24 May 2012

Thomas the Tank Engine

Disclaimer: The next 5-10 minutes are going to blow your mind. Seriously, put on a Kevlar helmet, because your brain is valuable and I don’t want to be held responsible for what may happen. Not to mention, exploding brains are really messy. So I hear.

Today is the day, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time to climb aboard the pain train with Thomas the Tank Engine, my trainer/personal executioner.
A little scarier than that fruity train above, huh?
Now some of you may be saying, “Andrew, I don’t need a trainer. I can motivate myself.” Or “Andrew, I just bought p90x.” That’s all well and good, but let me just lay out a couple of advantages to a personal trainer:
  1. Accountability. There are very few people in this world that do not need support from someone through such a difficult thing as a weight-loss journey. Thomas, for example, knows what I eat, drink, and can see how it affects me every week during my workouts. Knowing that he could break me over his leg and/or grind me up as part of his daily protein shake is both humbling and incredibly effective in keeping me on track. 
  2. Motivation. I typically do a lousy job at motivating myself during workouts. When the pain in my legs starts to creep up and my brain starts screaming “You suck at life! You need to stop!” (Yes, I hear voices…probably should get that checked out…okay, the voices are telling me to move on now), Thomas is there to say “Keep it up!” or “Four more!” or “That babe over there said she’d give you her number if you do a one-armed push-up.” Lean on your trainer to help you believe that one more lap is not only NOT going to kill you, but that you can do it.
  3. Convenience. This is the one area in a weight-loss effort where I am happy to let someone else plan something for me. Meals I can handle. Drinking water, I can do. However, I look like a lost sheep in the gym. So, someone directing me is both helpful and needed once a week. The cool thing about Thomas, too, is that he gives me homework for the times I am in the gym and don’t meet with him. Sadly, ninja star throwing has not shown up on the list of approved exercises.
Here are the cons to having a personal trainer: ……………….crickets………………..

I know what you’re thinking. “Andrew, you haven’t addressed my number one obstacle!” Cost. What can I say? Sell that big screen TV or PlayStation. Cut out fast food and sodas, you’d be surprised how much you might be paying already. Sell one of your kidneys (you really only need one anyway…right? Doctors? Hello?) Reaching out to others takes guts, I know, but try asking someone you trust, who loves you, for help with the cost. In the end, a ride on the pain train with someone like Thomas the Tank Engine is always less costly than a ride in an oversized coffin. If you don’t believe me, listen to the man himself. Oh, and yeah, he's not playing around. Read the whole thing...it's legit. From the Tank Engine himself:
Hello to all of the many interested individuals who aspire to create and build a life-long relationship of consistency that provides residual health benefits by understanding the fundamental principles of fitness and nutrition. Those of you who fit the criteria of the guy or girl who is “the antithesis of the gym connoisseur” or a carbon copy of the “sedentary lazy boy slumper”, you should take heed to all of the remaining information that follows.  
As U.S citizens, we live in the information age and a world of technological advancements that expands beyond the limitless ranges of our minds ability to conceptualize and yet, many of us, when it comes to exercise and nutrition, immerse ourselves in a third world country mentality. People would rather violate their bodies from inactivity or improper functional usage of human kinetics because of conditioned predisposed reasons that are neither valid nor justifiable. So, we get frustrated because we realize that time is truly an earthly possession that never befriends us. Aesthetically we are not as pleasing as we were in our formative years. So we grasp for the quick fix with hopes of morphing into an Adonis in three weeks, when in actuality it took us five years to destroy the bodies we house.         
We implement a microwave strategy plan that feeds an insatiable desire to accommodate our multi-tasking ways of living. As we become more focused with the purpose driven nuances of success and career, we more often than not have the propensity to view working out as another mundane task rather than a necessary element that prevents you from flat lining. Catch my drift?  
It’s imperative that you understand the amazing benefits of resistance/strength training and living a life with a nutritional purpose. It has a way of galvanizing many of our deficiencies and imperfections by turning them into physical, mental, emotional and spiritual assets.  Understanding that you have a problem but being unwilling and negligent as it pertains to your internal fitness and nutritional compass is not only doing a disservice to you but to all that surround you! Being an advocate of healthy living and understanding what your body needs from a fitness and nutritional standpoint is a choice that you must make for life preservation.  
But also remember that your body’s inability to heal from within stems from several reasons and one in particular is a lack of oxygen. Without healthy cell replication or division, because oxygen intake is limited, can in fact result in diseases such as cancer and certain brain abnormalities. Working out systematically tells your body to metabolize efficiently, burn fat, and build lean muscle tissue. 

Also, water should be a major focal point to prevent dehydration and help eliminate free radicals that destroy our cells ability to replicate with efficiency. The world we inhabit is comprised of a little over 70% water. Our bodies contain right at about 70%! Coincidence? I think not! The correlation is simple; water and oxygen are essential and mandatory components to sustain life for both Mother Earth and Mankind! 
Drinking 64oz of coffee and sodas combined does not count, nor does smoking or inhaling second hand smoke for oxygen! It’s incumbent upon us all to break free from the chains of sedentary ignorance and ordain ourselves with the power of what fitness and nutrition will provide.   
If anyone has any questions, needs motivation, factual information, and/or a competent trainer that designs specific training regimens and nutritional information for their authentic body type, and eliminates the “no pain no gain theory” to show you how to get fit and have fun, then go to my website at www.ehwr.net. I will accompany my friend and client Andrew with info on his blog as it pertains to health and fitness. I also have a secondary e-mail address which is tpjrneely@yahoo.com if you have further questions or just need to talk about your situation. Stay tuned for my next post.
I appreciate those of you who took the time to read the information. Let’s get healthier and fit to build a better world!!!
Thomas Neely | Executive Health and Wellness Resources 

14 May 2012

It's My Birthday and I'll Sweat If I Want To

The date is 14 May 1985. After an excruciating labor and emergency cesarean section, the doctor finally hands my mother the baby, the man-cub Andrew Jones. Her first reaction? "This baby is going to be a sexy beast one day." Her second reaction? "Did my baby really just ask for a White Russian and a Cuban cigar?"

Okay, well it didn't quite go down like that. I actually asked for a Gin and Tonic, but that's not the point. The real reason I write this evening is to call attention to the fact that today I turned 27 years old. I would also like to inform you that my trainer, Thomas, helped me celebrate by smoking me like a hookah at a hippie convention.

It's hard to believe it's been an entire month since I started this journey. Time really does have a tendency to speed up and catch you off guard. And it would have been much more fun to write this evening and tell you that I rolled in my 27th year with style, with cake and ice cream and a feast dinner at some swanky restaurant that serves French things, like baguettes and escargot, and fries (get it? French Fries?). But I didn't. Because that's not who I am anymore. Let me explain.

Have you ever met a person or group of people that you really liked but weren't really "in" with them yet? Like the trendy dudes that hang out at Urban Nirvana and Starbucks or the chicks that shop at EarthFare and smell like ginger and hemp deodorant (not to be too specific or anything). Okay, next question. Have you ever been rejected or dissed by those people, but like a chump, kept wanting to be a part of the club or begin a friendship with them? Putting yourself down because you weren't a part of the club?

Well, that's the way I feel about runners. No offense, runner-readers out there. It's not you, it's me. I just never have really fit in. Call it a self-confidence issue or low self-esteem. Call it an excuse not to try harder. Call it whatever you want, I just never fit the bill, in my opinion.

But my birthday today reminded me of something. Each year that goes by without taking the opportunity to become what you want to be is a big FATTY fail. And I am done settling for failure. I'm becoming a runner if it kills me. And it may, because my neighborhood is kind of sketch and I'm afraid I might be shot if I start running around too much. I digress.

I'm making a 10 month commitment to train for the Cooper River Bridge Run 2013. Not to just beat my Dad (because, um, yes, that will be happening Pops); I am training for this thing because it's who I want to be. I was built (different than created, studs like me get built, like a tractor or factory or something, way more macho-sounding) with a insatiable competitive streak in me. I also have an ego, which helps. Anybody know where I could get a tattoo of myself on myself?

But the thing that I really do believe I was born 27 years ago to do, was to inspire others to be more than what they are, to challenge them to become who they were meant to be, who they are called to be. For me, part of it is a runner, a health freak, a hippie. For you, it may be a cyclist, or a swimmer, or even an honorary member of Billy Idol's band (what? don't hate). What I am telling you today, all joke's aside, is that you really should go for it! Be that guy who is so dedicated to his craft or desire that it makes others sick. Then while you're holding their hair as they puke, encourage THEM to do the same thing. Get motivated until it pains you to sit still.

Choose sweat over sweets on your birthday. Be radical and go out and get it! I know I will, and if I see you on the sideline as I pass by next April during the bridge run, you better hope you have sneakers on, cause you're running the rest of the way with me.

P.S. If you can't run the rest of the way with me, feel free to locate the golf cart I've reserved for my father. Ya know, the one I'll be picking him up in after I finish?

I think I might try for the flock of seagulls haircut...thoughts?

10 May 2012

Occupy Gym

“Today I am taking a stand against the 1% of Americans thatgo to the gym. I mean, look at them. All smug and happy and fit and healthy andenergetic. Don’t you, a member of the 99%, just hate it? Why can’t they be obeseand tired and miserable like me? Why can’t they go to bed at 7.00pm after ahard day’s work and ignore their family? They should just pull up a cot next tothe rowing machine in the gym and live there, for crying out loud!”
Ladies and gents, you have just experienced a “former Fatty”moment. That’s right, that was me about a month ago. Well, not precisely. Itypically flavored those remarks with the most diabolical curse words you canimagine. My pastor would literally give birth if he knew what I really wassaying. And yes, my pastor is a edude. And yes, I just referenced a dude givingbirth. Just go with it.

The point: I have discussed making excuses (see Killing Dogs That Ate Your Homework). I have discussed getting angry and using it asmotivation to work out (see Dark Side). I have even discussed Kung Fu. But whatI haven’t discussed is The Arena. That’s right, the gym itself.

The first thing you should know about The Arena is that itis full of gladiators, so you’re going to feel weird. You shouldn’t, but youwill. If I had a dollar for every bicep vein or protein shake I have seen thispast month, I would be filthy rich and tell Bill Gates to start polishing myshoes. But here’s the thing: the people in the gym DON’T CARE that you feelweird. In fact, they are actually quite nice. And encouraging. And probablyhappy for you that you’re taking the step towards fitness. So get over it.Move on.

The second thing you should know about The Arena is that itis full of stuff. Rowing machines, weights, treadmills, stair climbers,medicine balls, more weights…the possibilities are endless. So here’s myrecommendation. If you have a trainer, have them give you homework. On paper.The last thing you want to do is walk around feeling lost. It’s annoying and a little disheartening to not have a plan. If you don’t have a trainer, figureout a workout plan for yourself before you go. On paper. Get a plan and knockit out.

The third and final thing you should know about The Arena isthat it smells weird. The combination of B.O., protein powder, and peopleexhaling with stanky breff (a.k.a. stinky breath) is pungent andmay require an oxygen mask. In this case, the only thing to do, really, is toexhale more than them. Which means you should work out harder and faster (be safe, don’tinjure yourself) than them. Get in and out before you catch a whiff offoulness. Or go outside and work out. Yeah, you should probably do thatinstead.

Be a rebel and Occupy Gym. Be there at least four times aweek. Block everything else out for that one hour or so you are there. Go finda punching bag if you have to, and just start wailing on it. Stress relief,exercise, diet. I can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out.

Editor’s Note: Be careful with the punching bag. I may ormay not have gotten to “into it” and starting biting and clawing it in mymoment of pure, unadulterated rage. Stick to punching, or kicking…way moremacho.


07 May 2012

$#@% Happens, So Join the Dark Side

Today, I feel like a big fat failure. Literally (Don't worry, optimists, this will end well, just keep reading). For the past week I already have felt like I am not "on top of it." My workout schedule was completely thrown off last week and today, I did alright eating but didn't drink nearly enough water, and I noticed a significant downgrade in my ninja star throwing skills. My neighbor's cat may need medical attention.

Ya think?
The point is, what do you do when you fail? Not IF you fail, WHEN you fail. Most people will tell you to keep your chin up and just keep pluggin' along. Some people will try to make you feel better and tell you that "it's okay, even the best mess up and slip from time to time." There are a million ways to justify it.

The biggest decision you will make in moments like this is what to do when confronted with failure. The way I see it, there are precisely three of them:

  1. Get down on yourself.
  2. Let it roll of your shoulders, and keep going.
  3. Get extremely pissed with yourself, and take it out on your fat body in the gym.
The winner, in my opinion is number three. And here's why:
  1. Getting down on yourself, to be honest, is no worse than just giving up altogether, and going back to being a Fatty. 
  2. Letting it roll of your shoulders is step one towards giving up altogether. It goes without saying that every action or inaction you take or don't take has consequences. Unfortunately, for so many people, the consequence of number two (as in above, not intended to be a poop joke, although I should have) ...well, the consequence is not stopping and recognizing how significant each and every decision you make is in this weight loss journey. 
  3. But the third option? That's where it's at. "Is anger really the way to go, Andrew?" "Anger isn't healthy, Andrew." WRONG!

My version of the Dark Side...straight thug.
Let me ask you a question? When was the last time you were really ticked off? I mean, ready to snap someone or something in half...that kind of angry. Now let me ask you this. How determined and dedicated in that split second were you? Most people are extremely resolved in that moment. They will do just about anything. Some people take it to the max and do horrible things. Some people avoid anger and they become apathetic. But I am suggesting that you join the Dark Side (see Star Wars. If you haven't seen it, are you even alive right now?) and embrace your anger, control it, and go kick your own ass in the gym. See? I am so angry I just cursed about it...grrrrrrr...Andrew Smash!

I want you, readers, to know that I am writing this to myself more than anything. I want you to know that you're still being cheered on in your journey and you have a fan in The Fatty Fighter. But I also want you to know, that if you are like me right now...if you want sympathy...go get it from yo mama, cause you ain't findin' it here. Let's go hit it hard in the gym and beat ourselves up.

Disclaimer: People may not like you when your angry (see Hulk). So warn your trainer or the little old lady on the exercise bike next to you (ya know, the lady that doesn't even look like she is moving her legs?). But I will tell you who will like you when you're done being angry. You.

What it looks like after spending years in the gym...and after a nuclear explosion in your backyard.

03 May 2012

The Joys of Clear Pee

A lot of you clicked on this post because the title has the word "pee" in it, which is funny. Some of you may have been intrigued enough to click but a little anxious and a little disgusted. Good for you. Others have some weird obsession with pee. You're sick, and you need psychiatric help. I heard there's a Urine Anonymous group in Goose Creek. You should check it out.
Now that's some high-quality H2O!

The real reason for this post is to talk about water. You know, that clear stuff that about 90% of Americans forget about because Coke runs through their blood stream? Or sweet tea? Or for some of you really daring healthy hippies that are "watching calories", Diet Coke or Coke Zero?

For the past two and a half weeks I have cut out all drinks except for water. Now, that may not be a big deal to you, but I am telling you that this is a major feat for me. Before my cold-turkey approach (could someone please explain to me what cold poultry has to do with quitting anything?), I basically had at least one Coke a day. You heard me right. I'm talking at least 365 Coke's in a year. And yes, they were yummy. And yes, just talking about them right now makes me want to go see my Coke dealer...wait, wrong guy. Never mind. The point is, my body hated me for it. I am sure of it.

Lucky for me, I have learned to rethink the word "refreshment." Because the truth is this: there is NOTHING on this planet that is more refreshing and better for you to drink than H2O. And I don't mean water with flavor packets or plant leaves in it. I mean clear water. Regular water. The kind that makes your pee clear. Anything less, you are, simply put, cheating yourself.

One of the first things my trainer, Thomas (post about him coming soon, stay tuned), told me when I first started working out was to drink half of my body weight in oz. of water. In other words, if you weigh 200 lbs., drink 100 oz. of water a day. That is a crazy amount of water. I have gulped down my fair share of Nalgene bottles lately. I am even moving my cubicle for work into the bathroom. You know, for maximum efficiency when I need to go potty (I have kids, I say potty, get over it).

Water is changing my life. It is helping me lose weight. All the crap I used to drink is being replaced by agua. And I am sweating out pounds. And you can too. Give Coke and other drinks the middle finger and drink some H2O people.

So here's my charge and challenge for you:

The Charge: 
  1. Drink water and plenty of it. 
The Challenge: 
  1. Drink water and plenty of it. 
  2. Throw out all the sodas in your house (I heard shooting them with a gun is fun. But please only do this if you have a permit for said gun and no people are around. Unless you are a gangsta like me. Then you can do whatever you want.).
  3. Send me pictures (post them, email them, etc.) I am calling for pictures of your soda in the trash. My goal is to make a collage of all the photos and post it on The Fatty Fighter in a later post. 
I promise you, you'll learn to love clear pee.