Rest: The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had to Do

When it comes to working out and staying motivated, I typically don’t have a problem. In fact, for over two years I’ve been waking up super early in the morning, typically between 4 and 5, and getting to the gym. Doesn’t matter if it was warm and sunny or pitch black and ice cold. Iron is in my blood (get it?) Ok bad pun.

Following different programs throughout the last several years, many prescribe a deload week (or a light week) after anywhere from 4-8 weeks of intense training. I always hated deloading. I know I needed the rest. I know I needed to take it easy.

Case in point.

Several times over the years I’ve closed in on goals, whatever they may be, in the gym. One of these was trying to break 1:20 on the rower at 500m. 80 seconds took everything I had. My legs and chest would burn for a solid 5 minutes after as I would lay on the floor drooling, heaving, and shaking my legs thinking it would help relieve the pain. It didn’t by the way.

Here’s the kicker. I would do this even when I wasn’t feeling well. I wanted that sub 80s time. I worked so hard. I’d do intervals. I’d do longer rows, and I’d come in, early in the morning, when I wasn’t feeling good, and do it again. When I say I wasn’t feeling good, I mean I was having breathing problems do to wheezing and bronchial constriction, dry nasopharynx, and lack of energy. All this is also known as a common cold.

My first reaction was, “I’ll just use an inhaler I have to open up my airway. O2 levels should be better with that. I’ll use another inhaler to prevent the crud from forming.” My logical mind knew this was stupid. My logical brain knew I needed to stay home, sleep in and rest. But my raw, emotional side was in control and told me that preworkout and the inhalers would do just fine. Foolishness.

Long story short, rather than be with a cold for the standard 7-10 days, it last more like 14-21 days. I was mad. I got my macros right with my diet. I had the right protocols to progress. I was doing everything right. So why did I have a cold? Why was I sick?

Sleep and rest.

I knew the answer logically. I even told myself on the way to the gym, you need to rest, go home. But I didn’t listen to myself. In my arrogance I thought I could overcome some stupid virus with caffeine and working harder. Ridiculous I know.

I’ve done this in other ways too.

With the deloading…or lack thereof. Most plans I’ve seen take a week out of 7 or 8 to deload. I’ve even written my own plan to deload after 4 weeks of intense lifting. My problem was I felt like I could break through, like I could overcome.

Except I couldn’t.

In my twenties it didn’t seem to matter. If I got injured and felt a little worn, I could sleep in, recover a couple days later and that would be the end of it. I even sprained my ankle once and was doing ok a week later. Ah the joys of youth.

Fast forward 1 wife, 5 kids, a steady job, and 15 years. About 8 weeks or so ago I did something at the bottom of a heavy squat that you shouldn’t do, loosen up your core. I’m still not exactly sure what happened, other than my psoas muscles hurt like !@#$ and my low back was also not happy with me.

Logical brain steps in and tells me to back off for a solid 2 weeks on all exercises. This wasn’t based on any guideline or principle, but just an intuitive feel for how long it was going to take my body to feel better. I took 2 days.

My upper body was fine, so naturally I kept doing things like bench press, pull-ups and other lifts in my normal routine. But 2 days after my incident, I decided I’d do some “light” squat work, just to keep things moving.

I need to say when I actually hurt myself it was with a 400ish pound squat. I can’t remember the exact weight.

So when I say light, I mean a 300ish pound squat. You know, nothing really heavy. Fools mistake.

A few days later I attempted it again, but this time with 250 pounds. I felt ok and I could do the movement, but my psoas, low back and hips in general let me know of their fury. And furious it was.

I did get a week off during a scouting trip. We spent most of our time on the water canoeing. Upper body was fine and my hips were feeling ok toward the end.

So I attempted low body work again. Light deadlifts (350lbs) and other hip dominant exercises crept into my routine. And surprisingly, my hips kept hurting.

Last week I decided, finally, enough was enough. 8 weeks of pain is a problem. The thing that kills me the most is that if I’d just taken the 2 or so weeks off to let everything feel better, I wouldn’t have lost the 6 in being stupid rather than productive.

Sleep and rest and sometimes the best prescription for the simplest things. Most of us know when we need a break, be it from the gym, a stressful work environment, a toxic relationship etc. But if we don’t take the time…we waste more time in the long run being stupid rather than productive.

So for this week, and next, my lower body will engage in no exercise other than standing at work and taking some morning walks. I’m hoping the extra rest in the form of sleep will help things too. I’ll keep you posted.


When is it OK to Cheat On My Diet?

If there is one thing I’ve repeatedly tried to iterate on this website it’s that moderation is a key to health living. Too much of anything is bad and too little of something beneficial is also no bueno.

Kryptonite for a certain pharmacy brute.

Kryptonite for a certain pharmacy brute.

First, lets define diet. Our culture has given this word many meanings. It is a verb, adjective and noun. Lets boil down diet to a simple meaning; what one habitually puts into their mouth. That’s not the official dictionary definition, but it is simple, direct and clear.

For one then to say they are on a diet is akin to saying, “I’m breathing today as opposed to not breathing tomorrow for fear of inhaling something bad, but only tomorrow, since I’ll likely be crashing my breathing again the following day. I just can’t help myself. Breathing is so good!”

Doesn’t that sound a bit silly?

So diet is what one habitually puts into their mouth and actually swallows. And saying that you’re on a diet is like saying that you also breathe. So the next question is this; do you ever eat pie? Or cookies? Or cake? Or some Hot Cheetos? Or a Coke?

Are monster burgers part of your diet. If you eat them from time to time then yes they are!

Are monster burgers part of your diet. If you eat them from time to time then yes they are!

Sorry, that was 5 questions. If you answered yes to any of those or anything else in your mind that would count as a junk food, then yes, it is a part of your diet. So if someone offers you a piece of pie or cake and you tell them you’re on a diet so you can’t, then you’re straight up lying. Maybe the frequency is once in a blue moon. Maybe just at Thanksgiving or Christmas or some other major event (I just ordered 3 desserts at a nice restaurant because it was my anniversary).

The truth is, “junk” is a part of most people’s diets, just in small amounts for some, and large amounts for others. Frequency, as mentioned above also plays a role. So the question of when is it ok to cheat on my diet becomes moot because the reality is, if you eat it, it’s already part of your diet.

Let’s take a look at an example. My life and my diet.

Here’s a sample of one of my days and things I might eat during that day. In no way should this be a template for you since you aren’t me. Remember this is just an example of one pharmacist in rural America.

5:10 AM Wake up

5:20-5:30AM Protein shake

6AM Workout

7AM Protein shake

7-8AM Make breakfast for kids, shower and get cleaned up for work

8-8:30 Eat chicken, beef, pork, eggs or some other protein source, usually with some oatmeal or quinoa.

9AM Start work at the pharmacy

1PM Lunch: Eat chicken, beef, pork or tuna with some rice or oatmeal or quinoa and some veggie (usually broccoli)

2PM Resume work

6PM Go home, make dinner for wife and kids. My dinner is usually weighed out if I’m calorie counting, and if I’m not then I just TRY to eyeball it (usually fails and revert back to weighing)

Dinner may be anything from some sort of pasta (we love angel hair) to rice to potatoes(not often) accompanied by pork roast, beef roast, chicken and some fruit (usually melon because right now it’s melon season).

If the kids eat all of their food, including their veggies, we’ll sometimes have some dessert. Ice cream, jello, a little cake or pie (depending on availability from my wife).

8:30 Bedtime for kids. Teeth brushed before hand.

10:30 I try to get to bed by this time, doesn’t always work.

Rinse, Repeat.

I don’t always have dessert. Sometimes I do. Most nights I don’t. The weekend, when I’m home and have more ready access to food, is usually when I partake of something wonderful. Last Friday I made blueberry scones for dessert which we had with some ice cream on the side. Oh man was that good! But do I have blueberry scones every night? My mouth and brain say “ABSOLUTELY!” My will and my waistline say otherwise.

Focus on being happy and healthy before you think weight 90lbs will create both

Focus on being happy and healthy before you think weight 90lbs will create both

I’m not saying I’m fat. I’m just saying I know better than to have dessert every night. If pie is involved I can’t stop till it’s gone. The desirability of dessert is also proportional to my stress level during the day and the amount of carbs I had. Low carbs and high stress = recipe for disaster if I’m not careful. Moderate carbs with low stress and dessert just isn’t as appetizing.

I wrote about eating intentionally a while ago. You can look at the links here:

Rather than ask when can I cheat, the better question to ask might be, how often do I include junk into my diet? Remember that diet is something that you put into your mouth habitually. I would consider every weekend or even every month habitual. It really depends on you. If you were to deny yourself and good hamburger for the rest of your life and truly eliminate it from your diet, then yes if offered, you could then say, “sorry I’m on a diet that includes no hamburgers. Ever!”

But I ask you…Why? If you have a gluten allergy, then obviously you wouldn’t be eating scones, at least with wheat flour. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan then you’d avoid meat at all costs, which you are free to do. But why? These are wonderful foods and indulging from time to time is ok. Just make sure indulgence doesn’t become overindulgence and that includes one too many ounces of steak.

Sit down and enjoy your food. Even if you only have 5 minutes, sit down, put your phone away, and enjoy your food. Savor the flavor. Enjoy the texture. Let it be an experience.



Can I Trust What I Read Online About Health?

Many times I’ve searched high and low for information in the one area where information exists as it has during no other time in human history; the internet. And the internet is a big freaking place.

Falling asleep at the library trying to find information about your health concern? No longer! You have the internet.

Falling asleep at the library trying to find information about your health concern? No longer! You have the internet.

You can find whatever you want. Movies, books, facts, lies, porn, recipes, and of course cat videos. It’s literally all there.

Health facts, diagnoses, treatments, opinions, studies, and yes, blogs (just like this one) are present as well. Many sciences are present on the web. Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson are personalities that bring science to many a person and make it interesting to learn.

Many people want to believe what they learn online about many different things. After all, if you have a question, it’s ridiculously easy to “research” it online and get an answer. You can even go to places like and ask questions and have people weigh in.

Questions are the beginning of knowledge. The problem is the knowledge is only good if the answer is truth. If it isn’t truth, even if it is meant with the best of intentions, doesn’t confer any knowledge at all that will be beneficial. Sometimes you get two or more answers that are equally beneficial. Sometimes there are just no good answers.

For example: lets say I make a Google query about how to clean a microwave. One website says fill a microwave safe bowl with water and put it in the microwave for a few minutes and let the steam clean it. Wipe up and be done. Another says that you have to mix vinegar and water for the effect. Both work, at least in my experience.

Another example might be pseudoephedrine side effects. Say you’re taking some because you are congested. Maybe the pharmacist told you that it might give you insomnia, which is true, it might. Before you take one though, you decide your pharmacist is an untrustworthy idiot (some may be) and so you do some of your own research online and find that pseudoephedrine can cause drowsiness, just the opposite of what the pharmacist said. “That dummy shouldn’t be practicing” is what you’re thinking now and you take some before bed.

What happens? For some, nothing. For some, they sleep better. For others, the have insomnia. For the insomniacs and the people who had nothing happen, they’ll be more likely to believe the pharmacist, and now trust him/her a little more the next time counsel is given. For the others who sleep a little harder, they’ll think that the internet was right and the pharmacist is a dolt. Next time they visit they pharmacy, they won’t trust, or even ask because they can probably do the fact gathering online.

Some people can't sleep at night if they take the wrong drug, even if the pharmacist told them it would

Some people can’t sleep at night if they take the wrong drug, even if the pharmacist told them it would

Another issue that arises is that of bias toward a theory. It’s called confirmation bias. In other words, you seek out information which supports what you believe is true and disregard other data because you don’t agree with the results. On things like recipes, adding cilantro rather than basil might not have serious implications to health policy at large. But if you’re looking at the food recommendations by the government (which just changed by the way) and you agree with them, you can rest easy knowing that your knowledge is sound.

But if you disagree with the food recommendations by the government because you’ve done research and generally think that the whole system is run by idiots, then when anything comes up about the food pyramid or MyPlate, you’ll roll your eyes into the back of your head, facepalm, and switch to another website that supports your dietary view.

Another hot topic these days is vaccinations. If your pro-vaccine, you’ll look at stories and research that is pro-vaccine. If you’re anti-vaccine, you’ll do the same but for anti-vaccine information.

Some people will judge information by the level of sophistication of the “look” of a website. If it looks credible, then it must be. Others will look to see if it’s written by a doctor. If it’s just some blogger then it must be wrong or misguided. The opposite is also true. If it’s written by a doctor, then some will think they are in the pocket of big pharma and only have a vested financial interest to what they write.

So how do you sort through everything?

For starters, it’s not a bad thing to take everything on the internet with a little skepticism. If a claim about natural cancer treatment is available and has unbelievable results, that’s all fine and well, but I need to do some research before it does. I typically ask myself these questions:

Are there studies to back up the results?

Is it a news report that gives generalities or does it give actual explanations? (you have to be careful with these because I’ve seen that new articles can really magnify something that isn’t so big or misquote things that have been said)

Does it give references that I can look up myself to verify what has been written or blogged about?

Does it makes sense? (Sometimes breakthroughs don’t intuitively makes sense, but if the explanation is causing your brain to shut down from over thinking, it is probably a red flag)

Do some homework and think about what it is you read before you make a decision. You have gray matter in your head to think, so think.

Another thing to look for is does what you’re reading about make blanket statements such as “Reduce blood pressure guaranteed” or “Never have another headache again” or “Get rid of arthritis for good”. Others might include “Drug X has no safety problems” or “Drug Y doesn’t cause cancer” or “Cherry Pie doesn’t bring happiness”. Did you notice that last one? That one iscompletely false and shouldn’t ever be a headline. Blanket statements should be a red flag. (Yes I’m aware I just made a blanket statement about cherry pie)

Cherry pie will make you happy. GUARANTEED! This is a blanket statement that should make you think twice about its validity, although cherry pie brings me joy every time.

Cherry pie will make you happy. GUARANTEED! This is a blanket statement that should make you think twice about its validity, although cherry pie brings me joy every time.

As a side note, I try not to make blanket statements, but I probably have. Take those with caution and do some research.

The fitness industry is filled with this kind of crap. “Lose 10lbs in a week” and other such catchy phrases sell billions in the United States alone. Steroid laden models mislead many males about how beneficial testosterone boosters can be. Can acai berries really make you look 20 years younger? Probably, if you live right, reduce stress, drink lots of water, find balance and maybe eat some acai berries. But if you just eat acai berries, probably not.

Lastly I want to return to my first example of pseudoephedrine. In lots of research, especially with physics and chemistry, we can reduce down the number of confounders and variables to get good results. Online we can’t do that so well, especially with treatments such as onion juice for hair growth. Hey, maybe it works wonders for some, but for others it leaves them smelling like onions. I hope they use walla walla sweets.

But that’s my point; with health some things actually do work for some people and for others they don’t. Simvastatin doesn’t prevent 100% of heart attacks or death in people who take it to reduce cholesterol. It reduces the absolute risk by a couple of percentage points, depending on the study. So for a few it will prevent heart attacks, but for the large majority, it won’t. We can argue about the value of that in another post, but it still doesn’t change that it doesn’t work for everyone.

So when looking online for information, take the time to actually research and think about what it is you’re looking at. If putting onion juice on your head for hair growth sounds like it might be a good idea, then go for it and let me know how it works because I have a receding hair-line. Will it harm you? Does it makes sense? Is it backed by anything?

This is my first post in a while that has no references. Does that raise a red flag? Maybe, maybe not. This is my opinion post afterall. So maybe you need to think about it. I hope you will apply some of the principles to everything you read online, not just health.



Writing and Health: Part Deux

Last weeks post about writing was pretty popular, so I decided to do another post about it and some of its benefits. If you missed last weeks’ post you can click on it here:

writeThis won’t be a comprehensive overview of everything beneficial from writing. It is a fascinating thing and I do agree that writing and command of language is a skill that can only benefit everyone that is involved; writing or reading.

In many of the studies that I’ve looked at, the writing performed has been centered around self-expression and dealing with emotions and experiences rather than mundane and the everyday. I find this interesting, as mentioned in the previous post, as it focuses our brains on things that affect us very deeply, rather than external “things” that really matter very little.

One study found that blood pressure was reduced as an effect of expressive writing. [1] Another study assessed blood pressure only right after the writing, and found that it was elevated and mood was more negative. [2] This might be explained by people either reliving events, or just having stress associated with thinking about them. The interesting part is that during follow-up, people reported fewer health center visits. This might be a result of expressing the emotions and getting them out of the system, so to speak, rather than having to deal with them in a clinic setting.

In a study of women, it was found that those with chronic pelvic pain who wrote about the stressful consequences of their pain reported lower pain intensity ratings than women who only wrote about positive events. [3]

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a problem among many people, especially members of the military. During a writing period of just 2 weeks, sufferers of PTSD were asked to write about the trauma or a trivial topic. In both groups “everyone reported less severe PTSD symptoms, impact, and dissociation, and fewer health visits, but about the same suicidal ideation and depression” [4] The trauma group got worse right after writing but were better at the 6 week follow-up. The trivial group was better after and continued to be so at the follow-up.

Another study looking at “traumatic events” found that writing also helped with depression and avoidance behavior. No benefit was found in a “waiting list” group who received no instructions, and who effectively didn’t participate in the trial. [5] It is possible that people with traumatic events in their past simply need to write to receive benefit, with content not so important.

In one interesting study of prison inmates, 3 groups; traumatic writing, trivial writing, and no writing, were assessed pre and post writing assignments. No differences were found between groups with the exception of the traumatic writing and sex offenders. They were found to have decreased infirmary visits than others. [6]

I again reiterate what I said in my last post: WRITE! Write and express thoughts and feelings in a journal. Write a short story too while you’re at it. Look at a writing exercise as just that, an exercise. If that is too much stress, because it sounds like a chore, then write for fun. Exercise is always more productive when you’re having fun doing it, so is writing.

So start a writing club. Try your hand at poetry. Maybe divulge your feelings and emotions concerning things that have happened in the past. Share it with the world or keep it to yourself, but write and enjoy the benefits of learning to command your language.


1.Davidson, K., Schwartz, A. R., Sheffield, D., et al (2002) Expressive writing and blood pressure. In The Writing Cure: How Expressive Writing Promotes Health and Emotional Well-being (eds S. J. Lepore & J. M. Smyth), pp. 17–30. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

2.Pennebaker, J. W. & Beall, S. K. (1986) Confronting a traumatic event. Toward an understanding of inhibition and disease. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 274–281.

3.Norman, Sally A., et al. “For whom does it work? Moderators of the effects of written emotional disclosure in a randomized trial among women with chronic pelvic pain.” Psychosomatic Medicine 66.2 (2004): 174-183

4.Deters, Pamela B., and Lillian M. Range. “Does writing reduce posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms?.” Violence and victims 18.5 (2003): 569-580.

5.Schoutrop, Mirjam JA, et al. “Structured writing and processing major stressful events: A controlled trial.” Psychotherapy and psychosomatics 71.3 (2002): 151-157.

6.Richards, Jane M., et al. “Effects of disclosure of traumatic events on illness behavior among psychiatric prison inmates.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 109.1 (2000): 156.

Writing Your Way to Health

Unleash your mind power with a good ol fashion pen and paper

Unleash your mind power with good ol fashion pen and paper

Writing is something that all of us have done from time to time. Maybe it hasn’t been a novel or a movie script, but even a grocery list counts as writing. Keeping a journal also counts. I’ve heard over the years that writing can be therapeutic in different ways and wanted to discuss just a few of these things today, especially since drugs aren’t always the answer and finding other avenues of treatment for the mind is useful, especially when it’s free.

In a study of college students, researchers looked at how writing would affect depressive symptoms in those students. College, after all, can be a trying time for many a student. The students were instructed to write on their “deepest thoughts and feelings on current and past emotional upheavals” (intervention) or “time management conditions” (control). [1] It was set for three consecutive 20 minute sessions, plus a booster session 5 weeks later. Depressive symptoms were measured just before the first of three session, just before the 5 week booster and 6 months later.

Students in the “feelings” group did report lower depression scores than those in the control group. The 5 week booster seemed to have no effect. It would be interesting to see if this study was repeated, but with more writing sessions instead of 4, and on a more consistent basis.

In a study with cancer patients, subjects were asked to write about their feelings and thoughts of the cancer, or neutral topics, on four different occasions. Patients writing about their feelings exhibited better physical functioning scores and seemed to improve the cancer related symptoms. [2]

In another intervention in marriages, couples who were experiencing discord and disagreements were assigned to a control or writing group. The writing group was asked 3 specific questions and they were given time to write about them. The writing wasn’t started until a year into the study. The couples who wrote had their downward spiral level off, while the couples who didn’t write, continued in decline. [3] It’s not to say that writing fixed all the problems in the relationship, but it did make an environment from which they could come together and not continue to grow apart.

Writing about it may also be an important step. And I mean actually taking out a pen or pencil and paper and writing, rather than just typing on a keyboard. In a study looking at brain scans and writing, good writers showed more activation in areas of “cognition, language, and executive functions, consistent with predictions, and also in working memory, motor planning, and timing”. [4] This may be beneficial when helping a person really use their brain in coping or figuring out emotional problems.

In another look at typing vs longhand, it was found that people who write notes tend to assimilate information and process it to write it down, whereas typers just assimilate and type the facts. In other words, writing notes longhand while learning allow people to understand concepts better than if they were to type. Actual facts are maintained about the same in both groups. [5]

I think this is some good advice in general; to write regularly and to try to write instead of type. I’ve noticed in my own writing, my style changes when I’m brainstorming or just rambling vs when I’m being direct or making a point. When I write a prescription for example, my writing is neat, organized, and very legible. When I’m taking notes in a class or a meeting, it is more sloppy and all over the place, and not just because I’m trying to be quick.

Does this mean anything? I think it is reflective of different parts of my brain being utilized when writing, I think that’s obvious. It probably goes deeper than that, but I’m no neuro-expert. What I am convinced of is that writing can be beneficial for all sorts of things, but you have to do it to get the benefit. It also appears that focusing on your thoughts and feelings, in other words, what is actually being processed by you, is far more important than just writing about what you did or what you’re going to do, say in a schedule.

Maybe this writing doesn’t have to be everyday, but regularly, whatever that is, would probably be best. Maybe that’s a journal once a week or month. Maybe writing is part of work and your sick of writing already. Sometimes a break from the things we do is part of health as well, or at least changing what we write about.

Writing blog posts regularly can sometimes be a bit boring, so I’m writing a novel on the side for fun. It has reinvigorated my love for writing and now the blog doesn’t seem like a chore as sometimes it can.

Being intentional about writing can be useful too. In the studies listed above, postive outcomes were seen when subjects were answering specific questions about what problems they were facing. So write specifically. If you don’t want to, then at least try writing.

So if any of you want to try a different approach to depression, pain, cancer, crazy children, or anything else, I give you this challenge; write about it.

I’d love to hear any experiences anyone has had with this in the comments.



1.Gortner, Eva-Maria, Stephanie S. Rude, and James W. Pennebaker. “Benefits of expressive writing in lowering rumination and depressive symptoms.” Behavior therapy 37.3 (2006): 292-303.

2.Milbury, Kathrin, et al. “Randomized controlled trial of expressive writing for patients with renal cell carcinoma.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 32.7 (2014): 663-670.

3.Finkel, Eli J., et al. “A brief intervention to promote conflict reappraisal preserves marital quality over time.” Psychological science (2013): 0956797612474938.

4.Berninger, Virginia W., et al. “fMRI activation related to nature of ideas generated and differences between good and poor writers during idea generation.” BJEP Monograph Series II, Number 6-Teaching and Learning Writing. Vol. 77. No. 93. British Psychological Society, 2009. 77-93.

5.Mueller, Pam A., and Daniel M. Oppenheimer. “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.” Psychological science (2014): 0956797614524581.


Eating Intentionally during the Holidays

This is probably my most favorite time of the year. I love the crisp (non-snow) weather. I enjoy cozying up with some hot chocolate and a good book or writing on my laptop. I especially love that my grass stops growing and I don’t have to do any yard work. That last one is especially nice, although I do miss the fresh tomatoes from the garden. And of course this is the time of the year when I fully get to take advantage of eating pie.

Thanksgiving and Christmas however (while fun times of the year with friends and family) are times when many make excuses to turn from normal everyday people into absolute gluttons as if there is some sort of overriding OK during these times of the year to put on 10lbs. They then get their gym membership renewal in January and proceed to workout out for a few weeks until they lose steam and then 9 months or so later repeat the process all over.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results every time.

You can eat like this over the holidays if you want. I won't stop you. But don't complain if you end up feeling horrible after the fact

You can eat like this over the holidays if you want. I won’t stop you. But don’t complain if you end up feeling horrible after the fact

Rather than feel guilty, gluttonous, or otherwise ashamed of how we act during the holidays maybe we should look at the overall process and make some observations before we look at recommendations.


Whether you like the traditional dinner with turkey and stuffing, canned gelatinous sauce called cranberry, mashed potatoes and gravy, and of course pie or you’re more into non-traditional (whatever that may entail) we all like a good thanksgiving dinner. The problem of course is the dinner on the 4th Thursday of November, the problem is all of the pre and post festivities that go along with it. For example: one family I know very well, my wife’s, will have nothing but pie for dinner the night before. While I personally enjoy a good round of pie in copious amounts just as much as the next guy, it’s probably wise to limit my intake that night, especially since the next day I usually feel like garbage if I don’t.

Christmas time isn’t too different. In fact the whole month of December becomes a what’s what of holiday treats and confections. You know the drill; bake a ton of sweets and give them away to people all the while receiving them from others. I remember this well as a kid and was happy to oblige anyone who was willing to drop off sweet goods. And while super tasty and welcomed, it really isn’t too different from going to the store and buying Oreos and snacking on those a few times a week.

Does all this sound familiar?

Cold weather tends to keep people indoors as I alluded to earlier. This means overall physical activity tends to go down. More calorie intake and less calorie burn equals weight increase.

What to Do

I’m going to keep it simple. My mom always taught me the KISS principle (Keep it simple stupid) so lets review how to do just that.

Eat Intentionally

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Sit with your family or friends at the table. Talk about experiences, life in general or good memories. The dinner table is for that very thing since it was first invented. Enjoy the food! Enjoy the company. Enjoy a piece of pie or whatever sweet treat you happen to have and then be done. Most people are actually done after a big meal. It’s the day after of sitting and watching football and eating all the rest of the pie (you people know who you are) or ingesting whatever else you can, even the veggie tray with dressing, while doing nothing all day long.

The women in the family usually get back sometime in the afternoon, maybe earlier depending on how early they left for Black Friday sales and start making more food because they are hungry from furiously fighting back the throngs of other people crazily trying to get the best deals on anything they can find. The people who stayed home aren’t hungry but might indulge anyway because someone else is making the food.

Same thing happens at Christmas just without the Black Friday sales.

Instead of baking Christmas goods maybe you and yours can render some holiday service in some way or another. The experience will be good for all around and you won’t be forcing others to eat things they might not normally have consumed.

In short keep your eating to meal time and eat a nice dinner. Give service rather than sweets. The service rendered will be sweet to those in need. One plate of good food is probably enough too.

Last year for Christmas we had two roasted ducks with some cheese and salami sides as well as some roasted peppers. It was a great meal that left us all (except my dad) satisfied and we had a good time at the table. After a little dessert the meal was over and we spent time as a family. No crazy post dinner meals or next day grazing on fatty foods. Just a nice day with family.

Be extra careful this year as Christmas also falls on a Thursday which means that the day after is Friday and many might have both days off.

Have an enjoyable Holiday Season!



Are Pre Workouts Necessary?

For the final post in this series I will be brief because there is no need to go into a long post about something that’s rather simple, at least in my brain.

Are Pre workouts necessary to have the most explosive and awesome workouts and to lose weight and look like a fitness model? Of course not. Does that mean you shouldn’t use them? Of course not.

Trust me when I tell you I’m not trying to be Smeagol/Gollum from Lord of the Rings but the two above statements aren’t conflicting. It’s analogous to asking “Do you need to run to be healthy?” Of course not. Does that mean you should never run? Of course not…unless you don’t want to. There’s plenty of other ways to stay healthy in terms of movement. Running is a tool, just like a pre workout. It’s useful when applied or used correctly. But just like a pre workout can mess you up big, so can running if done improperly.



The purpose of the post previously done was to talk about ingredients in pre workouts that are actually helpful rather than ones that probably don’t do much. I realize that I covered the helpful ones. There are lots of other ingredients like aspartic acid which probably don’t do a whole lot that I didn’t cover because writing about pre workout ingredients can get boring over time.

I do realize that I could have done a single post and covered most everything but I wanted to flesh out the evidence and give you readers something to actually consider.

Pre workouts are definitely a great tool to energize and power through a heavy sprint session or help increase gains in strength over time, but at the end of the day you are the person that still has to sprint or lift or yoga or whatever. No one else can do that. Others can encourage and motivate. Others can meet you at the gym and workout along side you. Others can help you navigate proper food choices, but ultimately it rests on you. You are the true vehicle for change. Pre workouts just help that along.

Do I use pre workouts? Yup. But I don’t use them everyday and I respect that they are a tool and nothing more. I made the decision to change my lifestyle. You have the same power. It’s really cool to think about. No one can take that power from you, no one!

If you really want to make some changes then go ahead and do it. Taking a pre workout in the morning isn’t going to change you. It might jump start you and make you feel like you could run 1000 miles, but you still get to decide to do so.


Instead of watching Dr. Oz talk about weight loss, go for a 30 min walk. While I think knowledge is absolutely important, so is keeping your body moving.

You might feel like Homer at first but you'll be glad you're not wasting time watching something lame on TV.

You might feel like Homer at first but you’ll be glad you’re not wasting time watching something lame on TV.

Rather than watching your favorite weekday tv show from the couch, do some 30 sec planks on the floor during commercial breaks. See if you can up it to 1 min over time. 3-4 commercial breaks/30 min equals a couple min of planking. Your core will be strong in no time.

Instead of boringly tossing your salad and putting your casserole into the oven, put on some music and dance in the kitchen. You’ll be burning some extra calories but more importantly you’ll be having some fun. We do this in my home often. It’s fun watching the kids look at their dad and wonder what the heck is going on, but they sometimes join in.

Dance like no one's watching, even if they are.

Dance like no one’s watching, even if they are.

Have fun finding ways to spruce up your life and you’ll be rewarded. Let me know how you all spruce up your lives.