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"Who here thinks they're in the best shape of their life?"

Monday, April 22, 2013

So I had an interesting day today....actually my life is a string of interesting days, but today had some more than usual interesting points.

I had the opportunity to speak to a crowd of 60 to 70 up and coming 20-something professionals about leadership development, job prospects, managerial expectations, getting ahead, yadda-yadda-yadda. I can be somewhat motivating and get asked to do this on occasion and I enjoy it.

I usually talk for about 10-15 minutes, then take their questions about anything and everything that's on their minds. When there's a lull, I start asking them questions, and, just like any good law professor, start grilling them on their answers.

Today, just for the hell of it, I asked, "Who here thinks they're in the best shape of their life?" Maybe 5-7 hands went up, 2-3 of them were pretty tentative.

I held my hand up and told them I'm 53.

Interesting, huh?

Then I went hunting.

"So those of you who didn't raise your hands, you're telling me you've peaked? Are you telling me that your best days were in college or maybe even high school?"

A few uncomfortable chuckles.

"Who thinks they're going to get in shape in the next 6 months?" A few hands. "How about in the next year" A bunch more hands.

"OK, that's promising.....How many of you think you're going to get less busy as you move up the corporate ladder?"

Everyone looked at their shoes.

"Who here is married, or thinking about getting married? Who has kids, or is going to have kids?" A few hands....some of the same ones who said they'd be getting in better shape this next year.

"So if I understand this right, you've been too busy these last few years to stay in shape, WHILE YOU'RE IN YOUR 20s" I shouted, "and, since you're in this leadership class, you expect to be moving up in responsibilities, and by the way, you're about to start families, but you figure you're OK putting off getting in shape till next year some time, because then there will be more time"

Silence.

"I think you guys need to start hitting the gym tomorrow!"

"I don't think many of you are likely to get there 'next year sometime'. I think you may want to, but if you keep putting it off till next year, you may just find yourself 10-20 years from now, reasonably successful, but in fairly poor health. Unless you start now, it'll just get tougher and tougher, you'll get busier and busier with work, with life, and then......"

So I told them my story (you can read it on my SP page if you're not one of my SP buds; smoker, overweight, non-runner, turned into non-smoking marathon-man, then morphed into trim and strong adult-onset weight-lifting fanatic) and said that I can honestly say I feel in the best shape of my life, and I'm 10 times busier than any of them....but today I make the time to workout and treat it as importantly as any other meeting I go to and need to do it so that I can be a strong husband, father, and employee.....in that order"

I was one of them for a long time, working my ass off 60-80 hours a week to do well, but the wear and tear on my body, eating a diet of crappy food to "get some energy" during the day got me 30-40 lbs heavier, with a waist size 5-6 inches bigger than I have now, and no stamina for even climbing a flight of stairs or running after a bus.....yet, that was OK, because I was "successful"

I didn't want to go through life thinking that the healthiest time in my life was in my 20s.....and I didn't want these 20-something kids (Yeah, their kids dammit!) to go through the rest of their lives thinking they peaked in high school....and that it was just downhill from there.

Th rest of my day was a little less interesting....tons of meeting, had to get an estimate to get my car fixed ($2,000 freaking dollars!!! But I love this car!), and my always dreaded hi-rep leg day.

After talking smack like that I couldn't bag out of leg day. I got myself motivated for 3 sets of 15 reps of squats at 185 lbs (5 more lbs than last time....woohoo!) and 3 sets 15 reps of deadlifts at 250 lbs (another 5 lb increase!) and all I could think of was, "Why the hell did I say all that scheisse to those kids....now I can't quit no matter how much this hurts!"

Have a great night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PROT358 4/28/2013 12:28AM

    As a twenty-something, I really needed to hear this today! I already figured out that now is the time to get healthy before marriage and kids and added responsibilities. The stars will never align perfectly, but like you said life does get busier. There's no time like the present!

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FANGFACEKITTY 4/25/2013 1:57AM

    Methinks your subconscious slung the scheisse to remove even the remotest possibility of bagging out on hi-rep legs day!

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BEECHNUT13 4/24/2013 6:02PM

    I think when we're toddlers, that is when we're in the best shape of our lives. We have perfect form when squatting, running, walking, sitting....

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LISAINMS 4/24/2013 8:47AM

    Yes! More "kids" need to hear this message. They need to know that they are at a critical point in their life. Make fitness and health a daily habit now. I waited until my kids were in college to rediscover my inner athlete. Yes, I'm in the best shape of my life NOW at 47.

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BOB240 4/23/2013 3:16PM

    Neither mentally or physically :(.................................
..........................

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HANSBRINK 4/23/2013 12:23PM

  Nice observation. I've found the same to be true in my activities.

I belong to a rec sports team. Our members range in age from early 20's to mid 60's. The 20's have youth on their side. But when they get up into the 30's, working 9 or 10 hours a day, starting their families, all that goes away. The older members have better muscle strength and more stamina. Our masters team (40 and older) trains against the "youngsters" and we routinely beat them in head-to-head competition.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 4/23/2013 11:53AM

    At 63 I'm fitter than I've ever been. The shape is not quite what I'd like, but I'm healthier and stronger.

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ANASARI 4/23/2013 10:18AM

    So true, and a great way to reframe it in a way that they might understand. We all feel invincible in our 20s, so hopefully this was a wake-up call for the rest of their lives. Wish you had been my motivational speaker about 2 decades ago! hah :) Thanks for sharing!

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GIANTMICROBE 4/23/2013 7:39AM

    That's really fantastic and you are exactly the type of person I really look up to. I want to just keep getting better. I tell my mom at 50 I am going to be in better shape than I am now and she just laughs and tells me that's "not how it works". *smh*

I can honestly say I'm in the best shape I've ever been in, right now. When I was in high school and 120 pounds heavier I could not do so many things I do now with ease. So I am on the right track!

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PMRUNNER 4/23/2013 5:47AM

    Love it! At 42, a father of 4 small kids, and a senior army officer, I can say that I am the best shape of my post college life. You are absolutely right though, fitness doesn't happen through wishes or by mistake. It takes prioritizing your health and wellness consistently. A great message for those youngsters!

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BERGBA7 4/23/2013 2:28AM

    emoticon
I am taking part in a further education on "leadership development" for school... We did not get such a speech but while reading your blog I kept thinking about how it would be for our group to get such a speaker!
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At least, I am no more a total kid and am in the best shape of my life.
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You are a great motivator and leader!
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ADVENTURESEEKER 4/22/2013 11:48PM

    Great message to share!

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SKFEREBEE 4/22/2013 11:32PM

    And that's what I call spreading the Spark :o) Awesome!

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IRISHBEANERGAL 4/22/2013 10:50PM

    LOVE IT - and let's hope that some of those *kids* heard the valuable message!

~Irish

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WOUBBIE 4/22/2013 10:28PM

    Yup, you set yourself up real good! Happy Leg Day!

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DOUGDC 4/22/2013 10:19PM

    Great approach -- great talk -- and great follow through!
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GOOSIEMOON 4/22/2013 10:09PM

    emoticon

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JO88BAKO 4/22/2013 10:07PM

    mentally yes, physically no

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On sugar comas and eating clean!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Well, for anyone who read my blog yesterday, you know that SWMBO and I did our part for God and Country by spending an un-Godly amount of money on cakes and desserts at a charity auction Friday night.

The monetary amount, however, was nothing compared to the physical toll that an overload of carbs (mostly sugar, but there were plenty of other culprits to spread the blame on to) took on my brain, my body, and yes....my very soul!

I think I am just beginning to come out of the haze....it really is an amazing revelation. It's taken 2 days of clean eating (meat, plants, and water...nothing processed...everything brought along the perimeter of the grocery store...nothing from the aisles!) and 2 hard workouts to where I can finally sit here and say, "OK, I feel normal now"

Last summer (2012) I made a conscious decision to start eating "clean"....cutting out most all processed food (anything with more than 3 ingredients on the label) and ditching most of the worthless carbs (sugar, pastas, breads, white potatoes, rice, etc).

I've never felt better!

My irrational food cravings have diminished to almost zero (there's still peanut butter!), my belly flattened out within months, and I feel in control of my diet like never before.

Oh, I've had some moments, but I planned for them; Pecan Pie at Thanksgiving, Key Lime Pie and Banana Bread at XMAS....but for whatever reason, Friday night's foray into Bacon Stout Chocolate Cheesecake and Italian Cream Cheese Cake land threw me a into a foggy loop.

I sweated off a bunch of it yesterday, but it wasn't until after today's HIIT session (and an exquisite round of Farmer's Carries....man I'm really digging those!) that the fog lifted....I feel clear of mind once again.

I've been eating tons of salads (spinach with either chicken or shrimp, some ginger dressing, & olive oil), eggs, and tonight we just sauteed up a bunch of napa cabbage, mini sweet-peppers, a little pork tenderloin, and cracked pepper.

I can only speak for myself on the effects of sugar overload and carbs in general, but I also slept like a rock these last 2 nights. Now some of that can be from the ST workouts, but SWMBO tells me I was out like a light and snoring enough to draw in a Zombie herd!


All this of course makes me wonder how I must have functioned in the past, when it was common for me to eat 200-300 gms/carbs a day. Hell I used to consciously "Carbo-load" when I trained for marathons, thinking nothing of having bowl upon bowl of rice or pasta....I was just going to burn it all of running right?

Wrong!

I'm fond of saying, "You can't work off a bad diet", but that is new thinking to me....as is "clean eating". It makes intuitive sense now, but for a long time, I believed I could just exercise more and lose weight.


It's a good reminder...food matters....it matters a lot, especially the right kinds of foods. I feel better and clearer headed today, but it took about 48 hours to feel "normal" again after indulging, and I'll admit, there was a lot of indulging going on, in cakes, sugars, carbs, and junk!

Back to eating clean!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOOSIEMOON 4/22/2013 10:11PM

    emoticon

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DOUGDC 4/22/2013 9:54AM

    Even it it's high risk behavior, I've got to find the recipe.

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DOUGDC 4/20/2013 10:08AM

    Glad you recovered.
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LEANJEAN6 4/17/2013 8:01AM

    great blog!!!!!--inspirational! emoticon -Lynda

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LISAINMS 4/16/2013 1:06PM

    It's interesting how we change our mindset and our bodies adapt. Eating clean does become intuitive and the new normal. Then you throw something "not clean" into the tank and everything goes haywire in a hurry. The good news is that, if you clean out the tank, you're right back on track. Glad you're feeling like yourself again.

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HANSBRINK 4/15/2013 7:39PM

  There's got to be a balance in here someplace. Yes to eating clean. But yes to an occasional treat of chocolate, bacon, and stout cheesecake. Two BIG slices might have been overdoing it. Glad you're able to get back on track.

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VHALKYRIE 4/15/2013 7:12AM

    I didn't believe it until I tried it myself. Eat more, never get hungry, and lose more weight? Sounds like a late night TV diet scam! But it's true! I used to spin my wheels eating 1200 calories and 200g carbs per day and did not get anywhere. I had no idea that my 'healthy' carbs were my problem. Been going 2 years strong at less than 100g carbs, and still loving it.

Comment edited on: 4/15/2013 7:13:42 AM

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STRONG_SARAH 4/15/2013 3:28AM

    I agree with all you said. I eat very healthy foods. LOTS and LOTS of healthy foods. Hence the problems, lol.
We should start a 'no more cake' team. emoticon

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BERGBA7 4/15/2013 2:56AM

    Very true! I totally agree with the "clean" eating idea. If you stop eating processed crap, you will have double the energy given back to you. I also think that you should never "load" on any type of food but have all of them in reasonable amounts. Loading on carbs or sugar = wrong, but loading on meet, protein or veggies and fruit is also wrong for me. I have two people in my environment that suffer from severe anxiety and sleep disorder (they were also both extremely skinny-nearly anorexic) and they were told to eat more carbs to calm them and make them sleep better. They are reporting that it works. Your example seems to support their observations.. I think that is very interesting.
You are doing awesome and setting a good example for the people around you!
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ADVENTURESEEKER 4/15/2013 2:53AM

    mmhmm! As beechnut already stated, 'When I eat like crap, I feel like crap.'

And oh how I wish I could exercise away unhealthy eating.....but if I could, I wouldn't have gotten to where I was in the first place.

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MESEATURTLE 4/15/2013 12:23AM

    Thanks for the reminder!!!!!! Really need to work on this !!

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WOUBBIE 4/14/2013 10:59PM

    A cautionary tale for all of us! Amazing how little crap you need to eat to feel like crap again.

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ANASARI 4/14/2013 10:26PM

    That is so fantastic and inspirational - thanks for the post! I had the zombies early this morning, but watered and ate myself out of it, too. Next time it's Reward Day, I am definitely gonna remember that rewards aren't so hot if you feel badly the day after!
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BEECHNUT13 4/14/2013 9:43PM

    When I eat like crap, I feel like crap. I can no longer do all the grains, processed foods, sugars... I end up with terrible gas, feeling awful, sometimes sick. I can have a LITTLE, but too much and it's all over.

I did eat like, 3/4 lb of strawberries today, 2 bananas, salad, homemade quiche, sausage, pistachios, etc... I do eat very well!

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Bacon Chocolate Stout Cheesecake!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

So here's something I would never, ever have thought I'd hear myself say....last night I had me a big old slice of chocolate, bacon, and stout cheesecake.

Actually 2 slices...2 big slices!

Let me start from the beginning.

For the last 3-4 months, SWMBO has been co-chair for this big hoopla charity auction. We like to volunteer for a number of local charities and this is one that she runs with. It's a great and fun event, but it also drives me batty. For the 3-4 months leading up to this thing, I get to hear about all the drama, all the details, all the near catastrophic events that are about to derail the whole effort.

I, of course, being a "let's get 'er done" kind of guy, jump in and say stupid things like, "Why don't you just do (fill in the blank)" or "Just tell Susie to (fill in the blank)"

These are not nearly as helpful as I think they are. They lead to me to getting that tight-lipped, squinty-eyed look of exasperation which I have learned means, "just shut-up and listen would you!"

Anyway, last night this thing kicked off. We had a couple of tables with friends, we mingled, bid on some of the silent auction items, and scoped out stuff for the live auction.

By tradition, they auction off some badass looking cakes & desserts first thing. You bring these to your table and feast upon them as the auctioneer cajoles you into a bidding war for that one-of-a-kind signed football or a 4-day getaway hotel & spa package.

Luckily, I was able to duck out of work early so I could go lift before changing up for this event...got in 90 minutes of pretty decent work on chest & shoulders. I thought I was being real good when I won a plate full of chocolate-covered strawberries for our table. Well I thought I was being good...until the madness began!

"Up next, is this decadent looking, Chocolate, BACON, and stout cheesecake! Yes folks, there's one pound of BACON in this chocolate cake....do I hear $40?"

My hand shot up!

Bacon, chocolate, stout, cheese, and cake.....are you freaking kidding me!?!?! This is man-heaven....the only thing missing is a grilled steak and Sofia Vergara slicing it up at your table


Slowly, inexorably, Mr Chocolate Bacon & Stout Cheesecake got bid up to $100....it was between me another guy 4 or 5 tables down....Newman!


Well next thing you know, all our pals at our table keep egging me on, "Hey, I'm in for $20, keep raising him!'

Mr Chocolate Bacon & Stout Cheesecake is now worth $150!

Meanwhile the auctioneer is loving it....it's a classic bidding war and he's knows he's got us hooked.

SWMBO, while happy to have the auction coffers get filled to the brim, is giving me the "Really?!?!?" look


I stood up and bellowed loudly "One hundred and sixty dollars!"

Auctions are kind of like going to Vegas....once you resolve you're going to dump a wad of cash there, you focus on enjoying the atmosphere and don't worry about the fact that you're dumping quarters into a machine....or paying $160 for a cake!

I scoped out Newman at the other end of the room, feverishly conferring with his friends, the sweat building up on his brow. I eye-balled everyone at our table, making sure nobody was about to break. "We're all in right? That cake is coming here. Anybody disagree with that?" They all nodded and threw a couple more twenties my way.

That's all Newman needed to see....he waved off!

You know what victory tastes like?

It tastes like BACON! And CHOCOLATE, and STOUT, and CHEESE, and CAKE!



Was it good?

Well it was different. It was definitely different. We savored every spoonful, as the various flavors played off each other with every bite; the sweetness of the chocolate, the bitterness of the stout, and the smoky, savory crunch of bacon to finish it off.

Yeah, it was worth it! I even invited Newman over to our table to give him a slice.

It's been about 4 months since I've had any kind of massive sugary cake overload....and today I know the reason why

This morning SWMBO and I looked at each other wondering what the hell happened. We both had a sugar coma hangover (the part I didn't mention is that she spent $90 on an Italian Cream Cheesecake!)


And so 3 hours after waking up I'm just now starting to feel normal again, drinking a lot of coffee, a lot of water.....and really looking forward to hitting the gym to burn off the remnants of last night's sugar overload....I know now why it's been so good to cut sugar out of my daily life. For the rest of this weekend, it's salads, chicken, fish, and veggies!

But I can't promise I'll go to my grave without someday having me another slice of bacon chocolate stout cheesecake!

Have a great day Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NINJA_SMOO 4/25/2013 3:05PM

  Ooooh, I can just imagine! My favourite brew-pub has a maple bacon cheesecake that they make. It's off-menu, but they always have one around if you know to ask. Sooooo gooooooood.

Those auctions are dangerous things!

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DOUGDC 4/25/2013 10:56AM

    The recipe exists -- and it's on my list of things to do...
http://tideandthyme.com/ba
con-stout-chocolate-cheesecake/

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PMRUNNER 4/25/2013 8:13AM

    Love it!

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FANGFACEKITTY 4/25/2013 2:03AM

    emoticon A picture is worth 1000 words...would that the calories at least matched!

Bacon?...in cheesecake?...Some baker somewhere needs serious professional help.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 4/23/2013 11:55AM

    Sounds wonderful! Actually, both cakes do.

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DOUGDC 4/20/2013 10:01AM

    "My hand shot up." With that sentence you brought me to your table!

We need the recipe!

Great story. Thanks for sharing. And...

We need the recipe!

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LISAINMS 4/16/2013 12:59PM

    Now that's a night worth a sugar coma! What fun and for a good cause.

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ARCHIMEDESII 4/14/2013 1:57PM

    How could I resist reading a blog with the title bacon chocolate stout cheesecake.

What a country !!

That is a serious looking cheesecake. It has insane pastry chef written all over it. Thank you for your awesome description of the event. Great story.

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Comment edited on: 4/14/2013 1:58:24 PM

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VHALKYRIE 4/14/2013 1:48PM

    I sampled cakes at a local grocery and I felt a sugar rush just from a couple of bites! I was reminded of why I don't like it anymore.

Thanks for the description so now I don't have to try this at home!

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FLDEEZ 4/14/2013 10:00AM

    I can't begin to imagine... but that was a great read!

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BEATLETOT 4/13/2013 5:41PM

    Oh, sounds like you guys had fun!!! and that cake sounds AMAZING...though definitely a "sometimes (almost never) food"! =)



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STRONG_SARAH 4/13/2013 3:18PM

    Wow that sounds fantastic! Good for you. I mean, I'm sorry about your sugar hangover, but it sounds worth it!

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BERGBA7 4/13/2013 2:46PM

    well... I would probably not have bit on any of your cakes... emoticon ... but... was there a peanut butter silk cake? This would have been my fall down!
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Hope you enjoyed hitting the gym tonight.


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JLEMUS1 4/13/2013 1:30PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BEECHNUT13 4/13/2013 1:09PM

    Yea, I feel you, man. You can tell you've turned the corner of healthy living when eating a bunch of sugar makes you feel like you're recovering from a night of heavy binge drinking.

One of my favorite recipes is my friend's chocolate stout brownies... I really think stout should be a food group. Lucky for me, I have 3 Bell's Porter and a New Holland Poet Oatmeal Stout sitting in my fridge for when I'm feeling frisky. ;)

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ADVENTURESEEKER 4/13/2013 1:01PM

    It would *definitely* be worth trying! Glad you had a good time.

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WOUBBIE 4/13/2013 12:00PM

    LOL! For a minute I thought it was April 1 again! Good memories - fierce competition, fun, and carb hangover.... XD

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ANASARI 4/13/2013 11:56AM

    haha That was fun and I really enjoyed reading about your adventures in food! Thank you for sharing such a great post!
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STRIVERONE 4/13/2013 10:51AM

    You should grab all your blog entries and publish them as a collection of humorous essays. I don't know which cause me more damage. I've still got sore sides from the farmer carries and now the ache is compounded from splitting my ribs laughing at today's story.

Comment edited on: 4/13/2013 11:15:42 AM

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4EVERNESS 4/13/2013 10:28AM

    A once in a lifetime gotta do...it wasn't about the food... :) But savor the Italian Cream Cheesecake for me!

Maybe next time it'll be a horseradish ginger jalapeno black forest torte.... LOL

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NCSUE0514 4/13/2013 10:05AM

    Glad you liked it, but it doesn't sound in the least bit tempting to me... for which I most gratefully thank God!

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KESTRYLL 4/13/2013 9:47AM

    Sounds wonderful, thanks for sharing!

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Fear not and embrace the suck!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Many of my SP buds know that I like to workout and I especially like ST.

I vary it up, alternating ST between "Heavy Days" and "Medium Days". On heavy days, I go for 5 reps of very heavy weights for everything; squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses etc. On medium days, I do about 70-80% of my heavy day lift, but instead of 5 reps, I do 15

So to correct my starting sentence, I especially like "Heavy" ST days. Medium days at hi reps suck! (I've blogged about this before - www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5094529
)

I have not really been able to embrace this suck because it sucks so bad. I feel the suck coming on right as I walk into the locker room where I truly face the enormity of the suck that is about to happen.....I know I am going to be in pain for 15 reps of suck. Fifteen reps can probably be done in less than 2 minutes. But on hi rep suck days, there is actually an infinite amount of time between rep #1 and rep #15....there is a relativistic effect to the suck that Einstein wrote about but never published


Needless to say, this disturbance, this fear, has weighed on my mind....I don't like to have a bad attitude about working out....I don't like "not liking" my workouts. In my marathon running days, I had 4 objectives for every training run and every race;

- Enjoy the run
- Finish the race
- Don't be last
- Cheer everyone you pass

This worked for me....it got me past the tough spots. If I felt the run starting to suck, I would do something to change it, slow down, vary the route, add some variety, do something, anything to keep the suck at bay, otherwise, I would not commit to the long training requirements.

So it occurred to me earlier this week that I had to do something about my attitude to the hi-rep suck....I couldn't keep going to the gym on hi rep days dreading the suck.

Today, as I changed clothes, I resolved to focus my brain on little chunks....I decided I would mentally do 3 sets of 5 reps in every set. I stopped counting 11, 12, 13 and just focused on 3 sets of 5. I decided to focus on what was getting tired...was it my legs, was it my back, was I just out of breath, where was the pain....and I did a little mental relaxation of that body part for a brief millisecond....then did another rep. When counting to 5 became tough, I just did one more, then one more, then another.

Well lo and behold, for squats I did 3 sets of 15 reps at 180 lbs! Even the Stasi trainer said, "Very goot, your form was eggsellent!" After a quick break, I knocked out 3 sets of 15 deadlifts at 245 lbs.

Now I freely admit, I cannot say in any way that this was "enjoyable"....but it sucked much less. Yeah, they were tough, I kept wishing they were over...but I didn't let that keep me from finding a way through the suck. The payoff, the "enjoyment" was afterwards....knowing I finished them off did not suck....even my ex-Communist trainer gave a grudging acknowledgement of progress ("Thanks comrade, you commie bastard!")

Well yet another reminder that most gym challenges are mental, not physical and sometimes we just need to mentally slap ourselves into finding a way through


And something that I use to motivate myself through many of these challenges is to remind myself how so many others would love to have the opportunity to train like this....and still do so facing much tougher hurdles than me!




Have a great night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIWVU121 4/15/2013 1:57AM

    Love your picture choices in this one (especially the cartoon, ha!). Glad your workout was more enjoyable!

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MSKRIS7 4/12/2013 7:54AM

    emoticon

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BERGBA7 4/11/2013 12:21PM

    I might steel your objectives for the long runs when things get tough. The Turkey vulture did not eat me and the Blue Moon appeared yesterday night on my kitchen table ;-)! Happy you are improving your mental strength with every workout!
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HANSBRINK 4/11/2013 11:34AM

  Embrace the suck!

Like Lisainms, I try to break down my sets into sets of 10. Works well enough that I can usually add another set of 10. (Leave it all at the gym.)

Like you say, its a psychological trick. And it works.

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LISAINMS 4/11/2013 9:50AM

    Embracing the suck is something I have become very familiar with -it's a prerequisite for long course triathlon training. I don't count swim lengths by total. I count in sets of 10 because it is more palatable than grinding out 80 laps. Some days I love to swim. Those days with long sets -that's the suck. But it has to be done if I want to get to where I need to be. I also employ race objectives. Seriously helps my attitude and level of enjoyment beyond mile 10 when I thank every volunteer, encourage others along the way, smile and wave. Embrace the suck and enjoy the experience!

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GIANTMICROBE 4/11/2013 8:03AM

    I love this blog. My CrossFit says "CrossFit: Where the fun sucks and the suck is fun!"

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BEECHNUT13 4/11/2013 7:50AM

    YEAH! :-D

Question - does your low back feel achy-sore the day after you deadlift? I had low back problems, and so now I'm sort of hypersensitive to it. I mean, it's not spasming, but it feels like it wants to get stretched out or something, and it hurts a little. It does not hurt me WHILE I deadlift though, whereas when my back does get a little peeved (like if I arch too much doing a lat pull-down) I get a twinge in my low back to remind me to tighten up my abs. My PT said my form was good, but I didn't have a bar - I was showing him the movement without the weight. And when you deadlift, where do you get tired?

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BBECKER1955 4/11/2013 6:58AM

    I knew I should have paid more attention in physics class!
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STRONG_SARAH 4/11/2013 3:01AM

    I've got 'The Suck' today. I was considering skipping it, but after reading this, I will not. Begrudgingly I go. Thanks for the kick in the pants!

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HEALTHIERKEN 4/11/2013 12:47AM

    Thanks for this blog, GETSTRONGRRR! Now I know the sense of dread that comes over me on certain exercise days has a name--The Suck. Now that I can call it something, I can face it down, maybe, just maybe, like you suggest, embrace it. Thanks again. I really needed something like this right now. The Suck has been getting the better of me too often these days. NO MORE! I'll embrace The Suck and drain it of its power over me : )

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4EVERNESS 4/10/2013 11:44PM

    Wow, with the masochism you're into, it would seem you enjoy your suck days most.

So, cool, Einstein not needing steroids as he understood the physics of the thing....

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ADVENTURESEEKER 4/10/2013 11:23PM

    Love the suck it up slap picture! haha

I was running short of time yesterday in the gym, so I upped my weight and went for failure, twice. Worked well. I dunno if I saved time but my muscles sure felt it!

I may try that method to my higher-rep madness at least once a week.

And I agree to those race objectives, especially the 'don't be last' one. I employed it for my half marathon last summer. It worked!

Have a great day.


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Muscles, Fat, Strength, Endurance, Good Looks....What are your Goals?

Saturday, April 06, 2013

So yesterday was leg day, my heavy ST day for legs and back. I was pretty freaking amazed to be able to squat 4 sets of 5 reps with 250 lbs on my back....straight up and down with no wobble. Deadlifts, while also heavy (3 sets of 5 at 315 lbs) were less graceful. Yeah I pulled the bar off the floor, but trainer-guy and I both agreed I looked like a drunk monkey flailing in quicksand....not smooth, not graceful....we'll stay at that weight for next time.


This AM, I'm sore, sore, sore doing the Zombie Walk as I putz around with my morning coffee (I'm keeping an eye out for Daryl Dixon in case I get a crossbow arrow in the forehead)


In between sets, trainer guy and I chatted up a couple of the 20-something gym rats. The preponderance of their statements were, "I'm eating 4 to 5,000 calories a day and I can't gain any weight"

I'm rocking on my heels listening to these monkeys, wondering how the hell I can eat 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day and not drop a pound. I felt like pulling a 3 stooges move on all of them


"WTF are you talking about? I've been working my ass off for months and can't get below 180 lbs, eating 2,000 cals/day"

I get the contemplative look that only 20-somethings can give to grown adults as they exercise great patience, attempting to pass on their deep knowledge and profound understanding to an out of touch generation who is unable to google the latest research.

"Yeah, well you really need to eat more if you want to put on muscle mass. I'm trying to bulk up"

I gave him my contemplative look that only 50-somethings can give to post-pubescent gym rats, as I exercise great patience, attempting to hold his attention on a topic other than himself for more than a minute. I decided to use my ninja conversational skills to re-direct his infatuation with self to solving my problem.

"OK, let's say you bulk up, and you then want to drop the fat to get cut. How do you do it?" (Always learn to speak the language of the natives, whether you're traveling in a foreign country or hanging out with meatheads)

"Oh, I start doing a lot more cardio and drop out all the carbs"

Now I think we're getting somewhere, but then trainer guy gives a nod over to the curl bar indicating we've talked enough, back to work.

"What the hell am I missing here? How can those morons have such a tough time gaining weight eating like rabid dogs, and I can't drop a pound eating like a normal person"

Trainer guy gives me that look he must have used in the Stasi interrogation rooms a million times as he elicited confessions from the innocent. In his thick German accent he just said, "He is 20. You are 50"

"Thanks Captain Obvious, so what the f#&@ does that mean?"

"What are your goals?"

See what I mean, just when I think I'm getting somewhere, the freaking Stasi interrogator switches it up. He might as well have asked me where the rebel bases are located.

"I'd like to be lean and strong" There, that ought to show him.

"Do you want to lift the heavy weights like we have been doing? If you get lean, you will not just lose fat, you will lose muscle too, it is inevitable (it sounded more like enough-a-double). Your lifting will suffer. What are your goals?"

He was like Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man with that same line, "What are your goals? Is it safe"


"Well, I like lifting heavy weights. I like being strong, I like my progress. But I wouldn't mind being 10 lbs lighter....10 lbs of fat that is, I don't want my lifting to suffer"

"You can't have both (it sounded like "U kent hev boat"). It is a myth that these kids think they can lose weight and keep their strength. When they drop weight, they look leaner, but their strength suffers. Then they eat more to get strong, and the leanness disappears. How iz your cardio?"

"I get in about an hour a day, 3 times a week, then you and I lift 3 other days"

"You need to do more. If you want to lose fat, you must do more cardio"

"You're F*@%# bagging me right! You're telling me I need to work out more?!?!?!" I felt like showing him my SP fitness tracker, but it would have been lost on him

"If you want to lose fat, you must do more cardio. Do you want to look strong or be strong? What are your goals?" He just stared me down like Arnold in Terminator.


"So what the hell am I supposed to do, cardio before we lift? Doesn't all this lifting count as cardio? I'm sweating like a racehorse in here"

"Strength Training is not cardio. Better to do cardio after you lift. Finish your last set"

So here I am, 53-years old, 184 lbs, rock-solid muscles in my back, chest, shoulders and legs like I have never had before, a 33 inch waist, pretty damn good endurance for high intensity cardio....and I'm kind of complaining on the margins about my last 10 lbs or trying to drop below 20% bodyfat.....it's a good problem to have.

I just need to figure out what my goals are!

Have a great day Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 4/9/2013 8:48AM

    Great blog. Made me giggle as usual.

"cutting phase" is not possible to maintain long term from what I've seen on other blogs and pages. Check out NANCYANNE55 page.

I think you are letting the scale dictate your goals.

Ditch it. The extra cortisol you are generating from your love/hate relationship is probably enough in your dotage to keep you in the same place.

JMHO emoticon

p.s. You know I'm kidding about the dotage, right?

( `♥ ) ♥'
.`.. ♥ Spread the SPARK!!! *`*..♥
..) .*).*. ♥. ♥
(. (. . ♥.`.♥..`. ♥


Comment edited on: 4/9/2013 8:54:54 AM

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YOUNGNSMYLIE 4/8/2013 8:52PM

    This blog just made my day--Additionally, I'm not sure how you are making it on 2k a day when you are working out like you do; I would be eating my own hand! I eat 1500 on lifting days, and I'm 5"4; 118 lbs (and I'm hungry!).

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BEECHNUT13 4/6/2013 9:47PM

    Not to sound like the meatheads, but...

You're only eating 2000 calories per day!? How are you even alive??? Maybe you need to eat more! I eat 1800-2000 calories per day, and I'm 31 and I've had a kid. Oh, and female. And I'm not lifting like you lift, and I'm not doing a bunch of cardio. And I weigh a bit less, too.

If what you're doing isn't working - stop doing it! If you gain a little fat, then just go back to what you were doing before and it will come back off... But I think you are slowing down your metabolism and that's why you're not losing more body fat. It takes A LOT of energy to fuel all that muscle you're talking about, PLUS you do all that cardio, plus you're trying to build MORE muscle... I think your body is hanging on to that last bit of fat for dear life. And if you do more cardio, you may as well be eating less. One way or another, your body isn't getting enough food.

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BERGBA7 4/6/2013 8:37PM

    Great Blog! Sorry you can not eat anymore like the 20 something guys at the gym. If it is of any consolation I am mid 30s and can not loose weight with 2000 calories either.
So stasi trainer wants to know: "Was ist dein Ziel?" Good thing to think of in general - looks, strength, endurance, health? What's the main goal?
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WOUBBIE 4/6/2013 2:38PM

    Gunther is wise, no? Harsh, but wise.

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STRONG_SARAH 4/6/2013 1:08PM

    Great blog! I can hear the whole conversation through your voices! My goals are to be healthy and look ok in a bathing suit, but I hadn't given it more thought than that. After reading this I will.

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REBECCATKD 4/6/2013 12:52PM

    Oh, I love the voices in your blog! You (and Daryl) just made my day.

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VHALKYRIE 4/6/2013 12:13PM

    I lurk on bodybuilder forums trying to figure out how they can freaking change their body to all different shapes and sizes. What I've read is that they eat insane amount of food (particularly protein) when they build muscle. During the 'cutting' phase, they drop carbs to almost zero (veggies and limited fruit only - sounds familiar, eh?). They continue to lift, but at a maintenance phase intended to keep the strength they have - use it or lose it. Then they add a small amount of cardio - HIIT is an all around favorite - short bursts and sprinting. But cardio is catabolic, so endurance cardio is avoided.

But yeah, what I've read is that it's not really possible to bulk up and trim down at the same time. You can when starting out, but we all run into the metabolic adaption where our bodies will change our BMR to match our intake and expenditure. That's why I am currently cycling between active-less active, higher carb-low carb, etc.

Comment edited on: 4/6/2013 12:18:15 PM

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BOB240 4/6/2013 11:51AM

    Part of the problem is that once you get to our "shape" then targets stop being visible. At 20% body fat and 190 you look the same at 15% body fat at 190 - as long as it's a good suit..

It does seem to be all about numbers.. we aint going to make the Olympics (except maybe in archery) all we can hope for is to marginally reverse the effects of aging through a knowledge of our own physical prowes and thereby improve quality of life..

But by god it's hard.. If I did nothing for six months aside from eat OK I'm not sure I'd look much different - and that is the biggest threat to long term "maintenance" - it's so easy to slip

And what reallt stinks is what you experince about food..... at our age we just can't eat...ffs..it's not fair. I eat one lousy doughnut I put on ten pounds...doughnuts don't even weigh ten pounds!!

I think we need a Zombie apocalyse - I'm about ready for one..

Comment edited on: 4/6/2013 11:53:18 AM

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