Archive for November, 2013

WHAT?! TWO POSTS IN ONE WEEK?!?! ERMAHGERD!!!

At least that’s what I like to imagine my followers are saying, because it baffles me that people actually read my blog.  So, to begin with, thank you folks for internet stalking me.  It’s truly an oddly gratifying experience.

Moving on, this double feature was brought on the other day when my sister dropped a knowledge bomb on me.  I’m not all that shocked by this considering she’s the “good child”.

You know the type; went to college to learn college things, got her masters in those college things, and now teaches college things to new college going people.  A vicious cycle, if you ask me, and one much better suited to her.

Because this:

It's just not my thing.

It’s just not my thing.

Luckily, she had my fitness endeavors at the forefront of her mind when making these decisions because she majored in something related to exercise physiology and subsequently has become my main source for questions.  A decent perk if you absolutely must put up with another sibling.

She also makes killer banana bread.  Hint sis, it is Christmas time.

In my never ending quest for improvement, I started looking into tracking my caloric intake which eventually led to me to a whole bunch of articles about these things called Macros, leading to a very important question.

WTF is a macro?

The answer is that macro is short for Macro-nutrient which refers to the three main things we eat; protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  All of which are completely necessary to having a healthy human body.

Just for the sake of answering the question, there are also Micro-nutrients which refer to the stuff you might get out of a daily vitamin.  Also very necessary.

Anyways, we all know that this isn’t really my shtick.  I don’t write this blog to wax poetic about scientific things that I barely understand.  Sure, I’ve taught myself a lot about tracking my caloric/macronutrient intake and it seems to work for me, but the real purpose of this post is my sister’s aforementioned knowledge bomb, probably to her complete displeasure.

“Here’s the issue: you can number crunch all you like, however your body will act the way it naturally does regardless of all the “perfect” ratio numbers I could throw at you.”

BOOM.  KNOWLEDGE BOMB.

While out of context, you might compare me to Indiana Jones in search of the golden ratio of macro’s I should be eating (which I totally would never do because there is no way I could compare to him….unless, you know, you wanted to) I really wasn’t.  I was just asking for her help since she’s all educated and junk.

Regardless, her statement got me thinking.  There is definitely such a thing as obsessing too much over the little things when it comes to fitness.  For instance, I casually track my intake.  Seriously.  I don’t freak out when my numbers vary a bit from day to day because I’m not a figure competitor or bodybuilder, nor do I plan to be.  For that, you are welcome.

I think this over-thinking can ultimately lead to over-complication and, subsequently, not achieving your fitness goals or even giving up altogether.  I’ve mentioned in the past that people should “trust the process.”  Don’t you just love ubiquitous statements that tell you absolutely nothing?

That’s my bad, I’m gonna clear it up right now.

All you have to do to be healthy is:

  1.  Eat good/healthy food.  Whole foods.  Vegetables.  Fruit.  Skip the fast food.
  2.  Exercise.  Be active.  Workout at the gym.  Go for a walk.  Don’t sit on the couch or in your        office chair all day.
  3.  Repeat.  Keep going.  Commit to a better lifestyle.  Don’t give up or let an “off” day lead               you to quitting.

Anything that becomes more complex than that is completely unnecessary.  The KISS principle applies to being healthy.

Keep it Simple Shithead.  (In my defense, that’s how my Dad used to say it to me.  I guess you could substitute “Stupid” in there.  To each his own.)

So, trust the process and don’t over-complicate things.

Oh, and sis, seriously… the banana bread.

-Moody

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You all are in for a treat because this week’s post is basically derived entirely from Jim Carrey’s movie Yes Man.  Which can mean only one thing; the gratuitous use of pictures from Jim Carrey flicks.

Prepare yourself.

alrighty

As usual, a little background is in order.  This week I accomplished a goal that I didn’t even know I wanted.  I ran the Glo Run Washington DC 5k with some friends.

It.  Was.  Awesome.

Let me first say that I don’t really enjoy running.  I have to “practice” running, if you will, because it’s not something that I’m naturally good at.  That being said, because I do it somewhat regularly, I’ve gotten decent at it.  When my buddy said he had an extra ticket for this 5k and asked if I wanted to go I said, “Sure, why not?”

This is out of character for me.  I used to be the guy that would find any reason to not do something that I either had no interest in or that, Morgan Freeman forbid, might even challenge me.

          “I can’t because…of… things.  Things I have to do that aren’t that…,”

          “You don’t know me! You don’t know my life!”

           “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!!!” followed by a stomping of feet and a childlike tantrum.

All of these would be suitable methods for me to avoid things.  Lately, though, I’ve been trying a new tact.

Saying, “Yes.”  Turns out it actually works pretty well.

Shocker, I know.

I’ve been pushed, pulled, and straight up dropped out of my comfort zone so many times in the last year I can’t even count them all.  The cool thing is that it usually seems to pay off in some fashion.

In the case of the 5k, I wasn’t so sure.  Most of my training right now focuses on high intensity interval training and not distance running, so I was a little apprehensive about how I was going to do.  Not to mention that a little over a year ago I would have scoffed at the very idea of running a single mile, let alone 3.1.

The .1 matters people… don’t judge me.

So, at the race I started off slow to let my muscles warm up.  I was feeling pretty good, “This ain’t so bad,” I’m thinking.  Then I look around and I have completely left my group behind… or have they left me behind?!  Nope, they’re back there taking selfies (you know who you are, and you know it’s true).  Then I start to realize I’m passing people and—what is this black magic?!—I’m not getting tired?!

BLASPHEMY!

Because I was going to pass up an opportunity to put Morgan Freeman in my blog? Nay.

They said I couldn’t fit Morgan Freeman into my blog twice in one post.  BOOM.

Or…. Not?

Maybe, my work has been paying off.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m actually in shape.

Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, I’ve finished with a time of 26:13.  That ain’t lightning, I know that, but for me to have run even one sub 9 minute mile a year ago would have been nothing less than a pipe dream.  I had just run 3.1.  YES, 3 POINT 1.

imgres

The takeaway here is that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to achieve this if I had said no.  It was an impulse decision that took two seconds to make and, had I gone the other way, it could have been a missed opportunity.  I wouldn’t be learning what I’m learning in the gym if I told my buddy, “Nope, I’ve never done that so I don’t want to try.”   I wouldn’t be where I’m at now if I hadn’t said, “Yeah, I’ll make a change and I’ll go 100%.”

I mentioned in the last post that I seem to jump into things with both feet, occasionally without looking; I think I should clarify that this is a newly learned behavior.  Certainly, more measured approaches have their time and place, but I’ve learned that sometimes you’ve just gotta go with your gut, take the leap, and see what happens.

Don’t be afraid to jump.

-Moody

 

As with most things I write about, it’s a fickle beast.  One day you’re on top of the world; the next, you’re not leaving bed because… well, this:

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We’ve all been there.

I think it’s pretty easy and common for people to get to a point where they feel like they’re stagnating.  Sometimes one rough day turns into two, then three, and next thing you know it you’ve spent a whole week just not meeting the mark.  The trouble starts not when you have an off day, that happens to everyone; it starts when you begin to question why you’re even bothering.

It would be easy to stop, wouldn’t it?  It would be better to not have to think about what type and how much food you’re eating.  It would be easier to just eat whatever your friends are having instead of going your own way.  It would be nice to not take time out of your already busy day to workout.  Right?

Wrong.

Taking a break from any of these things isn’t the issue.  I’ve written about doing just that, so we know that there are plenty of ways to recharge the batteries.  The issue here is when you’ve done those things, you’ve taken the breaks, you’ve changed things up, and now you’re starting to think it’s not worth the effort.

To be honest, I’m lucky that I haven’t gotten to that point or even approached it with my fitness goals.  I’ve seen people who have though; I’m sure everyone has.   I’ve certainly gotten to that point with other parts of my life in the past.

As per my normal behavior, I’m gonna be a little blunt.

Don’t do that shit.

Don’t.

Do not sit there and tell yourself you’re ready to quit.  You just think you want to quit, but you haven’t really thought it through.  Have you actually done everything you can to succeed at your goal?  Honestly, have you tried everything?  You think long enough and I’m pretty sure you’ll find another way.

I figured out during a conversation the other night that the reason I’ve succeeded at the things I have, and failed utterly at others, all comes down to whether or not I was willing to accept any other outcome.  It comes back to a few words I’ve already written about, Intensity and Focus.

Not to go full hippy on here, but a little self visualization can go a long way.  If you can see yourself at the finish line before you even get started you can’t lose.  It used to go against my very nature to jump in with both feet, but then I did it and it worked.

As for this fitness goal of mine, somebody once called what I’m doing a “fitness kick”.  I don’t really know for sure, but that sounds an awful lot like something that doesn’t last; I’ve kind of gotten over that stage of my life at this point.  What I do know, is that even if I wanted to quit, I couldn’t do it.  I’ve come too far to quit.  I’ve invested too much of myself in this to just give it up.

So, to paraphrase what turned into a rant (sorry, except not really); when you’re ready to quit, think about how far you’ve already come.  Do you really want to give all of that up?

-Moody

In the not so distant past, I wrote an article about listening to your body.  I, being completely biased, think it’s pretty good and has some decent info.

So I promptly ignored it.

I didn’t ignore what my body needed nutritionally; nay, t’was not nearly so subtle.  My body chose to alert me to my stupidity through pain, and lots of it.

Luckily it wasn’t an injury, it was due to me changing up my routine (again).  I started working out with another friend and our plan for that week essentially scorched all of the accessory muscles that I had been ignoring.  These muscles do not take scorn lightly, but I figured, “Meh, I’ll be fine.  Push forward”.

I was wrong (again), which is a trend of mine.

I woke up one day in a state of pure fire the likes of which can only be compared to that of ten thousand burning suns.  All.  Over.  My.  Body.

bad-luck-brian-meme-112

I didn’t do a damn thing that day.  On one side, this was okay because it was my scheduled rest day.  On the other however, it could have been avoided.  I know myself well enough to know that it would have taken an injury for me to rest before my rest day, which is stupid.  I also know that, after my two rest days, I felt absolutely fine.  The problem is that I was pushing the outside edge of the envelope.

I like pushing myself, its part of why I’ve succeeded and, I think, a necessity for anyone to be successful at anything.  I also like knowing my limits; this gave me some new insight as to what those are and what things I need to work on.

The lesson I’m walking away with, though, is that I came really close to pushing it a bit too far and hurting myself, which would have been a huge setback for me.

Lots of people, including myself, will tell you that your mind will give out long before your body does.  Even believing that, there is a fine line between when you should push yourself because you are capable of more and when you should rest because your body needs time to recover.

For most people who are hitting the gym 3-4 times a week, this isn’t going to be an issue.  If you are just starting out and haven’t done much in the way of exercise, you’re going to feel those initial workouts a little bit more than someone who has been at it for a while.

I wish I had some definite piece of advice for when you should push yourself versus when you should rest, but I don’t.  All I can do is leave you with the ubiquitous, “Listen To Your Body” mantra.

And hope that you learn from my mistakes (again).

-Moody