I Hate Fat People (not my words)…

Warning:  This one is lengthy.  If you are not willing to read every word, from beginning to end, go ahead and delete it now – please. 

Black, White, God, Darwin

It seems, relative to the turmoil of recent decades, that racial prejudice in America might be on the decline, and that racial tolerance could be on the rise. Though absolute racial harmony may never happen, I am grateful for recent progress – and despite the current political rhetoric involving race, there is no denying that there has been much progress in my lifetime.

I won’t get too happy though — just over the hatred horizon there is an age-old prejudice on the rise once again; one involving god, God, or the belief in gods.   I recently watched a TED lecture by Richard Dawkins, calling for an outright war against the belief in God – what he calls, “militant atheism.”

Conversely, many modern Christians look down on atheists and agnostics more than ever, as the scum of the Earth, and wouldn’t dare allow their daughter to marry one.  It seems that as we have become more accepting of the variance in human skin colors, we are less accepting of contrary opinions on just who made and dyed the skin.  Let’s face it, we just need somebody to hate.

"Uhm ehr, ah.. I forget, did you make me or did I make you...?"

I Hate Fat People (not my words)

I camped recently with a dozen or so friends along the Niobrara River in North Central Nebraska.  We had arrived on a Wednesday, spent our first two days in camping solitude, enjoyed some good alone time on the river and at the campfire – and then Friday happened.  Setting up camp behind us on Friday afternoon were some real-McCoy hillbillies from Georgia, and they looked and acted every bit the part.

As Cooter and the Biscuit family unpacked the Chevy Lumina 60 yards to our north, my friends and I gathered round the campfire, consumed some (more) alcohol, pushed our collective intellects to the brink, and began poking fun and making jokes about our new neighbors – me taking my share as lead heckler.

"Dear makers of Patron, Thank you so much for making me such a nice guy. Sincerely, The Idiot By The River...

I could have poked fun at the way they were dressed.  I could have commented on the cars they drove, or even the way they spoke.  I did not.  I simply spied that they were very easy to spy, and I began to pile on.  One fella in particular looked to be pushing the 350 lb. mark, and I threw most of my ignorant darts directly at him.  As the Patron bottle became depleted, jokes increased, and for an hour or so, humor at the expense of obesity was my mission.  Then I heard a fellow camper utter this retched phrase,

“I hate fat people.”

I sensed he was sincere.  I might have been the instigator here, but I cringed to hear my friend say this.  I immediately shifted gears and began poking fun at the way the obese man was dressed – because that was easy, and jokes still needed to be made.

I had no place whatsoever making fat jokes, but I did so in the spirit of laughter, not hatred or prejudice.  On my return home from the trip, I was ashamed when a good friend and fellow camper sent me an email calling me out on my behavior.  My friend suggested that me, of all the people in our group, by virtue of how I make my living, should have been much more sensitive to a heavy person.

There is no excuse for what I said.  I am not prejudiced of any persons; Jews, Muslims, Christians, Blacks, Whites, nor heavy people.  I have championed many heavy people over the years and gained more wisdom from their struggles as I have from their successes.  I had become heavy at one point in my own life and gained a new perspective from my own struggle.  For one moment by the river, I chose to behave like an idiot and I am sorry for that. 

Where Are We?

I will go out on a limb and suggest that the 350-pounder from Georgia was neither a fitness enthusiast nor a discriminating eater – but that doesn’t make him bad, or worthy of hatred. 

In subsequent weeks those words spoken by another, “I hate fat people” continued to resonate.  I have begun to reflect on, and attempt to observe what level of prejudice exists toward heavier people.  I have explored news periodicals, fitness & weight-loss blogs, had discussions with clients, friends, and people in my community, in an attempt to increase my awareness of how others truly view obese people. From this limited stream of information, it seems more people I know truly are prejudice towards obese people than I would have thought – most of whom would be considered obese themselves by the BMI.

The NAAFP ain't gonna tolerate that....

Who Are We?

We are a nation whose obesity population is on the increase, with an increasing number of those obese people becoming increasingly prejudiced… toward other obese people?  That math does not add up.  I can see a day when obese people might take up arms against the morbidly obese, as heavy people put up fences to keep the regular obese people out.  For millennia, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Jews have all found reason to hate, as have persons of different skin colors found reasons to hate.  And I can’t help but wonder; in the future will obese people also become a passionately hated portion of society…?  If so, there is little doubt that justification for that hatred will simply be because, as it has been said through the ages, “Because they’re different, from me – that’s why!” 

 
 
 
 

 

And history might declare that Ireland and Northenr Ireland were finally brought together for their mutual distrust over people with excess belly fat...

 

Help Is Not On The Way

If a person does not wake up and go straight to the gym and does not eat steamed rice and broccoli at dinner, he is not a bad person.  If a person never gets off his ass and chooses to live off peanut butter and M&M sandwiches nine times per day, that person is no less a person that anyone reading this.

I can make many (successful) arguments why obese people, and society as a whole, would be better served if the weight were taken off.  But our society is not set up for obese people to succeed in weight loss.  The potential for success in weight-loss exists mostly in the fringes and isolated pockets of like-minded people – places where most obese people tend not to hang out due to internal fears.

The only food pyramid that seems to matter...

Take a look around – with your eyes open this time.  Though there are many resources and tools available for heavy and obese people to use that they gain control and make positive changes, those helpful tools are kept at the edge of social boundaries and held there by the many bad ideas, big profits, deadly agendas, and an almost universal acceptance of gluttony in the modern age.  Think about it – please.  And the men who hold high places…

Be well.  rc

Black or White, My Way Or Yahweh, Fitly Or Fatly…

This week there is less a tease for my Friday column – and more of a setup.

As societies, we keep reinventing ourselves – to a point where we are bursting at the memes.  Each time we reinvent ourselves in the name of human progress, some important things fall into the cracks and crevices which form between our so-called advancements. I often think tolerance, respect, and mindfulness need be kept on short leashes, that we ensure they make it from one generation into the next.

Here is a excerpt from this Friday’s column on prejudice:

“It seems, relative to the turmoil of recent decades, that racial prejudice in America might be on the decline, and that racial tolerance could be on the rise. Though absolute racial harmony may never happen, I am grateful for recent progress.

I won’t get too happy though — just over the hatred horizon there is an age-old prejudice on the rise once again; one involving god, God, or the belief in gods.   I recently watched a TED lecture by Richard Dawkins, calling for an outright war against the belief in God — what he calls, “militant atheism.”

Conversely, many Christians look down on atheists and agnostics more than ever, as the scum of the Earth, and would’t want their daughter to marry one.  It seems that as we have become more accepting of the variance in human skin colors, we are less accepting of contrary opinions on just who made and who dyed the skin — or not.  Let’s face it, we just need somebody to hate.”

Please check back this Friday, July 30th, and to see how this might relate to the concept of fitness. Thank you. rc

Oh, and there is this very important lesson on bigotry from Shakes The Clown (warning — some bad language):

Muskle Modifikation…

Looking Good Different 

I recently watched a television show chronicling the history of tattoos, body art, and extreme body modification. I was mesmerized, and a bit taken for all that people are willing to do to change the appearance of their body.  I marveled at the price people are willing to pay, both in dollars and discomfort, for an enhanced aesthetic. 

And the best part is, he can play checkers wherever he goes...

 Although I have a small tattoo on my right shoulder, watching this show I felt an inkless world away from the subculture of extreme body modification. Then I remembered, I too am a participant in another form of body modification; bodysculpting.  I have been a bodybuilder (a more extreme version of bodysculpting), though I no longer care for that term, that ideal, and all the negative connotations that go with bodybuilder.   I’m simply an amateur artist of malleable tissue, pursuing a (perceived) more reasonable form. 

Rasta Ric and some surfboards; more my personal coat of arms than a tattoo...

 Professionally I do write, speak, and live the ideal of functional fitness, but I also embrace the (intended) physical changes which accompany that pursuit.  Within the scope of my fitness week, I may work toward greater balance, enhanced flexibility, increased endurance, and improved internal fitness, but I’m also attempting to carve out a statue – on myself. 

You, The Flesh Artist 

I’ll let you in on a little secret: If you go to the gym regularly and engage in strength training, you’re a bodysculptor too. I’ll bet you don’t often think of yourself  as someone engaged in body modification, but you are… 

…oh yes you are you little flesh-artist you. Don’t deny it – be proud of your desire to live in the world of body modification. Pride is due, for the change you are making doesn’t come easy – and it does not come without (at least some) pain. 

To take a muscle, change the shape, the size, and to improve the clarity of it – that is no small task.  That kind of change is both a tall order and a long journey, though the journey can be beautiful.  Like tattoos and piercings, that journey can also hurt – depending on your intentions when you workout.  The progress of muscle modification tends to manifest better when the workouts bite a little more. 

Not sure which was worse, the pain of getting my body to that point, or the pain of cutting my hair...

Pain In Trade 

In tattooing, it is said that you earn the tattoo by virtue of the pain. In bodysculpting you also earn the change by way of pain – to some degree, but also by consistency in that pain.  The pain does not end with burning or sore muscles either.  For many, the struggle to get off the sofa and just move, exceeds the pain of the workout itself.  

Somebody endured a lot of pain to wear this -- for the rest of their life!!! Now we have to endure the pain of looking at it... (courtesy of http://www.shittytattoos.com)

Dare To Stand Out From Others – By Doing What They Do…? 

A good number of people who tattoo and pierce their bodies are drawn to body modification because of the history behind it – it’s a romance thing. These practices have been around for thousands of years, and are most often associated with war, battle, or an individual’s status within a culture. So too has been the practice of strength training for muscle modification.  In tattooing and weightlifting, what arose from war, now manifests in fashion. 

There is evidence that weight training began as early as 4,000 years ago in China. Bigger stronger soldiers would fare much better in battle, and battle back then was often done shoulder to shoulder.  That these early strength trainers also looked the part, lent itself to intimidation on the battlefield.  That they became the hottest men in the village was just an unintended benefit, but was likely good motivation to keep on lifting those stones. 

Genghis Khan to do list: Eat protein. Do lateral deltoid raises. Do some squats. Conquer and subjugate Asia...

Today, a majority of body modification has less to do with battle and tribal status, and more to do with identity within our diluted cultures. The new Western ideal is often one of pursuing a unique identity among the masses — who are also seeking a unique identity. We tattoo, pierce, put Krazy Kolor in our hair, even change the shape of our musculature, to stand out and be recognized among the sea of equals who surround us — and often end up looking like just another face in the crowd of people who are doing the exact same thing so they can stand out.. 

A Life-Long Commitment To Commitment 

Regardless of intent, the primary difference modern between bodysculpting, and modern tattoos and piercings as a form of body modification is this; to keep the muscles looking good – looking changed, one needs to remain committed to exercise ongoing.  Muscle modification is not permanent like ink, stainless steel pins, or silicone implants.  Muscle modification requires a commitment of maintenance which most other forms of body modification do not.  Keeping the shape and the clarity of that improved musculature is an ideal and a victory only so long as the workouts keep coming.

I admire those willing to undergo all the pain of a full bodysuit tattoo.  I may not  understand it, but I can still have respect for that which I do not understand.  The dedication of a successful bodysculptor should bare as much respect from the outside world, as anyone boasting the most extreme full bodysuit tattoo — it has been earned.  Be well.  rc

Standing Out In A Crowd…

 
This just in from planet earth…
 
People sure do some weird shit!!!
Meow….? More like, Me-Ouch!!!

I’ll have more thoughts on body modification in my column this Friday, July 23.  Please check back then. 

In the mean time, I would sincerely love to know what your thoughts on body modification are…  rc

 Oh, and there is this from a debonair frog and a sultry pig…

Wainero; Getting Screwed By Taking The Easy Way Out…

Cryptic Forespeak

You may be wondering what the word wainero means – me too.  I have been trying to figure it out for nearly a week.  I have passed wainero through countless filters and reconstructive mechanisms in my head.  I have applied many patterns and possibilities to the term but I am unable to decipher the meaning of wainero.

Wainero might mean a great deal to me – I am certain it does, that’s why I wrote it down.  Wainero might be something that could help take my business to the next level, improve my relationship with my daughter, or even help me run a more efficient marathon in Long Beach this October. 

Today class, the word of the day is, "Wainero"...

Wainero might also be a warning for me – a reminder to avoid some thing, some place, or some ideal that could damage any of the above.  But I shall never know what wainero means, because the term wainero is not real; it is the unintended result of a short cut – of taking the easy way out of a moment.

Chaos In My Head

My mind processes thoughts like a Magic Bullet handles walnuts.  I think too much, too often, and in my head thoughts form and collide – loud, and in unpredictable succession. 

My short-term memory is somewhere above trilobite but less than sea cucumber. 

And, I don’t see well anymore.  Though my vision is correctable with glasses, I don’t like wearing my stupid glasses – nor do I care to tote them around from room to room when I am not wearing them. 

This is my brain on thoughts...

Chaos Remix

  • I think too much
  • My short-term memory blows
  • I hate to wear my glasses or carry them around

This combination might tend to stifle accomplishment – if not for my Blackberry 🙂

Where my short-term memory tops out...

                                         Saved By My Blackberry, Lost By My Laziness                        

From the grinding walnut-chaos in my head, often are produced some good ideas relating to my business, to my personal life, or writing ideas for my fitness blog.  I strive to quickly capture these ideas in print because they don’t last long in the chop-shop between my ears.  Again, somewhere between trilobite and sea cucumber.   

My Blackberry has a digital note pad.  The print on my Blackberry display appears small to my poor eyes, and the letters on the keyboard even smaller. 

Up The Lazy Moment

Last week I had a great idea.  At least I think it might have been a great idea.  I will never know.  It’s not that I failed to write down that idea, I did write it down – on my Blackberry.  But when it came time to write this idea into my Blackberry, with small screen and tiny keypad, I was too lazy to walk into the next room and get my glasses.  I simply took the easy way out – the shortcut.  Rather than walking 40 feet to get my glasses, I simply squinted my eyes really really hard, and then entered the following note into my Blackberry notepad,

 “Wainero cld help m a lt nxt wejk”

Obviously I know what most of this means:  cld = could.  m = me.  lt = lot.  nxt = next.  wejk = week.  But wainero…? I just have no idea.  It must have meant something, but it’s too late now.

Moral Of The Wainero Story

There are shortcuts everywhere we look, and there is no shortage of people willing to use them.  It’s our nature to take the easy way out – that’s why sea cucumbers and trilobites will have the ultimate advantage over us.  Taking the shortcut rarely produces the desired result – wormholes notwithstanding. 

If only there were fitness wormholes... Could Kirstie Alley even fit in there...?

In one’s fitness agenda, there are countless shortcuts; skipped workouts, backing off on the weights or the reps, shorter distances run or ridden, etc., and even saying, “I’ll start tomorrow” is a shortcut.  Like shortcuts in other areas of life, fitness shortcuts will leave one short of their goals, and might just give a person more of what they are looking to have less of.

The Long And Short Of It

If you are one who defines yourself as out of shape, obese, or worse, this might be a good time to choose the path of most resistance – to take uphill road.  Don’t just embrace challenge in your exercise, seek it out – create it.  Change isn’t going to find you, and it isn’t going to come easy –least of all by way of a shortcut. 

Nothing worth achieving comes quickly or easily in life, this we all know.  When it comes to changing one’s body, there are no fitness wormholes which lead quickly to the other side.  There is only the long hard road of change.  As I continue to walk that hard road of change, I can assure you it is well worth traveling.  Be well.  rc

Contemplating Fitness…. And Americanness.

Busy travel week last week, so nothing new until Friday, July 16th when I will post a column on short cuts and laziness.  In the mean time, there is from last year.  Seems to be resonating with me all over again.  I hope you enjoy it, and thank you for dropping by.  roy

Our American lives, as important as we make them out to be, are pretty meaningless the way we tend to live them.  All too Americanly, we seek to view, we seek to hear, we seek to touch, taste, and buy all that catches our senses.  Then, we seek to display all that we have accomplished on behalf of our sought senses.  We perceive mostly, that we should be well perceived, and we spend much of our time pursuing the best possible perception we can gain from our would-be perceivers.

A large part of how we wish to be perceived, is based on the aesthetic we wish to convey.  We quaff our hair in unnatural ways with unnatural chemicals, so it can look… natural.  We apply manufactured scent to ourselves, as to suggest our own hard-earned smell is not worthy of others.  We like to arrive in style – in the car that best suits our personality.  We clothe ourselves with style, if not with taste, by wearing what we hope makes us appear smaller, and we seek to live in homes which are much larger than they really need to be.  We don’t just love to be seen, we love to be seen well – Americanly well.

On the body front there’s one problem; despite all we do to be well perceived, we are always going to be seen in our own body – there’s just no getting around it.  No matter how we adorn it, prep it, clothe it, cover it up, the true condition of the physical self is most always visible, and is likely to be identified by the perceiver for its truest state, and that is likely to be a perception well retained by the perceiver.

Now I spend a good deal of time contemplating where and whether fitness should (or should not) fit in to the American lifestyle.  Countless moments spent arguing with myself as to whether exercise and sound eating are truly important in the scope of a life, or do these matter just within the scope of an American life.  The only clear answer born of this debate, is that I have classified fitness into two distinct categories; functional fitness and aesthetic fitness. Click here to read more. Most of what goes down in gyms across America relates almost exclusively to aesthetic fitness – which is meaningless. 

Now there’s no judgment here – certainly not from me.  I am very Americanly when it comes to exercising to maintain a certain look.  My vanity is the size of 10 Grinches plus 2, and growing still.  I work hard in the gym as well as the kitchen, to look my best to my perceivers, and I’m proud that I’m ahead of the game for pushing 50.  But I don’t exercise exclusively to look good. I have a great respect that the path of looking good can be paved with the bricks of functional fitness.  I have no illusions or expectations that at 70, I will look like I’m 23.  We are designed to get old and decrepit and I embrace that.

I prioritize those exercises which serve functional fitness, and I never put my aesthetic fitness ambitions ahead of my functional fitness ambitions – they coexist. Most of what gets done on behalf of my aesthetic gets done at the dinner table anyway. I understand that exercising for functional fitness can translate well into achieving aesthetic fitness; toning, shaping, and clarifying muscular detail, so long as there is good nutritional support and consistency in the process. 

 Looking good is an age-old addiction and not exclusively American. However, as we seem to do so often in so many ways, Americans have much more ambition in looking good than those of other countries.  I am careful to reflect that, in the end, we will not likely be judged by the shape of our abs or the size of our pants.  Stephen Hawking, Mother Theresa, Max Born, Anwar Sadat, Jesus Christ, Mohamed, Moses, and countless other great contributors to humanity have given little thought to how they appeared to their perceivers, and they were certainly not gym rats – nor were they Americans.  Did I say Moses?  Scratch that one.  Be well.  rc

Running Toward A T-Rex…

Brave; possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.   

 Instant Experience

Brave is a word I have begun to use with clients, to motivate and to help them take that extra step; breaking new ground and living beyond perceived limits. I began using this word when I challenged a triathlete I have been working with to complete a set of 100 repetitions on the leg press – seemed like a good time and a good place for her  to be brave.

 
She was brave in that instance – very brave, and as soon as I used that word her tired legs and worn face became more aggressive as she made short work of the final 25 reps. To witness that moment of increased determination – just for offering her a word, gave me a new appreciation that the a single word can motivate immediately.  Increased bravery, this taught me, can simply happen upon consideration. The question then became; can one summon the word for one’s own self, or need it be summoned by an outside presence? 

Brave in the gym, braver still on the road...

 To Teach Is To Learn

In subsequent days I contemplated heavily on this.  I began to question just how brave I have been with my own training regimen. In truth, I have settled in; cruising on fitness autopilot for over year.  I have grown complacent and comfortable with where I am. Complacency, even when one is considered to be fit as I am, is not the reasonable plateau one might suspect.  I have become a participant in the slow and certain back-slide of complacency.

Not that I don’t workout frequently, intensely, and eat well to support it, I do.  But I have not been going that extra mile recently – at my gym or at my dinner table.  Until recently, that extra mile has been the primary characteristic of my entire adult life.  I have gotten too comfortable with stopping at particular distance, a certain number of repetitions, and with allowing a few extra calories from salad dressings and alcohol – these places I thought I would never know.   

Though not out of control, these have added up to too many calories I don’t need, which have added up to increased body fat I no longer accept.  And though I am way ahead of the game for pushing 50, this is not who I have been, and not who I will be.  But it seems, for the moment, it is who I have become.

Back To Brave

In just considering this term, brave, I find myself wanting to push for more these days, from my workouts and from my meals – seeking new ground to escape from the same-old same-old. I have been inspired by my friend Jody who at 52, is as brave as brave can get in the gyn. I am humbled by Bobbie, who has balls so large they actually have a have created gravity that I have been pulled closer to her new found fitness bravery — eating in particualr.  Also, I have been inspired by Dr. J for years.  He bravely and quietly paddles upstream, not against the current, but against all the fish swimming in the wrong direction, as he simply lives, and leads by example.

My brave face; with a little help from my friends...

 I should know and respect my limits; that I will only get so fast, so lean, or so strong.  However, if I stay comfortable within those limits, then I should plan to stay in my current state of fitness – or backslide even more, and that’s not acceptable.

 Your Bravery, Your Fire, Your Lesson From My Story

If you exercise regularly and try to eat mindfully but don’t like you’re current fitness level, there is a good chance you haven’t recently considered, or you have forgotten what motivates you – this is where I have been, living without a source of bravery.  If you don’t feel like you are getting what you seek from your current fitness program, it may not be the program, it just might be the motivation to maximize the program – the bravery needed to succeed.

Bravery is turning and running toward him...

I suggest that you keep doing exactly what you have been doing with your fitness and eating program – even if you have not been getting the results you seek. Perhaps this might be a good week to embrace the same-old same-old, but to embrace it – more bravely. Take it a step further, a minute longer, or 200 calories less than before.

Being brave doesn’t necessarily mean doing 100 reps on the leg press. For many, it can mean turning 10 reps into 12.  For others, being brave might be the act of walking into the gym – for the very first time, or for the first time in years. Others still might find bravery in saying “no” to that second helping of anything, glass of wine included.

 For me, being brave means to bypass my evening cocktail, to push the pace on the run a bit more, and then a bit more still.  Being brave is also to remember that greens taste best untouched by Paul Newman’s salad piss in a bottle.  I will increase my repetitions, minimize my rest between sets, and live my fitness life as though I am running toward a T-Rex – knowing that I am better for the confrontation.  Be well.  rc

 Question:  Tell me, what have you done this week, in your fitness life, that is worthy of the term, brave…?