Posts Tagged ‘advice’

I don’t care about having a sixpack.

I can hear you already, “You, sir, are a damned liar.” Listen, I’ll admit that at one point having a sixpack topped my priority list and I wanted it bad. I examined every article, picture, and shred of information I could get my grubby hands on that might get me closer to the supposed Holiest of Fitness Grails. Lately, though, that goal has lost some of it’s luster.

My first clue that I wanted something different was during a pickup game of flag football with some friends. It was the first time I had stepped on a field to actually play a (somewhat) organized sport in years. We picked teams schoolyard style; two captains each picking players until everyone’s got a place to go. Even growing up the fat kid I was coordinated enough to not be picked last; the middle of the pack is generally where I fall and the same held true this time.

For someone who has never been the fastest at anything, nobody was more shocked than I when I happened to be just that. The looks of confusion and shock on my friends faces as I blew by them was more satisfying than it should have been. I know that it’s not really a big deal and that I’m being childish. Except it’s also awesome, so I’m not going to apologize.

My second clue came during a workout not that long ago where I did something I hadn’t really been devoting any real effort to achieving. Having said that, I know this will offend a few people. I pulled 405lbs on a deadlift. I’m not saying that it was easy or that it’s a super impressive number; powerlifters are giggling at me right now. What I am saying is that I didn’t realize how awesome it feels to be strong. Doing something that you know for a fact you were incapable of doing a few weeks ago is one of the purest forms of self satisfaction I’ve yet to come across.

Now, I lay all of that out there and I can still hear the skeptical response, “Yeah, yeah. But you’re gonna tell me you don’t want to look good?”

What, you think I want to look like a bag of ass? No. If anyone tells you that they don’t care at all, even a little bit, about how they look I want you to punch them right in the kisser and steal their peanut butter.

The good news is that I have refocused my training and eating for performance. I’ve touched on little ways I’ve done this nutritionally before, like when I figured out my body desperately needed carbs to recover from the workouts I was doing. Also, I never worked out just to make my mirror muscles bigger. Most everything I do and have done is about being able to perform my job better, which still holds true. The difference is that I measured my progress more by how I looked than by how I performed. That has changed.

I’m not going to throw around buzz phrases similar to, “train like an athlete.” That could mean so many things to so many different people. Maybe you want to be a sprinter, a powerlifter, or just a parent that is able to keep up with their kids on the playground. Work towards those goals because the “looking good” part comes with the territory.

Granted, that assertion comes soley from my experience. I’m not trying to fit some six-pack-mold anymore, but by focusing more on those other things that make me happy I’m starting to look better anyway. I’m starting to see that definition that I always wanted but it’s not my endgame anymore, which is fantastic news when I really stop to think about it.

I mean, seriously, once I achieved my goal of a six pack…what would I do? Lose it just to get it again? That makes zero sense. No, instead I have goals that will last me a lifetime. I can always get faster and stronger, I can’t very well get more six pack.

-Moody

Broscience. Many of us have heard the term, seen the people that spread it, and have probably enjoyed a few baffled moments at the expense of the dispenser of such information.

For those lucky enough to have avoided this experience, a Bro is anyone that starts feeding you stringent rules about what you should and should not do to gain muscle or get healthy. I’m not talking the mental stuff I get into, these guys will tell you (and sell you if they can) any meal plan, workout plan, or supplementation plan they can.

Urban Dictionary’s take on the matter? “Broscience is the predominant brand of reasoning in bodybuilding circles where the anecdotal reports of jacked dudes are considered more credible than scientific research.”

 

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Translation: It’s all bullshit.

I have stayed away, for the most part, from the specifics on what I do. Not because I have any issue telling anyone how I work out or how I eat. If you really want to know, I’ll tell you. The caveat to that is one simple disclaimer:

“This is what works for me.”

I have absolutely zero problem talking to anyone about getting in shape, about how I got in shape, or ways they can maybe get started. Anyone who markets themselves to you as a personal trainer, though, should be questioned. Ask for their badge (i.e. certifications.) It’s as easy to become a “Personal Trainer” as it is to become an ordained minister through the power of the Almighty Interwebs.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day who is vastly more qualified than I to give anyone any type of workout advice. She’s a Certified Athletic Trainer, and I don’t mean the online variety. I’m talking Bachelors Degree (see also: way smarter than me.)

Needless to say, I pester her with questions all the time.

The question I asked her the other day wasn’t nearly so textbook for her to answer. “What do I tell people who ask me for help getting in shape?”

I asked because I never want to fall into that category. I feel like I flirt with that line every so often on here and I cringe at the very thought of it.

It’s also not that I don’t want to help. I got started by asking somebody the same thing and they totally hooked me up. My problem is that I’m not altogether comfortable with the idea of giving people specific. The truth is that I barely have specific advice for myself.

I have no way to convey the hours of personal research and trial and error I went through, and still go through, to get results. I tried to explain this to a friend of mine and the following analogy was the best way I could put it into words.

I’m decently handy with a guitar. I’m not great, but I don’t completely suck either. It was a passion of mine growing up and I poured lots of time into it. Inevitably, when I play in front of people, someone asks, “How’d you get so good?”

The answer is always, “Lots of lonely hours in my bedroom.”

That’s the truth. I have played my guitar to the walls of my room for more hours than I have ever played for another person. The same can be said for how I have gotten in shape.

Not a day goes by that I don’t read an article about different types of workouts or nutrition. Internet, books, friends who are actually qualified trainers (shameless shoutout). I absorb everything I can and I go try it. I have made mistakes, I have eaten some weird shit, I have pushed too hard, I’ve hurt myself (minor), I have sucked so many more times than I’ve written about on here.

All anyone sees is my before and after picture, and I’m fine with that. I want people to be motivated to get in shape and be healthy. My mind is continuously blown that some people have done just that because of me and that picture.

Someone recently asked the same friend I told the guitar analogy to about my specifics. His answer was simple and kind of took me by surprise.

“I told him, he just does everything. He changed everything about his life to reach his goal.” Not exactly how I would put it, but I appreciate his words. I also can’t argue with them.

I said it when I started this blog, there is no magic pill to losing weight and being healthy. There is no silver bullet that will, at the simple pull of a trigger, give you life altering results.

I could give someone the exact workouts I do, the exact food that I eat, and the timing for all of the above. They could do it, it might even work.

But it might not.

What will work, every single time, is hard work and consistency. If someone makes an effort to learn about eating healthy and working out effectively and then applies that knowledge in a consistent manner to their lives they will achieve what they set out to do.

Having said all of that, the safe starting points I got from the conversation with my qualified friend are pretty simple.

-Eat whole foods. If it comes in a bag or a can, it’s not the way to go. The best tip I’ve heard is to shop at the edges of the store where they keep the fresh stuff. Vegetables, meat, fruit. All of that stuff. Diet is huge when it comes to getting healthier.

-Prepare. Call it meal prep or whatever buzzword you want. If it weren’t for the fact that I planned on being hungry and made healthy choices available to myself, the fast food options would have been more of an issue. As it is, I prepare meals for my entire week. It’s a little time consuming on the day that I do it, sure, but it also has saved me money by not having to hit the cafeteria or a fast food place when I need some food.

-Get active. You don’t have to go to a gym. If you like walking, start walking more. You want to get into hiking, do it. Get a bike. Join a recreational sport league. Start running. Play a pickup game with some friends on the weekend. Chase after your kids rather than just following along. Make your kids chase after you. Just today I went to a hotel that has one helluva staircase going 15 floors in one direction without having to spiral upwards. I climbed it 10 times and I’m not going to the gym today.

Finally, a quote that really gets me thinking about everything I’ve learned throughout this whole journey:

“In an age of information, ignorance is a choice.”

Don’t overcomplicate things. Get smart, act smart, make progress. Simple.

-Moody

Recently, I’ve had an interesting go of it with a whole bunch of friends jumping on the health wagon. I think this is pretty much the coolest thing in the world. What I dig even more is the fact that they’re all telling me about it, they are all excited about it, and they are all willing to put in some serious effort to take care of business.

Lemme tell ya, as someone who remembers the beginning, you must have this kind of positive attitude. If you walk into it all sorts of negative, you aren’t going to get very far before you start to question your resolve. That’ll happen to people with the best of attitudes anyway, so it’s best to start out on the up side of things.

A common occurrence when they approach me has been the question everyone has asked at least once in their lives; or in my case, thousands of times.

“Where do I start?”

On the surface that seems like a pretty easy question, right?

Nope. My blank return stare the first time it was posed to me is proof of that.

At first I would just regurgitate what I had done. If you’ve read some of my past posts, you know that I don’t necessarily think that’s the best approach for everyone nor do I consider myself qualified to recommend it to everyone.

Following that, after I had established this blog, I would simply point people here. I still do this, especially when they ask me what I did specifically to get in shape. I know that reading about other people’s stories in regards to their health has helped me, so I figure it probably works for others.

I almost always go on and on about my friend who got me started on this path. The guy who lost a bunch of weight, told me what he did, is still my workout partner, and is one of the few people I consider a close friend. Without fail, anytime I bring it up around him he always deflects.

“I just gave him the tools, he did the rest.”
“Dammit man! Just take my credit!”

Very frustrating.

Just recently, though, that’s changed. I get what he means. I had to be the one to decide to do it. I had to be the one to decide to make a change in my life. Me. Not him. Not my other friends. Me.

I made that choice before I even knew where to start. The notion of a specific starting point is useless until you are actually willing to start. I decided to make a change for the better and then I asked him for help. In that specific order.

Fast forward to the present, I stumbled across a quote recently that has absolutely nothing to do with health and fitness from a person who, to my knowledge, has absolutely nothing to do with health and fitness.

Which makes perfect sense.

From the almighty Joss Whedon, “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”

Make might not be the right word, so let’s change it to,DO.”

Fine, Nike kind of said this as well… but, YOU GUYS, Joss Whedon is way cooler; so we will ignore the big evil corporation.

In the beginning, I’m not convinced that the biggest issue is what you are going to do. I believe the issue needs to be that you are simply going to do. You’ve got to— we’ve all got to— commit to the idea of doing. It’s that simple. Unfortunately, it’s always the simple stuff that’s hard.

I wake up every damn day with the idea firmly planted in my head that I am going to do something that contributes to my goals. Whether it’s eat the right things, do a specific workout, or take a rest day; I am going to DO.

To anyone starting, or even in the middle of this:

Do something. Do anything. Run. Walk. Lift. Eat better. Ask for help. It doesn’t matter, just DO.

-Moody

“Have you tried the (insert name here) diet?”

You know what I’m talking about. Paleo, South Beach, Atkins; if it’s got a marketable name then it’s a Fad diet. I get that question all the time along with, “Have you tried (insert workout they saw on TV here)?”

Lately, I’ve been encountering a spate of these questions in person and otherwise. It’s not that I mind, but most of those people read this… so I figure I’ll hit all of the birds with one stone.

To begin with, I’m not calling these things out as bad because my initial foray into getting healthy was on one of these diet trains, but I am going to point out some of the important things I think people should take away from them if they are looking to go in this direction.

Tackling the diets first; there are a few things they all (for the most part) have in common that are actually quite necessary to being a healthy individual.

– They encourage the eating of whole and nutritious foods. You know, the stuff around the edge of the grocery store.
– They discourage anything processed or containing refined sugars/carbohydrates. Candy, soda, etc.
– They (the decent ones anyway) try to get you to prepare your own food, giving you complete control over what goes into your body.
– They all need to be done consistently to work. Granted, some of that is for marketing purposes, but the takeaway is consistency.

These things, done consistently, will get anyone results. You can’t eat healthy for a week and then binge on whatever you want the next and hope to see results.

Next to consistency, the number one thing I can say people should get behind is preparing your own food. If I could point to one single thing that was a key to my success, it would be preparing my meals in advance and planning what I would eat. I’m currently working on a big ‘ole post about meal prepping and how I do it, so I’ll save most of my rant for that. If you can’t wait for that, just Google meal prep and fitness or some variation thereof, and you will come up with tons of stuff on the subject.

Along with that, proper nutrition is key.  Carbohydrates, fats, protein.  Your body needs all of these things.  I know, the guy who did low carb to shed fat is saying you need carbs.  Trust me, they aren’t the enemy when used correctly.

Again, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with these types of diets. I believe that the issues begin when people believe that these are the only ways to get/stay healthy. The truth is that there is no need to subscribe to some pay as you go program or buy the latest fad diet, but there are things you can learn from these resources. Or, like I had to do, you can figure out that the internet has access to tons of freaking information and can actually give you more useful things than pictures of puppies looking all cute as hell. For free (just hijack your neighbors WiFi.)

Because puppy and Star Wars all in one.

Because puppy and Star Wars all in one.

As for the latest workout DVD’s and programs, I personally don’t have much to say about them thats positive or negative.

Obviously, there are some options full of nothing less than complete and utter bullshit.  6 Minute anything is sure to be 6 minutes you’ll never get back.  Anything that follows that pattern or tries to sell you all sorts of fancy equipment that is proprietary and relies on anything sounding like “special never before seen ab ripping technology” is not worth your time or hard earned money.

I say that, because this shit actually exists.  People.  This is a thing.  Why is this a thing?

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I have dabbled in P90X with some guys who happened to be going through the series and I did do some of the Insanity program with a roommate. While they certainly are challenging workouts, there is nothing particularly unique or new about them. However, if that’s what someone needs to get some kind of physical activity in their lives then I say go for it.

Having said that, I don’t really see it as necessary to shell out a whole bunch of dollars for a DVD’s worth of workouts when you can find all sorts of workouts online. See also: free.

A follow up question I got from someone after giving this answer was, “Well I don’t really know much about working out.” Okay, fair enough, but if you’re willing to shell out some hard earned dollars for some education, then I will always (and have somewhere else in this blog) recommend going to a gym and taking advantage of one of the personal training deals they always give to new members.

That probably doesn’t really give a good indication as to my feelings, so to sum it all up I shall use one of the most versatile words I can.

Meh.

For some, these things are the best ways for them to get healthy or stay healthy and I think that’s awesome. If that’s your tune then sing it, but if you’ve got the time to devote to actual training or some kind of research than I definitely think that’s the best way to go.

As always, find what works for you and do that.  Then do it again.  Again.  Again.  Again.  Again.  You know… consistently.

-Moody

Alright, rather than pretend that I haven’t been posting much, I’m going to broach that subject head on.  It was kind of (mostly) on purpose.

That makes little to no sense; allow me to explain.

Simply put, I didn’t have anything to say.  As much as I enjoy rambling on about my opinions in the hopes that some random person will appreciate it, I really didn’t want to become that guy.   I did write a bunch and have some ideas but they aren’t fleshed out enough on their own just yet.  That being said, my hiatus is over.

As for the “on purpose” part, that is totally true.  I’m in a different part of this fitness journey and, unfortunately, figuring this particular conundrum out wasn’t going to happen via epiphany like so many of my other issues.  I had to spend some time going through the motions to really figure out exactly what I was encountering and, in turn, learning.

I can sum it up with one word: Balance.

Balancing, in general, is hard.  Whether you’re talking about life or are literally trying to balance on a stupid beam to impress your niece and nephews and then busting your ass; it’s no joke.  As for the fiasco that is life; adding in trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle while also going out with your friends, working, having a family, and just generally being human can be one helluva task.

Luckily, I’ve done some of the leg work in this aspect and have (finally) learned a few things that I think are worth sharing.

1) Balancing your workout schedule with your social life.

 This may or may not be an issue depending on when you choose to get your sweat on.  For me, I like to knock it out early in the mornings which can be a conflict of interest when my friends like going out late at night.  It got so bad that I pretty much stopped going out because “I have to work out in the morning.”

Well, that ladies and gentlemen is how you become the “crappy friend who never does anything,” and also, “single.”  Nobody wants to be this person.  So, in lieu of becoming that particular stereotype I started planning in advance when I would go out and actually have a life.  Sometimes this involves moving my gym time around and changing plans, but I’ve found that it keeps me mentally grounded.

2) Balancing eating delicious things while also meeting dietary needs.

The easiest way I can put this is to follow the 80%/20% rule.  80% of the time I eat everything exactly like I’m supposed to and the other 20% I enjoy what life has to offer.  To be perfectly honest I think I’m close to 90%/10%, but the former is my goal.  I happen to enjoy eating really healthy things because I like the way I feel, so shying away from the other stuff isn’t such a huge deal.

What this rule really does is give me some mental armor.  I know plenty of people who beat themselves up over cheat meals or cheat days.  I don’t do that because I plan what days I will be able to flex my diet and make adjustments accordingly.  I don’t feel bad when I go out to have a drink with my friends and have some wings, thereby accomplishing what a cheat meal is supposed to do which is give you a mental break.

3) Balancing what the rest of the family eats VS what you eat.

I’ve lucked out with this one as well.  I live with my parents (I know…) and they also eat really healthy which makes it much easier for all of us to cohabitate.  They aren’t quite as strict as I am, but they don’t need to be because their goals are different.  Where we do overlap, though, we help each other out.  I eat lots of sweet potatoes and chicken.  My parents also will eat these things, so when I meal prep what I need for my week I cook enough for them to have some as well.  My mom, being all awesome as hell, will gladly cook extra of whatever she makes herself and my dad so that I can partake.

For people with kids at home, not grown up kids like me but actual—never mind, you get the point.  For those people, it can be a little tougher finding a balance.  If you’ve got growing kids in the house and you’re trying to get the whole family eating right, do some research.  Nutritionally, your needs are vastly different from your children.  Learning balance here can go a long way towards healthy humans.

4) Balancing your goals with your needs and vice versa.

Here’s the kicker, for me at least.  To figure out all of this balance you’ve got to sit down and really hammer out what it is you’re trying to accomplish.  If you don’t know where you want to go, getting there is going pose a decent problem.  For me I had to hammer out my goals so I could figure out how/when/where I could be flexible.

I’ve touched on this before.  It doesn’t matter if your goal is to be a fitness competitor or if you’re simply trying to be healthy; you have to decide what sacrifices you’re willing to make to achieve those goals.  My goal is to be a healthy and fit firefighter who is more than capable of meeting the physical demands of the job.  That requires that I train certain ways, eat certain things, and make some social sacrifices.  I’m okay with that because I have found balance.

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After finding these balances in my life I had to come to one more conclusion.

Balance is a constant battle between you and gravity.

What I’m getting at is the need for you to be flexible and make changes to stay up on your feet.  They may not be huge changes, just small minor adjustments, but they will keep you standing.  So, when you notice something isn’t working quite as well as it did a few weeks ago, change it.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with your workouts, your diet,  and your sacrifices to help you reach your goal.

-Moody

Got your attention?

Good.

Admittedly, I’ve written a lot about motivation recently.  I meant every word and firmly believe that motivation is a beautiful thing.  Up until this point, however, there has been a flaw that I have failed to mention.

That flaw is the title of this article.  Put another way; motivation is useless.

Bare with me, I promise it will make sense.

Think about all of those times that you’ve felt incredibly motivated.  I’m talking about those moments where you’re on top of the world and nothing can pull you back down.  Now, try hard to remember what occurred right before that moment.

Chances are pretty good that you saw, read, heard, or smelled (if this is you, I want- nay- need to know) something that caused you to decide that. “Today, I will [FILL IN THE BLANK]!!!”

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Maybe you accomplished that goal.  Maybe you started something that’s going to take some time.  Either way, that motivation spurs you into action of some sort and that is awesome.

Until, you know… it’s not.

Until that day you wake up with rain pounding your roof, a cold floor freezing your feet, and a non-existent supply of coffee.  That last one being a disaster in my case.  You know the feeling of having absolutely zero motivation, we all do.

It sucks hard.

Now you’re thinking, “Thanks for that uplifting article… said no one ever.”

I hear ya, I’m gonna fix it.

We can all agree that motivation is an awesome kick-starter.  The trick is finding ways to prolong the results of that initial motivation; luckily, that can be boiled down to one word.

Habits.  Remember those?

I saw a nifty little thing on the interwebz that, with a little modification, should help visualize what it takes to build some solid habits.

Time + Effort = Success.

Sounds good, but I’m going to add one thing:

Time + Consistent Effort = Success.

It doesn’t matter how much effort you put forth when you’re feeling motivated; certainly not in the long run.  The real effort comes when you’ve passed that initial feeling of motivational euphoria and you’ve got to dig deep to stick to your goals, values, and integrity.

When it comes to health and fitness I believe this counts twice as much.  Our society is not engineered to help you be healthy and fit; turn on the T.V. for 5 minutes and you’ll see what I mean.

The key to overcoming that is to set yourself up for success and use that initial motivation to create habits that will help you achieve your goals long after the feeling has left you.

For example, I forced myself to become a morning person so that I could wake up and get to the gym before other distractions take hold of my day.  Sometimes I despise my alarm clock but I get up because it’s become part of my routine.

Look at that equation again up there again.

Consistent action is the key.  If I only make the effort to get up early and workout once; I waste my time.  If I only eat healthy 10% of the time and binge completely the other 90%; I waste my time.

Don’t get me wrong; “consistent” in the world of us regular folks with jobs, commitments, and families definitely does not mean getting it right 100% of the time.  If you can pull that off I’m happy for you, congratulations.

I like Guinness too much.

So, if you’re like me, don’t sweat it.  In fact, if we flip around those numbers I used up above that’s some pretty solid effort.

If you can consistently make all of the right choices for your goals even 90% of the time, you are both human and pretty damn awesome.

So, go and be awesome.

-Moody

P.S. Happy New Year!

I’m gonna change things up a bit this week and let some of my friends do the talking for me.

Kind of.

In reality, I’m going to quote them and then throw my opinion into the mix. Okay, so nothing is actually changing; my bad.

First up is a pretty awesome post from my workout partner via Facebook. I had no idea he was feeling this (publicly) motivational until it popped up on my feed. I think it’s worth a read through:

“I love hearing the excuses people come up with for why they can’t at least make an effort to be active and keep in shape. “I don’t like working out, I don’t have time, don’t have money, don’t have childcare, don’t know what to do or where to start, I’m not motivated”. Today I saw a mother with her one week old baby IN TOW, crushing curls at the gym (get it girl!!). Earlier this week I spoke with a man in his 60’s who after multiple joint surgeries just took up a full combat self defense course (hell yeah!!). Earlier this year my workout partner was like, “meh…I guess I’ll shed 100lbs and get diesel”…and HE DID! (insert spartan battle cry!!) I know a woman near her 3rd trimester who does an hour of muscle endurance work every day (amazing!!). Not long ago I saw a military veteran hobble into the gym on 2 prosthetic legs as he tried to re-learn how to run on a treadmill (oorah!!..and thank you). So anyway… umm…what’s your excuse again?”

I couldn't NOT include this in here.

I couldn’t NOT include this in here.

What I like about this is that these are not hypothetical situations. These are real people, accomplishing real things, dealing with real challenges (and he also gave me a shoutout… awwwwwww) . More importantly, I routinely witness the women that he mentioned doing nothing but kick major ass in the gym. It certainly makes my occasional excuse of, “I’m tired,” seem absurd by comparison. Fellas let’s be honest, if we had to deal with being pregnant we would NOT handle it well…

“The Gym? How about I just wallow here in my self pity?”

Our excuses are self made.  We can choose to make them insurmountable obstacles or we can choose to overcome them and be stronger for it.  It’s all on us.

My next friends post comes from a different place entirely:

“Sometimes you have to ask yourself who you really want to be. It doesn’t matter who others expect you to be or where they see you going; It’s your life to live, don’t let others attempt to live it for you.”

Disclaimer: His statement may not have been aimed at what I’m about to pull the trigger on but I think he’ll be okay with my interpretation. (Dude, if you’re not… whoops.)

He really describes what I had to go through to get to this point. The first part describes how I had to sit down one day, evaluate who/what I was, evaluate who/what I want to be, and come to the realization that change needed to occur.

I’m talking brutal self criticism.

I looked at myself and said, “This does not match what I want for myself. This does not match how I view myself. This must change.”   Of course, it took me a long time to distill it down to those three sentences; sometimes I get wordy.

Hence the blog.

Moving on,everyone should take some time to look at themselves in the metaphorical mirror. I ended up feeling pretty awesome about figuring out where I wanted to go, despite the distance I knew I was going to have to travel to get there.

The second part was a pretty tough pill to swallow. Simply put, it doesn’t matter what other people expect of you.

End of story.

Don’t be fresh, I’m not talking about your boss’ expectations at work. I’m talking about the other they. The people at the gym. The people in the hallway at work. The people who hold absolutely no power over how you choose to live your life.

Many of my biggest fears used to stem from the insecurity that everyone tells you goes away once you break out of your teenage years. I’ve said it before that on some level we are all teenagers who just want people to like us. With age, all we do is get better at hiding this.

Once I got passed everyone else’s expectations, both perceived and otherwise, I was able to focus on me. It’s been a rough road. Lots of people don’t like it when we choose to cut our own path and disregard them and their expectations. The ones who don’t mind, though, those are the people we should keep in touch with.  Fortunately for me, these two guys I’ve quoted up above are just a few examples of that in my life.

Merry (belated) Christmas to everyone, Happy New Year, and all that good stuff!

-Moody

I’m a little rusty on my algebra, but what I’m trying to get across with my title is that working hard is hard work and vice versa.  If you want something you’ve got to work for it because relying on luck isn’t much of a bet.  Kind of a no brainer, right?

Short answer: nope.

I wish I could say that I always bought into the hard work mentality.  I was raised knowing what hard work was, but it took me a while to pull my head out of my ass (as so eloquently put by my Dad…again) and start applying it to my own life.  The truth is that, for the most part, I coasted through life.  Now, that’s not to say I was a societal burden; I worked jobs in high school, was a decent student, volunteered at a fire department, and hung out with friends.

All in all, I was average.  What I wasn’t, though, was ambitious.  Thankfully, who I am today is a far cry from that person.  I think that Jonathan Safran Foer sums up my thoughts best on how I feel about that period of time, “My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.”

My problem was that I just expected life to happen a certain way.  Graduate high school, go to college, graduate, get job, etc.  There was no thought on my part that things would happen any other way and, when they inevitably did, I floundered.  I thoroughly believed that the sun would rise again the next day and I would keep moving inexorably towards the next phase of my life.  What happens on the day the sun rises and suddenly you’re 80?  What do you say to yourself then, when you realize that your yesterdays outnumber your tomorrows?

Hindsight being 20/20, I can point to the one thing I dislike most about who I was before.  Frankly, I actually find it to be one of the least attractive qualities anyone can possess.

A lack of ambition.

Now, I’m not defining what any one person’s ambition should be.  If you want to go to Starbucks every day and become a connoisseur of all of their offerings with a specialization in their lemon pound cakes (because you guys, YOU GUYS, they are so damn good) be my guest.  But you better attack that goal daily.

Every single day I do something, anything, to get me closer to my goals.  Even if all I manage to accomplish is one thing, it’s a successful day.

Take fitness as an example; eat right, exercise, learn something new about fitness/nutrition, try something new, etc.  Today, I’m not getting to the gym because its rest day but I am eating right and I’m also going to do a little more research into stretching because I suck pretty hard at that.

All of that = today gets a gold star.

Do something every day that brings you closer to your goal and eventually you’ll get it.

When in doubt, though, here’s my old standby :

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-Moody

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

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.

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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