I do a lot of dips as part of my exercise program. I especially like the way they work my triceps but as an added bonus they do a good job working my chest muscles too. I just found a product that will allow me to do triceps at home more efficiently. It’s an attachment for my much used pull up bar that makes it easy to get in some good, deep dips in whenever I want to.
Here is another of my very professional, high quality videos demonstrating my fabulous new toy!
Another wonderful holiday is right around the corner. I, for one, am happily looking forward to the MASHED POTATOES. I love them. I love them made with lots of salt and butter…sometimes with sour cream mixed in or a little garlic. Yum.
A holiday meal like Thanksgiving is no time to restrict calories. Who would be so unkind to themselves? It’s impossible to add a significant amount of weight from a single meal. In our efforts to eat nutritious foods and to control the amount of calories we take in there are times when it’s appropriate to just let go, to enjoy friends, family and yes the prodigious amounts of food we’re so fortunate to have.
Speaking of being fortunate, Thanksgiving is a time when I stop to count my many, many blessings. I try to keep gratitude in the forefront of my mind at all times, all year long but Thanksgiving is a little reminder to slow down and take stock. Even though life can offer up unexpected challenges, roadblocks and sometimes seemingly insurmountable difficulties, every single one of them is best faced with an appreciation for that which we HAVE instead of what we’re lacking. It’s a hard orientation to maintain sometimes. Problems feel overwhelming. Despair seeps in under the door, takes up residence on the couch, raids the refrigerator and makes a tall, deep mess right in the middle of the room.
The best cure for it is to first count your own blessings…and yes, scant though they may seem, they are there. The next step is to extend yourself to help someone else. You may question how you’re supposed to do that when ugly Despair is running around, unfettered through your house but I posit that it’s the best tactic for mounting a defense that can send Despair packing
Helping someone else can take myriad forms. We tend to think of big, grand acts with sweeping, obvious results like bringing food to a starving village or carrying children out of a burning building. Those are indeed great acts but such scale is not required of us. Indeed, when you can hardly get out of bed in the morning those opportunities will probably not present themselves to you. In the battle against despair teeny, tiny acts are all that is required to begin the eviction process. If you have the skill, you can fix something for someone. You can make a phone call to see how someone is doing. If that’s still too big, you can offer up a genuine compliment to someone in your circle. If you can’t bring yourself to talk, you can give someone a friendly gesture, a thumbs up or a wave. Even a simple smile can be a tremendous gift.
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” (Mother Teresa)
If smiling is too much (and sometimes it is) you can always pray for someone privately. When fighting despair, no act or gesture is too small. Give what you can because every, single, intentional act of kindness is of value.
It’s important to remember that you are only required to originate the act. You will most likely never know the influence that act had. It’s not necessary for you to know or judge the outcome. Those things are the pervue of God and perhaps they will be revealed to you one day, but not now. Just know the act itself is enough.
When Despair arrives and starts making a royal mess inside the house, it’s time to feed our spirit. We do this by doing the work of the spirit. We do it by raising up, supporting and encouraging our fellow man even from the depths of our own hurt. Little is required. The smallest bit of yourself, the tiniest offerings are enough. Even if you think your reserves are long gone you still have something to give and it’s by that giving that you are filled. Your efforts don’t deplete you. You don’t end up with less. On the contrary, it’s by your actions that you are refreshed, that you are renewed that, that you are relieved. String your efforts together day by day and soon Despair is left without a place to linger. His place in your house is gone.
Wishing you a home full of laughter and good cheer on Thanksgiving day and every day thereafter.
Well this kind of says it all. Isn’t this the basic philosophy of all
gym rats successful fitness enthusiasts? As I was going into the gym the other day I ran into a friend of mine coming out. He told me he had been having a difficult time getting to the gym that morning. He just didn’t feel like showing up but he’d dragged himself in anyway. I asked him if he was sorry that he’d made that decision (knowing what the answer would be). He answered that he felt great. He was very glad he’d made it in and was energized and feeling strong now that his workout was over.
That’s the way it always is for me. There are plenty of times when I just have to grit my teeth and drag myself in the door. Some days the getting there is the hardest part of my workout but I can tell you one thing. I’ve never, ever regretted my decision to go to the gym.
Like the old saying goes, showing up is half the battle, and no where is that more true than in the pursuit of your goals in the gym. No show, no benefit. It’s as simple as that.
Today, November 14th 2013, was a banner day in terms of energy put into my workout. It started out normal enough but my energy output soon exceeded all previous levels of maximum output.
Why you ask? There I was happily listening to my music and enjoying my time on the elliptical machine, warming up for my lifting when whose face should pop up on one of the bank of TV’s in the cardio area? It was Nancy Pelosi. She was announcing what the President was going to say in a later speech regarding proposed changes to Obamacare to aid those who have had their insurance policies cancelled in spite of the fact they were promised that they could keep their plans repeatedly (approximately 30 times in speeches given by the President). During her prepared remarks, she ventured off topic (not off script) to include her plans to have some meetings to see what could be done to aid the Philippines after that immensely powerful typhoon hit just last week. She added remarks about how much America appreciates the veterans from the Philippines and the contributions they’ve made to our country.
At that point I could feel heat start at the base of my spine and run right up my backbone to my head. You see, I’m a writer. Not necessarily a good one but I sure understand the craft. I know that when speeches like this are given, every word is in place for a reason. It’s carefully constructed to present information to the public in a particular way. Images are invoked to stir passions in a certain direction.
Nancy Pelosi (and her speech writers) know that Obamacare is a disaster in terms of how it rolled out and they are concerned that the problems with the website are creating a delay which will give even more of the population time to consider if this is actually the way we want to go with our healthcare system. They know that when people become frustrated with the ridiculous sign up process (and the surprising cost of the plans for many who thought they were going to get something for free) they will begin to question the whole thing so Nancy’s writers created a speech in which they attempted to portray a caring and compassionate leadership that understands the plight of those who find themselves on the losing end of this healthcare deal. She positioned herself as their advocate and the administration as savior.
Then, in order to cement the imagery of the administration as the helpful savior of the people, her writers linked her remarks on healthcare to her desire to stem the suffering of the people in the Philippines and then went further to link it all with her love and appreciation for our veterans (many Filipinos fought under the American flag in WWII and we have plenty of current military members who trace their ancestry back to the Philippines).
I wanted to scream…right there on the elliptical machine! What a load of hogwash. Politicians will use anything and everything to manipulate their listeners including tapping into the deep, patriotic spirit that runs through so many American citizens. It makes me sick to watch them try to use the very real gratitude extended to our veterans for their own ends.
Remember, just a while ago we had the government shutdown and the administration she represents instructed the park service to drag barriers over and surround the open air monuments honoring World War II veterans and Vietnam veterans to keep them from getting close to them. They did this knowing full well that groups of 90 plus year old World War II veterans were coming for long-planned visits to these monuments. During that SAME TIME she hosted a rally for a group representing illegal immigrants on that “closed” national mall. During her opening remarks there she thanked the President for allowing the rally to go on. No visits for our vets who sacrificed so greatly to build a country that people the world over want to come to…but sure, hundreds of folks who have cut in line, circumventing American law and those who go through proper channels…they can have their rally. Not only can they have the rally, Nancy Pelosi will speak at that rally. I will NEVER forget that so listening to her evoke appreciation for our veterans in her presentation was positively infuriating.
Yes, I was infuriated…and the good side of that is that I was able to generate all kinds of extra energy for my cardio session. Had I been on solid ground, I would have been on top of a fourteener by the time I was done!
After finishing my cardio I hopped off the machine and headed over to the weight area. My intention was to train hamstrings and calves and my first stop was a hamstring machine. I was sitting there getting ready to go and looked to my left. MOTHER OF GOD! It was him! It was the sandy-haired, blue-eyed 30-something year old man wearing his shirt with the Communist star on it. Mind you, I was already hot under the collar from being abraded by Nancy Pelosi’s nonsense and here was this moron who loves to strut around the gym in either his Chairman Mao, or Communist star shirt.
(In case you don’t know Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward ended in absolute catastrophe resulting in the deaths of 18 million-45 million people. The Great Leap Forward motivated one of the most terrible mass killings in all of human history)
I had to ask God for serenity.
I didn’t quite get there. I still had all manner of less-than-serene thoughts running through my mind but I very successfully channeled some of my disgust into my training. Red hot internal temperature goes a long way to power big lifts.
Give me a few more days in the gym like today and soon I’ll be looking like this!
Yesterday I stopped by one of my favorite bodybuilding.com friend’s page. I left him a deeply meaningful and incredibly wise note as usual (having to do with what snack foods I’m currently craving) and I wished him a good Veteran’s Day in advance. I told him that I don’t need any sort of special day to remember our veterans, that I carry gratitude in my heart every single day. That’s just true. I’m delighted that there is a day of national recognition however. It focuses people’s attention and hopefully the public celebration leaves some lingering appreciation in the hearts of those who don’t know or understand what it means to serve…what it means to be willing to offer yourself up to something bigger than the preservation/protection of a single life (your own).
It’s that willingness that I so admire and celebrate. All through American history good men have stepped forward, giving of their time, their comfort, their peace of mind and potentially their lives as payment for the price of freedom. They are who stands between darkness and our ability to live out the credo “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
In absolute terms they are the treasure of our country. They are where the wealth of America springs from. That’s not an exaggeration. Without them, America is just a lovely idea that could never really be. From the sailor who stands in the cold scraping and painting the ship for the 100th time, to the administrative assistant, to the cook, to the pilot, to the special operator – every single one of them is worthy of our thanks and praise.
God bless our veterans and God bless America!
Today is the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
My gym friend David, a Marine, gave me this shirt which I promptly turned into a dress. I’m quite fashion forward, don’t you think? I dare say the best designer in the world couldn’t have created a design I’d be happier to wear.
“There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and those who have met them in battle. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.” (General William Thornson, U.S. Army)
“The Marine Corps has just been called by the New York Times the ‘elite of the country.’ I think it is the elite of the world. (Admiral William Halsey, U.S. Navy)
“I am convinced there is no smarter, handier, or more adaptable body of troops in the world.” (Prime Minister of Britain, Winston Churchill)
What does 50 look like? It looks like this!
Each year for the past 5 years I’ve posted an official birthday photo on Bodybuilding.com. I do it as a documentation tool to help keep myself on the right track. I have a particular physique that I work toward and taking a moment each year to see how I stack up to my own ideal helps keep me honest.
Now for that honest moment. I don’t look as good as I did last year at this time. That’s just the truth. It’s not function of advanced age, I assure you. It’s just that I haven’t been working quite as hard as I was last year at this time. I go through high energy times and low energy times with regard to my workouts. Right now I’m enjoying one of those high energy times but that’s only been true for the past week. Before that, I had a long while where I just wasn’t pushing quite as hard. The desire wasn’t there, at least not strongly enough to make me do it. That’s the way it goes with me. I understand it and don’t get upset when I’m cruising/maintaining rather than actively building muscle, stamina and strength.
I should add that just because I acknowledge that I’m not quite as cut and muscled up as I was last year on my birthday, doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with my physique. I’m not that hard on myself. I’m pleased that I’ve kept my commitment to hit the gym regularly this past year just as I did in the 21 years before. Regular exercise brings great riches into my life….riches of balance, inner calm and deep personal satisfaction.
I made it to 50 and I’m all too aware that many people don’t get that opportunity. I’m grateful that I get more days to try to improve myself and maybe bring some cheer into the world Goodness knows we’re living in challenging times. Our hard-won freedom and liberty is under assault seemingly at every turn. There is wickedness afoot and there are enemies both outside and inside the gates. I can’t hold back the tide all by myself (and thankfully, I don’t have to) but I can certainly stand with my brothers and sisters out there and try to be a light in my little corner of the world. Happy to be here and happy to have you to share bits of my journey with.
Now where is my birthday champagne? It’s supposed to be chilling in that little, silver bucket on the side of my soapbox!
I love fall. I love Halloween. I don’t always dress up but when I do I usually go as a witch. I wonder what that says about me? Perhaps it’s my inner self showing on the outside. When I was a little girl I played alone for long hours in my backyard. Once in a while I would pretend to be a princess but mostly I pretended to be a witch. I busied myself creating all manner of potions (mostly composed of mud and various flowers) and thinking about how to do healing spells. I can’t really say what that was all about but I’ll bet a good psychologist could have fun analyzing it…and while said psychologist is hard at work trying to decipher the meaning of the whole thing, I’ll be getting out my black nail polish and my pointy black hat for some holiday fun!
If you remember, the poor blow up pumpkin that used to be on my front lawn was lost this year to a fierce wind storm. Now it appears that another part of my outdoor Halloween display is under attack. The neighborhood critters have been feasting on my decorations! A couple of days ago I noticed that one of the pumpkins in my graveyard had some gnaw marks on it.
The next day I looked and things had taken quite a sinister turn.
Now how’s that for a Halloween scene? Yesterday afternoon I noticed that things had gone from bad to worse!
Oh well! My neighborhood is now full of big, fat, well fed squirrels! While the squirrels play eat-the-pumpkins outside, I’ll just have fun playing witch inside!
Wishing all of you a wonderful start to the week, and of course a very happy Halloween! Just a few more days to wait…
Recently this great looking, fit woman posted the following photo on Facebook. What followed was a firestorm of criticism with people claiming that she was fat shaming. She was actually called “a hurtful, hateful bully” and someone took time to write that most REAL moms don’t look like her.
Fat shaming. I’ve never heard that expression before but after about 1.5 seconds of thought I can say unequivocably that this is no such thing. As a matter of fact, it’s remarkably similar to a few motivational pieces that I keep in my collection on my computer. They are there because I find them inspiring and the underlying message of “if I can do this so can you” helps keep my own pilot light burning strong.
I’ve even posted one of my own that could be considered similar in interpretation. Remember this one?
Anyone who thinks that this is fat shaming, anyone who feels that Maria’s photo was purposely negatively directed at them needs to take a step back and examine their own thought process. Any shaming that occurred is self shaming. I’d venture to say the women who were upset were made uncomfortable because they KNOW they are responsible for the physical condition they find themselves in. They are dissatisfied with themselves and projecting it onto a woman who puts in the time and effort to sculpt her body a certain way. If they felt shamed, it was generated internally and has little to do with Maria. It was that little voice inside of them speaking. It was there before they saw this photo and it will be there long after they’ve forgotten all about Maria unless they have a change of attitude or outlook.
I always tell people to be kind to themselves. If they are content the way they are I salute them. I mean that sincerely. It’s a blessing to be happy with yourself. If, on the other hand, they’re really bothered by their physical condition then I tell them that they have it within their power to improve. I’m not going to say that they could look exactly like Maria. That’s how her body looks with the effort she puts in but I can promise them that they will move closer to what their own ideal is. Taking care of yourself is part of loving yourself. If you’re not doing a good job of it, then start. Stop looking outside of yourself and blaming other people for making you feel bad. YOU are making you feel bad. You don’t have to live that way. The key to your happiness is in your own hands.
Know what I say?
Harden up and either learn to accept and love yourself just the way you are or else do something to change things.
The following is a copy of the news story.
Originally published: October 19, 2013 11:11 AM
Updated: October 19, 2013 2:56 PM
By SACRAMENTO BEE
Elk Grove, Calif. – Elk Grove, Calif., mother and fitness buff Maria Kang has ignited a firestorm in cyberspace with her “what’s your excuse?” Facebook photo, which shows her in a sports bra and short shorts, posing with her three young sons.
Some call it flattering and inspiring, others call it insulting and overly revealing, but Kang’s photo has gone viral — and global — as media outlets from California to London have covered the controversy.
Posters and bloggers have accused Kang, 32, of “fat shaming,” claiming her photo suggests that all women can look like her if they just work hard enough.
On her blog about motherhood, Theinklingsoflife.com, Morgan Moss declared: “You, as a woman, should be ashamed that you are furthering the downward spiral of how society views women, and how we women view ourselves. … Most REAL moms don’t look like you, sweetheart.”
Kang has been called a hurtful, hateful bully. One online commenter said, “People like you who post pictures like this make me cry because without surgery I will never look like you.”
By Saturday afternoon, Kang’s Facebook photo had generated 241,972 “likes,” 21,836 “shares” and 33,760 comments, and Kang said the international exposure, ranging from CNN to Good Morning America, The New York Daily News and The Daily Mail in Great Britain, has pushed her page views to 1 million.
Kang recently told her critics: “I’m sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way. I … had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer.”
Kang said her Facebook photo, posted to promote her free fitness classes, meant to send the message that women should “make no excuses not to follow through on your fitness action plan.”
Kang, who runs two board-and-care homes for the elderly, says she doesn’t profit from fitness and just wants to help people get healthy. She runs an unpaid nonprofit, Fitness Without Borders, a free Mom-Me Fit Club that meets in public parks three times a week and free 12-week family fitness boot camps.
‘I discovered fitness was my passion because my mom was very sick, had diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure and a stroke at a young age because of her eating habits and lack of exercises,” she said.
Kang said she has battled her weight and, from ages 23 to 27, struggled with bulimia. “I was binging and purging three times a day, five times a week for four years straight,” she said. Kang, a Catholic, said she turned to prayer and moved from San Francisco back home to Elk Grove to help her mother, who needed dialysis three times a week.
Kang has been a cheerleader, kickboxer, personal trainer and beauty pageant winner, but gained 35 to 40 pounds with each pregnancy. Her sons Christian, Nicholas and Gabriel are now 4, 3 and 1.
She said she started the Mom-Me Fit Club in 2009, using a grant from the First Five Sacramento commission. She said 15 to 20 moms bring their kids to each outdoor session to work out. “We do ab exercises, circuit training, lunges — it’s really inspirational,” said Kang, who first posted the “What’s your excuse?” photo in September 2012 and reposted it a few weeks ago.
Asked to describe her fitness regimen: Kang said she wakes up at 6 a.m., tries to run 3 miles on her treadmill, and serves her kids raisin bran, sweet potato pancakes, fruit or eggs for breakfast — “no pop tarts, no sugar cereals.” She squeezes in an hour of strength-training at California Family Fitness by taking her children to the gym’s child-care center.
Getting in shape “only takes 30 minutes a day” and doesn’t require a gym, Kang said. “Wake up an hour earlier, do it at lunch time or after dinner instead of watching TV. Eating is 80percent of your results.”
Kang said she thinks walking is the best exercise, and she encourages moms who work out with her in the park to do 20 pushups, squats, crunches and jumping jacks five times in a row without stopping.
At least one Northern California blogger offers Kang grudging respect on her Facebook page. Janelle Hanchett of Renegademothering.com declares: “Maria Kang, I hate you. But you’re right. And now I hate you more. … I am currently 40 pounds overweight. Why? Because I use food for emotional comfort. Because I’m lazy. Because I put things before my health, Hanchett wrote. “I’m tired of my own excuses.”
Everybody who knows me knows that Halloween is my favorite holiday to decorate for. I start putting out my indoor decorations around September 15th but usually wait until October 1st to decorate outside. I only wait because I don’t want to cement the neighbors’ opinion that I’m
completely nuts unusually enthusiastic about Halloween.
The other night I woke up at 2:30am in a panic. I realized that the wind was blowing in strong gusts and that my giant, illuminated, blow up pumpkin might be in danger out there in the yard. It was secured with four 6 inch stakes and additionally was plugged into an extension cord which reached across the lawn and plugged into the outlet at the side of the house but I was still worried. I peeked out the window through the blinds and saw my lovely pumpkin still sitting there looking merry and bright on the lawn. I breathed a sigh of relief. I put robe on and went out front to unplug the pumpkin so it would deflate and not be in any more danger from the high winds.
I opened the front door and stepped onto the lawn and there where my pumpkin had been just moments before was…..NOTHING! Nothing, just an empty spot between the graveyard and the wooden witch on the lawn. I stood there completely perplexed then heard a huge WHOOSH over my head. I looked up just in time to see my precious pumpkin go sailing over a huge tree at the edge of the yard. It landed down the street and then skipped a few more houses down until it got stuck in my neighbors juniper bush. I took off running, hair flying, robe flapping in a full sprint down the street. I wanted my pumpkin back!
I was almost successful. I got within three inches of being able to grab it but another gust of wind caught it and took it flying again. I watched helplessly as it disappeared into the night sky. I sprinted back home and hopped into my car thinking that I might be able to find it if I drove around the neighborhood but I had no luck and had to return home without my prize.
The next day at about 4:00pm I got a call from a friend who lives close by. She said she thought she had seen my pumpkin. It had been put out with the garbage at another neighbors house. I speculate that it had blown into their backyard and when they found it that day they’d just dragged it out front to be taken away. I marched right down there, got my precious pumpkin and happily returned home.
All was well until I tried to plug it in again. Poor thing was full of holes and wasn’t able to inflate any longer. Oh well. It looks like I’ll be without my giant pumpkin this year. I’ll wait until after Halloween for the sales and go shopping for another one.
The moral to this story is that had I been in just a little better shape and been able to sprint just a teensy bit faster I’d have been able to catch my pumpkin. Guess this means I’ll have to work a little bit harder! You should do the same because you never know when you’ll have to chase a giant pumpkin down the street at 2:30am!
*As an aside, my across the street neighbor who seems to be present to see my few less than stellar moments (like when I missed the driveway and drove over a bit of the lawn and a bush on the way into my garage) told me yesterday he’d witnessed me running around in the street that night and got a good laugh out of watching me. Gee whiz…*