By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
August 30, 2015
If you want to bring out the worst side of me, mention the fact I have to clean my yard. Yup, there is nothing that will ruin my mood faster than having to perform the typical civic duty of actually maintaining curbside decorum. The issue for me is this….there is just so much yard! Before we started getting these little plywood and styrofoam houses that have yards barely big enough to park you car, the house I live in was an old school one third acre plot of land. Since it was originally out in the sticks when it was first built, the zoning in this neighborhood actually allows people to keep farm animals as long as they are taken care of and cleaned after. Now my neighbor used to have horses, so letting the grass get out of control was sometimes a good idea because I would let them bring their horses over and eat up the massive amounts of grass and clover. It was a good way to save them some cash and a good way to give the horses some “fresh” produce. And when you see what two hungry horses can do to a yard full of grass, you might wish you lived next to a horse person as well. Of course, the smell would sometimes be bad by the end of the day, but it was a small price to pay for the occasional convenience. Well, the couple living next door divorced and the horses went away, meaning I had to continue to do the yard like a regular schlub. Then when my old roommate left for Phoenix for his new job, the onus was placed squarely on my shoulders. Trouble is, when it is the time of year to actually do the work, it is always ridiculously hot and bothersome. You have to do it by sections, because no matter how in shape you are, it is a hell of a job to maintain. Oh, and I have to borrow my parent’s lawn mower, which makes it even worse since I cannot maintain the place on a regular basis. And then you have the trees, which are mesquite and have inch long spines in some parts. Uggh, just talking about my yard makes me upset. I only did about a third of the work on Friday and it filled my trashcan!
Anyway, my week is pretty much ruined. I hate yard work as much as anything in the world. So I need to let off some steam with some rants!
RECOVERY TIME. During the short life of this blog, I have always been somewhat reluctant to take any supplements or do any kind of weird treatments. I will admit I have done some chiropractic work and even got a deep tissue massage. Rolling out my muscles seems to be some of the most exotic work I have done on my body. Over time, I have run into people trying to sell me supplements like pre-workout drinks and stuff like that. I did try this pre-workout from a friend that sold Advocare, and while I did have good run the night I tried it, I really couldn’t credit the run for that performance mainly because I have seen the same thing happen with other stuff like Carb Boom! (which I actually use while running, for it is a vegan fruit puree that tastes pretty good!) Needless to say, I am not into this weird culture of powdered drinks that have more ingredients than a can of Pringles. But I am just one person, and supplements are such a huge industry that whole companies can be put under the microscope. I mention this because just a couple days ago, the Federal Trade Commission labeled an Arizona company named Vemma as a pyramid scheme and have temporarily shut them down. I had never even heard of this company, which sells energy and protein drinks, yet they made 400 million dollars in total earnings in 2013 and 2014. http://www.azfamily.com/story/29885931/ftc-temporarily-shuts-down-energy-drink-company-for-running-pyramid-scheme?auto
Now, the accusations against Vemma started since day one, but I guess it takes a whole lot of dissatisfied buyers to really ratchet up the pressure. But this leads up to the final question….does any of this stuff really work? Everyone is always looking for the ultimate one-up when it comes to making yourself game ready for whatever event you are competing in. Some people even take it further, using “recovery” shakes and even trying some out of this world stuff like ice baths (good luck doing that in Arizona!). People have made plenty of money saying this stuff works, but does it? Probably not or not as well as you may think. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/ice-baths-antioxidant-supplements-not-always-the-best-route-to-recovery/article26052576/
According to the results of the Queensland Academy of Sport in Australia, doing ice baths after a hard workout or taking antioxidant recovery drinks may work in making you feel better, nut in regards to actual fitness, you may almost be better off letting the soreness hit you like a freight train. The idea behind this study was to demonstrate the adaptive nature of the body when it is allowed to recover at a normal speed versus a sped up process. The most noteworthy part was the comparison between the people that utilized cold ice baths after a workout versus those that didn’t. Muscle mass was much greater in the group that didn’t partake in this part of the study as they suffered through the soreness like most people. The researchers concluded that dealing with the soreness and a normal recovery phase may be better for you than trying to speed up the recovery process (and most likely cheaper). They also shot down some other common things many athletes do, which is taking antioxidant rich drinks after a heavy workout. That burning sensation in your body is basically your body repairing itself. The institute reviewed the results of 71 studies, and discovered these regimens are not really helping the athlete get better. So what is a person to do then? Well, you can take a day off when needed or work other parts of the body if you want a much more chiseled physique. Sometimes saying no to the addition of pain is good idea, much like myself earlier this week when I thought it might be a good idea to try and run for a third consecutive night after not running for over two weeks. Well, I took the day off and slept a little longer, and now feel a bit better in the process and ran another three miles on Friday to try and get myself back into running shape. Some days I feel tempted to really try this stuff and see how it goes, but then again, who has the money?
LADIES, EVEN IF YOU ARE OLD, KEEP WORKING OUT! I have talked about being physically fit well into your golden years on many occasions. It can be a touchy subject as many that finally reach retirement decide to let themselves go for the sake of “I just don’t have to maintain a work fit body anymore.” I sort of believed having a ‘work fit’ would keep me healthy for the duration of my life, and it kind of did. While I was about 400 pounds, I was still in the safe zones for some of my health measurements and my weight was distributed fairly evenly with the exception of it bunching up around my stomach like normal weight gain. Now I may not be the only one here, being fit going into your later stages of life always seems to focus on women, and this is due to my theory of the low-T generation of men relying on science to get healthy as opposed to hitting the gym. Anyway, there is a popular meme that gets circulated around the fitness freaks I am friends with on Facebook that shows two women, both 74, and asks the question “Which one do you want to be?” One of course is the weightlifting sensation that is Ernestine Shepherd and the other is a wheelchair bound woman with no name. Now, the first thing that hits me is Shepherd is actually 78, so the meme is being decisive in that way, but it does bring up a good point for women going into their older years. As many enter they post menopause lives, the likelihood of suffering from heart disease actually increases. http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/15/08/p5785042/new-studies-point-out-that-heart-health-and-fitness-are-important-facto
Now menopausal and post-menopausal women can be open to various health issues, but the one that seems to be the most forgotten is heart health. As they get older, more women tend to have fat around their heart, which can cause troubles in breathing and heart health. Now society in general seems to take a lot of potshots at older women as time starts taking its toll on a woman’s youthful looks, telling them to get in shape so they can be desirable to their men. Yeesh, what a horrible message, especially when legitimate reasons far outweigh the simple aesthetic. http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/15/08/p5785042/new-studies-point-out-that-heart-health-and-fitness-are-important-facto
As women get older, their production of estradiol starts declining, and as this has happened for several women, larger deposits of cardiovascular fat have been discovered. Now weight gain is a typical problem for woman in their post menopause years, and this is primarily the main reason why so many of them decide to take on fitness classes and personal training. But according to the Heart Foundation, heart disease accounts for a third of the deaths women suffer each year. I think that should be a better reason for physical fitness rather than saying a woman looks like a fat hag. Now it seems like double edged sword for most women in regards to the fat retention, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle may be the best bet against heart disease.
I GUESS MY PUPS ARE VEGAN…. One of the best things about having dogs is how they adjust to your lifestyle and react to things in a certain way. It took me a while to finally get my dogs to understand the concept of “Let’s go outside!” as a reminder that it is time to go to the restroom. Sometimes they figure it out, other times they don’t. It’s especially cute when I tell them it is time to go to “Grandma” and “Grandpa’s” house, which means they will get to play with their cousins, uncle and aunt (it’s a complicated family tree). Over the years, they developed a fine tuned acumen to certain words, and these are probably quite predictable. But I had a rather funny shock the other day. My pups no longer understand the words “pizza” and “bacon.” My old roommate used to really love bacon, so he would teach them to get all happy when someone uttered the word. But the whole pizza thing was by accident. They had heard me use the word so much that they became quite happy whenever I would bring some home. It was a rather Pavlovian effect, because that always meant they would get a little meat from me or some pizza crusts from my roommate. It was rather funny seeing them react after not hearing those words for nearly three years. My friends, who were hanging out at my place, tried their darnedest to get them to react, but it just didn’t resonate with them anyone. The lack of reaction for the word “pizza” was especially strange. I might as well have been saying some archaic words like vellichor or chrysalism. It kind of indicates just how much has changed in the three short years since I started working out at Parson’s Training.
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Meet the Author
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.
Steve shares his journey once a week here on our blog. We hope that you find a spark of inspiration from reading his blog.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.