Breakfast today - 4 eggs fried in olive oil + berry smoothie (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, banana + 2% milk); also had some of my wife’s delectable left-over beef stew. Spent 10 minutes explaining to (lecturing, shall I said) my daughter that she needs to read more. Watched Downton Abbey - an awesome new show, by the way - while I made breakfast for my wife and daughter. Planning 3pm meet-up with Bart at the gym for a work out.
Had an exhausting work-out this afternoon - 3 miles of running at 6:40 min pace, then 2 more miles at 7:30 min pace. Then did weights - pyramid sets of bench-press, 135 x 2 sets, then 185 x 2 sets, then 225 x 2 sets, then back down 185x1 set, 135x1 set. Seated rows, 90x2 sets, 140x2 sets, 90x2 sets. Seated leg press, 180x4 sets. Squats, 180x2 sets. Standing curls, 35x2 sets, end with 20 push-ups. Looking forward to my workout tomorrow with my friend Bart.
Read a short review last night in The Economist about a new book by Louise Foxcroft called Calories & Corsets: A History of Dieting Over 2000 Years. They rattled off some startling statistics about dieting: first, that in a recent study of 31 long-term diet plans, two-third of participants ended up heavier than before they started. Also, they reiterated what many of the folks I’ve interviewed for my blog contend: that weight-loss pills and surgery are ineffective, and can be dangerous. At the same time, the “girth-management” business earns $40 billion per year in the US alone! One of the quotes from her book: “The diet industry is all about exploitation and profit.” Sounds very interesting & timely, given all of the discussion about wellness in the media.
With fitness and life, it’s always important to keep things fresh. Yesterday, I tried a new exercise that I saw in the Nov 2011 issue of Men’s Health: the Bosu medicine-ball twist. Before yesterday, I had no idea what a Bosu ball was. It’s essentially half of a swiss exercise ball with a small circular platform attached. Essentially, the exercise involves mounting the ball (which is easier said than done) with a 10 or 15 pound weight, standing flat on the ball with a slight bend in the knees & hips, and rotating the upper body as far to the left and right as possible. Throughout the exercise, it’s important to keep one’s hips forward and use only the core. I did about 10 reps on either side. What was amazing is how much energy, core especially, it takes to simply balance on the Bosu.
Aside from my daily 3-mile run, I tried a new exercise today that I saw in Men’s Health - an exercise that was proposed in response to a reader question, “Is there one exercise that will blast my whole body?” It’s called the “death crawl,” and it involves (1) push-up position w/15 lb. weights; (2) push-up w/2 second hold at the bottom & then push yourself back up; (3) dumb-bell rows on each side; (4) walking the dumb bells forward in little steps (remaining in push-up position); (5) moving your feet forward keeping core tense; (6) stand up and three dumb-bell squats. Did that 5x and that was plenty.
It bothers me to my core to see the way people treat their bodies these days. While thousands of years of evolution have given us special physical abilities to move, run, climb, push, lift - most people don’t exercise. Most don’t take advantage of these amazing gifts. Most people see exercise as a cumbersome nuisance.
People today eat food that’s processed to the point where it could be classified as poison. Sugar is sweet to taste but is the main reason why there is more and more type-2 diabetes. Or people - young people especially - don’t eat, thinking that they will magically become more attractive or to somehow punish themselves.
This time of year, I am particular pensive. The question that I am going to be focused on this year is: why are we so self-destructive, especially to our own bodies, when we know better? Or, looked at another way: how do we learn to love ourselves again? And by ourselves, I mean: how do we learn to love our bodies again?
Love of anything involves commitment and discipline. Love should never be taken for granted. Just as a person who is disabled or sick longs for ability or health, love is something that we often miss only when it’s not there. What needs to change about the way we live, the way we see ourselves, and the way that we behave to engage with our outward physical presence in the world? Just starting a conversation here…
“ The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.