How fit is my blog?

April 30, 2008

I am starting to view the practice of blogging, as I view exercise.  It’s not that much fun at first, but in the long run, it offers great rewards. Thinking back to my first post, it actually sucked. However, once I became accustomed to sitting down and executing, I found myself and my voice. Like running, I actually enjoy the challenge of blogging.


Okay, so I enjoy it. But how fit is my blog?  My blog has an audience of about zero. So what? How many people actually remark about my workouts?  No one approaches me at the gym to say, “Hey, I saw you on the treadmill. You really ripped it up!”


Blogging is good for me. Who doesn’t care about the way they write? Well, that’s probably not a concern for many, but I do care. I have to write at work. I should be on the top of my game.  Although there may be a few mistakes here and there, I feel that my nine previous posts have sharpened my skills, and more importantly, increased my attention to detail.


Can I coin the term – “Blogger’s Euphoria?” After I run about two miles, runner’s euphoria sets in. I’m in the zone for the last mile or two and run with ease. After my run, the euphoric feeling continues until I encounter life’s next challenge. Blogging gives me that same feeling. Sometimes, it is tough to get started, but once I am rolling, I am in this writing zone. After careful examination, I can finally click the “publish” button and there it is – my blog post.


Making friends is great. I make friends at the gym. Why not make friends on the Internet?  I can link to anyone and sometimes catch a comment.  Linking is probably my favorite part of blogging. I actually conceived this post from Seth Godin’s blog post – “Write Like a Blogger.” Check it out. Godin gives nine blog (fitness) tips. Go ahead. Click that. According to Godin (Tip #4), you will come back if you think I am interesting.  And if you aren’t interested in what I have to say, don’t sweat. I will still be here.  I may change the name of this blog, which was originally named for a graduate course in public relations. However, I will be here – bench pressing blog ideas and running with them.


She said what?

April 30, 2008

New York Times’ health blogger Tara Parker-Post created quite a stir on a blog post last week. It’s rare that someone speaks out about the presumed physical inactivity of cancer survivors, however, Parker-Post sifted through a recent study to ascertain, “Obesity and physical inactivity are linked with a lower quality of life among cancer survivors and may increase the risk of the cancer coming back or death from the disease.”


The Well blog quickly drew over 100 comments, many from cancer survivors.  The majority of the comments were complaints that cancer survivors and those recently diagnosed should not be concerned with calorie intake and overall fitness. Parker-Post responded with “The Well Podcast: Cancer and Exercise.”  It is an eight minute podcast with “Leslie Bernstein, a noted cancer and exercise researcher from the City of Hope cancer center in Duarte, California.”


Wow! I would be ecstatic to have 119 comments for any of my blogs, but at what price? Where should Parker-Post have drawn the line? It seems like people are always so eager to attack. Are those who have cancer or have survived cancer a protected class? Isn’t obesity a factor in most diseases?  Don’t we know enough about the effects of poor nutrition and lack of activity? The truth hurts.  I run almost every day. I’m still overweight.  Running and weight training make me feel great.  My problem is Papa John and Grandma Shearer (potato chips) make me feel great too. With bad genetics, I am a walking time bomb.  I have lost fifteen pounds since I started Weight Watchers and I continue to work on what goes in my mouth.


My point is this: Don’t attack people who are stating the obvious. I am genetically built for heart disease. I have high blood pressure. Maybe not as swift as cancer, but both are killers. Why wouldn’t I want to do all I can to prolong my life? Maybe Parker-Post won’t motivate many, but she might make a difference for a few.

I qualified for the 2009 Boston Marathon!

April 26, 2008

This past Monday, a 29-year-old Kenyan, Robert Cheruiyot, bested the field of 25,000 runners to win his third consecutive Boston Marathon and his fourth overall. Cheruiyot’s story is inspirational. Overcoming extreme poverty and abandonment as a youth, he became the first Kenyan to ever win four Boston Marathons. I am captivated by his story of triumph. However, I am even more intrigued by an article I read in the New York Times about cheaters.


The Boston Marathon is one of the most difficult marathons to enter.  After running became hip in late 1970’s, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) implemented a strict qualifying system. The race has a narrow start and can’t handle as many racers as other marathons. And with stricter rules, come the cheaters.


According to BAA spokesman, Marc Chalufour, some runners qualify for the race and sell their starting spots.  The BAA checks sites like eBay and Craigslist for culprits. They recently caught a sale on eBay. They also count on runners to blow the whistle on those not running the straight and narrow. A major problem with those purchasing starting spots is the field is set according to qualifying times. This means a fat hack runner like me, who runs three miles in the time Cheruiyot runs eight, can purchase a spot in the front of the pack.  Since I’m twice the size of some of these runners, I may cause some major problems at the beginning of the race.


\"I carb-loaded for the race\"By limiting the number of qualifiers, the Boston Marathon has become the most prestigious running race. It is the Tour de France of running. By the way, Lance Armstrong ran this year’s race in 2:50:58, more than 40 minutes behind Cheruiyot. But aren’t cheating and capitalism what we, as Americans, stand for. If you can sell a grilled cheese sandwich that exhibits the imprint of Jesus Christ’s face on eBay, why couldn’t you sell your starting place at the marathon? Look, I run local races and I can’t stand those snobby, skinny runners that finish the race and run back on the course and soon pass me on their warm down. Because a stout runner like me could buy a spot in the front of the pack at a race like this, makes life seem a little fairer. 


Politicians cheat. Corporations cheat. We know professional athletes cheat.  Why can’t the average guy have some fun?

Ruling doesn’t suit German swimmers

April 20, 2008

I am so tired of hearing about athletes gaining an unfair advantage.  The entire winter was dominated by Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Capitol Hill. Not too long ago, I anticipated trades and acquisitions.  Who would my beloved Yankees add to the roster? 


Now, the Germans are upset because they can’t wear their Speedo LZR Racer swimsuits. It seems the suit offers an unfair advantage.  Swimmers wearing the suit have only broken 22 world records since it was introduced in February.  I guess you can call that an unfair advantage, but who cares?  Let them wear the suit at this year’s Olympics. No one took John Belushi’s “Little Chocolate Donuts” away after he shattered world records in the decathlon.


Look, I swam in high school and had to sport the traditional Speedo swimsuit.  You know the one.  George Castanza (You remember the Hamptons) would have cringed at the thought of popping out of the pool after a race in that suit.  Nothing can scar a young swimmer more than putting your “shrinkage” on display in front of female swimmers and fans. I swam faster, so I could put my warm-ups sooner.


Of course the real problem here isn’t the suit.  The problem is money.  The German swim federation can not break its deal with Adidas, which runs through 2009. German swimmers are now devastated.  According to a Yahoo article, German Coach, Orjan Madsen, said the swimmers are now psychologically damaged.  They will not be able to perform as well as they could with the suit.


Once again, big business and special interest are ruining the true spirit of competition. Believe me – I think it’s great that the federation can sign a $6.2 million deal with Adidas, but who really benefits?  The swimmers are amateurs.  They are not making money to swim.  The Olympics was one of the only competitive arenas not tainted by big money contracts.  I guess that arena is shrinking!


What’s wrong with exercise?

March 31, 2008

As consumers, when are we going to stop listening and start doing?  A recent study of  Vytorin proved the drug had absolutely no effect on cholesterol levels. According to an article posted on Newsday’s web site, many leading doctors urged their peers to revert back to “older, tried-and-true treatments for high cholesterol.”  Does this suggest doctors will begin telling their patients to eat right and exercise?  


“People need to turn back to statins,” said Yale University cardiologist Dr. Harlan Krumholz, referring to Lipitor, Crestor and other widely used brands. “We know that statins are good drugs. We know that they reduce risks.”j04096602.jpgj04096602.jpgj04096602.jpgj04096602.jpg


Okay, I am convinced that not everyone who is diagnosed with high cholesterol is overweight.  However, do these drugs benefit us more than they hurt us?  When are we going to stand up and start running? When are we going to stop eating meat injected with more juice than Barry Bonds (allegedly)? This fatso is tired of the pills and the doctors who prescribe them.  These drug companies start where the oil companies end. Every time they fire a drug onto the shelves at your local Walgreens without proper testing, they are in essence bellowing one of my favorite new acronyms, BOHICA (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again).


This Vytorin drug arrived on the market in 2004.  It promised to lower cholesterol. Now, it sounds like snake oil. But, even snake oil couldn’t potentially cause muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness with fever or flu symptoms and dark colored urine; decreased urine or rust-colored urine; or blurred vision. Let’s not overlook some less serious side effects such as stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea; cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose; tiredness; headache; skin rash or itching; joint pain, back pain; and insomnia.


What do fruits, vegetables, and 30 minutes on the elliptical cause?  I forecast no negative side effects, except maybe sore muscles and a more regular schedule.


So, after the oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, and over prescribing doctors are done with us, who is next?  Wait a minute. I think Time Warner Cable just added the BOHICA channel.

My Bar

March 2, 2008

dumbells.jpgdumbells.jpgWhen you are trying to lose weight, many experts will tell you to eat six smaller meals per day.  That was easier said than done until the creation of protein bars. Now, these bars, varying in flavors from cardboard to candy bar, can be found in any drug store or super market.  They have their own row. One bar you won’t find on these shelves is the You Bar.


Californians, Ava Bise, and her son, Anthony Flynn, are mixing a little technology and lots of old fashioned customer service to promote their protein bars.  According to a recent New York Times article, the two began dabbling in the protein bar business ten years ago.  Back then, they were their only customers.  Although the two don’t like to share specific information about sales, they did say sales have doubled each of the last eight months. 

You Bar customers are able to customize bars to fit their tastes.  I visited the site and was amazed.  I could pick ingredients from a list and then calculate my bar’s nutritional information.    I have eaten my fair share of protein bars and some of them taste like a combination of cardboard, chalk, and chocolate.  With each bite, I recalled my mother saying, “You ordered it. You eat it!”  That’s not the case here.  If you order the bars and don’t like them, you can send them back to You Bar.  Then you can go back to the drawing board to alter the ingredients.

Take Flynn’s business and Internet skills, add those to Bise’s earnest approach to customer satisfaction, and you have your bar, the You Bar.  For a price comparable to major brands, it may be well worth the effort.dumbells.jpgdumbells.jpg

Fertilizing New Ground in Employee Fitness

March 1, 2008

Thank you to Bill Sledzik for sharing the Business Week article, Get Healthy—Or Else.  Scotts’ CEO, Jim Hagedorn is snuffing out employees, literally.  In an effort to trim health care costs, Hagedorn has implemented a new fitness program for employees.  I am j0409521.jpgvery impressed.  I have long advocated for an employee fitness program.  However, has Hagedorn stepped over the line?

I think not!  I would love a company that kicked my rear end into shape.  By telling people to quit smoking and lose weight, Hagedorn is cutting his costs and more importantly, adding years to the lives of his employees.  I am not going to give research results.  I know that cigarettes and fried foods are bad.  Why shouldn’t employers want the best for their employees?  Honestly, I would love to see the end of “food days” and birthday cakes at work.  It’s bad enough that I get suckered into buying those Girl Scout cookies and tins of frozen cookie dough.  I spend about half of my awake week at work (try saying that with a mouthful of cookies).  I would be glad to have to answer to someone.  I think I would have an easier time cutting some pounds if the alternative meant taking food off of my children’s plate. 

This article couldn’t have come at a better time.  I have been whining about universal health care since 2004 and then, I heard it.  McCain has not spoken about health care because Republicans feel that people should be accountable for their own fitness.  It was an epiphany for me.  I am not thinking about pledging allegiances to Ann Coulter, but I do feel enlightened.  Why shouldn’t we be accountable?  Why should we pay for those who make poor health choices?  Who is paying for that fat lady to sing? I am fat, mad, and ready for a change! Bring it on!