Do not go gently into your twilight years….
Very hard to see pic but a special one to me of my father, grandfather and Colonel Sanders at the ribbon cutting ceremony launching the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at UK back in 1979 –and that is going stronger than ever.
I used to listen to my grandfather in his 80s as he would walk 18 to 36 holes of golf in a day (while I drove in a golf cart at age 17) declare that aging wasn’t a natural process but a form of disease that we could and should combat. Colonel Harlan Sanders who was virtually unknown outside his hometown of Corbin in his 50s but by the time he was 70 was one of the three most recognizable faces in the world, believed in staving off the effects of aging too.
The two men convinced my father to start a foundation to do something about their beliefs that would be backed by science and help thousands –maybe even millions—enjoy richer lives in their later years.
I was proud to receive this picture tonight on my father’s behalf and was reminded how fully my grandfather lived his life all the way to the end. Running unsuccessfully for Congress at 81. Handling front page criminal trials at the age of 84 and never saying never to anything.
Sue Wylie, an esteemed public affairs talk show host, interviewed my grandfather when he was in his early 80s and reflecting upon all of his losses when we ran for public office (he lost about 3 times more races than he won), she asked him,
“Well, Mr Brown…..Do you sometimes feel like a failure?”
My grandfather’s voice cracked in a generous and kindly manner as he began to smile and said while still keeping a steady gaze on his host,
“No honey. Look….I adhere to the belief that they only time you fail in this life is when you fail to try.” And after pausing and grinning even bigger adding, “And on that count I think I took about every chance I ever had.”
That’s a pretty good way to live your life. And hasn’t been lost on me or many others inside and outside of the family who knew him.
He would have been proud of his and his friend’s legacy tonight. And, of course, disappointed he wasn’t selected as the keynote speaker. ; )
The greatest minds in the human races’ history have always asked one question, Why? Einstein, Edison, Newton all posed the question of why and no matter how many times they failed they constantly pushed forward. The Power of Why.
Think about a child who is inquisitive, what do they ask repeatedly? Why? Why is the ocean blue? Why do I have to go to sleep at 8? Why do I have to go to school? Why why why? Their nature is to constantly pose the question of why so they can consistently
The why gives reason behind decisions and clarity behind things that are not yet understood. Reason and clarity are very big when discussing fitness goals: Why is getting in shape important to you? Why will having bigger arms or a smaller waist positively impact your self esteem? Why?
As you embark into a fitness regime it is important to remember why you are starting. From the mere example of you reading this means, on some level, you are interested in fitness. Either you; are wanting to start, wanting to continue what you started or are looking for fresh ideas to keep you going. Either way, we all go through a pre-contemplation phase when it comes to working out. Some decide to put both feet in and go after it others keep one foot in and the other out and then there are those that never start. The decision is a personal one but once we cross into the stage of doing something about our current situation, it is important to remember why we are doing it.
So here is what we are going to do…
I am going to generalize everyone and pose the following questions:
1. What outcomes are you wanting/expecting from exercise program?
2. Which of those outcomes is the most important to you?
3. Why is that so important to you?
The answers to any of those questions can and will vary considerably. Everyone starts or continues and fitness program for different reasons. The importance to find the why behind the what.
Is the answer to number one; more energy, less body fat or to be healthier? We can easily put those answers into three categories; how you feel, how you look and how your insides are functioning. Either way these are important to you.
Now we must pick one as our sole goal to focus on. This should be the driving force on your fitness journey, the thing you cannot live without. Once we have answered that we are on our way.
Lastly, we must instill the Power of the Why. Why is that goal important to you and why is it the most important to you? The answer will define your fitness experience and adherence. Is it because you’ve always wanted abs or because you felt better when you were 20 lbs lighter? At the end of the day we all do this for an emotional reason and to boost how we feel about us. Nothing more, nothing less. Fitness changes us for the better by supplying confidence and increased self esteem we may not have gotten from anywhere else. This is the Power of the Why!
Never forget your why and the reason you do this. On the days when you don’t feel well or you’re stressed from work. Remember your why. It is powerful beyond all comprehension.
PS: Write your most important goal down and the reason it’s so important on your mirror or car dash. When times get rough and you feel like quitting look at it and remember why you are here. Positive thoughts and energy creates positive outcomes.
Holidays present a nutritional nightmare for everyone, including yours truly. Cakes, egg nog, cookies, alcohol, etc. are served at every dinner party, work gathering and family get-together. You can’t ignore it, it’s the holidays and regardless of religious beliefs high sugar foods will be there. So to combat your holiday cravings, I compiled a list of strategies to help you throughout this holiday season. Here are my top 12 strategies to surviving the holidays and keeping your body in tact.
1. Know what types of foods will be where you are going and what you are going to choose to eat.
2. Don’t go to the table saying “you are going to eat healthy,” Don’t draw attention to it. The host will be mad if you are not sampling the food.
Fill the plate with veggies, fruits and lower fat fare. Start eating these foods first so you are not so hungry. Satiety.
3. Don’t say yes to every basket or cookie someone puts in front of you. Say no to Egg Nog!
4. Do not nibble throughout the day. All those bites add up.
5. If you are not cooking offer to bring a healthy alternative with you. Eat something healthy to fill you up sooner.
6. Have a healthy snack before the meal, that way you are not as hungry when you eat for real
7. Control stress. Stress makes everything worse.
8. Focus on weight maintenance vs. weight loss during the holidays. If you are currently overweight and want to lose weight, this is not the time to do it. Maintenance of your present weight is a big enough challenge during the holiday season. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making unrealistic goals for yourself.
9. Plan on NOT dieting after the New Year. Anticipation of food restriction sets you up for binge-type eating over the holidays (“after all, if I’m never going let myself eat this again after Jan. 1st, I might as well eat as much as possible now!”) Besides, restrictive diets don’t work in the long run. They increase your loss of lean body mass vs. fat, slow down your metabolism, increase anxiety, depression, food preoccupation, and binge eating, and make weight re-gain more likely.
10. Be physically active every day. Often, students’ busy holiday schedules (or lack of structured schedules) bump them off their exercise routines. Physical activity, especially aerobic activities (like brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, roller blading, and swimming) can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories from holiday eating.
11. Choose your beverages wisely. Alcohol is high in calories. Liquors, sweet wines and sweet mixed drinks contain 150-450 calories per glass. By contrast, water and diet sodas are calorie-free. If you choose to drink, select light wines and beers, and use non-alcoholic mixers such as water and diet soda. Limit your intake to 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per occasion. And, watch out for calories in soda, fruit punch, and egg nog as well.
12. Enjoy good friends and family. Although food can be a big part of the season, it doesn’t have to be the focus. Holidays are a time to reunite with good friends and family, to share laughter and cheer, to celebrate and to give thanks. Focus more on these other holiday pleasures, in addition to the tastes of holiday foods. The important thing to remember is balance and moderation. It’s OK to eat too much once in a while. Just relax, enjoy the holidays, and remember what the season is all about.
Maintain perspective: Overeating one day won’t make or break your eating plan. And it certainly won’t make you gain weight! It takes days and days of overeating to gain weight. If you over-indulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you. Return to your usual eating plan the next day without guilt or despair.
My health care rant, albeit a restrained rant with a reasonable solution offered. (It’s different from what you might think. Really.)
Something is just wrong when the level of customer service a person gets at a car dealership trumps –in fact dwarfs—the level of customer service that same person can expect when seeking medical services at a hospital.
I am not trying to debate health care policy or criticize ACA/Obamacare. I am trying to discuss something simple, relevant and useful that is really apolitical and patient-centric.
Recently I have spent time in the only place I approach with more trepidation than going to a hospital—car dealerships. And with the intention of buying a new car. All things being equal I would have preferred to check into a medical facility to have routine blood work done.
But here’s what I experienced to my surprise and despite my reservations about car dealerships. At the car dealerships I was treated with some the most extraordinary “customer service” I have ever encountered in any professional transaction in my life. The employees at the car dealership anticipated my ever question, concern and desire—or was at least tried to. And then respond to it. If I had to rank them for “customer service’ I’d give them a solid and well earned “A” grade.
By contrast, my experience recently with “customer service” at hospitals and related medical facilities has been just the opposite. Don’t get me wrong. The hospitals eventually got the job done, as they almost always too. And in their defense they are under extraordinary stress and are over-extended and customer service has been more of a luxury or afterthought in their business. But does it have to really be that way?
Oh sure, there are the incentive arguments about the hospitals’ customer really being insurance companies and so on and so on and the impact of various healthcare policies further distancing the patient vs healthcare provider relationship. But who said customer service can’t extend to the person being interacted with as well as the effective payor? No one I know of.
Besides, I have always thought of healthcare as different from other businesses and industries. There is a slightly different mission in the healthcare profession (or should be) than just making money. People’s health is at stake. A higher calling is assumed that would suggest customer service wouldn’t be limited in the same narrow, linear way that would be expected in, say, a transaction at a shoe store or fast food restaurant. In other words, more than just a direct interest in the immediate paying customer.
When we discuss, debate and argue over health care policy we always seem to focus on issues like access, choice, who pays, what will be covered, what policy, what system, how much research, what technology, and the like. As we should, I emphatically add! But can’t we also add excellent customer service to the long list of expectations we have from healthcare providers?
A client’s (or patient’s) personal needs, wants, concerns and fears may not be as urgent or as weighty as the issues that surround all other services being delivered in the healthcare industry. And many, I will concede, do an admirable job with customer service already. But I doubt that most hospitals do as effective a job at customer service as the local car dealership just down the road. Or the nearest family restaurant. And that is disappointing. And I would contend that closing the customer service gap in healthcare facilities and expecting customer service that is almost attentive and patient/customer-focused as when we get our oil changed isn’t an unreasonable request. It is not about politics or policy. It is just a simple request for better service. Please.
And whoever realizes this in the healthcare industry and acts on it first and forthrightly will likely dominate the industry in the coming years regardless of who the most direct payor is. It’s just good business for the bottom line, too.
And because in the end, it is–as it should be– about the patient, not the insurer. And it is that person not their payor who is the real and most important customer.
Lists are fun, everyone likes lists. On this snowy day, I give you my top 12 best fitness motivation movies of all time, a snippet of my forthcoming book, “The 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom” available in January. These are the types of movies that could motivate anyone to get off their butt and start moving. The most heart pounding, testosterone driven movies of all time. If motivation is your problem, watch one of these classics and two hours later you will be hitting the gym ready to take on the world.
The ultimate underdog story staring Sylvester Stallone, will for sure get you motivated to do a few push-ups.
The ultimate battle movie complete with every actor that has a six pack.
Read the rest of…
Josh Bowen: 12 Best Fitness Movies
Great piece in today’s Newsweek by Pema Levy. Here’s an excerpt.
When the rollout of President Obama’s health care law turned disastrous, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican leader in the Senate, might be excused for suspecting divine intervention. Fighting for his political life — and the Senate seat he has held for 28 years — against Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, currently Kentucky’s secretary of state, the embattled McConnell set to work using Obamacare to attack his opposition.
“Anything short of full repeal leaves us with this monstrosity,” McConnell said at a press conference in Kentucky last week. “The question you should be asking [Grimes] is, are you for or against getting rid of it?”
McConnell is one of many Republicans hoping to win in red states next year by campaigning against the troubled health care law. But it may not be the killer issue he hopes it is: In Kentucky, of all places, Obamacare is going remarkably well.
“Most people don’t sign up for something until the deadline,” said Jonathan Miller, a Democrat and former Kentucky state treasurer. “If that is true in Kentucky, then the positive success the program’s been having is only the tip of the iceberg.”
For the success of its affordable health care campaign, Kentuckians can thank second-term Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, whose ambitious plans have been thwarted by Republicans in the state legislature. With one in six Kentuckians uninsured, Beshear saw health care reform as the place he could make his mark. He bypassed the legislature to become the only southern state to expand Medicaid and implement a state-run insurance exchange. Then he set about making sure the law worked.
“He’s a lame duck and he’s term-limited,” said Republican Trey Grayson, a former Kentucky secretary of state. “This could be his legacy.”
Beshear, who tried unsuccessfully to unseat McConnell in 1996, may be helping Grimes as well as the uninsured. “Kentucky’s exchange has been a model of success for the nation,” said Rep. John Yarmuth, the lone Democrat in Kentucky’s congressional delegation. “As more Kentuckians receive coverage, opponents’ attacks of the law will ring hollow.”
“I think that ultimately this could really backfire on McConnell,” said Miller. “The fact that he’s using so much time and energy to tie her to [Obamacare] could ultimately be a waste of resources.”
McConnell’s situation mirrors a predicament that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney faced during his failed 2012 presidential bid, when the central message of his campaign — a flailing “Obama economy” — began to conflict with improving economic forecasts. As unemployment dropped in key swing states like Ohio and Florida, Republican state governors began to tout economic progress, undermining Romney’s argument that the president didn’t know how to fix the economy. Romney’s message was further eroded when unemployment fell below 8 percent – a symbolically important number – just one month before the election.
“It’s a little jarring when you see a governor talk about how great [Obamacare] is and a senator talking about how terrible it is,” Grayson said.
Still, Grayson, who campaigned against the Affordable Care Act during a 2010 Senate bid in Kentucky (he lost to Senator Rand Paul) believes McConnell is right to go after Obamacare now, presenting himself as a stalwart opponent to an unpopular law. Also facing a primary challenger from the right, McConnell seems to have little wiggle room on the issue. And since neither Obama nor Obamacare is popular in Kentucky – a state that backed Romney by 23 points over the president last year – strategists see McConnell’s attempt to tie Grimes to the two as the right tactic.
McConnell will try nationalize the race, tying Grimes to Obama and the reputation of the health care law nationally, Miller said. For Grimes to win, “this has to be about Kentucky versus D.C., and she can use Obamacare as a way to say, ‘Things are better in Kentucky than in D.C. and I want to take that Kentucky attitude to D.C., against the guy that is the ultimate symbol of what’s wrong with D.C.’ I think that’s where she has a very potent message.”
Click here for the full piece.
The Importance of Why
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Let’s think about the quote above. What is separating all of us from achievement? Is it us? Could it be that we are actually afraid of accomplishing what we set out to do?
Last week, I talked about the Power of the Why The Power of the Why and how to find it. Now lets discuss the importance if that why. As described previously, the why gives reason behind decisions and clarity behind things that are not yet understood. The importance of this is to initiate movement and action. Because in order to achieve any goal, you must have action. Your why will keep you motivated through the hard times, because there will always be hard times. Life is not perfect and neither are you. However, each and every one of us is powerful enough to accomplish anything we set out to do.
I have a lot of experience in training and motivating others, not just in fitness but in life. I have always had a sense that deep down people are not afraid of failure but rather afraid of achieving. When you achieve something people will expect you to do the same every time. This adds responsibility and adds the component of hard work. Now, don’t get me wrong I am not calling out people, talking about how lazy they are. Quite the contrary, I am saying that in our subconscious we have a deep fear that we CAN accomplish any and every thing that we set out to do.
So how do I perform reverse psychology on myself?
Here is the deal the first step to accomplishing anything is you have to believe it is possible. Here is an example; people once thought that running a mile in under 4 minutes was impossible. It wasn’t until 1954 that Roger Bannister broke the 4 minutes barrier, running a mile in 3 minutes and 59 seconds. 42 days later another man ran a mile in 3 minutes and 58 seconds. Fast forward to present day and the world record for the mile has lowered 17 seconds and now running a mile in under 4 minutes is the STANDARD by which all middle distance runners are judged.
Do you see what happened there? Once one person did it, everyone else knew it was possible. You think that you are the only person in the world sitting there at your computer, reading this article with 50, 60, 70, 100 pounds to lose. The reality of it is people are doing it every day and so can you! All you have to do is believe.
The last step (yes I only have 2 steps here, this is not a 12 step process!) you have to have an undying commitment to your goal. Whatever the goal is, it does not matter you have to love it, marry it and live it. It is you and it is a part of you. Do what ever it takes, throw caution to the wind and do it! I believe in you, you must believe in you. Do not be afraid of climbing your personal Mount Everest! GO DO IT!!!!
So to summarize my two steps;
1. You must believe 2. You must commit
“JB you said things will get hard, what do I do?” Great question! The power and importance of the why is going to be your security blanket, your insurance policy and your get out of jail free card. They will drive you to unbelievable heights, if you let them. If you fall off the wagon, remind yourself of why you here in the first place. The constant reminder is a positive way of looking at bleak situations that we will all be put in. As I tell my clients all the time, “Don’t think, just do.”
Some people take sleep for granted. Like something that just happens naturally without thinking about it and without effort.
That’s not the case for everyone and advice to us about fluffing up our pillow, no caffeine after 4pm, not eating late and no watching TV in bed, isn’t very helpful. For one thing, we never make it to bed in the first place to not watch TV or fluff up our pillow. But thanks anyway.
That kind of advice, to a true insomniac, is akin to trying to house train a dog by explaining to the dog there is a restroom right next to their pen and to just use it as needed. But remember to put the seat back down when finished.
It’s just not in the cards for us. Or the dog.
And so as you wake up “bright and early” and are ready to greet the day with enthusiasm and see a colleague who looks like he is moving underwater and would have trouble following a multi-sentence conversation with The Dude from The Big Lewbowski, just look at him and smile to yourself and remember that if your friend were a dog you wouldn’t get mad at him for not putting the toilet seat back down in the restroom.
In other words, no advice, please. Just cut us a little slack.
And try not to be overly-chipper.