_ Over the past few months I have become aware of something that really bother me. People have no idea what it means to be an “active person”! I have mostly seen it in younger people (ages 9-18), where, IF they get activity in during the day, it’s either a practice or game with their sports team, or a little 15 minute stint outside that usually consists of hanging around and texting, or kicking a ball around in a generally stationary position. I have talked with a good deal of these kids recently to fond out what their activity level is like at school, and have been even more shocked at how little people these days run around! Most breaks are spent hanging out, talking, eating, texting, playing games on their phones or catching up on work that they are slammed with. But it’s not just the kids, and in fact, arguably a huge reason the kids are so inactive is because their parents are even more inactive. There’s work, errands, social lives, taking care of kids, and on and on; so many excuses to not be active. I was shown a really funny TV ad that shows people excuses for not being active; and, as funny as it is, it is so completely true!
So, over the years people begin to form the idea that to stay healthy, they need to get out and be active for 15-30 minutes a day. They need to make sure this activity is scheduled into their busy lives and for the most part, it becomes one of those things that is the first to drop off the schedule the second the day gets out of hand. Well, I’m sorry, but a 15-minute walk around the block is NOT activity. Taking your kids to their soccer practice and pacing the sidelines is NOT activity. Getting outside after school and throwing a football back and forth between text messages is NOT activity. And the fact that our society is so lost in inactivity that these things can be considered activity is really, really sad.
I have to agree, if you are obese, completely inactive, really, really old, or horribly injured or sick because of a serious lack of health, a 15-30 minute stroll is extremely important. And this is the case especially if you have kids and can take them with you. But I feel like there needs to be a HUGE shift over the coming years to a point where we can all agree that a 15-30 minute walk is something we do after dinner to enjoy each others company and enjoy the evening air. And activity should be defined as getting to the gym, working out with friends, playing sports, running and playing outside; not because we have to, but because we don’t know any other way. Imagine if your go-to thing to do when you had a few hours to kill was to go explore the woods, climb a tree, hit a workout, go for a run, etc.? But, unfortunately, most people flop down on the couch, turn the TV on with a drink or snack and slowly destroy their bodies and minds.
So parents don’t tell your kids to go run around; don’t buy them video games and don’t keep crappy food in the house. Take your kids outside and play games with them. Motivate them to sign up for teams and leagues, and camps and so on. Oh, and do all this stuff yourself as well! Make being active a natural part of your life so that forcing yourself to get outside for a short walk isn’t what the world calls “activity” anymore. It’s up to all of us to change the definitions of things rather than accepting what we’ve become.
An active person is one who loves and craves activity; one who actually lives actively. If you have to schedule activity into your or your family’s lives, you all are not active people. You are merely attempting to mask the lazy, unhealthy, unhappy people you are. Yep, I went there, and I defend that statement to the death. We as human beings are meant to be highly active. We are built for it. Don’t let our bodies and minds evolve into weak mush like so many of us people are. Go a month without watching TV. Cut your time in the car (unless it’s going to be active) in half. Doing even one of those things will all of a sudden make your realize just how much time you really do have on your hands. And the more time you spend being active, the better your life will become. Just give it a try and see what happens.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
For the life of me I can't figure out why I am having such a hard time with keeping this blog up to date. For some reason I just can't bring myself to write like I used to and I know you guys are helplessly sitting by your phones/computers waiting longingly until I finally post again. While I make no guarantee to post every day, I can promise that I will try to get back into the rhythm of doing so. That all being said, I have two posts: a positive one, then a negative one. I'll start with the positive.
This past weekend, the last weekend of the CrossFit Games Open, I was up in Massachusetts for my cousins Bar Mitsfah. I was a little worried for a couple reasons: one, where and when would I get the Open workout? And two, how was I going to stay healthy?! Well, everything turned out to be pretty damn good and I am happy to say, I had one of the better workout experiences in a while. Flew up to Providence, hung at the relatives house for a little bit in Mansfield, MA, then headed over to CrossFit Torque, a small, family-run spot about a mile and half from the Patriots Gillette Stadium! The workout space was maybe around 800 square feet, but was very well organized. But what set these guys apart right from the get-go was how freaking welcoming they all were! Not just the owners and coaches, but all the athletes I met in my two visits, so nice, so friendly and it was impossible NOT to feel at home there. So, I hot the workout with the goal of beating my last years score of 111 total reps (for those of you who don;t know what the workout was, it was 3 reps of each of thrusters at 100# and chest to bar pull ups, then 6 each,then 9 each, the 12, then 15 and so on for 7 minutes.
My goal was to break up the pull ups early so that I wouldn't burn out, and start breaking up the thrusters around the round of 12. I would move comfortably through everything so that I didn't smoke myself and run out of gas. Well, I didn't give myself enough credit on this and when I dumped the bar 3 times on the round of 18 thrusters, I got so annoyed at myself for throwing such a light bar down that I kind of psyched myself out for the pull ups. I finished 1 rep shy of finishing my 18 pull ups, and a score of 125. About 10 seconds later I came to conclusion that I would do this one again! The bar was SO light! I had so much more in me, and I wanted to get everything out of this last workout that I could. And, if I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to qualify for Regionals, I needed every rep I could possibly get!
So, after a wonderful, celebratory Saturday (and eating about 8k calories in not-so-great food, including and not limited to about 4 pieces of wonderful cake!) I woke up sickly on Sunday and ready to get after it! This time around I planned on not putting the bar down at any point (this approach would force me to hold on to it until I just couldn't anymore), and break up the pull ups in the same way as last time which worked really well for me. I also committed to moving faster between exercises. And, to add to it all, I stupidly forgot my Oly shoes, and waiting for them to arrive I had the unexpected surprise of having 6 family members show up to cheer me on. Add the 6 or so people from CrossFit Torque who were waiting on me to finish and I had a whole slew of people ready to pump me up! Now, before a workout starts, having that many people watching you is a little nerve wracking. But, once the fun begins, and all your energy is focused into just getting through the thing; having that many people there supporting your every move does nothing but help like crazy! Needless to say, I was able to bang out 9 more reps, finishing 8 thrusters into the 21's and finishing with 134 reps! This helped a TON in moving me up in the standings. Unfortunately, when all was said and done, I finished in 61st place by only a few points (the top 60 make it to Regionals by the way). Such a bummer (and the inspiration for my negative post coming tomorrow).
Anyway, if you're in the South-Of-Boston area, check out CrossFit Torque, really cool people there. Now, I want to talk about our Saturday mid-day fun and how my family did some stuff I just don;t think people do anymore. We spent a good 4 hours outside, playing. We played bocce ball, basketball, football, some strange baseball game, rolled around the grass, played with matchbox cars and shot little Styrofoam rockets 50+ feet in the air and tried to catch them. When was the last time you went outside and just played? And I'm not asking this of the 6 year-olds that read my blog, I'm asking it of the teens, and adults, young and old. And if you haven't done it, is it becuase you think playing around is too childish? Is it because you don't have the time, or energy? Those don;t count as excuses in my mind. Because I was so hyper aware of how much time could have easily be spent sitting in front of the TV as a group, or sitting around eating chips and chatting. But instead, we were laughing, talking, playing, moving, running, inventing, imagining, being human and having fun. I think if the whole weekend went horribly wrong, I would have looked back at it in a positive light because of those 4 hours running around with everyone outside.
Next time you're with a group of people, especially if there are kids with you all, swallow your pride, take the stick out of your ass, and get out and play. It's more fun than sitting on your ass, eating bad food and melting your brains cells in front of the TV!
Mever Stop, GET FIT.
This weekend ended up being a pretty fun one all around. Late Friday morning my dad and I packed up some things and we began what would end up being the drive from hell, up to New York City. On a good day, driving from MD to NYC takes about 4.5 hours. But this time around it took us a wonderfully pleasant 9 hours! Brutal! And to top things off, we were planning on meeting up with my brother and heading out to the Red Sox/Yankees game, but, the damn thing got rained out!
Oh well. We had a tasty dinner and chatted each other up while hanging out in Times Square (not something we generally do in NYC, but my did got a hotel there…crazy, and also highly entertaining). I ended up headed off to sleep around 1am, just to get up again at 3am to pack up a bag and head out to Staten Island for the Spartan Race. I was initially scheduled to run the race at 1pm, but opted to try out a special heat they were offering called the “Hurricane Heat”. It was something they did for their last race because of Hurricane Irene, and had such a fun time they thought it would be cool to offer it as a regular event for their races. It had plenty of kinks, but I think the whole plan was really to just get a ton of people together to run through the course before the actual race started, just to make sure everything was in order. I personally chose to do this so that I’d have the rest of the day to spend with my dad and bro, and also be able to meet the founders of the race and network a little.
Well, my honest opinion was that it was both good and bad. The bad part was my own fault because I could feel my competitive side kept creeping in. This heat really had nothing to do with racing, more to do with just getting though the thing as a huge group. Bright and early at 5:30am we all split into groups of around 20 people and get our warm up in. We quickly got to the understanding the creator of this race was a little nutso. Our warm up included a couple rounds of 30 burpees, 30 push ups, 30 jumping jacks, 30 hops, 30 squat jumps and on, and on, and on. We then limped over to the start, and with happy, excited shrieks and yells we all took off! About 20 feet later we were met with our first surprise: about 25 yards of knee-deep, icy cold water! If that warm up didn’t wake everyone up, this sure as hell did!
We made our way to the beach, over a few walls/hurdles, had ourselves another 60+ burpees and jumping jacks…ugh…then back around through the woods to our first REAL obstacle: 50 meters or so of a mud crawl, under legit barbed wire. I found the trick to get through this was to stiffen up the whole body and just slide through the crazy deep mud and water. I totally got sliced up a couple times from the wire, but that’s the fun of it all! After people got through the mud, we all hung to re-group, and, did a crap-load more burpees!
Just to make the post a little easier, I would guesstimate that I got in well over 200 burpees on the day…
Things went slowly but smoothly through the woods and over a few more obstacles for the next hour or so until we got to the three high walls, the water and fire, and the super high cargo net. A few of our group blasted through them all, then waited at the end for the group. This was when I younger guy and myself saw a girl who was in our group but was waaay behind beginning to approach the first wall. We decide to head back and help her through the mess. It was fun to get through the obstacles again, and also fun to be able to hang back and help out a good collection of people get over those walls! Then it was off to the woods for a long stretch of trail running. The younger guy and myself hung back with this girl through the trials until we got to our creek/river portion and to the one portion of the course that actually got my heart racing a little. A 30-meter tunnel under a road that we all had to crawl through. It was dark, tiny, insanely muddy and the fact that we heard there were tons of rats in there the day before made it a little gross…
After we got through that fun, the younger guy and I decided it was high time to see if we could catch up with the group. So, we sprinted! About 10 minutes later we got to the front of the whole ordeal and I took off with about 4 other dudes to just keep on moving through the rest of the course. While it was an absolute blast to get rolling at a faster pace, being up in the front forced us to wait for the rest of the group at each obstacle. Generally not a problem at all, expect that we had to do burpees and jumping jacks until the whole group got together! Yeah, maybe it was more along the lines of 300+…
Anyways, there was plenty of mud, water, sand, and trails. I would say that if you are a good trail runner, you’d probably tear these things up. I personally feel as though I’d do somewhat well competing in one of these things, and if they made the challenges longer lasting (like running a long portion of the race with cinder blocks rather than just a little sprint with them) I would fair even better. But, in my honest opinion, I think the obstacles were a little too quick and easy enough to really hinder a good runner from winning these things on a regular basis. But, then again, I didn’t actually do the race, and it could be set up a little differently for them! In the end, I had a blast, met a few really awesome people, got nasty muddy and scraped up in the great outdoors, and was back in the city with the fam by 10:30am. Not too bad! I will totally be doing a few more of these races at some point over the next few years as they are right up my alley! And, I hope to go ahead and get that Death Race under my belt at some point!
So, the rest of the day was spent wandering the city with my dad and brother and doing our thing! It was fun, except fro when we thought it would be a good idea to get Captain America to watch at our hotel room…bad movie…
If you’ve never gone out to do one of these crazy races, I highly recommend checking one of them out. There’s the Warrior Dash, there’s the Tough Mudder, the Spartan Race series, the Urbanathalon, the Muddy Buddy and so on! There are so many of these things out there that it’s super easy to sign up and have some fun. In fact, there’s a really cool one coming up in a few weeks out in Northern California called Into The Wild! Yeah, you should totally go check that awesome thing out stat!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today I got an email with an attachment about a little Q and A with my brother as he trains for the New York City Marathon! Add this to the the excitement I have for the last weekend of the month when I'll be up in NYC for the Spartan Race and spending a dude's weekend with my bro and my dad! So, I figured I'd share a little about this guy who I've looked up to my entire life.
Growing up I always felt like I lived in my brother's shadow. The guy was insane at pretty much every sport (I may be remembering this wrong but I think he dunked a damn basketball in 9th grade!). He dressed in a way I thought I'd never be able to pull off (the dude wore a leather jacket in High School, god that was cool!), and he had such a comfortable personality with everyone. To add to the versatility that inspired me so much, he headed off to a great school where he excelled at diving, and, for fun, played on the baseball team. Why not right? Then graduated and just like that began a damn impressive post-school life. Started his own web-design company, worked online marketing for some HUGE names in publishing and magazines, even started a now-pretty successful film festival!
Over the years we have have had our basic brotherly ups and downs, but every time we get together it seems like we just sort of feed off of each others pretty distinct energy. We have gone in very different directions with our lives; he is what I would call a stereotypical New Yorker: works online marketing, rides a "fixie" to work across the Brooklyn Bridge every morning, works out at totally ghetto YMCA, walks his albino pit pull around his relatively sketchy neighborhood while chain smoking some form of "hipster" cigarette. I of course am a fitness junkie who would go WAY out of his way to avoid being in a major city, I practically gag at the smell of cigarette smoke and have never sat at a desk for work besides a couple internships between baseball games in college. And despite our differences I still look up to this guy with never-ending respect for what he has achieved in his life.
He has basically taken control of his life from the second he had the freedom to do so. He has fallen over so many times, and yet he seems to have no problem finding his way back up to an even higher level (a Courage Family trait I am finding out...). And now he's done it again! I would easily say that about 6 months ago I could probably be seen picking fun at him in a back-handed way for being so damn unhealthy and out of shape. But now the guy is cooking all sorts of incredible foods (he has given me some AWESOME ideas for how to keep my fueling fun and exciting whole staying simple) whole training for a marathon. And to top it off, he is committed to raising at least $3,000 for a YMCA kids program (helping kids into health and fitness programs that they can't afford).
So, while I continue to look up to the guy, and aspire to to be as cool as I see him, I ask you all to give him your well wishes with his training, and perhaps donate a buck or two (or more...?). And while your at it, take a moment to think about someone in your family and the positive things they have inspired in you. No matter how you've grown, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll be able to remember something positive (hopefully lots of things!) in each and every one of your family members. Feel free to share if you'd like!
Good luck brother! Looking forward to seeing you in a couple weeks!
Check out the article here
Donate to the cause here
Never Stop, GET FIT.
My lack of posts over the weekend was inspired by a last minute trip to Upstate New York to visit Lindsey and her family. While it was an awesome weekend, filled with great food, fun people and some great sights, I ended up changing my programming around to be much, much, well, easier. I found that I was really fatigued, run down, and right at the brink of being over trained. So, I decided to tone back on the workouts over the weekend and just get some basic work in. On Friday I worked on handstand push ups, muscle ups, buterfly pull ups and the new standard burpees. Felt good all around, except for the handstand push ups (a LOT more on this tomorrow!). Saturday, after a crazy long drive up to Norwich, NY (somewhere in the middle of upstate NY), Lindsey and I hit a sweet park for a bit of fun.
I worked on much of the same stuff as Friday after Lindsey and I traversed the crazy jungle gym for about 30 minutes or so (it's freaking awesome to be a kid every now and then!). My muscle ups felt better, and I was able to work a few of the 30" box jumps as well, felt real good. All around I was feeling good about all the skills needed for the coming Regionals.
The remainder of the weekend time was spent hanging with Lindsey's awesome family and having some good times! The first was Saturday night when we all drove into town to hang with a collection of Lindsey's family from her Moms side. After a bit of time there, Lindsey and I went to hang with a couple of her cousins and friends, this ended up being all sorts of entertaining into the early hours of Sunday morning. Then, on Sunday, we drove out to Ithaca, check out out Cornell (my dad went there, as well as Lindsey's dad and youngest bro). We then parked up at a trail head for Taughannock Falls and hiked the ridge trail around until we got to see the awesome vision of the 215 foot falls. From there it was off to Lindsey's fam on her ads side for some grilling and chilling into the early evening!
After that, we drove out to Syracuse to catch a Sky Chiefs baseball game (Nationals triple A team) so I could catch up with my good friend and old client Josh Wilkie. He's been tearing it up at that level for a while and I am hopeful to see him down in DC very, very soon! It was awesome to be able to catch up with him, he;s a damn good guy and it was great to talk with him for a while. And to top it all off, he pitched an inning and two thirds and did awesome!
Early Monday morning I took the long drive back to the DC area and chilled through the rest of Monday. Fired up the grill and fired up some food for my pops!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I was enjoying a wonderful recovery day earlier this week when I found my mind wondering to something I tend to think about in some detail at least once a day: my mother. March 12th marked her birthday, and while my family shared a quick email exchange in remembrance of all the gifts she brought us, I tend to spend a good bit of time enjoying some of the most memorable moments I shared with this incredible lady.
As I write this, the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom all around the greater Washington, DC area. These pink flowers take over the city for about a week every year, and with them come some my fondest memories of my mother (I hold a tribute to this tattooed on my back, clearly very meaningful to me). While the majority of people hang down by the Jefferson Memorial, a lot of the locals know that the Kenwood neighborhood in Bethesda, MD is far and beyond one of the most beautiful sights one can witness. Each year around this time I would meet up with my mother and we’d take the short drive down to Kenwood. We’d find a parking spot somewhere off the main drag and proceed to walk around the flowing pick streets and the massive houses hiding behind the trees. We’d talk about what might be in the fancy houses, we'd talk about nature and how things came to be; we’d talk about health and life, and, we’d just walk, silently and peacefully. The very last time we walked these streets, I distinctly remember one small portion of it. At this point, her around seven-year battle with cancer had worn her down to a scrawny 90 or so pounds. Her spine was more crooked then the branches of those trees, and by any normal doctors diagnosis, she should probably have been strapped to a bed and pumped full of medication. But, she was outside, in the breeze, in the fresh spring air. She had this contagious smile, the one she wore more commonly than any other face. Up to this point she clung to my arm for support, but she suddenly released from that support and took a few step away from me. A strong breeze blew through and just like that we were surrounded by millions of floating and fluttering cherry blossom petals. My mom raised her hands and just started spinning around. For a moment I thought I’d have to rush over to catch her from toppling over, but nope, she just twirled around in the blizzard of pedals. Timeless.
Another story I often recall is when I visited her while she was staying in a small little town in Belgium for what ended up being a pretty long time. I was only able to stay there for a couple days, but in that short amount of time we ended up walking a 3-mile trail around the town, 3 TIMES! I think about this most commonly when I am struggling for motivation to do something, or, when I am dealing with the frustration of the inactivity of the majority of our country. On one had, we have millions of people who struggle with weight issues and easily reversible health concerns. They just choose to eat crap food and do nothing in their spare time. And on the other hand you have this woman: 3 different types of cancer, a scare or two of stage-four cancer in there; a disintegrated spine, osteoporosis and a handful of other major issues, and yet she still finds it not just necessary, but ENJOYABLE to head out for a 3-mile walk, twice a day. She understood that the best way to health and happiness was eating well, smiling as often as possibly, and being active!
Those are just a couple stories amongst an endless supply that inspire me each and every day. She was a damn great lady and I miss her like crazy. I hope that I can have children that look up to me like I do my parents, and I am thankful for having had a mother that taught me so much, and a father who supports and motivates me just as much.
Now it’s off to the gym for my final attempt at the Sectionals Workout!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Even though it's the groggy day after Thanksgiving, I hope everyone had a great day, and continue on the greatness through the weekend and on. My Thanksgiving was a good one, spending it with Lindsey;s family in Norwich, NY, we feasted, watched football and had a relaxing, fun time. I allowed myself to consume a bit of food I generally don't like to have (mostly because of its usual negative side effects to how I feel) and I think because of my conscious decision to take in those foods, my body was forgiving. While I felt a bit over-full, and feel a little stuffed today, I never felt bad, and that's a great thing coming out of a holiday known for indulgence.
We had a huge turkey, sausage stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, salad, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, corn, squash, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots, and a couple other odds and ends, and it was glorious. And of course, we all saved room for the birthday cake. You see, while everyone else was feasting for the well-known holiday, we were feasting for Lindsey's 28th birthday (and a little of the holiday). It was a great day all around.
Earlier in the day I took it upon myself to run my own little turkey trot. This ended up being a whole lot tougher than planned because of the freezing cold, windy weather. I charted off a 1.58-mile course out, giving me almost exactly a 5k in total (out and back), and took off. Right off the bat I knew it would be hard, I was so cold from head to toe! A massive hill around the half-mile mark helped warm me up a little. but the wind coming off the mountains did not help at all. I ended up finished in just under 24 minutes which would have put me at just under a 8-minute mile. No where near as fast as I would like to be running. The part that made this crappy was the couple hours post run. I could net get a full breath of air, it was like my lunges were frozen a bit, crazy. I was happy to be able to get that work in tough, and I have a lot of work to do to get where I want to be with my fitness!
My trip back to CA today will see a ton of program designing, and some more planning to get this business up and running like mad! Also, I have Courageous meals installment 7 almost completed, and an article on a topic that I think is so important to talk about, especially around this time of the year.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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