Archive for July, 2010

FITNESS: Inspiration

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

The awesome Jose Raymond

Motivation wanes, workouts get a bit sluggish, goals get murky.  Something needs to happen.

For me, it was a week off from the gym and then an evening in Tampa at the PBW Pro Bodybuilding Contest.

All you have to do is walk into an environment like the one at a serious bodybuilding competition and your mind is filled with inspiration.  Your eyes are bombarded with amazing sights, and your ego is given a wallop.  But the outcome of all of this over-stimulation was just what I needed.  “When can I get back into the gym?”

For anyone who has not attended a bodybuilding competition, the atmosphere can be almost carnival-like.  The lobby is typically filled with booths and exhibition space from companies selling nutrition and workout products.  Standing at these booths are national level or pro bodybuilders who are affiliated with the company.  They are there to greet you, take a picture, give you an autographed picture, or give you some free product.

It is always inspiring and thrilling to be in the company of the real elite in any activity.  Certainly getting to meet a bodybuilder that you have seen in the magazines or even seen compete onstage can be a great experience.

Meeting Brian Yersky

It’s also humbling to stand next to these bohemoths whose arms require their own zip code.  Last night I met Brian Yersky, a top national competitor, and his deltoids seemed bigger than my head.  The guy is huge, he is serious, and he is walking, talking inspiration.  Shaking his hand and taking a photo was a surreal experience.

The atmosphere is also mind-blowing because the men walking around in the crowd are also all size Extra Large.  It makes sense that serious lifters would be the most likely to attend this kind of event, but it’s still always humbling to walk around in a crowd where you feel small.  And it’s motivating.

Troy Alves, at his peak at 42

I’m anxious to get back to the gym as soon as possible while I have these images of Jose Raymond winning the 202 class with arms you wouldn’t believe.  Paco Bautista was so large I suspect he had to enter backstage via crane.  Troy Alves was so conditioned that his 29 inch waist looked unreal compared to his super wide shoulders.

And a couple of over-40 competitors in the NPC show reminded me that it’s never too late to make things happen.

I’m appreciative of the inspiration, perspective, and motivation I received at this show.  Now where are my lifting gloves?  And get out of my way!!

FITNESS: Eat More Often to Lose Weight

Friday, July 16th, 2010

If you want to lose weight and trim down, you need to eat more often.  Here’s how it works:

The body is like a finely tuned machine that likes regular fuel to keep running most efficiently.  Regular ‘feedings” of good nutritious food allow the body to keep running smoothly.

The problem many people have is that they don’t eat consistently.  They’ll eat maybe 2 giant meals one day, and then 4 smaller snacks the next.

But here’s what happens!!  The body does not feel  that it is going to be fed consistently, so it HANGS ONTO its fat.  The body is all about long-term survival so it will keep its fat around because if you are in a crisis and you stopped getting any food, the body knows it will survive the longest with the most fat at its disposal.  So inconsistent food intake encourages the body to keep its fat….just in case!

So inconsistency in meals is a huge factor in your body’s fat content.

If you want to lose bodyfat and lean up, then you need to convince your body that it has nothing to worry about, and that regular nutritious meals will be coming it’s way regularly.

I recommend that you have 6 or 7 “feedings” each day.  Make your main meals a little smaller, and then add some healthy snacks between meals.  I try to eat something every 2 to 3 hours.  My overall food content is not huge, but each meal or snack is a smaller portion of my daily total.

If you’re busy and don’t know how you’ll have time to add these snacks, invest in some protein shakes or bars.  There healthy snacks are ready-made sources of good nutrition that you can take with you “on the go” or throw in the fridge at work for a quick meal.  Meal Replacement Shakes are delicious ready-made shakes you can take anywhere.  I can down one of those shakes in 90 seconds and get on with my day!

If you eat consistently for days and weeks, the body will feel confident that it will be well fed and it will start to drop the extra body fat that it really hates lugging around.  Combine this smart nutrition plan with exercise and adequate rest, and you’re got a great recipe for losing weight and looking great.

FITNESS: Dealing with Disappointment

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Life is not always easy, and sometimes things just don’t go the way we want.  Life can be full of disappointments, and it’s our job to react to them in the best way possible.

We don’t always get to do everything we want.  Sometimes we don’t have enough money, enough influence, or enough time.  But sometimes it’s our physical body that can get in the way of something we want to do.

Children are often too short or too small to ride amusement park rides.  They have to wait until they grow taller to be able to ride safely.  A 7 foot tall basketball players may not be able to do certain things because of his height.

A professional bodybuilder told the story of the time he and his wife spent a lot of money on a scuba diving expedition, but when they got to the boat, he was simply too massive and muscular to fit into the required life vest.  This was a great disappointment to him, but his life choice to be a bodybuilder interfered in this particular circumstance.  Of course, this kind of limitation is quite rare for someone in supreme physical shape, but even this has its moments of disappointment.

Now to the real reason for this post.  The fantastic “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” recently opened in Orlando at the Universal Resort.  It’s a magical place of remarkably detailed recreations of buildings and shops from the Harry Potter book series.   The crown jewel of this theme park is the amazing ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.”  This attraction actually allows you to fly through scenes from the movies and books, including a very realistic experience of playing Quidditch and fighting dementors.

The ride uses amazing new technology where your “flying bench” is actually attached to a giant robot arm.  This arm is able to move you in every way imaginable, simulating flying, sharp turns, and sudden drops and shifts in direction.   At times you are literally laying on your back and almost on your head.  It’s absolutely thrilling and an unparalleled experience.

Ah, but the caveat….in order to ride on the “magical flying bench” you must be able to pull down the safety harness and there must be THREE CLICKS.  This insures that the rider can make it safely through the journey.  Unfortunately, there have been a number of riders who could not get the “three clicks” because they were just too fat.  The official term is that their “girth” is too great, but we all know that girth and weight go hand in hand.

What has to be the worst theme park job in the world is the poor chap who must ask you to “try the sample bench” to see if you can fit, and then must break the news to you and your party that you simply cannot ride because of your “girth.”  As you can imagine, many people have been disappointed.

So we arrive at the moment of truth for this article.  How do these disappointed Potter fans react to this terrible news?  Most are angry, possibly embarrassed, and some have gone off on tirades (often public and in print) about how unfair this is.   A few have threatened to sue.   Really.  Not kidding.

So you can’t ride because you’re too heavy?  Too fat?  Too much girth?  Say it how you will, it’s the way it was.  You don’t always get to do everything you want to in this life.  I feel badly for these folks, but I can’t abide their righteous indignation.  You’re not being put upon, you need to lose weight.

How you react at this moment in time when you find yourself facing such a clear-cut disappointment is a real test of your real inner mettle.  There are many, many wonderful stories of people who have taken similar life-changing moments and have used them as a motivator to lose weight, take care of their bodies, and start to get into better shape.  In fact, one terrific Potter fan who couldn’t ride the “Forbidden Journey” has done just that.  He created a blog to follow his progress as he exercises, eats right, and works to lose weight….all in pursuit of the goal to get on this ride and have the time of his life.

So congrats to this fellow who faced the music, looked at himself in the mirror, and decided to take control and make the changes he needed.  Of course, this will not only benefit his fun at theme parks, but will surely improve his life, and the life of those around him, in innumerable ways.

So if you are worried that you might not fit onto the flying bench in Harry’s fantastic “Wizarding World,” I hope you’ll take this as an opportunity to take action now, use this as a motivator, and start to treat your body with the kindness it deserves.   Take those walks, make better food choices, get to the gym, and then have fun on the “Forbidden Journey.”  Get started!

(Note: If you’re concerned about fitting into the seat on the ride, there are some sample seats at the entrance to Hogwarts.  Ask a cast member for help and try it out before you get inside!)