By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
September 22, 2016
So this past weekend, I got a little time off from writing the blog. It was a welcome addition so to speak, for I was still feeling the effects of my new job and I just really had no desire to do any writing. It’s not that I hate writing or anything, it’s just when I start a new routine and see how things are going to fit into place, creation on the fly can lead me into some bad fatigue. I don’t know what to expect. So yes, testing out the routine and how the old routines will fit in was quite important to me this past week, mainly because of the 4 a.m. wake-up calls I am giving myself and the extreme eye strain I am getting from staring at computers all day. I don’t call it ideal, but I can get used to this eventually. It will just take time. The hardest part will be fitting in my plasma donation schedule into the mix, for I will be going in at times that just don’t suit me. But, it is some good little side income and despite my new job, I would like to keep going. I want to avoid using my days off for this, so that will make it even more of a challenge as I have to be mindful of what I eat and how much I eat. So far, my penchant for plants has already had me labeled as “Salad Man” from a few of my co-workers, mainly because it seems weird that a man that looks as “manly” as I do would eat no meat or dairy. Such is the conception I guess. Considering my workplace is a savage, festering pool of energy drinks, instant burritos and various junk food staples…me eating salad and nuts must be quite the weird oddity…especially since I am one of the taller and bigger guys in the entire building. I went simple my first week, eating kale, carrot and tomato salad with some celery sticks and lime juice. I added some raw almonds for my fat and protein and have decided to kind of wean myself off the salt heavy Heat Peanuts that Planter’s provides at a premium. I say this because my systolic blood pressure is all wacky when I go and donate plasma. Of course, it might be the fact that I protein load for the day of and that typically constitutes a lot of nuts, especially since the vegan meats have more fat and sodium. I have been getting into Lara Bars lately, but that was only because they were on a special I could not ignore at the store.
Other than that, the new routine is being established as we speak. Running and working out will be a challenge especially, mainly because I will have to go to sleep almost the moment I finish. Eventually I will start getting my butt to bed at 9 a.m., but until that day comes I will probably go sometime between 9:30 to 10. It will take some time so to speak. As long as I stay up to date with my nutrition, I should be good. Anyway, I was pretty happy with the fact Jon gave me the weekend off. He and his wife Christa went off to see their beloved Seahawks play against the L.A. Rams, who were making their inglorious return to the L.A. area. I think it is quite hilarious they made such a rash move, for they moved on the promise of a stadium that still has not even broken ground yet. Heck, as of last week, they still haven’t even decided on a site! I would post a photo of what it might look like, but there has been so many different renderings that the description I told Jon is not correct anymore. I mean, c’mon L.A.! You want all these teams to show up but can’t get them a stadium? Yeesh. Talk about nonsense. Anyway, until the Rams can get a real stadium (which may be never at this point), they have to play at the old L.A. Coliseum. Now the running joke is that place is a trash bin, and Jon and Christa kind of confirmed it. While you certainly get your money’s worth in regards to the view, the rest of the amenities are something to be desired. However, this made me think about something that Jon said to me, considering it was his first time at the old warhorse. “Considering it was built in 1923, it still looks pretty good.”
Think about it. How many buildings from the 1920s do you think still hold a major public presence, especially a massive football stadium? Heck, houses from the 1920s are all but gone in this world. I remember having to do a little work on one of the oldest homes in Tucson, and when I heard my father actually dread doing a job, that is when you know it is going to be hell on earth. However, the house in question was in pretty good shape, even it had been given some upgrades and makeovers during the years. Such is the case with the L.A. Coliseum, for it got some major improvements for the 1984 Olympics, you know, the one where the communists didn’t show up and we turned the spectacle into a nationalist free for all. Despite the downsides and the amenities strictly stuck in a bygone era, it is usable. It still hosts plenty of events during the year and is still a capable football stadium. If anything, it is a testament to modern engineering and maintenance. As ratty as it looks some times, it would be a travesty if we just randomly destroyed it and turned it into a strip mall. So why am I talking about an old stadium that I have never been to and might never get a chance to go to (unless the Giants play a game there some day, for I have yet to see a Giants game live yet)? It’s a great metaphor for life.
Typically in this disposable society we live in, we tend to forget about the past and forget about things that helped establish good routines. Much in the same vein of health, we often times forget about the things we did to stay healthy, firm and flexible all in the typical excuse of “that’s how things are supposed to go.” Think about it in this manner. The Atlanta Falcons are getting a new stadium even though their current one is only 20 years old (which I can’t believe I am saying, I remember when the Georgia Dome opened). My own Giants dumped The Meadowlands after a mere 26 years to move into MetLife Stadium (a.k.a. New Giants Stadium). So yeah, seeing a 93-year old stadium is quite rare in this day and age. However, with a few minor changes and upgrades, the L.A. Coliseum is still quite a usable venue despite the fact it can get seriously hot there. That’s how I think people need to look at life and health. We can’t do some crazy thing down the line and expect to see some changes. I mean, when the Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings eventually open their new stadiums, they are still going to be relatively poor franchises. They will still have a lot of things to do in order to become solid teams and be more than just sub-par or mediocre. Heck, the Rams will probably still be struggling to get anyone to show up to their games by the time they ever get a stadium…provided if history doesn’t repeat itself and they move again due to broken promises. Making a massive wholesale change in the hopes it will give you different results is kind of a silly mode of thinking.
For example, you are obese and have some issues with diabetes (I know, it always comes back to diabetes, hehe) and need to make some changes. I consider the metaphor of taking pills, doing weird diets and partaking in strange medical procedures akin to building a new stadium when the old one wasn’t that bad to begin with. It seems like a great idea, but the expense of that idea is definitely gonna be a drain. It’s gonna cause compromises and pinch the ones you love, much like a city being held hostage to help build these monoliths. The first step is to make what you have better. I always believed this idea, even when I was 400 pounds. I knew no special diet or procedure would save me. It was going to take a lot of work and ideas to really get the weight off and change my life. Think of this way, especially when I bring up my favorite whipping child Weight Watchers. They had that stupid ad campaign of “Eat like a man!” and it predictably fell flat on its ass. I mean, you cannot eat just one piece of pizza. You cannot eat just three ounces of barbecue ribs. It was basically telling men they could keep partaking in their bad habits. I know better of course, for the fact that I only eat a pizza or a burger once every blue moon these days is something of a miracle. And the fact I have drastically reduced my candy, soda and alcohol is just another tip in my cap. Just think of all the things I have changed in the last four years, and none of them are drastic procedures or diet fads that would cost me and arm and a leg. I have decidedly gone through a massive change and have simply fixed the cracks in my foundations, kind of like an old stadium getting some new fiberoptic wires, television screens and modern urinals. I’m like my alma mater’s football stadium, Bear Down Field, where they have made additions to the old stadium over the years and have turned it into a relatively nice venue to play at. That’s the philosophy I want to live by.
What that means is I have to keep on the path, making small changes to my regimen and adjusting to the times as I see fit. Rather than making crazy wholesale changes, adopting philosophies that may injure me or distract me from my goals, I want to commit to the idea of staying strong and fit and flexible. It might mean I have to change some things up, like I have been doing lately. I have been trying to get my running back on track, and thus I have been doing more exercises that would force me to strengthen my ankles and my legs. Sure, I have kind of stopped doing deadlifts for the time being, I kind of want to work on the pronation that has been afflicting my ankles and knees. So far, it has been good for me, for my legs don’t feel like they have been pounded on by some hammers and such. And of course, with a little extra money in my pocket now, I can start eating some produce and help alkalize my body a little more. I might prescribe to some ideas that some vegan body builders utilize to help them ditch some unwanted fat, that will be a little more down the line as I get my cardio back in line. Right now, I’m just upgrading my media section and adding some better speakers in my “stadium.” Either way, this is the kind of approach to life and fitness I would recommend to most people. Making crazy changes can help with some short term returns, but this isn’t about short term returns. This about your entire life. Think about the L.A. Coliseum…it ain’t pretty and it is old, but it is still standing strong and is still useful. That’s life in a nutshell. We can’t exchange our body for a new one because we have grown discontent with the features we have. That means we have to rebuild and adjust our life while sculpting and fixing what we have. I think a lot of people tend to forget about this when it comes to life and fitness, thinking things like crazy supplements and all beef diets will give them what they need to succeed.
I’m the furthest thing from perfect, but I still think I am making good efforts in what I am doing. I just need to continue to tinker and adjust as the time moves along. I might need to do some different things soon, but I first need to keep laying down the foundation. This past summer really took a toll on me and my health, and it just keeps giving me another reason why I hate the heat. If anything, that is the reason why I have stumped the heavy lifting for a while and gone back to a little more functional and balance work. Fortunately I have been given plenty of pointers from everyone at Parsons Training. The only thing stopping me though is this. Pumpkin beer and pumpkin PHÖD bars. It’s gonna be a struggle this upcoming month. Let’s get this thing going!
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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
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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.