Beware The False Profits

As is often the case when one decides they want, or need, to change their body through weight loss or strength training, they have an idea of what they would like to look like yet have no idea what it is going to take to get there. Of course, the intelligent move is to find a supportive group of like minded people to help you along your journey of weight loss or sculpting. Being as it can be difficult to find actual people who are of the same mind, a logical place to go fr support is any of the many social media support forums. Strength training and body building web sights have excellent forums where you can interact with other meat heads whose eyes do not glaze over when discussing the finer points of a deadlift or bench press. There are good forums on weight loss web sites too where you can interact with others who are also trying to achieve a healthy body weight. Many times our close family and friends do not really understand, nor do they care about how many reps and sets you do on a given lift under the barbell, nor do they have any interest in counting calories every day in order to maintain a healthy level of body fat. Face it, with all the obese and sedentary people among us today, you will find that a lot of them actually may despise your attempts to be a better and healthier you. Don’t believe this, try talking about exercise and good nutritional habits with one who obviously cares nothing at all about living healthy Refusing a piece of birthday cake, can sometimes bring scorn from those you are close to. This being the case for many, the obvious choice for support is often online forums where hopefully you can share your struggles and triumphs without being judged in a negative manner.

Don’t believe your lying eyes.

When it comes to body building or sculpting through strength training, following Instagram seems a good place to find inspiration of what you can do with your body. Instagram is full of pictures of people in phenomenal shape. You will find pictures of men and women whose body’s are muscular and very well defined. You will find a plethora of people who have single digit body fat percentages as if these body types are the norm. If you want to sculpt your body, there is no shortage of body’s you might want to emulate on Instagram.

However, what you do not see is the work and total dedication it takes for these people to achieve their physiques. You do not see the extreme dieting some of these folks go through to look so ripped for a picture shoot. You do not see the lens filters nor body make up that create the images you want to copy for yourself. You do not see the hours on set where countless pictures are taken for only a few select to make it out for public consumption. There is always much more than meets the eye with many of these Instagram models. That being said…

For those who are legitimately healthy through all natural means, you do not see the many hours dedicated towards healthy nutrition or exercise. You have no concept of how many months, or more likely years, these people have spent towards looking a certain way. For most if not all people, it is naive to believe you can take your unfit body and recreate it into one fitting for a Instagram model pictorial in only a few short months.

It is perfectly alright to look towards people on Instagram for inspiration to create a better and healthier body for yourself. But if you do this, please ensure that you temper your expectations with reality and common sense. Understand that not all of these people actually look like the images you see portrayed in their professional photo shoots. Do not sell yourself short by attempting to become what is a manufactured image.

Use caution when dealing with the celebrities on popular weight loss forums.

When it comes to losing weight, many people are not surrounded by others who are supportive of their journey. A good many might find themselves actually being sabotaged by loved ones. If you have experienced this, you can attest to how you might have just celebrated a loss on the scale, only for your significant other or someone else bringing cake and ice cream into your home and consuming it in your presence. This is aggravating as all hell when you have a weakness for these sweet treats that you are attempting to defeat. If you find yourself not being supported, it is a positive move to use a forum on your weight loss web sight or app. Weight Watchers has their Connect social media forum where you can potentially interact with over one hundred thousand other individuals on journeys very similar to your own.

On Connect, you will find others who are just beginning the program as you might be, as well as many who have made their goal weight and maintained it for many years. It can be a wonderful place for support when you are trying to get your weight down to a healthy BMI level. On this particular weight loss social media, you will find many people who are extremely helpful and can help you navigate your way through the Weight Watchers program, and then, there are those who have become popular celebrities of Connect where you have to take them with a grain of salt, or totally reject them.

The smart money is to reject those who appear to be building a cult of personality. You want to reject those who get angry when you question their methods or advice. You want to reject those who have stories that do not align with reality. You might want to watch how these cult builders interact with others who have asked them questions only to get vague or rude answers in return. When this happens, it is because they are frauds who care nothing about helping anyone but themselves, even if they portray themselves as everyones cheerleader.

As on Instagram, you might find a few individuals whose images appear to be entirely manufactured for who knows what purpose. You might find an individual who has all sorts of advice yet you can only find a before picture of them and others that are fairly current, with zero to be found from the middle of their journey of weight loss. This should be a red flag to you.

Be leary of the individual on a weight loss forum who is well over 50 years old, claims to have lost 100 pounds in a short time, who is also very lean and cut, and has no visible sagging, excess, leftover skin. While it may be possible, it is not likely that one this age can get down to a single digit body fat percentage with a one hundred pound loss, and not have signs of loose skin unless they have had a procedure to get rid of it. A surgical procedure is fine, if needed and you can afford it. What I am getting at is one who claims to be all natural with no procedures. This kind of individual you should not attempt to emulate, exactly because they are not truthful in how they met their goal.

Be mindful of the fool who only appears to know his business about physical fitness simply because he can afford a lot of equipment, yet has little understanding of physiology, as evident from their self inflicted injuries that have occurred simply as a result of their physical fitness routines. When you see one hopping around while doing push ups and/or doing clapping push ups, know that they have no concept their shoulders are not meant for this kind of stress.

If you see one who does any type of resistance exercise in a manner totally different than anything you have ever seen or heard of, you might not want to emulate them as there may just be a very legitimate reason you have never seen their movements before. Be leary of taking advice from one who appears like they should be interacting on a body building forum rather than collecting followers on a social media designed for those who are not in shape and attempting to get there. There is likely an explainable lame ass reason why they are establishing themselves as King of the Hill where no real competition exists to them.

The bottom line.

If you have made the descision to lose weight in order to improve your health, good on you. Congrats on making a life changing choice for your betterment. When you begin this journey, you want to proceed in a healthy manner where you learn to eat nutritiously and ease your way into physical fitness if your doctor has cleared you to do so.

It is really imperative that you find a support network where you can be lifted up when your plan falters, and a place where you can celebrate your achievments with others who truly appreciate your efforts. But, along the way, be extra mindful of those who sit atop pedestals of their own creation, who appear to be the picture of perfect health and fitness. Sometimes, what you see is deceptive marketing by professionals or those with an agenda of some sort. While you should aim your sights high, be leary of trying to hit an unrealistic target unless you are prepared to expend the time and efforts to get there with the knowledge that some of these superstars are actually damaging their very own health in order to look like a million bucks.

If you are female, be extra leary of the guy’s who are building a cult of personality on social media, and who also seem to only attract female followers. There are predators out there who seem nice online that might actually be setting you up for a personal encounter with ill intent in their hearts.

If you follow social media as a means of support, ensure you procede with caution, knowledge and common sense. If you get a bad vibe about ones sincerity, trust your instinct and avoid them. Go forth on your betterment journey with the sole intent on being the best you that you can be, and do not worry yourself with attempting to look like a social media celebity. Many of them are false profits, even when they give themselves cute little names and do cute little things in order to get you to follow them.

Be your own person, be the best you can be and have no regrets.

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Fine Tune Your Life

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I spent this day dealing with some important issues that were causing anxiety in my life. If I believe in living life to the fullest and teach that, I must conform to my teachings. I initiated vocational rehabilitation for a family member that was not thriving, investigated the job market and addressed another family member’s diet. Tonight I am blogging and lifting the Iron. Life is good.

Avoidance

The biggest mistake that we make when we are faced with anxiety producing situations in our lives is to avoid the problem and live in misery. I’ve got to tell you, I lived most of my life that way, never again. Because we dread dealing with difficult tasks, we tend to back away from situations that create stress. Instead, we choose to live with perpetual stress which takes all of the color and joy out of our lives. Quite often well-meaning friends and family will support avoidance because they believe that change is just too hard on everyone concerned. For a moment, they are right, but only for a moment. While there are some things that can be easily avoided such as air travel or swimming, there are other things that cannot be easily avoided and can turn into chronic stress. Those are the things that we have to fix.

A Taste of Poison

When we are terrified of change, we can go slowly. Make small changes over time and eventually make the leap to a complete metamorphosis. If changing jobs is too stressful yet you are miserable in your current job, slowly research the market. Don’t plunge. Research, study, think about what you want to live with. Research until you are actually wanting to make the change. If there is a family issue that needs work, again, do your research. That way you will be prepared to initiate and culminate the difficult task. After much research you will have confidence that you know what you are doing and the transition will be much smoother. There are times when these types of changes occur abruptly and in those times, stay ahead of the curve with ongoing study. Never be caught without an answer. You know what is causing you anxiety. Get prepared now to deal with that and when the time comes, you will be confident.

Role Models

My secret weapon for dealing with these types of changes is to have great role models. Sometimes we want to be like people that are not handling their lives well. Now, I ask you, does that make sense? If they are not happy or successfully navigating their lives why on Earth would you want to emulate them? It makes no sense. Fine tune your life by choosing someone who is good at handling stress and manages their health well and ask questions and listen to what they tell you. It won’t do you any good to ask questions unless you do what they say. If you choose your role model(s) well, you will be able to trust them. If you don’t trust them, you have chosen poorly. Choose again. Emulating others who have handled your type of stress well will reduce your anxiety when you have to face the feared situation. When I jumped off of that 250 foot tower ziplining, I just did what the ones in front of me did. I didn’t even have to think about it. I put my brain on hold, listened to my guide and imitated what I had seen. It was amazing!

Don’t Play Ignorant

So much of what we perceive as depression is the refusal to deal with issues that make us miserable. Whether the refusal is because of fear or laziness, the result is the same. We wallow in the misery of a life that we are not suited to or rather a life that is not suited to us. We fear the hard work that it will take to rectify the miserable situation. This even applies to our body image. We can hate the level of fitness that we live with but unless we dig in and do the hard work to change that body, we will live, and die in it. Sometimes much sooner than necessary. Ignorance is not bliss. Sometimes ignorance is death, sometimes just misery. Either way, it’s our decision.

Emerging Color

For so many years, I felt like the Earth right after it’s initial creation, void and without form. The color was gone from my life because I lived with a situation that sucked all life and energy right out of me. Change seemed like the wrong thing to do. I should have known better by my level of misery. I deceived myself into thinking that my actions were noble, a sacrifice for someone else, when I was dead wrong. The truth is, we would both have been so much better off if I had just followed my heart and ended my suffering by changing my life. When I finally did that, I also eased the suffering of the one person for whom I was sacrificing. Misery is a good indication that something needs to be fixed. Analyze the situation and move forward. Since I have begun to fine tune my life, color has returned and life once again has meaning. Sometimes the problem is someone else but if that’s true then remove them from your life. If the problem is you, discipline yourself in the area that needs work and create the life that you want and need.

Health Implications

Unresolved conflict and dysfunction are known causes of depression and anxiety which are known to take years off of your life. So, do you want a short miserable life or a longer more relaxed and contented one? Is it more difficult to change or to live in an emotional Hell? While some changes are extremely stressful nothing is as stressful as hopelessness. Hopelessness is believed to play a role in ischemic heart , or the heart not getting adequate blood and oxygen supply. (1) Don’t starve your heart. Fine tune your life today.

 

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8347738

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Are We There Yet?

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Every time that most adults begin a weight management program, the first question in our minds and quite often out of our mouths, is “How long will it take?” I was naive enough to ask David this question when I first began lifting heavy. Not wanting to discourage me, he didn’t give me a direct answer immediately. As time unfolded I began to understand the answer that he finally gave, “The rest of your life.”

Moving Goals

In programs where I just wanted to lose X number of pounds, I could safely estimate how long it would take. When I began David’s Way however, everything changed. I was losing pounds but I was also gaining lean muscle. When I achieved a specific number of pounds lost, my goals changed. Now I wanted to add shapely muscle. I wanted to be strong and look like it. That first goal of “Lose 20 pounds.” (David), was met quickly with Intermittent Fasting but that was only the beginning. I had achieved a quick loss of pounds but was nowhere near the type of body that I wanted or the strength. It was necessary to press on. I wasn’t there yet.

Digging In

There are sessions of weight training that are long and arduous. There may be moments that surprise you with a gain in strength that you didn’t expect at that moment in time, but for the most part, hours, days, weeks and months will pass in blood, sweat and tears or what seems like it anyway. It will be hard. You will want to quit. You will feel inept. You will also feel like the King/Queen of the World. You become formidable. It is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Your confidence will soar as you realize that the same will that raises you from a heavy squat will get you through anything that life throws at you because nothing is any harder than that squat. You will refuse to let go. You can’t go back. You are a Winner.

Metamorphosis

As the Iron begins to change your outside, it is changing your inside to. The deltoids in your shoulders/upper arms that were not there before exemplify the confidence and determination that is building inside your mind and heart. The power that you thrust into getting that deadlift to move will move you to conquer the “little foxes that spoil the vine” on your job. “There’s always something.” (Gilda Radner) that has the potential to ruin your day or your entire life if you allow it. When you realize that you are in control of that barbell that is a true beast, you will realize that you are in control of almost everything in your life by controlling your reaction to those things. We call that being proactive instead of reactive. Take control of things in your life just like you take control of that bar and you will increase your strength in all areas.

Go Deeper

As I move along in my program, I constantly look for flaws in my form because I have high goals for myself and form is everything. With good form I will be able to lift more, longer, stronger and hopefully injury free. I do everything in my power to avoid injury. When I see evidence that a specific program or lift is known to cause injury, I know that is what I don’t want to do. I question the intellect of someone who readily accepts injury as a normal part of their fitness regimen. Healthy living should avoid injury, never running towards it. As I continually work on my form, I gradually buy equipment and accessories along the way to help me with that. My best idea as of today was my power rack that gives me a place to dump the weights safely if they get too heavy or if something goes wrong. So far the only injury has been to a cell phone, may it rest in peace. Word to the wise, if you are using a standard bar with locks, use them…every time. One of the greatest things about my Olympic bar is that I don’t have to use locks. These are things that you learn as you go deeper. I never thought that I would use “one of those big ole’ bars”, (an Olympic bar that weighs 45 pounds and is 7.2 feet long) but now I can’t imagine lifting any other way. Occasionally for a light lift, I’ll use my standard bar. I can’t wait to get back to the big ole’ bar. I love my Olympic bar. It means that I’m a badass who has worked hard to get to where I am and that bar can take me anywhere that I want to go.

Do It Again

As I struggle to perfect my deadlift, David has realized that my valsalva, a breathing maneuver used to increase power during lifting, may not be right. He was right. Although I knew what to do, I was losing focus and losing tightness throughout my body during my deadlift which was allowing a bit of a curve in my spine. This can’t be. It has to be corrected. I have been using a velcro closure lifting belt that will stretch a little. That can contribute to lost tightness so David advised me to get a latch belt, which I have ordered. I have also ordered a hex bar, which allows you to stand straighter during your lift. I have been lifting for about a year and a half and have just done these things. In lifting as in other areas of life, we are ever learning and ever correcting.

No, We Are Not There Yet.

We will have many twists and turns and detours and as long as we keep giving it our best effort our lives, and our lifts, will improve. We will not just magically “arrive” one day and be at the end of our destination. David says that “We don’t own our present level of fitness. We are only paying rent.” This means that we must continually search for better ways to do and be better at what we do. If we quit working at it, we will lose our fitness. When I finally got that answer, “The rest of your life.” in answer to “How long will it take?” I was already beginning to understand. The more you fix in your body and in your life, the more you find to fix. In order to be our best selves, we must continue down this path indefinitely. Anything else is falling short of our full potential. Come on. Stretch yourself. Get accustomed to doing and being your best. Work at it. Strive for it. Never quit. Always endure. You are all you’ve got so make yourself excellent in all ways. It will not be easy but it will be worth it. Just get up and go again.

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Why Do I Even Care About Your Obesity? Our Children and Our Future as a Nation

Why in the hell do I care about you?

Why do I give a damn about helping you to manage your weight through good lifestyle habits of proper nutrition and physical fitness?

Because obesity is a human tragedy unfolding before our very eyes.

Every year, the percentage of people who are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese continues to unnecessarily rise. Every year our expenses for medical care continue to rise as well. We can sit around and bitch about Big Pharma, Big Medicine, Big Insurance and the government all day long. Yet, none of this bitching ever addresses our own personal responsibilities towards our health care expenses. If you are broke from health care expenses, you had better take a deep look inward towards how you live your life. If you have a gluttonous appetite and do no exercise, you are solely responsible for your health problems short of a few maladies.

Our lack of control over our own damn appetites is killing us.

Our lack of self control and discipline causes our obesity which is directly responsible for causing inflammation in our bodies, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, cancers and more. Every bit of this is preventable if we gain control over our appetites and move our asses with exercise. Movement that gets the blood flow going with an increased heart rate. Movement that burns off your glycogen stores and then fat. Movement that does not accomplish glycogen and fat burning is better than nothing at all, yet is damn near useless in helping you to live a healthier life. Counting actions such as running your vacuum cleaner as exercise is not going to win you any prizes, it will not even get you into second or third place. Nope, this kind of movement only means that you are just one step ahead of the total couch potatoe. Maybe not even that much.

Your life will always become the business of someone else when you are careless with it.

You might think your life style is no business to anyone else, but what happens when you need extended care from family, friends or health care professionals. Can you say it is still not their business how you live? If you believe you can, you are some kind of selfish. Your actions will always impact others in your life. Even when we step up to care for our loved ones with no complaints, and provide care for you out of pure selfless love, your lifestyle descisions can and will affect others. This is a truth in life you can not avoid. Even if you decide to live as a hermit and die unattended and alone in your home, someone will have to live with the mental impact of delivering your corpse to the morgue. Hopefully, you have not decomposed too far when they arrive to retrieve your body.

Obesity is dooming our children to a life of illness.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970’s. Nearly one in five school age children and young people (6 to 19 years old) in the United States are obese. This is unsatisfactory and unnecessary as obesity is preventable. Parents, if you are allowing your child to become obese, you are doing them no favors in life.

About 25% of children in the United States aged 2 to 8 years have a chronic health condition according to CDC. They have chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, behavior/learning problems, and other health conditions that can all be traced back to unhealthy and improper nutrition and lack of physical activity.

Parents, you owe your children guidance in living healthy. While they can recieve nutritious meals in school, you have a responsibility to feed them healthy foods at home. Get rid of the Pop Tarts and sugary cereals that you are feeding them for breakfast. And for heavens sake, quit feeding them from fast food drive throughs simply because you are too lazy to prepare a porper meal for them at home.

If you have the time and money to feed your kids from a fast food drive through, then you have the time and money to feed them a healthy home cooked meal. Using the reasoning that you are too tired to feed them healthy is a lame ass excuse that comes from laziness on your part. Your children deserve better out of you.

From US Library of Health and Medicine, Nation Insitute for Health:

Psychological disorders such as depression occur with increased frequency in obese children. Over weight children, followed up for 40 and 55 years were more likely to have cardiovascular and digestive diseases as compared to those who were lean.

Let this sink in to your thoughts for a few minutes. If you do not do anything to contribute to your childs good health, if you let them eat crap foods and not exercise, you are directly responsible as a parent for their current and future health problems. If reading this causes you to be angry, I really do not care because the anger can only come from you not accepting your parental responsibilites to your children. Being as your children did not ask you to bring them into the world, you must place their well being first and foremost over everything else in life.

Ponder this young lady’s sad story I found on a weight loss forum:

I am currently 348 lbs. I am 23 years old.

I have major health problems associated with my weight. I have major heart issues, my heart rate gets up into the 200’s with me just standing up. I have type 2 diabetes, I have chronic pain in my bones and muscles. I have been obese since I was a kid.

I suffered from depression and anxiety growing up. I was bullied a lot. I had suicidal thoughts when I was just 8 years old. Food was, and still is a gateway to ease the pain.

I have two beautiful children. But, I am unable to care for them on my own. I can’t enjoy my life. My days are mostly sitting around watching everyone else live. I am unable to exercise due to my heart rate. But, I was told that if I lose 45 lbs, they will do a pacemaker. I’ve seen multiple heart doctors. And all have suggested weight loss surgery.

This is a truly sad story, and it is not unusual in it’s very nature when you follow any type of weight loss/management social media forums. Read this young lady’s story again and consider how many lives are being affected here. Seriously consider what lifestyle actions could have been taken to prevent this unfolding tragedy. If you are a loving parent of a child who suffers from obesity, please love them enough so this does not become their sad life story too.

Life Hack of The Iron

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I have learned many things from strength training. Today, with guidance from my Trainer, I have learned the greatest Truth of the Iron. “When we fix our lifts, we learn how to fix our lives.” (David Yochim)

“You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.” (David Yochim)
When I first began heavy weight lifting I was at the physically weakest point of my life. I didn’t know this until I picked up a barbell and could only squat 35 pounds. If I’ve ever been any more embarrassed, I don’t remember it. I don’t usually get embarrassed. What is, is. But, when I squatted with 35 pounds and struggled to stand up, I could have just gone through the floor to escape facing the truth of my physical condition. I daresay that was not a deep squat either. Although I squatted as deeply as I thought I could at the time, now I know that it was nowhere close to proper depth. I have discovered that not hitting depth puts an incredible strain on me because I don’t activate my glutes and hamstrings properly to stand. I was making what was already hard, harder with improper form. We do the same thing in other parts of our lives. We make things harder than they have to be by doing them the wrong way or just allowing ourselves to do less than our best. If we give every nuance of every lift our undivided attention to detail, we will do much better. The same thing applies to other aspects of our lives. I have an extremely difficult, high-stress job. The better I focus, the easier the job is. If I allow myself to lose focus while doing a menial task at home, that task becomes difficult. I have learned this from the Iron. Since my weights are heavier now, focus is not only mandatory for the lift, it’s mandatory for safety. This applies to a road trip. Don’t lose focus on the interstate at 80 mph. It could end badly.

Proper Preparation

Last night, although I was front squatting a weight that I had not squatted before, I was not pleased with my lift. I wanted to get more reps. As I analyzed what might have been wrong, I thought about my preparation. Last week when I was pleased with this lift, I had gone out of my way prepping. My calories were perfect and I ate them early enough that they were pulsing through my system when I needed them, I had an excellent pre-workout, I had the most adrenaline pumping music in existence blasting in my dungeon. Last night, I struggled through a mandatory continuing education course, stuffed the remaining calories for the day in my mouth at the last minute, skipped the pre-workout and started lifting without music. There was so much wrong with this picture for me because I know what I need to have a good session. I didn’t do it. I was not pleased with the results. How often do we do this in other areas of our lives? I got bit by a rattlesnake in 2016 due to stupidity. I know exactly what I did wrong. We do things like this all the time with that still, small voice screaming instructions in our ears. The Iron will not yield to me unless I approach it prepared. Everything works this way.

Analysis

Even as I lumbered up the stairs to my bedroom, I began to analyze my lift. Without analysis there is no learning. I combed each moment of my approach, my breathing, my focus. It was in this moment that I began to see the discrepancies between this week’s squat and last week’s squat. Unless we examine ourselves, we will never improve. I was not happy with that lift. I wanted more. Even though lifting is a lifestyle, not an ever increasing exhibition of strength and ego, I still wanted more. I knew that I was off and when I began to analyze my day, a cascade of differences in this week and last week flooded my brain. How often do we encounter difficulty and disappointment in other areas and we just chalk it up as a lesson learned when nothing was actually learned because we did not analyze our behavior? Self examination is necessary for growth and mastery of every area of our lives. I have learned a very practical application of this through the Iron. Unless I analyze my behavior with it, there will be no progress. I must correct myself as I go. Most of the time when we stall out in life it’s because we do not correct ourselves. We’re too busy correcting other people. Regardless of what I do to that Iron, it’s me that must yield and adapt. Only then will my relationship to the Iron be all that I want it to be. This applies to every relationship. Analyze your behavior, adjust, adapt.

Wisdom

I was one of the ones who thought that weight lifting was just picking up heavy stuff and putting it down. That’s because I had never lifted heavy. I had lifted but not heavy. There are so many benefits to exerting my muscles to their limits, pushing as hard as I can, refusing to quit and doing it with proper form. This is true work. I have learned that I can endure and accomplish more than I would have ever believed. The key here is proper form. Do it the right way. I cannot make progress in the number of pounds that I lift over my lifetime, unless I do it the right way. If I do not learn and practice proper form, sooner or later I will fail and most likely get seriously injured. This is true of life. We can haphazardly go about our lives if we want to because it seems easier at the time but we will never accomplish all that we are capable of unless we do it the right way. The right way maximizes our efforts, that’s why it’s the right way. The heavier the weights, the greater the risk and the greater the benefits. This is also true in other areas. Hard jobs with a lot of responsibility and power and influence over other people’s lives are high risk for the employee and the people affected by their performance. The benefits of those jobs are immense for all concerned when they are done right. Great relationships with intelligent, articulate, creative people are wonderful when treated with mutual respect. Everything has to be done with proper form.

Those Days

And then there are those days… You know… Those days when you prepare and analyze and do it right and apply everything you know and the Iron still won’t cooperate. The people won’t cooperate. The Universe won’t cooperate… Those are the days that my Trainer sums up like this. “It’s heavy.” (David Yochim) Sometimes stuff is just hard. Don’t quit. It’s a lifestyle.

Go Hike For Stress Relief

I absolutely love getting out and hiking in the deep woods for not only great exercise, but also as a means to drastically reduce the stress in my life. At fifty five years old, I find myself feeling like a kid again when discovering new trails. It matters little whether the trail is easy with a well prepared walkway. Or a tough one as in today. I completed what turned into a grueling eleven mile hike on a completely natural trail that ranged anywhere from moderate to difficult skill levels to navigate.

A good portion of my hike today was on very rocky paths that took me up and down very steep hills. This picture does little justice at displaying how steep the trail was.

I chose this trail today for it’s level of difficulty. I embrace challenge. Over coming tough challenges helps us to grow as individuals. When we kick a challenge in the ass and find success, it bolsters our confidence to do even bigger and better things in life. Traversing this rocky trail without rolling an ankle was about as tough as some of my weight training sessions. Getting through obstacles such as steep hills with loose rocks and wet clay brings the same satisfaction as I receive in my weight room when I squat down with a heavy barbell on my back, and then manage to stand back up in order to complete another rep or two.

Creating challenges for ourselves to defeat helps us to also overcome other life challenges. We may have a tough job that is a daily grind physically, or mentally. Or we may have very difficult circumstances in our homes such as caring for critically ill family members. Being capable of overcoming great physical challenges might not make our jobs or home lives any simpler, but the confidence we earn through getting through overcoming goes a long way in keeping our stress levels down. When we are confident, we can face the day without fear. When we are confident in ourselves, we can keep chaos at bay. When we are confident in meeting the most difficult of challenges head on, we become capable of maintaining a cool demeanor when the proverbial shit is hitting the fan. My hike today was tough enough to make me realize that everything else I was going to face this weekend pales in comparison to ascending a twenty four percent grade hill on a path that was covered with loose rocks, or slicked up with wet clay. There were points on this hike, climbing the steep terrains, where my legs were beginning to spasm from the the exertion along with my electrolyte balance being a little off. The spasms were quite painful, yet comforting as I knew that nothing else in my day was going to challenge me as much as I had challenged myself.

Of course not every length of todays trail was difficult. I did have a few areas that were quite the respite from that which was kicking my ass. AS much as I embrace the challenge of difficult exercise, I also enjoy just being in the outdoors on an easy path where I can just take in the nature that surround me. I love these trails over the course of the year where you can watch as the trees and undergrowth all come back to life in the spring, the greenness of the summer months, followed by the beatiful colors of fall. Even the winter months bring joy and stress relief as with all the vegetaion going dormant for the cold weather, this time of year affords you more opportunity to see the wildlife what call these woods their home.

There is actually very good reason why being outdoors in the woods makes us more relaxed and happy people. The Japanese have a practice called Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. Shinrin-yoku is a practice that celebrates the health improving qualities of the forest.

There have been studies conducted which have confirmed that spending time out in the woods or forest can reduce psychological stress, depressive symptoms, and hostility. I believe this as I have never, not once, have I encountered anyone on a wooded trail that seemed to be anything other than content and happy. I’m not saying they do not have stressful difficulties in life, hell I have my difficulties along with Post Traumatic Stress too. Yet the woods are soothing to anyone who ventures out and set their minds free to enjoy nature in it’s grand splendor.

Studies have shown that a day in the woods can help you sleep better and make you feel more lively while you are out. A day in the woods has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and to lower your blood pressure and pulse rate.

Studies have shown that even just the smell of trees has positive health benefits. Chemicals secreted by trees, called phytoncides, have been linked to improved immune defense as well as a reduction in anxiety and an increase in pain tolerance.

Other studies have shown that children with ADHD who play in a green outodoor environment, rather than inside, have a decrease in thier symptoms. I’m not sure why this even requires a study to figure out as playing outside forces a child to learn to use their imagination to expand upon their natural creativity in order to have fun. Who can argue this point. Is their anything healthy or creative about allowing your child to sit on the duff, playing video games while snarfing down sugary sweet treats you likely bought for them. It is not rocket science to see the change in children over the last couple of decades where it is no longer unusual for a child to live an obese and sedentary lifestyle their parents have foolishly given them. If you want to do your children a huge favor in life, get rid of all the snacks, unplug their electronic devices and make them go outside to play. My God, we have children and adolescents living on psychotropic drugs in this modern world, when what they really need is to discover life as it is meant to be lived.

You can bet that kids who are allowed, and encouraged to be active outside are on fewer psychotropics than chldren who are allowed to vege our in front of their televisions. I can say with certainty that playing in the woods as a young boy helped me to develop my problem solving skills for life. Building tree houses and secret forts to hang out in with buddies, along with building temporary dams down at the creek in order to have a private swimming hole were the order of the day. We partook in all of these activites and grew into well adjusted adults.

Being outdoors in the woods means there is a fair degree of exercise taking place. Physical exercise is a proven solution for many ailments, including fatigue, depression, anxiety and of course obesity. Combining the benefits of movement in a wooded environment is a healthy method of overcoming many of your ailments in life. If you want to do one really healthy thing for yourself today, get your butt outside and go for a good walk around your neighborhood, or even better, go take a hike in the woods.

If you are interested in taking your hikes up a notch, read our article on the benefits of using trekking poles here.

Welcome To Better

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I Commend You

If you are a regular reader of David’s Way, I commend you for improving your life. There are so many people who are content with the status quo, whatever that is. That’s fine as long as the status quo is good but, have you ever known the people who are content with disaster? You know, the ones who just accept that “things are bad”? If things are bad, change them. You are most likely geared to make your life better if you are reading this blog, because that’s what we do. We try to make our lives and yours, better.

One More Time

The main difference between those who succeed and those who fail is simply that the successful people just don’t quit. We keep getting up no matter how many times we are knocked down. When people choose to give up, it’s quite often just before a victory. Think back to the times that you have been so tempted to just quit trying. Shortly after that moment passed, something changed a bit for the better somewhere in your life that made you glad that you did not give up. Hang on. Your victory is at hand. Get up, one more time.

How Were Things Before?

So, if you decide to quit, what do you expect to happen? Will you suddenly be content with a sub-standard life? Will the misery and dysfunction just suddenly cease to exist? Probably not. If you were discontented enough to begin a change, what makes you think that you will somehow be content with the same situation now? Press on to your goal. You will encounter great difficulty, no doubt. Anything worth having is a lot of trouble. If you want an easy life, good luck with that. We are supposed to work hard. We are mysteriously and wonderfully made and incredibly resilient. Don’t ever think that you can’t do anything. If you want to, you can. If you remind yourself of what you will return to if you quit, you will most likely keep pursuing your goals.

Create Your Life

It’s true. Most people would quit. Do you want your life to be like theirs or do you want something better? Quitting will give you a moment of relief, but only a moment and then the stress of dysfunction will overwhelm you. Decide what you want and then research about how to get it. Once you have done your research, dig in and work for what you want. The lazy people who quit will never have what you will have.

Perspective

If your job is hard, rejoice that you can pay your bills. If you can’t, get another job. If withdrawing from sugar is driving you crazy, rejoice that you have the initiative to improve your health. If it rains out your hiking trip, rejoice that you have a chance to catch up on all that blasted paperwork that you keep putting off. David has a twist on the glass half full or half empty perspective that I love. He says that it doesn’t matter if it’s half full or half empty, refill it. Refill your life and celebrate.

Potential Is Everything

Every time that you are tempted to quit, think about the potential of not quitting. There is an equal positive reinforcement to the negative reinforcement that makes you want to quit, so if what you’re doing seems impossible, you can rest assured that the reward of conquering that issue is hugely rewarding. Before you quit, think about the reward.

Be Strong

If you were strong enough to begin this journey towards self-fulfillment and health, you are strong enough to continue. Breaking out of old habits of failure and sickness is hard. Making that decision is the hardest. You have shunned traditions and habits of everyone around you. You have become”different”. Stay different. Get healthy and stay that way. We’re here for you. Read the Homepage and discover all of the tools available to you here at David’s Way at absolutely no charge. Take advantage of all that we have to offer you and create and live your best life now.

Your Genes Are Not To Blame

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Take Control

At Davids Way we teach to be proactive instead of reactive. This simply means to be creative and in control of your life as opposed to just accepting every negative event that life throws at you as inevitable. Believe me, this makes all the difference in the world in your level of happiness. If you believe that your “weight problem” is genetic rather than a result of what you put in your mouth, you will always be overweight. David wrote about genetic contributions to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in his article here

It’s Up To You

Genetic links to obesity have been studied at length. According to T.H. Chan of the Harvard School of Public Health, while there are genes that can contribute to obesity in ways such as interaction with fried foods in a unique manner, everyone who has these genes does not become obese. (1) It is not your destiny. It is still your choice. If fried foods make the scale go up, the answer is, “Don’t eat fried foods.” I don’t. It’s a choice.

Genes Are Not King

The research has made it clear that these genes make a very small contribution to obesity risk. Genes are not your destiny. Healthy lifestyles can more than compensate for these cellular differences. While there is a single gene mutation that can contribute to how often or intensely we feel hunger, it is rare and can be managed. If I eat empty calories, foods with little nutritional value, I stay hungry. If I make every calorie count with quality nutrition, I rarely experience true hunger. The key is to make absolutely sure that every calorie is a good nutrition source. I have to get the recommended amount of protein for my body as a heavy weight lifter and avoid all added sugars.

Familial

When I was growing up, my mother was obsessed with my weight. While that was not really a completely good thing, one of her strategies to control my weight was to remove empty calories. She provided healthy, wholesome meals and baked a cake no more than once a week. Sometimes she would go weeks without having any desserts in the house. When I followed her plan, I would lose weight. I had friends who appeared to be genetically blessed to be thin. When their moms furnished an abundance of junk foods with sugar, those genetically blessed creatures would fatten up. This supports the statements in the various studies that a healthy lifestyle can change your destiny while poor food choices can exacerbate the tendency to put on weight.

Genes Are Not The Cause

While genetic anomalies have been observed, the number of  affected genes is an incredibly small percentage of our total gene pool. Their ability to affect the amount of fat on our body is insignificant when we make good food choices and get active. The genes of humans have remained largely the same throughout history so it is changes in society that have made a negative impact on obesity rates. Environmental changes that make it easier to overeat far outweigh any genetic input. Changes that curtail physical activity also contribute to the current explosion of obesity. Easy access to food 24 hours a day contributes on a large scale. The current trend to sit all the time even after leaving our jobs is deadly. While I love the internet, I do not allow it to prevent me from working out. I turn this off and get under that barbell or bridle up my dog for a walk. Sometimes I grab my backpack and head into the wilderness for a long hike. On those days, I fuel my workouts with adequate calories of healthy foods but never use that activity as an excuse to overeat. I actually gained weight one time because I would swim laps for two hours and then go to the yogurt shop for a “healthy” sundae. There is a huge influx of added sugars into our diet. It’s up to us to cut it out of our lives if we want to be healthy. Our habits create the body that we live in.

Your Choice

Knowledge is power. Since you have read this article, you can no longer use genetics as an excuse to be unhealthy. What will you do with the information provided here on the blog? Will you continue with unhealthy habits and pay the ultimate price with your health and eventually your life? While some  people believe that they had rather die than change, death is not usually quick or painless. Death caused by the complications of obesity is usually long and painful. Make a decision today to be your best self. and live a rich, rewarding, full life able to be active with your grandchildren and enjoy doing things that only a healthy body can do. It’s up to you. Get proactive today. Read about being proactive here and here      

 

(1) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/genes-and-obesity/

 

How To Be The Best You

If you want to make positive changes in your life:

Don’t sit on the couch and wait for it.

Go out. Make a change.

Smile more. Be excited.

Do new things.

Throw away what you’ve been cluttering.

Do not follow negative people on social media.

Go to bed early. Wake up early.

Be fierce.

Don’t gossip.

Show more gratitude.

Do things that challenge you.

Be brave!

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