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Saturday, November 28, 2009

I am not a runner

I’m been doing this fitness thing for a long time. This isn’t my first rodeo, so to speak. I’ve learned a lot over the years. One of things that I’ve learned is that this industry is fluid. What’s good today is bad tomorrow and vice versa. In other words what makes a lot of money today may not make as much money tomorrow. Oops… was that our loud?

I digress.

OK, here is what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that I don’t know everything. Yes, it pains me to admit that. I tend to form very strong opinions about certain things. This is good for me as a fitness professional. I am unique and I stand by my guns. This is part of the reason that I am successful.

I can’t be stubborn though. That could hold me back.

Thus, some opinions have softened and even changed over the years. This is a good thing.

Maybe it’s me getting older. Maybe it’s me being involved at different levels of the industry. Regardless of what the reason the fact is this: I have learned to evolve and change.

I’m still always right. Don’t confuse the issue. Anyway…

I write this introduction for a reason. The reason is that I’ve changed my opinion about something. It is something that is near and dear to my heart. It’s an activity that I do everyday. It’s and activity that DEFINES me. Yeah, it’s running.

For years I’ve let people get away with a lame excuse. That excuse was this, “I am not a runner”. Fine. You’re not a runner. Not everybody can run or has the mental capacity to run so it’s ok if you don’t.

That’s a bunch of crap. I no longer accept that excuse.

Humans are made to run. Did you know that humans can beat a horse over a marathon distance? Did you know that humans can beat most any animal over a long distance? Did you know that the early humans would chase their prey until said pray got tired and then we’d simply club them to death!

Check out this interesting audio piece from NPR about running. It runs about 17 minutes and is well worth it:

Because we sweat while other animals simply pant and drool we can go much further before we need to eat, drink and rest. Humans are long distance creatures.

What about the sprints? Yeah, not so much. Usain Bolt is one fast dude but my dog could outrun him over 100m and my dog is FAT.

We weren’t made to swim either. No self respecting alligator is going to let Michael Phelps out swim her.

Jumping we suck at as well. My cat stands like 6 inches off the ground but yet can jump on the counter with very little effort. That would be like you and I jumping on to the roof of our homes from a standstill. Not likely.

Don’t even get me going on how much we can haul on our backs versus what bugs are capable of. Have you ever seen an ant doing lunge walks? See you got me going…

But we can outrun most animals over a long distance.

You are a runner, just like me. Most of you just don’t know it.

So what does this all mean?

It means that if you haven’t done a marathon you need to. Start small. Do a 5k first. Then a 10k or a 10 miler. Then a half marathon. Then the whole enchilada. The full Monty. The marathon. 26 miles 385 yards. You can do it. It’s in your genes. Where is there a race?

Find a race. Pay your entry fee. Do the race. Stop whining and do it.

My knee hurts. My ankle hurts. My back hurts. I have asthma. I get cramps. I cry a lot. I’m depressed. I’m anxious. I’m too busy. I don’t have money. I don’t know how to train.

You know these are all excuses. Everybody should do a marathon at least once in their lives. I’ve done mine. My wife has done hers. My friends Peter and River just did theirs. What about you?

Yes, you can walk a marathon. If you can walk you can walk a marathon. Yes, you can overcome all the EXCUSES that I listed about. You can and should do a marathon. Who wants to go for a run?

The vast majority of Americans refuse to take 100% responsibility for their lives and their fitness levels. This is why we are one of the sickest, fattest and slowest developed nations on earth. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Just imagine if every American trained for and completed a marathon in the next year. That’s the thought I want to leave you with. Just imagine….

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pass the Turkey

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. One of the many days per year that people think it’s OK to eat like a sow. The others, of course, being Christmas, New Years, Easter, Groundhog Day, the Super Bowl, March Madness (the entire month), 4th of July, Veterans Day, whenever the Gators, Bucs, Magic or Seminoles play, Columbus Day, First Day of School, Last Day of School, Black Friday, Red Monday, Friday the 13th, Saturday the 14th…

Of course I’m joking but I do have a serious point to make. It starts today with a question:

Is it OK to eat like a 400 pound gorilla every once in a while? Logically the answer it yes. BUT, (and that is a massive BUT) it is not OK to do this often.

I’ll explain.

Overeating on the holidays usually turns into overeating on any occasion where the mood hits you. This turns into dinner every night, then buffet lunches, then you’re putting new holes in your belt because you’re going to start your diet next week. That’s crap and you know it.

Can an alcoholic have one drink?

Can a former smoker have just one smoke?

Overeating on the holidays turns into overeating all the time. Why do you think that Americans are so fat?

How can YOU avoid the “Holiday Bulge” in your belly?

1. Get your butt out the door and do something first thing in the morning! For as long as I can remember I do one of two things on Thanksgiving morning. I either go for a long bike ride or I do a road race. This year I’m going the “Seniors First 5k” in Orlando. . Perhaps you’d like to join me?

2. Play football. That’s another thing that I do every Thanksgiving. Even if it’s just throwing the ball with my kids at least I’m outside and moving.

3. Eat a great breakfast. Have some oatmeal and fruit or some organic cereal. Just made sure that after you exercise in the morning you get some good food in you.

4. Bring a healthy dish to the party. Don’t be the one that bring pie. You know someone else will do that. Bring a salad or a fruit tray. Then you need to eat what you brought.

5. Graze like a horse. Once the food is out start munching. It’s better than all at once.

6. Drink lots of water. Water fills you up and helps to counteract al the alcohol you are likely to consume.

7. When dinner time comes eat lots of different foods but have small portions.

8. A typical Thanksgiving Dinner can have 5000 + calories. Most of that comes from mashed potatoes with gravy and dessert. Have an extra helping of turkey or salad.

9. Try to steer clear of the cranberry sauce (added sugar) and gravitate towards good stuff like green beans or asparagus.

10. Enjoy a piece of pie. Not three!!

The biggest tip for the health conscious at Thanksgiving (or any other holiday for that matter) is to enjoy yourself and don’t try to be perfect. You are allowed to slip once in a while. Americans are not fat because we eat too much at the holidays. We are fat because we eat too much on those pesky days that end in “y”.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! From my family to yours we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mad as HELL!

I won the Tower 10 Miler in Clermont today. That in itself is a great accomplishment. Right? Winning a big race in an endurance mecca like Clermont, Florida means I ran fast and must have beaten a plethora of fast dudes.

Not so.

I won by 6 minutes and barely ran 7 minute mile pace. I know, it was a Podunk first time ever race.

Not so.

It was put on by a professional race management company who, presumably, marketed it well. While this race hasn't taken place in a few years it was a staple in the early 2000's. It was a pitiful race and a pitiful turnout. I'm embarrassed to have won that race with a 1:07. I'm not surprised. This is the direction that our country is going.

OK, time for a trip in the way back machine.

It was the late 1980's. I was a young buck running road races all over Cape Cod, Massachusetts because I loved it. I was pretty fast for a teenager and won my age group most every time. Races cost $5-$8 and I won many a trophy. There were races within a 30 minute drive every weekend. Some weekends I did 2 races. If there wasn't a race there was a training race on Friday nights that I'd run every so often. I enjoyed then, like I do now, running road races.

All the races were 5 milers or 10K's and I ran around 6 minute mile pace when I was 14-15 and 5:10 to 5:30 pace when I was a little older. I'm not bragging but I ran 29:30 at 15, 27:30 at 16, 26:15 at 18, and 26:06 at 20 for 5 miles. I ran 15:40 for a 5k at 20 years old. Pretty fast, huh?

Would you believe I didn't win a road race till I was 22 years old?

I would run 27:30 for 5 miles and finish 18th. I ran 26:06 for 5 miles and didn't win. Same for my 15:40 5k. I would run 29:30 for 5 miles and finish in the 20's.

Wait a minute.

5 miles? When was the last time I ran a 5 miler? I don't remember.

Back to today.

All the races are 5k and 6 minutes per mile will win most races. WHY IN THE HELL IS THAT? Why do local races draw 40 people and someone running 7 minutes per mile can finish top 3 and even win some races?

Where have all the runners gone?

Sounds like a country song.

But wait. What about the 4th of July Watermelon race in Orlando. I did that race a couple of years ago and there were 5000 people there. Also the Turkey Trot last year in Downtown O-Town had at least 5000 people. It was a zoo.

Why did 5000 people go to those races and 50 people show up to the 10 Miler today?

Well, both of those races were 5K's. I guess runners can't make it 10 miles anymore. Also both of those races were not timed.


5000 people showed up and paid $30-$35 to run a 5k that wasn't timed? Huh? Here in lies two of the major problems.

Paying $5 for a road race in 1988 was painless. Paying $30 in 2009 hurts a lot. It took just an hour to earn your way for a person making minimum wage in 1988. You have to work for 4 hours to earn your way into a race now. Some races are still $20-$25 but still that's twice as long you have to work to race. A family of 4 could run a race in 1988 for $20. Today it's over $100. I've paid $35 for 5K's more than once. Not cool.

The money is a minor issue. The races are all still for a good cause. That's not the biggie.

Pop quiz. Do people have more diseases today than in 1988? Are people fatter today than in 1988? Do people take more drugs today? Is the popular in this country more or less fit today than in 1998?

It gets bigger than that.

Pop quiz number two. Did we have the Internet in 1988? Cell phones? I-Phones? I-Pods? Blackberry's? Instant messaging? Texting? 180 channels? HD TV?

Wow! 1998 sucked. How did we do it? How did we survive?

Oh yeah, we got up on Saturday mornings and ran road races.

I don't think it is my imagination. The running boom that people like Bill Bowerman, Frank Shorter, Kenny Moore and Dick Beardsley helping to start in the 1960's and 70's is dying a slow death. It makes me mad and it makes me sad.

All this technology has made us lazy and apathetic.

All the vaccines, drugs, caffeine, food additives and sugar have made us sick and fat.

Running is just too hard. Who wants to get all sweaty, tired and sore when you could be surfing the Internet or downloading apps for your HTC Hero.

No wonder people think 6 minute pace in a road race in fast. It's not. It's pathetic.

I'm so happy to see some of my high school running buddies getting back in shape and running marathons. I myself and going to run many road races this winter. I encourage YOU to do the same.

If you are reading this right now FIND A RACE and put it on your calender. Who cares what kind of shape you are in. Just find a race and run in it. Then find another one...

Local Central Florida Races: . Everywhere else .

You'll support a good cause, you'll get healthy and you'll have a good time.

Please support a local road race. Maybe you could bring a friend...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Crashes, cramps, and dogs... an epic journey at Killington (From the archives)

The Killington Stage race in and around Rutland Vermont is my favorite bike race. The first year that I did the race it was a five stage epic and I slept in my car. I was a Cat 4 then and I dropped the field in search of the breakaway group on the final 5 mile climb on the final day. Ah, the good old days. That was the last year it was a 5 stage race. It went to 3 for several years then closed down a couple of years back. This essay is not about victory. This essay will NOT feature a spectacular finish by Rick Copley. No, I don't chase down anyone and finish ahead of the field. On this day you get to read about me being an unlucky slug. Enjoy and please laugh at me...

Crashes, cramps, and dogs... an epic journey at Killington
by Rick Copley, king slug in the late 90's

Stage one of the now defunct Killington Stage Race is long and hilly. The feature climb is Brandon Gap which climbs a couple of thousand vertical feet at the 40 mile mark. The last 5 miles climb up to the base lodge at Killington Ski area. An epic day.

I was racing Cat 3 and I was fit and hopeful. I should have stayed home.

As the race was rolling out of town I saw a break go up the road. No thanks, I'll pass. Seventy miles in a break of 6. I'll stay in the field and take my chances up the mountains.

I was rolling along in the field when I saw helmets dropping in front of me. There is only one reason that you see helmets drop in front of you in a bike race. CRASH! I grabbed the breaks and squeezed for dear life. To late. I was on the ground. A quick check of the wheels and I was back on the road. No blood no foul. I wish that was the worst thing that happened to me that day.

So here we were cruising along in the peloton. It was a long stage with a couple of stellar climbs so that field was taking it easy until... we stopped. Thaaat can't be good sign. It looked like the race motorcycle had taken us the wrong way. We turned around and retraced our route for a full 5 miles. We'd gone an extra 10 miles. Gee, I hope I don't run our of water...

Brandon Gap is hard. I rode of the top in the second group and quickly caught the front group on the decent. Now it was 20 miles on the valley floor then 5 miles of climbing to the finish. Let's get a drink of water ....

As I was enjoying a drink the top of my bottle popped off! Oops. Since I knew I'd need the water I took the time to put the cap back on securely. I put my bottle back and I realized that I was now off the back of my group that was now attacking! I couldn't get back on! I was off the back and alone now....struggling. I couldn=t understand why I was so tired....

Soon enough I was caught from behind by a couple of smaller group. We chased and chased until finally be caught the lead group. (Actually the lead group of 6 were now 6 groups of one who DIDN'T miss the turn that the main field missed. Those dudes may have been 20 minutes ahead but they were suffering like pigs) Phew, the shelter of a group of 40 guys that lasted about 2 minutes until...

FLAT! Now that's bad luck.

When I had crashed earlier in the stage I had actually skidded and put a nice hole in my tire. It was only a matter of time before I flatted.

I was now, again, alone but this time I was now walking done the road wondering were the support vehicle could possibly be. After a few minutes it arrived and gave me a new wheel. I was moving again. Chasing again. Suffering again. Believe it or not I, again, caught the lead group. This time, however, it was at the base of the final 5 mile climb and I was getting ready to explode. It was time to crack. As soon as we started going up hill I was spit out the back The best was yet to come.

As I settled into my "I'm shelled and off the back pace" up the hill I started to feel shooting cramps in the back of my legs. I reached for my long empty water bottles... they were still empty. I needed to grab a quick stretch so I stopped on the side of the road long enough for some idiot behind me with his head down to come crashing into me. I was on the ground again. I got up and back on my bike. Finishing was now a question mark. Slow and steady will get me there. I needed water...

Like a gift from the heavens my very pregnant wife Charlene appeared behind mr in our minivan. She pulled along side me and I begged her for water. "But that's against the rules". My glare convinced her to try to hand me water through the passenger side window. Two words : bad idea. Did I mention that the dog was in the car?

No sooner had the window been fully opened when the stupid dog JUMPED out the window at me knocking me to the ground again. Now we have the following 1) me on the ground writhing in cramp educed agony 2) other rides dodging my silly runaway dog 3) my pregnant fiancé chasing said dog done the street. Then some rider (I'm not making this up) stopped his race, got off his bike and helped get the dog back in the car. I got my water bottle, hoped on my bike and staggered up the rest of the way.

I lost 15 minutes in the final 5 miles of that stage.

OK, the preceding story was a bit embellished. All of this actually did happen to me. ALL OF IT. The only thing was that in happened in 2 DIFFERENT years. Made for a funny story, eh?
The stage that I described was stage number one. One the years I crashed hard on day 2 and suffered hard on stage 3. The other year I fished 3rd on day 2 and tried an ambitious solo break away at the end of stage 3. I was caught 400 meters from the finish in the pouring rain. That year I also won the sprinters jersey that I still where every so often.

I wish I still did road races.... or maybe not.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hello... GROUND

So I’m riding along at about 30mph. I’m near the end of a long down hill when I grab my brakes and immediately my front tire pops. I’m on the ground skidding on my hip almost instantly. I came to a stop 50 down the road when I hit the curb. My race at the Duathlon World Championships was over. I cleaned out my wounds, got in my car and drove the 8 hours home for Charlotte, North Carolina to Grand Island, Florida. I was bitterly disappointed to train and work so hard all to have it do down the tubes in an instant.

I tell you this story to help you see a couple of things that I saw and maybe you can apply them to your life.

Sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. My last two races have featured me as the bug. Have you ever been the bug? We all have. The good news is that for every time you are the bug you get to be the windshields another time. That you can bank on.

I happened to crash on a corner that an ambulance was conveniently placed. Lucky me. There was also a guy there with a front wheel. He looked at my bike and asked me if I wanted the wheel to get back in the race. I looked at my bloody arms and legs and said thank you but no. Sometimes you, in racing and in life, need to know when it is time to put your tail between your legs an call it a day. Being down and out doesn’t mean you are out forever. Sometimes you just can’t finish today. That’s OK. Accept your fate, learn from it and move on. I didn’t finish the race and that’s OK.

I got home late at night and slept for a few painful hours. In the morning I woke up, put my running cloths on, walked out the door, and walk/jogged for an hour. Down does not mean out. Get back on that horse! Hey, we all fall down, right? We all mess up at work, or in our relationships, or at the dinner table… Who hasn’t had an extra dessert at the buffet? Falling down is acceptable as long as you dust yourself off and get back up.

I’m racing another big race on October 24th. My focus and energy is focused on that race. Again, I’m bitterly disappointed in what happened last Saturday but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it now but look forward to what’s next. The past is what it is but the future is perfect. You’ve heard me say that before. The future is perfect.

Lastly I want to say this. Don’t give up, don’t ever give. Life with sometimes throw you to the ground. This is the true for all of us. Your character is not defined by what happens to you rather you will be defined by what you choose to do next. I choose to press on and fight to win. How do you choose?

Please don’t use road blocks or bike crashes as excuses to not give your best each and everyday. Accomplish your goals. Start now. Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chrstopher Columbus does 20 minutes on the Precore

Most people work out just like Christopher Columbus. They go to the gym not know what they are going to do. They get to said gym and wander around not knowing what to do. They come home not knowing what they did.

Chris Columbus left for the "new world"not knowing where the heck he was going. When he got there he certainly didn't know where he was. To prove his ineptness he named the people that he found "Indians". (The real tragic irony today is that we still call Native Americans Indians.) He then went home really not knowing where he'd been.

Do you know people that work out this way? I sure do.

OK, my advice to those of you that may resemble my remarks: Have a plan! It doesn't have to be complex it just needs to be. Go to the gym with a piece of paper that has on it a workout. I don't know. Make something up. Just jot down something, walk into your workout facility and do that.

OK, so you want some guidance. What should you do?

Make sure that your workout has at least 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. You should do some functional drills and some resistance training as well. Do all three and you are getting somewhere! How many of each is up to you. As long as you do a little bit of all three then you are good to go. Let's look at what each really is and what are some options.

CARDIO: If you are sweating then you are doing cardio. You need to do at least 20 minutes of cardio virtually everyday of your life. It doesn't matter what you do really as long as you do something. I think the treadmill is the best. Swimming and rowing are excellent as well. The other stuff is acceptable as long as you do it!

FUNCTIONAL EXERCISES: Push-ups, burpees, sit-ups, squats, pull-ups, jumping jacks... see a pattern here? If you are being dynamic and/or using just your body weight then you are using your body the way it was meant to be used. To fit this into your gym routine pick at least 3 exercises and pick 3 numbers. Execute. I like to do push-ups, squats and pull-ups. As part of my routine I might do 50 push-ups, 25 squats and 20 pull-ups. Other exercises can be just as effective. You can do this at home as well. Just think of what your fitness level would be if you started your day off with 20 each squats, sit-ups, burpees, jumping jacks and push-ups. 5 minutes that could save your life.

RESISTANCE TRAINING: The "Express Circuit" is ok for the beginners but if you have any fitness at all you need to get into free weights. Here's what you need you: Focus on doing compound exercises that involve pushing, pulling and squatting. A compound exercise in one that involves multiple joints. Bench press (elbow/shoulder) is and bicep curl (elbow) is not. Doing to many sets is a waste of time. Two sets is enough. Also working the biceps, triceps, calves, forearms etc. is silly and needless. You're better off doing cardio.

OK let's tie it all together into a nice workout.

1. Cardio 20 minutes on treadmill running/walking.
2. Do at least 3 functional exercises.
3. Resistance training. For the beginner a trip through the "Express Circuit" followed by lunge walks, bench press, and lat pull-down (1 set each). For the more experienced it's 2 sets each of leg press, back squats, bench press, lat-pull down, and overhead press.
4. 15 minutes on the rowing machine.
5. Stretch for 5 minutes and be done. Have a GREAT day.

60 minutes and you are done and gone. No talking involved. No catching up with olds friends. You do that before or after. Arrive, work out hard, move on. For the quicker workout skip the 2nd cardio.

When you go to the gym have a plan. If you don't then you'll just show and do nothing like many people do. Millions of people join gyms every year and millions and people quit the gym because they don't get results. You earn the results and it requires hard work and planning.

Good luck. Have faith is yourself. Your fitness level is, afterall, your choice.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

No Surprise here

You have to check out this article from from today. Perhaps you've seen it had been shocked. I was not.

"Pfizer's corrupt practices went so far as sending physicians on exotic junkets as well as wining and dining health care professionals to persuade them to prescribe the company's drugs for patients in taxpayer-funded programs."


"Shares of Pfizer dropped 14 cents to $16.24 in midday trading."

Ouch! That must hurt! Killing a few people needlessly lops 14 cents of the bottom line. Let's try to avoid that guys.

Drug companies are publicly traded companies. That means they have a legal obligation to the shareholders to make money. BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY. This includes deceptive marketing and killing a few people.

With all this health care mess why aren't people talking about this? Why are we still observing a ridiculous vaccine schedule for diseases that don't work? Why are we giving people that smoke and drink heavily blood pressure and cholesterol medicine? Why are we giving ADHD drugs to kids that simply have food allergies? What a mess this thing is.

Is Obama care going to fix it? Can you imagine a world where the drug companies are not "For Profit"? Maybe then the goal would be to make people well instead of keep them sick.

If all were well and didn't need drugs what would Pfizer do then?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Today is a GREAT day

Today is a great day. The past is in the past and the future is perfect. How is that for positive thinking? It doesn’t matter what is going on in your life now because you can always change what you don’t like. Well, it’s time to get to work. Today is YOUR day and it was made specifically for YOU. What are you going to do with it?

If it is cloudy today the sun will come up tomorrow. If you are sad today the brilliance of your potential will make you happy tomorrow. You can take solace in that fact.

If your fitness level is not what you want it to be you know that all you have to do is make a plan, do it and the results will come. If it is to be it is up to me. That’s breaking it down to the most simple.

Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You Will Go” is one of the greatest books of all time. Here is what he has to say about your results:

"Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed. (98 3/4% guaranteed.)"

I agree. Do your best and you will get the results that you want (and deserve!). Stay positive and you WILL succeed! Now I will conclude today with more of the great philosopher Dr. Seuss: (live his words!!!)

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.”

Decide where to go and just do it!!


Believe in your self. So many people that I meet on a daily basis just don’t believe in there selves. They show up saying, “I can’t” or “I won’t” or “it’s too hard” or, you get the point. Most people are defeated by themselves before they ever step into the batters box. Don’t live your life that way. Believe in yourself and what you are capable.

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson found time to write the Declaration of Independence, be Governor of Virginia, ambassador to France and started his own college? In his free time he was president of the United States. All this without the internet, cars, running water, and text messaging. It’s all possible if you just believe in yourself and in the human spirit hat is within you. Believe in yourself and ANYTHING is possible.

Let’s get the ball rolling today! Let’s start small. First sit down tonight and plan your day tomorrow. Make sure that plan includes healthy food choices, empowering activities, and some exercise. Plan out every hour. Write it all down and go to bed. Set your alarm and GET UP 30 minutes before you usually get up. Take a 15 minute walk and review your plan for the day that you wrote last night. Now eat a healthy breakfast and do what you said you were going to do.

Do the same thing every night and every morning and you will be amazed how your confidence level will start to go up.

Next you need to start believing in yourself and you MUST refuse to succumb to the prevailing victim mentality in our country. Every time a negative thought creeps in simply push it away with positive thoughts. You will be amazed at how much better you life will become.

Next you need to get out of your life what is bothering you. Make a list and deal with each challenge one at a time. Have confidence! Don’t try to tackle the whole list in one day. Take it one thing at a time. Have you been meaning to call your mother? Clean the garage? Hire a personal training? Sorry to steal Nike’s slogan but JUST DO IT! Start now with one thing at a time!

Try these simple things and your happiness and success will begin to grow exponentially.

So many of us accept mediocrity in our lives. We accept those rolls of fat. We accept a bad relationship. We accept a messy garage? And we accept a level of health that is downright sad. Why? It’s time to take back your potential and begin to fulfill it!

“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Anthony Robbins

Monday, August 24, 2009

Drowning in Tuscaloosa

Race report. USA Triathlon Olympic Distance Age Group Nationals. Tuscaloosa, AL. August 22, 2009. 1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run.

This race, on this day became a complete and utter travesty. USA Triathlon, you should be ashamed of yourselves for putting on this race the way you did! You put lives in danger! We are all lucky that nobody died out there.

Here's the story.

The swim was in the Black Warrior River. Apparently in years past the locks up river stopped the flow of water for the race so that there was no current. For some reason that didn't happen this year. The current was swift. I'm sure USAT knew this but subjected the field to the unsafe conditions anyway.

The swim course was a big ol' rectangle with a missing piece. Unbelievably the majority of the course was upstream! We started on a dock and swam with current a couple of hundred yards. Then it was across the river, then a 1000 yards slog upstream! The last 200 or so yards was cross current. The swim exit was at least 400 yards UP CURRENT. Gulp.

With a horn blast I was off. My start was good for a while until the outer swimmers collapsed in front of me and created a bit of a headache. I cleared that mess before the right hand turn. Across the river we went.

I was good across until I had to start going upstream.

Fuck! This sucks!

It didn't take long my wave to plow headlong into a group of swimmers that had started 3 minutes before us. It took even less time for me to completely mess up my race by forgetting what color swim cap I had on. My cap was GREEN. I decided that I needed to follow white caps. Smooth move ex-lax. That was really stupid and it was a mistake I would pay for all day.

It took me a while but eventually I figured out that my cap was green and I tried to get away from the white caps. It was, however, to late. I was mired in an endless pool and fighting to get out.

I wasn't supposed to do this race. I decided a couple of weeks ago to add it to the schedule. I've been preparing for Duathlons so I was doing very little swimming. In my mind I could gut out a 22 minute swim. As 22 minutes came and went so did my swimming ability. I was struggling to move forward in the current. My race was in deep trouble and I had a long way to go.

Finally the last buoy came and it was time to swim across the river. Almost on cue my foot and groin started to cramp.


Usually your feet move like fins. My right foot was locking up at a 90 degree angle. I was in danger of being swept down stream. With a herculean effort I fought my way though the current to the swim exit.

I was prepared for a 22-25 minute swim. This one took me 38. I was completely and utterly shattered. Plow on I must. Plow on I did. Onto the bike.

The bike course was up and down the entire way. It was 2 laps and there were 4 short sections on each lap that were flat. The rest was up or down hill. I was struggling on the first lap to keep my pace. The swim completely wiped me out. At one point at the top of a hill I actually stopped to see if my brakes were rubbing. They were not. I rode faster on the 2nd lap than the first.

My time for the 25 miles was just over an hour. My craps went away on the bike as I rode so that became a non-issue and I was ready for the run. How would I feel? Would I cramp? Would I walk or jog? I prayed that my legs wouldn't fail me and they did not. I knew before I got out of transition that I was going to have a good run.

And I did. I passed people the entire way and nobody made any effort to go with me. I didn't get passed once. 36:28 for 10k on a hot day was a pretty good time. Good enough for 7th fastest in my age group. The lone bright spot in an awful day.

My results? I was 24th out of 59 in the 35-39 age group. That's not a bad result considering this was the national championships. I missed out on being State Champion by just one place. I was the 2nd Floridian. My swim was 39th/56. What a disaster.

Who did others fare?

Dean Davis of Florida is 80 years old and took over 1 hour and 44 minutes to swim 1500 meters. Poor Sarah Ingersoll from California took 2 hours 54 minutes and 21 seconds! That's over 10 minutes per 100 yards. Go to the pool and swim down and back twice and see how long it takes. That's 10 minutes to go the length of a football field. (15 times!) Tom Plaut from North Carolina is 72 years old and it took him 2 hours 37 minutes and 30 seconds. Unbelievable.

The swim was a nightmare and it's my opinion that it was just plain unsafe. Can you image what would have happened if this wasn't the National Championships? These are the best people in the county. I'm still in shock from the whole experience.

For me it's not just sour grapes about not being a good swimmer. The course was just plain unfair and unsafe. I would have prepared differently if I knew I'd be in the water for 38 minutes. That's just my opinion.

I was 24th in my age group and there were 13 different states represented ahead of me. Clearly this race had a quality field. Somehow all these people managed to swim against the tide.

Roll tide roll...!?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Idiots

People that smoke are idiots. There I said it. Hate me if you will and stop reading now if you must but I am about to rail on smokers.

I can not think of a more more stupid thing to do to your body on an hourly basis. Smoking is dangerous to you, the people around you and the environment. It's just not smart.

People smoke for reasons that make no sense to me. Here are some of the reasons:

1. It's cool. To me that's like the wearing your pants around your knees thing that kids do now. OK, now that makes perfect sense. Let's light fire to a processed plant that has thousands of toxic substances added to it to that you are assured to get addicted, suck that smoke into your lungs and blow it into the environment. This, of course, pisses off the people around you and makes you look stupid but what the heck a few people will think you look cool.

2. It's relaxing.

3. Oral fixation / something to do with my hands.

4. It tastes goo. Whatever, all of these are stupid.

5. I'm addicted. OK, this one is the bigger. Do you know that nicotine, the main added chemical that gets you addicted, is not necessary in a pack a smokes. It's there to get you addicted.

Honestly I don't care why people smoke. It's stupid.

4 million people per year die because they smoke. That number looks like this 4,000,000. That's 456 people per hour. 7 per minutes. Or one every 10 seconds. Who's next.

If you smoke a pack per day then you smoke one every hour. Again, if you smoke your an idiot.

I met a man the other day who is in his mid-70's. He walks around the YMCA with his oxygen in tow. I asked him how long he smoked for. Over 50 years was his labored answer. 50 years. Now this poor old man can't walk to bathroom without getting out of breath and having to sit down. He's one of the lucky ones to make it this long.

I asked this man what he would tell a young smoker and he really didn't have much to say. He just looked at me with defeated eyes and muttered, "Please don't smoke".

Smoking to me is more of a attitude than anything. People that smoke are bucking the system. They're the "bad boys" or "bad girls". These are the people that think they are living life to the fullest and standing up to the man.

I was walking in the park the other day and I saw a lady smoking on a bench with a "No Smoking" sign on it. I didn't say anything but I wanted to.

I think the smokers that need you to know they smoke are the most ridiculous ones. You know, they have to have their smokes in their hands when they walk into a bar or their tucked in a shirt pocket that is easily visible. My favorite is behind the ear. "Look at me!! I'm stupid!!" In like that old Nirvana song "Smells like teen spirit...".

I remember being young and on a trip with my sister and her boyfriend. The boyfriend, we'll call him Tom, was a light smoker. We were going to a restaurant to meet an old friend of his. When we were almost there he lite one up. Much to his dismay we were a little further away than we thought and he smoked his butt to the nub. Of course he lit up another one just as we got there cause god forbid he show up not smoking. It's ludicrous.

Did you know that smoking causes the skin around your mouth and eyes to wrinkle prematurely. Look at people in a bar and I almost guarantee that you can spot the ones that are going to go outside soon to light up. Have you ever heard a person in there 40's or 50's with a real gravelly voice. Current or former smoker.

Did you know that average smoker lives 12 years less than a non-smoker?

Tobacco kills more Americans than AIDS, drugs, homicides, fires, and auto accidents combined.

Do I really need to go on.

If you smoke you are being very, very stupid. You need to quit now. My dad came to this realization in 1976. He still go lung cancer in 2009. He fighting well but is still only 67. It could happen to anyone.

If you smoke you need to stop. If a loved one smokes you need to make it very clear that this behavior is unacceptable. Try anything that you can. It probably won't work but maybe it will bring them closing to making the choice themselves.

Remember people that smoke are selfish and don't care about you and I. If they did they'd care that the 50,000 people per year that die from second hand smoke. Smokers don't care. It's so sad.

I am so saddened by the people close to me that smoke. I wish they could just stop.

I leave you with my favorite tidbit about smokers. Find a former smoker. Ask them this: "Do you wish that you had never started smoking?".

What do you suppose the answer is going to be?

Friday, August 14, 2009

67% of American's are overweight. Holy CRAP!

America is fat. The statistics do not lie. Check out this website:

According to the about site in 1991 (the year I graduated from high school) there were 4 states in the highest obesity category at the time. (15-19%) This means that 46 states had rates of obesity below 15% while only 4 were in the 15-19% category. No states were 20%+.

Fast forward 11 years. Why do we look 11 years later? That’s how long it took for at 50 states to be into the 15-19% category. Gulp. By this time 3 states had leapfrogged over the 20-24% category to the 25-29% category. This is awful!

OK, now let’s go to the last year we have stats: 2007. Any question as to which way the trend is going? In 2007, just 16 years after I graduated from high school (I’m 36 years only, for crying our loud) only one state is left in the 15-19% range. Just one! A full 27 states are in the 25-29% category! This is up from 3 states in 2002. Now we have 3 states in 30%+. My god, what in the world are we doing to ourselves?

Is it safe to say that the rates of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, autism, et. al. are going up as well?

Whatever we are doing as a nation is not working. It’s time to go rogue. What follows are 5 simple (and FREE) tips that will help you lose weight AND get healthy. Remember: You’re rogue now, the system is not working!

1. Fad diets don’t work. Don’t even try. I say this about fad diets: If they worked long term wouldn’t we all be on them and the obesity rates would be going down? Fad diets in general restrict your calories and may help you lose water weight for a while. In the long run all that happens is that your metabolism gets slowed down so that when (not if) you give in to your cravings your weight balloons back up! I once asked a person if he knew anybody that had results on the fad diet that he was on. He said that he had. Who? “Me! I lost over 40 lbs!” Dude, you gained it back that’s why you are on that stupid diet AGAIN! Trust me. None of them work long term for most people.

2.Drink water. I heard recently that you should drink ½ you body weight in ounces of water per day. For me at 166 lbs that 83 ounces per day. 128 ounces in a gallon so that’s between a ½ gallon and ¾ of a gallon (2-3 litters) per day. I’ll do that. Will you? It always amazes me the number of people that won’t drink water of consume that Crystal Light crap or even soda. That’s just plain dumb. Remember people: What we are doing isn’t working!

3. Eat only NATURAL foods. OK, here’s a test. Which is the natural food? Bagels or apples? Eggs or pancakes? Blueberries or chocolate? Water or apple juice? Brown rice or white rice? (That’s a tough one. The white rice is completely void of nutrition. The word “enriched” just means that they took all the good stuff out and replaced it with synthetic crap that does you no good. Brown rice is good.) Sugar or honey? Chicken or tofu? (Another tricky one. Tofu can also be spelled C – R – A – P) Sunflower seeds of pop tarts? I could go on all day. If it has chemicals or sugar in it then it is not natural and thus NO GOOD.

4. Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day. What do you eat? See number 3.

5. Eat a HUGE breakfast, good sized lunch, and a small dinner with plenty of snacking in between. Don’t eat between meals? What a load of horse sh…. What do you eat? See number 3.

There you have it. 5 FREE tips that can change your life if you just forget all the garbage you read and hear about on TV and in the glossy magazines. If what they say worked wouldn’t we all be thin and disease free. I feel generous today. Here are 4 more tips to living your best life.

1.Better yourself by doing some research. Check out the following websites with an open mind:

2. Run or volunteer at The Maui Mile on September 20th.

3. Hire me as your personal trainer. You invest money in lots of things. Shouldn’t one of them be your health? For a relatively small investment I could change your life.

“I just want to thank you for helping my husband. You have been the first "thing" to really get him motivated. I have never seen him work so hard before. He has been struggling with this weight for a while now and I was afraid he was just growing content with his lifestyle. But I really see a difference in him, mentally and physically. He has the bug. I heard him say for the first time, "when I get this weight off." He used the word "when". So thank you for all that you do to keep both of us going and striving for a better lifestyle. He has tried many different things and has not kept up with any of them until now!!! Thank you. He is starting to see the results. This is very exciting! – The spouse YMCA personal training client.

4. Do something different. Try Zumba, take a cycling class, go geocaching, train for a marathon, play soccer, go canoeing, play dodge ball, challenge your kid to a race…. Who cares what it is. Just get out the door and do something different!

I’m serious about everything in this email. You should be also if you want results! It’s time to go ROGUE. The system is broke. Don’t go down with it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thanksgiving at the Pharmacy (from 2004)

Let me start this article by reminding you where I stand on the issue of drugs: hate ‘em. It is my belief that many of the health problems that we have today have a root cause from the pharmacal industry. Is it money? Is it human nature to want to help find a better way? Who knows. The fact is that this country is out of control. A pill for every ill. We are going to drug ourselves into oblivion if we do not do something. Today. There are some of us who realize this and are trying to change things. We’re losing the battle and the war.

I went to visit my mom out of state this year for Thanksgiving. While I do love my mom to death and think she is a wonderful person she really doesn’t see things the way I do. She thinks drugs are the answer for everything. Again, a pill for every ill. Great.

My mom doesn’t have a 9 to 5 job, per say. Her job is 24/7. She is a foster mom with various children of all ages staying with her for weeks, months or years. Most of these kids are taken out of homes of out of control, drug addicted, neglectful parents. To hear some of her stories is sickening. Two and three year old kids wandering around town looking for food, 5 year olds eating candy for dinner while the parent sleeps. Yeah, sick stuff. Thankfully my mom offers a safe and loving home for these kids. A life they certainly didn’t have. On the surface this is great. Unfortunately our government and the pharmaceutical industry has to weigh in on these kids. If the government is involved then the drugs are not far behind.

There are currently 7 people living in my moms home. My brothers are 22 and 19 and my baby sister is 15. The 3 foster kids are 16, 6 and 5. My mom is the 7th person living in the house that I’ve nicknamed "The Pharmacy".

I already mentioned that the kids were taken out of some pretty ugly situations. Abuse and neglect, drugs and alcohol. You name it. To say the least these three kids had some emotional issues. What really bothered me was that these kids were taken out of neglectful situations yet they were all on drugs. All of them. Why? I did pose this question to my mother and received the answer I anticipated. Apparently these kids were out of control. Violent, emotional, crazy stuff. Temper-tantrums, stealing and uncontrolled behavior abound. Drug ‘em.

Now I know what your thinking. Four year olds need psych drugs to be kept under control. What 5 year old isn’t a little depressed and anxious? Aren’t most kids with ADHD or ADD on some sort of drugs? Newsflash: ADHD and ADD do not exist. See chapter "ADD: A Designer Disease". OK, maybe you weren’t thinking that.

True, a violent 4 or 5 year old needs to be controlled. My mom told me about the older brother of the 5 year old with her now. Jerome was so violent when he was in their home that my family actually feared for their lives. This 7 year old actually threatened to kill my mom and brothers. Yeah, that kid need to be controlled. But, with drugs? No way. How about his little sister Tanya who, at age 5, has no front teeth because she lived off junk food since birth. (Heck, since before birth) How do you control out of control kids? Do you NEED to control them? Depends on the kid. I don’t believe that drugs should be the first line of defense. How about limiting, oh I don’t know, SUGAR maybe.

I did suggest to my mom that maybe the diets of these kids needed to be analyzed. She assured me that the diet of said youngsters was very good and that they rarely had sugar. Huh. A little investigations by me proved otherwise. In the cabinets was "flavored" oatmeal, sugar cereals, maple "flavored" syrup, Jiff Peanut Butter, name brand jelly, white bread and snacks galore. In the fridge soda, cow’s milk and processed cheese. Oh yeah, popsicles in the freezer. The evidence of nutrient deficiency was all over little Tanya’s mouth. What causes a 4 year old to lose all her teeth anyway? Is a healthy diet going to cure these kids of anger and anxiety issues? Maybe, maybe not. Isn’t it a better way to go then drugging the hell out of toddlers?

I mentioned the government earlier. What’s wrong with government? I mean, the state saved them from broken homes, right? True enough. What do you suppose happened next? Yep, doctors check ups and, drum roll please... vaccinations. It is a safe bet to assume that these kids were not "up to date" on their baby shots. After a couple of visits with the doctors I’m sure these kids will never get mumps, measles or the dreaded diphtheria. I am certainly making assumptions here. But if I’m right and these foster children got pumped full of vaccines the shots ARE causing more harm than good. See

Vaccines are a whole separate issue that I don’t want to get into here. Do some research. You’ll see. Think autism and neurological disorders.

OK, shall we review? We’ve got 5 and 6 year old kids who started off life on the wrong foot. The mothers ate crappy foods that damaged their babies developing systems, then poured in lots of alcohol and a few other unsavory substances. The kids are then abused, neglected and malnourished. When being "saved" what do you suppose they need? How about a little love, affection, exercise and an apple. Or a banana. A cucumber? Nope. Drugs.

Am I wrong?

No, I’m not stupid and I’m not being naive. I know these kids were crazy and out of control. I would be too. Maybe drugs are a good place to start. But, my god, there has to be an end game and some caution. Welcome to the greatest health care system in the work. Let’s scare and then drug the hell out of the elderly and the children. The ones that are to scared or to young to know any different.

As if I wasn’t annoyed enough, there is more. One night while visiting my mom I engaged in a horrendous game of Monopoly. (read: I got my but kicked) At around 10pm my mom was informed that little Tanya has fallen asleep. My mom was downtrodden. She hadn’t had her sleeping pill yet! Horrors! Believe it or not my mom wanted to wake this child up to give her her sleeping pills under that auspice that she would wake up to early.

For the 45 minute drive to get a Christmas tree the 16 year old Sara needed dramamine.
My younger brother and sister both take antibiotics to combat the dreaded plague of acne. Hey, what causes acne anyway? Another subject, another day.

My mom is a walking pharmacy herself. I didn’t ask her about her chemical intake but my brother told me she takes 9 pills per day. Any drug to drug interactions? Again read "Killing Me Softly". Great, huh?

As we were getting ready to drive back to New Hampshire I made the offhand comment that my son had a little trouble behaving on the first trip. My mom offered some dramamine. I responding with the following, "I don’t drug my kids." She didn’t get it.

If you read the article about ADD on website you’ll understand my point about drugging kids. They’re kids! Wild and uncontrollable are common behaviors from kids that are on permanent crash and burn sugar highs. What if we drugged Albert Einstein or Bill Gates? Why can’t kids be who they are? The way we drug the our children and our elderly is disturbing. Disturbing. The trend has to stop.

The recent Vioxx scandal is a blessing in disguise. Merck, the maker of Vioxx knew long before 2004 that Vioxx increased the risk of heart attacks. Check out: . Now people are starting to take a look at other drugs and ask the questions the drug companies don’t want to hear. Can the conventional medicine system of drug first ask questions later be starting to crumble? I truly hope so.

While my Thanksgiving at the pharmacy was pleasant and fun, it was frustrating also. It is so sad to see that people actually think like my poor mother. People believe that drugs are the answer. A problem is a problem and is rarely "solved" with a drug. Symptoms are often masked or even eliminated but the problem still persists.

Four year olds that get ripped out of a broken home have serious emotional problems. Why deal with those problems when you can just give them a drug to keep them under control? Sickening. Why eat healthy when you can just take a drug to make things better. Sickening.

I really don’t blame my mother. She’s told by doctors, psychologists, sociologists and specialists that this is the way. She is then forced to administer and defend these drugs. It is a poor position that my mother is put in to. Sadly she believes that this is the way.

In the end of my articles I usually rant and rave about the poor and declining state of health in this country. Not today. Today I want you to think about how YOU can make a difference. Yes, you.

Question and research everything. Before you put anything in a childs body read about it first. Read articles, read books, do internet searches. Get both sides of the story! Don’t trust your doctors. They may be wrong! Don’t listen to adds on TV. Why do you suppose drug companies spend millions of dollars to put adds on TV for prescription drugs? Think about that for a second.
Keep the following foods out of your house: soda, candy, junk food (yeah, you know what junk food is), milk, soy, sugar, caffeine, bright colored cereal, maple "flavored" syrup, "fruit" (the 10% kind) juice, mayonnaise, white bread, white pasta. Lead by example! Get your kids exercise and feed them good foods! If they have a fever let them rest and give them plenty of water. Hey, isn’t that was parents did in the "old days"? Day care won’t take them if they’re sick? Take the day off. Kids won’t eat wheat bread? They will if that is the only kind of bread in the house. If you’re kids are young enough you can teach them to eat well because they will know what happens when they eat garbage. For god’s sake don’t immunize them. Read Robert Mendelson’s classic book "How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor".

What can my mom do? Any guesses? Survey says...I mean, what can she do? If I were her trainer I’d tell her to do the following:

1) Get some education. Drugs, nutrition, exercise. There are tons of sources that will provide boatloads of info that her doctors are not giving her. (See below.)

2) Eliminate the sugar food from her house. It’s a start. Replace with quality foods.

3) Have more fruits and vegetables around. The kids will eat them eventually. When they’re hungry enough.

4) Walk everyday. 60 minutes. It is a great place to start. Heck, even take the kids every so often. No time? Get a treadmill. Live on it. If my mom reduces her stress by having some alone time then it will give her more patience to deal with the crazy kids.

5) Look into getting herself off her boat loads of drugs. I’m sure her doctor has assured her that she needs all the drugs but I think her doctor is incorrect. Refer to #1: Education.

My actual recommendations to my mother would be much more comprehensive but his list is the starting point.

As my moms health and wellness improves she should then look into fighting for the rights of the children in her care to live a drug free life. We can’t follow the loudest voice with our heads in the sand forever. Let’s wake up. Today. Now.

All drugs are dangerous regardless of the desired results. All doctors and heath care "professionals" downplay the risks. It is a sad state.

I wrote this essay to illustrate my perspective on a problem. You may read this and think that it must be easy for me to be critical of situations that I am not in. True enough. I’m not in that situation. I do, however, have a rambunctious and energetic 5 year old in my house. We also have a 15 year old who has "ADHD". Oh wait, HAD ADHD. He’s OK now that we took him off the drugs. That’s right, stopping the drugs improved him dramatically. Funny, ah? The drugs that were supposed to help him actually set him back years. It’s sad actually.

No kid need drugs long term. No kid should have his emotions controlled because he had excess energy or under developed social skills. Why is no one looking out for these poor children? The doctors and drug companies are destroying another generation. When will the madness end? When? For the love of god, when.

"The Makers Diet" by Jordan Rubin
"Body by God" by Dr. Ben Lerner
"How to Raise a Healthy Kid in Spite of Your Doctor" by Dr. Robert Mendleson

How a guy named Boobar changed my life

It was the summer of 2004. For years I'd done races here and races there. A little of this and a little of that. I had some successes but my racing career was not one that I was proud of. I was in a massive period of stagnation.

Then a heard about a triathlon race weekend at Waterville Valley in New Hampshire. On road tri on Saturday and off road tri on Sunday. Sounds like a good time to me. We could camp and I could do a couple of triathlons. My kind of weekend.

Saturday morning brought buckets of rain. Crap. Oh well, at least I'll be cool for the road triathlon. I set up my transition area in the pouring rain and went to the beach to freeze for a while till I jumped into the chilly water for the 400m swim. Just before the race was to start the rain stopped and the sun peeked through.

Within minutes we were off and swimming. I didn't swim much in those days so I struggled a lot in the water. I was like a fish out of water... no, more like a cat in the water. I wasn't happy but I pushed through. Out of the water and onto the bike. Bike was better but still not great. The run was excellent but I couldn't make up for the time I'd lost in the water and on the bike. I finished 20th and was dejected.

I was mad at myself. I was mad about the way my career had gone since college. I was just plain mad and disappointed. In high school it was all about expectations for myself. In college about struggling to get back to where I'd been before. I had good years but fell short of where I could have been. After college had been one disappointment after another. I was over 30 now and not getting any younger. Here I'd thought myself a good triathlete and I proved otherwise on this day.

I took a long walk with my wife that night and thought long and hard about what I really wanted from racing and competing. Was it for me? Was there more out there? Could I be better? Should I just give up?

I decided to just race in the morning and see how it went. After all day 2 was an off road triathlon and I was a good mountain bike racer. Let's give it a shot.

The next days swim was better. I was a minute faster and feeling good. Then I got on the bike and my world changed. I was flying. I worked my way past the swimmers that beat me and into the lead. I felt great. Then came the moment it all changed for Rick Copley.

Have you ever had a moment like that? I moment that defines you for good of for bad? A moment that stand out as a transition in your life?

My moment was some dude passing me. This dudes name was Matt Boobar and boy was he fast. He was wearing a triathlon suit and riding like a warrior. I tried to stay with him but he just pulled away. Today was my day though and I taught Mr. Tri Guy a lesson on the run and passed him up! Matt had actually started in a wave behind me so in the results he and another guy had beaten me so I finished 3rd overall and that was that. I raced great and was happy going home. I felt like I did have a future in triathlon and I had some motivation to go after it! Then I got home and got on the internet.

Turns out Matt was an absolute champion and so was Ryan Kelley who was the other guy that beat me. Matt would go on that year to win the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP in XTerra. Ryan would place on the podium. Matt Boobar was the best in my age group in the whole entire world and I finished just a minute behind him in a race? (Matt and Ryan are both now professional triathletes) My goals and aspirations were about to change. No longer was I going to be the best in my town, or county, or state.. there were bigger fish to fry.

The next winter my wife and I made the decision to relocate to Florida. On the way to Florida in July we stopped to do the XTerra East Championships (XTerra is off road triathlon) in Richmond,VA. I raced hard and crossed the line exhausted. I was handed a result card. What did 3rd / 56 mean? Was I really 3rd in my age group? No way. If that is true then I qualified to race at the XTerra Worlds in Maui, Hawaii. No possible way. It was, however, true.

Race I did. That day in Maui I arrived on the XTerra scene and finished 63rd overall and 7th on my age group against the best in the world.

There is a point to all this personal story stuff. The point is this: Shoot for the stars. Don't settle for just being good. It was nice to be the best on my team in high school but I wanted to be the best in the state. So we did it. Don't just be the best in your little area. Be the best in the world at everything that you do!

It goes back to the Cub Scout motto that I've written about before. "Do you best." Do your best at each and every thing that you do. If you do the dishes make them the best, most orderly, dishes ever. If you have to do a project at work then make it the best project ever. Shoot for an A+!!

I've transformed myself from being a good to great triathlete by shooting for being the best in the world. You can have success in every area of your life it you strive to be the best that you can possibly be... ALWAYS.

Friday, August 7, 2009

We need to lose

The year was 1987. The place was a snow covered Franklin Park Golf Course in Boston. On this unseasonably chilly and snowy day the Eastern Massachusetts Class Cross Country meets were held on and around the storied golf course. I remember the dejected feeling as I sat, sweaty and cold in the dirty, slushy snow. On this day my Cross County team didn't qualify for the state championships for only the 2nd time in the 20+ years that the meets have been held. I felt the deep seeded guilt for being part of this team failure. The hurt went deep. The lesson, however, was ingrained deeper.

I will never forget this day.

I was only a freshman on that day and for that season. I was the 5th man and last scoring position on a team that finished 8th in a race where 4th was required to move on. I learned something that day. I learned to lose and it was the best lesson that I ever learned.

The next Monday a bunch of us got together and went for a run. We ran every day. As the weeks rolled on the group got smaller and smaller until one day, in the dead of winter, I was the only runner to leave Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School's cleat room to do a 6 mile run. I soldiered on till spring running every single day vowing to apply the lesson I learned months earlier in the snow at Franklin Park. Losing didn't fit me.

The next year we returned to the Class B meet and finished 4th to qualify for the All-State Meet. At States I was a sophomore and my team claimed 10th and I finished in 106th place. This was better but we still lost to 9 teams. Lessons are meant to be learned. Defeats are meant to sting. I again learned a valuable lesson and pressed on towards a lofty goal of having no team finish higher than my team.

My junior year my team succeeded and we didn't lose to one single team. Not one.

My senior year we had one of the best teams in the country. We were ranked #2 in the entire nation behind a team in California. We were just a little school from little Cape Cod but yet our team was in the cross hairs of the best in the country. Early in the season we faced the previous years New England Champions on their home turf and lost a dog fight by a few points.

Time to learn lessons from losing again.

Four weeks later we faced the same team from Saint Rafael's academy of Providence again in their backyard except this time we rolled them. We were peaking and we made them look silly. Lesson learned. At states we won again. Lessons applied.

These lessons from high school sports have stuck with me for my entire life.

In 2005 I raced like a champion at the XTerra Worlds and finished 7th in my age group. The next year I went back and stunk up the place with a flat tire. Which race did I learn the most from? This year I went to Richmond, Virginia in April and had a disastrous race in the Duathlon Nationals. I went back 7 weeks later and had the best race that I've had in years at the XTerra Atlantic Cup. I learn. You bet I learn!

You learn more from your loses than you do from your wins.

I work at the YMCA so I support YMCA programs. I do not, however, support the "everybody plays, everybody wins" philosophy. Yes everybody needs to play but youth sports should be about lessons and about improving. If you don't learn how to lose how are you going to learn how to win? (You know this is true in life and not just sports, right?) Worse yet, if you never experience failure as a youth then how are you going to deal with it as a young adult?

I wish the YMCA's and schools would stress competing more. This would help the kids that are excelling to excel. It would also help get kids that aren't meant for sports into art or music or whatever their passions may be. We all carve out our space in life and fill it with light. Why not be happy about the space you carve and the light you fill it with?

I push my son to be his best and enjoy what he's doing. If he doesn't want to play soccer or basketball I'm not going to make him. BUT, if he plays he will learn to do his best and learn to win and lose. After all, it doesn't matter in the who wins or loses it's who tried there best and learns the lessons for the next games. That, my friends, is the secret of my success.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

10 Steps to Ultimate Health

Have you every agonized over a complex problem or situation for hours and hours only to find the answer right under your nose? Yeah, me too. Well, we as Americans appear to fighting tooth and nail with the complex issue of health and wellness. Been sick recently? Know someone who has cancer? Arthritis? Asthma? Acne? Yeah, me too. Along with these ailments heart disease and obesity are leaving millions of us on drugs, out of work and stressing the health care system. Time for a change. Time to fight back. Knowledge needs to be you weapon. Your answer is now right under your nose.

There are very few guarantees in life. There are also very few rights. Health, wellness and vitality are certainly not guaranteed and are not a right. These are privileges that need to be earned through hard work, patience, persistence and planning. Unlike the drug ads that you see on TV or in the glossy magazines a miracle pill or cure is not in the pipeline. The cure to what ails you, or the vitality and energy that eludes you, is hidden in the mirror. It is within you. Time to unlock the beast.

What follows are 10 simple suggestions to being a better and more healthy you. No guarantees here. It is up to you; take it as far as you wish. Do just one or set your sights on all 10. Your choice. Choose wisely. The road is a bumpy one but the destination is worth it.

1. Shut off your cable TV. Yeah, you read right. Cable TV has several negative affects on you and your family. For one it sucks you in when you could be doing something else. Ever claim that you don=t have time for something but manage to watch CSI every Thursday night? Funny, huh? The second major is issue is the ads. Get a stop watch. Turn on the TV and hit "START". The first time you see an add for either a drug or junk food hit "STOP". Exactly. The Alternative? There are several subscription DVD services out there where, for less than $20 a month you can watch all the CSI you want. My house has gone through several periods without cable TV. We never shriveled up and died yet from a lack of CNN, The Weather Channel and Seinfeild re-runs.

2. Don't take drugs. This is a biggie. I'm not talking about crack or heroin here. Aspirin, Motrin, Tylenol, Celebrex blah, blah, blah. Drugs lead to dependency, liver problems, side effects and scores of other health issues. Every hear of Vioxx? A couple of years ago Vioxx was a safe pain reliever. Now Celebrex is having problems also. Oh, by the way, both these drugs were found to cause heard problems. Yeah, in 1999. I can refer you to the actual article. The issue of drugs is bigger than the scope of this article. The point is that drugs make people sick. Healthy people don=t take drugs. Take that how you will.

3. Avoid or eliminate caffeine. No study ever done (and there have been thousands) have ever shone that caffeine has a positive impact on your body. Not a one. Caffeine = stress. Ever try to not drink caffeine for a couple of days? Caffeine is a drug that is unhealthy for your body. Did you know that caffeine stays in your body for 60 days? Not good.

4. Avoid or eliminate dairy. Studies have shone that dairy consumption leads to a host of diseases and problems including back pain, allergies, asthma, osteoporosis, acne, Alzheimer's, "A.D.D.", bed wetting, colic, Crohn's Disease, diabetes, depression, ear infections, head aches, heard disease, heartburn, iron deficiency, kidney stones, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and SIDS. Check out if you don't believe me. Why do people think daily is good for you? Follow the money. Again, beyond the scope of this article.

5. Eat plenty of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These foods are the building blocks of life. Raw foods have vitamins, minerals and enzymes that aid in digestion and help to ward off illness. Try eating some raw food at every meal throughout the day.

6. Avoid or eliminate soy. This one gets me in trouble. If I can=t have soy and dairy then what can I have? When people say that to me I have to laugh because I picture people sitting around eating nothing but milk, cheese and soy burgers. Please refer to or for the entire picture on soy. To summarize soy is an overly processed, highly contaminated food that contains many "anti-nutrients" that contribute to many physical problems.

7. Exercise for an hour ever single day. Lift weights, ride a bike, rock climb, hike, run. What ever. Just move. Sixty minutes every single day of the week.

8. Get plenty of fresh air and sunshine and drink plenty of pure, clean water. These elements have been with us since the dawn of time. Don't ever discount the positive effects of water, sunshine and fresh air. The sun is great as long as you don't burn and the water is best either bottled from a good source or purified with a high end water purifier or softener.

9. Do Yoga. Not only does Yoga provide you with a time to relax and reflect but also it provides you with a base of flexibility that could help your body to feel better. Try it, you'll see.

10. Lastly you should see the following professionals: a chiropractor, a personal trainer and doctor of natural health. Unfortunately, like almost all professions you're going to find good ones and bad ones. If the professional you see doesn’t help you set good goals and provide you some natural and healthy means to get to where you need to be then keep shopping. The goods ones are out there!

Do one of the above steps and see how you feel. Try two or three or all ten. Do your best and start today. Sickness and disease are not unavoidable. You can be healthy. Now you have the tools. Go out and make today the day you make a difference in your own life. Do it for you. Be strong.

The Gym Triple Crown

Go to a health club and what do you see? Machines. Machines, everywhere machines. Every muscle in your body can be isolated from every direction with a different machine. Many fitness centers cram so many machines into their facilities that it is hard to move around; never mind get in a good work out. In my opinion many of these machines are over-used and not very beneficial. There are, however, many moves that you can do in a gym that provide huge benefits no matter who you are and what your fitness level is. This article is going to feature my three favorites.

My three favorite gym exercises are: the Squat, the Pushup, and the Pull-Up. All three exercises spike your heart rate, require and develop phenomenal core strength, are extremely functional and can be both extremely challenging and easy. Don't have a lot of time at the gym? Do 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15. Try three sets and you'll be amazed the workout you can have in five minutes. No do 20 sets in 20 minutes. Now you’re fit! Let's look at each exercise individually.

The squat is a fundamental motion. How many times a day do you pick something up off the ground or just plain sit down and stand up? Running, walking and cycling are basically one legged squats. Think about it. One aspect of squats that I believe is key is the amount of weight that you add. I say none. Zip. Notta. Why? Think about how many times per day you run around with weight on your back. How about lots of weight across your shoulders or in your hands? Never. I believe body weight squats are amazingly beneficial. Not hard enough? Try doing 100 really fast. Next time you’re doing a weight workout try doing 60 squats in one minute. Rest 30 seconds and do it again. Can you do 300 body weight squats in five minutes? If you can do that then squat with the bar. If not, then keep trying. The progression for a squat is this: slow and steady, more reps, more speed, more reps and more speed and lastly add weight. Don't skip steps!

A push-up may seem old fashioned or Rocky-ish but who cares. Did you see what Rocky looked like doing all those push-ups? Check out the abs. The push-up is, first and foremost, a core strength exercise. Before doing a set of push-ups try holding the "up" position for a minute then cranking them out. Try lifting one foot off the ground then pushing up. There are endless varieties of push-ups. You can also put your feet up on a bench or a ball to do a decline push-up or put your hands on a bench to do an incline. Want to go right up the progression ladder? Try putting your feet up on a bench and your hands on a stability ball. Feel the burn and like it. Check your heart rate. For the people that aren’t as fit yet they can do push-ups on their knees or with their hands on a bench or the wall. Push-ups are for everybody.

Pull-ups, on the other hand, are not traditionally for everybody. If you can pull your body up over a bar then do it! It is the best exercise you can do for your fitness level. If you are like most people then you cannot pull your body over the bar. What now? Two choices: get help or do a "recline pull-up." A reline pull-up is like a reverse push-up. Find a bar that is 3-5 feet off the ground. A "Smith Machine" or a squat rack tend to work well. Straighten out your body so your heals are on the ground and pull your chest to the bar. Simple but effective. Doing an assisted pull-up is a little harder but just as effective. A partner is very helpful. You could also use a big ol' rubber band to pull yourself over the bar (Specially fitness websites like or sell these.). Whatever the method of assistance the goal is to be able to execute pull-ups all by yourself.

Simple is always better. Why eat processed food when you can eat raw fruits and vegetables? Why drive when you can walk? Why use exercise machines when you can just use your body weight? Too simple? No way. Your fitness level is all about your decisions and your body. Ever heard the expression "Use it or lose it"? Well, use it or lose it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

To 10 Mistakes People Make in the Gym

We all go to the YMCA or a health club for a reason. Right? What is that reason? For everybody it is something a little different but I can guarantee that there is one common element. We want to get results! Is there anyone out there that says they go to the gym for something to do or to get out of the house? We pay our money and go back time and again to get results; plain and simple. Some people want to lose weight or get stronger or to build muscle. Some people want to train for a triathlon or a marathon. The simple fact is that we all want to be better. If this is true, why do a majority of people that go the gym do things that SABOTAGE their efforts to get and be better? I see it every day and so do you. Do you do any of these 10 things? The better question is how many of there things do you do? Read this list with an open mind. Realize that you may not know everything and a couple of tweaks to your workout could lead to the results that you’ve been searching for for years.

I can write this essay because I know what I’m talking about. I’ve worked with dozens of people over the last 10 years to get phenomenal results. I spend close to 50 hours per week in a gym and have for many years. I know what I’m talking about. Trust me or trust the person who makes excuses. Who is really going to help you?

Top 10 Mistakes People Make in the Gym

10. Using the leg curl, leg extension and rotary torso machine. These machines operate contrary to the natural function of your body. Every once in a while OK, all the time: dangerous.

9. Opting for the Elliptical trainer or the bike instead of the treadmill or the pool. Here is the absolute definitive ranking of the best cardio choices: treadmill (or on the roads/trails), swimming in pool, rowing machine, Stairmaster, elliptical machines with arms, bike, elliptical trainer. The truth is that your body needs 2 things: impact and variety. Mix up your cardio and see phenomenal results.

8. Reading while doing cardio. This is just plain silly. Focus on your workout! Your heart rate will be in the toilet if you are reading a book on the treadmill. Read at home, exercise here.

7. Fixating on how much weight you use and not on range of motion or proper form. This is mostly for the younger generation but I’ve seen all age groups do it. Don’t put that extra plate on until you are ready. It’s dangerous and non-productive to lift extra weight if you’re not ready.

6. Doing crunches and believing you are working your “Core”. Doing crunches does not work the core. Plain and simple. Crunches work the abs, the core is so much more. (By the way, if you have belly fat doing crunches will not help)

5. Standing around and talking. This goes with #8 above. Talk before your workout, not during.

4. Not using free weights. You cannot be truly fit if you do not use free weights on a regular basis. Take that one to the bank.

3. 3 sets, 10-12 reps. This is how body builders work out. Are you a body builder? If no then stop the silly 10-12 reps and 3 sets. Variety is what gets you results! Do 100 reps of an exercise one day! Do 2 sets one day and 5 the next. Spice things up and you’ll see results!

2. Doing the same thing day after day after day. I see this all the time. There’s so and so doing the pec fly AGAIN, now it’s time for the ab machine…. blah, blah, blah. This is both mind numbing and the opposite of productive. You must change up your routine to get results. It you don’t know how to then you need to enlist the services of a personal trainer. This one investment in yourself could make the difference between you breaking your ankle on a sidewalk or being the best you can be!

1. Holding onto the treadmill. This could be an entire article, in it’s self. You burn about half the calories if you hold on. Try it sometime. First, go your regular pace, holding on. Then take your hands off and see how much harder it is! That’s only part of the reason to not hold on. The biggest reason is that your upper body is not meant to be stationary when you are walking, think about it. Think of the stress you place on your hips when you lock in your upper body while walking. It is just plain loony to hold onto the treadmill while you are walking. This is the biggest results stealer out there.

Now, do you want to know how to get results?

Hire a personal trainer. Again, this simple investment in you could make the difference.
Take a new class. Variety is the spice of life and the key to results in the gym.
Set 4-5 goals that stretch you. Write them down and tell everybody that you know about them. This gives you accountability. Your goals will come true.

Monday, August 3, 2009

This is absurd

It's truly amazing the the things that the media reports about these days. They really need to focus more on the crap the school serve our kids for lunch or the drugs they force kids to take then on the fact that they may skin their knees in gym class. There are some very funny quotes from this article. It's almost like an April fools piece. Check it out:

"Classroom teachers who aren't trained in P.E. might not recognize situations that can cause injury,"

Who are they hiring as teachers? 12 year olds?

"being healthy doesn't have to hurt."

Please. I honestly don't know why Yahoo wasted their time to print this article but it truly is silly. I'd rather my kid skin his knee or bust his lip every once in a while then be fat like the majority of adults these days.

By the way, by the time I was my son's age (9) I'd already had stitches in my lip (twice), in the back of my head and next to my eye (on both sides). I lived.

All kids should be to PE every single day that they are in school. What could be more important then their health?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

24 Hours of Great Rain


The cannon fire signalled the start of the 2003 "24 Hours of Great Glen" mountain bike race. I was, for the second year competing in the SOLO division. AKA the "you have a mental deficiency" division. Ride your bike as far as you can in 24 hours. noon to noon in the New Hampshire wilderness. Nice! Off we went into a sunny, albeit humid day.

Only about 40 brave (READ stupid) souls dared to pay good money to have a yellow number and be called SOLO. The pity applause was everywhere! Now, mind you, there were plenty more crazies out there. They at least had teammates to give them a break from suffering for a while. Some wimpy (READ smart) people had 4 or 5 other people to do laps whilst they sat on their asses and enjoyed the scenery at the base of New England's highest peak: Mount Washington. We solo rides had no such luxury. If we weren't riding we weren't making any ground. We were indeed modern gladiators (READ idiots)

So off into the sunshine we went.

Each lap was 8 miles long. A mix of climbs and descents, fire roads and single track, easy and hard terrain. For the best riders laps could be done in less than 40 minutes. Just after 1pm I was well into my second lap when the rain started. It came down in buckets. No lightning, no wind, just torrential rain.

It felt good. The previous weeks had brought some rain so the course was a little muddy. The rain was washing the mud off my legs and off my bike. It was fun!

The mood in he transition area was jovial. Kids frolicked in the mud, riders and support crews laughed and jumped around in the puddles. It was truly a fun time!

Riding in the pouring rain can be fun for a little while. As the hours wore on my patience evaporated and my fatigue grew. I wonder if the rain is going to stop.

The course was changing drastically. A puddle one lap was 2 foot deep mud hole the next. Parts of the course became un-rideable. Many parts of the course. By 4pm every bit of single track was a soupy, nasty, muddy mess that you could barely walk through. Parts of the course had literally become rivers. The famous plunge became the slid of death. I slid down on my face almost every time. It became safer to ride as far as you could then fall off then to face certain injury trying to walk your bike.

What started out neat and fun had turned into and absolute night mare. And the rain kept falling. No lightning, no wind, just massive amounts of rain. At dinner time I went to the repair tent to get my first set of new brake pads. I would need two more sets before the race was over. I was destroying brake pads and my bike in general. I didn't know it then but I would never ride that bike again. The next spring I'd get a new one because mine just wasn't right anymore.

Meanwhile my wife / support crew was having a hell of a time with my then toddler son Colby. Every time Charlene would turn around Colby was off into the deluge. By 9pm she'd had enough. Colby and she had long since used up any shred of dry cloths and patience. Colby was stripped and shoved into a warm sleeping bag for the night. Charlene was off to bed soon after.

Just after this I cane by shivering, hungery and miserable. Did I mention wet? I sought out my support crew which had now turned into a box of pizza in 3 inches of water on a folding chair out side the tent. I sat down in said water, ate me soggy pizza, and thanked my loving wife for abandoning me a 9pm in the pouring rain. I was too wet, cold and tired to be mad. Off into the darkness I went.

The race had been going on for 13 hours. For the previous 12 the rain had been coming down in buckets. I had endured countless miles of suffering. Now I was lonely and totally exhausted but I pushed on and on and on. Then a 1:37am my lights gave out when I was on the most remote park of the course. I was trapped in the wet darkness. Oh crap.

I was walking my bike up the biggest hill around mile 6 of the course. Normally I could power up the hill and then coast through the roller coasts off the top but not tonight. I was walking my bike up and river and trying to maintain purchase with my mountian bike shoes. At the top I was picking my way through the mud back on my bike when my yellow light didn't seem to cut through the night like it did earlier. Within seconds it died completely. Oh great. I reached for my spare which just didn't work. Great. I looked at my watch 1:37am and here I was stuck in the forest in the middle of the sickest rain storm ever. It had been raining like this for over 12 hours and I was sick of it. Now I couldn't even ride my messed up bike any more. This sucks. I'm never doing this stupid shit again. (Until next year of course...)

Finally a rider came along and I followed his light till I couldn't keep up anymore. After a while another rider came along and I followed him to the transition. I got to my tent, peeled off ever bit of nasty, soaking wet clothing that I was wearing, climbed into my sleeping bag shrivled up like a raisin, defeated. At least now I had an excuse. Can't ride without lights. Stubborn sleep eventually engulfed me. I didn't dream.

Around 6am the clouds began to glow and at last murky daylight arrived. The rain was still there but was now steady and no longer ridiculous. I peeled on some sopping cloths and gingerly got back onto my bike. The course was bad last night but 10X worse now. There were parts of this course thought would literally be closed to bikes for an entire year. One section of trail you couldn't even pre-ride the next year because of the damage that we caused in 2003.

Overnight the parking lots had flooded. Many cars were stuck in the muck. The river that flowed through the area hadn't left it's banks but it almost did. That would have been a disaster.

I rode my little heart out for the next few hours. I even tried to ride some of the trickier sections a couple of times. I conquered the plunge on day 2 without falling. At 11:30am the rain stopped and the sun came out. If you had just seen the start and finish of the race you would have wondered what all the complaining was about. The weather's fine...

Come to find out later that it had rained 6 inches in the hours of the race. That's a ridiculous amount of rain. Most of the solo riders packed it in about the time nightfall came. Only 12 of the 40 rode at all in the dark. I ended up finished 6th after all the troubles that I had. I bested my 9th place from the year before. In 2004 I went back and on a dry year actually rode through the night without sleeping and finsihed 3rd place it a stacked field.

I haven't done a 24 hour race since 2004. If I never do another race like this I will certainly remember this race as the most epic race I ever did.

As I sit here at 10:50am on August 2nd, 2009 I bet you can't guess the thought that is racing through my mind at this very instant. Yeah, I want to do this race again...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rocky had the right moves

We've all seen the Rocky movies. At last count there are actually 6 of them. With the exception of V which was a disaster they all have a good theme, hot action, and some kick ass training sequences. Can you hear "Eye of the Tiger" in your ear now? Risen' up, back on the street...

I digress.

All the movies show Rocky training in some amazing and inspirational training sequences set to music that makes me want to go for a run or something. Do you recall, like I clearly recall, that he does some bizarre stuff. In II he chased chickens around a pen. In III he was in the pool and sprinting on the beach. (Remember him pulling Paulie into the water. Funny crap. How about the super slow mo with the short shorts. OK, that's the cheesy 80's coming out) Of course his eggs Rocky style and early morning runs through Philly are the stuff of legend. None of this even comes close to the action in Rocky IV in the Siberian wilderness.

Can you get into the way back machine with me and remember the last of the many times you saw Rocky IV. Rocky and Drago are getting ready for the big fight. Drago has access to the best training methods that money and now defunct communist government can muster. You know things like an indoor track, a punching bad that measures your punching strength, and the leg extension. Rocky doesn't stand a chance. The leg extension mimics boxing SOOO closely.

Meanwhile, back on the farm Rocky's running up mountains, chopping wood and lifting up carts with his trainers on it. Just thinking of this makes me want to chop some wood and run up some mountains.

Rocky eats raw eggs and Drago gets injections of some sort. Who's going to win?

We all know the result of the fight on Christmas day. Rocky wins over the hostile Russians yada, yada, yada. The ending was almost anticlimactic for me. The music and the training montage was what drove my tractor.

At the end of the day there is a massive message in the Rocky movies.

It's not good over evil. It's not the underdog thing.

For me it's man over machine. It's the fact that the human body needs to move and train functionally to perform functionally. Certainly this works for boxers but it works for the rest of us as well. Push-ups are better than bench press, pull-ups are better than lat pull-down, running is better than the leg extension and lunge walks and better than weighted squats.

If we want our bodies to function properly than we need to train it in a functional manner.

95% of the people at the gyms get this wrong. You all need to watch Rocky IV again and get off the couch, crack some eggs, and master the one armed push-up. I'm sure a Rocky movie will come on TNT within the next month.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Not ready to die

I went today to the memorial service of Trevor Kene Shipley. He was the oldest son of my close friend Mitch. 21 years old. What a horrible shame.

I’ve been to 3 funerals/memorial services in the last 11 years. All of the services were for kids that were 21 or 22 years old. One was from an accident, one from cancer; and one from mysteries circumstances. In the end they were all just kids that were way too young to die. I think back to all I’ve been and all I’ve done in my life and I can honestly say that, at 36, most of it has been after the age of 21. It’s just so sad.

The message I take to heart and I pass along to you is this: Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Life your life like YOU are dying and like tomorrow is in question. Show the ones that you love that you love and support them. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

I like the old Garth Brooks song “If tomorrow Never Comes”.

“If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she’s my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face the world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes cause
I’ve lost loved ones in my life
Who never knew how much I loved them
Now I live with the regret
That my true feelings for them never were revealed
So I made a promise to myself
To say each day how much she means to me
And avoid that circumstance
Where there’s no second chance to tell her how I feel”

Seize the Day. Love life. Be true to your friends and family. Treat yourself and others like tomorrow may not come. For some it does not.

In memory of my cousins Becky and Eugene who both died at 22 years old and Trevor Shipley who died last week at just 21.