The Strangest Reason Ever to Be Fit

I recently stumbled across the strangest reason ever to get and stay fit.

This weekend I was up hiking in gorgeous Rocky Mountain National Park, just about an hour from home.  Karla had never been up to Trail Ridge Road, the highest highway in the U.S., so post-hike we packed the kids up and drove up the 12,000 foot road.  Near the top is a breath-taking scenic overlook of the park, where we stopped so the little ones could get out and enjoy the view.

I must have had photographer stamped on my forehead because all day park visitors from around the country were asking me to snap pictures of their families.  At the top of Trail Ridge I was approached by yet another couple of tourists, in their late 30′s/early 40′s, who asked me to capture their lovey-dovey moment digitally.  While I was focusing the camera I happened to notice the guy’s shirt.  I just had to ask what it said because all I could make out was the word “EXERCISE.”

Upon closer inspection I got a good laugh out of the rest of the shirt.  I did get a close-up picture of the shirt which advertised one of the strangest reasons I’ve ever seen for exercising and staying fit.

Here is it:











In case you can’t read it, it says, “Exercise because one day the zombies will come.”

Of course I had to ask the two of them the story of the shirt.

It turns out that Jim was not really into exercising or being fit….until he fell in love with Laura.  (not their real names)  She’s a health nut and had been working on teaching Jim to lead a healthier life.  Hey, she loves the guy and wants him to stick around.  She wasn’t having much success until she saw “the shirt.”  Jim loves zombies (and zombie movies) so Laura bought him the shirt to connect exercising to zombies.  Brilliant!

See, most of us need a REASON to change our lives.  It doesn’t even have to be a GOOD REASON.  It just has to get us motivated to take some new action (or stop an old one).  The reason doesn’t have to be positive either, it can be to “show all those people who said you’d never be successful or who laughed at you.”

And the reason can even be ZOMBIES.

This love story has a happy ending.  Jim is getting fit and healthier and Laura watched the movie Zombieland with Jim.  She even embraced her Inner-Zombie by taking a “Zombie Fitness” Class, which included all sorts of fitness moves you’d need to escape the zombies (when they come).

Zombie WarriorFit here we come!

Craig McNeil’s WarriorFit Review

Craig McNeil (www.mcneildesignerportraits.com) , former Martial Arts School Owner, Tae Kwon Do Champion and Professional Ski Instructor shares his insights into the WarriorFit System:

Patrick Webb Interview

A WarriorFit Interview with Patrick Webb from Iowa.

A Big Gulp of Cancer Anyone?

Talk about timely news.

Recall that last week I told you about how High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has made its way into our food supply, so much it’s in just about everything.  Well, this week I planned on explaining how your body metabolized fructose differently from glucose (two simple sugars)…BUT this morning I just saw a report from UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center about fructose that I just had to share with you.

Their findings?

Pancreatic cancer cells Feed on Fructose; they use fructose as fuel to grow and multiply.

Here it is, right from UCLA’s Dr. Anthony Heaney:

These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation,” Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.  “They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth.”

Further…

“I think this paper has a lot of public health implications. Hopefully, at the federal level there will be some effort to step back on the amount of high fructose corn syrup in our diets,” Heaney said in a statement.

This is EXACTLY what I was writing about last week.  UCLA, among other researchers have repeatedly shown that fructose and glucose are metabolized differently in spite of BIG SUGAR’S lobbying to argue that “sugar is sugar.”  If they were the same then we wouldn’t have both fructose and glucose, we’d just have glucose. Their molecular structures are different and react differently in your body.

Back to last week…

I said that I’d tell you about My Worst Habit and about how just switching from HFCS to sugar isn’t a complete solution.

First, table sugar–sucrose–is 1/2 glucose and 1/2 fructose.  So switching from HFCS to table sugar can cut your fructose consumption in half.  Ok, that’s huge and a great reason to make the switch.  But it doesn’t give you carte blanche to now eat as much table sugar as you’d like.  But hey, it’s a start.  So eliminate the HFCS, then work to cut down on sugar in general.

In the end, after as extensive research into the research on HFCS I finally kicked my Coke habit once and for all.  The whole story next time, I promise.

It’s in Everything…

Last time I told you I’d tell you about the conspiracy that finally freaked me out enough to kick my last really bad habit.  But first…

Did you take a few minutes to read your food labels to see what’s in practically every package you pick up?  Here’s what I found at the supermarket.  It’s in the:

  • ketchup
  • soft drinks
  • sports drinks
  • bread?!
  • cereal
  • syrups
  • ice cream
  • soups
  • cookies
  • some chips
  • candy
  • and practically everything in a wrapper or package

You can’t get away from the stuff!  Look at the list again.  Notice a trend?  Everything is SWEET, or at least “Sweetened” beyond natural.

It all makes perfect sense, really.  Think of fruit.  Very nutritious.  Everyone likes biting into a sweet, juicy piece of fruit.  The sweeter the fruit, the more we know it is ripe for eating.  If it’s not sweet yet it needs more time to ripen.  When it starts to rot we can’t even stand the smell–so we don’t eat it.

This is a perfectly logical dynamic with the simple lesson:  SWEET = GOOD TO EAT.  All other tastes around the world vary, some peoples like sour a bit more, or bitter or savory flavors but one thing is constant the world over.  We all like SWEET.

Here’s where our natural body systems become our own enemy.  Getting sweets used to be difficult. You had to suck the sugar from the cane, climb the tree for the fruit or work to crack that coconut open for your sweet reward.

SWEET is so appealing that we don’t have an “OFF SWITCH” to stop us from eating too much sweet food.  This makes sense because when sweet foods were rare it followed that we’d want to eat as much as we could.  After all, fruit rots…quickly…so get it while you can.

We are the Victims of Success.  Humans have gotten so good at creating food that we’ve essentially created an unlimited supply of sweet food for us all to enjoy anywhere, anytime.  So, we have an insatiable desire for sweet food coupled with an endless supply of it.  That’s been a ticking time bomb for years but there’s another element that makes it worse.

You don’t have to crack open the coconut, climb a tree or even suck the sugar out of the cane.  It can all be delivered right to you without you burning 1 calorie.  Or you can just drive to the 7-11 and pick up a Double Big Gulp for about 700 calories.

Let’s recap:

1) An unlimited desire for the taste of sweet

2) An over-abundance of sweet food (and food in general)

3) No physical exertion required to get your food

Now comes the Conspiracy…

What could possibly make this any worse?

How about a Cheap, Engineered Sugar Substitute that’s sweeter than real sugar so food producers can put it in everything they make? We know it better as:

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

Again, it’s all very logical.  If food producers can make food sweeter then they’ll sell more of it for more profits.  Profits also increase if their inputs and ingredients are cheaper, and HFCS is ridiculously cheap.  Coke’s profits soared when they replaced sugar with HFCS in the 70′s.

There’s way more to the story which I’ll get into later, but here are a few tidbits for now.

The HFCS producers have even slapped up a website and made TV commercials defending their product because it has come under such high-profile scrutiny lately.  Gatorade is apparently switching back to good old sugar–sucrose–and other HFCS users are doing the same.

BUT…this isn’t much better either.  Like I said, I finally gave up my worst habit because of HFCS, and I’m about 7-9 lbs lighter because of it.

More on that next time…




How the HECK did this happen?

Way back in 1997 I decided to move from southern Florida to Colorado.  Why move from the Gulf Coast, right next to postard-beautiful Sanibel Island to Colorado?

Granted I had a good gig working in a martial arts school and the weather was pretty ideal (except for the humidity).  The one thing was that, well, it just wasn’t a very healthy or active community.  As everyone told me, Fort Myers was for the “newly-wed and nearly-dead.”

I was neither.

The prospects of year-round activities from snowboarding to white-water rafting to rock climbing to hiking, camping and fly-fishing were too great to stay in Florida.  Oh, and those take-your-breath-away Rocky Mountains had something to do with it too.  Now it goes without saying that with all this activity going on in Colorado it would logically follow that most people there would be FIT and HEALTHY.

It turns out I was right.  Colorado is the fittest state in the U.S.  We have about a 19% Obesity rate, the lowest obesity rate in the nation!

Now that’s something to celebrate…or is it?

Not so fast.

Here’s the kicker:  In 1991 the FATTEST STATE was Mississippi, with about a 15% Obesity Rate.  More bad news for Mississippi.  It’s still the Fattest State, but now at about 33% Obese?!

1 out of 3 people in Mississippi is Obese.  Not a few extra pounds, not overweight, but downright FAT.

So Colorado today is the FITTEST STATE, at about 19% Obese.

1 out of 5 people in Colorado is Obese.

Take a good look at those numbers.

Colorado is the Fittest State today…BUT…our state is still “fatter than the fattest state was in 1991.” The fittest state is fatter than the fattest state was about 20 years ago. Our BEST is WORSE than the WORST was.

Holy Cow!

We Coloradans joke that those 19% “ain’t from around here,” but that can’t explain the rising obesity even here.  This is the land of the $5,000 bicycle on top of the $500 car.  Even our toddlers have personal trainers.  The babies are already enrolled in yoga classes for pete’s sake.

So on the exercise end of things…we got it covered.

The answer must be on the other side of the equation–the calories coming in.  Something’s screwy and way out of whack on the calories-in part of the body weight equation.

I’ll tell you this right now, the answer freaked me out so much it got me to overcome my last “addiction.”  The scary part of this is that it sounds like a vast conspiracy when I say, “IT’S IN EVERYTHING.” (but it is!)

Next time I’ll write at length about what’s really TIPPING THE SCALES, in Colorado and across the country.  Hopefully, with Correct Knowledge and a little DISGUST at what’s happening we can turn this country around and at least get back to 1991 Obesity Rates if not less.

Weight-lifting injuries rise by 48%

Wow!

The American Journal of Sports Medicine reported in April that between 1990 and 2007 nearly one million people went to the emergency room for weight-related injuries. It reminds of the guy who said, “you’re better off walking AROUND the gym than walking INTO the gym.”

As it turns out, people are:

  1. Cracking themselves on the head with weights,
  2. Dropping weight-plates on themselves
  3. and otherwise Getting Crushed by weights.

Pulled Muscles, Loss of Balance and Overexertion account for the remainder of the emergency room visits (about 14%).

WOMEN BEWARE!

Weight-related injuries are on the rise for women–mostly because more women have heeded the call of strength-training.  Women show more injuries to their legs and feet…and more Bone Fractures than men.  As expected, men injure their hands and upper body more than women.

“Master Yourself First”

I’ve been fatigued, sore and just beat from working out with my own body.  One thing I’ve never done is injure myself.  Granted, I almost split my head open with nunchaku as a teenager and I’ve never dropped a weight on my head.  But, any and all training injuries I’ve EVER had were due to lifting weights.

Several High-Level Martial Arts teachers of mine all admonished me to “master your own body first” before moving on to lifting weights–to get WarriorFit.  This has been some of the BEST ADVICE I EVER GOT.  If I slip or backslide in exercising the first thing I do is “get back to my body.”

They may not be as vanity-inducing as hoisting barbells over your head as a good-looking member of the opposite sex strolls by in the gym, but Good Old Push-Ups and their secret variations are a must.  If you can’t push your own body up you have no business trying to lift any other weights.

CAVEAT: The WarriorFit Philosophy is “Body-Weight, Then Weights.” Note the “then.”  WarriorFit is not just about bodyweight workouts.  I teach a WarriorFit weight-training class every week along with WarriorFit body-weight work.  Be on the lookout for the upcoming WarriorFit Weight Workout.

How to Fit in Getting WarriorFit

Last time we talked about your Treasure Chest of Time that you put in everything important and meaningful.  As promised, this time I will show you some quick and easy ways to fit WarriorFitness in your Treasure Chest.  After all, without health and fitness your Treasure Chest shrinks and the time you have disappears.

Let’s say you are like the rest of us–that the speed of your life is so fast you don’t have the time to get to the gym or to your martial arts school or get in a long bike ride each and every day.  You have to somehow shoehorn in short, intense bursts of exercise and pepper them throughout your day.  Otherwise you will be too exhausted at the end of your day for anything other than crashing on the couch, again.

Here’s a glimpse into just a few of my secret WarriorFit Strategies:

1) “Never fail to do nothing because you can only do a little.  Do what you can.”

This is a HUGE WarriorFit philosophy.  So you can’t hit the gym or take and hour-long class.  So what. One major thing I do–well, I’m doing it right now–is to have my WarriorFit Portable Personal Trainer at my desk.  I just let it pick a few exercises for me and I push my comfy chair out of the way and rip off a few exercises.  Then back to my writing.

This WarriorFit Strategy does 2 things for me.  One, it keeps me from stagnating and cramping up sitting and working for long hours.   Two, when I get writer’s block moving around gives my mind a chance to rearrange and create new ideas. That’s a double-barrel shot of sure success right there.

2)  “Get in the kitchen!”

You do cook for yourself, right? (that’s a whole other WarriorFit topic).  I often find myself waiting for food to cook.  Normally this could be time wasted waiting, however having the WarriorFit mindset means putting this time to good use.  Sure Karla thinks I’m nuts, but I do some WarriorFit exercises right there in the kitchen while I’m waiting–because you can get WarriorFit ANYWHERE, ANY TIME.  My daughter often sits on a stool asking me, “what you doing daddy?” When I say exercising she immediately wants to jump off her stool and follow right along.  She’s 2.  What a wonderful example to set for your child!  It keeps me going.

There you have it.  2 totally simple WarriorFit habits to nurture to squeeze your ideal fitness and your natural body into your Treasure Chest of Time.

How To Fit It All In

"What you put in this box will determine the quality of your life

How to fit it all in…is this a question or an answer?

Today it will be both.  But first, let’s look at your typical day.

The 6AM alarm clock shocks you out of a semi-lucid dream.  You leap out of bed, half-conscious and head immediately for the bathroom.  In the shower you shave–eyes closed–out of sheer memory and habit.  You begin to plan your day, what needs to be done, what you’d like to do.  Your thoughts are abruptly interrupted by the screams and wails of your daughter, who’s woken up in a bad mood.  Why?  No reason other than she’s a 2-year old.

You forget what you were thinking about and shamble to the kitchen to make some coffee and cobble together something that passes for a nutritious breakfast, hoping someone remembered to shop for eggs yesterday because you didn’t.  Your wife is saying something about who has to be where and who’s picking up whom from somewhere.  You nod, get dressed, gather your stuff and head out the door to work.

At work things pile up, your boss dropped an extra assignment on your desk.  There’s no way you’ll get this done without skipping lunch, which you do.  Eating at your desk you only get halfway done.  Of course it needs to be done today so you stay late, working overtime.  Exhausted, you manage to get the project done and out the door to FedEx.

You brave heavy traffic and make it home only to have the baby thrust into your arms.  Time to feed the kids, bathe them and get them to bed.  Fortunately your spouse has dinner prepared, thank heaven.  Mentally, physically and emotionally spent, you fall onto the couch and eat.  Too tired to do anything other than watch TV you pass out onto your dinner plate.  You wake up, clean up some and get ready for bed.

The day ends, you collapse into the bed and….The 6AM alarm clock shocks you out of a semi-lucid dream….

Well, you get the point.

How to fit it all in?

It may seem hopeless, given this type of jam-packed day, how you can fit anything in other than just surviving day to day.  Talk about being on the treadmill, in the rat race.  Makes for a depressing life doesn’t it?  But what about all the FUN stuff you like to do?  Where’s the hanging out with your buddies, taking that photography class you’ve always wanted to take?  Getting rid of that spare tire around your waist? Playing some ball?  Or just getting some peace and quiet?  Where does all that come in?

See that treasure chest up there?  All your answers are in there, or will be in a minute.

What you put in that box will determine the quality of your life.  That box represents whatever time you have left on this earth.  Take a good look inside it.  You can only fit so much into that box before it’s full.

Here’s another question for you, WHO is going to fill that box?  Will it be other people and THEIR agendas for you?  Or will it be YOU who decides to wrest control of your life from the daily grind and ONLY allow what’s important to YOU to fill your days?

So you have a decision.  Either you let “whoever” fill your box with “whatever”so it eventually becomes a Junk Drawer like the one in your kitchen.  OR, you take some time to yourself and make a list of everything you’d like to put in your box so it becomes the Treasure Chest that it should be.

Make that list!

Here are some questions to help you out:

1.  WHO do you want to spend your time with? Stop wasting time with people you’d rather not be around.  Visit your family, call your friend who you’ve lost touch with.  There WILL be a last time so don’t lose the time with them.

2.  WHAT do you want to LEARN? Learning something new is Gold to put in your treasure chest.  Don’t put it off any longer.  Take that drawing class NOW.

3.  WHAT do you want to PLAY? George Bernard Shaw said, “we don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.” Want to stay young?  Get playing again, whether it is recreational team sports or unorganized play with your kids or a martial art (play and learning!)

4.  WHERE do you want to GO? Don’t get caught up in the old, “it’s not going anywhere” line. I missed seeing Stonehenge and wound up hanging with some crazy Irishmen because of that line.  It may not be going anywhere, but you will be someday.  Put it on your schedule.

5.  WHO do you want to HELP? How will you contribute to the world?  Who can you help?  I’m doing right now that as I write this article–that is my gift to give the world.  Are you?  If not, find out how and who you can help and get to it.  The disabled, the elderly, children with terminal illness, the homeless, underprivileged youth?   This will be one of the most rewarding things you ever do with your life.

That should get you started at least…help you “chip away the un-essentials.”

So what’ll it be, Junk Drawer or Treasure Chest?

NEXT TIME:  Part II–Simple Ways to fit getting WarriorFit in your Treasure Chest

5 Lessons from a Quintuple Bypass

First I have to apologize for not writing an ezine last week but my dad had a quintuple bypass so I flew to Chicago to be at his side.  I actually write this ezine every week, not some robot or someone in the Phillipines so it had to wait until dad’s hospital ordeal was over and he was back home.

As always, there were some important lessons — 5 of them –  I got to ponder in the hospital waiting room.  Here they are:

1)  Family First (biologic or not). No matter what is going on in your life, it can wait when your family needs you.  The speed of life has accelerated so much that you can get trapped by a thousand little urgent but really unimportant things, e.g. a softball game, that you neglect what really matters, like your family.

2) A hospital is no place to learn about nutrition. We all know a hospital is no place to order takeout.  My dad is diabetic and his meals were full of fruit juices and angel food cake.  One of the nurses said, “but there’s no added sugar.” Yeah, but the juice itself is full of sugar, you don’t have to add any.  This on top of us having to tell each person who dealt with dad that he was diabetic.  Shouldn’t they know this?

One of your essential life tasks is to take your nutrition into your own hands.  Don’t rely on other people to feed you with your best interests, or health, at heart.  McDonald’s surely doesn’t.

3)  By the time you need a doctor your health is probably worse than you realize. After initial exams the surgeon said my dad needed a triple bypass, but when they cut him open they discovered 2 more blockages.  It was worse than they expected.  Neglecting your health eventually leads to a system-by-system breakdown because your body is really one large system, with each part affecting every other part.  It’s all connected.

The good news is you can put this dynamic to good use for the better.  As you get more WarriorFit you create a positive feedback loop wherein each body system gets stronger and strengthens each other–better digestion, improved circulation, more efficient breathing, a sharper mind, healthy immune system and hormone regulation.

4)  When you are in surgery is not the time to start thinking about your health. An ounce of prevention is worth the proverbial pound of cure.  This is one of the reasons I emphasize the health and fitness aspect of martial arts and why I created the WarriorFit System (you are using it, right?).  You can’t just put a band-aid on your diseased heart.  Sometimes, it’s just not enough to change your habits.  The damage may have already been done.  Hopefully this isn’t the case with my dad.

5)  When you get a second chance, take it. Yes your body is resilient and can take years of abuse.  Yet, if you’ve let your body resemble a haunted house and you are NOT on your way to the operating table, count your blessings and start on the road to better health and fitness NOW.  Move It or Lose It.

The Chinese have a saying, “Long (Healthy) Life, Quick Death.”

That’s what I’m aiming for.  How about you?