For new readers

To get an idea of what I'm trying to do and why I think it's possible, check out the following entries, they'll help get you up to speed.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Been a while, guv'nor (a story about old acquaintances)

Yesterday, i had a long overdue visit from an old acquaintance, the guv'nor.  We'd been out of touch for quite a while for some time so when we ran into each other at the Y i was a bit surprised he showed up.  Normally he only comes when invited (i used to invite him pretty regularly) but lately i'd been coming up with lots of reasons why i preferred to workout without his company.  Maybe it was just a coincidence. Maybe he'd just missed me.  Or maybe he'd misconstrued our last conversation when i told him about how busy i was and how i needed some time and would call him when i was ready and able to get together.

Well, anyway, there he was.  I didn't really even see him until it was too late to duck out or turn and go the other way. I was on the bike - 2 minutes into my 8 minute workout.  I must have been distracted because i'd inadvertently bumped the level up one notch from last week's effort without realizing it.  My head was down and eyes closed and when i looked up and realized my mistake he had appeared out of no where and was looking right at me.

"Hello" he said. "Got time for a chat?"

It was a rhetorical question and we both knew it.  

So we chatted for the first time in nearly a month, since my big effort at end-trails.  We negotiated and bartered and he tried to convince me that i needed to listen to him as he always does.  But i didn't listen - i focused on the fact that i had only minutes left and i'd already done the hard part, now i just had to hang on.  I let him drone on - glad to hear his voice but even more glad i could hear my own again.

Needless to say since my workouts are so short these days the conversation was over quickly.  And so I said my 'good day' and 'thanks for coming - hope to see you again soon.'  Then I got off the bike and headed to grab my coat and get on with my day.

"Wait for me" came a voice from behind. 

I turned to see the guv'nor's henchman, Agony, standing there.  I'd almost forgotten guv'nor never traveled alone. 

"Come on" i said, motioning to him as i detoured towards the basketball courts for a couple of laps, quads seized with pain reminiscent of the hot aches. "Lets get to know each other again - i think we'll be spending a lot of time together from now on..."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Every once in a while, I'll admit, I click on one of those insanely buff dudes in the sidebar of my Facebook page. You know, the ones where the tag line reads something like 'new secret reveals ancient wisdom's super easy way to get absolutely shredded while sleeping!'

My latest click actually involved something called "muscle rev x" and took me to the fascinating land of  Men's Health advertorials where the sales pitch ensued: lots of awesome before and after pictures [check out this link for the secret behind these magic tricks], sweeping references to "clinically proven" and "scientific research" and an ocean of comments from the fascinating land of "Bro-Merica" (no seriously!  check it out... um, Bro?).  This particular link was selling supplements though many links are portals for training programs that make similar claims - 'get ripped in 6 minutes a day while drinking beer!'

My morning's visit to these distant shores got me wondering why i'm not seeing more insanely ripped people out there these days given the quantity of these opportunities that seem to exist and the fact that all of us spend at least 3 hours a day on Facebook (right Bro?).

And while the answer might be clearly apparent to most, here is my version.  These program/supplements aren't creating an army of Gerard Butlers because of the difference between the theoretical truth and pragmatic truth.  You see, all of these opportunities are really selling theoretical truths.  It is possible to do regular six minute super high intensity workouts, integrate them with a shot glass full of beer, eat really healthy, and see awesome results.  It is possible to take virtually any supplement as part of a solid exercise program and diet and radically change the way you look.

Pragmatically though, things are much more difficult.  YOU (or whoever is wanting to get ripped, fit, or lose weight) don't actually change in any significant way when you key in your credit card number to an online order form.  The habits, desires, time management, etc that got you where you are will not yield to gentle pressure.  There are no easy solutions.  If you are out of shape or unhealthy it has taken a long time to get you that way - a long time spent making decisions that negatively impacted you health and fitness.  Even when claims of supplements, for example, are true - they only (at best) accentuate any benefits (i.e cause slightly faster weight loss) provided by a meaningful switch to making healthier choices.

The bottom line is that if YOU don't change - and stick with that change - then no amount of money will get you where you want to be.  This is true regardless of what the tagline next to the buff dude tells you.  The good news is that if you do really change, then you probably don't need the supplements anyway, and it won't really matter so much which particular training program you end up following.

The reason we're not all super athletes with fit and healthy bodies is that significant change, the kind required for results - is very hard.  So next time you see those ads Bro, remember that you're being sold the theoretical truth and it is the pragmatic one that matters -

It's (never) EASY! It (all) WORKS!

PS - did i get all the "Bros" right?