For the past few years a thought has entered my mind more and more. I find myself thinking about the riots in Europe; the fires, violence, murders, rapes. What is to stop that from happening in America? Europeans have come to be addicted to entitlements. Their economies have been ruined by their frivolous spending on social programs – retirement, healthcare. But these are the same programs that America has right now, and they are the programs that are causing our own problems.
When someone is given something for so long, it’s is nearly impossible to take it away. But at the end of the day, if the money isn’t there, a country is forced to “cut” spending. In Europe people rioted in the streets over having to pay for their college education, or for having to retire at a later age. Here in America, we are just as addicted to entitlement programs, I can only imagine what kind of chaos will break out when we finally have to cut our own spending.
Perhaps we’ll only have a few riots in the major cities. Lucky for me, I don’t live in a huge metropolitan area, but I’m close enough to Milwaukee and Chicago that my own neighborhood could see some spillover. What does this mean for me? Well, right now it means keeping a close eye on Washington, and preparing for the worst. I’m not going to go all weirdo “survivalist” on you, but it’s always smart to be prepared.
Physical fitness is obviously a key in survival, and I feel like I’ve got that down. But what about living without electricity? Without a phone, or car, or computer? Do I have what it takes to survive? I’ll keep everyone updated, but something I’m going to be focusing on more is just that – survival. Shelter, food & water, fire. Right now I don’t know enough, but over time I’ll be more and more prepared for what could happen. I’ll keep you updated with what I learn.
That’s right. There’s no time for writing anything today. A lot has been going on – work, music, life. You know, the usual – just to extremes. So, video day it is! This a cool radio interview with Lou Schuler where he talks about how too much sitting is affecting our lives.
I’m not sure if maybe I just hang around the wrong people, or if this is a common problem across the country in gyms everywhere, but when training comes up, negativity does too. I rarely hear friends talking about the progress they’re making. More often I hear things along the lines of “Man, I’m lost 10 lbs over the last couple weeks. This sucks!” or “I haven’t been able to hit 8 reps like I used to.”
When the conversation moves towards the actual program they’re using, it’s kind of just a bunch of mush. No real planning, no real strategy, no notebook taken to and from the gym. Yet, when questioned about their training, they are rather confident that they’re doing everything right. Sorry, but if everything was being done right, you wouldn’t be having problems.
And still another problem emerges (and this may be the worst). Closed minds towards different training ideas. If you’re using “Plan A” from Jay Cutler’s program in a two year old issue of Flex Magazine and you aren’t getting any results, maybe it’s time to try something else. The programs written for specific people are probably not written for you. Therefore, there’s no real reason to take an IFBB pro’s program as the Bible for workouts. Jay’s program works for Jay, but he’s also been doing this for a long ass time, has a very different diet than you, and has a little extra help from “supplements” (Ha!).
One of the most common problems (in my branch of the fitness world) is guys complaining about how they can’t gain weight. 90% of the time it’s as simple as them not eating enough. But when I say “Dude, you just need to eat more” I hear back “No. I’m eating enough.” Obviously you aren’t! If you were, you would be gaining weight. Forget about the creatine and protein powders. Just eat!
If what you are doing isn’t working, what is there to lose by trying something else? Well – your could hurt the most important thing to a lot of people. No, not your heart health or checking balance. You could hurt your EGO! As long as you keep believing that what you are doing is right, you don’t have to face the fact that you are wrong.
Please (and I’m saying this in all seriousness) put your ego aside, try some new things, and quit complaining about the lack of progress you are seeing from your current program.
I remember being a kid in elementary school and learning about the different holidays that different cultures celebrate this time of the year. For all us white Christian kids we get to celebrate the best holiday – Christmas. There also happened to be a couple of Jewish kids in the school (not any in my class or even my grade if I remember correctly), and they get the whole Hanukkah thing. And the kids with parents that never felt like teaching them about religion or faith – well, they get the “winter solstice”. And yes, we had to learn about the “traditional” African holiday – Kwanzaa.
It wasn’t until a decade later that I figured out Kwanzaa isn’t real. By that I don’t mean that it’s not a real holiday, or that people don’t celebrate it, but that it’s not traditional, and didn’t come from Africa. I was led to believe that Kwanzaa was the “Christmas” for people in Africa. The English get Christmas, the Kenyans get Kwanzaa. Turns out Kwanzaa isn’t celebrated anywhere but America. (Kind of like Mexicans not celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Wait, you didn’t know about that either?)
Kwanzaa was developed in the mid 1960s by Maulana Karenga, leader of the Black Nationalist group, “Organization Us”. Organization Us, in case you haven’t heard of them, was (and is) the rival to the Black Panthers. Back in 1971, Karenga was convicted of the assault and torture of two of women. Karenga’s defense was along the lines of sanity – a psychiatrist told the court that Karenga suffered from hallucinations, schizophrenia, and paranoia. Sounds like a stable guy, right?
Karenga’s limited mental ability may very well be why he was given only 4 years for his crime. After he was released from prison he went right back to managing his group, Organization Us. But while all that black supremacist stuff was going on, Karenga did develop Kwanzaa. Karenga taught that Jesus and Christianity were only for white people. Christmas should be shunned by the black community, and that instead of celebrating the holiday of the evil white people who enslaved them, they ought to celebrate their African roots, by celebrating a holiday he made up – Kwanzaa.
There are “7 Principles” that surround Kwanzaa, and they are pretty good, if you take them at face level. Principles like creativity, purpose, and unity. But these words have all been turned and twisted to separate people. Unity is only for black people. One of the principles is “collective economics”. Sounds a bit like socialism, doesn’t it?
While I’m sure that most people think of Kwanzaa as a happy, fun, harmless holiday, many of the underlying facts behind it and it’s origin are downright disgusting. It was developed by a violent, racist, man, in order to give an “alternative” to Christmas. He clearly didn’t understand Christianity or Jesus, or he would have known that Christianity is not a “white” religion. While Christmas celebrates the birth of the Christian savior, Kwanzaa celebrates a culture and a people. Christmas was developed on religion; Kwanzaa was developed on politics and racism. Bet you’ll never hear that being taught in school…
A few years ago, I was in the studio with one of the recording engineers I regularly work with. Being the super-conservative that he is, he often gets in arguments with the people he records. Over the years I guess he just thought it helpful to keep an econ book handy at all times, and now it’s a mainstay in the studio. I picked up my own copy, and since then, the author has become a favorite of mine. The book is “Basic Economics” by Thomas Sowell. Since reading the first Sowell book, I’ve read plenty of others – all of them amazing.
It’s surprising to me how many of my conservative friends had never heard of Thomas Sowell before I brought him up. This Christmas I bought a stack of “Black Rednecks and White Liberals” and gave them out to friends as gifts. I’m sure I missed a few people, and of course, there are still a lot of people out there who don’t know Thomas Sowell. So, without further ado – go ahead, watch the video, and bask in his brilliance. Enjoy!
Apparently, we only have a year to go before the end of the world. That’s right. December 21st, 2012, will be the last day for us all. Says so in the goofy Mayan calendar, right? That’s a good thing to base your life on – an ancient calendar… oh boy.
There are a number of problems with anyone believing that the Mayans were able to predict the end of the world. First off, (and this is the thing most people just completely overlook) the Mayan calendar works in cycles. When it comes to the end of a cycle, it starts going backwards. So even though the calendar “ends” in 2012, that doesn’t mean the world ends. It means that the calendar stops, and then reverses. It’s NOT predicting the end of the world.
Furthermore, why would we bother basing anything on what the Mayans think? 600 years ago we didn’t even know they existed. They were completely cut off from the rest of the world. They had no opportunity to trade goods, or, more importantly, trade ideas. It would be ridiculous to base any prediction for the end of the world on an isolationist society. Even if the Mayans did believe that the world would end in 2012, I’m sure they believed all sorts of goofy things. You can’t pick and choose which parts of their culture to follow, and expect it to have any validity.
Its a bit silly to me. So many of the people who say that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world are also Christians. But in the Bible it clearly says on numerous occasions that humans will not know when the end of the world will be. God tells us that “it will be soon”, but “soon” for God is probably pretty long for the rest of us. If you are a Christian, how can you believe that we know when the world will end?
Perhaps the world will change. The world as we know it might end. If the Mayans forgot to add in leap-years to their cycles, we may be looking at January 20, 2013. Hey – that’s the inauguration of the president. No matter who gets elected, that date will certainly be the end of the world as we know it. Iran is close to getting nukes. Israel is getting frustrated with all the unrest in the middle east. And just earlier this week, Kim Jong Il died. The world could very well drastically change in 2012.
In any case, I find it absurd to live your life based on what might happen. We can’t predict the end of the world any more than we can predict what will happen tomorrow. Live your life, don’t worry about nonsense like this. If you really believe something terrible is going to happen… well… stockpile guns and freeze-dried food. Ha… ok, Glenn Beck.
Fish Oil has been one of the most popular supplements to come out in years. Not only are it’s benefits proven, but they’re numerous. Whether you are a bodybuilder or soccer mom, you have something to gain from taking fish oil supplements. Fish oil is high in Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These fatty acids are not produced naturally by the body, so unless you eat a lot of fish, it’s necessary to supplement. Here are 5 reasons to start taking fish oil.
Increase Your Gray Matter - Simply put, your brain is made primarily of two types of “matter” – gray and white. White matter is mostly nerve fibers, while gray matter is made of substantia grisea. White matter is responsible for our “automatic” functions – things like regulating our body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. Gray matter is responsible for things like speech, emotions, and memory. While I’m certainly no expert, the studies are pretty interesting – the more gray matter you have, the “smarter” you are, and it just so happens that fish oil creates more gray matter!
Heart Health – A healthy heart is key to a long healthy life. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America today. While we should obviously take more time to eat right and exercise more, fish oil can also be an aid to a healthy circulatory system. Both the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association recommend taking fish oil supplements to reduce cholesterol. Fish oil has also been linked to lowering triglyceride levels.
Pain Relief – One of the most common causes of joint pain is arthritis, essentially inflammation. Again, it just so happens that fish oil, and EPA in particular, have been linked to reduced joint stiffness and discomfort in people with arthritis. Reduced inflammation doesn’t just help with arthritis though. Sore from a hard workout? Fish oil might be a solution. Everyday we see numerous TV ads pushing new pain relief cures for joint pain. Why not take something natural, with fewer side effects, that’s cheaper, and has a bunch of other benefits?
Look Better – We live in the best country in the world, but we’re pretty damn superficial. So if you are concerned about the way your skin looks (ladies? metrosexual men?) fish oil can help. Your skin is constantly producing oils to keep it healthy, but sometimes it can’t produce enough. Fish oil helps your body produce everything it needs to not only BE healthy, but LOOK healthy. Fish oil can also help with your hair and nails. A lot of skin conditions are actually inflammation – which fish oil reduces.
Live Longer – Along with helping prevent heart disease, fish oil can help prevent stroke. Some studies say taking fish oil can reduce chances of stroke by 50%! Fish oil has also bee rumored to slow the growth of breast tumors (SavetheTaTas.com). Fish oil can help with Crohn’s disease, bowel problems, digestive problems, and helps treat stomach ulcers. Fish oil has been shown to help prevent various types of cancer including breast cancer and prostate cancer, and people who are currently fighting cancer can benefit because fish oil helps prevent Cachexia (muscle wasting).
All in all, fish oil is a miracle supplement. It’s cheap, easy to find (Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart, etc) and has at least a few benefits for everyone. I’m not a fan of supplements. I always like to get my nutrients from real food, but fish oil is one of the few supplements I take and stand by. Give it a shot.
Sometimes we get so caught up in specialization that we overlook more important things, like clarity and ease of use. While my personal Top 5 fitness books are already chosen, I feel the need to continue recommending books, whether they be on diet and exercise, free market economics, or business.
I was at Barnes and Noble the other day picking up a Christmas gift. I knew what I needed (a book on the Great Depression), but the first thing I did when I walked in the store was look for something for myself. I found what I was looking for, didn’t buy it, then saw something else I wasn’t looking for, and bought it. It was a book called “The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek”. After picking it off the shelf, I wandered over to the American history section to get a book on the depression, and found a good one (I think). As I was walking out I looked up over a shelf and saw “Exercise”. Well, ok. Let’s look and see if there is anything interesting here.
Low and behold, they happened to have a copy of “The New Rules of Lifting” by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove. They also had a lot of crap on the shelf, but since I didn’t own a copy of The New Rules, I decided to buy it, thereby taking possibly the only good book B&N had in the exercise section. (Hope you weren’t there after me.)
I had read a bunch of articles by both Schuler and Cosgrove over the years, a lot of them off T-Nation. I had heard of the New Rules before, but had never actually read the book. I’m not a fan of hype. When anything is popular I tend to scrutinize everything about it more than usual. The New Rules, however, is a pretty good pick.
The book starts off by dispelling a few common myths about weight training – why aerobics aren’t that great, why crunches aren’t going to get rid of the flab around your stomach, why biceps curls are pretty much useless in any daily application, etc. Then we get down to the basics of the book – six movements that everyone should be doing in their workouts. These movements (notice I didn’t say exercises) are the squat, deadlift, lunge, push, pull, and twist. Then we get into some simple ways to understand sets and reps, programming, diet tips, exercises that fit each movement, and a handful of workouts designed for whatever your goal may be.
This book is not the most in depth text on bodybuilding but it’s not supposed to be. This book is simple, easy, and fun to read. I’d recommend it to a lot of guys who aren’t looking to be bodybuilders or powerlifters, but just want to be healthy and look good. It’s also a great book to keep on the shelf and have on hand when looking for some new ideas.
We all have our priorities, so don’t hold this against me. A couple friends are back in town for the holiday season, and instead of thinking up something interesting to blog about, I’m gonna spend some time with them. I’m sure you’d do the same. So – since I’m not going to write anything, I’ll just post a good ol video of some Mike Tyson interviews. Don’t take Tyson too seriously. He’s one of the best boxers ever, and had probably the most controversial personality. Just watch and enjoy!