Kings, Queens, and other BS

I will never call myself a king, or my girl a queen. I am not royalty or nobility and this trend of declaring ourselves to somehow be special or superior is just another act of declaring our own entitlement to privileges and special treatment we neither need or deserve.

I’m getting really tired of reading this BS on social media. I think what makes it so hard for me to digest is that often times the people declaring their own royal stature are neither, noble or royal in character or deed. They’re usually self-absorbed attention seeking fame mongers.

We aren’t kings or queens, princes or princesses we’re just people doing the best we can. When did it become so wrong to be just an everyday guy or gal? When did doing your best to do your job, pay your bills, and provide for your family become so vulgar and peasant like? I submit that nothing could be more noble in this modern social media age where everyone is shouting “look at me!”

Now I understand that this trend started in women seeking to deliver themselves from abuse and grow their confidence. I agree people do deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. But If you insist on making bad choices, hanging out with bad people, and chasing after bad men when all your friends, relatives, family, and history are telling you to go the other way…well you kind of brought that crap down on yourself. If you want to be treated with respect and dignity start by treating yourself with the same, before you demand the rest of us do.

What I really think this has become is just another way for lazy people to demand a life of pleasure and ease without earning it. Typically a valid rallying cry for respect has been co-opted by and as an anthem for the shallow and clueless. Confidence and motivation aside, what do these people really want? They want recognition and fame for simply being themselves. Except it doesn’t work that way. You don’t get a prize for simply being you, especially if You, isn’t really all that nice to begin with.

Our modern outrage and offense culture demands the rewards without the effort. We think we deserve everything but many contribute nothing. You must provide value to receive it in kind. The best kings and queens in history were loved because they gave, not because they received. Their fame was earned through war, strife, and great sacrifice. Those that demanded it are still reviled today. The best monarchs put their people before self and became great servants of their nations and leaders.

Before we start demanding the world bow down to our imagined greatness, we would be better served to try actually being decent human beings first. Otherwise we’ll never be royalty just the butt of the joke and meme fodder for the easily amused.

If you really want to stand out in the crowd today, be normal. Have original thoughts, think before you speak, keep your business private, and let the results of your efforts speak for themselves. You may not be royal afterwards but you will definitely have done more with your life than many of these “Kings and Queens.”

Murph 2020

Memorial day is early this year. With everything going on in the country it had almost slipped my mind. We have just 27 days before the annual Murph workout and challenge. If you don’t know what Murph is, it’s a CrossFit Hero workout named after Lt. Mike Murphy a Navy Seal who lost his life in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005 during operation Red Wings. You may have seen the movie Lone Survivor, detailing the events of that day. Every year CrossFit affiliates across the United States host a workout in his honor simply titled: Murph.

Murph is simply put one of the most grueling workouts known to man. It consists of the following movements and exercises. In this order.

  • 1-mile Run
  • 100 Pullups
  • 200 Pushups
  • 300 Air Squats
  • 1-mile Run

Traditionally this workout is done while also wearing a 20 pound weight vest or tactical plate carrier. Novices or beginners are encouraged to do the workout without additional weight though. It’s also traditional to do the movements as listed above but CrossFit has done the event twice at the Games now and the second time the Pullups, Pushups, and Squats were broken up into 20 rounds of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 Air Squats respectively. Either way is now acceptable and both hurt there’s just no sugar coating it.

If you’re planning on participating this year the time to start preparing for this beatdown of a WOD was a long time ago, but if you’re just starting today there’s plenty of time to build up to the workout by Memorial Day.

I would approach this training cycle as a 3 week buildup with the last week culminating with the actual WOD itself. Each week, increase the running distance and reps for the other body-weight movements up to but not exceeding 85% of the actual rep count. This is just a rough estimate but for example on the week of May 17th to 23rd, you want your last workout before the event to look something like this

  • 3/4 to 7/8 mile run
  • 75-85 Pullups
  • 175-185 Pushups
  • 275-285 Air squats
  • 3/4 to 7/8 mile run

I would also try to make my last workout before Memorial Day no later than Thursday the 21st. That will give you a few days to rest and recover and be ready for an all out effort for Murph on Monday. Murph itself should be your peak for this training cycle. The other thing to consider is taking care of your hands in the weeks ahead of Murph. Don’t do a mini-Murph everyday. You’re going to destroy your palms with that volume of pullups. Go strict form if you can, kipping will almost definitely rip some calluses off.

Most people will struggle on one of two sections, the runs or the pullups. You need to get running now and just put some miles in. 3 times a week should be plenty, but more if your feet and legs can take the abuse. When it comes to pullups there is no easy fix, you either have the strength and form or you don’t. If you need to scale down to keep it challenging but approachable do it. Also many of us won’t have access to a pullup bar for this workout so do the best you can with what you have. I will probably be doing cable pull-downs myself and try to add extra weight. The point is not to do the workout RX or but to do it in a challenging level that will still test you and your endurance. Some people will have to do a 3/4 scale version or even 1/2 scale and that’s okay. The point is to do something tough this Memorial Day and test yourself. Many have died protecting your freedoms in this nation. We remember and acknowledge their sacrifice on Memorial Day.

Good luck hard chargers and GET SOME!

Home Chef, Meal Delivery Review

If you’re looking for a quality meal delivery program, Home Chef, may be for you. Meal delivery subscriptions like Home Chef, Freshly, Hello Fresh, and Blue Apron have become very popular over the past few years and even more so under the Covid-19 quarantine. For the same cost of a trip to the grocery store you can have delicious, healthy, easy to prepare meals, delivered right to your front door.

We first signed up for Home Chef about 6 months ago. I normally do the grocery shopping and cooking in our home, but had switched to working some very long hours. My fiance wanted an easy way to shop and prepare meals without having to go to the grocery store. She was also interested in a subscription that would cater towards a novice cook like herself.

Meal Recipe Card, Meat, and Veggies and Sides

So far our experience with Home Chef has been positive. The meals are simple and easy to prepare, as long as you follow the illustrated recipes and directions on each card that comes with your order. Each meal comes in its own bag with each ingredient proportioned and sealed in labeled separate containers. All the meats in your order are in their own sealed bag to prevent cross contamination. This brings me to my one real gripe with Home Chef; there is a lot of packaging to deal with after you’ve opened your box. Between the chill packs, insulation, box, plastic bags, and small plastic sauce containers, you’re left with a small mound of garbage after each order. While the box, chill packs, and insulation are technically recyclable, it’s still a lot of bulk. But they have to get your food to you in a safe and chilled state, so it is what it is.

Now, my review is a little skewed. From 2004 to 2010 I worked as a Sous Chef and kitchen manager all over the southeast, so my skills are a bit higher than the average subscription purchaser may posses. That being said my fiance who is a true novice has thoroughly enjoyed learning how to cook gourmet meals by following the instructions included with every meal.

Home Chef goes out of their way when it comes to the quality of the ingredients. They may be a little repetitive at times, for instance they seem to be stuck on a green bean and potato kick for the last few weeks. Or it might be that’s just what my fiance keeps picking, green beans and potatoes are some of her favorite foods.

The other place this company shines are in the portion sizes. Having been a certified nutritionist and fitness coach since 2008, I can say Home Chef gets it. I would have no hesitation in recommending a company like this to any number of my past or present fitness clients looking to drop some body fat and switch to a healthier diet. The macro ingredient ratios are dead on and there is very little sugar or artificial ingredients in their recipes. All in all this is a great way to experience just how tasty and flavorful, healthy meals can be.

If you’re tired of wandering the grocery store aisles stressing over what to make for dinner, a meal delivery service may be the answer. These services are on par with and often cheaper than the cost of having to buy your own ingredients piecemeal without having to leave the comfort and security of your home. They are approachable to any level of culinary skill and fun to make. Give them a shot and increase your food vocabulary.

Delicious and easy to make

You are what you think

Obesity is called a disease. I disagree. I think being overweight, is a symptom of something deeper. I think the reason people struggle to maintain their fitness and health is the same reason addicts struggle to stay clean. We’re treating the symptom, not the cause.

People abuse drugs and alcohol to escape. Whether they’re trying to escape pain, trauma, regret, of self-loathing they will never really get away from it, because it’s within them. Self-destructive people who constantly move from state to state looking for a new beginning and a clean slate are no different. I should know I spent most of my 20’s doing exactly that. The problem isn’t where you live, unless that’s in the midwest then by all means get the hell out of there. No the problem is inside you, and moving isn’t going to take that away.

That pain and trauma is a black hole. Drugs and drinking, and even food are ways to fill that hole if only temporarily. They’re distractions. Unfortunately for the addict those distractions are short lived and the dopamine hit they provide fade quicker and quicker every time until the addict must maintain a constant stream of abuse to keep the high from going away. Before they know it, they’re locked in; slaves and prisoners to their addictions.

I think we need to start treating obesity and food addictions at the source, in the person’s mind. I struggled to help my clients maintain their goals for years until I started looking at it from a different perspective. I started questioning their motives behind weightloss and fitness and made them start questioning it themselves.

It’s easy to say I want to lose weight, you’re almost rewarded for it. More likely in our victim culture if you do say “I need to lose weight,” you’ll be accused of fat shaming yourself and told to accept your body and condition not reject it. That’s a discussion for another day though. All of my clients wanted to lose weight, but when I asked them why, all I got were canned cliche responses. I think they were telling me what they thought I wanted to hear. In the last few years of my coaching though I started sending clients home with a pad of paper and pen and told them to do this. “Go home and write down why you don’t like yourself and your current state, why do you feel this way? Why do you eat foods that you know are making you fatter? How do you feel after you eat them? Do you feel better or worse? What would really make you feel better?”

A few clients never came back but most did and their answers were astounding. None of them ever said I want to lose weight to be healthier. Most said things along the lines of my spouse is no longer attracted to me, I want to be more attractive. I want to be liked, I want people to accept me. Being overweight has a tremendous effect on your psyche and it’s physical as well as emotional. Being obese drastically effects the hormones responsible for serotonin production which effects melatonin, sleep, weight regulation, and sex drive. The heavier you get the more hard wired your body becomes to stay that way. It’s a closed loop that can become increasingly hard to break free of the longer the condition goes on.

These questionnaires often led to deeper conversations about the clients view of their own self worth and respect. The take away here is that many of us have very little feeling of self-worth or self-respect. A lot of that began in our childhoods for a variety of reasons. The net result is we grow up as adults thinking we don’t deserve happiness or satisfaction. We tolerate abusive relationships we shouldn’t with spouses and partners, employers, friends, and family. All the while we hate ourselves for it and the self-loathing just compounds again on itself.

Many addicts struggle with feelings of hopelessness. “This life,” they tell themselves, “is as good as it will ever get.” If you’re living in a burned out crack house struggling to score your next fix that’s a pretty depressing world view. If your 100 pounds overweight and flirting with a whole host of chronic health concerns, hating yourself, lonely, depressed, and angry. It’s no less of a bleak worldview. “Why should I try?” they say, “this is all I will ever be.”

The real struggle as a coach or anyone trying to get in shape and maintain i snot what exercises to do or foods to eat. The real challenge is to break that mindset that says, “I suck, I can’t, I won’t.” In other words we have to help the hopeless find hope even if just within ourselves. We have to change the way we think and see not just ourselves but the world. The only way you will keep an addict clean is when they no longer feel the urge to escape, or cover up that pain. If you can fill that black hole within them or at least cover it up, they have a chance.

So now the question is why do you want to get in shape?

Fit for Free Life Hacks

I’m a firm believer in low cost fitness. Throughout my time as a CrossFit coach, I never agreed with the high costs of a typical affiliate membership. It was pricing fitness right out of the hands of those who needed it most. Now that most of us have been forced to train at home, I’m hoping more people realize just how effective home workouts can be. Fitness goes beyond working out and exercise though. Here a re a few tips you can incorporate into your daily life to help maximize your workout results.

Chew your food! Shouldn’t we all be doing this already? Yes we should be, but we’re not. Like a lot of common sense habits this one has gotten away from us. Chewing your food is important for a variety of reason. First it makes your food more digestible and helps release more of the essential micro-nutrients. The digestion process actually begins in the mouth…if you’re chewing your food properly. Your saliva contains pre-digestive enzymes and acids that begin breaking down food on contact. Most of us only chew our food enough to keep from choking, then down it goes. I blame our modern/mostly carbohydrate centered diet. Fibrous vegetables and lean meat take some serious chewing to break apart, we evolved for these kinds of foods. Chewing is also important because it literally slows down the eating process. It gives our stomach time to tell our brain when its full. You should be chewing up to 20 times per bite in order to properly breakdown food for digestion. Side effect: it will strengthen your jaw muscles.

Drink More Cold Water. I constantly tell people to drink more water. It’s important for a whole host of reasons and despite all of us fitness professionals out here screaming it from our lungs, most people are still mildly dehydrated. Do as you like. I can’t make you drink something that is literally keeping you alive. However if water is your go to beverage and you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape, here’s a quick trick to help speed up your metabolism and burn more resting calories. Drink it cold! Cold beverages ramp up your metabolism by acting like a heat sink in your digestive track. They pull warmth out of the surrounding tissue and your body must metabolize more energy to maintain your core temp. Just be careful downing a jug of ice cold water on a hot day after exertion will probably cramp you up pretty badly. Take a sip, hold it in your mouth for a moment to take the edge off then swallow.

Skip Breakfast! Do you know who coined the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” It was cereal manufacturer Post who used it to sell breakfast cereals high in heavily processed carbs and sugar. If you’re not planning on working out before lunch, skip breakfast. In fact don’t eat anything before 12pm if you can help it. Drink lots of water and coffee is you like it. To take this strategy further try too consume all of your calories between 12 and 7pm everyday. Hopefully those calories are high in protein, fat and complex carbohydrates and fiber. This will in effect put you in a fasted state from 7pm to 12pm the next day. Now if you’re an athlete, workout early in the morning, or pregnant, then you should probably go ahead and eat breakfast most days, but again, skip the sugar and simple carbohydrates.

Sleep More! It’s a fact Americans do not get enough sleep! If you’re actively engaged in a workout program, and trying to lose weight, get in shape or prepare for an event, you should be sleeping more. Here’s something they don’t tell you in history class. Your ancestors, as recently as the early 20th century slept up to 12 hours or more each night. We got up with the sun in the sun in the morning and started winding down when the sun set at night. it was only the wealthy who could afford artificial lighting and stay up all night. It’s well known among professional and collegiate sports teams that even 8 hours of sleep isn’t enough. Even when we are getting 8 hours a night it’s usually poor quality and we wake up feeling tired before we’ve even taken our first step out of bed.

Less Screen Time Saves Lives. The number one sleep thief in our modern lives, are blue-light emitting electronic screens. We as a species evolved a natural clock based on sunrise and sunset. The last 75 years cannot undo 2.5 million years of biological conditioning. Blu-light is the most prevalent wavelength emitted by our sun and it signals our bodies to wakefulness. when the sun sets and that blu-light dies down it signals our bodies to start producing meletonin and prepare for sleep. Staring at the TV, your computer, or cellphone for hours after the sun has set disrupts that natural sleep cycle. You can’t sleep because you’ve been staring at an artificial sun for hours before you even thought about sleep. If you can, apply the blu-light filter on your electronic screens around 6pm. Better yet just turn them off after sundown, free yourself from electronic slavery.

Chill Out and Calm Down. Seriously we all need to relax a little and stop worrying about everything and everyone. Make your world smaller and devote your time, energy, and emotions to things and people that you can actually effect. Stop trying to change the world, it’s unlikely that you will, it’s guaranteed you won’t if your notion of change means bitching about every thing you see or read online and on the TV. Do you know what you make better and change, your own life and your family’s life. If we would all spend more time trying to improve our own situations the world around us would change on its own. I have high blood pressure and no physical cause. Every time I get a physical the doctors are mystified. They order a whole battery of tests to find the cause and are left scratching their heads. I know what it is though, its stress. I get worked up easily and take forever to wind down. I see what’s going on in my country, the country I fought for and my brothers died for and it makes me angry. But I can’t change people or their stupid selfish behavior. I can only change my own. It’s the same for you. Stop looking out and spend more time looking in. That’s the place where change begins.

Start Where You Are

Many people will fail to achieve their fitness goals because they will never begin. As silly as it sounds, I can count at least a dozen people I know right now that have been talking about starting a new program for months and even years but have yet to take the first step. The best place to begin is where you are now. Stop procrastinating and take action.

I’ve coached a lot of people over the years who wanted to get in shape, before they began their program to get in shape. It sounds silly but it happens a lot. Most of these clients were severely obese in the beginning but some were not. All of them shared a common issue though, fear of judgement, or pride. They didn’t want to look stupid in the gym or be made fun of, or even judged. None of us want to look bad in front of our peers. When it comes to fitness though any person that would belittle or make fun of another for making the effort to better themselves isn’t your friend or even someone worth wasting time or thought on.

Being out of shape whether from obesity or just leading a sedentary lifestyle does present certain challenges when beginning a fitness program. Often these people may find simple movements many of us take for granted almost impossible if not incredibly difficult. They may be unfamiliar with common exercise equipment and methods. The gym can be an intimidating place for the uninitiated. But this is a poor excuse to not get started on any fitness goal.

The best place to start a new program is from wherever you are. Saying “I need to lose a few pounds before I begin, I’ll just focus on my diet,” sounds good on paper, but it’s really just procrastination. It’s fear and avoidance. Just start. You don’t need to get in shape before starting a workout program. Don’t let pride and procrastination talk you into avoiding things that are hard or uncomfortable. Besides, any level of activity is only going to boost the results of a proper eating and nutrition program at this early stage and it will certainly speed those results up.

If you can’t run or jog than walk. If you can’t squat, then find a sturdy chair or high box or bench and just sit down and stand up repeatedly. If you can’t do push-ups, do wall presses or lightweight dumbbell bench presses. There are dozens of ways to work up to pull-ups. There just is no good excuse not to begin exercising immediately. The whole point of this is movement itself, regardless of what you call it. But you have to put down the excuses and start.

If you want to get in shape and are looking to begin a fitness program but don’t know where to begin I am here to help. My advice is free to all and tailored for every individual. Comment below or find me on Instagram @scottnobsguy.

Fitness Myths

Since most of us have now been forced to take our health and fitness programs in house so to speak, I thought I’d share a few tips to help you avoid being suckered into some persistent myths.

Bulletproof Coffee, this is a tough one. The Bulletproof brand is a product of tech guru Dave Asprey. He began touting this particular style of coffee after a visit to the Himalaya highlands of Nepal and Tibet. There is a goat-milk and butter tea found in this region that is reputed to provide energy and sustenance to those who drink it. However its actual effect on the metabolism has never been scientifically tested. Several of Mr. Asprey’s other products and claims have been shown to be complete bogus and marketing hype designed only to increase sales, so tread carefully.

It is thought that adding butter and MCT oil or powder to your coffee provides an immediate energy source for the brain while avoiding carbs. This has never been tested scientifically. When you consider that anything you digest orally must first make its way through your stomach and digestive tract before it ever gets to your bloodstream, it’s doubtful that the MCT’s are treated any differently from any other type of fat molecule let alone given priority and sent to the brain for fuel. The brain may indeed burn ketones for fuel under extreme conditions, but we’re talking serious fasting and complete lack of caloric intake.

Anecdotally Bulletproof style coffees have been reported to help those who consume them maintain a type of fasting throughout the day. I do attest that I regularly avoid eating or fast while consuming nothing but this coffee/butter/MCT mix all day. I find I do not get the normal hunger pains or cravings from not eating if I drink this all day long. That really is the only benefit I see from it or expect.

Don’t Eat Before Bed, if you do your body will store that food as fat. No, not really. As with anything there are some underlying conditions here that we must tease out. First your body doesn’t decide what calories are stored as fat and which are burned for fuel based on a time of day. Eating a big meal before bed could promote poor sleep just because of the digestion process itself. However several studies have also shown that poor sleep can be a byproduct of low blood sugar levels during sleep. Remember that the brain is very active while you sleep and so are certain portions of your metabolism involved in regeneration and cellular repair. That activity requires calories or rather glucose and glycogen.

If you are reasonably healthy and maintain a sound diet a small snack before bed should have no adverse effect on your fat composition. In fact if you tend to workout or exercise after work or in the evenings a SMALL snack about an hour before bed could be very beneficial.

Now the kicker, this does not mean a bowl of sugar laced cereal, donuts, ice cream, cookies, or other junk. If you are overweight, obese, or trying to lose weight than yes you should avoid eating before bed, because you should avoid eating excess calories period! If you’re reasonably fit, active, or trying to build more muscle than a few half inch squares of cheese and a teaspoon of honey will hold you over until breakfast and provide your body with needed calories throughout the night.

Kicker number 2, I like many people who engage in intermittent fasting only eat between the hours of 12pm and 8pm anyway. I want my body to run out of calories and have no choice but to brake down fat stores to provide energy. I regularly wake up around 2 am every night, then I go back to sleep this used to bother me until I found some old literature and a few modern studies that back-up anecdotal evidence, that up until the mid 20th century most people engaged in 2, 3 to 4 hour sleep periods every night instead of one long 8 hour stretch. Maybe it’s natural to wake up during the middle of the night. As long as you’re getting the prescribed number of REM sleep cycles (2-3) then you should be well rested by morning.

You Should Avoid Carbs, talk about a loaded gun just waiting to go off! Should you avoid eating carbohydrate heavy foods, like breads, pasta, potatoes, cakes, cookies, sugar filled-sodas, and other artificially processed calorie dense foods. Absolutely! But it’s not because just because they’re carbs. It’s because they’re so dense in carbohydrate and caloric content. In effect these foods once digested are really just sugar in a nice wrapper. Vegetables are carbs, so are fruit, but they’re not nearly as dense, in fact they’re mostly water and fiber.

You should avoid eating carb dense foods as much as possible if, you’re obese or overweight, if you’re sedentary and rarely active, if you’re insulin resistant, diabetic, or fighting cancer. You should avoid them if you’re actively trying to lose weight.

Consider this, literally billions of people survive off of mostly rice and vegetables with meat added more for flavor than substance without being obese. But they eat portions a fraction the size of what we do and they don’t eat all day long compulsively. They’re also very active compared to us here in the States. So I think we need to acknowledge that how you eat carbs and the lifestyle you lead is as much of a factor as anything else.

I try to avoid eating processed carbs as much as possible. I’m 42 years old and no longer spending my days in a gym. I advise my remaining online clients to do the same. However I also still coach some competitive CrossFit athletes and guess what I tell them to eat, rice and potatoes, but only at certain times and only before or after a workout.

Most popular health and fitness myths and tips can be beneficial or harmful depending on the context, timing, and usage. You must be accountable to yourself and take it upon yourself to do the research and look these things up before blindly adopting them into your routine. There is no magic formula or shortcut beyond doing the work.