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.
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…
These past two times I’ve gone running this week, I seem to have a lot more energy than usual - it could be the fact that I’ve returned to the paleo diet & am increasing the protein and decreasing the carbs. On my Tuesday run, I kept a steady pace of 8.5-9.5 mph for 4 miles & then this evening, kept a pace between 8.5-10.5 mph for 4.5 miles, including boosting it up to 12 mph for a sprint at the end. Yesterday was a day off - not that I wanted it, but we literally worked from 8am-10pm so exercise was not a possibility. I did my entire workout this evening in sweats & winter hat. That entire outfit is now in the washing machine. Drank a liter of water as well. Now it’s time to cook some halibut.
“ Exercise is really important to me - it’s therapeutic. So if I’m ever feeling tense or stressed or like I’m about to have a meltdown, I’ll put on my iPod and head to the gym or out on a bike ride along Lake Michigan with the girls.
“ The Greeks understood that mind and body must develop in harmounious proportions to produce a creative intelligence. And so did the most brilliant intelligence of our earliest days - Thomas Jefferson - when he said, not less than two hours a day should be devoted to exercise. If the man who wrote the Decleration of Independence, was Secretary of State, and twice President, could give it two hours, our children can give it ten or fifteen minutes.
Yesterday and today were insane work days. Yesterday (Sunday!!) we had to drive to NJ yesterday for an interview with an Alzheimer’s patient (for a study we are doing), consuming 8 hours & then today I started at 7am today and worked straight thru to 7pm before crashing for an hour & now I’m back at the MacBook, editing a PPT presentation for a physician advisory meeting I am moderating this weekend (on the topic of pre-term birth). I managed to get in a 6-mile run yesterday morning & plan to get myself out of bed at 5am tomorrow morning for another run. Yesterday’s run was fantastic - perfect weather & aside from the 6 miles “in transit,” I integrated a mile of sprints over at the Haverford College track. I had been reading an article in Men’s Health about the fact that, a “sprint-pyramid workout” was effective in burning more fat. I started with 100 meter sprints, and then worked my way up to a 400-meter sprint, then back down to 100 meter sprints. By the end of the sprints, I had forgotten my middle name & birthday and was basically lying face down - lamenting the fact that I still needed to run another 2 miles to get back home. I love running. Per the article, “Saving the shorter sprints for last resulted in a greater boost in the runner’s metabolism and a larger increase in their flab-melting hormones.”
“ Doing only ab exercises won’t give you abs, say researchers at Southern Illinois University. They had people perform 14 sets of ab exercises 5 days a week. After 6 weeks, the participants hadn’t lost belly fat or shrunk their waistlines. According to the researchers, these isolation exercises simply didn’t burn enough calories to reduce stomach fat.