Archive for March, 2015
My son has recently got into reading Calvin and Hobbes. I love Calvin and Hobbes, so this is a great bonding experience because those books are still hilarious.
Calvin is a young boy who is lawyers getting into trouble and adventures with his stuffed tiger Hobbes. Calvin is not a fan of organized sports, so they come up with something called Calvinball.
There is only one rule to Calvinball and that is that you can not play it the same way twice. My son thought this sounded awesome, so he asked me if we could play and I thought that sounded awesome too.
We got out a tire, soccer ball, football, inflatable float thing, some rope, a scooter, and a 360 degree Razor scooter. We kicked, threw, roped, rode, chased, wrestled, and next thing you know nearly an hour had gone by. It was one of the greatest workouts ever!
Your assignment is to go out this weekend and have some unstructured play time. Life is too short to be so serious all the time. Run, skip, hop, kick, throw, hike, dance, or whatever form of movement speaks to you. It doesn't matter if you have a kid with you or not, it is even better with a group of adults. The point is to have fun and MOVE!
I guarantee if you do this, you will laugh and feel so much better overall. Your neighbor will think you are nuts, but he cuts his grass with scissors who is he to judge? Just remember, you can't play it the same way twice.
Have a great weekend!
Last week I was co-race director for a local race. Since it was a trail run, we had to be extra careful with the weather. The weather would be beautiful one minute, raining the next, and repeat.
One day the race was on, yeah! Next day, race was off, boo! It was a maddening experience to be in limbo like that. Not knowing what was going to happen and having it be out of your hands.
We eventually had to cancel because when we checked the trials that morning it was an obvious decision to cancel. Despite that not being what anyone wanted, it felt good to have closure.
Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever thought:
"I should lose a few pounds...Who brought these stinking donuts into the office?"
"I'm going to train for that race... No way they are having a Blossom marathon on FX!"
"I'm going to get up early and go workout tomorrow... This pillow has me in a headlock, I better stay here and see if he loses strength."
These things can derail you if you truly have not decided to make the change. If it is just something you think would "be nice" or "I would like to (insert goal)."
Don't put yourself in limbo! Decide TODAY that you are going to make this happen. Whatever your THIS happens to be. Write it down right now, stick it on your steering wheel, fridge, computer, or whatever you will see it every day.
Stop putting yourself half in. That is a miserable place to be because you are constantly having to start over. Seriously think about it and if the goal you are going after is not something you truly want, stop trying to go after it.
I sound like an anti-motivational speaker guru, but I'm serious. If you are going to reach a lofty goal, it has to be something that you are excited about and that you will persevere to each. Don't make yourself feel bad all the time about something you don't truly care about.
Take 15 minutes this week to think about it. If you decide you are in, write that goal down on the places I suggested earlier. Then list the action steps you will take to get there. If you aren't in, trash that goal and move onto something that gets you excited.
When I was 21 years old, I took a summer off when I was in college and moved to Dublin, Ireland. Didn't know anyone, no job, and no real plan other than it was something I had always wanted to do so I was doing it.
Eventually I formulated a plan for getting a job when I got there. The plan consisted of one step: Walk around until I found a job. There is a reason you can't rent a car until you are 25, males below the age of 25 do not have fully formed brains and are not known for making excellent decisions. Some say their brains never quite get there after 25 either.
I managed to secure a job interview as short order cook at a local pub. Part of the interview process was to gather all of the applicants into a room, give them a Guinness, have them hang out, and do a feeling out process.
This was the greatest job interview ever! I was laughing, having a good time, and I thought it was all going great until I heard a disapproving noise. And the noise was aimed directly at me.
The noise was followed by a disapproving sentence from the owner. He said, "That's the problem with you bloody (cleaned up for this e-mail's sake) Americans, you do everything so bloody (edited) fast!"
After a moment of confusion, I looked around and realized what he was talking about. Everyone had about 3/4 of their beer left and mine was just sitting there in a pile of lonely foam.
Spoiler alert I did not end up getting the job. But while I was living there I noticed that they have a lot of very lean people and a low number of overweight people.
So I started observing and I came up with 5 ways they stay in shape in Ireland.
1. Slow eating and drinking
This is the one I first learned at the job interview. Irish meals would be drawn out over music, laughter, and conversation. They would eat smaller amounts of food, but would feel full because they gave their brains the time to tell their stomachs that they and eaten enough.The focal point of their meals was the company they were with, not the food itself. This was pre-smart phones, so it may be different now.
2. Lots of walking
Everybody walks! I'm guessing it is because the people that drive are on the wrong side of the road. Crazy people. Think about how many calories you would burn if you walked 1-2 hours a day. Not to mention avoiding a lot of the trouble brought on by excess sitting.
3. A lot of the food is terrible
Seriously. Hard to eat to much when you don’t enjoy the food. I made the mistake of wandering into McCary’s (thinking it was a McDonald’s). Had the golden arches and everything, but I'm pretty sure the burger was made of ground leprechaun. It was AWFUL.
The thing I started doing is just using food as fuel, not a way to make myself happy. It was a mind set shift for me. Food should be enjoyed, but it's not a way to alter my mood. This ended up being a very valuable lesson for me down the road.
4. Avoiding fast food
Whenever I went into a fast food place (I was desperate! Have you ever seen blood pudding?) it would be 99% tourists. The locals would not eat there. A co-worker put it simply "We don't eat it it's because the food is addictive and it will make you fat." The Irish have a way with words.
Weird how "outsiders" can see that so easily, but we Americans keep right on keeping on with fast food.
5. Access to affordable, fresh produce
I was making the equivalent to about 4 dollars an hour. Not much in a big city like Dublin, but I could still afford to get fresh fruits and vegetables from the Farmer’s Markets they would have scattered throughout the city. Not that I ate vegetables back then, but a lot of the locals took advantage of it.
I'm not asking you to eat terrible food, but: eating and drinking slower; walking more; eating more fresh fruits and vegetables; not using food as a way to alter your mood; and avoiding fast food are all habits you can start adding to your life that will be a tremendous help no matter where you live.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day tomorrow, have some green vegetables!
Switching it up today and giving you a few things that are pretty weird, but can be helpful as well. Let me know if you have any weird tips, because I love learning things like this.
"Boil" eggs in the oven
Eggs are a great addition to salads or even as a quick meal. But did you know there are some people in the world that mess up boiled eggs almost every time? Me being one of them. This way never fails.
Put your eggs in a muffin pan, bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Done.
Help with balance
If you are doing stretches, yoga, single leg deadlifts, etc... you might have some trouble balancing. There are certain, normal things you can do. Staring at something that doesn't move to give you a steady reference point and keeping your ab muscles braced are helpful.. But give this a try.
Pull down on your ear lobe. Use the ear lobe on that is on the same side as the leg you are trying to balance on. Sounds silly, looks silly, but it works.
Stop the sweating
You know that "I've already showered, got dressed but I can't stop sweating" feeling? It's not so great. Try running cold water on the inside of your wrists. Because of the high concentration of blood vessels in that area, it can help cool your entire body.
Fast eaters tend to eat a lot more food than slow eaters because they eat faster than their brain can tell them the stomach is full. One of the tips I learned from an Emotional Eating seminar we hosted awhile back, was to chew your food 50 times. That really does help slow you down. My record is 38 chews it is harder than you think.
Something I learned from being in a cast for 6 months is to eat with your weak hand. My right arm was in a cast (I'm right handed) so eating with my left hand was very inefficient and slowed me down a lot.
I'm slightly claustrophobic. I'm not sure I could ever ride in a smart car. But if I did, I would make sure to bring a green apple.The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago found that smelling a green apple can help soothe feelings of claustrophobia.
Use the express elevator
You didn't hear this one from me if you get in trouble. But next time you're in a rush you can try this and see if the elevator is programmed this way. If are in a hurry you can make the elevator go to your floor first without waiting on all the other floors. Push and hold your floor number while also holding down the close door button. Keep them both held down until the elevator starts moving.
This one can upset and confuse other people that are riding on the elevator with you. Use at your own risk.
The snow and ice has really been messing with my routine. Throwing my work schedule off, throwing my nutrition off, and making my hands look like a dead person's.
I'm done with winter.
Last week I went and taught my 530am class, came home, and didn't do much of anything productive for the next 8 hours or so. I was completely unmotivated to get anything done, despite having free time on my hands.
My son was at the end of his rope too. He had built every Lego, read every book, and crafted every mine he could think of. One of his friends lives pretty close, so we set up the parent saving bring a friend over deal.
The only problem was we had to walk over in the freezing cold weather on the icy streets and sidewalks. It's only about a 15 minute walk, but it was built up in my head as 15 miles. The laziness was on me!
But I promised my son I would do it, so off we went. It was not great when we started off. Wind all in my face, walking like a 90 year old man so I didn't fall on the ice, and feeling like a 90 year old man telling my son to slow down.
But after about 10 minutes I could feel things changing. I started to enjoy the walk and I started feeling better overall.
When we got back, I cleaned up and rearranged my garage, got a bunch of work done, and did several other things on my list. I felt great!
So what changed? The thing that changed everything was just getting started. Sometimes it really is that simple.
That has happened to me so many times in life. It could be a workout, writing a paper, cleaning the house, or hundreds of other things.
You have to take the first step! It is the hardest one, it takes the most energy, and it is the scariest step but it is also the most important one.
If you have 50 pounds to lose, don't think yo have to get rid of it in that first workout. Just start one workout and see what happens.
If you are training for a 5K and you've never run in your life. Run for 5 minute and see what happens.
If you eat out every single night of the week, try cooking one meal at home this week.
Whatever it is that has you overwhelmed, take a step towards overcoming it. You don't have to accomplish it this week, the goal is to break out of the rut and get your momentum going in the right direction.
Write down one thing you will do this week, then use that to build on. Rinse and repeat.
Since on paper I only work 3-4 hours a day, since I teach 3-4 fitness classes a day. So I get asked all the time "What do you do all day?"
I do several legitimate things to grow my business like work on marketing and advertising, do networking, learn about the latest research in health and fitness, etc... But there are days when things get a little outside of the box.
On Tuesday I found myself in the fitting room of a children's theater getting a giant rabbit's tail safety pinned to my glutes.
Read that sentence one more time. College did not prepare me for this.
You may have several questions right now and that is understandable. Just know that it is all for the kids.
I am the co-race director for the Fantasy Playhouse Children's Theater's fundraising race they have coming up on March 14th. The theme of the race is the tortoise and the hare. My fellow race director has more common sense and got someone to be the tortoise for him. I'm not that quick.
It's going to be a fun day and I would encourage you to come out and bring your family to the race. There will races for the half mile, 1 mile, 2 mile, and a 5k so kids of all ages can take part in the race.
There will also be a costume contest for racers and families, along with bounce-houses, kids’ activities, photo opportunities, and door prizes. Plus, I hear the emcee will be a grown man in gold pants dressed as the hare...
If you would like to register, you can download the registration form here: http://letthemagicbegin.org/Race_reg_trifold_2015.pdf
The late registration deadline has been extended until March 9th. So you can still get registered for the usual price until then. You can also call 256-539-6829 to get registered.
Let me know you have any questions, it's going to be awesome!
As an example, I will tell you the story of the time I thought I had diabetes. In my defense, please keep in mind that I had a newborn son at the time and sleep was not in abundance.
I woke up one morning, used the bathroom, and noticed that my urine smelled sweet. My genius brain perked up and said to me, "OMG Joe I think you have diabetes, you've got excess sugar in your urine!"
My brain talks like a 12 year old girl. I chose to ignore it, like you do when you have a possible, serious disease. It seemed to go away, until I got home from work that night and the sweet smell was back!
To make a long story short, my wife had put some sort of automatic toilet bowl cleaner thin in the toilet that emitted a sweet scent every time someone used the bathroom. No wonder I didn't notice it while I was at work...
Now I'm pretty smart, this only took me THREE DAYS to figure out! My wife, who is a nurse, still reminds me occasionally about this high point in my life.
I knew just enough information to totally freak myself out and be totally wrong.
This happens a lot in the fitness and nutrition industry. Dr. Oz is probably the best known example of someone who hypes up "miracle" pills. A study in the British Medical Journal found that only half of the products Dr. Oz recommended had evidence to back up their claims.
I grew up seeing commercials for 8 Minute Abs and Thigh Masters. More recently there were the Shape Up Shoes that not only could not back up their "shaping" claims, but were also injuring people and messing up their balance.
When you see a miracle cure or an easy fix you should be very skeptical. There are absolutely supplements that can help you. And there are lots of exercise videos and pieces of equipment that can helps as well. But there is no magic bullet or potion.
Try this instead:
And if you decide to do any toilet cleaner additions, alert the slower people in your house.