Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why keep training??!

Sooner or later we all ask this question: "Why am I doing this?" It may be in the context of physical training, school, work, marriage, faith, ... it's a question that penetrates all boundaries in life.

So as I'm finding myself awake, again, and not wanting to disturb my wife (this time) who is sleeping so soundly so near by, I'm going to think elsewhere and let her sleep. Tonight I'm wrestling with a common question in my life: why am I doing what I'm doing?

Physical Training:
Why do I keep at the daily physical training? For me it's not to reach an end goal and then stop, but rather a continued process of wanting to be my best each day. Some days I'll be able to train 3 times and others I may be able to train for a week. I've yet to run a marathon - something I would very much like to do some day. But it's not a fundamental motivator in my training. It'd be neat to be able to do 20 pull ups, bench press 300 lbs, ride a sub-5 hr century, run a BQE (Boston Qualifying Event) ... but the real bottom line for me in training has to do with the quality of my life. If training for a specific goal takes time away from other more important life goals - then I have to adjust my training and possible short term goals. Physical training has it's place; it's a big rock for me, but not my biggest.

A bigger rock: my Marriage
My wife and I went to a marriage conference a few weeks ago - maybe 4 now. It was very good. I've been reviewing the material and there are many pearls of wisdom there. One of them was, "You can't get a new spouse, but you can give your spouse a new you." If you're married - you should re-read that. It hits full strength on the "Why am I doing this?" question in the context of marriage. If our perspective is me centered, then being open to making ourselves a better spouse with out any guarantee of it being reciprocated, is very tough indeed. But, that's what separates Great marriages, Poor marriages and divorced marriages.

Having been married almost 22 years - we've seen some rough seasons and both want more in our marriage. But it's possible that more of our needs may never get met. That's a difficult reality to consider, but it's a real possibility. What I can do is change my thinking; to "GIVE" more of me; learn to communicate and express Love in a way that my wife understands (5 Love Languages); don't be so selfish (let her rest while I lie awake in bed); consider if my expectations are appropriate or should I have any expectations at all?; do I communicate my needs as requests or demands?; do I punish and reward - or just Love? There are so many things to consider when I'm willing to reflect and work on myself - where I can actually change.

Another good pearl was "The grass is greener where you water it most". Meaning: work your own garden, raise your own flowers and trees, keep your own fountain flowing, use your own actions to build into your marriage - don't look for a garden that has the flowers you want already blooming. Work the ground, dig up the rocks, make the rows, plant the seeds -- and Water them: enjoy making the garden God gave you a beautiful place. Our spouse is that garden and a fountain to be enjoyed.

Another wasn't new - but nice to hear how important it is to understand that marriage isn't a 50-50 deal: it's 100-100. We have to be willing to give 100% independent of the contribution of our spouse. It ties into the giving your spouse a new you concept: where we can act independently of our spouses actions. And biblically, when we stand before God and give an account, Revelation 20:11-15 there won't be any using our spouses as an excuse.

The marriage changer for me was asking God for the desire to change myself even if my wife never did. That I would be an honorable husband and father: period. No conditions. And very shortly after those prayers came another prayer, "help me love her as you love her" - another biggie.

For those with a Biblical belief on marriage, the Husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (and in the OT as God loved his people). This is a love that exceeds my capacity to give on my own. God's example is to a people that regularly choose other lovers (other Gods) and yet He continued to love and restore His bride. It's a VERY high bar. And one that I can wrestle with several times a day - more when I'm needy and frustrated that "my" needs are going unmet --- or are they? Are they really going unmet, or am I just thinking wrongly? I am certainly not a perfect man, but I am thankful that God has been giving me this desire of my heart - to be able to Love my wife more like he loves His bride. I know my wife has seen a change in me over these last 5 months and I look forward to seeing what a few more years like this will grow in our garden. :-)

What's the purpose of marriage anyways - biblically (Matthew 22:23-33 ) there is no marriage in heaven , so why work so hard at it? For me, I believe marriage is bigger than the two of us. It's one of those cases where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole! Where else can we be so close to another person and have God work through them to shape our character? And children .. they are a gift from God; as difficult as they can be, they are still a gift from God. So, marriage is a deeper training: a life training. Other than God, it's most peoples biggest rock, unless the rocks are out of balance ...

So, why keep training? To be the best I can be: physically, emotionally and spiritually. So when this life ends and I stand before my creator with out all my excuse cards, my life won't be a shame. Everything done for myself will have no value on that day.

(Maybe I can get to sleep now .. time to try. I'll have to re-read this in the morning... wow it's late/early .. I guess I'm a slow thinker...)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Being Sick - not the norm.

[Photos: the squirrels were out enjoying the day today; the last photo has 3 squirrels and one mocking bird in it: they were having a great time today.]

I've been very thankful that for the most part, I don't get sick very often: maybe once every couple years..

Well last night started my most recent 'sick' experience. I thought it was from eating to much pizza. Something I like, but it's pretty low on the nutrition scale (even just the veggie versions). And I had two large pieces with two servings of salad for lunch; then a couple hours later went for a bike ride (22 miles); and then ate three more pieces after my ride. About an hour later my stomach was starting to tell me that I had made a mistake.

There was little rest as every three hours I would have to use the bathroom to throw up (multiple repetitions in each set): I did 3 sets of those: 10:30 PM, 1:30 AM and 3:30 AM. I know I was getting a workout as I was sweating each time. My heart rate was also up. That being said, it's one of my least favorite forms of exercise and I'm glad that I don't have to do that very often!

Walking back to my bed from that 3:30 AM restroom visit (last set) I turned off my alarm: "There was no way I would be able to get up and do my Monday workout; no way at all." (It's now Monday night and I think my Tuesday morning routine is also at risk. Bummer.)

I had to stay home most of the day from work today. My wife bought some Gatorade, 7-Up, and saltine crackers. (This is my normal recovery meal after such an intense workout.) I ate and drank slowly even though I was VERY thirsty and hungry. I tried to go on some errands with my wife mid morning, but she had to help me across the street much like a Boy Scout would help an elderly lady. I was slow moving and achy and ended up waiting in the car for all three stops after a brief attempt to participate in the errand.

When it came time for our 2 mile run .. I had to watch her go with out me. :-( I was glad that she did it, but kind-of sad that I didn't get to run with her. It was a Beautiful Day: warm, sunny, hardly any wind; a perfect day to run together.

Being sick is an infrequent experience for me - something that as I experience it again I'm very glad for. I would first attribute my health to God's blessing on my life. Then I'd assume that the disciplines that I practice also have a part - but who can say for sure. My goal is to just do the best I can. This sickness was a good reminder that I don't like being sick and there's no reason for me to do things that can make me sick (like over eating). If I get sick - I get sick, but there's no reason for me to live in such a way that makes it more likely to get sick: unless I enjoy eating more than being healthy...?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Strength workout details

[Photos: recent sunset. We were hoping for the submarines to be racing in the lake, but they weren't racing that night - maybe next time...]

This past Thursday workout was a little different from the previous 20 weeks: I've backed off going to single rep sets on the bench. Last week it was 245 and 250 for the finial two sets, this week it was a second and third set at 225. So, instead of a single rep at each weight last week, this week it was 3 reps each.

From what I've read, even though I've not had any problems yet, doing single rep sets weekly creates a lot of stress and can often lead to some overuse injuries. So instead, I stayed at 225 as my 'work' weight and did three sets there (4, 3, and 3 reps). I think I will don the 1 rep sets every 3 or 4 weeks from here on out.

The rest of the workout was much like the one the week before:
- Bench: 20-bar, 6-135, 8-185, 8-205, 4-225, 3-225, 3-225 with 90 seconds rest between sets
- Close Grip Decline: 20-135, 12-155 -- 60 seconds rest
- Incline dumbbells: 18-35, 9-45
- Dips: 9, 9, 9
- Triceps rope: 15-60, 10-70, 5-80 -- 30 seconds rest
- Wide bar Triceps push down: 18-60, 10-70, 5-80
- Triceps kick backs: 20/20-25

Friday's workout was missed and not picked up on Saturday; and so was the 3 mile run with my wife. :-(

Friday, March 26, 2010

4 Mystery shots exposed

-The first photo is of my eye.
-The second photo is of my wife's eye.
-The third photo is of my wife's eye after being fully dilated by an extensive eye exam. (Not a cow eye...)
-The last is as guessed - the center of a rose.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finially a core WKO

[Photos: Some of the roses that I've placed around the house for my wife (reminders in my absence), I watched my Grandaughter Monday AM and she was affectionate to her dolls.]

Wed had been 'our' core workout together, but we missed the last two weeks: today we got to work out again together .. it was nice!

The routine is mainly legs and trunk exercise: leg raises, L's, good mornings, squats, decline sit ups, punching bag, weighted calve raises, plank and kick backs. We do them as a circuit and do it twice with a decent warm up too. There are many neat things about working out with your spouse: time together, encouragement, teasing, affection, ... it's not the hardest workout - but that's not the primary goal. The big benefit is relational and we're seeing new PR's there!

We also got in our 2 mile run together at lunch. It was a bit windy, but not to cool. She ran like a champ and is consistently running just over a 10 min/mi pace. Very good for her. She's capable of more, but not motivated yet to go there. I can only encourage her and point out what I see. Even she said it was a good run today as we prayed over our lunch after the run. She'd say, "Every run is a good run; when it's over!"

Yesterday was just a regular day with exercise: no big events. The weights in the am were normal and in the pm I was able to ride on the trainer (51 minutes). Every time I ride on the trainer I'm surprised at how effective it is at cleaning my pores. It seems to have an amazing ability to make my whole body sweat. I think it's more effective than a sauna!

Tomorrow is heavy bench, but I think I may modify the routine a little for the next couple weeks and not go quite so heavy to where I'm only doing a single rep, but rather do a couple sets where I can do 2-5 reps. Then I'll do the 1 rep sets maybe once a month. Up to this point it's been fine, but the weight is heavy enough that I want to take a cautionary step since I work out alone and don't want an overuse injury in my elbows.

My weight is up a little. I was sore for a couple days from Mondays bench PR. I feel recovered now so should be fine in the morning.

The rest of life is full - as is everyone's. "Every day has enough trouble of it's own." - so make "TODAY" your best day!

4 New Mystry photos

The following four photos are of three different objects.

Can you tell what they are?

Can you tell which two are of the same object?
(I'll post the full size photos that these came from in a day or two.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday - wk 21, another PR

[Photos: Finished the entry way flooring (and boy is it nice), the late March snow this past Saturday evening/night.]

I've been doing a bi-weekly rotation on Mondays now for the last 10 weeks. One week it's med-light weights with more reps and little rest, and the other it's 6 sets of 6 reps with 2 minutes rest. The 6@6 started at 185, 195, 200, 205, 210 and today it was 215 - a PR (personal record) as I've not done it before. (I'm guessing in two weeks I'll likely repeat this weight as it was all I could do to get all the reps in.) No major changes in the rest of the days workout. When I came in - the house was quite. It was clear that Spring Break had not been eradicated from the system yet.

Lunch was beautiful and my wife and I had a very good 2 mile run together. She's still complaining some - but she's doing it .. and doing it faster. :-) You know what I like to say, "Go Grandma, Go Grandma, Go Grandma ...".

Evening was full: I was hoping for some time on the bike - but didn't happen.

It was a nice day all around. Just about ready to hit the sack and start it all over again tomorrow. Some days are just nice - and I sure am thankful for those when I get one: that was today. A day where the joys were more than the stresses .. that's nice!

Supercross - Dallas Cowboys Stadium 2010

Last month I won 4 tickets to the Supercross this past Saturday evening at the new Cowboys stadium. I took 3 of my kids - and we had a great time!

The stadium is hard to imagine with out actually seeing it with your own eyes. The two big screens are huge. Everything is big. We sat on the second level and had great seats. We were able to park and walk and saved the parking fee (thanks Dave).

One of the things that I enjoy and appreciate very much about living in the South is the patriotism and pride of our great country. At this event there was a police escort, military escort and 12 new air men that took their oath at the start of this event. There are still a lot of proud people where I live - myself included. I don't agree with everything that's going on, but I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Break - routine breaker...

[Photos: a nice sun set from the back yard as seen over my roof, my peanut butter cookie maker expanding to doughnuts (quite tasty unfortunately), same sun set out front.]

Spring Break, when all the kids are home and not in school, is a time of mixed up routines and broken schedules. Now in my family, I like routine more than the rest, so the others are probably just fine. For me the late nights rolls over to late mornings; late nights often lead to undisciplined eating close to bed time; missing my morning exercise; and other 'changes' as well.

Strength Training
So this week, week 20, I missed my Monday routine. It was actually the first time in 20 weeks (some may be saying after 20 weeks you 'should' miss one). So, Tuesday morning (late) I did a combined Monday and Tuesday routine; also something I've not done before. Excluding the warm-up time, it took 82 minutes: kind of a long workout with the weights. I certainly had some 'tight' muscles when I was finished. No real steps forward, just maintaining previous weights and repetitions.

Wednesdays core day was also missed. Last week I attempted it by myself but was having an achy back, so I stopped. This week there was just no time (probably over slept due to being up late). So this was the second week of not getting this workout with my wife - hopefully we can get this back next week.

Thursday is my heavy bench routine and I changed it a bit this week due to last weeks improvements. I used to do the bar, then put on 45's, then I'd start the 'work' sets and put on multiple 10 lb weights, take them off and put on 25's, ... kind of a hassle due to not wanting to jump to big from the warm ups to the work. But, now I am adding the 25's after the 45's: what that means is my first set is now 185 instead of 175. So, the new sets were: 185, 205, 225, 245 and 250 with 8, 8, 4, 1 and 1 repetitions respectively. I've gotten rid of a couple of the intermediate sets and added another single rep set at 250. The rest of the routine is about the same as before, but I did bump the triceps sets up by 10 lbs.

This week, even with the broken schedule, the running time with my wife is still very high on my priority list and we've been able to get both 2 mile runs in and are planning on getting the 3 mile today. This will only be her second time running 3 miles, so we'll see how it goes. My main goal is to be an encourager to help her accomplish what she wants when she may think she can't.

For myself I've been trying to get in 1 longer run a week and was able to do that at the dam - 8 miles. The Garmin says it was at an 8:14 avg pace. That's fine with me.
None. There is a ride on Sat that I was wanting to do, but it conflicts with the afternoon and evening plans. That's kind of a bummer for me. Last year I was zero on the weights by now and 110% on the bike. This year it's different: different goals, motivations, ... very different.

A current struggle of mine: letting people make their own choices; want what they want and not what I want them to want - when those choices directly affect me. These are obvious things to say and very difficult things to do - when you really have to let others choose to like you, to be with you, or even 'want' to be with you. Many friendships and relationships seem to be in this place right now. It's a challenging balance to not pull back and to still let others exercise their own will - even after they've filled up at your table and now move on with out investing back to the level that I would want. It's very much a sense of rejection that has to be dealt with properly and timely.

It goes back to that difficult word "unconditional". I can't think of an easy application of it: unconditional love, unconditional friendship, ... It's a challenging standard to live by - and I continue to be challenged by it, deeply!

I'm meeting with two other men and going through the "Seven Pillars of Health" book. I've done this before with a men's group and a mixed group and each time it's a neat time of learning and applying; but mostly it a time of encouraging. Encouraging each other to seek out the truth and put it into practice in our lives; to be willing to see ourselves honestly and be wiling to make changes. It's a 7 week journey that's main challenge is to apply what you learn and let it impact your daily life.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

End of 19 weeks

This week ends my 19th week of 5 strength workouts per week. That's about 90 workouts since starting (missing about 5 over those 19 weeks).

Mon - was 6 @ 6 with a PR (personal record) a 210 lbs followed by the rest of the Monday exercises. I also ran with my wife 2 miles and got 50 minutes on the bike that evening. Also spent a little time with a young man who is wanting to loose some weight and gain some muscle for his summer job (motivation to work a water park with out a shirt on...)

Tue - no real changes .. still not able to get 10 pull ups! Man .. I can get 9 1/2 ... but can't push myself for that last half. Most of the rest of the routine is about the same with just minor changes due to the 'eb-n-flow' of training.

Wed - run with wife for 2 miles (second fastest time for her - fastest being last Friday). Lunch core workout by myself, but was poorly motivated and having some lower back aching .. so I called it short and hardly worked out at all. Not a good workout!

Th - gained a rep on the 225 and 235 sets (4 and 3 reps respectively). Just last week I lost one rep on the 235 set, so it's just part of the normal '3 steps forward and 2 steps back' progress: so I'll take it.

Fri - Still at my pull up ladder of 6 (1,2,3,4,5,6,6,5,4,3,3,3), so the last two were up just a little. I also had one more rep on my last set of the lat pull down (from 6 @ 140 to 7 reps). No run on Friday - too full.

Sat - talked with my wife about modifying the routine a little and adding another mile one day a week. So, we ran 3 miles in the morning together - the first time she's ever done that!! So, it's another PR for Grandma!! Go Grandma, Go Grandma ... You're doing a Great job!

Weight wise I'm up a little from my lowest, but I still have a pair of pants that I can wear that don't belong to me ... (that's all I'll say about that)! I'm OK with that for now as I'm not able to give the extra discipline required to keep myself at that level - nor am I able to give the time in additional exercise to do the same.

Tomorrow is the start of 20 weeks .. 6 more and it will be a half year! That sounds like a long time. It will be neat to see what has changed in 6 more weeks - I'm excited to see!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Now if you're my wife, who thinks my blogs would be better if she could skim PAST the exercise details and just read the 'real life' stuff, this is one of those in its entirety. This ones for you babe...

---- No exercise details follow ----

Recently I made a list of movies that I wanted to see (maybe while trying to put some time in on my bike on the trainer), but I also picked out a movie called "The Time Traveler's Wife". From the review that I read, it sounded like a movie that my wife and I might both like: time traveling, love, marriage, hope, struggles, ... could be a good mix of guy and gal content. So we watched it the other evening...

I don't want to give any 'spoilers', but I thought it was good. I saw conflict, love, commitment, hope, .. and when it was time for the couple to reflect back on their life; they said they wouldn't have changed anything. That's so rare these days. Most of us think marriage is about myself: meeting my needs, helping me succeed, being happy, giving 50-50, ... what I'm learning after 20+ years of marriage is that just isn't what its about.

As one who believes that God puts people together for the life long journey called marriage - it's so much bigger than ourselves. A marriage is the starting place for a family, for a heritage, for generations to benefit and reap harvests that were initial sown by us. It's about giving 100%: anyone can love someone who loves them back, but what about giving with out getting your needs meet, or lowering expectations and requirements to be happy, maybe seeing our spouse as more important than ourselves, ... and on and on it goes.

The movie to my wife was sad - and she doesn't like sad endings. I however thought the ending was positive. So, we saw the same movie but experienced it differently - imagine that ... ! It lead to some nice discussion about how I saw the movie and why I thought it was hopeful and why she thought it was sad. I don't like to make movie recommendations - but I guess I'm about to: I thought this was worth the time to watch it as husband and wife.

Some of the thoughts; what can I do differently to love my spouse as God would have me too? What unrealistic expectations am I holding on to, or even requiring of my spouse? What areas of selfishness can I surrender? What languages of Love does my spouse respond to?
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
After 21 years, I feel like I'm almost starting over again. God has given me a fresh love for my wife, so I know He can do the same for you ... if you are willing: to pray, surrender and do what needs to be done; knowing isn't enough - it's got to get into your heart and experienced through your actions and words. I'm hopeful for the next 20 years: they should be incredible - or so that is my desire.

(With the oldest person alive at 114; if we both make it that long - we've got several sets of 20 year increments left ... :-)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Training to prepare for Training

Below is a snap shot of the logged exercises for the last two weeks. It's not the detailed log, but rather a high level log. The detailed log is kept with my weights and that's where most of the details go: including runs and rides. (Yes - I guess that means I keep two logs.)

This week starts number 19 with the emphasis on strength training. I had thought I'd be riding more, but I've just not been able to add it - nor have I been willing to replace the weights or runs up to this point. So, it's looking less and less likely that I'll be ready for the hard century ride (Three State Three Mountain) on May 1. :-(

Positive Note: On Monday I do a different bench routine every other week. This week it was doing 6 sets of 6 reps with 2 minutes of rest between sets; the significant note for me is that it was with 210 lbs - a weight that I've not done before .. , ever. It was difficult and when you do the second set and already know that you couldn't do another repetition, and still have 4 more sets to go .. it quickly becomes a mental battle not to give yourself an out or an excuse to not complete it. (The way the routine works is that you go up in weight after you can to 6 sets of 6 reps. If you can't get 6 reps on one of the sets, then you bump it down for the reaming sets. So, having done 205 two weeks ago; I couldn't mentally get my head around 215 so I opted for a 5 lb increase. In two more weeks it will be 215.) Also on Monday I was able to do weights in the early AM, run with my wife at lunch (in the light rain and strong wind) and then get 58 minutes on the trainer in the evening.

I guess I'm passing through a season where solitude and exercise are opportunities to reflect, think deeply and consider my life. I don't see it as a crutch, substitute, replacement, escape or anything like that; but rather it's part of the mechanism that God uses to draw me to himself. The weights do more than improve my strength and physical health: there's value in what I'm listening too, there's release in being able to yell, scream, cry, dance, sing and have freedom to just be me as I try to beat this body into submission. The running is often a time of extended prayer and listening: wanting to run for joy. Cycling on the trainer is more difficult - it's more like hard work: enjoyable at some level - but much work.

I only slept about 4 hours last night. Not enough I know. It seems like sleep is the second to go for me when stress and anxiety build past a manageable level. The first would be constantly eating (which I struggled with yesterday). So part of today will be spent fasting: with the desire to cast my cares on the one who cares for me; and then to not take them back. I'll probably have a long run during my lunch break - since I won't be eating.

Such is my life. The physical training is progressing well and is a component of the training that happens in relationships with my family and others. PT is of some value, but life is full of training that is so much more important. "Be faithful with the little so you can be trusted with much" .. that's my desire.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Managing expectations - giving unconditionally

[Photos: Youngest at a cub scout activity shooting the BB guns, one of the most fun of the day - the paper rockets, one of the 'ships'.]

It's hard to believe it's been 18 weeks now (over 80 sessions), since starting back on consistent strength training. The next goal is to see what it's like after 26 weeks of this training.

This past week I had all my strength workouts: M-F (approximately 5 hrs). I ran with my wife three days on a 2 mi route; with our last run being a PR of 2 miles in 20 minutes even. (This is great for someone who has never run before. It's a good time of exercise and bonding: three of my favorite work outs of the week.) I also ran by myself twice: 8 and 9 miles with my average paces in the low 8's.

I don't have my log, but I think I only had one session on my bike. Not much time for a ride coming up very soon. I'm still not sure how to put more time in on the saddle as I don't want to give up the strength training, nor the running with my wife. I could swap out my runs, but the wind has been a bear; hard for running, extremely difficult for riding.

No real improvements this past week: lost a couple reps here and gained a few their. I also picked up a few pounds. My middle daughter has become quite a good 'cookie' baker - so we are flush with yummy variations of peanut butter cookies. Unfortunately tonight I found the jar full again of fresh cookies .. and took care of maybe 7! :-(

Tonight's run was kind of neat: I don't normally get side aches, so a 1 1/2 miles I walked for a couple minutes due to the pain. It gave me a chance to think about why I was running and what I should be thinking and praying about on this run. The rest was good - adding a loop to bump the distance to just under 9 mi with ~3 of the middle miles run at a faster time. What was the focus? The short answer: to take off the burden / yoke that I was starting to put on my wife to please me; to meet my expectations. That burden is a thief to giving unconditionally. It's hard to love unconditionally when you have expectations that go unmet. It's much better to lower the expectation bar and focus on raising the unconditional giving bar...

After the run, I was able to come home (after what seemed like just a few minutes but was really ~73 mins) with renewed resolve, purpose and direction. Ready to give love with out conditions or requirements - a challenge for sure. There's something neat about being able to let your spouse fall asleep in your arms or under your affectionate care. I would encourage all who are married to practice this weekly: find pleasure and satisfaction in speaking the Love language of your spouse - even to the point of letting them fall asleep while you continue to give unselfishly. These are seeds that will indeed bear fruit in your spouse.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The "Ebb and Flow" of progress

[Photos: lunch one day (broiled salmon) mmmmm, Birthday breakfast at Cracker-Barrel with my youngest daughter this week (still won the checker games and got 'one left' jumping the pegs), my middle daughter out back riding this evening (nothing like a little riding to put the smile back on a face!).]

One of the certain experiences of regular (and usually intense) exercise is the give and take of daily routines. Today is my heavy bench routine. And today I lost a rep on my 2nd to last set. This is not a big concern really, but rather a reminder that there are many variables involved in the results of a training session: previous rest, nutrition, energy, attitude, wellness ... etc.

It is unreasonable to think that change will only happen in a positive manner. The saying "Three steps forward and two steps backward" is applicable to training too. Often the overall trend is improving, but there are periods in there where gains are lost; to later be recovered with further gains too. Such is the reminder from today: like a tide that is coming in, still each wave will come in and then go back out.

Nutrition wise: my biggest problem has been - I'm hungry a lot (all the time). That leads to over eating. Why am I hungry? I'd have to guess .. stress: I'm eating to feel better, not because I'm actually hungry. So to say I'm "Hungry all the time" is probably not accurate: more likely I've got an abnormally high amount of stress.

: as one who doesn't mind confrontation - I wouldn't mind a reprieve at this point. Having to confront people older than ones self is a difficult thing to do properly: done with respect, in Love, gentle but still firm, giving instruction, giving a rebuke, exhortations, corrections, ... etc. Confronting those who are close to us is also a challenge. My life has had several of such confrontations over the last several months: with the most recent one being today.

Handling conflict, being able to correct, over looking an offense, loving unconditionally, giving forgiveness, always hoping, ... these are the real fruits of "A life of Training". The physical training has some value, but real life is all about relationships: with God first and other people next. My life would have little value if I only trained my physical body and didn't also practice disciplines that affect more than my physical person. Forgiveness doesn't require big arms - but rather a big heart. Unconditional love is not related to how much one can bench press.

So as I consider the negative progress with the weights today, I am also considering the positive progress in my life with a properly handled confrontation of one older than myself; of love given with out condition .. a day of true training; another day in "A Life of Training..."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Can what we do as a family affect our health?

[Photos: balloon race, driving cars on the wall, keeping an 'eye' on things, puckering up.]

My family and I went to the Science Museum recently to see a 'Spy' exhibit and a 'Technology' exhibit. It was very interesting with lots of hands on things to do, try, see and learn.

But, rather than give all the details of our trip to the museum, what struck me as I was 'people watching' - there aren't very many heavy to obese people here?! Hmmm ... why is that??

I saw mostly families with kids of all ages (mine ranging from 9-17). As I was sitting there and noticed that, I started looking around more and it was confirmed right away that the general population in there was not a 'normal' sub-section of the general American population: there were very few heavy to obese adults or children.

I mentioned it to my wife who quickly agreed and started pondering the 'why' question with me: "Why do the people at the science museum look more healthy than the ones that I see at other places?" Some of my initial thoughts:
  • they are interested in knowledge and may know more about health issues
  • they are out with their families doing things together
  • they are spending their time and money together
  • is it a more educated group, and somehow education can impact our health (but I see medical Dr's who aren't healthy - which is an extreme oxymoron)

I see a lot of heavy parents and kids at the soccer games on Saturdays: so putting kids in sports isn't a clear sign of the 'practice' of good health. I also see healthy people of all ages at the donut store (as well as those not so healthy looking).

My wife and I recently went to Red Robin. It was immediately apparent that the population in there better matched the general population: a much higher percentage of overweight to obese people present. Why? One easy one is: bottomless fries. Or as my wife was saying, where are those bottomless fries going - to peoples bottoms of course.. We shared the fish-n-chips order and it was very tasty - and we had a second serving of fries too. Not that there is any nutritional value, but that they were offered, already paid for and I said sure. And I'm one who thinks about how many miles I'm going to have to run to burn that off: but I still struggle with leaving food on my plate too...

Finial thought: Where we go and what we do can indeed have an impact on our health. Learning to walk away from free food, walk away from food already paid for, ... even, visiting more museum's could be a healthy thing to start doing. :-)

Why do you think the people at the Science Museum are more health than the general population? Please comment. Thanks.

An observation from the Spy exhibit: - One of the 'things' a spy often has to do is lie or deceive others (not a job that would keep you out of conflict with the Ten Commandments). So they had a section there where two people would interact with each other by asking questions about a picture: one would lie and tell the truth and the other would have to pick if they were being truthful or not. What I found out is that I was able to lie with out being detected by my wife 2 out of 2 times and the one time I was telling the truth she thought I was lying..? She on the other hand was detected when she lied and agreed with when truthful. This wasn't a big surprise to me as I can usually tell when things aren't quite right ... which is a good thing for a Father of 5 to be blessed with.

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