Unfriending Myself…

A tease for my upcoming column on friends and heroes — the ones inside of us.  I hope to have it done by Saturday, September 4th, so please check back. 

In the mean time, here is an excerpt:

Ego, Mego, And Wego

“For much of my early adult life the person I admired above all others was actually  me – or the me I was striving to become.  No hero I could choose to emulate would have as much to offer the world, I thought, as I would someday.  That’s okay, that’s okay, I laugh too when I think about it – now.  But I wasn’t laughing then, I was serious.  My best friend in those years was also me – the me who kept me grounded and ensured I stayed on the right path.

There were certainly people I had admired in my wide-eyed youth.  Most I admired for all the wrong reasons, and the heroes I chose never failed to let me down.  But for my high expectations of them, every role-model I had through my teen years fell as slowly as a turning leaf until the hero-tree eventually stood barren before me.  By my twenties, as each hero had faded into the realm of being only human, I began to understand that hero should be viewed as a personal destination, and not a view to another.”

Please check back this weekend for more.  Oh, and there is this by David Bowie…

Puking and Killing…

Something To Say

For nearly a decade I have written newspaper articles, blog posts, and essays about the philosophy behind the fitness – about what I believe should be considered when it comes to one’s fitness persona.  Rather than add to the overflowing cup of fitness crap; the ABCs of six-pack abs and chicken salads, I have invested my thought into the why’s, and even the why-not’s that should be considered when assembling one’s fitness agenda. 

When I first began writing these it was because I felt I had something to say, and I thought what I had to say might be useful to others who found difficulty in getting ahead of their physical condition.  I did this from a foundation of passion, education, professional and personal experience.   In the early days, my thoughts were mostly linear, and offered in a one-way direction – and then… blogging set in. 

Raining On My Own Parade, And Perhaps Yours

Earlier this week, I had removed the blog-roll from the front page of this site, and had closed up my columns to the comments of others.  I was growing weary because I had allowed myself to get too caught up in the world of fitness blogging in order to promote this site; that my crap might get read by more people and possibly help some.

There are some mindful and passionate bloggers out there that I have come to appreciate – some fighting a fitness battle, and others attempting to lead those who are fighting.  Many though, are writing blogs and commenting on other’s blogs as a means of placating themselves in exchange for not successfully achieving their own fitness goals.  Or, because they believe they know so much more than anyone else.

Increasingly, I have been reading more and more posts and comments that make me want to puke – and then kill.  Actually, most make me want to kill first, and then puke.  Whether I’m puking and killing, or killing then puking, I can say with clarity that I have begun to emotionally check out of the fitness game – and it’s my livelihood as well as my passion!!!  And so I closed the comments on my blog for this week’s tease

Game Off/Game On

My statement was simple and my request black and white; that I would return to just throwing it out there and would no longer accept comments on the blog, promote other bloggers, or seek to be promoted. I stated that I would appreciate only private emails instead to continue the discussion and grow wiser from the nutrients of discourse.  Well, the emails did come and all of them asked me to keep the comments open – so I will.  Most of the feedback I got on my tease was negative, a bit of it positive, but the dialogue was intelligent, and that’s all I really seek. 

As far as the blog-roll goes, I will put it back up one link at a time on request.  If you would like to be linked to my site, please email me at emergefit@gmail.com with your request and give me one good reason why I should promote you – but remember, you are who roll with, and I am done pulling punches and padding comments, so you may want to first consider an association with me.   Dr. J, Jody, Bobbie, Sagan, Karen E., and Diane you are still golden becuase your intentions as well as your posts are always mindful and always good. 

Going forward, I will only add a comment to another blog if I feel what I have to say contributes to the dialogue.  If I take time to comment on a blog it means that I genuinely appreciate what it had to say, what is being suggested, or what was accomplished.  I will no longer comment on other blogs as a means of promoting this one.  If you wish to comment on my columns, please do – but do so only if you have something to contribute to the conversation.

As For Me

This is officially about the dialogue of experience and perspective.  Each week, or month, or whenever it strikes me, I will continue to write about my perspective on fitness related topics, and throw it out there for the universe to consume, ignore, or discuss.  I will always attempt to bring something to the table worthy of thought and discussion – something more than the ideal of hot sexy abs, better lunges for a better ass, or thoughts on how to spice up a chicken salad.  Pardon the Socratic moment, but most days I feel I don’t know shit about fitness – and it is my profession.  I can’t imagine why so many seem to know so much more than I.  Be well.  rc 

Comments are open, you are now free to move about the blog…. beeeeeep.

Have you taken the pledge….?

A tease for my upcoming column on the new direction that I will be taking this blog during the next few weeks:

Obesity isn't an epidemic, it is our national direction...

People all over the country have been taking the new pledge of allegiance, have you taken it yet…?

“I pledge allegiance to my cravings in the United States Of Obesity, and to the laziness for which it stands, one belly over my belt, with diabetes, hypertension, and junk food for all. Amen”

I’m not sure when I will be finished with my next column, but I can assure you I will lose more than a few readers, and possibly some friends with this one.  Check back Saturday, August 28th , it should be done by then.

Oh, and there is this classic by Larry Groce for all those “fitness”  bloggers out there who have so much trouble walking the walk that they love to talk about….

Going forward if you wish to comment on, or discuss my columns, please email me directly at emergefit@gmail.com, I will gladly take time to respond and engage in healthy dialogue regarding your thoughts and comments.  Otherwise, comments are closed.

Building A Goal, From The Outside In….

Failure Is An Option

Naming a goal and doing little in its pursuit is just giving failure a softer name.

Failure is an option.  For most who pursue a fitness goal, failure will be the only option.  I suggest that 90% of people who conceive a fitness related goal never achieve that goal – most never come close.  I believe people fail at fulfilling their fitness agenda for a combination of reasons, primary among the reasons are:

  1. Time; underestimating how much time it will take to fulfill one’s fitness destiny. 
  2. Ambition; overestimating what can truly be accomplished within established time, personal, and physical boundaries. 
  3. Effort; underestimating how much effort is involved in changing the landscape of the human form – effort at the dinner table as well as effort in exercise. 

Think It Through, Don’t Drift

Fitness is an endeavor requiring thought of an end-result, and the creation and follow-through of an achievable plan leading to that result. If there is no thought of where that outcome lay nor how to get there, then the term endeavor gives way to the word drift. To my knowledge, drifting has never taken anybody where they want to go. 

Time; establish realistic boundaries

It takes time, lots and lots of it...

  • How many days per week are you truly able to commit to an exercise program? Over-committing can lead to frustration, and abandonment of the course. Better to start with just one day per week of rigorous exercise and prove to yourself during a month’s time that this can be achieved. Then, after a month of successfully creating that habit, add one more workout per week. If you start by attempting six exercise sessions per week and you can’t keep that pace, you will likely get disillusioned and give up.
  • Time allotted per workout; same as above. Better to commit to 20-30 minute workout sessions in the beginning, and add time after you have proven to yourself that you can meet that initial boundary. As your lifestyle and schedule permit, add an extra 5 or 10 minutes to your workouts and adjust your goals upward accordingly.
  • Make an honest study of how long it will take to reach your goal(s).  Don’t expect change overnight because it will not happen overnight. Accept that you are probably months, if not years away from fully realizing your fitness goals. However, with consistent workouts supported by mindful eating, you should see small changes with your body regularly. 

Ambition; establish realistic goals

Though many will try, few have what it takes to hit the target...

Too many people choose the unrealistic goal of looking like an action figure or a magazine cover when really, they should just be trying to look a little less like an obese cadaver.

Before you can begin to establish what your fitness goals are going to be, you must first establish what they should be.  Understand and respect the boundaries of your lifestyle; relationships, job, time, abilities, age, and so-on. If your boundaries are not consistent with your goals, then the goals need be amended downward to accommodate those boundaries.

  • Once your time, personal, and social boundaries are established, only then can you conceive what your goals should be – based on the limits of your boundaries.
  • Be realistic. It’s one thing to dream about having a youthful body; it’s something entirely different to successfully earn one.  Prioritize what you can vs. what you want to achieve.  Use logic, honesty, and perhaps a professional opinion to determine whether or not it should be a goal. 

Effort; don’t pamper yourself

Sweat, it's like the tears of change...

  • Body-changing exercise should be rigorous if not intense.  There is a direct relationship between intensity and results.  I know of no great fitness success stories which came about by taking the stairs rather than the escalator, and cutting back on desserts.
  • Despite all the effort and all the sweat in exercise, the hardest efforts one will face in the quest to lose weight will be in uttering the word no on an ongoing basis.

Complexity In A Nutshell

I have seen many people attempt significant change in the landscape of their bodies. A few I know have succeeded; most I have known have failed.  Those who have succeeded have had three things going for them; the ability to set realistic goals, the mental drive to pursue those goals, and the acceptance that true change is a long-term endeavor.   Be well. rc

Failure Is An Option…

A tease for my upcoming column on failure…

I estimate that 90% of all people who establish a fitness goal will never achieve that goal.  They will fail to achieve that goal for three (primary) reasons.  Below is the opening paragraph for this Friday’ column on failure:

“Naming a goal and doing little in its pursuit is simply giving  failure a softer name.  Failure is an option.  For most, failure will be the only option.  In my experience, people fail in fulfilling their fitness agenda for a combination of reasons.  Primary among these reasons are….”

To learn what these reasons are, and to find out why I believe most people fail in achieving their fitness goals, please check back this Friday, August 20th for my latest column.

Oh, and there is this reminder that when the stakes are high, we tend to view failure in a very different way…

Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up…..

Definitions For Those In Quest Of More Definition…

I will be in Chicago for the next week assisting my daughter in the set-up of her first apartment.  That sentence alone makes me feel entirely too old. 

Good news: There is a HUGE window in my daughter's new bedroom. Bad news: Yes, yes that is a platform for the L-train as seen through said window. Urban living....

That said, I will not post another new column until Friday, August 20th.  Between now and then, I won’t be online much.  In the mean time, there is this remix from a past column:

______________________________________________________________________________________

Definitions For Those In Quest Of More Definition…

Fitness, a word which has been hijacked and transmogrified over recent decades by varying factions from reasonable to bad intent, each wanting to wholly own the term and use the lure and the promise of that term to promote for-profit agendas – not necessarily consistent with what true fitness might be. There are at least three definitions of fitness; Webster’s, mine, and yours.

Webster’s:

1) The quality or state of being fit

2) The capacity of an organism to survive and transmit its genotype to reproductive offspring as compared to competing organisms; also : the contribution of an allele or genotype to the gene pool of subsequent generations as compared to that of other alleles or genotypes

Mine:

Fitness is the sum of balance, flexibility, endurance, strength, internal workings such as blood pressure, heart rate, balanced cholesterol, etc. Fitness, in my definition, includes command of the body, speed, power, heightened senses, and a reasonable aesthetic form.

Yours:

Take a moment; write down what the term fitness really means to you. Keep that definition handy. Each week refer back to your definition of fitness. Add to it as you wish, or take away from it if you need. Make it a living document. Always maintain an awareness of what fitness means to you, and why it’s important for you to be fit.

Beyond The Definition

Now that we have had this important conversation, I wonder who has included the following virtues in their definition of fitness:

  • Being a good parent
  • Being a good sibling
  • Being a good child
  • Being a good neighbor
  • Being a good employee
  • Being a good friend
  • Being a good citizen of the community
  • Being a good member of the congregation
  • Being a good leader

Roy High On His High Horse — Yet Again

Society is often quick to express disapproval of why/how so many over prioritize fitness (working out) in the modern age. In pursuit of results, it often seems that fitness-minded people forsake the more important virtues I listed above in their quest for a better bod, myself included. To sacrifice any of these virtues for the sake of a workout, one’s priorities would surely be out of whack.

But, to include any and all of these virtues as reasons to workout might be suggested – especially for those who struggle finding motivation to fulfill their own fitness ambitions. Ambitions fulfilled, the blurry line between fitness moderation and obsession becomes more clear.

I admit that my own fitness priorities have been out of whack on more than one occasion. However, as I sit here in robe-clad rumination drinking coffee on a cold San Diego pre-dawn, I have no doubt that I have been better at all of the above because of my commitment to personal fitness; a better neighbor, better father, better business man, better writer. I can also say that when I have stepped too far from my fitness path, my ability to be good at anything has immediately and proportionately decreased.

I can think of few great thinkers, great leaders, or iconoclasts of social or political change who have been true exercise junkies. Conversely, I can think of many who practiced reasonable fitness daily. Be you wanting to lead and facilitate change in the world, the community, the workplace, or the family, a more fit more confident you is much more likely to succeed.

The Change-up

That said, my fitness tip for this week applies to those who, like myself, have a harder time negotiating that blurry line between obsession and moderation in fitness:

  1. Skip the workout today go have a root beer float with your elderly neighbor.
  2. Take your kid out for pizza.
  3. Don’t just have one glass of wine with dinner, have the whole bottle – just don’t leave the house.
  4. From your front porch, shoot spit-wads at those smug cyclists and runners as they move past your house in those pretentious running and cycling outfits.
  5. Buy Girl Scout Cookies outside the grocery store, and make the girls laugh as you open the box and begin eating right in front of them – before you even get your change back in your hand.
  6. Hijack your workout partner and go see a movie instead of of hitting the gym.
  7. Put down the egg whites and oatmeal and enjoy your wife’s pancakes for a change.
  8. Instead of lecturing your subordinates at work on the “ills of junk food” surprise them with a box of donuts – and let them see you take the first one.
  9. For today, just for today, be okay with who you are!!!
  10. Find a fitness trainer and tell him to, “shut the fuck up and get real”. Remind him that life is more than sets, reps, lunges, chicken breast salads, and that there are greater causes in the world than doing sinister justice to a pair of jeans.

Wrap Up

If you are a fitness enthusiast and have already done any one of these things this week, good for you, you are a fitness moderate and you are right where you should be.

If you have done all of these things this week, then it probably is time to write down and review your own definition of fitness, and get grounded.

If you refuse to do any of these things for fear that your abs will disappear, your arms won’t look so hard, or your 5K  run time will suffer, I pity you, but pity those close to you even more. Be well.

My Kind Of Town…

If New York had heart, San Francisco had balls, and New Orleans had class maybe, just maybe, they could combine to carry Chicago’s jock strap.

"And in the end, I realized that I took more than I gave, I was trusted more than I trusted, and I was loved more than I loved. And what I was looking for was not to be found but to be created." The words of John Hughes from his movie, She's Having A Baby. Chicago's greatest modern poet, and a voice for MY generation...

The most cosmopolitan city on the planet...

I am off this week — to help the girl who was once my little princess and is now my Titanic Scholar, settle into her new apartment as she attacks her junior year at De Paul. 

VDP, not to be confused with VDB... Inside joke re: Jeff Vandenberg...

So this Friday I will post something from the past as I will be chest-deep in the wonder that is Chicago.  Fresh stuff to come on Friday August 20. Ya’ll check back now, ya hear….?

Gino's East -- where the concept of fitness can go get f#cked!!!

Oh, and there is this from one of Chicago’s best kept secrets; The Old 97s…

Crime And Punishment

 Intention Of Readership

If you are in the category of someone who has willfully and knowingly taken yourself to a state of morbid obesity, and are unable to participate in the physical activities of life, I am talking to you.  If most forms of recreation with friends, family, or loved ones, suffer or do not exist because of the choices you have made with regard to your eating and your lack of exercise, then I am talking to you – and I am doing so with intentionally hard words.  If you find what I have to say offensive, I am sorry.  I am hopeful though, that you will find it equally motivating – more so, because I believe in you.

If you are reading this and are active and able to participate in life, but simply don’t like the way your ass looks in a swim suit, thinks your thighs look crappy in shorts, or have ongoing belt lengthening issues, I am not talking to you. If you can shop without a motorized scooter, play catch, or ride a roller-coaster I am not talking to you.  If you look and the mirror and say, “bleh”, then proceed to go camping or mow your own lawn, I am not talking to you – though I do hope you get something out of this.

The Crime In Question

In my opinion, you have committed a crime – a murder actually, and I believe you should be punished for that murder.  With your poor choices, and your poor non-choices in eating and exercise, you have killed the you that should exist right now but doesn’t.  You have murdered that potential you in cold blood, and there you sit inside the rotting corpse with the smoking Dorito still in your hand.    

All those little bullets you have been firing into your own mouth have prevented the best possible you from existing today, and that is indeed a crime.  Not just a crime against yourself, but a crime against anyone who has ever desired to live a more complete, more active life with you; to walk with you, swim with you, play tennis with you, or to enjoy any kind of action or recreation at all with you.  With those choices and non-choices, you have killed the partner, the parent, the sibling, or the friend they have desired and deserved.

Not Punishment, Atonement

The good news is that your punishment for this crime does not need to be confinement.  In fact, it should be exploration; the exploration of the word and all that can be done in it.  This punishment is the opportunity to embrace that which you have ignored and forsaken with regard to the physical you; to seek professional advice and open yourself up to the possibility of movement.

Together, this crime and this punishment might be the only instance when someone murdered can actually be brought back to life, or brought into being for the very first time.  By simply making better choices on the heels of reading this, the you that you murdered can be resuscitated back into being. Though this sentence – this exploration, should start slowly, and with professional guidance, the sentence you should impose upon yourself is to start taking daily action – today! 

The You-logy…

Before you begin your sentence, before you start to breathe life into the you that you really should be, I do have a suggestion for you – just in case you fail at fulfilling your sentence and remain dead inside yourself.  I want you to write a eulogy for the you that you chose to kill with all of your poor choices.  A eulogy which might make mention of all the good times that were never had, all the moments that were missed, and all the relationships that have been strained by your selfish act of murdering the real you.  Be sure to name all the loved ones you have left behind.

When you are done writing that eulogy, make two copies.  Place one on your refrigerator door and the other on your pantry door.  Each time you open that pantry or open the fridge, read the eulogy – aloud.  Remind yourself who you are killing, why, and who the peripheral victims are.  Stop, breath, think, react.  Be well.  rc

Addendum: This is not directed at those who are morbidly obese to medical conditions or genetic predisposition.  Simply, this is intended for anyone who simply ate his or herself into that state of unnecessary state of being.

Three Minutes Of The Condor…

No tease for this week’s column, since I have not started writing it yet, and have not even selected a topic.  In the mean time, there is this from my personal journal; a recent story of nature,  of inspiration, and mostly it’s a story of me being a supreme douche — yet again. 

Please check back this Friday, August 6, for my YTBD column.  Thank you!

______________________________________________________________________

The California Autobahn Society

Interstate 15; the California Autobahn.  Northbound, the I-15 drops swiftly and dramatically into the Temecula Valley  arriving from the shallow mountain pass above, where the US Border Patrol checkpoint rests between two round hills built from boulders and brush.

The Temecula Valley; if only it were free of Temeculans...

The view dropping into this valley is an aesthetic wonder. Temecula home to the only Mediterranean climate in the United Sates, is skirted by snow covered peaks rising above the green foundation, textured and accented by the confluent mosaic of citrus orchards, vineyards, ceramic roof tops, and roads. This looks from above, as complete and Utopian a community as one can imagine. Punctuating this gateway view, is the added green dimension of the Temecula Creek golf course acting as welcome sign for hungry eyes.

 It was driving this stretch last week on a clear 75 degree day, as I dropped in on Temecula to meet my daughter for an early dinner, that I saw three rare California condors. They stood almost motionless on a putting green at the Temecula Creek golf course – just a couple of hundred yards off I-15. I was awestruck. I had never seen such large birds – they appeared almost as large as human men; black, red, and a bit of white on each.

The mighty California Condor...

On initial eye contact, I don’t believe I could have felt any closer to a god or nature had I been standing on Mt. Everest. I felt attune with nature in the most sincere and reverent way, as I looked in wonder before these great works of natural selection.

 Still driving, I noticed a silver shaft catching the sunlight and shimmering in-between two of these out of place birds. I considered that one of the birds had found or confiscated the club of golfer somewhere on the course, and was exploring its possibilities as food, tool, or entertainment.

Still driving, still in awe, and still catching my breath, I slowed to take a closer look. My God I thought to myself, it appeared as though the bird was actually lining up a putt – unbelievable.  I jerked my fiancé’s car to the side of the road, stopped, quietly stepped from the car not to scare the birds, walked closer still, and to gain a better look.

The tranquility which is the Temecula Creek golf course...

The bird actually was lining up a putt. The two other condors conferenced, then watched – the putt sink from a few feet away. The three came together and walked off with an obvious sense of purpose. They entered a nearby golf cart, got in and drove away. Wait – what the hell just happened?  Three condors, a well placed putt, and a golf cart…?

Glasses now on and pushed up a bit more on my nose, I came to undiscover these magnificent birds — to realize that these were not the elusive California condors I thought they were.  They were human men, playing human golf, in a human setting.  Three men, dressed in black, a bit of white, and wearing red golf caps.  Three men playing golf, and one douche – just off the side of the road, staring from the bushes, vowing not to drive without his eye glasses ever again. 

Sometimes fitness is admitting a weakness, and doing what one knows to be right in correcting that weakness, such as wearing one’s glasses.  True.   Be well.  rc

Glasses on, and seeing the light...

Please check back this Friday, August 6, for my YTBD column — fitness related this time.  Thank you!