It is Christmas time for me, my cousins just celebrated Hanukka.
In my family that means a number of big meals and baked goods galore as well as chocolate, maybe a whiskey or a glass of wine, craft brewed beer, and the ever present coffee.
My family started changing the extremes of food and we have some healthier food at meals during the holiday that have become big hits. Turkey breast on the grill is a big favorite.
I started thinking of how this time of year affects so many people that are on my friends list. Specifically the women that are so supportive and so very very hard on themselves. So I would like to point out a few things.
You are beautiful.
Your ideal image is what you can become, not what some NY model that hasn't eaten solid food in a month looks like.
You are beautiful.
You must not use this as an excuse to slack or not do the things that improve your health. You should try to improve in areas of your person that are not what you would like them to be. But you should love yourself as you work toward the you that you want to be.
You are beautiful.
Beauty truly comes from the person you are. It is cliche, but beauty comes from inside. I have met some physically beautiful women that after they open thier mouth I have no attraction to them whatsoever...none, nada, yuck, the selfish evil hateful disgust me.
You are beautiful.
So go become the great physical being you can become, but stay beautiful.
If you have a rough day, do me a favor......
look in the mirror and say out loud:
"John knows I am beautiful."
Repeat about ten times and then say,
" I know I am beautiful."
" I know I am beautiful."
" I know I am beautiful."
" I know I am beautiful!"
Do that for me, it will make my Christmas time better. If you can't see that beauty after doing that , just look through my eyes. Because I see your beauty.
Posted on 12/10/2013 by BruteSquad
I was writing this for a specific woman, and thought I should share it with all my beautiful friends since it applies. Guys the details won't apply but the sentiment will.
You will never be as strong as me.
I will never be as beautiful as you.
I know you feel pain and you cry.
You have never seen the tears I have shed in front of the mirror after a 5x5 that included a 300 lb dead lift.
You feel alone and like you are fighting your own body as well as the world.
We are alone together. I am fighting the same battle, but I am unable to express my frustration and self hatred. The disgust I feel when I see myself in the reflection of the window I am walking past or someone wants a group picture that includes me.
I want to sit down and just give up, cry, scream, lay still until I no longer feel this way.
But I don't. I work the 40 - 60 hours a week at my job, go to school full time, work on a second house to get moved into it so I can stop paying two sets of bills, and I am trying to get back to set workout days, still going when even the ibuprofen doesn't quiet the pain in my knees, and eating out of a college size fridge so I am limited on what food I can store. I won't give up, I won't stop, knowing I will never be as beautiful as you.
Because to stop, to quit, to not try is to disrespect all that you give me each day. The encouragement, the glimpse of your strange little world as you peek into the insanity I call my life. And you choose to keep coming back and check in on that world....it is more important than you know. To know a woman of beauty takes the time out of her day to spend some of her valuable time to say hello, to send me a virtual hug, to remind me that I may be disgusted with me, but you still think I am worth your time and effort.
I am thankful for that every day.
Posted on 11/19/2013 by BruteSquad
So here I am reading all the chaos on my newsfeed. Participating in some of the more social aspects of this site. And trying to beat down some of the things that make me feel as if I am flailing. Not failing....but flailing....
I bought the Olympic barbell set with a total 300# of weight. I got a power rack. But they are at the house I am going to move into waiting to be set up. The roof repairs and walls needing attention have taken priority.
To counteract I have been doing some bodyweight training as an interm fix..... but I strained a hamstring Tuesday and spent most of my workout time foam rolling.
So cruising the news feed I see a picture of a beautiful woman with the words "not one crunch" on the picture. So of course I have to go visit the profile. I look at her pictures.
She is gorgeous! How does she do it? I start reading her profile thinking I will send her a message and ask if she is lifting heavy.......well her profile provided me this link that has a ton of information:
And then I look at the other blog and I am blown away.
So I AM flailing. But I am inspired to keep at it.
fivethreeone doesn't know me, she doesn't even know she has had a major inspirational impact today.......
Instead of being that somewhat creepy "thanks for inspiring me" message guy, I thought I would share an inspiration for anyone that takes the time to read this. Because she rocks.
Who did you inspire today? I would bet that I didn't today......but maybe if I work at it, I will tomorrow.
Posted on 11/06/2013 by BruteSquad
I was just thinking about how I have changed over the last two or three years. The most significant thing I have changed is my routine. Now I realize that I used to say I don't have a routine, but that was not really the case. It is simply that my routine had different starting times due to my job and what I did evolved. It evloved as it did because everything I did was a stop gap measure instead of a designed plan.
Of course a routine will change over time, even one that was designed with great effort to be "perfect", Eventually as our jobs, interests, family change, the routine will have to be modified or completely redesigned.
A routine, at it's best, is a plan that works and is repeated on a regular basis. At it's worst a routine is a clever way to be lazy and convince myself that I am too busy to take care of myself that I repeat on a regular basis.
My two biggest success stories on routine change are getting up at 4:30am to work out three days a week, and packing my lunch when I am done with dinner.
The workout change was huge. I had to get up at 5 am without a workout for three weeks before I could even get up that early and workout. Pay off is huge.
The packing lunch after dinner was a small change. It allowed me more time in the morning to do something else. I usually pack dinner left overs, and when I don't, I still pack my lunch after dinner so I have no excuse to not have a packed lunch. I do still buy lunch, usually once a week, but it is by design and I have some great things to choose from.
I realized that these two routines were a type of armor to defend against the things I face during my day. They give me an advantage to achieve the goals I have. A better chance to "win".
So at 4:30am on M,W,F I am "putting on my armor" and not just working out.
Just a perspective I thought I would share. And remember, if you are reading this, I want you to win. I am rooting for you!
Posted on 9/10/2013 by BruteSquad
For my friend Katie.
I know a lot of people were raised as I was. We had food at every major event in the family. We had a lot of special food on holidays, birthdays, reunions, any get together. Food was the center of most things. Thus, for me, food became an event. It was an activity. In the last two years I have realized that and been trying to redefine my relationship with food.
I have tried a number of things that did not work.
I have tried having forbidden foods...doesen't work for me, I end up binging at some point.
I have tried "cheat days" and that is a miserable fail. As my body didn't know it was a cheat day and still reflected everything I ate, including "cheat day" meals. Didn't work.
A number of eating tricks that were not working.
Here is what seems to be working, at least currently.
I am conscious of eating. I make it a point to be aware of the fact that I am going to eat something. Green beans or Oreos, I am conscious of it.
I do not eat while watching TV. When I eat, that is the only thing I do.
If I want to eat a cookie or junk when I first ask myself if I am really hungry. I then see if I need food. If not, normally that is the case, I don't eat, I drink some water or coffee or unsweetened ice tea.
If I still want junk, I drink the drink, then tell myself I can have it in 1 hour, and usually I forget about it. If not, I have a single serving. If I miss the hour and remember it 1 hour and 15 minutes later, I have to wait another hour.
When I want to eat just to eat, I find some other activity to do. Often reading or working on some project that I have been putting off.
I still enjoy a good meal. But I no longer need it to be 1000 calories in a sitting to feel like I ate enough. I focus on the meal, that is the "when I eat, that is the only thing I do", enjoy the wonderful food, and then go do something.
Preparing several meals at one time to ensure I have lunches to take to work makes it somewhat industrial and helps distance myself from the emotional attachment to eating.
Something else that has helped, although it is not a great place to find myself, is when I do eat to the point of being stuffed, or eat a box of cookies, or whatever that unnecessary eating was, instead of beating myself up over it I am very conscious of how I feel. I sit still, without distraction, and pay attention to how I really feel. Usually it turns out I physically feel pretty crappy.
Food is still good, still tasty, but less and less something I turn to when I am looking to change how I feel.
Posted on 9/09/2013 by BruteSquad
It seems that I see a trend lately among people I interact with. I am sure it is a trend all over the place normally, but I have only seen it recently with my friends both on MFP and other places. It goes something like, "I can't find time to work out now that my schedule has changed due to (fill in the blank)."
Here is the truth. (I had to figure this one out for myself and so I understand as obvious as it is, it doesn't occur to people at first. Often because we don't want to change.) No matter what time of day you leave for work, you can get up an hour to an hour and a half earlier and work out for 20 to 45 minutes. Of course this means you have to go to bed earlier. And that is where so many people start in with how they can't go to bed earlier because of any number of reasons (read excuses). I don't pretend that it is easy. It sucks to get into the groove of it. But I now go to bed at 9 pm most nights so I can get up at 4:30-5:00 am. Because my workouts are actually important.
The only way I can get the nutrition I need is to plan and make it. Instead of watching TV, I am cooking several meals....several times a week. I don't even have cable anymore. I have things to do that are more important than watching a Discovery channel show I have already seen.
Now if you can get an afternoon or evening workout in and you actually do it, GREAT! YOU WIN. But in my line of work, I never know for sure that I will get off when I am supposed to get off work. So the only sure way to get in a work out is to do it before I go to work. Which comes back to a bigger question. Are you serious about losing the weight or are you playing at it?
I had this discussion in depth with my brother over the weekend. He was telling me that between the hour commute to work, college courses twice a week, and the time spent to be active in his son's life he just can't lose weight. We talked about controlling what he eats and getting exercise in with his son and at other times. It came down to me saying, without any rancor, that he couldn't lose weight easily. He could do it, but he would have to commit to it and make it work. It wasn't going to be easy and it would not just happen. He would have to make it happen.
So that is what I ask myself all the time when I am thinking about not doing what I know I need to do. "John, are you serious? Or are you just playing at it?"
Posted on 9/03/2013 by BruteSquad
This is much different than my normal blog post. I am usually quite serious. However, we need to laugh. We need a moment to smile and simply enjoy the fact that we are intaking the atmosphere into our lungs.
This makes me laugh so I am sharing it here. Some of you have seen it, but it makes me laugh every time.
Why we shoot deer.
I had this idea that I could rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.
I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up-- 3 of them. I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold..
The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation. I took a step towards it, it took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope .., and then received an education.. The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.
That deer exploded. The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a lot stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity. A deer-- no Chance. That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally imagined.. The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many other animals.
A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope.
I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual. Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in. I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder - a little trap I had set before hand...kind of like a squeeze chute. I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope back.
Did you know that deer bite?
They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when ..... I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and slide off to then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head--almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts.
The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective.
It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it. While I kept it busy tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose.
That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.
Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp... I learned a long time ago that, when an animal -like a horse --strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape.
This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run. The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.
Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed.. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.
I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. So now I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a scope......to sort of even the odds!!
All these events are true... An Educated Farmer
Posted on 8/29/2013 by BruteSquad
My 18 year old nephew asked me a profound question the other day.
"What is your longest term goal?"
My answer, after a moment to think, was, "To die well. BUT I have a lot of work to do before that can happen."
Some of what came up in that conversation is what I want to share here.
I have a rough goal for the scale. But if I am at a good bodyfat, healthy, strong, and happy. The scale means nothing. I am working towards that goal and even if I hit it, I will have to work to maintain it the rest of my life.
I want to help people make a better life for themself. I want to have a positive impact on people by empowering them. That will be a life time effort.
I want to build a street rod. I have a stripped down Chevy 305 waiting for my attention. That is something that is at the bottom of the list though.....
I want to make the movie I have written. I have a plan for that.
I want to finish recording the album of music I have written. I have a plan for that too.
I want to finish the novel I am writing. That is in the works.
I want to see my nephew and nieces become adults and hopefully be a meanig part of that.
That is what I know I will make up at least the base of dying well. That is in no way all inclusive. But it is a start.
Posted on 7/18/2013 by BruteSquad
I awoke to a room so bright I thought I had overselpt, and then it went dark. The thunder crashed into my bedroom vibrating me to my core. This natural fireworks show only lasted 5 minutes or so, but it was brutal. It was also at 1:30 am. Lost power for a bit shortly after. Slept roughly for the next 3.5 hours.
I wanted so bad to use an excuse to not go to the gym. I really didn't want to go...I was tired and I just DID NOT WANT TO GO. But I did. So I win right?.....oh but wait, there is more.
As I changed to go to the gym I got a look at naked me in the full length mirror. At this point it s a very bad thing for me to do. I simply do not see what I feel, I do not see the results of NOT eating constant junk, of watching calories, of working out....I don't see it. I see a fat man. Logically I know that where I have lost weight makes the other areas look worse, but I don't like what I see.
So I went to the gym. I know what Shrek is all about. There were a total of four people that had come through the rain to the gym this morning between 5 and 6 am. I was alone in the back room, where the power racks and most of the free weights live. The old, well used, bars and weights are at home. The other three were working in the front of the gym. It was an Ogre and three princes working out today. The Ogre was in the back room. They were all good looking men that were in shape. (And good for them. They are there at 5 am working out and taking care of thier bodies.) But I see the workout they do, and I know the workout I do. It is disheartening. It is vain, but I know even if I ever get to my best, they will look better. I do not have the genetics to look that good. I do have the genetics to pick up one of them and the weight they are lifting, but I will never look that good.
We Ogres are like onions...we have layers....yes it is true.
I did the workout. I did it to the best of my ability as I always do. Which is probably better than it would have been two years ago. I would probably have not gone to the gym at all and if I had, I would have cut it short because of my emotional state. If I am honest and put down the tough guy persona, I very well could have cryed. No matter how hard I work, regardless of how disiplined I am, irrespective of how good a person I am, I will never look that good.
I am past that. I am past letting my emotions dictate my actions in a knee jerk manner. I still feel it, it sucks, and I am not happy. But I do the work because it needs doing.
I wish I could say it fuled a fire to really have an awesome workout. That would have the taste of a lie that would be in my mouth the rest of the day. It is true that the mass of metal plates and a bar as affected by gravity was moved through will. I had to force every lift and was completely aware of every muscle and motion and moment I was working to push or lift metal plates closer to the sky.
It was UGLY, but it was a win. I usually love the Ugly Win, and I am sure I will love it tomorrow. Today I am too close to it.
I am, at least, glad I got to the gym and did the workout.
Posted on 6/26/2013 by BruteSquad
We all know there are many people engaged in trying to lose different amounts of weight for different reasons and in different ways. It occurred to me that there is a difference for those of us that start at over 100 lbs to lose.
I know the diet has to be right and exercise plays a roll and all of these things are the same for everyone. I won't argue any of that.
But needing to lose over 100 lbs and in some cases over 200 lbs is just so very daunting. It seems impossible and it can wear us down. I know, I have been there. I am still staring down at least 50 lbs to go.
What I realize NOW, after losing ~75lbs from my heaviest point, is that the first part of my weight loss was more about feeling better, being able to move and do things I had not been able to do before. Yes the scale is important, but it is not everything. Looking back, my greatest strides in the first part of reaching my goals was made when I was focused on doing something other than just the weight loss. When I took a fitness test and then focused for a month on increasing my numbers, my weight loss was very good. At the very beginning it was just being able to jump so I could do HIIT workouts in a manner close to what they were doing on the videos I watched. It was being able to actually walk 3 miles and not need three days of recovery.
For those struggling with all that weight, and I am still struggling. Get your food right, then focus on some activity to improve. It makes it more fun, and then your eating becomes a way to support your goal. Just an idea that has helped me as I am trying to move forward.
I am focused on getting strong enough to climb a 10 ft wall without help. I have a way to go. That isn't just strength. It is strength to weight, and technique. So when I eat, I eat in a manner to support that goal. I have passed on free cookies and chocolate this week. It doesn't support my goal.
These are the steps that are part of becoming the fit me. I have to shed not only the physical fat, but the fat mentality. If I do the things a fat man does, and act like a fat man, people will treat me like a fat man and I will be a fat man. If I do the things a fit man does, and act like a fit man, people will eventually treat me like a fit man and I will be a fit man.
Notice the difference between fit and fat is "I"
Posted on 6/20/2013 by BruteSquad
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