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Nick and Jas 04 16 2016

What a day! Pullman is a town I love. After coffee, I ran a fun hilly loop around town. Towards the end, a carload of college students whooped and hollered as they drove past my half-naked body. How sweet of them!

After a quick shower, Nick prepared hash browns and eggs, which were tasty fuel for my hungry muscles. Then, Jaslyn and Nick and I went to Martin Stadium to watch the PAC-12’s most exciting team as they scrimmaged in glorious sunshine. Our beloved WSU Cougars have an amazing stockpile of receivers, running backs, quarterbacks and speedy defenders. It should be an incredibly fun season this fall!

Hungry again, we had chicken Caesar salads and pesto chicken pizza at Sella’s. Then gourmet coffee and shopping, before chest and triceps work at the Rec Center. When we were returning to their home, a lovely young lady said “G’day mate!” to me. The diversity makes me smile.

Then it was time for swing dancing in Moscow. Nick and Jaslyn love it and do it quite well. But I had to draw the line; my legs were toast after running, walking and standing most of the day. C’est la vie!  My arms matched them well!

Below is a sample of what we enjoyed at the stadium. Peyton Bender tossed accurately to River Cracraft early in the scrimmage. Strangely, one of the most sure handed receivers I’ve ever seen dropped this one. He more than made up for it later. Gabe Marks worked his usual magic, timing his catches perfectly to shield defenders from the ball, then making sweet grabs. Luke Falk tossed a perfect deep ball to Gabe for a touchdown. Bender and Tyler Hilinski threw well also. Even Justus Rogers launched a perfect deep touchdown pass. The defenders also made many nice plays, including a Charleston White pick six off Falk, among other turnovers. What a nice evolution of the Cougar football program. It really feels like the incredible success that Mike Price brought to Pullman is about to happen again. It could be so fun!

Bender to Cracraft 04 16 2016

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FullSizeRenderFirst on the awesome Mill Creek – Bennington Lake loop last Friday. Glorious sunshine, crisp air, blood rushing, Annie’s healthy glow and mile eight passing much faster than the rest. Yeah! Fully alive! So sweet.

Then on the weights at The Rec on Saturday, alongside Nick, Jaslyn and Annie. Muscles pumping, adrenaline flowing, smiles growing. This is how we live, feeling the strength building, knowing it’ll serve us well in many ways. Like skiing and snowboarding! Embrace the cold!

In Martin Stadium, ass kicking is the new norm. Cougar power is exciting, encouraging and really fun! We too are crimson warriors, like our favored team. We play the next play to the best of our ability. We focus, train hard, eat well and get good rest. It is so pleasing to enjoy the results!

On Sunday Annie and I savored more sunshine during a ten kilometer run around Pullman. The cold wind reinforced our appreciation for modern amenities, like indoor plumbing with hot water!

Today, I have so much to be thankful for: great family,  friends, food, environment, co-workers, and opportunity! Today’s bonus was an eight mile run around east Walla Walla in sweet sunshine. It was a winery tour without stops. After inversions, clear days make my smiles full. Thank God!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Cougar country, with powerful lions trekking our highlands and our gridiron.

Our seven mile run on Sunday was hard, after the post-marathon layoff and Saturday’s leg workout with Nick, Annie and Jaslyn. After the run, we saw Gabe Marks. Cool!

Equally hard was the first quarter of football. Whoa! I apologized to Annie for the worst game of the year. Like I was playing? Down 14-0 with 21-0 forthcoming, our Cougars drew a definitive line in the sand. A dreamy game changed nightmare into fantasy. The upbeat game of the year! Wow! Thanks Cougs! Thanks Mike for the taste of Club level life. It is amazing!

The rain pounded me on the drive home and then soaked my beautiful Redwood.

It’s the season to run and spin and lift and step my way to awe-inspiring mountains. Yeah! That’s it! That’s what I’ll do!

And a little more golf…

I hate to run and then I love to run. It is so hard to go running. It is deeply rewarding to keep running. I love the high I get when I reach autopilot. It’s a zone where I can just keep running. All is well. No fears, burdens or anxieties. Great blood flow to all of my body, including my brain. Breathe in, breathe out. Absorb the sights, the sounds, the fresh air, the exhilarating power of trained muscles.  Ahhhhhhhh. This is good!

My ego wants to beat somebody. But just getting out is what’s truly important. Moving is rejuvenating, enlightening, inspiring and invigorating. It makes me better. I am so grateful I can still do it. What a rich blessing!

I found new trails on my run on Sunday and my walk on Monday. Adventure is good for my soul. It helps my mind open up a little. Maybe I’ll be more receptive to new ways of thinking. Won’t that be good?

After my run on Tuesday I showered quickly to rejoin the retreat team for dinner. On the walk there, it felt like all I had to do was lift my legs and they would automatically spring forward. It was kind of freaky after my autopilot thoughts. My muscles have listened and obeyed.  They just want to run! My refreshed attitude and energy boost were bonuses.

I think I’ll plan a trip somewhere new, play some new golf courses, try new activities, and meet some new people. Yes! Maybe I’ll even take a run…

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Nick in June on Maui. He’s even bigger and stronger now!

I’m perpetually fascinated by the limits of my mind, especially when I break through them.

When I turned forty I was blessed with a new lease on life, increasing my healthiness and happiness. I had been limited by unwillingness. Various aspects of me held me back. As new doors opened, willingness grew. My life is a makeover. Since I’m happy and healthy, should I be content? Or can I be grateful and in pursuit of more?

Why not continue to seek a better me? A beautiful opportunity presents itself regularly: my kids love to lift weights. They have passion for building muscles. It’s a heart-warming pain in my ass. Literally! Also in my chest, triceps, biceps, lats, hamstrings and back. It hurts so good!

I spent the last decade and a half in self-limiting thoughts like these:

  • I’m too old to really build much muscle.
  • Older folks should lift light weights and just try to keep some muscle.
  • If it hurts, don’t do it.
  • I am strong enough.
  • Too much upper-body muscle will be too heavy to carry around on long runs.
  • My body just isn’t the type to build muscle.

I’ve seen the aging process reduce strength, flexibility, balance and confidence.  I know it’s coming for me, if I’m lucky. Can I stave it off a while? Fight back a bit? Optimize my gift of life? Glow in the beauty of existence?

I want to live as fully as I can! My ego loves hitting 270 – 300 yard drives. 320 sounds even better. I want to be able to do whatever I feel like doing. I hope to limit my limitations and expand my abilities. So I had to try something new. Nick opened a door.

He explained to me that to really build muscle, you have to lift heavy. He recommends sets of six to eight repetitions of weights you can barely manage.  Previously I learned that to run fast, I had to practice running fast. An obvious statement, but I had to run intervals at higher speed to improve my long-run speed. So I finally bought in to lifting heavy.  My mind opened up to the realization that I’ve spent years marking time, making minimal improvement in muscle gain. Perhaps this is expanded awareness of “no pain, no gain.”

It has only been a week. My commitment and gains will play out over time. I must say, however, that this is an exciting week. I am lifting stronger and heavier than I ever have. “Chest and triceps day” last evening was my best, as well as Jaslyn’s and Nick’s. It was so fun! How will bicep and back day go today? Legs on Sunday? We will see. In between, we’ll watch the Ducks visit the Cougars in my favorite stadium. Another great opportunity! Go Cougs!

New toys! Yippee!!!!

New toys! Yippee!!!!

Wow! What a day! Do you want some background material?  Well, here it is anyway!

Fifteen years ago I was in self-induced funk. “I can see clearly now….” was not the song for me. I thought I knew a bit, but really I knew damn little. And I was dying fast. Proof? I tried to run. After one mile, I was out of breath, done for the day, and easing into comprehension of my situation. Then, lots of life lessons, which peeled back layers of the onion, opening my mind. In a newfound spirit of respect for my body, I took baby steps. Then more, and more, and more. Last year I finished two marathons, and I still love to run! So I’ve come to believe that excuses are tired rationalizations that held me back. Some still do. But sometimes my mind opens a bit more, like peeling the onion. Yesterday, we went bicycle shopping, because Annie needed something to ride in the Onionman Triathlon next month. After lots of fun talking with Justin, Steve and Michael at Allegro Cyclery, as well as test riding, Charles set the hook: “if a mountain bike is like a fork, you still need a knife!”

This brings us to today.

Yippee! I got a new toy! Why did I wait so long? Well, my mind held me back, as usual. Road biking is too dangerous, I thought, because of those few crazy drivers. Plus, I LOVE mountain biking, so I don’t really need a road bike. Well, I may have seen what those road bikers like, or perhaps an introductory glimpse of their passion.  Road bikes are fast! Today, I rode a hill that used to be hard on my mountain bike. It was like eating cake on the road bike, and that was after I ran nearly nine miles earlier in the day. I was doubly blessed. I felt the ecstasy of flying down a big hill on my new toy. Wow! I hate to admit it, but I even used the brakes on the big descent. But I’ll get better. Maybe someday I’ll even ride up a big mountain. My second mind opener was believing that I can handle two good workouts in one day. Can I believe in possibilities, even though they sometimes seem so far away? I believed I’d never run a marathon, after feeling like I was dying from a one mile run. Now I’m more open-minded. Maybe I’ll finish a triathlon…..

What if I know of real solutions for affordable health care, but nobody listens? What if I know of a simple cure for some types of depression, but no one hears me? Stress reduction? Better health? Peace of mind? Contentment? Freedom?

Maybe we all have to figure them out on our own, in our own time. It’s cool that the answers are real and widely available! They’re almost free, yet priceless. I hope you agree, in the most real sense of all, via actions. Live well!

Smiles create smiles!

Smiles create smiles!

Once again, I choose happiness! My mind is still blown by the reality that it’s simply been a choice all along. No luck, no waiting for it to come. Just choose it now. Now! “Later” is just more talk. I love that many people keep reminding me of this free choice, because sometimes I forget, and happiness is way more fun!

Sure it takes practice. A pattern of negativity, whining and pouting doesn’t morph into refreshingly optimistic gratitude in an instant. Good things come to those who persevere!

I can’t deny that there are always beautiful, impressive, awe-inspiring things, thoughts, people, places and events wherever I am. The stark reality is that whether I appreciate and richly experience them is limited or enabled by my mind. My attitude, my openness, my closed-mindedness, my willingness and my awareness levels are key. Living fully is an option for all of us.

It’s not their fault or credit that you’re the way you are. Whatever, whomever and whenever. They can define you. Or not.

It’s a great opportunity!

What a bunch of blessings!

 

"A Very Poplar Run" 2013. Sometimes we ran through ridiculously treacherous bumpy fields.....15k was about 13k......hot dogs offered at finish.....but the scenery was nice!!!

“A Very Poplar Run” 2013. Sometimes we ran through ridiculously treacherous, bumpy fields…..”15k” was really about 13k……hot dogs offered at finish…..but the scenery was nice!!!

She woke me right up! I wasn’t sleeping, but I wasn’t really into it. I mean, things had started slow and messy, with disappointing developments. Then, there she was. My sparker! Now I had a mission! Follow Miss Superbuns!

Well, to be truthful, I’ve always fancied nice buns. Like at Thanksgiving dinner! And on many of the women who have caught my attention.

At foot races, there are some amazing buns! Today, around a mile or so into the race, she passed me. Wow! Ooh la la! I could follow those for a while! So I did. My pace quickened nicely. I really felt like I was racing! I felt fully alive! Should I chase her all day?

I don’t know if I made the right decision, but I let her go. Down the trail, faster than me. Off to inspire someone else. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to sustain her pace for another seven or eight miles. But she got me moving! I ran a good pace while we were on decent surfaces. I fought through some energy lulls. And I found even deeper resolve.

I didn’t sustain her pace today, but maybe sometime soon? I feel doubly inspired to run intervals, lift leg weights, attack the stair-stepper and race faster. I have a mission! Healthily attractive, happy and athletic people are so inspiring to me! They help me want to be a better me. I like it!

Sometimes I fly like an eagle!

Sometimes I fly like an eagle!

Bicycling is cool cross-training. I can pedal hard for a couple of hours without feeling sore or overly tired. It’s fun, scenic, invigorating and healthy. What a win!

Weight-lifting leaves me sore, most often. It suggests a hint of masochism, mixed with egotism. Sometimes it feels great, sometimes it’s really hard. It always keeps me more fit, more youthful and better prepared.

Standup paddle boarding is a new addition to my life. It fits in beautifully with a self-propelled lifestyle, delivering great abdominal, back, arm and leg endurance training. It always feels adventurous to me.  Yay!

Nordic skiing has a very special place in my heart. I’ve skied into heaven on earth. The risk of cold, remote places is enhanced by beauty, adventure, invigoration, inspiration and wonderful endurance training. I love it!

Running is in my spirit, woven into my soul. It offers endurance or speed. Self-propulsion feeds self-confidence and a willingness to tackle new pursuits. Running opens doors to greater adventures, like awe-inspiring backcountry hikes!

Hiking with a heavy backpack, for many hours, feels like a marathon to me. I like that it makes me stronger. The process gets really tough. I learn mental discipline. I learn that “can do” trumps “can’t do” almost every time I really want it to.  The views are painted on the front page of the newspaper of my soul. Treasures!

Golf is the best game I’ve ever found. It challenges my mind in every way imaginable. It offers physical challenges in beautiful locations. It can not be mastered. I’m lured by the feeling of balls struck well. It’s been a busy couple of decades, but golf teases my spirit with a sense of impending reunion.

Volleyball is one of my favorite team games. It tests quickness, creativity, coordination and spirit. It’s fun to learn teamwork. Basketball and football are other favored team sports. The excitement makes these almost as much fun to watch as to play.

When I was a kid, riding my motorcycle was part of my daily routine. My bike gave me freedom and wild adventures. It got me high! I’m sticking with non-motorized bikes now, because I want to extend life if I can. But I still love to get high.

One way is water-skiing. Cold water slaps my face and everywhere else. Bam! The boat jerks hard, testing strength, balance and mental toughness. I rise above the fish and skim across the water, as free, wild and crazy as a teenager. Yeah! Hit it!

Foot too sore to run? Get your bike out!

Foot too sore to run? Get your bike out!

Flat tire. What a great opportunity! Especially the three miles of pushing my bike home; it bestowed more time to talk with Annie. Ultimately, another lesson in patience, which must be needed. I’m grateful for the opportunity to ride for an hour and walk another, after my sore foot derailed our running plans. The fresh rain kept us off the single track trails, but fun is always available!

Rainy day? No problem! Fun is around every corner!

Rainy day? No problem! Fun is around every corner!

What a great toy! This Go Pro Hero 3 will be a fun way to document some adventures. Maybe we’ll be on the water soon! Where will the weather lead us?

Bennington dike. If there's wind, you'll find it here.

Bennington dike. If there’s wind, you’ll find it here.

What a fun life! What a fun girl! Just call me Mr. Luckyman……

I almost took a nap instead. I'm so glad I rode and pushed my bike home instead!

I almost took a nap. I’m so glad I rode and pushed my bike home instead!

I try to dance some fine lines.  Finding and following these lines requires balance. Each of us defines moderation, excess and sloth in different ways.  Many of the differences in our definitions stem from how honest we’re able to be with ourselves.

There’s a fine line to physical achievement.  On one side are treacherous injuries and over-exhaustion.  On the other, wasted potential. On the line, or in the zone, we find ourselves feeling stronger, more energized and full of zest for life. Getting in touch with truth begs differentiation between laziness and a true need for rest. Betterment encompasses fatigue, exertion and minor aches and pains. It begs for stretching, fueling, massage, diverse activities and recuperation. That’s just a short journey from over-resting, so awareness is paramount. Our minds must be in touch with where our bodies are now, not where they once were, or where we wish they were. Physical health is built over the long haul, dependent on regular practice of an artful balance of sleep, nutrition, hydration, spiritual re-charging and exercise.

Many of us have worked too much at our jobs! Many of us have also worked too little, or gone to work tired, hung over, distracted or un-motivated. I love the correlation between healthy living and job performance. My brain simply works better when my body gets what it wants. It must like blood flow! Rather than pop pills, I prescribe myself exercise! This is one of the best choices I’ve ever made! I love it when I get more done in less time!

The line between serving others and taking care of myself also requires moderation.  If I feel disconnected, I may be focusing too much on myself. If I feel disgruntled, I may be neglecting myself. To best serve, I must be in the spirit of the servant.

I sense that we have so much more potential. How to get there? Am I on the path? Where does it lead? Am I missing a key part? How can I fuel better? What can I do to rest more effectively? How to recover quicker? How to open my mind more fully? Who can inspire me? Who should I serve? Where can I best serve? What is the best job for me? Where should I travel? How young can I feel? Can I really dance the line? Turn up the music!

It’s my choice!

I loved running the St. Patrick’s Day 10k footrace in Kennewick yesterday, for many reasons. It was fun to start strong and fast. My ego enjoyed passing some people along the way. My pride loved watching Annie finish with the best kick I saw, to beat out a woman who sprinted in her attempt to hold Annie off. I fed off the energy of hundreds of healthy people, assembled to celebrate the spirit of competition. I was inspired by the finely tuned bodies of the fast runners. I realized that the harder I work at it, the stronger I get, the faster I run, and the better I feel. This applies to so much more than running!

I choose to be strong, healthy, optimistic, adventurous, playful and fun. I choose effort, mental toughness, dedication, persistence and faith. I embrace challenge and resistance, just as I accept wind and rain. My spirit will soar like a sail on the sea, an eagle in flight, or a racer engaged. I will use healthy fuels to run faster, think more clearly and explore more widely.

I will enjoy this amazing gift of life, in the fullest way I can muster. I hope I always stay open to better and better ways to live!

St Pat's 10k 2013

You are what you eat! The truth of this resonates in various ways.

Eat more fruits and vegetables! This is intuitively sound and consistent advice across the field of “experts.”

So? Yesterday was a classic day, including blackberries with breakfast cereal and a pre-workout treat of mango. The day climaxed at dinner, starting with green smoothies, following a long workout on elliptical machines, weights and StairMasters. Then we enjoyed Indian butter masala stir-fry:

Indian butter masala stir fry

 

Having eaten the smoothie, which was laden with kale, spinach and banana, the broccoli and red pepper in the stir fry made for a nice balance of health. The next course took us to a new level: roasted vegetables! Brussels sprouts, asparagus, butternut squash and sweet potato fries filled our bellies the rest of the way.  I slept well and now I’m charging into a new day! Thank you Annie for feeding me so well!

Since we are what we eat, what are we?

  1. Vegetables?
  2. Nutrient-replenished athletes, ready to charge into a tempo run?

Given my work schedule, and the resultant need for stress relief, I’m voting for option number two! Knowing Annie, I believe the run is more mandatory than optional!

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Is running a marathon right for you? Can you really know before you’ve done it?

Some of us decide “no!” quickly, for a myriad of reasons. It takes too much time. “That’s insane!” It hurts to run (usually due to technique issues, which often can be corrected). The list goes on and on, sometimes driven by shortages of motivation, belief, openness, curiosity, awareness or desire.

Potential rewards? Empowerment, achievement, cardiovascular health, endorphin highs, cholesterol reduction and increased blood flow to our brains and other important body parts! Yay!

Since I embrace my running time as therapeutic meditation, I’m left with physical questions. Can I prepare my body without suffering life degrading injuries? How to really know? Am I truly in tune with my body’s signals? Is there more to learn and practice about awareness, refueling, recovering and stretching?

If I don’t try, will I fly as high? Is this a defining moment in my spiritual evolution? Are the forks in the road as pivotal as they’ve always been? Should I shrink or expand?

To run or not to run. THAT is the question! Where did I put those shoes…..

Belief.  Spiritual centering via faith.

Acceptance.  Honesty, letting it be, without spiritual disruption.

Love.  Emotional maturity, embracing the beauty in others.

Adaptation.  Accepting powerlessness, optimizing our power.

Nurturing. Ourselves first, via diet, rest, inspiration.

Commitment.  Intellectually, spiritually, physically, emotionally.

Exercise.  Today = 70 minutes level 9 intervals = 305 floors.   🙂

Personal Training Outdoors - Lunges Category:F...

I was determined to get a good leg workout tonight.  I think it worked.  I hope I can walk tomorrow!  The lunges with hand weights had me breathing hard.  I did three sets of fifty, which is more than I’m used to.  Since my legs felt unstable upon departure, after a bunch of other leg lifts, I believe I made progress.  I have been happy with the results of my latest weight lifting plan.  I will keep pushing my mind, trying new things, and believing in amazing dreams.  I’m grateful to those of you who help me think and live this way!  Thank you!   🙂

Frankly speaking, here are some of my beliefs:

  1. I can’t turn chocolate into muscle!
  2. Variety really is the spice of life!
  3. Our ideas and actions can inspire others.  Your blog posts inspire me!
  4. Belief, or faith –> positive change.
  5. Inspiration + action = success.
  6. Success –> more success –> synergistically better life!

I’ve got a hell of a buzz right now!  I’m tripping like it was the 1960’s!  Being the youngster that I am, I probably should have said the 1970’s or 80’s or 90’s. They all run together in my mind.  What’s left of it, that is!

This trip is especially good, because it’ll be hangover free!  No dead-head recovery time!  No remorse!  Compared to the cost of booze and other drugs, this trip should have cost me a fortune!  Wow!  I feel like I just won something big.  I can look forward to serenity, in place of the shakes.  Rather than withdrawal-induced anger, I’ll get peace of mind.  No headache; clear thinking instead.  There will be no craving.  In its place, quiet confidence.  I won’t be passing out soon.  I won’t be chasing any dragons.  No guilt, no loneliness, no isolation, no addiction.  All of that ugly stuff is gone.  And I still get the buzz!  Better than ever!!!

It’s pretty cool.  All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other.  Quite a few times in a row, with a decent pace, but amazingly simple and free.  So, to whomever said that the best things in life are free:  you’re right again!

 

Belief.  Faith.  Trust.  Confidence.  How self-limited are we?  Some of us do amazing things.  Are all of us capable of so much more?  What evidence do I have to support any claims?

Well, let’s consider physical achievement.  Obesity is a widespread health problem.  Do some of us feel that physical health is beyond us?  Other people can complete Ironman triathlons.  Were they destined to do so, or did they simply believe in health, practice healthy habits, continue to believe, and dedicate themselves to their chosen course?

Some amazing singers have jumped to the big time stage from shows like American Idol.  One day they’re a normal person with a normal life.  In a very short time, they become big stars.  They believed in their dream and found a way to make it happen.  I’m guessing many performers with even more talent have never become famous.  That’s just fine, if their path is what they wanted.

Many of us have big ideas about how to improve society.  It’s a bit tricky trying to control how others conduct themselves.  But we certainly can have faith in our own ability to live our ideas.  If they’re good, perhaps they’ll be contagious!  If I think the answer to the world’s problems lies in love, then I can practice loving!

There are thousands of impressive rags to riches stories.  Are the ones who succeeded simply the ones who never stopped believing and worked persistently?

I like to do a variety of things in life; perhaps variety really is the spice of life!  Does this lack of specialization prevent me from becoming great?  Perhaps, but should it be used as a rationalization to be less than my best?  Can I write something better than my best so far?  Can I work out just a bit harder, or in new ways?  Can I serve people better?  Can I listen more patiently?  Can I make tastier and healthier meals?  Can I seek out exciting adventures?  Can I do my best in everything I do?   Can I inspire others?  Can I find inspiration from their masterpieces?  Can we work together to do even more amazing things?  Look at what people have done so far!  They’re people like you and me.  Creative, open-minded, resourceful, inspired, dedicated, faithful, persistent, strong and loving people.  That sounds like us!

I’m hoping that I’m like a fine wine, in one way only.  Which way?  Getter smoother with age!  Life can turn us into vinegar, or enrich us with perspective, focus, wisdom and appreciation.

Life isn’t fair.  That is, it’s not all justice and equal opportunity.  We are dealt tragedy, heartbreak, illness, disease, pain, injustice, crime and abuse, in varying doses.  No one gets off totally free.  How we handle adversity decides how much we appreciate and optimize our gift of life.

People are irritating, irritable and irate at times.  We’re fun and funny.  Lovable and loving. People can profess deep love for us one day and leave us the next.  They can give us joy and rob us blind.  Reality is a tenuous thing.  What’s real to one person is delusion to another.  Adversity comes like a thief in the night.  The only certainty is uncertainty.  Is that scary?  Or exciting!  It can be either, or both.  Which sounds like more fun?  Which offers better possibilities?

Should we focus on the “wrongs” we’ve suffered?  Or look for the next right things to do?  How do we become the best possible versions of ourselves?  Is this the path to the best possible life?  Is there good nutrition?  Do we embrace regular exercise?  Meditative centering?  A focus on gratitude, fostering happiness?  Should we look for ways to serve other people?  Does it make sense to seek adventure, stimulating our curiosity, creativity and fun?  Should we break from routine?  What is there to be afraid of, beyond the misery of giving up?

I’m a red-liner.  Not on a tachometer.  Rather, on my main muscle.  It frees me from stress, monotony, grumpiness and lethargy.  If I settle for aerobic training, I feel guilty and lazy.  I need my endorphins!  I like the blood flow!  I like feeling fully alive!  I like the peaceful feelings that wellness brings!  I dream of wellness for everyone!  Now you see my vision of heaven…

 

Wellness is desirable.  It also involves big challenges.  An early challenge is recognizing what wellness is.  Physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual and social components suggest a need for balance.  Opposing forces include rationalization, addiction, compulsion, pessimism, unbelief, laziness, selfishness, denial, fear, lust, greed and mental imbalance, among others.

I’m embracing new exercise strategies, and my physical health has pleased me.  I’ve practiced complete sobriety, and I feel better than I ever have!  I’ve adopted healthier eating habits, and my energy level is steadily good.  I’ve faced my fears and looked into my soul.  I make mistakes, but I learn from them.  A clear, honest mind with willingness opens wonderful doors.

Wellness illuminates the interconnectedness of all aspects of our lives.  If I wish to become more well, I must look at all aspects of my life.  Today it was the despicable condition of my home!  Our carpet was filthy!  I’d rationalized that it’d get dirty again right away, and that it was more important to exercise, read, etc.  I’d given myself permission to live in a mess, thereby blocking the path to freedom.  Today, I decided to break that mold.  I’ve learned through repetition about many ways to NOT get help from Nicholas.  Today, I was not pushy.  I just gave him opportunity to choose to do the right thing.  Surprise!  He did!  The famously messy team of Nick and Frank evolved into cleaning machines.  We swept, vacuumed, steam-cleaned, dusted, washed, folded, cleaned, recycled, replaced, donated, scrubbed, disposed, organized, put away, deodorized, wiped and re-stocked.  We embraced a new facet of wellness.  It was much-needed, and perhaps opened a path to greater wellness.  I believe it to be so.  Removing blocks opens paths to new perspectives, opportunities, growth and belief.  What other false beliefs are holding me back?

I’ve spent many years doing a lot of cardiovascular exercise, including running, bicycling, skiing, etc.  I have no regrets about doing any of that.  But I’m glad I can still learn.  Annie has opened my mind to doing focused weight lifting sets, including days focusing on building leg muscles.  I used to believe that my legs got plenty of work from my varietal activities.  Perhaps they got enough endurance work, but the lifting is building muscle like running never could.  Old Cats (go WSU Cougars!) can learn new tricks! 🙂

So today I’m sore and happy about it!  I’ll still work on my biceps and other upper body muscles.  But now I’ll have three different focus days a week:

  1. Legs.
  2. Back and biceps.
  3. Chest, shoulders and triceps.

Mixing in lots of abdominal and cardiovascular work, of various types, and shuffling the lifting exercises should keep my muscles confused, and growing healthier.  Then I can do whatever I want for fun!  🙂

Muscles!  We want them!  We love what they do!

They lift us, they love us, they carry us through!

All kinds of adventures come streaming our way

when strong supple muscles prepare us for play!

Run faster!  Jump higher!  It’s all in the script,

lift heavy, pump often, come on, let’s get ripped!

Live better, live longer, enjoy your stay!

Trip out on endorphins and savor your days!

  1. Mind altering substances aren’t solutions.  Mind altering choices and activities are!
  2. No one ever became less sloppy, more coordinated, less promiscuous or more intelligent from drinking alcohol.  In this case, less is better.
  3. Laziness never helps a person or a society.  Entitlements are laziness defined.
  4. Integrity, cooperation, humility, persistence and creativity are often found in successful people.
  5. Nobody owes me anything, unless I’ve loaned them money.
  6. I am responsible for how my life is going.  Blame is denial, or a stifling, futile avoidance of the truth.  People do whatever they choose to do.  They have no control over my responses, unless I’m silly enough to grant it to them.
  7. I have no idea what’s happening next.  I have opportunity to respond well!
  8. I face continual choices that decide who I am.  Opportunity NEVER stops knocking!
  9. New trucks, bikes, golf clubs, televisions, clothes and other material things are rewarding.  They’re nice rewards for working hard.  They’re also like dust in the wind compared to relationships.
  10. The most fun days at work are dressing up in wild outfits for Halloween.  Someone suggested that I wish every day was Halloween! 
  11. Exercise is like breathing – don’t stop!
  12. My health is directly related to what I eat, drink, breathe, do and believe.  “Do” is a short word with a lot of impact!

It’s autumn, so there is talk of football, holidays, soups and stews, sunny retreats, hunting trips and visits to the gym.  Today, it’s also “fall back” morning.  I’m magically up an hour earlier than I thought I was!  What to do with this bonus hour?  How about a nice, invigorating run?

I’ve run fairly often for the past fourteen years; never every day, but sometimes every other day.  In recent years, perhaps more like twice a week, as I love to mix in bicycling, weight-lifting, skiing, hiking, rowing, stair-stepping, etc.  But running is different from most activities for me.  Sometimes, it seems more daunting, perhaps almost dreadful.  Occasionally I start out on a run and feel tired, sore, weak, breathless or injured.  I’ve even bailed quickly a few times, reasoning that the time just wasn’t right.  More typically, I’ve pressed on, warmed up and flowed into a rhythm.  Nearly always, I’ve enjoyed inspired thoughts.  Quite often, I’ve welcomed a surge of endorphins.  The inevitable increase in blood flow is therapeutic for all parts of my body, mind and spirit.  I get high on running!  ( :

Collage of several of Gray's muscle pictures, ...

Collage of several of Gray’s muscle pictures, by Mikael Häggström (User:Mikael Häggström) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There should have been a warning!  Yesterday’s “drop sets” nearly dropped me on my ass!  I suspected progress when my legs quivered uncontrollably as I layered up to leave the gym.  This morning, it’s more about soreness, in many places.  Annie suggested to do drop sets for a couple of different exercises, at the end of a workout.  Yesterday, in a “more is better” spirit, I did them for 1.2 hours.  Today, I’m dreaming about my upcoming bath!  Nick’s birthday cake is in the oven; if it wasn’t, I’d be typing this from warm, soothing waters.

I’ve learned a little about drop sets.  Some people claim they’re great for building muscle bulk quickly, but not necessarily the best for adding strength.  Others suggest them as yet another option for stimulating muscle confusion, which arguably aids progress by avoiding the plateaus experienced when our muscles become accustomed to routines.  I’ve found this strategy of mixing up routines, activities, pace and exercises to be very effective.  It’s easy for me to slip into routines though.  Thank God for people like Annie who keep suggesting new ideas!

My version of drop sets, which I’ve tried twice recently, involved starting with medium-heavy weights and doing enough repetitions to approach failure.  Then, as quickly as possible, I dropped a little weight and approached failure again, with as little rest as possible between switches.  I continued this until the weights were very light, totaling a lot of repetitions.  Theory suggests that this approach engages many more of our deep muscle fibers, as the mounting repetitions at near failure need their help.  My deep-down soreness seems to confirm the theory!  ( :

An old song just ran through my head and became the title of this post.  Who knows what triggers our recall of memories?  It seems to be a complex thing.

Even when we’re in a good mental state, shaking out of it may be the path to greater enlightenment.  How can we expand our view?  Traveling opens our minds.  Varying activities stimulates excitement.  Talking with new people boosts our creativity.  Emptying our minds and really listening to them can expand our thinking.  Reading provocative works can do likewise. 

How do we let go of our preconceptions, biases and ill-founded beliefs?  We can start by recognizing that there are smarter people out there.  Also, we can admit to ourselves the many mistakes we’ve made.  We can let go of any remorse and hold on to the lessons.  We really do get to choose who we are.  Will we choose well? 

I choose to be strong and healthy, so I’ll commit to regular exercise, healthy eating and proper rest.  I want to have fun, so I’ll make exercise choices  that are fun for me, and I’ll be open to meeting new people, trying new activities and experiencing more of the world.  I want to be kind, so I’ll practice kindness.  I want to have an open mind, so I’ll read new things, travel to new places and take on new challenges.  I want to be a good golfer, so I’ll practice putting, chipping, ball striking and mental focus.  I want to be a productive, uplifting and creative worker.  So I’ll practice optimism, encouragement, experimentation, focus and dedication at work.  I want to be a good father, so I’ll practice helping my kids learn the skills they’ll use to better their lives.

Who do you choose to be?

I feel so lucky to be enjoying good health and good weather in a lovely place.  Many things have spurred my gratitude lately, like driving to work with the windows down, sun roof open, sun shining and streaming XM music.  Driving a new rig has been very nice.  The cab is quieter.  The steering is better.  The stereo sounds better.  I am safer.  The seats are more comfortable.  It’s all good.  I appreciate the blessing.

Feeling the progress in my muscles has always been good.  I’m grateful that I’m able to do some weight lifting again now.  Chi running techniques have really opened up my running opportunities, so I’m able to run farther and more often, without pain.  Thank you Lord!  Riding my bicycle in the glorious sunshine feels like heaven to me.  Getting a tan, unloading stress and endorphin trips are nicely packaged in scenic jaunts.  Yay!

I like the recovery of my spirit, feeling faithful and optimistic, knowing in my heart that all is and will be well.  I enjoy bantering with funny people at work and at home.  It’s ironic that these are the same people who have really bothered me at times.  Is this great evidence that our happiness is derived from our spiritual well-being?  Are most of our troubles created by our own struggles with attitude?

I’m looking for ways to better my body, my job performance, my parenting, my treatment of others, my home, my office and my enjoyment of life.  I like finding ways to serve others, including sharing my bounty, opening doors, and gifting smiles.  I often recognize my egocentricity and my self-protective denials, so I can pray to keep them at bay.  As we live better, becoming more well, we shine our lights, offering example and encouragement.  It this the way of enlightenment?  The path to self actualization?  It is being all that we can be?  Is it is the way to solutions?  Does it beget creativity?  Can it foster cooperation?  Is this road to wellness?  ( :

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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