“I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It won’t always get you to the top but it will get you pretty far.” Margret Thatcher
As a society we have grown into people who are looking for the quickest and most efficient way to live our lives. Cars, microwaves, computers, the internet were all invented to make our lives easier. Health and fitness is no different. Go to any magazine stand and look at Muscle and Fitness or Shape magazine and you will see pages after pages of advertisements for the latest muscle builder or fat loss supplement. I’ve always pondered what it would be like to survey 1000 people and ask them one question; If you could have the body of your dreams without working out or dieting by taking one pill per day. Would you do it? The only catch is it would knock off 10 years to your total life span. What do you think people would say? I have a gut feeling it would be an overwhelming amount of people that would take the pill, taking the easy road to success, cheating their bodies, their mind, their soul and their lifespan.
The problems these days are people are not willing to get their hands dirty and not patient enough to stick with anything long enough to make it count. We have been programmed to believe quicker, efficient is better. I disagree, efficient is not better, effective is and what trumps everything is quality and hard work. It’s not easy to go to the gym 5 days a week and work your butt off. It’s not easy to juggle kids, marriage, jobs and try to get healthier or have the body you have dreamed of.
It’s not easy and it never will be. My rant today is nothing short believing in you. Believing that the hard work you are putting in is worth it. Believing that anything and everything is possible with hard work, determination and preparation. As humans we were meant to struggle but we were also meant to persevere under any and all circumstances. You don’t need the easy way out, you don’t need the quick fix and your life will not be complete without the effort it took to get what you want.
We will not lose….ever. That’s my rant for today. Repeat after me; I WILL NOT LOSE. I’m out.
I started seeing a new dentist today.
We visited before my check-up and it turns out we know some of the same people and spent time in some of the same places when we were kids.
We seemed to hit it off and I think he felt like I was pretty solid guy.
And then he looked for the first time into my mouth. When he came up it was as if there was a sign in the… back of my throat that said “This guy makes lots of bad choices about what he eats and has been lying to dentists about flossing regularly for nearly five decades. You shouldn’t trust him –unless you want to end up like his right third molar. Once upon a time that molar trusted him and look at it now.”
I wanted to explain but didn’t want my new dentist to know I knew what he was thinking.
So instead I changed the subject to something more positive and forward looking: teeth bleaching and the best toothpaste brands for sensitive teeth. And, yes, I sucked up big time by asking his assistant (where he could hear) for a recommendation for the strongest dental floss available as I tried to create the impression that I had, in fact, always been a serious flossers who simply needed better guidance —and now I was finally getting it.
When I left we shook hands and I felt I had rehabilitated myself in his eyes—but only partially. He didn’t base his entire opinion of me on my lowly right third molar. He realized there was more to me than that one poorly cared for tooth and it was just one of 31 total teeth in my mouth (I had a wisdom tooth extracted last year due, in part, to negligent dental hygeine. But there were mitigating circumstances that are too complicated to rehash here). My other 30 teeth weren’t necessarily impressively maintained–a basis for trust and respect —but at least they were good enough to buy me a second chance to make a better first impression.
It’s too bad because I think had my new dentist at “Hello. I really needed to get my teeth cleaned today and am glad you could fit me in.” But then I had to go and open my mouth wider…and let him look inside. That was where things went all wrong –and I now wish I had been more reserved and selective about the teeth I showed him on our first meeting. But then again, I am quickly reminded, it is the dentist office and it is hard to show only the teeth I want him to see without coming off as a tease– or a complete and utter idiot.
It is just important to remember that for most people you meet for the first time, they view our eyes as the windows to our soul. But with dentists it is several inches down and only after you open wide. Our teeth, viewed in this way, are a kind of Rosetta Stone of who we really are as a person. Are we responsible? Do we have our priorities right? Do we plan ahead? Do we do daily maintenance work for the things that matter most in life? Can we be trusted with the health and welfare of 32 permanent adult teeth? And how do we manage decay and tooth desertion (or extraction) ? None of us can, if we are really honest with ourselves, answer every question “yes.” But we can try.
And let us not forget that no matter how good we pretend to be on the outside, a dentist peering into a new patient’s mouth is like a seasoned and street smart pastor who has seen it all staring into our flawed, and unflossed souls.
We hope when meeting a new person that they will see us as we want to be seen. But when that new person is a dentist that hope is short-lived. As soon as the dentist comes up from glancing into our mouths that first time, we can be sure– that at best –they will sadly see us as we really are.
Our family is comprised of my wife, Rebecca, our son, Johnny, our daughter, Maggie, and our two dogs, Macy and Winston.
But on Monday we had–not what I would call an actual addition to the family–but a temporary intruder that has introduced himself (or herself) into our extended family. After several hours of agonizing pain in my lower back a CAT scan confirmed I had given birth to a small calcium deposit more commonly known as a kidney stone.
The process of birthing a kidney stone is cruelly painful. It feels like a tiny army has invaded your body and is attacking your lower back with miniature jackhammers.
I have been told repeatedly that a kidney stone is the most painful condition a man can experience—”like childbirth.” OK then. I’ll treat that way. I’m going to give my calcium deposit (or kidney stone) a proper name while it is residing swimmingly in my bladder waiting to burst out into the universe.
Buster has a nice ring to it. And I think I’m calling it a he.
For real childbirth the gestation period lasts about 38 weeks –or 266 days, on average. But for a male to create and discharge a fully grown calcium deposit is much a much shorter gestation period—about 3 or 4 days. Tops.
A dog’s gestation period is 61 days. A cow’s 279 days. The only thing on the shorter end of the spectrum even close to a man’s incubation period for a calcium deposit is a fly. Flies have gestation periods of about 4 days. But it’s not really gestation because they lay eggs. But they get it all done in 4 days and the only thing close to what I’m doing now with my kidney stone. I looked it up on the internet.
So, back to Buster. Our newest family member, sort of. I’ll be giving birth to him shortly. I’m in Day Three of my gestation period. The doctor expects Buster to be birthed (or “passed”) tomorrow, provided I drink lots of water and take Flomax. The male/kidney stone equivalent of Lamaze.
How did I find out I was “with stone?”
It all started late Monday afternoon. Day One was just awful. I didn’t think I had done anything deserving punishment….but the nurse–trained to read the body language of patients– knew immediately something was wrong with me when she walked into my hospital room and I was screaming at the top of my lungs “Oh God. Ohhhhh God!!! Oh God! OH GOD!!! Please help! OH GOD!” She asked me to point to the pain and I pointed to my lower right back.
My wife was shushing me and I waved my finger angrily at her and said, “No! No! Don’t shush me! Screaming it the only thing that helps distract me from the pain!”
Admittedly, it was not my finest moment as a husband. Or hospital patient. And I later apologized to both Rebecca and the hospital staff.
As wimpy as I felt for making all that noise, I was grateful the nurse knew exactly what to do. She administered a pain medication that sedated me and then took me in for a CAT scan. A CAT scan sounds like it could be fun. Something with a small furry house pet like our dogs, Macy and Winston. But it’s not. At all. It’s really boring. They put you on an oscillating bed and slide you back and forth through this giant contraption that takes pictures of your insides. That’s it. There are no cats anywhere. I guess the main take away about my reflections on the CAT scan is that the pain medication was working well.
About 30 minutes later a doctor came into my room and told me that I was about to be a proud father of a small calcium deposit. (Those weren’t his exact words, but you get the idea.)
I asked how big was my creation. The doctor said 2mm. “Smaller than average” and it should drop into the bladder soon “because it’s so small.”
I felt slightly self-conscious and think the doctor was embarrassed for me not being able to create a bigger kidney stone.
Feeling relief from the pain medication I felt more like myself and asked the nurse if she’d seen any other men with kidney stones this week. She said she had several kidney stone patients recently. After a pause, I asked, “How big was my kidney stone compared to the others?” I blushed while awaiting my answer and explained, “It’s a guy thing.” The nurse said, my stone was “big enough to cause a lot of pain” but wouldn’t offer a comparative opinion. I took it that my kidney stone fell on the small side. Maybe the smallest. The “runt” of all the stones seen recently in this hospital.
I was discharged with medicine, directions to drink lots of water and given a paper sifter to capture Buster when he was ready to meet the world. I returned Tuesday with no stone. The doctor wasn’t surprised and said it sometimes takes “several days to pass.” That’s all well and fine but I could tell he felt like I wasn’t trying hard enough and should really try to put my heart into it more. I was a little depressed—disappointed in myself, I guess, for not delivering.
Then again I am 50 years old. Birthing a calcium deposit at my age isn’t as easy as it sounds.
I am proud but hope this doesn’t affect my diet. Because in a way I am eating for two now.
As the nurse checked me out for the last time, she said to me routinely “I hope you feel better.” I said, I “didn’t feel that.” And added, “I don’t think your heart was in it.” She laughed and tried again and I said, “Better…but ….no…not really.” The third time was a charm and I left with us both laughing….kind of cool way to end an awful experience.
And soon–maybe tonight—Buster will pass. Pass into this universe –ever so briefly—and then get flushed into oblivion. OK. I know. Buster is just a calcium deposit. But he is my calcium deposit. And as painful and miserable as a kidney stone is to experience, it is possible—if you try really hard like I am doing now—to find something positive in even the most miserable experiences. A silver lining, if you will—that is un-phased by the jagged edges of my little runt of a kidney stone that is about to be introduced, albeit briefly, to this amazing but sometimes very painful world.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
It is said that 80 percent of communication is non-verbal. It is also common knowledge that there is a psychological effect to touching. In fact there are several scientific research articles stating that when a person is touched by a person they trust, it elevates oxytocin levels and decreases the stress related hormones. Touching has also been shown to develop relationships between two people.
It is the first language we learn,” said Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life” (Norton, 2009), and remains, he said, “our richest means of emotional expression” throughout life. One form of touching that is always acceptable and has the power to show appreciation, respect, care and develop the trainer/client relationship we are all after; the high five.
The high five, the same form of non-verbal communication professional athletes exude. The same expression we learn through pee-wee football and little league baseball to show praise for a good job. The high five is the ultimate trainer’s tool for relationship development and appreciation for a client.
Right, wrong or indifferent I touch my clients. I give them high fives to show they have done a good job; I give them a hug when I feel they need it and I tap them gently on the muscle being worked. The power of the high five allows me to do the following:
Develop a great relationship
When I give a high five to a client I show them respect and gratitude for the work they are doing. Sometimes that message is difficult to convey through words. For my super competitive clients this takes them back to athlete days and puts them in an environment they are use too. For everyone it shows appreciation for their work, something sometimes their out-of-the-gym life doesn’t supply. After a great set of bicep curls, supply a simple high hive to show you are paying attention.
Conveys to potential clients my relationship with my clients
In a gym setting, during a 60 minute session on average 14 people will watch at least 20% of the session. This is marketing at its highest! I want to produce the vibe that I care about my clients, especially for potential clients watching me. Post workout, end the session with a powerful high hive, someone on the treadmill above will notice.
The word fun is often not associated with exercise. People view working out as a chore or that it hurts. Add a few high fives and a smile and now it becomes a little more tolerable. Honestly, after a few sessions, people realize how fun this really can be! Not everyone is an athlete or will think exercise is fun, provide a high five during the session changes the feelings towards exercise.
Help carry the load
Performing a high five to a client, physiologically, signifies I am offering to “carry” their load. “We think that humans build relationships precisely for this reason, to distribute problem solving across brains,” said James A. Coan, a psychologist at the University of Virginia. “We are wired to literally share the processing load, and this is the signal we’re getting when we receive support through touch.” Before a session, especially for my clients who come after work, provide that high five to show you understand their day and you are here to help “carry their load.”
The power of the high five is over reaching. It takes little effort but supplies dramatic reward. Personal training is all about relationships and how those relationships develop, no better way than to communicate through providing your client a simple high five.
Josh “JB” Bowen is an industry veteran, holding many positions within the industry and is currently a personal trainer in Lexington, KY and Quality Control Director for Compel Fitness. He was a global 2013 top ten finalist in Life Fitness’ Personal Trainer to Watch, and author of the 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.
Helpful tips for curing insomnia
Usually, if you are an insomniac, and will start practicing good sleep hygiene, and turn off the TV around 10pm, always have clean sheets and fluffy pillows, take a warm bath before bedtime and don’t eat heavy meals, sweet snacks or drink caffeinated beverages in the evening, turn out all the lights and don’t have any background noise to distract you, and one-by-one relax every muscle in your body as you visualize yourself resting peacefully, you will eventually doze off after 6 or 7 hours.
Late night thoughts….
Just because you’re an insomniac doesn’t mean you can’t also be a vampire.
I think….when I was born…I wasn’t wound up properly….and have been about 6 hours off the rest of the world ever since….
The difference in an insomniac and non-insomniac when they look at the clock and see it is 5:04am?
The non-insomniac feels they can get a 3 hour jump on the rest of the world.
The insomniac realizes he has 3 more hours to get any sleep at all before he has to get up and start the day with at least 6 fewer hours of sleep than everyone else in the world.
The Secret Productivity of Insomniacs.
We insomniacs don’t use our extra waking hours in the wee morning hours to better solve life’s problems.
But merely to come up with bad ideas that won’t work for solving life’s problems that we can dismiss.
When starting or continuing a fitness program, it is vital to know the “insider information” from the pros. The following is a satire, a joke and a ruse designed to make you laugh and or cry while evaluating your fitness knowledge. Be mindful that some of us believe in these principles. Proceed with caution.
1. The proper amount of protein intake each day
All of them…duh.
2. Monday is International Chest-Day
Nothing is scheduled…nothing.
3. Posting your workout on Facebook.
You didn’t know? It scientifically proven.
4. Leg days are not to be skipped.
Its a must. And…
5. If you do squat, you must squat low
Not like this…
Commentary is worth it.
More like this…
6. Toning and muscle are the same thing.
7. This is what happens when you take too much pre-workout
8. Priorities, Priorities, Priorities
Get your behind to the gym!
9. You can’t out train a bad diet
10. This is not good gym behavior
Entering week 7 of my diet/fitness plan.
Holding steady at loss of 13 lbs. Actually 12.6 lbs. But we round up here in KY.
Workout I would describe as like “Across Fit” –something you might find opposite a “Cross Fit” workout. But it is happening.
Finally, still no steroids or other PEDs. Although I am taking one Garcinia Cambogia tablet each day. But still don’t know how to pronounce it.
Diet tip for calorie counting.
Just knowing how many calories are in a serving of food is helpful but not enough to cause us to make the best dietary decisions.
I have found that multiplying the calories by a factor of 5 for foods I want to eat, and dividing calories by a factor of 5 in healthy foods I don’t want to eat, makes it more likely I will make better choices than just knowing the actual calories.
For example, a single pecan braid from Panera Bread has, according to my system, 2,350 calories (instead of 470)
And a serving of has just 6.2 calories (instead of 31)
So, do I eat the food choice with 2350 calories or 6.2 calories?
See how that works? Now it isn’t so obvious that the pecan braid is the better choice–and could really go either way.
How to eat your way to good health –without changing what you eat.
Just leaving Japanese restaurant and have decided the Japanese, as a population, are thinner and healthier than Americans NOT because of their diet (fish, rice, etc) but rather because they have to try to eat with chopsticks instead of a fork, spoon and knife.
If I had to eat with chopsticks my whole life, I’d be at least 50 pounds lighter. You just plain old give up before you are halfway through any meal.
Chopsticks, not diet, is the key!!
An ad I would like to see…
“Want to get in shape?
It’s really not all about the shoes.”
Into week 5 of diet/fitness regime and down 13 lbs and 2″ in waist.
Without even holding in my stomach.
So what do you do when you are on a diet (and really committed to it) and are craving your favorite sandwich at Steak & Shake, a Frisco Melt, just as you are approaching a Steak & Shake restaurant?
And look up the calorie count and find out it has 1173 calories?
You suck it up. Feel the pain. And keep on driving.
And realize a piece of you just died.
It had become apparent to me. It didn’t take long at all. More often than not, clients came to me to lose body fat. Seems simple, correct? Not so fast. I could suggest everyone eat organic grilled chicken, raw green vegetables and do loads of cardio but that would be futile and a waste of time. So to help my clients and help loads of other revolutioners I compiled a list of 10 Ways to Lose Body Fat. Here we go:
1. Reduce Sugar
I refer to my two favorite books on this topic; “Sugar Shock” and “7 Principles of Fat Burning” when suggesting and advising clients on reducing their sugar intake. In order to lose body fat we have to turn our “fat burning” hormones on and the “fat storing” hormones off. Reducing the amount of processed sugar reduces the peaks and valleys of insulin secretion. This increases the effect of growth hormone, which decreases body fat. Choosing food with more fiber or nutrient dense foods like vegetables, help keep insulin levels low and fat burning hormones high. Also, you can refer back to a previous blog where I explore sugar and its detrimental effects on the human body http://wp.me/p2T52x-61
2. Consume Healthy Fats
Fat!!! Won’t fat make me fat? As I explain in this blog post here, essential fats do not contribute to increasing body fat. On the contrary the help the body reduce the amount of body we have. Other properties such as; decreasing inflammation and improving the cardiovascular system are all benefits of consuming healthy fats.
3. Reduce Wheat, Soy and Dairy
In my new book, The 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom, I discuss the facts about wheat, soy and dairy. In most cases, these three will trigger an inflammatory response in the tissue causing the body to hold onto body fat. Soy and dairy, specifically, have been found to increase estrogen in both men and women (refer back to the 7 Principles of Fat Burning for more information). Here is a great article discussing milk and why we shouldn’t drink it.
4. Drink a Minimum of 64oz of Water
Water has zero calories and is a necessity to life. Drink it.
5. Manage Stress
Stress kills. Stress also adds body fat. The higher one’s stress, the higher your stress hormone, cortisol is. The more cortisol, the more body fat. Try massage, working out, relaxation techniques or change you attitude or situation. Either way, reduce the amount of stress on yourself to a tolerable level.
6. Increase Green Leafy Greens
Vegetables are essential in the fat burning process. They typically are low in calories and high in nutrients. Nutrients that pack a punch for burning body fat. Broccoli, kale, spinach and asparagus are all great sources of vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive and reduce unwanted body fat.
7. Eat Complete Proteins at Every Meal
Protein helps repair and ultimately build muscle. Muscle boosts your metabolism. Eating protein helps burn body fat. The concept of complete vs. incomplete protein is some foods have a complete amino acid (building blocks of muscle) and others don’t. Beef, chicken, turkey, fish and eggs are all considered complete. Grains, nuts, seeds, beans are all considered incomplete proteins.
8. Lift Heavy Things
Resistance training boost the metabolism in the short term by increasing fat burning hormones testosterone and growth hormone and in the long term by increasing muscle, devouring unwanted body fat. Lift heavy things.
9. Fresh Lemon in Warm Water
Because lemon is an alkaline food, drinking it with warm water can help with the body’s pH levels. Also, it can help aid in digestion and waste reduction, allowing the body to rid itself of food that has not been deposited into the colon. This also helps with the skin to create a radiant glow.
10. Love the Body You Have While Working for the Body You Want
As difficult as it is, we must accept what is. Unfortunately, none of our bodies will change over night. There is a period of waiting. However, while we wait we must learn to love ourselves for who we are and not who we are not. Love yourself and your body, while you are working towards the one you want.
Find yourself in a hole? Then keep digging. Or flossing.
That is often my philosophy and never serves me well…but I keep doing it anyway.
Today I was trying to floss after lunch with a new dental floss, Oral-B. I didn’t floss for the last 35 years even though I would tell my dentist I was flossing “some” every time he would ask “Have you been flossing, John?” —but now I am flossing.
But this new Oral-B floss broke off between two of my teeth–and part of the floss actually got stuck between my two teeth. And then kept breaking every time I tried to “floss out the floss” that was now stuck between my teeth.
My first brilliant idea was to double-over the floss to fortify it. That seemed like it might work but after much careful and strenuous effort, the “doubled-over” floss broke, too, leaving yet a larger piece of dental floss now stuck between the same two teeth.
But I hadn’t finished digging yet.
Before I took up flossing with real dental floss, I found packets of sugar (or packets of a sugar substitute) worked well as a flossing mechanism. So I picked up a packet of Splenda nearby to try to wedge out the two pieces of dental floss now stuck between my teeth.
And now have two pieces of dental floss and a corner of a packet of Splenda stuck between my teeth.
I think I will fish out the piece of a Splenda packet and leave the floss for when I go to the dentist next time –and just wait patiently for him to ask me the inevitable “Have you been flossing, John?”
I’ll be ready! And won’t have to say a word.