Archive for category exercise

Eat Like A Caveman

Here is the article that talked about the movie Fed Up. In addition to describing the movie, there are some excerpts that endorse low-carbohydrate/high protein diets, which some friends have been describing as paleo/caveman diets: eat like a caveman…nothing that is from cultivated, starchy products, like potatoes, grains, bread, etc.

Are all calories equal?

Dr. David Ludwig, the director of the obesity program at Boston Children’s Hospital, argues in the film that they are not. In recent studies, Dr. Ludwig has shown that high-carbohydrate diets appear to slow metabolic rates compared to diets higher in fat and protein, so that people expend less energy even when consuming the same number of calories. Dr. Ludwig has found that unlike calories from so-called low glycemic foods (like beans, nuts and non-starchy vegetables), those from high glycemic foods (such as sugar, bread and potatoes) spike blood sugar and stimulate hunger and cravings, which can drive people to overeat.

Studies also show that calories from different foods are not absorbed the same. When people eat high-fiber foods like nuts and some vegetables, for example, only about three-quarters of the calories they contain are absorbed. The rest are excreted from the body unused. So the calories listed on their labels are not what the body is actually getting.

I am still convinced that if you eat less and exercise more, most people will feel better and lose weight. Now that it appears if you eat less carbohydrates you will lose even MORE weight, that should make it easier to see lower numbers on your scale.

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Ben Aaron’s Workout Choice Is Dancewalking

Funny…Feels Good…and after millions of views, the person creating this video, Ben Aaron, located his dancing guru master and made this video:

Ben is a NYC NBC TV reporter who makes videos about everyday fun stuff that viewers find interesting. He also won Emmys two years for Best Features Reporter. Here is a link to his facebook page.

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851 Days Of Exercise But No Burpees Yet

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Just did some barbell bent over rows on my 851st day in a row of some kind of exercise…not counting the 2-10 hours of tennis each week. A satisfying disciplinary achievement.

Also read about the benefits of HIIT: high intensity interval training. I was out of breath just yesterday doing some painful push ups—I really resist doing them. Here are some excerpts from this article , which suggests burpees as the best exercise to do.

I don’t do them, but I should start. Here are two burpee videos. The first shows a modified burpee that is less stressful on your back. The second one is amateurish, kind of sexist, but I included it because it was shot at Flamingo Park in Miami Beach, where I played as a kid, won tennis trophies at ages 11 and 12, and was just at the exact spot in the video, before competing on the tennis court last November at my high school reunion. So it’s pretty nostalgic for me.

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The secret to shedding fat fast is exercise intensity, study after study has found, including a recent one from the American Journal of Health Promotion.

In the study, investigators tracked 4,511 adults ages 18 to 64, assigning participants to four workout groups: high-intensity long bouts, high-intensity short bouts, low-intensity long bouts and low-intensity short bouts.

Both groups of high-intensity workouts lowered their body mass indexes, which lowers risk of being overweight or obese. Neither of the low-intensity workout groups showed the same benefits.

Additionally, each extra minute of high-intensity physical activity was linked to a decreased obesity risk of five percent for women and two percent for men.

This means that even if you’re short on time, you can still get a great workout — that may even help maintain your health over your lifetime.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the way to lose body fat, build lean muscle and increase your metabolism.

“HIIT is an all-out effort followed by a short period of rest,” he explained. “It should leave you out of breath and breathless, not like a slow, steady session of cardio.”

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790 Consecutive Days Of Some Exercise

12/29/13 after 30-min Florida gym session...more abs needed

12/29/13 after 30-min Florida gym session…more abs needed

Was celebrating the holidays with visiting family and also out of town over a week. So writing has been impossible. Catch up upon return is always a pressured and somewhat overwhelming challenge. But finally I can make time to visit my favorite web site.

In spite of being away from home, I was able to squeeze in my daily exercises…the hotel had a gym that I visited often. It has now been 790 days without missing even one 5-15-minute session of crunches or push ups, pec flys or barbell moves. It is now a routine part of my life…in addition to any tennis playing. An achievement I am very proud of after decades of inability to put five days of exercise in a row.

As I have said from the start: these little sessions don’t build much bulk, but it least they keep me a bit toned. You can see my abs are barely showing. Must be poor lighting…(hahaha)

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A Turkish Get Up

So my friend Tom just told me about a floor exercise called a Turkish Get Up that’s usually done with a kettleball. You can see what it looks like in the video above, which has about 77,000 views. I just tried it with just 10 pounds, and I could only do three on each side comfortably before stopping.

But someone else decided to substitute a woman for the kettleball, and she weighs a helluva lot more than that 10 pounds (125 pounds?). Hard to believe how strong some people are. This video below has over 20 MILLION views.

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Post-Pregnancy Photos Stir Controversy

this photo and title upset many women who felt bullied

this photo and title upset many women who felt bullied

It’s lonely at the top. Ask these two moms who posted post-pregnancy photos of themselves that created firestorms. Both are passionate about health and fitness, one has a fitness non-profit and the other is a fitness blogger. I am guessing they were challenging their viewers and followers to get or stay in better shape, and not use pregnancy as an excuse to go soft forever. But their efforts really backfired. It’s a shame that successful people in all fields are often envied, create jealousy and are scorned for their achievements. But that is show biz and human nature.

First Californian and fitness enthusiast Maria Kang generated hate mail from women who thought she was a bully rather than an inspiration, when she posted the photo to the right. Later she wrote, “(One letter) said I should be ashamed of myself and that I should take down my Facebook profile picture. It said I’m a shame to women. It was deep and hurtful.”

In what she called her “First and Final Apology,” Kang posted on Facebook September 25 that she was “sorry” her haters “took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way.”

“I won’t go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two business, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer. I won’t even mention how I didn’t give into cravings for ice cream, french fries or chocolate while pregnant or use my growing belly as an excuse to be inactive,” she wrote. You can read more on her blog.

she delivered a baby just three days earlier

she delivered a baby just three days earlier

Then Caroline Berg Eriksen, who is the wife of soccer player Lars-Kristian Eriksen and has the biggest fitness blog in Norway, posted a photo showing off her chiseled body and washboard abs just three days after delivering her baby.

“During the pregnancy, people kept telling me that my body will never be the same and I wanted to show everybody that’s not entirely true,” Berg Eriksen, 26, said.

Berg Eriksen says she was amazed at how fast her body bounced back after gaining 22 pounds. Though she hasn’t worked out since giving birth, she says the purpose of the picture wasn’t to be cruel.

“I think all women should be proud of themselves, regardless of how they look after labor,” she explained.

Next the first mom above, Maria Kang, posted a picture of herself after SHE delivered a baby:

here is a more conventional post baby stomach

here is a more conventional post baby stomach

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Women Athletes At Peak Performance

peak athletes' different bodies

peak athletes’ different bodies

photos by Howard Schatz

photos by Howard Schatz

The images, taken by photographer Howard Schatz for his 2002 book, Athlete, recently resurfaced, reminding us of the diversity of women’s bodies.

What impresses me is how different body types are often needed to excel at different sports. (It reminds me of David Epstein’s book, The Sports Gene, which I will cover later…although here is an advance peek.)

Schatz interviewed and photographed hundreds of athletes for the book, a project he says was inspired by his interest in human variation and the musculoskeletal system. “I was also interested in passion,” he told the Huffington Post in a phone interview. “I was interested in what got them to do this. Because to become a champion, you have to put away so many things in life.”

You can read the whole article here.

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731 Days Of Continuous Exercise

On November 12th, 2011, I started a daily exercise program to see if I could be disciplined enough to stick with it. Just 5-15 minutes of push ups, abs crunches, weights, rowing, anything. EVERY DAY. No matter where I was in the world, no matter how many hours of travel, tennis, business, family. I was not able to exercise often before that time. Now I do it religiously. And as Jerry Seinfeld says, “Don’t break the chain.” Here is what I wrote a year ago.

I still can’t grasp that I do it. Two long years. It has wrecked my dinner-eating schedule, because I often procrastinate doing the daily drill for hours, and don’t want to eat until AFTER I exercise. But I am still willing to pay this price. It is often inconvenient and tiring and a real effort. But I am still sticking to this routine. It is not easy. Other people swim every day, or go to the gym four times a week, or run consistently. However I have no interest or discipline in those sports. I play tennis enthusiastically 2-4 times a week and also do my brief little daily workout. It keeps me toned. No muscles. But satisfied. You just have to find what works for you. And I have been very fortunate to have found something at all.

Some friends and family members have also started counting how long they could stick to an exercise routine. One was up to 50+ days. I don’t ask if that has continued…don’t want to make someone feel badly if they stopped. What’s most interesting is how annoyed people are that I do the drill every day. Maybe they are jealous, envious, pissed that they can’t do it. But I ignore their displeasure. I keep on slugging it out.

You ready to start doing anything? Doesn’t have to be every day…just do some exercise every week…

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A Moment On The Lips, Forever On The Hips

Un momento en los labios, para el resto en las caderas. That’s the phrase I bumped into in a Spanish language phrase book. The editor sure has a sense of humor.

I remember my capoeira mestre telling me he never ever drank a drop of alcohol. It was like taking poison. It would affect his athletic performance for sure. Yet just two days ago a friend who is considering expensive stem cell injections in another country stated that if he gave up drinking, he would grow more stem cells naturally. But he loves his wine or liquor too much.

I know former alcoholics (they would say they are never “former”) who refuse to take one drink for fear that their old compulsions will take hold. I understand completely how one little slip can lead to much bigger deviations. On a recent trip to Spain and France, it was impossible not to be served meat, cheese and cream in the food. It was everywhere, and these are three foods I gave up to keep my cholesterol low. I definitely miss chorizo sausage, so I had one little taste. Suddenly I was eating cured ham, salamis, lamb. Heavenly tastes. I tried cheeses I used to eat, had vegetables in cream sauce, and many flans with egg yolks. It was all delicious.

Of course I thought neurotically that I was on the way to killing myself. Ridiculous. But I started rowing again in a hotel gym on that trip. That kind of cardio really burns up the cholesterol. Thank goodness I left after 12 days of this food orgy. I was thrilled to get home and eat more normally for me. Much healthier.

But the idea of a short term deprivation for a longer term benefit is too difficult for most people. Whether the goal is to lose weight, be healthier, or save money. Humans want the immediate gratification. Just heard about a recent study testing whether people could give up some money in the short run to make more over time. If they had to wait a few hours or a day, they could. Wait a few days or a week…forget it. No wonder people can’t save money or invest in long term projects with payoffs years away. It’s how our species functions…maybe how we have survived for centuries. We will see if this pattern works when dealing with commodities shortages and climate change. In the short run, see if you can give up one food pleasure for a week. Catholics do it for Lent, right? Isn’t that 40 days?

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I Broke The Chain

It’s pretty obvious that I have not been writing regularly. In the words of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, I broke the chain…of consecutive (or even frequent) days in a row of writing here. I could blame it on my trip to Mongolia. Whatever. I came back jet lagging, then addicted to the US Open…then the America’s Cup…then debilitated by the fights in Congress…then depressing work on taxes…then someone ran over my wife’s little dog…still sad about a friend who died of a stroke…etc etc. Plenty of excuses.

I DID continue to exercise every day. The links in that chain are still intact. I have done some exercise–no matter how late, no matter where I was on the planet–for 696 consecutive days as of today. It’s barely a source of pride anymore. It’s a regular part of my life. Inconvenient some times, when I return home from late afternoons of tennis, and I have to wind down for an hour before I exercise…so that I can finally eat afterward. I feel real hunger pains. But that’s my life now.

Writing is another story. I need to push myself more here. I have always been undisciplined about writing and exercise. Conquered the latter. Now time to work on the former.

By the way, I have started playing tennis more frequently after the summer games ended, and the indoor/winter games are just beginning. I will write about a major improvement…

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Rudy The Strongman

My high school classmate, Rudy, is 74 years old and was advised to try strengthening therapy, rather than surgery. He has a trainer come to his house twice a week to crack the whip and make him do exercises.

He is ALMOST up to 10 almost-chin ups. Pretty good for anybody…not just a guy in his 70’s…

and then he sent me this: “After that initial set that i sent you, I did three more. 17, 19 and 10. Plus the push ups, bozoo squats with 12lb ball, chin ups, 30 seconds of high speed pedaling on stationary bicycle, between sets of weight lifting, leg lifts, flutter kicks, crunches. And that is the hour.

“The endorphins make me feel great. Like a drug.”

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I Am A Couch Potato

After 3 1/2 weeks of not playing tennis and so much sitting on planes, in cars and watching the US Open while I de-jet lag, I have gone over to the dark side: I am now officially a couch potato. This is an awful feeling. It’s been years since I didn’t stretch my lungs and legs each week or even every few days, hitting squash or tennis balls one to five hours, climbing up hills or hiking through forests. And I am not as driven to exercise as others who must do some cardio or visit the gym every day.

It’s disgusting. Debilitating. I am groggy. I feel like sludge in plumbing pipe. GIVE ME DRANO to clean out the mush. I need oxygen…

Melodrama aside, I am completely spoiled. Exercise makes me feel good and energetic. Friends tell me not to worry…they know I will get back into it. And they are right.

But why anyone would accept feeling this way is a mystery. They must remember running as children with the freedom those little legs gave them. I need that active aliveness now. I was a guy who never exercised…less than a decade ago. Now I am practically a missionary for sport and health. What a blessing.

Get off your couches, people. You will be amazed at how much more alive you feel. It’s like fuel for the engine to take in some oxygen and stretch your muscles and your mind beyond the comfortable zone. Enough…back to the tennis court and the rowing machine…

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My Summer Vacation In Mongolia

measuring crane with sock on head for calming, green transmitter and yellow/black banding "jewelry" on legs

measuring crane with sock on head for calming, green transmitter and yellow/black banding “jewelry” on legs

I just spent nine days camping in Mongolia plus two travel days via South Korea. I joined five scientists studying cranes and their habitat, which is wetlands on the steppes. The five species of cranes we saw are 4-4 1/2 feet tall, and one of the major objectives was banding 40 of them with colored leg bracelets (including six with satellite transmitters) to track their migration routes, which may end in India.

mosquitos attack

mosquitos attack

This was a very rough, tough, demanding trip that I wouldn’t recommend for anyone. Zillions of mosquitos, setting up/tearing down my one-man tent every night, 5-10 hours of daily driving on washed out, rutted dirt trails called roads that are flooded, washboarded and at 30 degree angles.

grand vistas from my front tent flap

grand vistas from my front tent flap

40 mph felt like a car chase in a cop movie. Strapped in and holding on. Sometimes we were completely off road climbing hills like you see in macho truck commercials that have small print warning you to not duplicate these rides by professional drivers. And the cook van was stuck in a river we crossed for 2 1/2 hours as we dug out the mud and grass underneath after our SUV’s and borrowed farm tractors failed to pull it out.

I am proud that I survived this adventure. I am proud that I did daily push ups or crunches on my air mattress. I am sure my quads strengthened with all the bending in-out of my small tent. I am thrilled that I didn’t fall off a 400-foot cliff, when I was urged to lean over the edge, while standing up, to see a black vulture chick in its nest that was still too young to fly.

only 400 feet to the bottom

only 400 feet to the bottom

But I was scared out of my mind when a 65-year-old woman who had also tagged along crawled to the edge of that cliff in her sun dress and sandals and stood up to take a look herself. She may have been calm, but I was terrified SHE might fall off!!!

What motivated me to go at all was George Archibald, the passionate and upbeat 67-year-old founder in 1973 of the International Crane Foundation (ICF). I joined George on a wildlife-viewing, non-camping trip in 2006 to Bhutan, where only 17,000 foreigners visited that year. George has devoted 40 years to saving cranes and their habitat, which is always under attack by mining companies, developers and agribusinesses. He saved the Whopping Crane in America from extinction, so that instead of the 15 left in 1973, there are now 600.

George on a main "road" on which we encountered six cars in eight hours of driving

George on a main "road" on which we encountered six cars in eight hours of driving

He has set up and supported through his ICF fundraising a network of like-minded ornithologists in remote areas all over the world, including Africa, North Korea, Middle East, India, Mongolia, Siberia, etc etc. Crane migrations can sometimes traverse 11 countries, and if one of them is Iran or Afghanistan, the cranes are indifferent to political hostilities.

portable nomad gers can have satellite dish and solar panels for TV

portable nomad gers can have satellite dish and solar panels for TV

after feeding dried dung to fire, she started kneading noodle dough without washing hands

after feeding dried dung to fire, she started kneading noodle dough without washing hands

This trip may not be an athletic achievement, but it was certainly a physical one…and the demands of the trip were much harder than I am used to. It was surely my last-ever camping experience, although I did eventually take in stride not bathing for eight days, not changing clothes, not washing even my hands with soap, and having just four small sardines on a slice of bread for dinner–the easy way to lose five pounds in a week. I was definitely the wuss of the group: the only one to bring a bug net for my face and head, and the only one to bring insect repellent on the 6 am bird walks before breakfast. Two of the scientists had gone three weeks without washing. It’s a world that is very foreign to me. God bless them, every one.

a black vulture poses with his owner at a tourist site

a black vulture poses with his owner at a tourist site

none of the scientists like Robert used bug nets

none of the scientists like Robert used bug nets

the steppes are grasslands without trees or desert but with some washed out impassable trail-roads you can barely see in this photo

the steppes are grasslands without trees or desert but with some washed out impassable trail-roads you can barely see in this photo

One of the major benefits of the trip was learning about Chinggis (spelled Genghis by Persians) Khan and his grandson, Kublai Khan. I will talk later about their astonishing achievements. I also ate some local foods prepared without normal Western cleanliness and drank alcoholic fermented mare’s milk out of unwashed community bowls. So far not sick, but quite a change from everyday life in Connecticut!

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Chris Pratt Gains/Loses Weight And Abs All The Time

Chris Pratt gained 60 lbs over six months for a movie role

Chris Pratt gained 60 lbs over six months for a movie role

Here is another actor who has the ability to gain or lose dozens of pounds and create abs each time he is lighter. Chris Pratt was in Zero Dark Thirty and wanted to look good when he was hanging out with Navy Seals. Right after that, he gains 60 pounds for a role in Starbucks. Then six months later he is Mr. Six Pack again to play a super hero in Guardians of the Galaxy.

How do these people do this, when it is almost impossible for most people to lose even 10 pounds? Makes you wonder about will power and the motivational influence of being on screen and earning money. Maybe the solution to the obesity epidemic is to film everyone who is overweight and post their bodies in bathing suits on public billboards!

Chris BEFORE he gained 60 lbs

Chris BEFORE he gained 60 lbs

Here is Chris before he gained the weight.

The “Parks and Recreation” funny man showed off his massive six-pack during an appearance on “Conan.” Pratt displayed his toned abs by flaunting an iPhone photo of himself standing in front of a mirror flexing while wearing only boxer-briefs.

Pratt said his six-pack is the result of getting in shape for his role as a Navy SEAL in Kathryn Bigelow’s upcoming Osama bin Laden takedown film, “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Chris AFTER gaining the weight

Chris AFTER gaining the weight


are those abs still under there?

are those abs still under there?

To play a lawyer in the comedy flick Starbuck, the 33-year-old actor was asked to put on a significant amount of weight.

“I gained 60 pounds in about four and a half months. I just did it the old fashioned way: eating and drinking my face off,” Pratt shared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Dec. 10. “I’ve lost a little bit of it, but it was hard. It was probably just as hard as losing weight. You wouldn’t believe it, but it is. It’s these same principle: It’s all about pain.”

showing off his abs again 60 pounds lighter

showing off his abs again 60 pounds lighter

After gaining all that weight, the 34-year-old actor underwent a physical transformation for his part in the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy” film. Pratt, who stars in the sci-fi movie, showed off his ripped body this week, taking to Instagram to post a shirtless photo of himself.Pratt attributed the transformation to six months without beer, hashtagging “GOTG” to confirm that the makeover is for the superhero film.

This isn’t the first time Chris, who stars in the sitcom, “Parks and Recreation,” has drastically transformed his physique. In 2011, Chris lost 30 pounds for the drama “Moneyball” and then, shortly afterward, gained 50-60 pounds for the comedy “Ten Year.”

“I went from 220 pounds that I cut down for ‘Moneyball’ to almost 270-280 pounds for ‘Ten Year,’ ” he said. “I gained like 50 pounds to play this fat, alcoholic character. I would drink dark beer every night.

“I would have a double order of pancakes every morning. Burgers for lunch. Fries, snacks, candy. I ballooned my weight up. It was probably very unhealthy, but it was so fun.”

Pretty impressive that he has so much control of his weight. Lots of discipline showing here!

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Over 600 Days Of Daily Exercise

Today will be the 604th day in a row that I have forced myself to exercise for 5-15 minutes. In the beginning I was impressed that I could stick to it. I read that Jerry Seinfeld made himself keep writing comedy routines every day by never “breaking the chain.” After years of thinking I had no discipline, I have proven myself wrong, changed my self image, grown in self esteem, kept some tone, can still see some abs…at least a 4-pack.

I might play tennis four times a week, but those games don’t count…I still do “my exercises.” I travel to France for a week…I do them there and before/after the flight. No matter where I am, no matter what I have to do, no matter how late—and sometimes it might be almost 2 am—I do my exercises: abs crunches, abs bicycles, bent over rows with weights, pec flys, push ups, planks (reached five min in Japan, four min the other day), wall sits…these are my regular tasks. Sometimes it is agony.

I heard this week that Novak Djokovic stretches two hours each day. But he is a professional. A former prima ballerina from the NY City Ballet told me that “anyone can find an hour-and-a-half a day to do exercises and stretches.” I thought she was naive. I barely had time to eat some meals when I started my own business and struggled to keep it going.

There were gym rats I met who had no girl friends or needed to get away from their wives. I saw them at the gym, when I went for two years. But I couldn’t keep spending 2-3 hours each visit, including travel to and from. So I gave myself the challenge of doing “anything for at least five minutes a day. 600 days is 20 months. I still can’t believe I did and am doing it. But it is one of my major accomplishments…if I can do it, maybe you can too.

The other day a friend complained that he joined a gym five minutes from his home and went a whole year WITHOUT EVER MAKING IT INSIDE! The owner gave him another year of membership. I told him about my daily routine, and I don’t think he felt 5-10 minutes a day was very impressive. However he said maybe he was setting his bar way too high. I’ll check in with him the next time we meet. Hope he is doing something…

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Goofy Prancercise May Be For You

Well I finally heard of Prancercise. I only went to France for a week, but one author said, “Wait, what’s prancercise? Have you been living in Pyongyang or something? It’s an exercise routine inspired by horses, featuring such moves as “the prancercise gallop” and “the prancercise box” as well as some incredible rhymes by its instructor and founder, Rohrback, decked out in a crisp salmon jacket and some very revealing white pants:

“We’re gonna really cut the noose and let it loose, with the prancercise gallop.” ”

Joanna Rohrback knows you are laughing at her, and she doesn’t care.

She’s aware that people think her exercise routine “Prancercise” is “goofy,” and that by extension its founder must be “spooky and goofy and weird and wacky. I say bring it on. I love it. Look at all the attention it’s getting me. If I wasn’t all those things, I wouldn’t be who I am.”

You can see the original routine below, and you can read more right here .

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Sharon Simmons Is Fit In Her Fifties

Sharon Simmons in pink (rt) trying out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad...at age 55

Sharon Simmons in pink (rt) trying out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad…at age 55

Saw this article about a 56-year-old woman, Sharon Simmons, who has worked out for over 35 years and started competing in fitness competitions just seven years ago, at 49. Of the 20 she entered, she came in first in nine and placed in two national competitions. She also wrote a couple of books about fitness, not letting age and others’ opinions hold you back, and at 55 tried out for a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader slot. You have to admire her spirit and fearlessness to take emotional risks.

No doubt she is exceptional with her physical abilities and looks at her age. Few grandmothers look like her. And even fewer women in their mid-fifties. But her attitude and life style are part of the reason. Check out her web site . And here are excerpts of the article, which includes eight of her lessons for aging and living well.

the Texas granny

the Texas granny

1. “It’s really not all about winning.”

Though Simmons has a long list of fitness competition wins, having a place in the winners’ circle isn’t what motivates her.

“It’s about getting there,” she realized after her first fitness competition in Las Vegas in 2006.

3. “Never allow anyone else to set your limitations for you.”

Over the course of her fitness modeling career, Simmons has had her fair share of criticism from friends, family and strangers alike, she said.

“People think that people over 50 should be on a porch in a rocking chair… Where would I be if I listened to them?” she said with a laugh. “We are in control of what we do to a certain extent. There’s this stigma that ‘Oh, they’re grandparents, they should really start slowing down or retiring.’ Well, why? We’re only just beginning!”

7. “Don’t lose sight of your goals. If you get sidetracked, get back on.”

Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself veering off course from your goals, Simmons advised. Failing to get back on course is worse than dusting yourself off and trying again. “[Figure out] how do I get there and then establish those steps,” she said, “because it will be small steps that get [you] to that goal.”

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Love This Doctor!

He gives great advice

He gives great advice

A friend sent me this advice from a doctor he met. I love the insights and contrarian views.

Q: Doctor, I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Heart only good for so many beats, and that it… Don’t waste on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speeding up heart not make you live longer; it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster. Want to live longer? Take nap.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: Oh no. Wine made from fruit. Brandy distilled wine, that mean they take water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made of grain. Bottom up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have body and you have fat, your ratio one to one. If you have two body, your ratio two to one.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can’t think of single one, sorry. My philosophy: No pain…good!

Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU NOT LISTENING! Food fried in vegetable oil. How getting more vegetable be bad?

Q : Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Oh no! When you exercise muscle, it get bigger. You should only be doing sit-up if you want bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: You crazy?!? HEL-LO-O!! Cocoa bean! Another vegetable! It best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming good for figure, explain whale to me.

Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! ‘Round’ is shape!

Well… I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

AND REMEMBER:

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO-HOO, what a ride!!”

AND…..

For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans…

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

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Keeping Sports In Perspective And Dealing With Envy

I write this after a week of sadness from the Boston bombings. Right now the manhunt is on for the second suspect.

I have been playing a lot of tennis: tomorrow will be 12 out of 18 days. When I missed shots yesterday, I couldn’t get upset—I was alive and safe. I was healthy enough to be active, while others my age are dead, too sick to run around, or not fit enough to play. Yesterday I hit the best lobs of my life. My ground strokes are improving after I learned a new technique. My serve is a bit harder.

I also had a physical and received the blood work: my cholesterol is still below 200 (197) and my PSA is healthy. Avoiding all those delicious cream sauces and desserts and buttery breads has some benefit. I do miss them though.

I am certainly proud that all the hard work and discipline is paying off. Some boys in their 20’s tell me that I still inspire them with my healthy living. Unfortunately, there are people who are older who find my good health and physical activity “irritating.” They seem to be envious and don’t want to hear about it. They resent my good genetic inheritance. They are jealous that I am able to make myself avoid certain foods, minimize alcohol and fat intake. It is frustrating for me that I have to hide this physical success. Yet here I am the second time in 10 days dealing with other people’s annoyance at my achievements. But it is how humans are. Some things don’t change…you can see infants fighting over who is better and who should keep the toys. Adults are often just infants in grown up bodies…

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Thoughts On Motivation And Living By A Military Amputee

This amazing story by Derick Carver—the amputee in the video above— was sent to me by a reader in Japan and is very inspirational. It’s also a good kick in the butt or take-your-breath-away punch in the stomach about how to live your life. Coincidentally, I also served at Fort Bragg, learning to jump from planes and becoming Airborne, and also spent time—a month—recuperating in Walter Reed Hospital, after I returned from non-combat, military duty in Korea with hepatitis. Other than that, of course, there is NO comparison…

In early 2010, I was serving as a Platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne. On a dismounted patrol my platoon was ambushed by the Taliban and I lost my leg in combat. I flatlined 3 times, I endured 47 surgeries, would need 52 blood transfusions. I fought through them, and I continue to fight every day of my life. I will fight until the day I die. I am an American Airborne Ranger…that is what I do.

People always ask, “What motivates you?” This question comes up at least 3 times a week while in the gym. I can only assume someone sees me, my leg and other injuries and imagines how difficult it must have been to recover from such a traumatic event. My response is always the same, “What the hell else am I supposed to do?” Three years ago I was an Infantry Officer with the 82nd Airborne, had a Ranger Tab, and I was jumping out of airplanes and leading men in combat. Now, because according to your standards I’m “disabled,” am I supposed to be a different person? Sit around and feel sorry for myself? That’s not in my nature; it’s not a choice I’m willing to accept.

Motivation or the lack thereof is a choice. Just like everything else in our lives Read the rest of this entry »

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Unbelievable Exercises To Challenge Any Human

This demonstration of 44 bodybuilding exercises is beyond belief, if you are like me and have never seen or heard of some of them. Unfortunately they are not do-able if you are a mere mortal. I suspect gymnasts could do some of these, but not many ordinary humans. There is one of them I might take a crack at. I will let you know if I break or tear any body parts…I did it, and I am sore all day…

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20 Fitness Tips From Some Experts

looks like Arnold did squats too

looks like Arnold did squats too

the pain shows, doesn't it?

the pain shows, doesn’t it?

This article sounded questionable, when I clicked on it. But it has many familiar suggestions that I agree with, and it also leads to decent videos and other short articles. So check it out. I was especially interested to read that squats are better than crunches for building abs, and that sleep plus decreased carbohydrates should reduce female belly fat.

Let’s hope these ideas will work. I am going to do some squats right now—just after two hours of evening tennis—to get in shape for two more hours of tennis tomorrow morning.

tips for squats

tips for squats

are squats better than crunches?

are squats better than crunches?

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Back On Line

Back at last, after a trip to Japan, Xmas-New Year’s holidays and guests, business and personal responsibilities, broken computer in the shop, and the Australian Open. Plus some tennis and squash hours to stay in shape. My games are improving, by the way.

But even though I was disciplined enough to keep doing my daily exercise—yesterday was 443 days without a break—I see that an interruption in my writing/posting routine can really be deadly. I have missed it all and apologize if you have been coming to read and comment and have seen the same old words staring back at you. I should do better going forward.

Sports/Exercise Report for March Through December 2012

Here is a summary of my physical activity for the last 10 months. I am proudest of doing some kind of daily exercise for 5-15 minutes every day, usually at night. Sometimes I gut out push ups, crunches or lift weights after midnight, even 2 am. And this is in addition to all the sports activities. As of today, it has been 425 consecutive days, an extraordinary and first-time achievement for an undisciplined guy like me.

The longest day of activity was only 4 1/4 hours of tennis. I have to brag that this week I played my best tennis ever. I took some lessons during the summer and modified my game and watched instructional videos. Finally some of the effort is taking hold, and I am improving quite a bit. I am sure that playing with higher-level players has made a huge difference, sharpening my strokes and volleys. The best part of my game is still at the net. If I could ever get a really good serve…well that seems the biggest challenge.

My record for doing major physical activity in a month was 25 days in November 2009. Beginning this past March, I was active the following number of days per month (and I am not counting just push ups or crunches, which would bring every month to 31): 17,22,22,18,18,18,16,8,10,12.

My record number of tennis-playing days is 18 in June 2010. Recent results are: 9,15,18,18,18,17,15,8,10,5. So I have now tied that record in three months this year.
My record for playing tennis in a month is 42 3/4 hours. I just did: 23 1/4, 34 1/2, 35 3/4, 41 1/4, 38 1/2, 34 3/4, 28, 16 1/2, 20 3/4, 10. Low numbers in December are due to holidays and traveling.
I played minimal squash: 8 (7 1/2 hrs), 7 (7 1/4), 4 (4 1/4), 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1 (1)
No skiing or cross-country skiing. Only a half-hour of snow shoveling.
No hunting for the first year in over a decade. Enjoying tennis too much.
I stocked pheasants once in November.
I swam 10 laps of butterflies twice.
I went to a gym twice in October and six times in December.
I did exercises at home. Push ups were done as follows: 6 times, 12, 13, 11, 10, 9, 5, 5, 5, 7. There is a six-week system for reaching 100 non-stop that I have tackled, but still can’t get past the third day of the third week. My lifetime record number non-stop (sometimes including a pause in the push up position) is 58 in May. I did 55 before that. Otherwise I am stuck at 50 or below. I reached a session record of 202 in January (48 continuous plus 27 sets—mostly 5 each time—over 18 minutes).
I did abs crunches and other abs exercises: 14 times, 14, 14, 11, 11, 10, 10, 4, 4, 9.
I started doing planks in October: 6, 5, 3. I reached a record time of 5 minutes. Tonight I struggled with pain to do 3 1/2 minutes.
I did bent over rows for lats: 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 2, 6, 0, 0, 0
I did some quads exercises for tennis and squash bending: 3, 0, 0, 6, 4, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3
I do some bent over barbell lifts to build lats: 5, 5, 3, 3, 6, 4, 3, 5, 5, 2
I started pec flys in October, often on a large exercise ball: 7, 9, 2

Physical Activity Feeds Your Brain

Two weeks without tennis wasn’t SO bad, because at least I was walking and climbing steps each day during sightseeing in Japan. My first week home, I played tennis four different days, and though I am still jet lagging, and almost collapsed in the third and fourth sets two days after returning, my game and energy improved greatly by the end of the week.

Now here is an article suggesting an emerging scientific view of human evolution: we are clever today in part because a million years ago, we could outrun and outwalk most other mammals over long distances. Our brains were shaped and sharpened by movement, the idea goes, and we continue to require regular physical activity in order for our brains to function optimally.

Later on, the author writes, if physical activity helped to mold the structure of our brains, then it most likely remains essential to brain health today…Recent studies have shown that “regular exercise, even walking,” leads to more robust mental abilities, “beginning in childhood and continuing into old age.”

Well looking at Buddhist temples and gardens for six hours a day in 40-degree weather sure took its toll on me…I was often exhausted. And I suddenly became aware of all the people behind store counters standing all day to earn a living. I basically sit a lot, writing or reading on the computer. Tennis stamina aside, I am definitely not used to being on my feet for hours and hours. However real physical body movement is now a regular part of my life. It’s good for health and stimulates my brain. Are you keeping active? And fiddling with a TV remote or game controller does not count as useful physical activity!

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