So long, So long

So this is it:

The big one; the finale; the last hurrah. I am zipping up and sealing this blog tightly away from the eye of the public.

This limited, but very informative project allowed me to explore new ways by which to share with others some of things in life that I love so much. And without a medium such as a blog, I would’ve never discovered that. So I’m very thankful.

I came into this project with a skeptical attitude. And while I still agree that blogging may not be for me, I definitely do have a new found appreciation for this genre of of writing. It’s one of the only ways a writer, or any person for that matter, can viably create a unique online identity in the labyrinth of information that the internet is.

Thank you for joining me as readers in my explorations of fitness, sarcastic attitudes, terribly timed dad jokes, and other various antics. You helped me, however indirectly, write towards a receptive, fun, and nonjudgmental audience; one that was more interested in my musings that I could ever expect or ask for.

So, once again, let me say thank you to everyone who read along. I hope you not only enjoyed it, but honestly got something from it that you will pass on to and help another with.

Keep it real and live long and prosper or something.

A

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I’m the Iron Chef of Following Directions

I’m not going to lie:

Cooking is nowhere near my forte.

Thankfully, there’s this amazing place on TV called the Food Network, where people you trust based of their uncanny resemblance to your Aunt Betty, teach you how to cook in a very hard to mess up, Barney-style, manner. It’s great for people like me, who’s signature culinary dishes include, “Grease Fire Starting Pasta” and ” ‘Is there any peanut butter on this?’ Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.”

But, on 2% more serious note, I realize that diet isn’t something I’ve largely talked about, yet is of chief importance in both MY personal life and for anyone’s health. It also does worlds in supporting fitness goals. Diet is easily 70% of getting your body to whatever healthy standard you see as idea.

This is what a usual day looks like from the perspective of my stomach:

Breakfast: 4 eggs scrambled with diced up green peppers, onions, turkey bacon, and two or three whole-wheat pancakes. Sometimes, I get crazy and attempt to make an omelet, which usually results in my roommates banning me from the kitchen.

Lunch: Brown rice and chicken with diced (it’s the only real cutting technique I’ve perfected) tomatoes and kale. A side of blueberries is my little desert.

Dinner: Seasoned quinoa with cut up cucumbers and sliced apples (I know that sounds weird– I love it), and two huge pieces of baked fish.

Now, I’m pretty serious when I say I’m no good at cooking on my own. However, thanks to the internet, and assuming you can boil water (I still sometimes struggle with this!) you can literally just pick your favorite engine, search “healthy recipes”, and choose really any website to get a lot of good ideas.

Yeah, I know you already knew this all existed… but the challenge is will you actually do it and try to cook yourself a good dinner?

The best part is that there are directions. I’m not the person who can take 16 random-ass ingredients and turn out an Emeril-inspired (is he even still the “reigning king” of cooking and stuff? What ever happened to that guy?) masterpiece. Hell, if you ask me to make french toast off the cuff, you’re probably going to end up with something that looks like this:

But ultimately, I urge everyone to try cooking for themselves, and more healthily at that. It saves you a ton of money, and there is a great sense of accomplishment of being able to provide a meal for yourself.

And you feel like a total badass when you’re slinging spices in the kitchen. Just saying.

 

Nobody Makes Me Bleed My Own Blood. Nobody.

While the title isn’t DIRECTLY relevant, and honestly probably a stretch at best, I’m going to give myself credit for being on topic. I injured my shoulder pretty badly a few days ago, and because of that, wasn’t able to exercise really at this week.

It happened the other day when I was using Maximus (the fictional name I just gave to my sledgehammer) during a workout routine that I’ve mentioned here before. I guess too much pressure was put on some muscle group and I felt a pretty intense pain.

This morning, I can still barely lift my arm above my head.

This sparks two interesting ideas in my head: For one, how useless it would be to go to a doctor when I have things as amazing as the internet to teach me how to tend to my injury. And, two, while I didn’t struggle with taking a few days off and breaking my routine, I was quite surprised at how used to having a guaranteed stress relief I was.

Things at work and in other areas of my personal life kind of piled up quickly over the course of the week, and because I had gotten so used to exercising to let that steam off, I really didn’t know any other way to do so. I tried reading, walking, sleeping, taking a longer shower, etc. Even running jogged (see what I did there?) my shoulder too much.

So, even though I know I’m injured and it’s important to rest, yada yada yada, I’m still kind of pissed that I can’t exercise. So, in true blogging fashion, I came here to talk about it.

And if you didn’t catch the title reference, I’d highly suggest you enlighten yourself.

 

 

My Spirit Animal is Donkey Kong

So, my buddy Mike and I decided to do something really stupid the other day.

A few weeks ago, Mike ordered about 10 of these for his rugby team, but only just recently took them out of the box, and decided that he needed a workout partner with an equal motivation to ruin their own day:

This guy.

These masks basically just restrict oxygen flow to your body so that you adapt to needing less oxygen to perform increasingly difficult tasks. This is incredibly useful for people interested in heavily cardio-based strength programs (like I am), martial arts (like I am), or running marathons (like I am).

Because I’m so chronically dumb in this regard, when Mike suggested a workout where we put these masks on–which again, essentially, lightly asphyxiate you–and push barrels full of water up the hill in his backyard, repeatedly, until we were worn out, naturally I was game. I seriously think Mike and I’s time in the USMC seriously skewed our perception of fun.

Either way, after a light cardio warm-up to adjust to the oxygen levels that the mask regulates, we started on the actual exercise: pushing barrels up a hill, and then resisting against them to slowly let them roll back down.

That was by far the best cardio workout I’ve ever gotten. My chest was pounding, I felt slightly, but “controlably”, lightheaded, and my whole body was on fire.. Hell, that may be one of the best strength workouts I’ve ever gotten as well.

Unfortunately, Mike had promised these masks to his team mates. Which is good, because they recently came out with a new version of this mask that I’ve already placed an order for. I don’t know why agreed to join him for this in the first place. Maybe I’m slightly brain dead. However, I’m happy I did. It reinforces what I believe is a key principle of fitness, as well as a pillar on which my life philosophy rests:

“Challenge yourself in unconventionally difficult ways, and you will see unconventionally excellent levels of self-improvement.”

 

 

 

Working With A Workout Schedule While at Work

I feel like I just did a Sesame Street style letter of the day thing with the title.

More often than I’d like, I’m in the office from 8 AM to 7 or 8 PM.

Along with other things, (but I’ll keep it on topic due to the nature of the blog!) this can often put quite a damper on my gym schedule. So, after a couple days of kicking around the idea, I bought a pull-up bar for the door in my office.

Per my earlier blog post about physical exercise increasing productivity, I decided to try and add in a little bit of physical activity to my workday. I honestly figured I’d just be too constantly busy to take even 30 seconds for a set of pull-ups. However, and much to my happy surprise, I was wrong. And even better, it really helped me.

Frequently, I’ll get caught up writing these unnecessarily lengthy e-mails to clients with updates on all of their outstanding projects. Even though the information I need to write this e-mails may LITERALLY be in spreadsheet form on a monitor directly adjacent to the one I’m writing on, sometimes I just need to stretch my neck, take a breath, a pause for a second to regain some focus.

And I’ve found a secret weapon.

Doing a set of pull-ups when I come to those “I’ve been looking at a screen for 7 hours now, but I just don’t have time for lunch yet” moments not only increases my ability to jump back in, but also allows me to work in longer bursts where I don’t feel the need to take those breaks.

All around, a win-win!

I’d be interested to see what other people do when they hit those walls during the day. Do you stand up and walk around? Stretch a bit? Take the bottle of bourbon you’ve been saving for just this type of moment out of your desk and maybe have a glass?

I’m not saying Hemingway drank and wrote. I’m just saying…

Better Than Sleep, Darkness, and Hydration.

Thankfully, rarely do I suffer from issues of morning motivation. Sometimes–and I know it’s strange–I can’t wait to go to sleep at night just so that I can get up in the morning and run. Plus, I’m way too much of a Type-A personality to enjoy the unproductive nature of sleep.

However, on Friday morning of this past week, getting up at 0600 was a different story.

You see, Theo,  my best friend (His name is not Theo. I am, in fact, pretending to be Bill Cosby. In further fact, you should read the rest of this paragraph in his voice just for the hell of it) of over 20 years had a birthday the night before. And because I read on the internet one time that the human body can recover from almost anything that happens to it before the age of 30–a fictitious line that I may have even further adjusted to fit my own rationalization of the night’s agenda–I’d say that the average BAC of the 12ish person group was much higher than I’d like to admit.

So around 0130 on Friday morning, as I was fading quickly into the blackening abyss of immobility and imbalance, I realized my “I don’t miss runs” policy was about to be broken. I needed insurance that my morning alarm clock would wake me up. Not only to run, but so that I could hungoveredley make it to the office. I’m sticking with that word. I called my occasional running buddy Ryan and, whilst slobbering, explained to him my situation. The last thing I remember that night was hearing his guarantee of a wake up shake in the morning.

* * *

Seconds later, I was being shouted at by some asshole in running shorts. As my brain both quickly tried to reconstruct the evening in my head, and simultaneously throb out of my skull, I knew what I had to do: Run. So I chugged about two thousand gallons of water and started out the door with Ryan. And you know what? A run is one of the best hangover cures you’ll ever take. Within ten minutes, I was honestly feeling great.

The lesson here, Rudy, is that whether you’re hungover or just feeling down in any way, shape, or form, getting your blood flowing with a bit of exercise may be way better than an apple in term of keeping the doctor away. Even though my run was only three miles, I’d take a shorter run over what felt like the dull side of a butter knife slowly pushing down through the center of my cranium, any day of the week.

A New Challenger Has Appeared

First off, props if you caught the Street Fighter reference in the title.

Often I find myself looking for the next big challenge in physical fitness. To me, ideally, that means a fitness routine that is constantly evolving and shifting to create the utmost physical resistance for me at every turn. But that goes against the idea of exactly what a routine is, doesn’t it? A routine is something you repeat, and not quite the essence of change.

And I really don’t like the mental tax that the word “routine” takes. It sounds way too final, bland, and permanent. And maybe it’s just my borderline fear of commitment speaking, but I don’t like anything that feels like it’s going to tie me down. Which brings me to the point of this post:

You should sign up for a martial arts class.

I don’t mean some course that they charge you $300 to sign up for, make you buy $800 in gear, and treat you with an “everyone is a winner” mentality. I mean a full-on contact martial art, like Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Muay Thai; something that offers you the ultimate challenge in fitness:

Going toe to toe with another human

Sure, at first scan, that sentence might sound slightly sociopathic. And maybe it is to an extent. But I absolutely guarantee that you will never experience a more physically demanding training and exercise regiment than one you experience in a martial arts class. Nothing else requires you to pour 100% of your mind, body, and will into something as much as a sport that is literally testing every part of you against the same of another.

I know that when I started a few years ago, I quickly got hooked. And it’s not only a skill of self-defense and a way to put you in the best shape of your life. It’s also a new method by which you can teach yourself a new standard to hold yourself to. That sentence was weird. By constantly measuring yourself against the prowess of others, you naturally feel the underlying desire to better yourself in any area that will increase your chances on the mat.

So that’s my little bit for the week. I hope this inspires you to get out and work up the courage to learn how to kick someone’s ass in a controlled, mostly safe environment.