Gratatouille Part II…

Facebook Games…

Social media can be a fickle bitch. One week it’ll slap me on the back of the head and make me wish I didn’t own a computer at all, while simultaneously wondering why I remain friends with that asshole or moron who writes, believes, or propagates so much of the hatred, nonsense, or ideas unwanted.

Other weeks, social media can bring me nearly to tears, overjoyed with the human connections, ideas, and experiences that reach me through my 17” window to the world and touch me so deeply.

Though I try hard to avoid Facebook trends and games and hope not to drag others into them, this week one caught me by surprise. My friend, Jenny Marie, tagged me to share 3 gratitudes per day for 5 straight days. I have to say this was one of the better experiences I have had on Facebook in a quite a while.

Rather than write my usual essay this week, I thought it would be fun to share my 15 gratitudes here.  This is dedicated to those readers of this blog who are not on Facebook or captives of social media.

Day 1 of my 5 days of sharing 3 gratitudes. Todays’ theme: Family

1) I am grateful for Trudy. Though we are not married any longer, she remains the most important person in my life, alongside the daughter that we share. Her friendship and kindness defy words.

2) I am grateful for my Mark. Being 4 years my senior, my brother has taught me many lessons, and provided much inspiration in my life.

3) I am grateful for my mother, the only woman on earth named Willie. She has always, and I mean (even today) always been there for me.

Mom.  Always there...

Mom. Always there…

Day 2 of 5 my days of sharing 3 gratitudes. Today’s theme: (some of) my near death experiences

1 – You learn a lot when your parachute doesn’t open correctly. Even more when you spend a year housebound recovering from the related spinal injury – oh and there’s a toddler in the house. For all the lessons I learned in that turning point in my life (1993), I am grateful, and can honestly say I haven’t taken too many days for granted since.

2 – You learn a lot when you drink beer for breakfast while camping with your buddies and decide to leave your lawn chair and jump into the top of a Class IV rapid. Of all my near death experiences that one should have killed me. Every bone in my body took an exceptional jolt except for my head. I am grateful for the humility I gained. Another turning point in my life.

Yes.  I actually jumped into this...

Yes. I actually jumped into this…

3 – You learn a lot when you realize there’s a rattlesnake in your car. I learned immediately that the entrance to the King Sooper’s grocery store could accommodate an S10 pickup. Got out, went right to the gardening tools, grabbed a shovel, and killed said snake. Not a single employee questioned me or what I was doing. I am grateful I saw him before it was too late.

 Day 3 of my 5 days of sharing 3 gratitudes. Todays’ theme: Self-deprecation:

1 – I am grateful to all of those who know me, and like me anyway.

2 – I am grateful that I can look at the disappointment of a man that I was 15 years ago, but take comfort knowing that I eventually learn from all of my mistakes.

3 – Mostly today, I am as grateful for my pain as I am for my health so that in the words of Bob Dylan, I can know that I’m really real.

 Day 4 of my 5 days of sharing 3 gratitudes. Todays’ theme: Stroodle

1- The truth is, when he was brought to me 7 years ago as an abused 1-year old, I didn’t want him. My friend and her daughter insisted I take him. I think about that almost every day now – that I didn’t even want him. I am so grateful for said friend, and Stroodle.

2- Every morning while he is still in sleepyhead position (shown), I thank him aloud for the lessons he teaches me daily in humility, unconditional love, and living in the present. I am grateful for this ritual.

3- We walk commando (off leash) 3-4 times per day. I am grateful for the purity and joy I see when he turns back at the end, and sprints to the front door.

My hero, truly...

My hero, truly…

Day 5 of my 5 days of sharing 3 gratitudes. Today’s theme: Humor And Mental Survival

In the last 3 months I have walked away from a successful business, had my bike (my only transportation) stolen, got burned by a couple of clients for some pretty big money, I have moved 3 times and lived for 2 months without a place to call home until this week. I almost got my head taken out by a falling gate arm, and I have seen several good friends going through incredibly difficult times. I have been in dark places myself, fearful and more desperate at times than I would ever let on in social media. Through it all though, I have not lost my sense of humor.

1- I am grateful for my brother who almost singlehandedly cultivated an irreverent sense of humor in me while growing up – to the point that being the class clown was the primary reason I stayed in school as long as I did, though I did eventually release myself on my own recognizance. He taught me abut Franklin Ajaye, George Carlin, and Woody Page.

2- I am grateful for my father who raised me with regular jokes in the car and at the dinner table. They were often horrible, unfunny, or too complicated for me to get, but they were a constant part of my upbringing.

3- I am grateful for all the comedians of this world. A few of them might even read this. As Lewis Black once said, “the only thing that separates us from those who wish to see us all perish, is our sense of humor”.

I could not agree more. Laughter may not always be the best medicine, but it goes down smooth and never leaves me with a hangover.

That’s it.  Fifteen 15 gratitudes in 5 days.  I may just keep this up, even if it means I lose a few social media friends.   Ok, one more: I am grateful for the awareness this has brought to me.   Be well… rc

Please take a moment to scroll up and rate this.  Thank you!


Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I push to STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from Courtney Barnett. Enjoy…


Lemmings, Fitness Trainers, Bosses And Me…

It’s like gym class, only it pays…

A disproportionately large number of fitness trainers choose their profession because, from the perspective of a fitness enthusiast, it appears to be a fun job that looks easier and more rewarding than a typical office job.  To a young and active person, I can see why fitness training might appear to be a great career path.  Helping people change their lives has got to be better than moving papers from pile A to pile B, while all the while a boss is staring over one’s shoulder.

Douchesaurus Rex...

The boss, aka, Douchesaurus Rex…

I have often said that I feel like I’m on summer vacation year round.  I make my living in shorts and bare feet, my commute involves stepping over my dog as I carry my coffee into my studio, and I’m never far from what I love most in life; my pretty little weights.  I have a good gig and I try hard never to forget that.  Because I have always lived for the gym, I have built my life so that I now live in the gym – literally.

Shining Light On The Career Path…

I may refer to myself as self-employed, but I actually have 26 bosses – 26 people who trust me with their time and their money, and who have the expectation that they receive equal value from those investments.  I work very hard every day to try to give them value in my product.  My product is not my equipment, my knowledge, nor my planned workouts.  My product is the sum of all of those things, communicated well.

The reality is fitness training takes a great deal of work.  It’s a job like any other job, and a business like any other business.  Days can often be long.  Some sessions will go better than others.   At the end of the workweek it always feels good to be done.  At the end of the weekend though, it always feels good to get back to work – for me anyway.

That said, there are a lot of lemming fitness trainers out there – mindless and bored, and going through the motions as so many office lemmings also go through the motions of their jobs; moving papers about their cubicles, avoiding their bosses, sending and returning emails, and doing scarcely enough to keep a paycheck coming.

"And to think, I could be holding a clipboard and counting to 10..."

“And to think, I could be holding a clipboard and counting to 10…”

What to seek from a fitness trainer…

Most people I speak with in search of a fitness trainer look primarily for knowledge and education.  Clearly these are important components of a trainer’s skill-set.  I often think though, they are overemphasized.  Knowledge and education are only part of what is needed to be a quality fitness trainer.  Being a good trainer requires impeccable speaking and listening skills.

One can possess all the knowledge in the world, but if he can’t communicate that knowledge effectively, it will go unused.   Conversely, a strong communicator can thoroughly teach the fundamentals of exercise, which in many cases, is all a trainee will require.  Basic fitness skills, taught completely, can go a long way in helping someone take ownership of their body.

Would-be trainers take not:  To succeed, you'll need a whole bunch of these...

Would-be trainers take note: To succeed, you’ll need a whole bunch of these…

A trainer who possesses good listening skills will have a much better understanding of the trainee’s needs, limitations, mindset, and personal values.  Of all the qualities a good trainer must possess, in my opinion, being a good listener should be near or at the tip of the list.  With that, the trainer should seek most of all, to understand the trainee’s personal values, and gradually influence those values to include more mindful decisions with regard to personal wellness.

How he wrangles…

The number one priority a fitness trainer should have is to establish the threshold and capacity of his trainee in all aspects of fitness including; balance, strength, endurance, and flexibility as immediately as possible.  Only after these are established, can a trainer engage in his second priority; to slowly, and in small increments, increase those thresholds, while promoting safe but challenging exercise.

Cultivate.  Another primary responsibility of the trainer is to cultivate progress, not to force it.  Cultivating an increased fitness level is a process which requires planning, patience, consistency, and teamwork.  There’s no “I” in teamwork, but there’s meat work if you rearrange the letters.  To get the meat to work, both trainer and trainee must be on the same page and committed.

It requires teamwork for this meat to work...

It requires teamwork for this meat to work…

A few things to keep in mind when selecting a fitness trainer…

If the trainer is still wearing his diamond encrusted high school football number on a sliver chain around his neck, be leery of him. He is his first priority.

Uhm...., most every male trainer I have ever met...

Uhm…., most every male trainer I have ever met…

If on meeting a trainer, there is a cell phone in one of his hands, and a protein drink in the other, he may not be your guy.

If the trainer looks like he needs a trainer more than you do, run!

Sincerely, there is much to consider when selecting a trainer, far beyond the size of his arms, the shape of her ass, or the number of “certifications” they might hold.

What I encourage everyone to do who might be in search a fitness trainer is to remember first and foremost, you are going to be that trainer’s boss!  He or she will be your employee.  Don’t just look for a trainer, interview many.  Interview them as you would interview any potential employee in the workplace, always with the perspective that you won’t want to interview a replacement anytime soon.  Interview well…  rc

Have you seen my stapler...?

“Have you seen my stapler…?”  Having Milton in the office is harmless.  Having him as your trainer…

Week Daze…

Nothing fitness related this week.  Working on several new fitness related essays for later this month, and for May.  In the meantime there is this from my personal journal, written last weekend. 

  Daze Of The Week

There are seven days in a week.  Though each day can be similar to the day before, the next day is sure to include some unique moment, fresh thought, or previously unknown experience.  Some of those moments and experiences will be good and some not so good.  Though each day of the week might represent something different to anyone of us, it’s fair to say many of us view each named day of the week pretty much the same.

For many, Monday is the daunting start of the workweek.  People often resent Monday for thrusting its blood thirsty hand through our chest, stealing the still-beating heart out of our weekend memories, and throwing it to the base of the pyramid.   Things at work might be accomplished on Monday, but often seem get done at a lesser pace for that resentment.

Tuesday it seems, is an unnecessary extension of Monday.  The primary difference between Monday and Tuesday is the rhythm of the day.  The weekend is all but forgotten and by Tuesday morning and the idea of bondage to the job has become easier to accept.  Tuesday is less sullen.  Things are likely accomplished at an increased pace over Monday, and the day might pass more easily.

Wednesday is hump day for many; the day that brings us past the tipping point toward the coveted weekend.  Wednesday is like Friday-light.  Wednesday morning we begin seeing the light of our impending weekend come into view.  That energy may prompt an increase in productivity during the first half of Wednesday.  Wednesday afternoon though, identifies a substantial roadblock between that blithe moment and the weekend – we’ll refer to that roadblock as Thursday.  On this recognition, productivity on Wednesday afternoon may be at a low for the week.

Thursday is just another unnecessary extension of Monday.  No, more like a sister moon to Monday.  How this chunk of Monday got thrown so far ahead into the week, scientists still don’t understand.  Thursday may be the longest day of the week.  However, Thursday is likely the most productive day of the week.  What else are you going to do all alone on that moon, except work…?

Friday needs no introduction.  Friday is at the top of the A-list of weekday celebrities.  Face it, Friday is the only day on any list of weekday celebrities.  Despite its probably low productivity, the mood is generally good on Fridays since nobody will have to see or deal with anyone else in the workplace again until Monday.  Friday is a celebration unto itself.

The perception of Saturday and Sunday differs much more for most.  There is less emotional gravity on the weekends holding us down.  Some degree of fun or relaxation is likely to be had – unless of course one has small children.  Then Saturday and Sundays become the other sister moons of Monday, and they are run by slave driver bosses much smaller than us.

Many flee on Saturday and Sunday, in different directions in pursuit of differing agendas.  Others just stay home and veg.  If nothing else, I’ll suggest that the weekend is a necessary pit stop to stay in the Monday through Friday rat race.   Regardless of how one spends Saturday or Sunday, weekends are a perfect distraction until Friday happens again.

Thus is the cycle of the workweek for the masses.  I understand that not everyone works a traditional workweek.  There is shift work, rotating schedules, technological intrusions on our soccer games, family outings, and meals.  But the days of the week are like puzzle pieces, and can be fit to replace one another for what is likely to be a similar conclusion regardless of one’s true work schedule.

When I was 19 years old Muppet Master, Jim Henson, told me that work is what we’re here for.  Through my many long and sometimes trying workdays, I have tried hard to remember and take regular inventory of that lesson.

The Colors Of The day

Since I was quite young, each named day has represented more to me than the place my life sits in the given workweek.  I’m not sure where this came from, but for most of my life when I envision the name of a day, Monday, Tuesday, etc., each of our seven days is represented to me by a color.  When I read, speak, or hear another speak the name of a day, I always envision a particular color in my head synonymous with that day, and I do so immediately.

  • Monday is red
  • Tuesday is brown
  • Wednesday is yellow
  • Thursday is blue
  • Friday is green
  • Saturday shares yellow with      Wednesday
  • Sunday is black

I can offer no explanation for the assignment of these colors in my head, but they have been there since grade school.  When I think of Wednesday I don’t think of hump day, I first think of yellow.  And so it goes for all the days of the week.  Each day is represented with an inherent color in my mind.  What these colors represent or why I may never know, they’re just ingrained in my psyche.

For those commenting this week, I am sincerely curious, does anyone else associate the days of the week with colors, or numbers, or anything else such as a car, super model, or breed of dog…?  I will be interested in your response.  Be well.  rc


Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from Sun Volt.  Enjoy…

A Fairwell To Legs…

Seventeen years ago next week, I experienced two words that would change my life forever; parachute malfunction.

The Lincoln Sport Parachute Club in Weeping Water, NE. This is where it all went down. And when say, "went down", I mean went down much faster than expected...

During my recovery from the accident I wrote a book entitled, Gravity Works.  It was a summary of the events that lead up to my little mishap in the sky.  I put it  the book on ice because honestly,  it sucks.  That said, here is an excerpt from chapter 7:

“I hit the ground like a just clobbered Floyd Paterson, and rebounded with the approximate coherency of Floyd the barber.  I had two distinct thoughts during my first conscious moment on the ground.  I began picking pieces of the damp soil from between my teeth and my mind focused on an evening news segment I had seen a couple days prior.  It was footage of professional football player, Dennis Byrd, walking with his wife along the rim of their country home outside of Tulsa.”

More of this chapter to follow in next weekend’s column.  And for now, there is this from Shinedown.  Peace… 

Jaw Cardio; the death of progress…

Jaw cardio is not an exercise, yet it is the most practiced activity in gyms across the country. More words seem to be spoken in health clubs each day than weights lifted, miles run, and stairs climbed combined. Jaw cardio is the unbending deterrent which stands impregnably between you and the results you seek from your workouts. Jaw cardio is number two, just behind poor eating choices, as the leading cause of diminished exercise returns. Jaw cardio must be stopped in our lifetime.

Far be it from me to play the part of buzz-kill in your weekly fitness endeavors, but there is a very good chance you practice jaw cardio. If you’re not a practitioner, you are likely willing to receive it, fresh from the mouths of Mr. or Mrs. Gym-Spew, seated on the machine next to you. As such, it might be concluded that your workouts are not providing the maximum benefit they should. Straight up; what is it you seek from your time in the gym, results or social satisfaction?

Time: The less time you spend doing your workout, the more time you will have for your other interests in life; business, family, community, etc. Flapping your gums, or lending your ears to a would-be gum flapper during your workout diminishes your time for interests away from the gym. There is no reason for a healthy individual to rest more than 30-60 seconds between sets of a resistance exercise.

For fitness enthusiasts of any level, minimal rest between sets will serve you better. Rest long enough to stretch the muscles you just worked, and stretch those muscles long enough to catch your breath. This simple rule of stretching will serve to promote flexibility, strengthen tendons, keep you focused on your workout, and promote intensity within your exercise scheme as you use time to your advantage.

Results: Jaw cardio, particularly while you are performing an exercise, will absolutely minimize the affect(s) that an exercise will have on your body. There is a direct relationship between concentration in strength training, and the results you seek. If you are talking during the course of an exercise, you are less likely to maximize that opportunity. Talking during your exercises may distract you from paying attention to proper exercise form, possibly resulting in a muscular injury, a tendon or joint injury, a tweaked back, neck, or worse. If there is an exercise Satan, the primary mechanism he’ll use to steal your fitness soul is injury.

Crowds: Forgive the simple math, but if cutting down on your talking between sets will get you out of the gym sooner, then it stands to reason that it will get other people out sooner too. Particularly at peak hours, the elimination of jaw cardio will minimize crowds in the gym. The result? Less people in the gym which translates to less stress and tension in the gym, more available equipment, and more room to move around the gym floor. With more room to move around, and more equipment available, you are that much more likely to get the results you seek. In this instance, a group effort is needed, so spread the word!

Cure: Though there is no current vaccination for jaw cardio, steps can be taken to halt it’s spread. For those doing the talking; shut up and workout. ‘Nuff said.

For those on the receiving end, avoid eye contact with everyone in the gym — especially those in torn sweat shirts with the Tap Out logo inscribed across the chest. Another sound course of action is the I-pod. Nothing says “Stay the hell away from me you jabbering yay-hoo!” better than a pair of form fitting headphones.

Lastly, the best way to stop jaw cardio is to lead by example. Somebody is trying to talk with you during your rest, gently pat the seat of the machine you are taking your rest from and utter the phrase, “Your turn buddy.” Humility has great silencing powers.

Practitioner: Pardon the self-loftiness, but I’m often asked about how I maintain my shape and conditioning at nearly 50. The questions asked in this regard usually relate to which exercises I perform, how many days per week, sets, reps, etc. Sometimes people will be so keen as to actually ask which foods I eat. Indeed. One of the main reasons though, I am able to maintain this level of physical conditioning is by promoting intensity in my workouts. Intensity begins with focus. Focus begins with silence. Be well. rc

Crowds in my coffee (Counter-attack)

Despite my fitness goals, I often succumb to the allure and false salvation of gas station coffee. Though Starbucks and Pete’s have an obvious chokehold on the nation’s young entrepreneurs, software writers, thinkers, and artistic wannabes, myself and America’s other simpletons are still taking our morning fix at the Arco station, and for a much better price. The Arco coffee experience is the social antithesis of the activities which resonate at those snobbish establishments from the northwest. The Arco coffee experience is more pure, more exciting, and though sometimes combative, profoundly ritualistic.

At the convenience store your coffee dollar is much stronger, but your choices are more limited. You can’t be swayed by long partitions of beveled glass cases boasting a drab rainbow of glossy black and brown beans. At Arco you won’t breathe the potent aroma of freshly roasted beans, hand picked by dedicated Bolivian villagers and packed out of the high jungle on dangerous roads by wobbly burros. Hell, at the Arco it probably isn’t even real coffee. There are no shakers of Viennese cinnamon, nor little round tables hosting repressed bookworms with Whitman in one hand and a crumbly scone in the other as their WiFi hums through their Macbook.

At the Arco station, little creamers in tiny cupettes are at the heart of the thing. Actually it’s more of a synthetic cream-like substitute; a non-dairy product which holds up well in the extreme heat of the convenience store coffee thermoses. I don’t actually count the calories from these creamers as – being made of plastic solids and plutonium, they are probably never digested and just cycle through my system endlessly trying to exit through my pours.

The coffee thermoses at the Arco are designed to keep coffee at temperatures of nearly 2,364 degrees. This temperature is just right for most, but some crusty contractors and bourbon-bound salesmen are often seen heating it up a bit more in the microwave oven for good measure. The little creamers are more syrupy than creamy, and are sometimes difficult to open. They come in a variety of flavors including; Mocha, Swiss Chocolate, Irish Hazelnut and the trademarked Amaretto and Kahlua. The best ones, the Amaretto an the Kahlua, are always in short supply.

In most Arco locations there exists a coffee assembly station on stainless steel counters which are also host to the Sara Lee muffin carousel. It is sometimes crowded at the counter, and always competitive during the heat of the morning rush. People become aggressive as they position for a clear space on the counter, and the last of the Kahlua creamers. Today, a groggy business man with messy morning hair, bad breath and an untied necktie attempted to brush me back by stabbing at my hand with a red stirrer stick. I stood my ground though because to do so shows dominance in the arena, and people will be less likely to cut in as I take my time emptying 8 or 9 of the 1 oz. creamers into my 20 oz. foam cup.

After the creamer is loaded into the cup, I face the difficult decision of selecting my artificial sweetening component; Nutra Sweet or Saccharine. The scientific community and my mother tell me that with Nutra Sweet I run the risk of extensive memory loss, and with Saccharine I run the risk of cancer. I most often choose to blend the two in equal balance – operating under the assumption that if the Saccharine causes me cancer, the Nutra Sweet will help me forget about it. Sugar is available too, but nobody uses it for reasons of health – after all, this is California.

There is a comfort zone for me at the Arco station right here in Bonsall which have never found at a Starbucks or Pete’s. I run into the same faces every morning, and though we may sometimes battle it out at the stainless steel counter, we always acknowledge one another’s presence and share a dose of small talk with the former meth addict ex-stripper who’s bruised and tattooed arms run the cash register.

Everyone says good morning to one another, and everyone is sincere about it. Should I reach for my 24e oz. coffee cup in vain, I know just where to look to replenish the supply; experience has even taught me how many cups will fit into the dispenser. I show my respect for the whole process by always taking care to use the damp towel left on the counter to wipe off the sticky residue which builds from the spills of cream and sweetener. The girl behind the register will always nod in acknowledgement when seeing me do so. “Just doing my part” I say.

Soon I will be in my car clipping home again, with a bounce in my step and smile on my face. Like all people, I long to be accepted – to be one of the beautiful at Starbucks. But I know I will never fit in there, and am not willing to pay their price even if I could. If not loved, I am at least known at the Arco station. From this I learn that having a place in life is good; accepting it is beautiful. Be well.

Blowing silence

My body, under the stress of lifting weights, is always held tight. Good form must prevail. My trunk and core are rigid throughout. The only action I allow during my resistance training is movement from the muscles I am trying to engage while lifting. The rest of my body, I envision, is made from stone. This keeps me injury free, maximizes the use of my body’s energy, and promotes greater intensity in my strength training. Beyond that, there must be proper breathing.
Good form must prevail...

Good form must prevail. Good breathing is at the heart of it all...

There is a leak though, within the scope of my good exercise form. I never knew it was there until today — until a gym member slapped me across the face with this information, and then handed it to me in a paper bag to carry around for the rest of my life. Sadly, I speak of a trait which I have grown to despise in others through the years – to the point where I have made many jokes of such violators. A violation of exercise protocol so sacred I may not workout again until I get this resolved within myself.

I now confess; I am a breathe-counter – one who counts his repetitions aloud and breathes his air out simultaneously. Who knew? At least one person.

I have explained many times to my students how important it is to exhale through the mouth during the concentric phase of resistance training. That a steady outflow of air minimizes the temporary state of high blood pressure which exists while weight is being lifted. That to talk, even to count aloud during this phase of exercise will disrupt that steady air flow, so there is to be no talking by my students. What is counting, if not talking — in numbers?

"threeeeeeeee.... foooooooour......"

"threeeeeeeee.... foooooooour......"

Yes, under the stress of the weights, while exerting my will against gravity, I disrupt my should-be breathing pattern and restrict my outward air flow by counting my repetitions and breathing simultaneously. God, where was I and what was I doing when I went so tragically wrong. I thought I was far above and beyond these actions. “I must be perfect in the gym” I often tell myself — to walk the walk in the presence of my students. Now I learn that I am not perfect; I am a breathe-counting schlub. Will my mother speak with me again? My father, am I still in his will? The shame of it all. The shame of being both a Cohen and a breathe-counter. Bhha-a-a-a-a says this black sheep, bhha-a-a-a-a.

I have known and seen many breathe-counters through the years. In truth, most seem to be men and women of virtue, people of faith, and of high moral standards like you and I. The very fact that they exercise says much about their human quality. Still, I have always felt eerie in the presence of breathe-counters, and would not want my sister to marry one. In fact, I have thought to myself many times that gym life would be better if breathe-counters were to be confined to separate facilities; internment gyms. Now I must accept that I too belong on the kibbutz of kinetic counting.

Breathe-counter Louise is mocked and shunned by her peers....

Breathe-counter Louise is mocked and shunned by her peers....

There may be hope. Though there is no “cure” for breathe-counting, there are treatments. A less rigorous exercise program designed around nasal breathing is one option. The intensity must be lowered to accommodate the smaller air passage, but it might be used to train myself into silent breathing. There is also yoga, where breathing matters most and where silence is absolute in the presence of most yoga instructors. Above all though, there could be the cold turkey approach; continued lifting, but silence in my breathing. Silence? An action so foreign to me I had to look up it’s meaning in the dictionary; a speechless moment. Not likely, not for this orator of athletic endeavors. Guess I’ll switch to nasal breathing with flared nostrils and closed lips. Hope you never need to. Be well.