Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Learning From the Best

I don't believe anyone would argue with the fact that we can learn much from reading and hearing what successful people have to say. On the flip side, I sometimes wonder what this generation is going to be like after years of watching their televisions which serve up endless hours of reality shows that portray and often glorify the basest type of human behavior. I recognize I've brought this up before but bear with me. Also consider the fact that reality shows exist and are growing in number by the week because people are watching them and the media execs are giving people exactly what they want. That's a scary thought.About 3 months ago some friends and I were sitting around discussing this subject and others like it when one guy said ."just imagine what kind of juries you are going to have in 10 years when people have been so dumbed down by what they watch on the tube." A frightening thought indeed.
Needless to say, we are profoundly effected by what we consciously allow ourselves to be exposed to. Consequently, we must be very vigilant about what we take in. I recall watching something on television awhile back and after it was over I said to myself, "I just wasted an hour and a half of my life, what am I doing?" After that I drastically altered how often I watched television.
So today I will begin an occasional series of posts that include quotes by people who are at the top of their game mentally and physically. This first one features a person,Yiannis Kouros,who I believe is the greatest runner who has ever lived. I'm aware that my assertion  would be viewed by many as a subjective one but if you take the time to Google his numerous world records you will see why I say this. Yiannis is also a poet, musician and craftsman. He achieved success while overcoming many physical and mental obstacles. He had this to say about  the challenges we face----
"Each horrid(or difficult) event should equip you with the necessary provisions so that you can confront the next one; it shouldn't make you yield. The continuous confirmation is that despair and hopelessness supply you with means--inconceivable at first, and they make you discover hidden unexpected powers."
The first thing I think of after reading this is that when we are in the midst of an athletic competition and think that we are about to succumb to the pain and fatigue that is a part of the event,if we persevere and don't simply get into a survival mode,we may 'discover those hidden and unexpected powers' Yiannis  talks about, powers that will carry us to unexpected heights.
I  also take from the above that we should be open to learning from our experiences, especially the ones that are most difficult and painful. We must not do what human nature often wants us to do, push those unpleasant  things out of our mind as soon as possible.
A lazy day--physically drained--walked barefoot for 45 minutes with stretching after.
And how was your day?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I was recently reading an article by a psychologist that listed the mental skills of successful athletes. Attitude was the number one attribute on that list. Attitude is listed in dictionaries as:
"a personal view of something: an opinion or general feeling about something." The author then went on to say that attitude is a choice. He was of course referring to having a positive attitude. I thought after reading this he made it sound so easy to have a 'positive' attitude, we just have to will it and if we didn't have a positive attitude it was our own fault.
I have found that having a positive attitude is important, no question.It is easy to have a positive attitude when you are about to start a new endeavor. There's the excitement and anticipation that you are beginning something which will bring or create positive change(s) in your life. Then, often times reality sets in, the road to reaching your goal becomes difficult for various reasons. A change in your attitude occurs, perhaps you become negative, pessimistic or discouraged. This is a normal reaction.
Here's what I suggest you do when this change in attitude happens:
First off, expect it and recognize that what you are experiencing occurs, in one way or another, to most others seeking excellence. You are in no means lesser a person or athlete for having these feelings.
Then---realize that persistence is the key to everyone who achieves success, be it the Olympian or the local road racer. Stumbling blocks and setbacks are sometimes signals that you need to reassess your plan of action. I have often told people that they should write something like this down and leave it where they can see it everyday---Persistence is the Key to Success. That is why I also encourage others to read articles and books that, among other things, are about people who have been persistent.
Remember that often, doing the best you can and trying your hardest can have as much validity and satisfaction as being a champion or being what some describe as a successful person. I should add that what is deemed as being successful as a person is subjective.
When your positive attitude falters always remember to count your blessings as they say---remember that you have the presence of mind, health and ability to even pursue your goals, so many people don't. As an aside, I used to tell my kids this fact--- the majority of people in our world go to bed without having enough to eat, so what are you complaining about?
More on attitude and the attributes soon.
It's a work day but I just had to run--a grand massive total of 18 minutes--but like I said the other day---I did something towards my goal---stretching throughout the day--as usual.
So what have you got planned?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Establish a Personal Support Team

As we strive to be at the top of our game mentally and physically we must have access to resources that will help us. Now, if we had lots and lots of money we could hire personal trainers along with a variety of coaches, nutritionists, physicians, and all the types of personnel needed to "get there." Of course, we don't have those kind of resources but we still can, and need to, establish a support team. These are people who know more than we know in a particular area and we can seek out their advice when needed. I'll show you what I mean by describing some of the people who are on my support team. There is one thing you have to do though in assembling your team, you have to pick people you respect and believe in. That takes time and effort.
First off, all of us need good solid medical advice from time to time. I have an M.D. who takes a holistic approach to medicine and healing, that means he always looks at the cause of my complaints, he doesn't simply write a prescription and send me on my way. I'm sure you are all aware of this but too often meds treat the symptoms and not the cause of your maladies. When I have questions about things pertaining to medicine, healing, overall health and nutrition I obviously can't call my doctor every time so I utilize Dr. Andrew Weil at his website ( I like Dr. Weil because he is a real physician who will seek alternative, more natural ways to treat your problems when appropriate. Also, he's very big on prevention and treating the cause.If  I have a question, I just go to his site and type it in his search engine. After 40+ years in the medical/psychiatric field I can tell you this,it's grim out there folks, a proverbial minefield of incompetence and a lack of true caring for the patient. On the flip side of the coin are the so-called "natural healers" who are mostly frauds with at best questionable credentials and an agenda being getting hold of your $$$$$$.
You have to strike a balance in that department and, to me, Dr. Weil strikes that balance. There are others out there.
Now, for medical/injury advice? I choose Dr. George Sheehan, a physician who was an accomplished runner and wrote for years in Runners World while publishing some really good books on running as well as others on the illnesses and injuries related to it.
As far as my  training--my go to guy is Arthur Lydiard--he developed the foundation on how to train as a runner, he developed the format that told us how to use his program as a guide to get  fit.
For a philosophy on living a vigorous, full athletic life I always read anything by Percy Cerutty. I wrote a lot about him in my previous There are close to 400 articles on that site dating back to late 2010. If you are a runner and haven't seen it, I would strongly urge you to check it out, it is unlike any running site you will visit, and that's a good thing.
I could go on but I think everyone sees what I'm getting at here--it's all about organization and having the resources available to help you along the way so you can be at the  the top of your game mentally and physically. I see so many people go searching here, searching there, wasting time looking for answers to their concerns and questions, getting more confused.
Begin assembling your team today if you haven't already.
A lazy day--a 45 minutes walk barefoot through the park and stretching after.
What did you do?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Do Something,Do Anything,But Do it Today

As an athletic coach for all kinds of athletes over the last several decades, I tend to be wary when people, who say they want to improve themselves physically, tell me certain things.
The big ones I've heard are--"after the holidays I'm going to really get into it(working out)."  "The kids are coming to visit, so after they leave I'm gonna start." "When I get back from vacation(cruise) that's when I'm going to hit it hard."  "When the good weather is here I'm really going to dedicate myself."  It doesn't take a degree in psychology to conclude that those statements reveal a reluctance to commit.
It sort of makes me think of something I read by an out of shape runner a long time ago---"it's not the running that's hard, it's the getting in shape that is." I know what he was talking about, there comes a point in your conditioning when you are in good enough shape that taking an easy run feels, well, easy. Getting to that point however you often feel like a lug, simply getting through your workout.
Here are some thoughts for those who are having trouble getting started. First off, many of you are feeling overwhelmed at the whole prospect of becoming fitter, you may feel you have let yourself go for so long that it's all just too much to even think about. Consider this---
People who have stopped bad habits tend to find that each day they don't engage in that kind of behavior adds to their confidence and resolve to continue. Say you have been struggling with your weight or you just want to become fitter but on a particular day you don't workout, for whatever reason. Instead of beating up on yourself for not doing so try this---deny yourself--instead of reaching for that piece of crap, junk food or polishing off a 6pk of Bud--tell yourself---"no, I didn't earn it and I need to do something to improve my physical well-being today and this is going to be it. Choose something, no matter how simple it may seem, that is a positive step in reaching your goal that day.
Let me take a moment to throw in this seemingly unrelated fact--what's one of the differences between humans and animals? Humans have the ability to control their impulses and urges. Although there are far too many people who act like animals, this in no means as to be you too. Control yourself---if you are not in control, you are out of control.
That's why I always encourage the daily reading of edifying literature, I am not talking about the cute two sentence feel good things you read on greeting cards. I'm talking about books with substance and guts.
As you start putting days together where you know you have done, even something little to improve yourself, it becomes a habit,it becomes part of your being,you gain confidence as well as a sense of accomplishment.
So what are you waiting for?
Had to take a short 20 minute run today even though I'm working--it was so nice out--stretching all during the day.
What have you got planned?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Have You Been Corrupted?

I begin today's post by saying that some of the content you are about to read was in an article I did a few years back on my 'To Run is to Live' blog. After I wrote it I received a lot of positive feedback regarding it. I believe it is very relevant to a site that says it's trying to help people get to the top of their game mentally and physically. I've tweaked it a bit as they say with added info and deletions to the original article.
I am sure everyone has heard the frog in the pan of water on the stove over a low heat story. For some reason through the years I have always enjoyed and referenced it. The frog is oblivious to his changing environment and ends up paying the ultimate price for it, his life.This,what I'll call a parable, has much application to us in today's society.
The original title was, 'Have You Been Debased?' I got the word from an essay I was reading which was about how badly our diet has been debased over the years.At the time I was reading it I was uncertain as to what the word debased meant. So, I looked it up and found the meaning to be---"to reduce in quality or value"--a synonym for it was--to corrupt.
The idea for this post came after looking around the internet and flipping through some channels on  television, observing what was considered by the writers to be newsworthy and relevant. I know I've gone on about the TV previously but there's more to it then that---Consider the following--

'Have we allowed our minds to be debased? Do we watch things on television and in the movies that have absolutely no redeeming value? If the television suddenly disappeared from the earth would we be lost and confused? What type of things do we read, do we even read? Do we look to be entertained or do we find and initiate our own entertainment? Have our everyday lives been debased? Do we think that owning lots of things is the way to go and that they are the key to happiness? If we do,then the way we view life has been debased. I think everyone out there sees what I'm getting at, you can plug in your own, "have you been debased" question to other facets of your life.
What I'm saying is that as people who want to be at the top of our game we need to be aware and discerning people. This takes an alert, inquisitive and active mind. Dulling it with useless mind numbing activities, consuming too much drink (as in alcohol) and crappy food is an easy lifestyle to settle into.Daily involvement in edifying pursuits that stimulate the mind and lead to growth as a person is a one way ticket to true satisfaction and success mentally, as well as physically.For some, shaking off their accumulated debased habits and views will take varying amounts of time and effort.The key is in being able to recognize if you've been debased in the first place. Here's hoping that the above may be a help.'
Have you gotten to the point that what you think is OK and normal has been determined because the majority of the population is doing it? If you have, then I say you've been debased.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Most of us feel uncomfortable pondering our own mortality. Heck--to a certain extent it's even uncomfortable to write or talk about it. I say this about the whole subject, why not turn what some view as a negative subject into a positive one? Putting aside personal faith beliefs and considerations, let thoughts of our mortality become kind of a call to action, to live life more fully. No one is guaranteed health and being alive tomorrow, so why live and act as if you've got lots of time to do things you should get started on now anyway?
I talked to a friend last week who lives in Florida, he told me that, unlike me, he was going to wait until he was 66 to retire because that's when he would earn the greatest amount of pension and benefits. My question to him was, how did he know he would have the health or even be alive at 66 to enjoy it? His only response was:"My, aren't you the optimistic one."
By the way---do you know what they call Florida? Answer--God's waiting room.
Seriously, not to go on but live like you don't take life for granted--do the things you want to do today--tell the people you love how you feel about them, today--and each and everyday for that matter. If you think you need to make changes in your life start the process now!
It's a work kind of day--stretching before and after---what have you got planned?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nutritional Babylon

Much has been written on nutrition over the decades. It's my opinion that, particularly in the last 20 years,there has been a lot of bad information masquerading as truth being promoted by people who are basically hustlers. Indulge me for a moments while I say a few things.
First off--I heard a speaker say one time that religion and nutrition were two areas where people could pass themselves off as experts yet possess absolutely no worthwhile credentials in their respective fields. Also, Adelle Davis wrote that people had a tendency to become fanatical about two things, nutrition and religion. I like her comment because I have seen people treat what they ate,and more importantly, what they didn't eat, with the same zeal a fundamentalist treats their faith.
Consider this analogy---Dave advertises that he runs a flight school and you want to learn how to fly one of those single engine planes. You come to my office and soon find out that I have not actually flown a plane myself but have read lots of books about it and have even operated a flight simulator. Would you then sign up for lessons from Dave the flight instructor? Of course you wouldn't,neither should you take advice from anyone simply because they claim to be a nutritional authority.
As a student of nutrition for around 40 years I may give you my opinion on what I think is a good way to eat but I believe it would be better if I told you what I have discovered in those 40 odd years  in the health/nutrition field.
Hundreds upon hundreds of books have been written by people espousing their particular slant on nutrition, diet and what you should eat. The majority of these writers possess little credible schooling and knowledge on the fundamentals of nutrition and human anatomy. Claims that writers experienced near miraculous results from how they eat does not validate the worthiness of that claim. In addition, many of these writers who say they have this training or these credentials may have a diploma but they are from less than worthy institutions.
Here's the skinny--people need to take account of their own health and well-being. Don't depend on someone who makes a living promoting a special way of eating to give you unbiased advice. Call me cynical, but it's the truth. The internet is a great place to read and study about the basics of nutrition and the human body. Just like there are the fundamentals of athletic training, there are fundamentals of nutrition; such as the body's need for complete proteins, water, plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits and quality grains.
Don't be one of those people who compromise their health because they've been fooled by a smooth talking hustler. It's all about taking initiative, doing the work yourself. 
It's 20 minutes running with a 25 minute weight workout after.
What have you got planned?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mix it Up

Ever notice as we get older we fall into the same patterns and routines? While he was still alive I could tell you what an older relative of mine was doing just by looking at my watch. "Oh, we can't go over to Uncle John's now, it's 5:35pm,he's eating dinner." 6:30 to 7pm weekdays? He's watching the nightly news--5 to 6pm Saturday afternoon he was watching pro-wrestling--I could go on but you get the picture. Uncle John rarely did anything different like go out somewhere in the evening if he thought there was the slightest chance he might not get home to do his nightly routine. Spontaneity was a  totally foreign concept to him Although routines and habits give us a sense of safety, comfort and stability,they can cause us to stagnate and become......boring.
I also believe doing the same old routine, day after day,month after month, year after year ages us prematurely.
There so many things to see and experience in this world, places to see, people to meet, new things to do. Changing things up and leaving our comfort zones make us think more, it stimulates us mentally and physically.
My plan is totally change up my daily routine, starting with my workouts There was a time when you could look at your watch and you would know I was out for my daily run. Also,going to new and different places is on the agenda too.
How 'bout you?
It's one of those work days---stretching before and after---more reading of Thoreau prior.
What have you got planned?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Be Who You Want To Be

I got to thinking about the subject for this post after talking with a few friends and reading an essay by Henry David Thoreau. I'd like to quickly add that I am not trying to come off as some type of intellectual by referencing the fact I'm reading Thoreau. In trying to be at the top of my game mentally, I am occasionally reading works by authors who have a deep appreciation of what is called by some, 'high thinking and simple living.' I have found Thoreau to be most interesting and insightful.
It seems that much of our early lives, at least for most, is spent trying to find our place in this life. Questions like, what am I going to do for a living is one of the biggest ones that have to be answered. In making this decision it would not be a stretch to say we are greatly influenced by others in determining what we will do. Our parents, siblings and/or teachers appear to have the greatest influence over us in making that decision. A major consideration in choosing a career path is how much money you will be able to make, will you be able to have a house, support a family, etc. These are natural concerns but too often they can be a ticket to eventual frustration.
I think of the bumper sticker--'Live the Life you Love.' Someone who was just starting out--trying to determine the course(career) they were going to take asked me what I would advise him to do. I told him one of the things I wish my father had told me, choose a career that you know you will enjoy going to work each day, forget about what the pay stub says and don't compromise your morals and ideals to pick a career because you can make lots of $$$$. Don't put material possessions and what you gain from doing something you don't like above choosing the right path. Believing that happiness is gained from having money and all that it can buy is 'maya' , an illusion.
So many people are going through life unhappy with their jobs and slaves to their mortgages, car payments and toys, totally unaware or having forgotten to appreciate what some call the simpler things in life. Is it any wonder that this country is drinking and drugging itself at levels never seen before?
If you find yourself caught up in what I call  "the big lie," it's never too late to get back to the basics and engage in some 'high thinking and simple living.' Begin the downsizing process,it may take awhile but it will be well worth it, think of it all as an adventure--- strive to live the life you love.
An hour or so walking the beach--swimming--stretching--it's a great day to be out there.
What have you got planned for today?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Go Barefoot

People have asked why on certain days does my workout list walking barefoot. There are many good reasons to do so. What follows in no particular order are some of them. At the end of this post is a link that is very interesting and describes why walking barefoot is not just good for your feet but can be a huge benefit to your health in more ways then you could have imagined. I should add that as a runner for 50+ years I am not an advocate of running exclusively barefoot.
Like I said,in no particular order:
1.Our footwear is restrictive in regards to allowing our feet to have  a full range of motion thus making them more prone to aches and injury.
2.The bottoms of our feet give us a kind of sensory feedback about the surface we walk on. This  of course is not possible when we traverse everywhere with something on them. Also, the condition of the earth we walk upon stimulates certain points of our feet. Think of it as a free reflexology session.
3.They say that the muscles in your feet are not able to develop and strengthen fully due to the habitual wearing of shoes which can contribute to poor posture and back problems.
4. This is something I was totally unaware of,there are studies that have shown that walking barefoot on the grass increases the release of endorphins,this can lessen anxiety and depression by 60%.
5.Walking on grass barefoot has been used as a cure for insomnia for centuries.
6.Here's another one I was totally clueless about and is discussed at length in the link listed below. "The earth has a negative ionic charge. When we walk on it, especially by water, our bodies ground to that charge. Negative ions (also produced by waterfalls) have been proven to detoxify, calm, reduce inflammation, synchronise your internal clocks, hormonal cycles and physiological rhythms."
7.How 'bout, it just feels so good! When you walk through a forest or by the sea with the water coming onto your feet it's incredible. Talk about a forgotten pleasure. In these advanced, "technical" times we've gotten away from the more basic,simpler things. Time to get back!
Today is 40 minutes running with strideouts interspersed throughout--I may take an occasional walking break during it. I'll follow later with 20 to 25 minutes  lifting.
What are you doing?
Check out this link on going barefoot.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A New Day,A New Week,A New Beginning

For some reason when I was young I believed Monday was the first day of the week. The first day of the week seems like a great place to begin something new or institute a change in your life. Is there anyone who doesn't want to change something about themselves or begin a new venture? This blog is all about improvement, improvement that leads to a better you physically and mentally. To better ourselves we must make  changes in the way we think, what we do and the way we live. So, take a little time this morning to contemplate what you are going to do to change your life. Don't be one of those people who choose to play it safe by staying with what is familiar, what is comfortable. Not to belabour the point but there is a reason why people regularly drink and drug themselves and that's because, underneath it all, they are unhappy with their lives.Don't be one of those people. Consider the following:
"Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try." Anonymous.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do."
 Mark Twain

Working later---going for an easy jog with stretching after. Reading for awhile before checking in.
What have you got planned?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Surround Yourself

As mentioned earlier---if we are desiring to be at the top of our game mentally and physically we should associate with others who are fellow seekers and avoid or limit our contact with others who are basically living for self pleasure.
Something else we should surround ourselves with, good books. I'm talking, hold in your hands, turn the page books here, not Kindles or variations of the same. Reading books is becoming less common then it once was. The increasing options provided by the television, computer and internet have been the major reason for this development. There is something very special about taking much time each day to read. We should make reading an essential part of our lives like eating, bathing and sleeping, it is that important for those who want to become all they are capable of becoming.
For starters, read inspiring literature like the scriptures of different faiths. A sad thing that has happened over the years is this spoken, and sometimes unspoken belief, that if you are a part of one faith you can't read the sacred texts of another one. Why is that? Afraid of what you might find,is your faith that tenuous? There is wisdom in so many places coming from so many different people. If you don't believe in a personal God then read the works of writers like Nietzche,Rand and others.  Also, read biographies of people who have done positive and great things for their country or world. Books about other lands and people are great too. You see what I'm getting at here.
Turn off the television--or as Peter Tosh used to refer to it as-------'Tell-a lie-vision'
Every minute of your life is precious, don't waste it!
It's a work day--enough said--stretching throughout.
What are you doing?

Friday, July 19, 2013


"Oh demon alcohol,
Sad memories I cannot recall,
Who thought I would say,
Damn it all and blow it all,
Oh demon alcohol,
Memories I cannot recall,
Who thought I would fall a slave to demon alcohol."
The above is a song by a great British group called The Kinks.

Today we consider alcohol. Since the theme of this site is being at the top of your game mentally and physically it only makes sense to look at a substance that is consumed in varying amounts by most everyone, adult at least.
After a number of years of drinking I eventually came to some conclusions--you may agree with the following, you may not. My intentions for listing them are good--
1. alcohol is an acquired taste.
2.alcohol impairs the mind, mood and senses and the habitual user seeks out achieving that impairment.
3.alcohol does nothing to nourish the body,in fact, it depletes the body of vitamins and minerals.
4. for the regular user it's habit forming,and in some cases, addicting.
5.the occasional user generally becomes the regular user.
Before you think that I am some sort of spoil sport or holdover abolitionist let me say this: to be at the top of your game--you have to be in control--are you controlling what and how much goes into your body--can you? They claim a drink or two a day is beneficial to your health but this claim is disputed by many. What I have noticed is that the vast majority of those who drink on a regular basis consume much more than that one drink or two a day quota. If you are one of these people, perhaps you need to ask yourself this question, am I addicted to alcohol? Am I in control or out of control? If you don't know, try this simple test--don't drink today or at all this weekend. See how it goes. As these 3 days progress, monitor how you feel physically,mentally and emotionally; do you find that you are more prone to being irritable, anxious and restless, do you feel bored or even depressed? Then again, can you even make it through 3 days without drinking? What you discover may be shocking. If you find that you are not a "casual" drinker, then changes need to be made.
Again, it's all about control and discipline. Have a drink if you choose but be aware.
Below are the effects alcohol has on your body--keep this in mind as you go through the weekend--

A few of the health effects of alcohol consumption:
Increases the risk of cancer in the liver, pancreas, rectum, breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus.
Heart disease:
Raises blood pressure, blood lipids and the risk of stroke and heart disease in heavy drinkers.  Heart disease is generally lower in light to moderate drinkers.
Raises blood glucose.
Lowers blood glucose, especially for people with diabetes.
Kidney disease:
Enlarges the kidneys, alters hormone functions, and increases the risk of kidney failure.
Liver disease:
 Causes fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Increases the risk of protein-energy malnutrition,; low intakes of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6 and riboflavin, and impaired absorption of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and zinc.
Nervous disorders:
Causes neuropathy and dementia; impairs balance and memory.

Today is a long barefoot walk on the beach--say an hour--with swimming and stretching--what have you got planned?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Detox Water With Cucumber and Citrus

Considering the weather we've been having I thought I'd add this post right after the new one I just put up(see below). Thanks to Dr. Rawls of The Vital Plan for the recipe. The better we nourish our body with what we eat and drink the better it will perform mentally and physically.

"A detox water with cucumber and citrus is hard to beat in this warm weather heat.  And besides just serving as a refreshing way to add some zing to plain water, this beverage boasts some powerful health benefits too.  Best after soaking overnight, our recipe makes multiple servings that store well in the fridge and pack a flavorful punch.
Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins.  They are also known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol, which have been linked to reduced risk of several cancer types, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and prostate cancer.  Citrus fruits have an abundance of vitamin C, potassium, pectin, and phytochemicals that benefit numerous conditions including allergies, asthma, cancer, cataracts, heart disease, stroke, and the common cold.  And mint, which adds a tasty zest to any dish, has been used to relieve abdominal pains, bad breath, and sore throats.
Detox Water with Cucumber and Citrus (makes 4-6 servings)
8-10 cups of filtered water
1 cucumber
1 lemon
1 large navel orange
1 lime
~15 mint leaves
4-6 glass jars with lids
Cut the cucumber and fruits into slices and distribute evenly among the jars.  Add 3-4 mint leaves to each jar and seal.  Refrigerate.  Enjoy your detox water with cucumber and citrus after the jars have soaked for at least several hours or overnight (and preferably while sitting on a porch in a rocking chair."

The Company You Keep and Your Lifestyle

You say you want to be at the top of your game mentally and physically but are you willing to do all the things necessary to reach that point? Sometimes doing the necessary things to maintain focus and to keep on track can be difficult. Many of us will have to make serious lifestyle adjustments along the way. For instance; a partying, unstructured life will never get you to where you say you want to be. As an old friend once said, "you can't soar with the eagles if you're out prowling with the dogs every night." Continuing to associate with people who live a kind of day to day, pleasure centered life will only distract and possibly sabotage your best intentions. Perhaps that's how you once lived but now you realize that it's a dead end route which ultimately leads nowhere except to a life of habitual pleasure seeking, which for most people, includes consuming copious amounts of alcohol. That is the true "opiate" of the masses these days. More on this subject soon.
I could go on but you get the picture-in order to reach your goals changes have to be made that will take resolve,organization and discipline. It's all part of the process but it can be an enjoyable process when the end means a life that is meaningful and fulfilling.

40 minutes easy running ---followed by stretching and weight work-- I figure in a few weeks I'll try some pace runs over a mile course. For the mind I studied some info on healthy alternatives to Gatorade and how the body best recovers in hot weather. As each day goes by we work the mind and the body.
What did you do today?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sweat it Out

I thought of the following because while out driving recently I've noticed that as its gotten warmer most everyone else has their car windows up. Presumably it's be cause their A.C. is on. Also,I walk into many stores and feel as if I'm walking into a meat locker. For some reason this caused me to think about sweating and the forgotten benefits of it. Many athletes accept sweating as part of the process but will do all they can to avoid it the rest of the day.
Consider these facts----
The skin is our body's largest excretory system.
Here's what happens when you sweat and here's what it does:

"When you sweat, you breathe faster, your heart works more, your circulation improves and your metabolism accelerates, all in an effort to resume your normal body temperature. Because your circulation is increased during sweating, many of the toxins and impurities are able to exit your body by way of your open skin pores.
Your skin also benefits from sweating. Your skin pores open and any dirt or impurities on the surface layers of the skin have a chance to exit. Sweating regularly, if followed by proper cleansing, will help you to achieve softer and smoother skin.
It is believed that the immune system also benefits from sweating. When your body heats up, your body generates more white blood cells. This strengthens your immune system."
One more time:
"Sweating has many health benefits. As a person sweats, it removes toxins and disease out of the body. The kidneys can take up to 24 hours to remove harmful toxins like lead and mercury out of the body, while sweating removes these metals much faster.  Sweating can also rid the body of harmful substances like alcohol, cholesterol and salt. Research as found that as much as thirty percent of the body’s wasted is eliminated through sweat."
Come on--you remember the days driving your car in 90 degree temps with the windows down, the radio blasting  and the wind blowing through. It was fun. Sweating is a good thing,so's showering after.
It's a heavy work day today--calisthenics and stretching in the morning followed by seven hours on my feet, walking, lifting and  more stretching.
So, what do you have planned?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Habits and Goals

Perhaps I'll wait a day or two on the alcohol post.
I agree with Dr. Sheehan when he said he did his best thinking when he was out on an easy run.
This thought popped into my head while I was running earlier today--one man's bad habit is another man's addiction.So, that got me thinking about habits.
Yesterday I was looking at the necessity of goal setting and later while reading I came across an article by the late American psychologist William James. It concerned developing habits. We of course must develop good habits if we are to achieve our goals. Developing habits requires some degree of effort and discipline initially. With habits, as they become a part of our life and being, they require less conscious effort in continuing them.
William James said that in acquiring a new habit or in breaking an old one there are four important things to do:
"1.Make the motives for acquiring the habit so worthwhile and so strong that you cannot afford to let your will power break down, since every day that such a breakdown is postponed adds just that much to your chances of success."
My take on that is you must believe in the worthiness of the habit and goal to put in the effort. Do you really want what you say you want? Too many people like to be titillated  by reading articles and literature about changing and success but when it comes time to do the "work" they fall away only to later pick up the next related book. Why do you think there are so many articles and books on success, changing your life, losing weight and achieving your goals?
"2. Never allow anything to create an exception in the formation of your new habit, until the habit is firmly rooted in your daily life. The real secret of acquiring a habit is to condition the nervous system by regularity of action; hence one exception breaks the chain of that regularity and means starting all over again."
Persistence is the key to success.
"3.Start putting the new habit into practice at the very first moment possible. A habit is not formed by thinking about it; action alone counts."
What's the old saying?--"if wishes were horses beggars would ride."
As I once said on my 'to run is to live' blog---a comeback never sounder sweeter and easier than after a few beers. Get real and commit!
"4.Keep alive the ability to form a habit by doing a little something extra each day toward the original habit or an entirely new one. This exercise strengthens the will power and guarantees against a lapse into your former mental inertia."
In other words--keep your eye on the prize(goal).
On a related note I'll finish with this story---I met an author one time who told me that when he first met with his publisher he was told that they only publish a few of the kind of books he writes. This author said to himself, "why can't it be my books then?" That's the kind of attitude we all need!
Ran earlier for half an hour, mixed in several strideouts. Did calisthenics and stretching.
What are you doing today?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Purpose--Have a Goal

It's easy to say we want to be at the top of our game mentally and physically but do we have a specific goal? Is there something we want to achieve? For instance---when I get to the right stage I'd like to challenge myself physically by running a fast 5 or 10k. Some of you might want to do something similar. Another thing I'd like to accomplish is have control over myself--the ability to resist less than healthy behaviors, thoughts and actions. I have found that we must have a clear stated idea of what we want if we are to have any hope of  achieving our goals. I use to ridicule the notion of keeping a journal or diary that chronicles one's progress. However,what I found over time was that the reason I did so was because I lacked the discipline to keep one myself. Many athletes and  people who are successful have kept journals, who was I to think I didn't need to? Interestingly, in the past, my big plans and goals eventually faded into obscurity when I went day to day and just sort of "winged" it. Taking a little time to write in a journal or a blog is a discipline and to reach your goals you must be disciplined. You must be disciplined in more than just setting a goal and keeping a daily record of your progress but for those who have never done so, it's a small step in the right direction More about that soon.
It's a full body lifting kind of day with stretching followed by a half hour walk barefoot in the park.
So, what are you doing?
I think we'll talk about alcohol, etc. tomorrow.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Thoughts on Eating and Weight

It would be no exaggeration to say that in the last 40 years there has been more written about nutrition and diet than any other subject except maybe things relating to the Christian faith. Much of what has been written on nutrition and diet pertain to losing weight. To be at the top of your game mentally and physically you must maintain an ideal body weight.
Countless books have been written on how to achieve your ideal body weight. Thankfully, like so many things in life, there is a very simple way to reach that goal. No complex formulas or  buying of books is needed. It all boils down to common sense and the fundamental laws of physiology. If your level of physical activity during the course of the day is minimal, then your caloric intake should be restricted.You mean I can't eat 3 full meals if I'm not working out or engaging in an occupation that is physically demanding? You know the answer to that. Again, it's common sense, you can't take in more calories than you burn. Now the real question is, what if anything are you going to do about it?
Some random related thoughts on the subject:
The problem with weight control is that most of us know what we need to do but aren't willing to do it. If you are having problems in this area try these suggestions---begin the day as I mentioned in the initial post for this site----when you get up in the morning look at yourself naked in the mirror. Take a good look; consider the softness, the fleshiness, the sagging skin and cellulite. Ask yourself: what am I going to do or not do about this today? Think of the way you looked in the morning when you later reach for that piece of "food" you know has zero redeeming nutritional value.                          We must begin to foster an eating to live mindset instead of a living to eat one. Make a conscious effort to not view food and eating as a focal point of your life. Put eating in the same category as other essential bodily functions such as bathing, sleeping and elimination.                                                                                                                                        Foods that people find most appealing and addicting are ones that are either fat laden or loaded with sugar. Avoid them. An in season peach or apple never tasted better than when it's the first thing you've eaten in hours. Try it. Even the most debased taste buds will find this appealing.
Ultimately, it all comes down to you, it's mind over matter, your body. We must nurture and develop our minds. When we do, the controlling of our body will become less of a struggle. It is my hope to show you how.
I felt energetic today, even though I'm working later I ran for awhile-- for less that a half hour-- also did some stretching and sit-ups.
What have you got planned?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Don't Be a Cellphone Zombie

While we're on the subject of being at the top of your game mentally,lets look at the cellphone.I should begin with this disclaimer--I don't mean to offend anyone but like the friend who is drinking a fifth of vodka a day---there comes a time when someone who cares steps in and points out the error of his friend's ways. Today--to some of you---I am that friend.
You see people on cellphones everywhere --on the street--in the stores--on the beaches--in the parks-- and quite unbelieveably--in their cars. People staring blankly at the screens--texting or talking. Just today I saw a number of people looking at their phones while driving--forget the number who were actually talking on them.
Cellphones are addictive, and for the most part, unnecessary. I'm always amazed when I see people at the store where I work walking around talking on them, even when they are checking out.
Cellphones have become more addictive as they have gained more special features and things you can do with them.
Questions of health concerns, to me, are valid ones. U.S. officials dismiss reports that come out periodically from Europe critical of their use,but, it's not very reassuring when these same U.S. health agencies recommend that we text more and not let children actually talk on them too much. Mmmm--follow the money on this one--cellphones are a billion dollar+ business in America.
I could go on but here's the bottom line--ditch the cellphone--don't be afraid to be alone with your thoughts--you don't need to be talked to or at or have something to look at throughout the day anytime you desire. Cellphones are mind numbing ---they will make you addicts and less intelligent and interesting people.
Hour walk today--barefoot with 30 minutes weights and who knows what else.
What are you doing?
More later.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Your Mind Matters

It's a given--to be at the top of your game mentally and physically you have to train. The same goes for your mind. One of the big detriments to that process is television. You just sit in front of it--little thinking is involved--you're watching. Studies have shown that television does not challenge you--in fact--it stagnates your mind. It's hypnotic--it's addicting--these days it's mostly a repository for garbage and people who are so debased that you would not want anyone you cared about emulating them. You can't even get unbiased news on it anymore.
Ask yourself--when was the last time I read a book--how many books have I read in the last month--six months?
Read--interact--do puzzles--take online courses--journal(daily)--anything but watch the tube--it's a mind waster!
The monsoon weather we had earlier today has now stopped -- will do 30 to 45 minutes aerobic work with stretching and calisthenics post.
What have you got planned?
More on the mind later.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Work and Working Out

I work three days a week at a job that is often physically exhausting. It involves 7 hours on your feet with lots of lifting, bending and stretching. This is my workout for today, work. However, I will begin the day, at least after I have been up for awhile, with something called the Seven Sun Salutations. I am not a yoga kind of guy but I discovered these movements(stretches) several years ago and have found them to be very beneficial in staying loose. It is important to be up and moving for a period of time before you get into the "salutations". Below is a link to a longer version of them. Later we will consider the mind and will.So,what are you doing today?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Ultimate Goal

Standing alone, I am what others see and hear,
Without pretension,
Having no need to effect a look or manner by adopting vain extraneous appearances.
I exude a quiet confidence derived from a life that is disciplined, yet open and welcoming to new challenges.
I view my physical training as an opportunity to grow and be fulfilled in all aspects of  life.
This training is as vital to me as my relationships and my vocation,it makes me complete.
I feel no need to explain or prove the validity of the way I have chosen.

The merit of one's life can be measured in part by his disposition and how he treats others,
Yet one's words and actions often betray what he espouses.
My running and training burn away my weaknesses and faults, but the fire must be kindled each day.

Life can be hard and filled with uncertainties that overwhelm the unprepared,
For many, the joy in this life is thus lost.
The way I live,though strange to most,
Provides a peace and comfort that cannot be measured and is not tangible,
But it is the path I've chosen and it's worth is validated each day of my life.

I wrote the above last year--training can accomplish so much more than making your body fit--it can burn away the frustration, anger and hurt. It can provide you insights into your life, give you confidence and ultimately a personal peace.

Take a Look at Yourself

Jack Lalanne once told his viewers to do this:Take your clothes off--stand in front of the biggest mirror in your house and take a look at yourself---do you like what you see? Are you happy with the way you look?
I'd be willing to bet that the majority of people who do this aren't. I know I'm not. Are my legs beginning to bow? What happened to the muscle tone? What's with the soft flesh around my middle?
I jogged for 30 minutes yesterday---I'll lift weights for about 30 minutes today---as we age we lose muscle mass and weight work is one way to slow that process. I'll do the lifting with very little rest between reps and sets. Also, I'll do sit-ups and stretching.The stretching is the basic--hands in the air reaching to the sky with alternate toe touching and bringing your knees up to your chest stuff. We also lose flexibility as we get older. We must achieve a mix of aerobic and strength work in our quest for optimal fitness.
So, what are you doing about yourself today?
The next post is about what being on top of your game brings--mentally and physically.