Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
May 28, 2017
I have to say this, Saturday was sure a weird day. The calls at work were coming slow, so it seemed okay considering we were getting five minutes off between the beeps that indicate a new customer. Normally voluntary time off would be offered during this time, but for us, there was no such thing. So we sat around, rapping about the obsessive and draconian security measures of the company, which bagel is the best and the cultural validity that is the film “Alien: Covenant.” I really went off on that one, considering the movie was such a massive disappointment. Here I was expecting a rather legitimate addition to the film franchise and it was an absolute dud, an gold studded turd muffin. Let me put it to you this way…of the six Alien franchise movies, this was easily the worst. Lazy, poorly conceived and absolutely devoid of any fresh insight or material, this movie was a pitiful waste of an IMAX experience. Yup, I forked over extra to watch this piece of crap. Anyway, the best summation that my co-worker put into this film is that it is Mystery Science Theater 3000 bad. That is quite the insult in my nerd world, and if you have never seen a movie that is worthy of being on MST 3000, you will know just how deep of a cut that was. Either way, the world is full of opinions, and I heartily agreed with it. Either way, we needed these kinds of conversations because the people who were calling us seemed to be the dumbest, angriest and most impatient people most of us have ever dealt with. Seriously, the people that had their plans all set for the long weekend were probably enjoying cocktails and road trips, while the people who did absolutely nothing to prepare were badgering us and calling. I had a couple people that didn’t set up their travel plans and were extremely impatient. One call also had the most complicated account consolidation I had ever down, combining five accounts…and the people were pushy and persistent considering nothing had been set up beforehand for this full consolidation. And then there was the guy who claimed he did not want to pay for his phone or his account….because he lost his job. He demanded a supervisor when I told we can’t arbitrarily do that without him playing off his 900-dollar phone (which he still owed over 800 on). Needless to say I spared my supervisor the nonsense and sent him off to our collections department.
Anyway, all of this that was going down was senselessly stressful, and it made for a rather unpleasant day at work. So unpleasant it was the kind of day that would compel me to really binge eat back in the day. I will admit, I did partake in some vegan fry bread at the Found Footage Festival I attended that night, but that was really about it. I mean, this was the kind of work day where I would have torn apart a pizza (or three) just for the heck of it. So the good news is, I am managing my stress much better these days. I certainly don’t know how my other co-workers felt, but they lovingly talking about their barbecues these weekend and such, which was really the last thing on my mind this weekend. Yes, this was the perfect kind of night where stress eating would have been on the docket and I resisted, though I will admit I did drink a beer. Fortunately I kept the eating to a minimum and really enjoyed some good blueberry tea from The Scented Leaf as well. Anyway, I am feeling much better as I finish up this blog, especially now that I have some comfort food and some laughs in my mind. There was one segment from the found footage festival that really got to me though, and it illustrated one large truth. The two hosts of the show—who are not exactly well physiqued—went around on some early morning news shows as as these fitness gurus named “Chop and Steele.” While they were doing it for laughs, the producers for the morning shows kind of illustrated something rather typical…they surely knew nothing about fitness when they hired these knuckleheads to do a segment on their shows. Much is the argument with the food we eat.
One thing I will always talk about is just how healthy food truly is. We always have some idea of what might be good for us, but sometimes the truth is in the labels. Like I know the fry bread I ate is not healthy at all…a welcome exercise in letting go. However, the tea I drank was certainly a healthier alternative than say drinking soda or something. There is a matter of levels you have to deal with in this situation, and I fully understood what was at stake. However, we as a society seem to be losing our minds in regards to what is healthy. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/16/health/healthy-foods-confusion-study/ Anyway, an interesting survey surfaced about how confused people are in this world of ours about food. Roughly 78% of the participants in a 1,000 person study started they are constantly bombarded by conflicting information when it comes to what food is healthy or not. Call it the downside of the information age, for there is so many crappy websites and individuals out there making money off the ill informed masses, that their stature and following most likely force our mind to believe what they are saying is true. I look at David “Avocado” Wolfe, the frizzy charlatan flat earth nut job who has misinformed millions in his long running career of quackery. I mean, the guy said if you want to be more healthy, eat deer meat, not cow meat. He suggested this because of the early Native Americans, who were known for their leanness and natural athleticism before they were nearly turned into a footnote in American history. Of the fact that juicing fruits (in a product he conveniently plugged for) would release more nutrients and therefore make the said fruits more healthy. He said it with such conviction that you had to believe him! The same can be said for the type of information provided through the general public. So much so, that the same study also indicated that 56% of the participants had a lot of self doubt about what they thought would be considered healthy. Now all of the usual tropes for healthiness came into effect…GMO free, organic, non processed, low sugar, low fat. That is to be expected. Needless to say, this confusion is a contributing factor to the widening waistline of the USA. Let me explain.
If you believe doing curls will truly you get the girls, then you are going to do a whole bunch of curls in the meantime. You do have some external factors aiding your belief, mainly because you can find tons of media with men sporting huge arms and having a hard bodied woman lustfully looking at the said arms. Now curls can be good for your arms, but does it mean you will be fit and healthy? Most likely not, and this narrow focus can be the same when you look at people that might say “All I eat is watercress and plain brown rice” or “all I eat is bananas, and I look fabulous!!” You have to have a full compliment of nutrients and calories, and even fats. Yes, you have to have some healthy fats in your life, which by the way was the biggest thing the study revealed as problematic, mainly because people seem to have trouble with the difference between unsaturated fats and saturated fats. And who can blame them? When you really look at the foundation of the word “healthy” in the food world, the criteria for setting up such a word can be troublesome in itself. Unless the FDA really pays attention or decides to come down on you, just about anyone can label their product as healthy…provided there is a shred of truth to it. It’s like the popular Belvita snacks, which would certainly be a good alternative to eating a Snickers bar or some conglomerated mess that calls itself a fruit bar. That is the truth, but in reality you are still eating a 360 calorie pack of processed cracker. Of course, this provided another confusing aspect…just what in the world does “processed” mean? And can it really be deemed healthy? Well, I have to tell you I am stuck in this loop myself, considering how much I actually enjoy Belvita snacks in the morning on the way to work (or sometimes for lunch). Or how about this little ditty of a study that came out recently. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/eating-chocolate-may-help-prevent-a-fairly-common-heart-problem/2017/05/26/1b8ed1d0-4099-11e7-8c25-44d09ff5a4a8_story.html?utm_term=.de114df406f2
I mean, when you read the title and look in the body of the story, you realize it is time to eat some damn chocolate! In case you didn’t read the article, a recent study kind confirmed the idea that chocolate can play a role in avoiding a heart condition known as Atrial Fibrillation, which can lead to a host of heart disease issues and stroke. Atrial fibrillation occurs when your heart stops pumping blood regularly due to poor electrical signals in the upper heart chambers. Previous studies indicated this link as well, but now this link can be found in men and women. So if you eat a few ounces of chocolate a week, you can certainly help your heart out and maintain a regular beat. Of course, this only reduces the chances by 10-20%, so don’t go too crazy in the candy aisle at the local store. And the study also provided one more caveat. Since it was conducted in Denmark—which doesn’t have the cultural diversity of the US, much less the poor health problems—this improvement is relatively hard to correlate. This was even acknowledged by the actual researchers…at the bottom of the story. Of course, this is why some people may be confused. The very sources they are reading might not even mention these particular caveats, and the clickbait headline may very be the only thing that a person reads beyond the first couple paragraphs. “Chocolate helps prevent stroke? Break me off some Ghirardelli and Godiva and let’s have a party!”
Now this sort of thing can lead to so many problems within our society, for we are enamored with the clickbait because we have 20,000 other results that might disprove or prove exactly what we need to hear. Due to a large anti-everything movement led by closed minded, anti-science people, we are even having trouble listening to dietitians and nutritionists because someone believes some Youtube personality that thinks these health professionals are wrong and thus looking to feed the machine. Trust me, in the vegan circles I hang out in I see a lot of stuff that drive me up the wall. Right now, people are talking about the watermelon cleanse as the “cleanse” du jour. Do this and you will detoxify your body! Hate to break it to you, but your body has plenty of other organs that do that for you, so it is really unnecessary. Maybe eat little less for a week or something or incorporate more veggies and such…but to mono-diet and think it will inherently help you? In my opinion (and I am no professional here) this is some rather dangerous thinking. Maybe do it for a day, that wouldn’t hurt you or anything. But for a week? Two weeks? We have some people that claim raw food eating is a cleanse in itself, when truthfully you are just changing your diet for a little while (typically because you believe you have been eating like crap and this will save you!). The same can be said for a lot of things, and we have to truly make sure we don’t fall into these traps. But think of these truths. We need a wide range of nutrients. We need a good portion to help keep our body running properly. And judging by how your body reacts, you must make proper adjustments. Right now, my foot and achilles are bugging the heck out of me. So this means I will put some stretching and light running in the mix rather than trying to do 300-pound back squats and run 10 miles. Always regard the sources use a little common sense. That’s all I can say.
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About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.