By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
June 23, 2016
If there was ever a time to be angry about life and the frivolity of living, then the month of June would certainly be my kick starter. What a disgusting, horrifying way to start the summer, with days reaching as high as 116 degrees and the night staying as warm as 90 degrees going into the dead of night. Some people proclaim it is the trade off for a good winter, but are you kidding me? This is the time of the year where it gets really difficult on me to do anything, and looking for work in this weather is equally depressing. I went to drop off a resume the other day and by the time I showed up, I was sweaty as a pig even though I had only been out of my car for a few moments. It’s also that time of the year where I start having to take a towel with me everywhere, especially since I sweat like crazy. So yes, I really despise the summer time, for the heat really bothers my sleep patterns and also messes with my running. I mean, running later in the evening is great and such, but jeez, it can be tough. Naturally, this is the time of the year where tempers are as high as the thermometer, and it is even worse considering it is an election year. The amount of hate I see o the internet is utterly ridiculous and also having trouble distinguishing irony. Like some Donald Trump lovers proclaiming they hate being called racists while putting up a video of a racist douchebag yelling at latinos to “make his burrito” and “make his tortillas.” Yeah, go figure. Either way, I choose to stay in the house much of the day, which is why I am kind of thankful that I don’t have to work outside anymore. I don’t know how anyone can possibly handle this kind of weather. I see these guys doing all sorts of construction near my house and they are gone by the time lunch hits. So yeah, you got to be careful in that regards folks.
In Arizona, you see plenty of people trying their hand at sun baking (the steak grilling one is quite popular https://youtu.be/8qV4rP2Po6U) while also showing off the extremes they have to go through just to drive their car (I am carrying a towel with me so I can actually touch my steering wheel. hehe). I also get lazy, for the heat kind drains all of my nutrients and makes me light headed. I guess it is a good thing that I am not an electrician anymore. Anyway, on to the rants.
FITNESS IS A NEVER ENDING BATTLE. Well, I have stated this before in previous blogs, that no matter what I do, I have to stay on the path that I have set for myself at the moment. Sure, I am struggling right not due to exterior life events and the fact that I have gained a little weight, but it hasn’t deterred me from staying on the path. You see, I have considered this a never-ending battle for myself, in spite of the gains I have made and the changes to my life I have made. There was an interesting quote I saw from a recent cracked.com article that pointed out some of the darker sides of personal training and gyms. “Fitness will become a part time job” the article stated. Think about that for a moment. It kind of comes down to some tropes about life in general. Where do you draw the line? How much out of your health do you wish to achieve for yourself? For me, it is a long and rough battle for me, mainly due to my eating problems and the fact I just can’t seem to shake a lot of this body fat that is sticking around. But should I remain content? I say no to this idea. While I have lost 150 pounds to this date, I still want to lose more. While I have a good workout regimen, I still want to be better and be able to lift heavier. Once I get new running shoes, I once again will start gunning for longer running distances. This psychological turf war of contentment and pursuit is always a difficult one. Some people like to fill your head that what you have should make you happy. Indeed, I am happy with the results I have achieved. But I want more, and this is the part of the argument that I think so many miss the point on.
Technically, I am still overweight and while I am healthy, it is pretty much been proven that “healthy obesity” is a dangerous myth to hold on to. http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/02/science/la-sci-fat-healthy-myth-20131202 I think it is okay to demand more out of yourself. I have spent too many of my own years being too content with what I have, which is why I decided to finally start a book and a Youtube channel (though I will need money to eventually grow those two things). I have definitely come to the point that this will be my life for the rest of my days. Some people think life will pass me by or something, but then again, I would rather be able to keep up with life as I age. I am still chasing a lot of things in my life, but hopefully I will get to catch up soon enough. Until then, I just keep fighting the good fight and try to stay as fit as I can. I think about what happened at the gym the other night. While most of the guys were content with leg pressing 600 pounds or so, hanging out and enjoying “bro” time, I said to hell with this crap and loaded the press to 923 pounds. This was at the end of a supposed one-hour workout when I noticed the leg press was finally open and the mortals had stopped using it. Yes, I am getting a little cocky, but hey, I beat my old max at the end of my workout, and I could have put more if I hadn’t run out of gas. This was the kind of moment that excited me and made me feel good about myself, and it was the kind of moment that will make me keep coming back. You know it is a little unusual when one of the gym employees does a double take of the weight you had on the press.
BEAT THE HEAT OR THE HEAT WILL BEAT YOU!! I know, I have beaten this idea into the ground quite a bit, but please, be careful out there people. This past weekend, people were dying in Arizona due to heat exposure. Hikers stayed out too long on a trail and ended up passing due to the exposure. A woman in Phoenix was running in the middle of a 120-degree day and died! With temperatures reaching some crazy levels out here in Arizona, consuming water is essential to staying healthy. First and foremost, be sure you are drinking enough water. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256 Now we seem to have some trouble in regards to figuring out how much water a person should drink a day, ranging from two liters to three liters a day (according to WebMD). For me, I am a sweater, which is what makes it difficult for me to run long distances due to water depletion (which would make my Ultra Marathon dream a difficult one to attain). I typically try my best to drink down a gallon or more a day, which is about right for me considering how many fluids are depleted from my body. I also don’t ignore the signs of water depletion, provided I even run into them anymore. Always keep an eye out for spots in your vision, which could be a sign of heat exhaustion. Also, if you find yourself getting frequent headaches, this could be a sign of dehydration. Ever wonder why? Well, it turn out your brain is shrinking from the lack of water, and thus starts pulling on the skull. So yeah, the pain of your brain trying to rip away from your body is going to cause a little pain. Of course, there are some other symptoms that will cause some problems for you as well, such having a dry and sticky mouth along with incessant sleepiness. Personally, that is the trickiest one out of all the symptoms, mainly because I get incredibly sleepy on days that hit triple digits out in the desert. I also remember an old symptom my dad would constantly remind me of. If you pinch the skin on top of your hand and it does not immediately flatten out, it might mean you are pretty darn dry. Either way, I still laugh at the idea my sister, who lived in Phoenix for a few years, is complaining about the 80-degree weather she is getting in Denver. Can’t wait to spend a few days up there! Either way, please be careful out there. As for me, I will not do anything without my camel pack!
GET TO DINNER ON TIME! There is a common adage that is regularly used in our society… “You are what you eat.” Being the “militant” vegan that I have been labeled lately, then yes, I am awesomeness and compassion due to what I eat. Yup, I like to turn it around on people, and I will have no problem with putting someone down if they choose to come after me. So let’s look at the situation in this respect. Since we have such a high rate of heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver disease and obesity, what are people eating to get to this point? Well, I can certainly tell you what they are eating, but that is pretty much the whole point of my blog. If you eat junk and unhealthy food, you will most likely be unhealthy with a lot of junk in your veins. This whole situation is compounded by the lack of exercise in our society, which has turned the corporate health and fitness industry into a major cash cow due to people not using the very things they pay for. In fact, I am sure the new Chuze gym by my house is banking on the fact people will sign up for little or no money, and then become indifferent down the line. Unlike my friend Leo who is in it for the long haul and got a premium membership, most people will consider the 10 bucks a month as a small loss. Anyway, I better get back to what I originally wanted to write about before I completely lose track.
Anyway, a new review was published yesterday trying to seek a reason why so many of these diseases keep getting stronger in our society. Well, a review conducted by King’s College in London is trying to put more emphasis on staying true to your eating schedule. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160622102328.htm In the review, it seems keeping your eating schedule can be just as important as the amount you are eating. The review also made some interesting points about how much you should eat during the day, indicating that a healthy breakfast is still preferable in the foundation of a good eating regimen. This battle over when is the preferred meal to eat a large feast is the one that always intrigued me. When I worked as an electrician (after I made my dietary changes and stated working out) I prescribed to the idea of eating a large dinner due to the fact I had a lot more energy the next day. This came in part due to the heat I would have to deal with on some days, where eating heavy meals in the morning might slow me down and eating a heavy lunch might also be problematic due to the fact it would slow me down AND make me sleepy. I also recently saw some research that indicated eating a large lunch while eating lighter breakfasts and dinners would be a good way to maintain weight and stay energized. Well, the argument will certainly continue due to the number of studies that keep getting released in this field of study. So let’s just stick to the primary gist of the review.
Just stay consistent. Plain and simple. It’s much more difficult to do this sort of thing these days, especially with the deluge of jobs that seem to demand more of your loyalty and time rather than your health. I had a friend quit his job at the Post Office due to the stress of the work. Someone I ran into while waiting at a bus stop quit a decent job at UPS because the shifting of his hours from night to day on a regular basis got to his health. I know someone that quit a 50,000 dollar a year job because they made him work the night shifts on the weekends, which restricted his family time and put a rift between him and his wife. So yeah, keeping to an eating schedule is tough in this world of ours. But it also means it is more important than ever to try and keep one. Too many people are skipping meals and eating poorly because of the convenience associated with the moment. Worst of all, people are doing what I used to do quite a bit….gorge. Now this is not a new problem in the world, and it is still an issue for me in regards my daily routine. I try my darnedest to keep up with my eating, which typically means making a breakfast with one eye closed. And lunch is equally tough, since my house is so darn hot that turning on the oven makes it worse. And don’t get me started on dinner. Usually I hate the prospect of making something in the evening. And this is where my personal problems begin and end. I just start eating too much one day and not enough the next day. It’s a horrible cycle that I really need to break, and the summer is not going to make it any easier. But then again, I have never been one to resists a challenge.
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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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