By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
December 6, 2015
Growing up, my musical tastes were pretty unusual. I mentioned in another blog how my tastes when I was a kid seem to be more in tune with old country music and very little pop music. You see, my parents rather insulated me from pop music as much as they could, which is why I find little enjoyment in music from the 80s. But put on some Merle Haggard or Dolly Parton and I’m all in! Anyway, I had your usual rap phase going into middle school, because let’s face it, all of the other kids in my school were digging it. For a while there, I really got into gangster rap, but that eventually gave way to a phenomenon I never would have guessed would be my favorite time in music: grunge. It was dirty, it was angsty and it was perfect for my non-conformist personality within the middle school I went to. I got into Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains and L7. I started exploring other genres bending bands like Radiohead and Tripping Daisy. So it was no surprise that I really got into a little band known as Stone Temple Pilots. They were dark and grungy with the best of them. Scott Weiland had the perfect voice and the perfect image of a rock star. He was better looking than many of his contemporaries, and when you listen to his solo music, you can tell he had other aspirations in music besides making loud music for teenagers. So yes, I was sad when he passed away at 48 just a couple days ago.
I shouldn’t be surprised I guess. He had a lifelong addiction to heroin that he just couldn’t kick. It got him kicked out of STP back in the mid-90s, when the band had had enough of his shenanigans. It wasn’t until after a poorly received solo album (which I think has held up well over the years) and STP forming another band named Talk Show (with a lead singer that sounded very close to Weiland) that he finally got sober. They made their seminal album “No. 4” in 1999 and it seemed like all was well. But he got back on the junk and his addiction problems helped form the band’s demise in 2002. His drug problems were of no problem during his Velvet Revolver days, for he was hanging out with the drunken leftovers of Guns ’N’ Roses and thus, his behavior was almost encouraged. There were claims that he got clean again and so far, we have no idea how much of a role his heroin problem played in his death. No one knows for sure if he was using again or the results of all the years of abuse finally caught up to him. It does happen. Jerry Garcia had been sober for years but he died relatively young due to his heavy drug use. And Amy Winehouse pretty much died from alcohol withdrawal more than anything. But this is all speculation until official word is brought into the open, which I think will not surprise anyone either way.
Now why should I feel bad for a drugged out, washed up rock star? I guess it is due to the addiction aspect of Weiland’s life. You see, I was just like any other ignorant person that really didn’t understand the intricacies of one’s personal addictive nature. I certainly had those tendencies, for I could be very obsessive compulsive about a lot things in my life. Granted, my caveat was always the fact I would jump from theme to theme, which is why I have a library of unfinished works. But this brings up something I have rarely thought of when it comes to my life….will there be consequences for my food addiction? I wasn’t a child or a youngster when I had a my food problems, I was a grown man eating meatballs and pepperoni on a regular basis. Considering the heart issues in my family, I still have yet to do a complete diagnostic on my body. The only thing I know of is my blood sugar is low, my pulse is normal and my blood pressure is better than ever. I know there are some potential problems down the road for me as illustrated by my poor mother. But will it as horrific as Weiland’s problem? I mean, let’s face it, I have only been off the stuff for a good three years now after having maintained a near 13 year habit of poor eating choices. It is always strange when the death of celebrity that you never even met can have some kind of weird effect on your mind.
Up until this point in my life, I never really wondered about the effects of my past life. I would like to think the plant based regimen and the heavy working out I have done over the course of the last few years have alleviated some of the misgivings. I eat a relatively low fat diet and stay away from stuff that might clog up my arteries even more (even though the bad food I eat really isn’t that horrific for you). I strangely stay vigilant these days, for I never rally know just what the long term ramifications will be. I think about my grandmother Guadalupe who passed away five years ago. During the last stages of her life, she had a lot health problems, the kind of hits that would have killed regular people had she not had such a tough spirit. Yesterday was her birthday, for it would have been her 89th if she had lived that long. I remember how funny it was when I totally blew her 80th birthday celebration, accidentally bringing her to her party a little too early. She didn’t seem to mind, because the 100 or so people at the room we rented was more than a treat to her….not to mention the Mexican buffet and the Folklorico dancers we had for the evening. I still played a huge part in the celebration, for I still worked at the Tucson Citizen at the time and was able to get her a near half page article showing off her celebration. That was always her favorite section, when people would buy add space for their wedding anniversary or their engagement or whatever else someone wanted to share. It must have been a shock when she saw the huge ad, thanks to yours truly being able to get the family a nice discount.
Now I know I always seem to be too contemplative in regards to everything as of late, but I always get nervous and angsty when it gets close to my birthday. This year I won’t even be able to celebrate it, for I will be stuck at work most likely fixing a problem that always seems to fall on my head, even though I never really asked for it. There is a never a day where I am thankful for living, even though I’m dealing with inner turmoil that continues to haunt my mind and make me dislike current society. But on the other hand, I often think about all the things I can do thanks to the decision to actually take on my demons rather than hide from them. I had a great session this past Friday at Parsons, one that made me happy about my fitness even though I feel I have lost a step due to an injury and work. I did a little functional workout with Geoff, who always enjoyed having me around when I would do heavy lifting with him (Geoff likes teaching proper technique when it comes to power lifting, and since Christa is his trainer, I think he likes having another male presence around to compete against….yup, boys just like to challenge other boys! hehe). We didn’t do any hang cleans or dead lifts that day, but instead saw a rather busy day for “Hundos.” I hadn’t done hundos in quite a while, so I was really excited about the prospect. Christa put a nice little challenge on us. We had to do rope swings, push-ups, jumping pull-ups, deep kettle bell squats, plank wall touches and heavy ball wall throws, an exercise where we took a heavy ball without engaging our core area. We each had to get this all done in under 50 minutes, and I was a little apprehensive. I knew I could do all this stuff, but how long I would last would be the ultimate question.
Like always, I do the stuff I consider to be the worst, which was the jumping pull-ups and the push-ups. Really hate both those movements, but if I worked to get them out of the way, it would be a piece of cake. Naturally, I did little more circuit style regime after I got those first done, rotating the remaining four a little better than I did the first two. When all was said and done, I did the whole thing in 32 minutes and 10 seconds. It was pretty good for me, but I have done nine hundred hundos in a little over 45 minutes. But on the other hand, I never did exercises that worked my body so differently like the one Christa had me do. And to make me feel even better, I was not really out of breath and ready for more! I ultimately did another hundred barbell lifts with front hand grip positions. I was pumping 145 pounds, and realized it is much easier with the reverse grip!
My fitness for the weekend really didn’t end there either, for I was able to survive a rather brutal day at work (but I was still exhausted, and my fatigue ultimately caused some dull reactions and I got into a little car accident). Needless to say, I was climbing up and down stairs all day, doing various work that would have tired out someone in half the time. I survived one of the most brutal days I could have been a part of, for half the people that were supposed to come in didn’t show up! I guess they got their holiday check and had some fun or something. My fitness had to be top of the line to maintain the pace I was ripping out all day.
Anyway, I still wonder what would have happen to me if some of the events in my family’s life had not happened. What if my aunt had never gotten sick? What if my grandmother struggled through few more years? Would I have ever done what I have done and gone through with this change in my life? I really don’t know, for I truly believed that health and fitness was just the flip of a switch and I was easily at the controls. But since then, I realized flipping that switch required me to run a whole new circuit with new wiring and updated equipment, and to keep with the electrician terminology, I was forced to fix up the entirety electrical system to maintain just that one switch. Seems silly, but when you have the life trajectory I have had, it makes sense. But like I said earlier, I can only hope all my mistakes don’t come back to haunt me some of my favorite rock stars.
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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.
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