By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
March 6, 2016
Wow, what a wild couple of days. First and foremost, I write about the issue of sleep deprivation, and instead of doing something tangible to fight it, I still engaged in some bad habits that left me tired and exhausted. At least I snuck in a short run to break the streak of “run less” days. But of course, no matter what I do during the weekends, getting proper rest is never in the cards. I mean, when you work like I do, you just never have the time to properly get yourself into bed and properly fed. One of these days, when I eventually get a better job, I will look back with great fury and scorn and tell everyone it was the worst experience in my life…yup, I will definitely have hard feelings. But right now, that is deep in the future and maybe someday I will get a chance to have some fun and travel or do something normal people get to do in their lifetimes. Until then, I have to let out the old frustration in some more healthy and less self destructive ways. So here you go, another rant! One that has been a long time in the making since I feel I have rather deprived the world of doing rant blogs. Okay, I shouldn’t let my head get that big, but that is just me. But here is the funniest thing about this set of rants I will put together…they all seem to have a correlating theme about fatigue, laziness and mental health. Trust me, it will all make sense in no time.
KEEP YOUR BUTT MOVING ON THE WEEKENDS!…..
Okay, now my weekends are not typical of most people. Between Saturday and Monday, I log in 36 hours of work and lose tons of sleep. I’ve been desperately trying to get back on the weekday shifts, mainly because you only have to log in 10-hour days. Trust me, those extra two hours help. They will give you time to actually fully digest your food before you go to sleep and plus give you the incentive to hit the gym. That’s my biggest desire to get back on the weekdays, and this nonsense of working on the weekends has got to stop. Either way, I don’t really want my weekends back so I can be lazy and do nothing…it’s actually quite the opposite for me. I want to be able to do more and join normal people in normal activities. You see, not much of the world has my schedule, and therefore the hiking and going out portion of my life are not available to me in this respect. I’m not really interested in watching sports or other things like that, for I want to be able to run Sabino Canyon and other paths now that Jon and Christa are looking to restart their little saturday morning running regimen. While I could certainly do that with other people, I still have yet to get my butt up early enough to join them during the weekdays. On one hand, I am an atypical kind of person. I’m not the type that likes to lie around all day and do nothing. And due to new some studies, I’m kind of glad I don’t! http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/20160302/lazy-weekends-may-boost-body-fat-study-shows
Over the course of the study conducted by South Carolina University, people who stay sedentary during the weekend have a greater risk of gaining body fat. Of course, this ties into the idea of eating more unhealthy food, which I’m sure would be a problem in a state like South Carolina where the huge weekend football barbecue free for all comes into the picture. Now the findings didn’t indicate how much more body fat would accrue on your body, but they did indicate just adding an additional 20 minutes of activity on your weekend will help you somewhat maintain your current shape. When you think about the 48 hours available to you, that is only .007% of your weekend. Now of course, this doesn’t mean you should hit a couple buffets, blow a couple 24-packs and then do a short 20-minute run, thinking this will all offset like that idiot Leonardo DiCaprio thinking buying a field of trees will offset his personal jet and fleet of euro-trash-mobiles. As for me, I need to stay a little more active during my time off, which means I have to get my butt in motion again starting next week!! But this also leads to another study that also came out this week…..
…..BUT FIND SOME FRIENDS TO JOIN YOU, ALSO!!
In this age of social media and such, I still feel isolated in a lot of ways. Being vegan means you are this strange person that is way outside the norm of conventional society, one that rejects an entire eating culture. Unfortunately, just because I am vegan doesn’t mean I will instantly mesh with other vegans, and sometimes people within your town might present certain challenges in regards to getting to know them. You might not be active enough in the political side, you might be overly active in a political aspect of the culture that clashes with theirs and in my case, just not physically active enough period. Fortunately for me, I have fought this bit of loneliness by vicariously living through hundreds of other people who share some of the same views I do. While “digital” friends probably don’t count to most people, it does help with your sanity. http://elitedaily.com/wellness/science-of-isolation-bad-health/1392547/
Now, I don’t normally like Elite Daily, so anything they post must be taken with a grain of salt, but this article actually illustrates the new problem developing in our country. With job markets dispersing and people moving more than ever, often times we might lose our group of friends to the winds of the economy as they move someplace else. Fortunately, I still have some friends living in town with me, which is good for me since I have such a hard time making actual new friends. Now, according to a meta-analysis that cross referenced some 148 studies with about 300,000 participants, being socially isolated is pretty darn bad for your health. Some studies even indicated being alone most of the time is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day! Now, these studies also indicated something rather important in regards to keeping friendships. One of them is to not let it starve, so keeping regular correspondence is good if you want to maintain the relationship. The other point has to do with digital friendships, which can be healthy if you have done more than just say “hi” or use emoticons to express how ridiculously hot your fit vegan pal from another country is. Yup, actually having conversations with said people can be healthy even if you never really meet them and physically hang out with them.
Now for me, I had a great chance to reconnect with some old buds from my Tucson Citizen days. We all worked in the sports department at the now defunct newspaper, and fittingly, we all went to go watch a basketball game featuring our alma mater, the University of Arizona. My old buds Mike and Ray were much like me, getting out to our first game of the year and it was a doozy as our old school overcame a late deficit to win the game. Since Mike was lucky enough to not have a curfew (his wife is pregnant and no, I wasn’t going to make fun of him for being whipped, for we have to be respectful of a guy that has bigger responsibilities in life!), we went and got some beers at 1702. It was fun, shooting the shit and trying some odd beers we never would have tried if it wasn’t for the unique selection at 1702. And I was kind of glad we are all on the same page about one thing….grapefruit and apricot based beers are an abomination to beer!! Anyway, I got a couple brews called “Chicken Killer” from the Santa Fe Brewing Company (which are vegan friendly! hehe) and was loving the fact they were 10% alcohol and quite affordable. Not to mention they came in a brandy glass, which made me feel quite classy! If it hadn’t been for my dogs waking me up at 6:30 in the morning, who knows how long I would slept that night. I was pretty relaxed and feeling good, for the alcohol and the night out really brought some peace to my typically wired and self depreciating brain. Who would have thought getting some bro time in the bank would be so good for me. Well, turns out a new study indicated another thing…..
SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR BROS IS GOOD FOR YOU!!!
Now, in a study that was trying to figure out a way to look at Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in men, some interesting things were discovered during the course of said study. http://www.news-medical.net/news/20160304/Study-shows-bromances-can-improve-mene28099s-health-reduce-stress.aspx Now, we always call a bunch of dudes hanging out together a bromance, and thanks to media and such, this is usually annotated with a rather homosexual undertones. Most men can laugh off the silliness of the media-based perception, but it is pretty obvious a lot of men don’t when we look at some of the horrible things that “lone wolves” tend to do in this country. Anyway, one thing they discovered is that having some friends around certainly helps keep you calmer and less stressed out. The key scientific ingredient in this measure was the hormone oxytocin, which aids in the bonding aspect of developing friendships by reducing anxiety. During the course of this study, researchers discovered an immense stress can cause rodents to become quite aggressive and develop a “me first” attitude in the wake of reduced resources. Theses something most people already understand, since post-apocalypse TV shows and movies are showing a rise in popularity again. This is probably why it is harder for Sheriff Grimes in “The Walking Dead” and Mad Max in “The Road Warrior” to maintain order….it is so much easier to lose control and become desperate, which always leads to a group of aggressive, strong and typically well armed nut balls to start running the joint (i.e. The Humungous in Road Warrior!). The study also looked at sensory triggers as well, tightly caging mice and then exposing them to urine from predators, to see if the said exposure to such triggers would also lead to lashing out.
Anyway, the part that really got me intrigued was the idea of moderate stress. Typically, when we all experience a moderate stressor, we tend to become more polite and work together. Think about what happens after your team loses a close and contested game. You are just pissed off!! But think about what happened to me and my buds on Thursday. Our team was down 61-53 with a 1:52 left in the game. Since we all grew up watching Arizona basketball, the dread of watching our team slip into mediocrity and no longer carry the mantle of the Pac-12 conference was flowing through us. Some people had just given up and left the game early. But lo and behold, a couple miracle three-pointers, some good defense and rebounding (which Arizona rarely did much of the night) and some late game toughness, and the old alma mater won 64-61! The only regret is the fact I was’t watching it on TV because the hilarious Bill Walton was calling the game (who really wrangles some people in Tucson). Anyway, me and my friends all quickly agreed to get some brews, and there was no argument about where we should go, no whining whatsoever. We chose 1702 like a democratic republic, which helped since it was actually on the way to our parking spot (which made it easier for us after getting our fill). And since we all were trying different beers, we all let each other give the strange concoctions a try. When you are drinking vanilla cherry porters, double IPAs, a scotch ale called “Scotchity Scotch Scotch” and my barley wine “Chicken Killer” (which I add drank while wearing a “Vegan” shirt), sometimes sharing in that weird experience can help. It seemed kind of apt this study was released the day after the game, for I woke up pretty refreshed and calm despite my fatigue.
So there you have it, three studies that kind of indicated what you need to do on the weekends…make friends, stay active and share some experiences whether they be good or bad. Hopefully I will get to do that soon enough, for one of the funnest ties of my life was when I was training with Jon and Christa for the Lake Powell Half Marathon a couple years ago. Yeah, it sucked in regards to the training, but it was good fun when I look back at it. Hopefully I will get to do it again soon!
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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.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
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