Sunday, January 7, 2018

Running and Walking Are High Tech Sports

My career as a recreational runner began around 1971. Looking back now, I was doing everything wrong. Running on the balls of my feet like a sprinter, in a pair of flat deck shoes. I tired quickly. Never even warming up just running hard right from the start. I was in the military and we had to run for fitness, but there was little information back then about how to run properly or the correct equipment to exercise in.

The top rated shoe was the Brooks Vantage and I think number 2 was the Etonic Street Fighter. My budget didn't fit either one, so I went to K-Mart and bought some bright blue track shoes with little rubber spikes on them. They worked better than the deck shoes and I got up to a couple of miles wearing them. When I did have the money for a pair of good running shoes, I thought I was running on pillows. Oh what a difference.

I began to really enjoying running, especially since I learned about warming up. Once my muscles were warm it really started feeling good. That is also when I learned about balancing the muscle groups. My lower back began hurting regularly. I started reading everything I could find about exercise and discovered that back pain can be a result of weak stomach muscles. After doing situps for a few days, my back started to feel better.

In basic training, we exercised in uniform with combat boots. The reasoning behind this was to train in the uniform worn into combat. Trouble is, we didn't learn how to exercise correctly. That was when exercise and physical fitness really started to interest me. My promotion to First Sergeant of the Base Hospital came with responsibility for the fitness of base personnel. I was able to put my knowledge to good use and to gain a whole lot more working with doctors, physical therapists, and nutritionists to design programs for the base. I had Kenneth Cooper's Human Performance Lab in Dallas on speed dial. He was the adviser to the Air Force for physical fitness. His fitness programs were based on the "Aerobics" method of training.

There is new and improved everything on the market now. The challenge is picking the proper equipment. The wrong kind of shoe can cause issues with knees, ankles, achilles tendons and IT bands. Shoes don't just cushion and protect feet any more, now they are designed to correct different gait problems. A wrong shoe can stop an exercise program quickly. It's very important to purchase exercise shoes from a store that has employees trained to fit them properly. It's amazing how high tech, putting one foot in front of the other, has become.

It's not just a step, it's a start.


Monday, December 25, 2017


There are times which everything seems overpowering. We wonder if we will ever get back on the right track again. The modern high tech world can get confusing, frustrating, and down right depressing. So how do we get our groove back? “We have to get back to the basics”.

We must take a few steps back, away from the high tech. Do it all from our chair, world. We are hard wired to move our bodies, not born to work with just our minds and fingers. But is this reality now? And that kind of work is a concept that goes against the natural order of life? We have to counter balance our long days at work with what we were designed for, moving. Our bodies are amazing. They can do, within reason, anything we ask of it. Most of the modern developed world seems to have forgotten. People don’t move their bodies anymore. They sit using their minds and fingers.

There was a time before we became so civilized and mechanized that work was done with our whole body along with our mind. We worked the fields. We built dwellings by hand. We had craftsmen to hammer the things we needed. Now, we sit at desks and just use our computer. We stand at an assembly line and do a short task, again with our fingers. It’s no wonder that our backs ache and we are overweight. No one wants to go back to those more primitive times. We love our modern convinces. But we must temper that with our body’s need to move regularly and intensely.

The magic solution is moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other. Just walking or running, as simple and as basic as it can get. People were designed to move from place to place legs striding, arms swinging, waist turning. Yes it’s that important. We need to move and do it regularly. We are able to do everything better when our whole body, not just your fingers are strong.

Discover the amazing, powerful affects of regular motion, it can be truly life changing. Our minds and strong fingers will even perform better.

It’s not just a step, it’s a start.


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Taking A Chance at Personal Greatness

Many years ago there was a movie, "Rocky", it was about a nobody amateur boxer being offered, a once in a life time, shot at the title. Rocky had a shot, with some time to train and get ready. The movie is about how he trained and prepared for his shot. Now most of us will never have the champion of the world, in any sport, come knocking at the door and offer us a chance at their title. What if we decided that we would train as though offered our own chance. We could be the star of our own reality show. How awesome would it be to pull out all the stops to find out how good we could be.

What could motivate us to make the changes we have always wanted in our athlete career. What is desired speed, strength, endurance, a defined muscular body? Think about it. For many of us it's training for our first race or our next marathon. Maybe it's a desire to reach a new level of performance or qualify for Boston. Achieve the time standard for the Olympic trials. We must first be brave to enough make the decision to take a shot.

Once we decide what our goal will be, focus on what it will take. See the new goal and visualize the desired result, a goal must be seen to be accomplished The dream may involve losing weight, strengthening certain muscles, getting in more quality miles and most of all learning more about how to do all these steps. Intensity is the name of the path to victory so turn up the heat.

Is it possible? Of course it is. We can always get better and we don't know how far we can go, till we begin the journey. Take a shot at personal greatness or just dream, the time will pass either way.

It's not just a step, it's a start.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Full Measure

What would our own lives be like if we went that one step further in every thing we did. What if we gave everything full measure. Giving full measure, what a novel idea, could that be the key to success in everything. Giving full measure in business means going further than your competition. It's the edge, the secret ingredient, the ace in the hole, whatever you want to call having the advantage, giving full measure is how to get it.

In weight loss it's going all the way, eating right, not cheating, drinking the water and doing the exercise. In sports it's training hard and regularly. I read once that when the San Francisco 49ers showed up for practice that Jerry Rice and Joe Montana were already there working on the passing game. They were both record breaking Hall of Fame Players. They gave just a little bit more than everyone else and it showed in their performance. Maybe it all boils down to having enough faith in ourselves that we have decided we are worth the effort.

Even giving full measure isn't going to take us where we want to go unless we also make a commitment that we are going to give full effort, every time. No cheating, but keeping it up, staying faithful to our dreams. If we make a commitment then giving full measure means making the effort all the time, not just when it's convenient.

It's not just a step, it's a start.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Peace Love and the Pursuit of Abs.

Most who exercise regularly look at having definition in their stomach muscles as a milestone on the road to being fit. However, achieving that tummy like a fitness model takes a lot of work. There are many factors involved in having that flat stomach, some of which we have no control over, like the body type we inherited. But all of us do have the ability to have a trimmer waistline. This time of year with all the holiday dinners is not the best time to pursue a trim waist. But the fewer inches we add to our waist now, the easier it will be to lose them after the holidays are over.

To start with a flat tummy is a result of reducing our total overall body fat percentage. We can't just take off fat in the places desired. it's an all over thing and unfortunately the body likes to store it's fat reserves around our middle. We can do sit ups or crunches till we are exhausted, but until we lower that overall body fat percentage, our abdominal muscles will still he covered in a layer of stored fat. Once we have allowed ourself to get heavy around the waist, it's doubly hard to ever have abdominal definition.

Once the fat cells are produced, our bodies will not destroy them. They will allow us to empty those storage cells of their stored fat but the cells will remain, ready for refilling, when needed. So if in the past, we went through a weight gain, we will have those fat cells for forever. We can have a trim waist but those layers of empty fat cells will hide our abdominal muscle definition, even when they are strong from regular exercise. It can be disheartening to work our abdominals regularly and not get to see definition but we do pay for our past habits. A trim waist and strong core should be our goal rather than the definition, when and if that does come it's a plus but don't stress if it doesn't happen.

Another issue a lot of us face is our body type. Some body types put on weight easier, others put on muscle easier. We are who we are though and we can't change body types. We can however make the most of what we have. Some people will have a harder time of it than others. After accepting who we are and the body we have to work with then it will be easier to make desired changes in fitness and strength.

The best plan is to work on the big three; getting weight down to a healthy level, cutting out the unhealthy habits and finally regular motion exercise. Doing these will make us healthy and strong, whether we have defined abdominals or not.

It's not just a step, it's a start.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Happy Like a Boss

Remember this pearl of wisdom: "We have only one life, there is no dress rehearsal”. One of my favorites is, "I'm glad to get up in the morning for work because it means I have a job". Many people are not happy with their life, that is a tragedy because we do truly have only one go at it. It would be nice if we had a remote control for our lives so we could change the channel if we didn't like what was on. Or fast forward through the rough times but rewind and replay the good stuff. There is no remote control for life, like with the old style TVs we have to get up to change what we don't like. Hum, get up and do something if we desire change, what a novel concept.

Feeling in control, is where a lot of people fall off the happy wagon, they just don't feel empowered to make life adjustments. Feeling instead that life is pushing them along, they are just hanging on. Life is indeed a journey and we can choose the path. A good first step is turning dreams or desires into goals. We gain control by making goals, then forming good solid plans to achieve them. Decide on a direction, then like a boss, make it happen.

It's not just a step, it's a start.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Going the Distance

There are few feelings more powerful than standing in the corral just before the start of a long race and knowing our place there is earned. The long hours, endless miles, the sweat and discomfort, all dues paid in full. The miles ahead may seem impossibly long but we will accept only one result, going the distance. No feeling is more powerful is crossing the finish line. Some cross in tears, others with scream of victory, regardless it’s a moment to remember always.

The sprinter and the middle distance athlete face a different but also similar choice. The decision not just to go the distance but to challenge the edge, to skate a wickedly fine line between high performance and injury. The finish line for both is just as sweet especially when they cross with nothing left but the love. Riding that wave of emotion that comes from giving full measure.

Whether it’s challenging the 100m, facing down an ultra or any distance in between, the athlete soon learns it’s the effort rather than the glory that is the reward. Testing personal limits, reaching them, then breaking through are how we discover who we are. Athletes are no better than others, just more at peace.

It’s not just a step, it’s a start.