Posts Tagged ‘healthy living’

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.”

 

images-1

 

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

Advertisements

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.

——————————————————————————————————-

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

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it, mostly because I wasn’t sure what my actual thoughts on it were.

I know, I wasn’t sure about my own thoughts; a paradox I run into quite often.

imgres-1

A few months ago I sat down with a friend and we were talking about getting healthy and everything I did to get to where I am today. He was looking to make some changes and wanted to pick my brain; I’m all about that. In the course of that conversation he mentioned something from another conversation he had had with somebody else. (I’m paraphrasing here, it’s been a little while.)

“I’m gonna talk to Moody. He made it, he’s done it.”

He was referencing my weight loss. While I didn’t make an issue of it when he said it, or even think about it for that matter, it started bugging me days later and has been festering in the back of my mind for a while.

While I appreciated his confidence, I didn’t feel like I had made it. Maybe, to the outsider looking in, that seems ludicrous. Let me be clear; I’m happy with the progress I’ve made, I’m happy with where I’m at, and I’m happy with where I’m going. I had to come to those conclusions, though, and I did it quite recently.

When he said that I had “made it,” I felt like an impostor.

“I haven’t done anything,” I thought, “I don’t deserve that.”

Then I moved on. I was able, right after those thoughts, to at least justify it. If I can inspire anyone to make changes to their life and get healthy, so be it. I may not agree whole heartedly with their sentiments regarding myself, but if it gets them started I’m more than happy to contribute.

For a while, I didn’t think about it; water under the bridge, as they say. Then I stumbled across an article about people who used to be unhealthy, whether it was overweight or underweight, and who have now made changes. (For the life of me, I can’t find it again. When I do I will add it to the comments.)

I was a little depressed to realize that the article pegged me. I used to be overweight and had been for so long that it’s hard for me to see anything else. We get this idea in our heads of, “This is what I am and I will be this forever.”

This idea is false. It is a lie we make up for ourselves to limit us. Do not listen to this idea.

People come up to me and say “Look at you! You’re skinny!” I get that they are complimenting me and I’ve always appreciated it, but I had never believed it myself.

Side Rant: Then, I feel like a pregnant woman, because as they say this they go to poke my stomach like they want to make sure I’m not just sucking it in.

STOP THAT. It’s awkward, weird, and sometimes I have this weird reflex of poking you in the eye for doing it. You have been warned.

I had to sit myself down and look at all of the evidence to get myself over these mental hang-ups.

1) I have actually lost weight. The numbers don’t lie.
2) I used to wear 3XL clothes. I now wear plain old large.
3) In fact, all of my clothes are smaller.
4) Well damn. I’m not the person I used to be.

I figured out that it was my own mind holding me back. I wish I could get across to you what it felt like to come to the conclusion that I am healthy. It’s like a breath of fresh air on a crisp spring morning where everything is new, vibrant, and full of potential.

The mirror isn’t lying to you. The scale isn’t lying to you (Mostly. Read this for my thoughts on that). Your clothes are actually fitting differently. You are feeling healthier.

Don’t let that voice in your head tell you that you are who you used to be. Even if you’re just starting out on the road to being healthy, you are already miles away from the person you once were.

-Moody

It’s a funky little word that always seems to get a negative connotation.

Smoking is a bad habit.  This sleep aid is non-habit forming.  Or the one I tend to hear, “You’ve got a real habit of pissing me off.”

images

Seems to me like “habits” get a pretty bad rap, good thing it doesn’t have to be that way.

We all know I peruse the interwebz regularly, but it wasn’t until I got into this whole blogging game that I started actually looking specifically for blogs to read.  Fitness/health blogs that I actually care to read on a regular basis are pretty few and far between but I have found a few.

Thesecretlifecoachofdc.wordpress.com  ← gets to gettin people, it’s one of those few I follow regularly.  Also, for my discerning local readers, that does indeed appear to be another D.C. metro local.  I don’t know them, but it’s definitely nice to see another blogger in the area that likes to write about health related stuff in a positive way.

The article concluded with something that was told to them by a former coach, “First you make a habit, then a habit makes you.”  The best part is that they weren’t talking about something negative, in that particular post, they were talking about making running a habit.

Spoiler Alert: that’s a good habit.

Now, this didn’t click in my head until a few things happened.  First a coworker made a comment when I walked by a pound cake that my boss had brought in, “Man, you are way too disciplined with the food thing.”  I disagree… sort of.

I will concede that I used to be disciplined.  When I first started out I would have had to struggle to not grab a quick slice of the latest treat and it would have required some discipline to avoid it.  Now, though, it’s just normal (see also: habit) for me not to eat junk food.  Sure I indulge every once in a while, but I would be happier if somebody brought in some pineapple.

I love me some damn pineapple.

The second thing that made it click was the short walk from my house to my car at 3:45am on my way to the gym before work.  As I looked around my street I noticed the stillness of everything, the lack of lights in windows, and the distinct lack of noise.  I realized that this is normal for me but clearly not for anyone else in my neighborhood.  It’s my morning routine (see also: habit).

Neither of these things used to be a regular aspect of my life.  I used to eat whatever was offered and the gym was an occasional excursion.  Now it’s different; I don’t think about being healthy anymore than I would think about brushing my teeth twice a day.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not easy to start doing healthy things on a regular basis.  There will be mistakes and setbacks but if you keep making the effort, eventually, it becomes no effort at all.

Keep going, it gets easier.

-Moody

Surprisingly, one of the biggest obstacles I’ve had in my journey hasn’t actually been me.  It’s been everyone else.

Because opinions.

Everyone’s got one.  I’m guilty; I’m writing a blog that’s all about my opinion, which almost makes this post awkward.  Almost.  The difference being, I’m not making you read this.  I am not standing next to you while you’re in the gym pleading with you to stop your weightlifting and try cross-fit, telling you that jogging is just a fad, or attempting to change your whole routine because of some article I skimmed through.

To those of you who do this, STAHP.

Image

It’s both a blessing and a curse that the fitness community has so many people willing to offer advice.  On the one hand it’s so easy to get information on nutrition, workouts, and motivation.  On the other, and much like the internet, it’s easy to get a bunch of BS information.

“You mean horse tranquilizers won’t stimulate muscle growth?”

“No.   Also, you taking Viagra before the gym is making everyone uncomfortable.”

My earlier post kind of touched on the subject that you shouldn’t worry about what everyone else thinks of you or how you compare to them.  I, for example, am one goofy looking dude running on the treadmill with my size 15 feet pounding away, but I still hop on it every morning because I know it’s good for me, despite the terrified looks from other gym goers.  On the other side of that coin, I shouldn’t stare at the lady on the stair master as she rides each step all the way to the ground like a cheap carnival attraction.  I really can’t look away though, mostly out of jealousy.

Rule of thumb: Unless they are going to hurt themselves or somebody else, let it go.  Don’t go poking your nose into somebody else’s routine/choices because you think it’s your duty.  It’s not.

Even better, if it’s not in the gym, it’s in the grocery store.  Based on my shopping, cart I once had a cashier grill me on my diet.  I didn’t even know that was allowed, clearly I’m going back to the self-checkout lines.

Finally, if it’s not either of these places, it’s the people from the rest of your life.  Most of these people probably mean well, they aren’t out to get you.  But if they aren’t on the same journey you’re on and they are parroting advice from Dr. Oz, you should probably ignore them.

Above all, never second guess yourself because of others.  Find good information and figure out what’s right for you.  Don’t let some “bro” at the gym tell you how to work out and don’t let the lady at the cash register freak out because your cart doesn’t have a frozen and pizza and 3 liters of soda in it.

Do what you do.

-Moody