that was truly it?  

I joined the ranks. After a bit, not good enough wasn't enough, because now I wanted to be one of the best. Best of what? The impossible goal to ever hit. To quote Ricky Bobby "If you're not first you're last". This is true if we set the parameters up this way.  

During my graduate school exploration I was around true triathletes who got it. My mentors were Dr. Frank Rohter and Gerald Gergley. They were representing decades 70 and 50. They did races and lived the fit lifestyle never bragging or obsessing over performance. They left a legacy of fitness and wanted to be fit. Simply wanted to stay as fit as possible.   

Goal met. What did they do? Whatever it took. Does the average age group triathlete really desire the podium so much or is it what the podium represents? I guess if winning an age group award at a triathlon or winning a weight class is the end all be all of what you need, the the how does matter down to the minute. That's a risky proposition though, because the win could leave you empty still. I've been there. But if the what is being fit like Dr. Rohter in your 70's, 80,s and 90's, then the how just comes down to a daily dose of exercise.   

The ironic thing is that the podium wins will still come, but they'll come as a consequence of lifestyle versus an unreachable obsession.  

The what for me is being fit and feeling great. The how is making exercise a part of my every day, as well as eating as heathy as I can daily.   

In Search Of Middle Ground

I saw an article today on the reality of celebrity fitness stars and that they are the epitome of fitness and health. It got me thinking about that subject and I've always believed they are not. Typically these elitists are extreme and often do not have a sustainable routine. But I thought about myself and my own battle with extremism. And I wonder if some of these stars don't suffer from the same false belief as I and that is that being exceptional physically will cover up the emotional holes.

I've turned 50 in the past few months and I'm just now starting to discover that perfection physically won't make up for lack of contentment emotionally. I recently had a client of mine go through a diet process because she wanted to lose 15 pounds. She didn't need to lose weight so I told her I'd help her but I wanted to know if she was happier at that perfect weight. Naturally my belief was she would not be. I'm always the expert when it comes to others.

Going through some chubby years in adolescence had me convinced that if I just have a good body than I'll find happiness and popularity. Its like looking for that gold at the end of the rainbow only to find years later through much heartache that the gold was actually lining your suit. You just didn't know to look within.  

It's taken me 35 years to realize that whether I'm 5% body fat or 15% it doesn't change who I am. Now I want to be healthy. I want to have energy, strength, and mobility so I can stay highly active. I want to eat healthy to be healthy. Striving for perfection was a facade and quite frankly selfish. I'm by no means where I want to be regarding my emotional health. I write this blog to hopefully provoke thought in you but I also write it simply because I'm trying to learn it myself. I get this mentally but the longest 12 inches ever traveled runs from the head to the heart.  

Do The Next Right Thing

Do the next right thing.  Do this enough and you'll have a good hour.  Have enough good hours and you'll have a good day.  Enough good days leads to a good week.  The good weeks lead to good months.  String together good months and you'll have a good year.  The good years lead to good decades.  Good decades become a good life.  With a good life you leave a legacy. It all begins and ends with doing the next right thing.  

Merry Christmas

Maybe we are looking at our health and fitness all wrong? Have to's and obligations don't get to the heart of the matter.  The obligations in anything will only be carried it out so long.  If we need to eat healthy because we need to lose weight eventually our motivation will be gone.  We'll lose that few pounds and and get the lab results we seek this year only to fight again the battle next year.  Is this how the creator of life intended us to live? I don't think so.  So on Christmas why don't we consider a new way of thinking? What if we didn't take this life for granted nor our bodies for granted? How many people value their Heath once they've lost it?  Too many that I've seen.  What if we feel so grateful that we honor the body we wee given by taking care of it?  We might  then fuel it with food that energizes us and restores us.   When we take things for granted we tend to let things go.  I don't believe we were meant to diet and think so much about our food.  We have really all become so desensitized to our bodies, mind, and spirit that we have to rely on external feedback to gauge our progress. How's that working for us? By the time we get on the scale we have already done the damage.  How about If instead we Change from the inside out?  We begin by feeling grateful for our bodies and not feeling entitled for health.  We next tune into our heart and make choices that nourish us and fulfill us and not pleasure us.  Yes it's a battle but the battle is so much easier if we understand how blessed we are to be born and to have life.  Our gift back is to take care of the vessel we call our bodies.