Tuesday, January 31, 2012

P90X: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Unless you have been living under a rock and haven't watched television in the past 7 years you have undoubtedly seen a P90X infomercial.  I ordered it several years ago and have completed the program 2 or 3 times.  I've started and stopped it a few times too.  So, if you are wondering what to expect here is an honest critique.


The program is a beast.  There are really no "off days".  If you want a serious challenge this program will do it.  Yea, I know all of the Crossfitters hate P90X  - to each his own.  If you are don't feel like driving to the gym and having men or women gawk at you, don't want to contract ring worm, and don't want to wait for weights or have to wipe someone else's sweat off a bench P90X is a great option.

The pullup is one of the best exercises ---EVER.  You will have ample time to complete pullups and you will become much stronger over the 12 week program.  Pullups aren't easy but with practice and recovery you will probably double or triple your pullup results.

Yoga.  I've never had formal yoga lessons and its quite possible that the yoga in P90X is a watered down or hybrid version (I really don't know) but the introduction was great.  It definitely is a struggle (curse you twisting half moon!) but it turned out to be one of my favorite days. 


This is going to sound nit-picky but I absolutely hate the storage box.  Sometimes it is tough to slide the DVD's in and I think they will get scratched.  The container for Insanity is superior. 

The yoga video is WAY TOO LONG.  Not sure who has 90+ minutes to "waste" but it definitely could have been pared down to less than an hour.  The supplemental video sent when its ordered through a BB Coach isn't that good, either.

Tony, the host has a wacky sense of humor.  Sometimes he talks too much and tries too hard. 

All of the videos are too long.  Find a way to get them to between 45-50 minutes all of the time.  Most of the time it's the host talking and simply wasting time.  I want to get in and out not stand around listening to someone talk.


Watching me do wall squats or attempting a "Dreya Roll".

All in all.  It's a very good program - highly recommended! The price is fair and the content is good -- just too long. 

Would You Rather?

Do you like the game “Would you Rather?”  You know, the game that puts us in weird situations and we are required to choose the lesser of two evils (at least in our opinion).  For example, would you rather play and always lose or never play? There are many eventualities and the questions are only limited to our imagination.
Yesterday a friend linked an essay to me about the “prosperity gospel”.  Well, it was supposed to be an essay at least.  The premise was flawed, the author continued to restate his thesis over and over, and his research was simply circular arguments and opinon.  Similar to the very thing, the prosperity gospel, he was attempting to refute.
I am no fan of the prosperity gospel – although I believe in prosperity.  I was looking forward to the essay and hoping to learn something but I didn’t.  The writer simply took about 4-5 pages to blast some of the people that spew the prosperity message.  I am actually quite concerned if this type of writing is what is coming out of a large seminary.  Yikes! Take the kid back to English 101 for Heaven’s sake.
I would like to ask the author of the essay the following question: If you were pastoring a church, would you rather have a family earn $21 million per year and give $3 million or have a family earn $30,000 and give $5,000? 
Often church “leaders” sound like communists and government bureaucrats.  They  are convinced they have a moral right to stick their collective hands into our checkbooks and extract as much money as they want.  Furthermore, these same people don’t want people prospering but they don’t want them poor.  They want them like Goldilock’s bed --- Just right.  But they define what just right is. 
I firmly believe people are generous – they really are.  Unfortunately, churches often seem like a bad investment.  Without a price mechanism and without a profit and loss statement there is no way of keeping score to see if a church or non-profit is doing well.  So the result is often out-of-control spending and increased pressure to give.  Offerings are squandered on bigger and better buildings and increased salaries. 
I don’t believe that God “wants” every person to be a millionaire.  I believe that God has made it perfectly clear in the good book how we can prosper or how we can enter into poverty.  The choice is ours.  Yes, the love of money is a root of evil but money is neither more nor immoral.  For a minister to beat people down for prospering or desiring to increase financially is simply insane. 
It’s easy to pull a few scriptures, throw in some communism, socialism, a couple of dashes of emotion and declare it the will of God.  The author, in his very weak essay, was no different than the people he was condemning (Copeland, Hagin, etc.)  Not sure why he didn’t quote Wesley…I guess that wouldn’t have supported his thesis.
If you are prosperous, thank GOD!  If you are struggling, learn how to be abased and find out how to turn the thing around.  You won’t become a millionaire by tithing (not scriptural but different post) and won’t by sowing seed.  If one could become a millionaire by sowing seed why don’t all the ministries that want your money just do the same thing?  Why, don’t they?  Because it doesn’t work. Work works. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Stinkin’ Thinkin’

I’ve taken the liberty to state that soul = mind + will + emotions.  Or, said differently, our soul is comprised of our mind, will, and emotions.  Today I want to focus on our minds.
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
The American populace is overweight, obese, and in some instances morbidly obese.  We have TV shows such as the The Biggest Loser that inspire, we have companies like Beachbody, the Total Gym, Weight Watchers, hundreds of weight-loss gadgets, and many authors that write about weight loss but we are getting fatter and fatter.  Why?
Do not be conformed but be transformed.  One of the most difficult things for me to maintain a plant-based diet is the reaction of other people.  Overweight people telling me that “you can’t always deprive yourself!”  Really, so having my breastplate cracked open and having a surgeon insert stents into my arteries is a good thing?  “Oh, I made the broccoli salad just for you…it only has a little bit of bacon and mayonaisse in it. Why aren’t you eating it?”
Obesity is now the new normal, unfortunately.  People want to eat what they want, when they want, and blame the government for not having universal healthcare to fix all of the twinges in their hinges.  DO NOT BE CONFORMED!  Look around you at the epidemic of obesity.  You do not have to conform to it if you renew your mind. 
Think for yourself.  Don’t allow the latest fads to dictate how you live your life.  Carbs aren’t the enemy.  Eating a handful of bacon is not the answer.  Books like the South Beach Diet and Adkins diet are dead wrong and if you continue to blindly follow them you will be wrong and eventually dead.  Take some time to research for youself. 
I know the information is often cloudy but if you seek diligently you will find.  Continue to renew your mind and act upon the new found knowledge. It might just be the key to a long and satisfactory life.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Final Fifteen + 5

Eating to Live is working very well for me.  In my first week I lost 3.4# or 2% total!
I made several changes to my eating such as eating 3 meal (breakfast, lunch, supper) and stopped the 5 small meal plan.  I know the 5 small plan is popular among a lot of people but it has its drawbacks.  Primarily, eating 5 small meals doesn’t allow the digestive system to regulate. 
Each morning I had a smoothie for breakfast (typically soy milk, splash of OJ, cilantro, parsley, kale, ground flaxseeds, 2-3 pieces of fresh fruit, and a scoop of soy protein.  For lunch I would eat an enormous salad.  The salad had a base of cabbage, romaine, and spinach with several vegetable choices including carrots, radishes, sunflower seeds, sweet peas, and tomatoes.  Dinner was normal fair it my house: Vegetable primavera, veggie fajitas, etc, etc.
I started slowly because it has been awhile since I worked really hard.  I am doing a P90X/Insanity hybrid.  Monday was back and chest, Tuesday Insainty/Fast and Furious, Wednesday shoulders and arms, Thursday Insanity, and today I modified a P90 Plyo legs but doing pullups during 5 leg exercises.  I also walked each night on my treadmill for between 30-4 5 minutes. 
My original goal was to lose 20 pounds and I am ahead of schedule but on schedule according to Dr. Furman.  He states a person can lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks.  Let’s see 3.4 x 6 = 20.4#...That would be totally awesome!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Don't Get Ditched!

In the land of antiquity a friend wrote a letter and in it he offered a greeting, which is typical.  Often, in our society we write something like this: “Hi, hope all is well.”  Honestly that’s a boring introduction and exposes our inferior writing skills and mastery of our languge.  John’s letter to Gaius was more eleganat but unfortunately caused uproar and is considered controversial because of its content.  This is how it began:
“To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
Simple enough right? Would you enjoy reading a letter from a friend with a salutation written as such?
“Dear douchebag, I hope you are broke, sick and everything you touch falls to pieces.  If your marriage is working I hope it stops.  Your friend, Johnny Q. Public.”
My grandma used to talk about religious ditches.  People had the tendency to get into ruts, so to speak, and would have a tough time actually driving down the road.  Some examples are: Poverty and Godliness are synonomous. That’s one ditch – you pick if its’ left or right.  I don’t want to get into that fight! The other ditch: God’s wants everyone to be rich beyond their wildest dreams.  If you tithe and sow enough seed God will bless you beyond belief!. 
Can I be blunt? Both are lies.  Over the next several posts we will begin to unpack some truth in 3 John 2. Hope you can come back and enjoy it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

G-Men vs. The Pats

The NFL couldn't have scripted the playoff games any better than the actual product on the field.  Now everything will be scrutinized to the molecular level.  Is Eli better than Peyton?  Is Brady the best ever? This is where the media really begins to chop my lettuce.  Get a life, okay? 

Play the game. The end.

One Victory At A Time

Waking up with the feeling that a serial killer recently shoved a rusty screwdriver into the base of my skull was not a pleasant way to start my day, yet I soldiered on.  I decided to start operation kick caffeine to the curb on Wednesday last week.  As previously mentioned the first few days were B-R-U-T-A-L and headaches continued through yesterday (Sunday the 22nd) but so far so good today.

My eating regimen hasn't been as clean as I would have liked but since I was fighting that caffeine dragon I decided a little grace was in order.  So, this week is better eating.  Although on the way to work I had a balsmic blast in my lunch bag today....UGH. 

Over the weekend, zero caffeine and minimal wine.  I'll classify that as a victory.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Official Weigh-In

Health Ahead, Biggest Loser, Dump-the-Plump, whatever it's called officially kicked off today.  I weighed in at 163.6 pounds, I am a bit over 5'6" so I am kind of fun-size I guess.  I have some pretty aggressive weight loss goals (at least for me) and want to finally get down to my "God ordained" weight. 

I am trying to evict the coffee demon that I've allowed to squat in my person for the past 15-20 years too.  So as one can imagine, I am kind of cranky right now.  Dealing with detox/withdrawal headaches.  I am hoping the worst is behind me but I still think the next few mornings will be tough. 

For breakfast I had a smoothie: Kale, mango, cilantro, soy milk, splash of OJ, and ground flaxseeds.  My lunch menu is a cup of chili sans carne and a large salad. 

Exercise - so far I have been taking it easy.  I've been walking on my treadmill in the mornings and reading for about 30 minutes.  Nothing strenuous but I get my HB up to about 100 bpm.  Nothing like Insanity when it gets to about 180 bpm and I have to back off but at least I am moving. 

So the games have begun and I need to push my mind, will, and emotions beyond their comfort zone during the next 90 days (and beyond).  I am confident my body will follow suit but the battle is definitely going to be in my mind.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Eating to Live

As mentioned previously, I need to lose about 20 pounds.  The majority of people I discuss this with feel I am being way to aggressive.  Of couse, most everyone I know is overweight or obese -- so I guess it's all relative. 
My reason for losing weight is primarily medicinal.  I think having my heart cracked open or inserting stents into arteries is extreme - much more extreme that choosing a plant based diet.  So, I soldier on...mostly alone. 
I picked up the book Eat to Live recently for reinforcement and encouragement.  I found it an easy read compared to the China Study.  Most of the information wasn't new to me but it's always nice to have the concepts reinforced.  See, my reason for eating a plant based diet is not religous or moral but medicinal.  I don't have the moral or religous boundaries to keep me on the straight and narrow. 
I intend to follow the Eat to Live plan during my "biggest loser" challenge that begins tomorrow.  In a nutshell, here is the plan:
  • At least a pound of raw vegatables per day
  • At least a pound of cooked vegatables per day
  • At least 4 pieces or servings of fruit per day
  • An ounce of raw nuts per day
  • One serving of starchy vegetables or whole grains per day
The plan is intense but preferable to drugs, surgery, premature death or a low quality of life.  I see too many people living a life of "moderation" and killing themselves on bite at a time.  I am going to give it 100%.

See you on the flip-flop,

Friday, January 13, 2012

Triple S Attack

I am going to attempt to have a smoothie, a salad and soup everyday during the health challenge that begins on 1/27. 

Smoothies are an easy, economical, and healthy way to start my day.  There are SOO many types of soups and salads that things should never get boring.  All three are an easy way to have a large quantity of food that is healthy and satiating. 

So the Triple S Attack will be in full force!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Final 20: Part I

I am not obese but I am a little, how should I say, puffy in certain parts of my body (love handles around my chest and midsection).  I am down to what I call the final 20.  Those real tough pounds to lose that seem to gather in the areas I notice but others do not.  And I want to lose them.  I guess I will find out how badly I want to lose them soon.

My co-workers have organized a "Biggest Loser" type contest that begins next week.  First weigh-in is 1/20 and we will weigh each Friday for 12 weeks.  My goal, as previously stated is 20 solid pounds or about 1.6 pounds per week.  So how will I do it?

I'm not vegan but my eating habits best match a vegan diet.  I have some tripping points, however, that have contributed to my inability to get down to my natural-God-ordained-weight.  I recently ordered the book Eat to Live and should have it in a few days.  I hope to learn some additional tips and tricks to assist me in my saga. 

As for exercise I am not 100% sure.  I really enjoy Insanity by Beachbody and might pick that up again.  It is only 60 days so I would need to find something else for the other 30 days.  It's winter in Michigan so the majority of the exercise must be completed indoors.  Maybe join the Y?

Back to the tripping points...I want to stop drinking alcohol and caffeine during this challenge.  Alcohol, really is useless calories.  Coffee stains my teeth and I want them whiter.  Both will be hard to let go.  I might be able to replace coffee with herbal tea - we will see. 

So, I've put it on the line and hopefully will keep this blog as a pseudo accountabilty partner.  Most people (obese and overweight) would tell me I'm crazy for wanting to lose 20 pounds so it's almost useless.  Even the people in my weight-loss challenge questioned why I wanted to join.  Uh, to lose weight.  DON'T MAKE ME TAKE MY SHIRT OFF!

Let's get this party started!

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's Impossible to Out Train a Poor Diet

I really wanted to avoid negativity as much as possible in 2012 but sometimes that is, well, impossible.  For many years I had a face-to-face challenge with heart disease.  I was in decent shape but my eating habits weren't cooperating.  I witnessed family members getting stress tests, stents, open heart surgery, insulin, yada yada and had an epiphany: STOP THE INSANITY!

For a brief time I bought into one of those "drink this shake on a daily basis and your health will magicially improve" ideas.  I was totally stoked.  I religiously followed the P90X program and drank the shake --- and it really tasted good (almost like dessert). Prior to the program I had my cholesterol tested --- and it was borderline.  After the program?  IT INCREASED.   ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?

We need micronutrients and chewing them is good.  I should've known better than to believe the marketing for this snake oil but I was being an optimist and looking for an elixir to assuage my horrible numbers.  Well, I have found it and it doesn't come in a package for $119.95 per month in two flavors.   It is found in the outer area of my local supermarket.  Who'd a thunk it?