There’s a new blog a-coming!

I’m starting a professional health and fitness blog. Its called Friday Fitness. Why? I feel like as a reader of this blog you probably already get why.

It’s set up in secret right now and what will be the first posts have been drafted. The logo and art work is in the works now and then it goes live.

When I first wrote about running it came out of my writing about depression, which was mostly what this blog had been about, and I as I got more into the research and discovery of all things fitness I didn’t want to write about it too much and change the whole feel of the blog. With music as a metaphor again: it would be like if I suddenly started making electronic dance music after starting as folk acoustic. I said I’d write about my progress once a week and Fitness Friday was born.

But fitness became all I really thought about and the point of the blog was really to get whatever was on my mind off of it anyway so a lot of health related writing went up.

This blog will still be here and will even still contain some fitness stuff, as meandering thoughts which may or may not graduate up to the pro blog. If you’ve read and remember a lot of this blog you’ll even see some updated and clarified version of the fitness posts that have been on here so far on the Friday Fitness blog.

The tone of Friday Fitness will be different than here, I want it to be accessible to the internet equivalent of someone walking in off the street. On this blog I’ve had the tone of personal conversation with a small group, there’s no attempt to be neutral, and my dry sense of humour shows or fails to show through but it is there. With the new blog the goal is to write like there’s a big audience that doesn’t know who I am.

So with all that said I’ll put a bit of work where my mouth is and give a sample of one the first posts for Friday Fitness titled Nitric Oxide:

You want it. It gives you good blood flow.

Including to your genitals, making sex better.

But also for athletics and stuff. So how do you get it? Well not from L-Arginine supplements. According to this study they don’t help. Now, it’s been pointed out by the great Lisa Monsconi that when nutrients get tested they often get tested in such control and isolation that we don’t know how they may be interacting with other nutrients and foods but it doesn’t look good for the thirty dollar jar of powder I saw the other day.

And it turns out you don’t want to get your L-Arginine from animal protein. It carries increased risk of metabolic syndrome. So plant sources it is:

Pumpkin Seeds. Everything I’ve looked up in the last year has had pumpkin seeds on the list. Pumpkin seeds for the win.

Also Peanuts, Spinach, Spirulina (because spirulina has everything if you’re willing to shell out fifty bucks a jar), and Lupini beans (which I’ve also never heard of).

Nitric Oxide can also be made, but not as well, by L-Citrulline. So get your watermelon on.

And of course you want vegetable sources of nitrates like arugula and beets. Meat sources of nitrates = bad apparently. Damn you vegans for often being right!

So a spinach and arugula salad with lupini beans, watermelon, and various seeds and nuts and you’re ready for a marathon… of any kind.

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Posted in Pragmatism

Sobriety Binge Day 12

So two things of note:

One, I gave myself some permissions with sugar. Of all kinds, french fries to dairy milks, yesterday. Not too different from a normal Friday but my thought process was the menu’s totally open because I can’t possibly dig as deep a hole as a night of drinking. Which is true. But it occurred to me that my highest priority is still mood boosting and mood stability so jerking my blood sugar around might still qualify as doing more harm than good.

So I can loosen the reigns because I’ve got health-meter to play with maybe I still shouldn’t. On the upside I can already see the skin effects of sobriety kicking in, the skin of my face is richer and fuller, less sunken and dry, because it’s getting water and oxygen which alcohol typically blocks.

And two, I’ve still been socializing. It’s important not to fall into the trap of not drinking means not socializing. Sobriety isn’t about staying home for 4 months. I’ve dipped out early both times I’ve been out to parties because I no longer have the social endurance booze grants but I’ve made the rounds and had fun and met people, which is actually something that, as alcohol becomes a stronger and stronger habit, stops happening. Real drunks drink the same people over and over and over again.

But what I think is different about me than someone else getting sober is don’t think of myself as getting sober, I’m just sober. Period.

Quitting smoking is my go-to example. People think that quitting smoking is the intermediate step between smoking and being quit. First you’re smoking, then you’re quitting smoking (and you tell everyone I’m quitting smoking every time you smoke), then at some point you don’t smoke.

It doesn’t work.

When I quit smoking (ten years ago roughly) I did it like I do everything: all at once and being a dick about it. I flipped the switch from I smoke to I don’t smoke and that was it.

You can’t be tempted by something if the answer’s always No. If the answer is Maybe then eventually the answer is Yes. Sometimes will mean all the time. Cutting back will mean binging and waiting to binge, and finding tons of reasons to binge, to celebrate or because it was a tough day or whatever. If tough days mean you allow yourself access to whatever you’re quitting you’ll find that gosh you suddenly have a shocking amount of tough days.

Or things to celebrate. I knew a guy who blew off a sobriety binge in the first week because his brother got a job.

Either way it’s about manufacturing things that are more important than the duration of your abstinence from whatever vice.

But when it comes to events like parties, weddings, tough days, whatever, that’s the test. That’s the point. You don’t run a marathon and then blame the course for being really long. This is what you came to see – if you can celebrate, or mourn, or socialize – without booze. And if you can’t then yes, you are less-than, you have failed.

With all things in life I see so many people who summarize a challenge as basically I was doing great until I cracked at the first sign of pressure. I was strong enough until something requiring strength came up.

 

 

Ah, all at once and be a dick about it, that’s me.

Posted in sobriety

Baby Steps & Optimism

One quirk of my life being a health guy is people like to tell me when they’ve done something good.

At work all the time if someone opts for a salad they’re like, hey, check it out, I opted for a salad.

And then me being me I’m all like, I tell you right now you ain’t gettin’ in here with cheese on that salad.

But I’m working on being more supportive so I picked up the habit of saying baby steps. Now normally of course I hate baby steps because of my all-or-nothing attitude that for so long caused me to be more nothing than all. There is a time and place for baby steps though, working out for example; if you jump in hard you’re just going to get hurt and have to stop. It’s good to build the habit before you worry about building the body.

With nutrition though baby steps are pretty worthless. If you eat a sandwich everyday and you switch out white bread for whole wheat you’ll feel good but really you’ve been conned by the green wash. Any vitamin and mineral benefit will be more than cancelled out by the sugar and the processing.

But if you point that out to someone they’ll say baby steps. Because they just want to feel good about themselves today. This is where I think optimism is a handicap.

Something we were talking about yesterday was why not now? We make our goals a year long and big part of that is so we can feel like it will happen but we don’t have to do anything right now. Right now we just get to bask in the inevitability, right now we reward ourselves for being optimistic.

People put a positive attitude before a positive action.

And in some cases I’m not totally sure that’s wrong. I was thinking about people who saying I’m quitting while going out for a smoke. You’re not, you’re smoking right now, that’s not quitting. But maybe it is possible to build up emotional momentum, maybe people who feel good just because there’s an action they’re going to take have a benefit over people who don’t when the time to take action arrives.

But not really. If you feel good, if you reward yourself for meaningless gestures to yourself, you’re actually less likely to act at all. You’ll have trained yourself to expect to feel good and for it to be easy when you do take an important step and, spoiler, it won’t be.

I understand the baby steps thing (whereas I don’t understand optimism, really. I say doubt yourself til you prove yourself), you want to get comfortable on this level before you move to the next. The problem is it’s a way of telling yourself you moved levels when you really haven’t. You can make baby steps all year, turn around, and see no footprints.

Posted in Depression & Suicide, fitness, Pragmatism

What I’m Doing With My Lists Right Now

I’m list guy, love lists.

So much of what I loved about music, and songwriting, and being in bands – was making lists.

It’s the new year and everybody making ambitious, world conquering to-do lists and that’s great. And if you’ve fallen off already, get back on it’s the 5th for fuck sake.

I can say that because I fell off at the end of last year. On break, no structure to the day, at first means extra time to get shit done. Then it means so much time you get nothing done. Then we beat ourselves up for doing nothing and think we have to do double everything perfect tomorrow and… you know the drill.

So for the start of the year I bumped myself back down to beginner status. My list is one thing long. Before I go to bed I write a card that says “Today will be a success if [whatever]” recent examples would be go to the gym with Jay, vlog, book a float, whatever. One Thing. One thing to make the day a success. Only when that thing is done can I add other things to the list. This makes it so when I go into the kitchen and see coffee cup mountain that needs to be washed I don’t think yeah put that on the list I gotta do that today. I think I gotta book that float.

This way you don’t pile up an overwhelming amount of shoulds. Everywhere you look there’s something you should do, something you gotta get back on starting tomorrow.

No. One thing, day successful. After that one thing go ahead and get a little momentum and do other stuff you feel like getting done. You’re priority is good now get that gravy.

And when you lie in bed and feel like you didn’t do enough, or you did too much unproductive stuff, or just dread tomorrow remind yourself that today was a success for because that one thing got done. Tell negativity No. You got this.

Posted in Depression & Suicide, fitness, Pragmatism

Athletes, Alcoholics, and Self-Punishment

Watching Crossfit I heard athletes talk about how, when they had a bad event, a bad race or lift or whatever, they had to put it behind them. We’v all heard this a million times. Athletes just gotta dust themselves off because otherwise it’ll fuck up the whole rest of the game.

Beating yourself up over it isn’t go to do any good but we all have an instinct to do it. We want to balance the scales and we usually want to be seen balancing the scales.

We’re afraid that if we don’t seem sufficiently guilty and ashamed, even broadcasting more self-castigation than necessary, other people – bosses, girlfriends, whoever – will think we’re flippant. That we don’t care.

This is why self-forgiveness is so hard. It seems so selfish, it seems like choosing not to internalize the lessons of failure.

For those of us who engage in a lot of negative self-talk and self-destructive behaviour it’s because we think it’s what we deserve. We conflate negativity with honesty, with a sense of justice – we believe we’re being just.

But rather than help, rather than balance the scales and show that we know we fucked up, we beat ourselves for beating ourselves up then we  hide that we’re beating ourselves up.

We act like we deserve to lose the whole game because we fucked up one play and then we make that come true.

Remember this though: people don’t win because they deserve to win, they win because they tried harder, they did better, because they didn’t quit. They didn’t take the universe’s role on their shoulder and punish themselves – they’ll lose if they deserve to lose and that’s that, not in their hands.

I just learned about this idea from Hawaiian culture that says you should say to yourself and others I love you, I’m sorry, forgive me, thank you and then you can move on.

Imagine tattooing it on your wrist and looking at it when you feel like your failing at life. Especially thank you. Thank you for the feedback, for telling me what I don’t like, how I don’t want to feel, so I can change it. Once you’ve thanked yourself you can get off your own back, the moment is over. Get on to the next moment with a clear head.

Posted in Depression & Suicide, fitness, Pragmatism

New Year, New Morning

For you, not for me, my morning’s are already pretty strong.

I just started reading Own The Day by Aubrey Marcus and his optimal morning is what I was already doing. His foremost piece of advice is Water, Light, Movement. So hydrate with a glass of mineral water, which for us go-getters means adding pink salt (and I’d like to go as far as Lisa Mosconi author of Brain Food and put in some aloe and some chlorophyll too), get some full spectrum light, which for me means turn on the veralux because going outside is for people at the equator, and get some movement. Now he says specifically not a work out, just some initial movement. Then eggs for breakfast and Wim Hof breathing in a cold shower.

So yeah, I was already all over that. Tim Ferris would add in do some writing (as I am) to calm the monkey mind and away we go.

We already got Ben on board, he woke up to push ups and his first tentative kettlebell swings on 01-01 while the rest of us were waking up to go back to bed. But I’m back on track this morning. 5:30, water, light, back squats, cold shower, high-fat, high-protein, low-carb breakfast, and writing. Jay and I are set to work out today – I pitched him 8am, he scoffed and pitched noon.

But you don’t have to get up in the morning to have a morning routine. I would say the two non-negotiable things are: No Snoozing and No Internet. Get out of bed immediately when it’s time, otherwise you’re just procrastinating and hiding from the day and you’ve already fucked up out of the blocks. And I know you feel like getting a coffee and sitting at the computer or you instinctively pull out your phone because it’s a passive activity and you think you need some time to wake up. But that’s just a black hole time suck and it’s going to create emotional inertia.

Having a planned routine is the cure for feeling like you need to do something while you wait to wake up. Even if you go from bed to shower immediately upon waking up, doing that and knowing you’re going to do that no matter how you feel, is going to set you up to be emotionally active rather than inert for the day.

Don’t wait until you have to do something to do something, that’s not being in control of your life. You want to feel awake, alive, and in control then you need to take control.

Posted in Depression & Suicide, fitness, Pragmatism

Sobriety Binge 2019 Day One

Still pretty drunk.

We were slamming Southern Comfort, champagne, and Steam Whistle quite firmly at midnight. I went to bed at 4:30.

It’s 11:30 now and I’m struggling to write this. I’m not exactly inspired to be a Spartan but nevertheless My Spartan Year starts now.

Well, now ish. I’m still not going to do much today.

So to start I’ll summarize my birthday, New Year’s Eve. Btw happy birthday to me, I’m 34.

I woke up late and sagged around til I hated myself. Then I worked out harder, heavier, and longer than ever before with complete self hatred. I worked out til I felt like puking but I got to the point where I felt nothing, I was emotionally purged. I really should plan to do a marathon level run or something on my birthday.

The respite didn’t really last. We were in the car running an errand before going to dinner and I was holding back tears. I hit a wave, or was hit by a wave, of missing Carla. I don’t know exactly what I was feeling because we wouldn’t have hung out NYE and a happy birthday facebook message probably would have been the extent of our interaction if she were alive but I just wish she were alive, I wish she were having a good time, I wish she was smiling somewhere, anywhere, even if it’s not with me.

And there was something sad about the fact that the year she died would soon be over. It’s now an event from last year. And someday it’ll be ten years ago. Which was the theme of a song of ours. Just throwing that in because I’m rambling.

Anywho, making myself actively sad again…

So Liv took me out for a wonderful birthday dinner at our favourite place and gave me my final gift, a beautiful straight razor.

I wasn’t in the moment at all and I acknowledged it. I was anxious, in a good and bad way, about My Spartan Year and wanted to get on with it. In December I ate and drank so much, so frequently, I could barely enjoy it. Which is a great problem to have, to be inundated with wonderful dinners with wonderful people. But I wanted to get on with it, I want to be productively pissed off all year. I squandered the end of the year trying to relax, trying to be happy, and it hadn’t worked. Instead of being a victory lap NYE felt like one of those squash games where I’m just about done getting crushed and I just want to get into the next game because I know I’m going to do better.

Btw I defeated Jon at squash in 2018. A single victory two years in the making and he stormed me 11 nothing immediately after but I did it. It feels like the highlight of the year right now to be honest.

But by third persecco and some mousse and espresso I was pretty happy.

We went to Elite to see Red and Chris and everybody then we finally got to the grove. Jordan wanted to put a guitar in my hands and was quite complimentary about my playing and singing which was a pleasant surprise but I also felt lucky that he didn’t get a guitar into my hands because I knew I was too tanked to play anything. Anything new or anything fun especially. I remember thinking I might make it through Solitary Light.

Which looking back now is a bummer, that would have been the perfect time to debut Private Springsteen. Ben will probably read this so I’m ruining the moment (hi Ben) but the song is inspired by and dedicated to him so playing it for him at a joyous party would have been dope. Let’s all arrange our memories to believe it happened that way.

This post still seems to be flying sideways in all directions…

So…

I’m still excited to have a good year. The goal is to be working part time at the Gateway and part time in fitness and nutrition somehow so it’s time to start figuring out how that’s going to happen. It’s time to explore, to meet people, try things.

Time to run more, lift more, time to be fucking more.

 

Posted in Depression & Suicide, fitness, floating, Pragmatism, Songwriting