Saturday, August 25, 2012

Becoming an Athlete

Becoming an athlete....

As a part of my journey to better living I went back to what I knew and that was running.  I never played football, was barely ok at baseball, and did have some success in soccer.  Running was the only activity that I really was able to stick to.  It is easy, requires minimal equipment and it can be done almost anywhere.  Running for me has been a great way to stay healthy, lose weight, feel better and have more energy.

What many people do not realize is when you run (or insert sport of choice here) you fundamentally change your view of the world.  You become more positive, happier, you sleep better and you make better lifestyle choices.  You know that when you eat bad, have to much to drink, or stay up to late then your run suffers and it becomes more like work.  When you cross the threshold of thought that says “I have to run today” and it becomes “I want to run” then you have arrive, you are an athlete.  To often we think the term athlete means a football star, an Olympic runner, or a professional “insert sport here.”  This cannot be further from the truth!  If you enjoy your sport then that sport helps to define you.  When you wake up and think about when I can run again, or when is my next workout or how do I fit this into my day, then you are an athlete.

So many times people with good intentions start a program and they start it for the wrong reason.  They say I must run to lose weight, I must work out to be fit, I have to do this or that.  Quickly the luster of losing weight or hanging out with friend wears off and we go back to our same old routine because it is the easier option.  Becoming an athlete changes your attitude.  It does not matter if it takes you 15 minutes to complete a mile, it is your attitude and desire to continue to run that will make a lasting impact.

Find something, anything, that you really enjoy doing and it will become your passion.  Yes we should cross train and do other activities, but that is how we can enjoy the primary sport more!

Don’t live life on the sidelines, step up and tack action and stick with it.  It takes 6 weeks for it to become a habit so be patient, have fun, and don’t over do it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Better Eating

I have often been asked what are you doing to lose all that weight.  I say I am not trying to lose weight but working on getting healthy!  It is all about balance.  

Our society is obsessed with diets and fads - all you need to do is go back to nature.  Fruits and veggies are always best.  Real sugar and real butter are ok in small quantities.  Meat should not been the main course at every meal, but if eaten – it should be more of a side dish.

Don’t feel like you have to finish all that is on your plate, just eat what you want to be full and STOP!

Our groceries stores are filled with lots of processed foods and ingredients no one can even pronounce.  HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is in everything now and it is one of the worst things you can eat.  If you pick up an item and it has more than 6 ingredients – then put it back.  If you do not know what the ingredients are, put it back.  If the packaging says healthy or diet food, then put it back.  

Our government has our nation on a very dangerous path (look at obesity, diabetes, cancer compared to 30 years ago).  If the food you eat has stated nutritional qualities that do not come from nature – then it was modify to include fake or added nutrition.  Nature proves the best source of nutrition – not food companies that just want to sell more items that are cheaply made.  Isn't it interesting that we subsidies foods to the point where a dollar can buy a candy bar or a bag of chips, but not fruit.  When you buy cheap products with high calories then you will be fat!

Drink water!  Sodas, diet drinks, flavored water, etc do nothing but give you empty calories and it does not quench your desire for water.

It is all about lifestyle changes - no Adkins diet, or no sugar diet will work completely on its own.

So go out and grab that apple, enjoy life and move (whatever exercise you like) and you will see the results.  it wont happen overnight, but you will feel the changes in a few weeks.

I have also read the books The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food and Fit for Life (old book but very enlightening).

I hope this helps.  Good luck and good eating!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Get Moving

I thought I would start where I started......get moving.

Many people are drawn into quick exercise schemes, fancy gadgets, having to go to the gym, whatever.  Let me break it down into a simple formula - just move!  And move a lot!  If you are not sweating then you are not getting better or stronger.

I don't mean go out and run 2 miles the first time out - that is crazy!  I just want to encourage you to put enough effort into a routine that you sweat for 20-30 minutes.  Whether it is a bike, walking fast, lite jogging, a machine at the gym.  It does not necessarily matter what you do - just do it!

For me it started by running a bit down the road, maybe a minute and then walking.  Repeat, Repeat, Repeat......just focus on doing what is comfortable until you can go a little further each day.  I especially encourage multiple types of exercises.  I like riding my bike, so I ride it once a week.  I also used the machine at my hotel when I traveled and recently I joined a gym.

If you are in pain while working out then stop, you are over doing it.  You must pace yourself, be patient and take your time.  Feel the burn, feel the soreness, feel the stress but I should not be painful and you should not be huffing and puffing and exhausted!

I have seen way to often a sedentary person go out, try to over do it, get injured and then quit.  Then the excuses come rolling in, I can't run - I got hurt.  I can't do.....insert other activity.  Don't be a quitter, be one who keeps trying things until you find the sport that is right for you!

Even if you can only walk, then walk as far as you can, set a goal to go further every day.  Try a lite jog, even for just 30 seconds.  Just slightly increase your effort to get better over time.

The body is an amazing and efficient machine.  Once it realizes that hey this person means business, then it will get with the program as well and become stronger.

Running for me has been my primary exercise because all it requires is a decent pair of shoes (nothing fancy or expensive) and for me my favorite music blaring in my ears.  You can also trying listening to books.  I have an audible account and love it.

It took about 4 months before I could even run a complete mile end to end, however in that 4 months I went from walking a mile to walking/running up to 4 miles.  Go further and faster as you body gets stronger.

Lifting weights is OK, but for weight lose and endurance nothing beats getting your heart rate up and you body moving.

So what are you waiting on, lace up those shoes and hit the roads...............

Why and How I started

So I have been asked a hundred plus times....How did you do it?  What are they talking about you ask?

Well over the past 12 months, I went from being overweight and sedentary to being an athlete training to run a Marathon.  Yes, thats right - 26.2 miles!

I have lost about 60 lb.'s, have run up to 15 miles at one time and now logging 25+ miles a week.

You may be asking why?  Well I am not completely sure.  After my 25th High School reunion back in June 2011 I decided I needed to get back in shape.  I hid my 60 extra pounds well, or so I thought.  I have a large frame and at 6'2" I can carry a lot of extra baggage and not look too bad.  However I realized once the transformation started to take place, I realized that I did not hide that extra weight very well at all.  My face got thinner, my waist is 6 inches smaller, my shirt sized dropped from a XL to L and.....well you get the picture.

So know you are asking what diet did you use........

No diet, notice the first 3 letters in diet are "die!"  I cannot go hungry, I am too weak minded for that.  I changed my lifestyle, I ate whatever I wanted, I just changed what I wanted to eat!  My basic approach is "all natural."  I use the knowledge that I have gained over the years through books and research, use a little common sense, and a firm belief that God gave us all the right ingredients to live well if we choose not to ignore it.

A little background:

Back in 1989, I was fairly skinny but kinda pudgy.  I started eating better, started running and eventually ran my first marathon on 1995.  In fact I have run 5 marathons, one year I ran Chicago and Dallas within 2 months. I looked great, felt great and!  Yes, my excuse was my job and my kids.  As my kids got older (I have 5 of them) and I started coaching, traveling, being more involved with the community, I gave up on the running and slowly hung up my shoes.  I also let my diet go to hell, eventually eating anything and everything.  I would yo-yo back and forth, lose 10 here, gain 10 there, just getting by and not caring much anymore.

I went from a size 34 to a size 38 in about a year, ballooned up to 240 ish and stayed there for 12 years.

Will any of this work for you?  I have no idea, my ideas are foreign to many but do make sense if you are open minded, they go against a lot of conventional thinking and may not be as easy for you as it was for me.  Anytime you speak of all natural, looking at what God gave us and how he designed us and other seemingly simple and basic ideas, there are a lot of professionals and health/fitness gurus ready to shoot it down.  That is o.k., because what I did is working, I am never hungry, I am healthy, and I am injury free.  I set out and live to prove them wrong.

Our TV's are filled with ads that temp us to eat the bad stuff, say their product is diet food or healthy, tell us to take medication for all our ailments and then wonder why we are all fatter and unhealthier as a society.

I will attempt to use this blog to share my thoughts, my ideas, my experiences with you.  It is up to you to decide if it is for you.  I have nothing to sell, nothing to gain, but I do feel compelled to share my message and hopefully help someone make a change that may add years to their life, fitness into their daily routine and enjoy living a little more.  In fact I challenge any reader to view this blog and be skeptical, but my challenge to you is to check it out, do your own research and decide for yourself.  BUT if you are overweight, sedentary and want to change, I at least challenge you to make some changes somewhere in your life

I hope you enjoy!