Sergeant Tony's Blog

Archive for January, 2016

Shrewd Investing — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 1/27/2016

Jan. 27th 2016

My grandfather said, “believe half of what you see, a third of what you hear.”

Every time my family took him to the airport for his return flight home after one of his visits, he would give me a 5 dollar bill. When I was eight years old, five dollars was a LOT of money. He said that I could spend the money anyway I wanted, but with one stipulation. I couldn’t buy anything in the airport gift shop. He believed that everything in that shop was overpriced and substandard. Then again, he might have been keeping me from impulse buying.

I called him “Big Dad” because that’s what all of his other grandchildren, including my older siblings, called him. Big Dad also loved to quote James 1:9 to me, loudly in the presence of my father, his son-in-law, “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” My father’s personal approach was more like “lose my temper immediately, ask questions occasionally, fix the damage rarely.”

I think my Big Dad was trying to mentor my father as much as he was trying to mentor me.

Big Dad also believed in the adage, “if it looks too good to be true, it is.” That’s just good common sense, isn’t it?

In the days after I returned from Japan, after being there for 10 years, I learned a new phrase: “Ponzi Scheme.” When I first heard it I thought it had something to do with “Happy Days.” But that was Potsi, I think.

Charles Ponzi was an Italian emigrant who was convicted of fraud in 1920. He wasn’t the first to use the method of swindling people that bears his name today. He was just the most successful crook up to that point. However, his fraud doesn’t even come close to what Bernie Madoff made off with. Sorry. Ponzi would bow before Madoff.

A Ponzi scheme is one where people invest in an instrument that reads like something from a doctoral dissertation in finance or international banking that no one really understands. But the hook is that there is tremendous faith and trust in the swindler and his promise that the investment will pay off huge dividends. In fact, initial investors do make money and their testimonials are used to fuel other suckers to invest. Seldom do the initial investors know that the money they made was the result of swindling, they believe it was the product of shrewd investing.

Guarantees on investments in anything are zero. Zero. But everyday we invest in hundreds of things, big and small, real and mystical, practical and metaphysical, emotional and financial that have barely a 50/50 probability of success. I’ve rolled the dice, metaphorically speaking, on hundreds and hundreds of things: people, situations, relationships, and purchases that didn’t work out. I’ve lost time, money, and peace of mind in the process. And I’ll bet you have too. Ever bought a car that was a lemon?

But the only thing that I’ve ever invested in that gave me back more than I invested, that resulted in 100% success, that paid me back everything I invested and gave me returns that would make Bernie Madoff envious, is exercise. Exercise.

You might have predicted that, coming from me.

This isn’t a sales pitch. Seriously. Hundreds of people read this newsletter who’ve never been a Boot Camper and who’ll never join the program. Either they live too far away, their schedules won’t allow it, they’re physically unable due to injury or illness, they’re too afraid, or the program just isn’t their cup of tea, so they suspect. So this isn’t an appeal to persuade the unwilling. This is a statement of fact for every human being.

Exercise works. Period.

Exercise makes you healthy. Exercise makes you stronger. Exercise relieves you of stress. Exercise prolongs your life. Exercise enhances your quality of life. Exercise gives you a sense of personal pride and power.

At the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in July 2015, Laura D. Baker, Ph.D., an associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, presented study results that suggest exercise may be able to do what drugs so far cannot in those at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s dementia: slow the progression of the disease. Wow!

And the list of exercise’s benefits goes on.

And what’s the catch?

There is none. No catch.

You can exercise at home. You can open your front door and go for a run. You can go to the recreation centers, the gyms, the health clubs, the fitness centers at your church or community center, or find an open lane in a local pool. And of course, you can join USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP and work out with me and my crew, which I would much prefer that you do! But if you’re not going to be a BOOT CAMPER, then commit yourself to doing something that delivers on its promises: regular, intense, and effective EXERCISE!

Disclaimer: As everyone involved in the science of weight loss and weight management will tell you: exercise is GREAT, but 80% of a person’s weight loss has NOTHING to do with it. P90X, Crossfit, Insanity, Orangetheory, Fitness Kickboxing, Powerlifting, Body Building, Spin, Zumba, Body Pump, Bikram Yoga, Cardio Barre, HIIT, Hot Yoga, Cold Yoga, distance running, triathlon training … you name it … including USMC Fitness Boot Camp … ALL play a minor role in weight loss. And I would be professionally irresponsible if I didn’t tell you this: 80% of your weight loss success is about your diet. Period. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re picking your pocket.

But for a small investment of time, discipline, and money, you get huge payoffs with EXERCISE! You get what every person confined to a hospital bed would trade their life savings for: health and fitness, where the percentages are reversed: 80% of your health and fitness are the result of exercise!

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, our third President, the father of the University of Virginia, and whose private library contained 6,487 volumes said:
“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.”

— 30 —

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BOGA for all on Thursday, 28 January. It’s good for the body and great for the soul.

ATTENTION EVENING CREW: No Friday evening class tomorrow. Today you’ve got BOGA. Good for the body, GREAT for the soul!

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WEATHER TEMP POLICY CHANGE

Sometimes business dictates a change in policy, and this is one of those cases. If the “feels like” temperature is under 50 (so, 49 and below), we’ll move the Quarterdeck inside. The 6:45am class will continue to follow the “Inside during college basketball season” policy.

This change will also apply to the Mt. Fuji workout. If the feels like temp is in the 40s on the 3rd and 4th Tuesdays, we’ll do M-16 at CMC.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation!

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80% OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EXERCISE. If someone tells you otherwise they’re either misinformed, or selling you something, or both.

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TODAY’S NUTRITION TALK
by Gunnery Sergeant Ashley Holloway, Registered Dietitian, LDN
(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

Nutrition Q & A

Q: Which should I choose, chicken or beef?

A: Both! Chicken and beef are healthy. People often think that beef is not a healthy
choice, but beef is higher in iron than chicken and there are over 26 cuts of beef that
are considered lean.

Q: I was told by a friend that I should not eat bananas because they have too much sugar, do I really need to avoid them?

A: Bananas are very nutritious. They contain carbohydrates in the form of three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose – combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy, perfect to get you through your next run. Research has shown that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes. Bananas also contain potassium, which is a vital mineral that helps to normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates the body’s water balance. Bananas are virtually fat free and are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. Bananas are great on their own, in banana bread or even thrown into a smoothie.

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits throughout the world and are one of my favorite fruits for sure. One of my favorite breakfast meals is a toasted whole wheat English muffin spread with peanut butter, topped with sliced banana and a glass of milk. Bananas are the perfect snack for a runner on the go, they are sweet with a firm, creamy flesh, and come prepackaged in their own yellow carrying cases. Bananas are also pretty inexpensive and are available year round.

When you compare a banana to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. And all of this for about 100 calories a serving. What a nutrition deal!

Q: My work life is so busy that I often grab whatever I can find eat throughout the day and sometimes get fast food. Any tips?

A: Plan ahead. You know the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. By waking up ten minutes early to pack your lunch or to prepare yourself a healthy breakfast can help you avoid going through the drive through later in the day. Stocking your refrigerator full of healthy snacks, fruits, and vegetables can make it easier to grab something healthy when you come home from work tired and famished. Keeping your desk at work full of quick and easy snacks can keep you from heading to the snack machines when you hit that 3 pm low. Stocking your refrigerator full of healthy snacks, fruits, and vegetables can make it easier to grab something healthy when you come home from work tired and famished.

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Here’s to your continued health and fitness!

Sgt. Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow
USMC Fitness Boot Camp, Commanding
www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com
TonyLudlow@aol.com

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Mirror, Mirror — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 1/22/2016

Jan. 22nd 2016

Bruce was a young pastor, fresh out of the seminary, serving his first church when he failed miserably in no time at all and jacked stuff up.

After getting a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Tennessee and a Master’s of Divinity degree (a three year 90 semester hour residency master’s program) from Southern Seminary, Bruce was anxious to get busy in his first pastorate.

But he failed within months and was asked to leave the church—read “fired”—barely 18 months later.

Did Bruce abscond with money from the church?
Did Bruce have an affair with a church member?
Did Bruce preach heresy?
Did Bruce get in trouble with local law enforcement?
Did Bruce preach boring sermons?
Did Bruce preach controversial politics from the pulpit?
Did Bruce have a gambling problem?
Did Bruce fail to connect with the congregation?
Did Bruce have a drinking problem?

No, none of the usual besetting sins that often trip up a minister led to Bruce’s dismissal.

The two things that got Bruce sideways with his congregation had to do with 1) the Bible and 2) prayer. What?

In divinity school, Bruce was given a piece of advice that he ignored: “When you go to a new church, don’t change anything for a year.”
This is good advice for a lot of professions where you go into an established business or organization that is healthy and doing well. It’s especially true if you replace a beloved pastor or coach. In some cases when a business is failing and about to go belly up, a new coach or CEO or pastor might be called in to save the team or company from ruin. Then you make changes quickly because there’s no time to waste.

Bruce’s mistake was this: he forced people in his church to face their own hypocrisy about two things that every conservative evangelical will defend to the death: the Bible and prayer.

Bruce started with his board of deacons and the two other staff members of the church. In a regularly scheduled deacon’s meeting in his sixth month as their pastor, Reverend Bruce gave the 12 deacons and his staff a survey that would not be anonymous. And would most certainly be explosive.

The survey asked the deacons about their Bible reading habits, especially in the immediate month prior. And the survey asked about their “prayer life.” Questions like “how many times have you read the Bible in its entirety?” “How much time did you spend in Bible reading in the past week? Last month?” “How many times did you pray in the last week?” “How many minutes or hours?” Questions like this were on Bruce’s survey to his church elders.
The last question on the survey was: “Have you lied or misrepresented yourself in any way in answering these questions?”

And then, “Please sign your name as a testament of your truthfulness and honesty.”

Bruce didn’t know it, but as the deacons left that evening the seeds of his demise were being sown. A few of the deacons lingered in the church parking lot after that meeting and talked among themselves. Why the “unmitigated gall” of this 28 year old upstart, they grumbled.

The next week Bruce met with all of those in teaching positions in his church: Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, even nursery workers. The young pastor gave them the same survey.

It’s too bad that Bruce didn’t own a seismograph. If he had, he’d have seen the beginnings of a tremor, revealing fault lines growing.

The following week Bruce had all of the Sunday School teachers administer the same survey to the church members in their classes.

In the days that followed, Bruce sat in his study and zealously poured over several hundred surveys with the assistance of his staff and secretary. After weeks of collating, analyzing, and extrapolating, Bruce had enough proof and ammunition to launch into a long series of sermons intended to correct a horrible wrong.

Bruce discovered that only two of his deacons admitted they’d read the Bible in its entirety. Of the 40-some-odd teachers and youth workers, only 4 said they’d read the Bible all the way through. The percentages within the congregation mirrored that of the teachers. Although everyone who took the survey said they believed the Bible was the inerrant and infallible Word of God, Bruce discovered that his church was, practically speaking, Biblically illiterate. They had a piecemeal experience with the sacred book of their religion.

Bruce’s survey revealed that people who would happily protest at the school board demanding that their kids be permitted to pray in school or before a ball game, prayed very little in their own private lives: grace before meals, a prayer uttered when a friend reported the sickness or tragedy of someone in need of divine intervention, and maybe a night-time prayer with a child. But that was mostly it.

Bruce thought the sermons that flowed out of the information gleaned from those surveys would spur the church to read the Bible and pray more. But the tremors that he failed to notice months earlier turned into a full earthquake of controversy and resentment. Bruce completely misjudged how holding up a mirror to his congregation would stir them. He thought it would inspire them to recommit themselves to the disciplines of daily devotion and study. But it only inspired them to dislike him and resent the fact that he’d forced them to face their own inconsistencies and superficial discipleship. No one, as it turns out, wants to be confronted with their own hypocrisy.

Poor Bruce was blindsided a few months later when, during their monthly deacon’s meeting, the Chairman of the Board explained that the church had voted by secret ballot to dismiss him. Bruce was devastated.

But that was years ago.

Where is Bruce now? He learned from his mistakes and bounced back wiser. He serves a church in Ohio where he’s been for the past 10 years!

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been told how BOGA on Thursdays gives folks more opportunity to pray than they get at church on Sundays. This isn’t a “boot camp is better than church” essay, it’s more of a reminder that we generally do only the things we make time for, plan for, and schedule. If you don’t schedule time to pray, or read, or exercise but leave it up to chance, it hardly ever happens.

I’m a certified yoga instructor and recognize my own need for physical flexibility, deep breathing, and balance, but if I don’t schedule those things, I seldom do them. I love Thursdays for the concentrated time devoted to the things we do in the yoga part of BOGA. But the meditation/prayer time at the end of the session may be the best part of the workout. And according to what I hear you saying, many of you feel the same way.

In all things, success is almost always the result of things we’ve planned for, made a priority, and made sacrifices in time and energy to accomplish . . . with the possible exception of our neighbors in Munford who became millionaires because they bought a $2 lottery ticket. Deciding to go to boot camp in the morning, setting your alarm, laying out your gear, and making the necessary preparations at that time—the night before—leads to a much much higher degree of success in actually going to boot camp. Keeping your options open to make that decision in the early morning, when it’s cold and dark and the alarm is blaring and you’re sleepy and you’re laying in a warm comfy bed is the worst possible time to make the decision to get up and do something that’s an option. The bed is strong early in the morning and wins most of those bouts.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail,” the saying goes. It’s one thing to know that exercise and good eating are necessary for good health and wellness, but it’s another thing to plan and schedule those things.

My grandfather proudly wore a 20 year pin on his suit when he took me to church. He had not missed Sunday School in over 20 years. His secret? Saturday night there was no question about where he was going Sunday morning. Not going wasn’t an option for him. Sort of how on Sunday night we don’t debate going to work or school on Monday morning. We go. We may whine Sunday night. We may complain all the way to work or school Monday morning, but we go. That’s what grown folks do.

I hope you’ll make exercise and health a priority–not an option–that results in a plan that compels you to make concrete daily appointments. You’re worth it!

— 30 —

—————————————————

We’re standing down on Friday, 22 January as we hunker down for “Snowmageddon 2016: The White Death.”
As a gift to you, since you have all of the necessary ingredients, here’s my french toast recipe:
SERGEANT TONY’S FRENCH TOAST
4 slices of bread (not too fresh)
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar (or Stevia as per our RD)
(Optional: 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. It tastes really good with it! My suggestion.)
Beat eggs until light and frothy. Add milk and sugar, and beat well until blended. Pour into wide shallow bowl. Dip each piece of bread into egg mixture and fry in medium hot pan, greased with butter or margarine, on low heat. When toast is brown on both sides and puffy, it is ready to serve. Top with melted butter or margarine and cinnamon sugar, syrup, or powdered sugar.
I can’t tell you how many calories are in each piece. But let’s be honest, it’s French Toast . . . so, just enjoy it!

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TODAY’S NUTRITION TALK
by Gunnery Sergeant Ashley Holloway, Registered Dietitian, LDN
(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

Aging Gracefully

Who doesn’t want to look great as they age? I know I do! And there are thousands of creams, lotions, potions, and non-surgical face lifts to keep us looking great as we age … from the neck up! But aging gracefully involves every part of our body, not just our face.

If we want to look great and feel great and maintain our independence as we get older than we need MUSCLE! Having healthy, functional muscles is the key to being able to do the things we want to do when we are in your golden years.

Muscle gives us mobility and balance; it generates heat, and serves as a pool of protein for vital organs and tissues.

Unfortunately, the amount of muscle mass we have declines with age. Our peak muscle mass is around age 30. By age 40, we lose about 8% of your muscle every ten years and around 70 years of age, this lose accelerates to approximately a 15% loss of muscle every ten years! The reason we all lose muscle as we age is due to decreases in protein synthesis (the process in which cells build proteins). This age related loss of muscle is called sarcopenia.
If we become ill or injured in some way, we can lose muscle extremely quickly. This is due to both an increase in our metabolism and an increase in muscle breakdown. If we are not eating enough calories and protein, our body will actually break down our muscles to be used as a source of protein for healing and repair. This is not a good thing!

The combination of being elderly and being ill is even more devastating to our muscles. Elderly hospitalized patients can lose 10% of muscle in only three days time! This can have devastating consequences. Losing just 10% of our muscle leads to decreased immunity and increased risk of infection. The more muscle mass we lose, the worse it is.

Losing muscle and lean body mass leads to:
– the inability to heal and recover from surgery, illness or disease
– Decreased strength and energy
– Loss of independence
– Increased risk of falls and fractures
– Weakened immune system and increased risk of infections
– Impaired healing
– Weakness/fatigue
– Increased susceptibility to illness
– Decreased quality of life

Studies show that when the body loses 40% or more of lean mass, that this is incompatible with life, typically because the organs of the body have become so weakened that the person usually dies from pneumonia.

To maintain and build muscle we need to perform weight bearing exercises a minimum of 2-3 days a week. Push-ups, sit ups, wall squats, planks, and weight lifting all fit the bill. This is in addition to running … running is NOT enough on its own to build muscle throughout our whole body.
In order to maintain and build muscle, you also need a good nutrition plan. Dietary manipulations of protein — quality, quantity, and distribution should be made.

To prevent age related muscle loss, it is recommended that we eat approximately 90 grams (or about 12 ounces of meat a day). The type of protein should be high quality protein such as meat, milk, poultry, and fish. Some experts recommend that protein needs to be consumed in a more equal distribution throughout the day in order to benefit from maximal protein synthesis or building at each meal. Studies show that it takes about 25-30 grams of high quality protein three times a day to result in the highest protein-building rate. In regular terms this means we need to eat about 3-4 ounces or meat at each meal, or consume other foods that contain protein such as yogurt, milk, beans, etc. to help meet our goal.

Strength training exercises and nutrition play a key role in helping to maintain and build functional muscle. And having healthy muscles equals a healthier, fitter, more independent you!

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What would you do if money was not an issue, fear was not a factor, and failure was not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!
SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!
Tony Ludlow
Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

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Snowmageddon 2016!

Jan. 21st 2016

Well, kids . . . Hope you’ve got your provisions for the horror of the blizzard to come. Schools are closed, the stores are out of bread, people are losing their minds. We’ll be standing down tomorrow.

Since you’ve got the ingredients for french toast, I offer you this:

SERGEANT TONY’S FRENCH TOAST
4 slices of bread (not too fresh)
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar (or Stevia as per our RD)
(Optional: 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. It tastes really good with it! My suggestion.)
Beat eggs until light and frothy. Add milk and sugar, and beat well until blended. Pour into wide shallow bowl. Dip each piece of bread into egg mixture and fry in medium hot pan, greased with butter or margarine, on low heat. When toast is brown on both sides and puffy, it is ready to serve. Top with melted butter or margarine and cinnamon sugar, syrup, or powdered sugar.

I can’t tell you how many calories are in each piece. But let’s be honest, it’s French Toast . . . so, just enjoy!

Be warm and safe, everyone!

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HELLO IN THERE. — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, 1/14/2016

Jan. 14th 2016

The other evening I made a new friend.

Bill is an older gentleman in his late 70s. We met serving on jury duty.

Jury duty in Memphis begins with a warm and welcomed letter from the Shelby County Sheriff’s office inviting you to appear at the jury coordination and organization office in downtown Memphis next to “two-oh-one.” Often known as the “cattle call,” you and about 300 of your new best friends are herded into a huge assembly room where you hurry up and wait for assignments to a jury. And where you secretly, or not so secretly, hope you don’t get picked.

The sitting around and waiting part of jury duty is so notorious that you’d think everyone uses that time to catch up on their reading. I’m always intrigued by the books that people bring to read and by the fact that most bring nothing at all.

The thing that drew me to Bill was his book.

Bill and I were selected to participate in the same smaller jury selection pool. From that pool they’d choose the members of a sequestered jury to hear a murder trial.

If you’re on a sequestered jury, as you may know, you get to become a guest of the State for the duration of the trial. You’re warehoused and fed by the State, having zero contact with the outside world. The morning the trial begins, you show up with your suitcase containing clothes to last several days. The jurors can’t have computers, smart phones, or even dumb phones. Contact with individual jurors and their loved ones is conducted indirectly through a Deputy. Family can call a number and leave a message with the Deputy who will ensure the message has no content about any information that might pertain to the case or might distract the juror from their duties. Quarters for sleeping are in hotel rooms without telephones, televisions, or radios. Reading materials are restricted to books and periodicals that have no current news or mention of the trial.

I was really excited about being chosen.

No, not really. But I was more than willing to do my civic duty if selected.

During the questioning process that each of us who’d been chosen in the initial stages went through, I had to admit to three things that eventually got me dismissed by the defense attorney, much to the disappointment, but not surprise, of the prosecutors.

Under oath, I had to admit that 1) I had been robbed and that I did bodily harm to the robber, to wit I kicked one of the burglars in his head, crashing through the glass of the driver’s side window of his crummy little get away car, 2) that I was a good friend of Lt. David Townsend of the Collierville Police Department and that I conducted training for their SWAT Team, and 3) that Scot Bearup is like a brother to me. Scot now serves in juvenile court, but prior to that served in the DA’s Office for many years as a prosecutor. Scot is also the son of my Marine Corps mentor, Master Gunnery Sergeant Dean Bearup, USMC, retired. I can’t say for sure which of the three things carried the most weight that got me blackballed by the defense attorney, but nonetheless I was excused. (Probably Scot’s fault.)

You’d think that I was happy to be dismissed, but I was actually disappointed. By the time I was excused, I’d already invested several hours in the vetting process for that particular trial and had listened patiently and intently to the judge’s instructions, the prosecutor’s distilling and summarizing of 3 years of law school into about 3 hours, the prosecutor’s questions and answers from each of us individually, and an additional hour or so of introduction and presentation from the defense attorney. As an aside, I have to say that I was very impressed with the judge, the prosecutors, and the defense attorney. (If I’m ever accused of a crime, I hope I get that judge and that defense attorney who dismissed me. He’s the kind of lawyer I’d want representing me. I bore no rancor toward him at all. He was just doing his job. And doing it quite effectively, I thought. All parties involved were very professional and respectful to us as potential jurors.)

I didn’t get a head count, but it looked like there were 30 to 40 of us in this small selection pool and once the jury had been established to the satisfaction of the judge and the two legal teams, those of us who’d been dismissed or who’d never been called forward were done for the day, or night as it turned out to be.

Bill had been sitting in front of me in the gallery before I was called to the jury box and that’s when I saw his book.

Once we were outside of the courtroom and all of us were heading to the elevators, I was able to catch up with him. “Excuse me,” I said, “but I couldn’t help but notice your book.” This not only got his attention, it got the attention of everyone around us because everyone was being very quiet. Suddenly Bill and I had an audience as we began to chat. And Bill seemed at first a bit defensive, but once he recognized me from our jury selection process, his whole countenance changed!

He and I talked about his book and the author with the kind of animation you’d see sports fans do talking about their favorite teams! Our enthusiastic conversation, especially given that he and I were strangers, but were suddenly talking like old friends, seemed to make our elevator-mates lean in with more curiosity to hear what we were discussing.

Once outside of the building, we continued talking non-stop, with me doing 90% of the listening. Heading to the parking lot, Bill stopped and asked, “Do you know where the closest bus stop is?”

It was dark and cold and the wind made it even colder and the thought of this older gentleman waiting in the cold to ride the bus home was unacceptable to me. I offered, no, I insisted that he allow me the privilege of giving him a ride home. “But I live very far away,” Bill protested. I didn’t think it was that far, actually, and I was happy to continue our conversation.

Bill enjoyed teaching me history and I let him do so, never telling him that I already knew what he was talking about and that I’d taught history for a number of years and that I have a graduate degree in history. I just let him talk and I asked questions that I already knew the answer to. I enjoyed listening to Bill and he seemed to enjoy teaching me! We talked about World War II, the Civil War, and Civil Rights. We talked about Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. And we talked about Shelby Foote, who he’d known personally! For an older gentleman, he talked remarkably fast!

In my Jeep, I learned all about Bill and his life. He seemed to be starving for conversation, or better yet, someone to tell his stories to. And he was a good story teller and I was happy to listen.

I learned that Bill had spent 29 years in the Army and thought Marines were badasses! (He was obviously a diplomat as well!) He had plenty of stories to tell me about a Marine Colonel he admired above all men he’d ever met while in the service.

He told me that the book he was reading, the third in the series, was supposed to have been a gift from his wife. She had promised to give it him as a Christmas gift. Then his voice cracked and lowered as he explained that his wife had died not quite two years ago and that she’d never gotten the chance to give it to him.

I saw him squeeze the book and hold it closer to himself, as he explained this . . . as if it was more than just a book … it was a connection with his wife. It was the book she wanted to give him.

And the tears welled up in my eyes.

He went on to tell me about their lives together and about his loneliness without her. And that caused me more trouble seeing the road. Bill and his wife had been married for almost 50 years. They moved here some 40 years ago, intending to stay for only 2 years with the job he’d come here to fill, but his wife fell in love with Memphis and they never left.

Once we got to his home, I was so moved and my mind had gone to so many places during our conversation, that his quick thank you and exit from my Jeep caught me off guard. He was gone before I had a chance to ask more about the things he’d told me. I never even got his last name.

“The Last Lion” is a biographical trilogy of Winston Churchill written by my favorite biographer, William Manchester. My new friend was reading the last of the three entitled “The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm.” Bill had read everything Manchester had written and said, “When I get to the last page of one of his books, I get a lump in my throat and by the time I’ve read the last sentence, tears are running down my face.”

You don’t let a man like that take the bus on a cold dark night. You give him the floor and you listen.

Thank you, Bill. I enjoyed our conversation immeasurably. Fair winds and following seas to you, sir.

— 30 —

“Hello In There,” words and music by John Prine

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ANNOUNCEMENT!

“Tony, BOGA is good for my body, but it’s great for my soul,” said a morning boot camper.

And last week two of you told me that you pray more at boot camp on Thursday than you do at church on Sunday. That’s awesome!

After consultation with several of you, some who were brutally honest with me, I am announcing a policy change.

BEGINNING TODAY, if the “feels like” temperature is in the 40s, we’ll move the Quarterdeck inside. The 6:45am class will continue to follow the “Inside during college basketball season” policy.

This change will also apply to the Mt. Fuji workout. If the feels like temp is in the 40s on the 3rd and 4th Tuesdays, we’ll do M-16 at CMC.

For you morning boot campers who like the cold, you can put your mats down right outside the gym doors! You’ll be able to hear me out there! hahaha

Thanks, everyone for your input and your understanding!

——————————————

TODAY’S NUTRITION TALK
by Gunnery Sergeant Ashley Holloway, Registered Dietitian, LDN

(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

Fight the Power!

Do you ever feel that a certain food has power of you? That you are addicted to a certain food? Maybe chocolate, or cookies, or donuts? Do you ever feel sad when you are about to start another diet because you know you will have to give up those Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies that you love so much?

Why do you think these foods seem to have the upper hand? Why do you feel weak around them? The power that these foods seem to have actually comes from the fact that you like that food and want to eat it more often than you are. For instance, one friend of mine loves chocolate and would love to eat it every day, but instead she limits herself to only twice a week. How fun is that? So she thinks of chocolate often and in essence she gives chocolate the power over her. Another person I know loves pizza, but doesn’t allow himself to eat it, but then usually ends up eating a whole large pizza by himself in a late night binge.

So what should she or you do if a certain food holds the power? Believe it or not, you should eat that food MORE often! It sounds crazy, I know. By consuming this “power food” more often, you get bored with it and it loses its power over you. The solution to managing these foods is to eat them on a routine basis, not by staying away from them. Think about it do bananas have power over you? I didn’t think so.

Let’s say you have a thing for chocolate milkshakes, but never allow yourself to indulge. What you should do is plan it into your meals and instead of drinking it on top of your meal, drink it INSTEAD of your meal. For instance, if you normally eat about 2100 calories a day which would be 700 calories a meal. You could have a 700 calorie chocolate milkshake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and not gain weight! Nor would you become malnourished, even if you did this for two or three days in a row!

More than likely would get tired of milkshakes and realize that you don’t feel as good as you do when you make healthier choices. The benefits of eating healthy and feeling better might outweigh the urge to splurge on another chocolate milkshake.

————————————————

What would you do if money was not an issue, fear was not a factor, and failure was not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

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POLICY CHANGE!

Jan. 14th 2016

“Tony, BOGA is good for my body, but it’s great for my soul,” said a morning boot camper.

And last week two of you told me that you pray more at boot camp on Thursday than you do at church on Sunday. That’s awesome!

After consultation with several of you, some who were brutally honest with me, I am announcing a policy change.

BEGINNING TODAY, if the “feels like” temperature is in the 40s, we’ll move the Quarterdeck inside. The 6:45am class will continue to follow the “Inside during college basketball season” policy.

This change will also apply to the Mt. Fuji workout. If the feels like temp is in the 40s on the 3rd and 4th Tuesdays, we’ll do M-16 at CMC.

For you morning boot campers who like the cold, you can put your mats down right outside the gym doors! You’ll be able to hear me out there! hahaha

Thanks, everyone for your input and your understanding!

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Fifty Shades of Gentleman: What You Should Be, Know, Do, and Aspire To. ~ Sgt. Tony Ludlow

Jan. 13th 2016

In my early 20s I prepared a list of things that a gentleman should know or do. I did it for myself, mostly, as a companion to two other lists of things that were required of me as a United States Marine. The leadership principles and leadership traits required by the Corps help the individual Marine to know what is expected of them.
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/usmc/usmcleadership.pdf

As a young man in my 20s I started to put together a list of practical specifics that were more concrete than the more conceptual things found in the lists of leadership and character. Here is what I compiled over the next 25 years. It’s the list I gave to my sons. It’s the list I gave to my players when I was a high school teacher and coach.

50 things that a gentleman should be, know, do, or aspire to.

1. A gentleman stands up to greet a woman, an older person, or a superior. When in doubt, get up!
2. A gentleman opens doors for ladies.
3. A gentleman doesn’t talk about money. He neither brags about how much he has, nor does he whine about how broke he is.
4. A gentleman doesn’t show off or brag.
5. A gentleman is not conceited.
6. A gentleman is discreet.
7. A gentleman dresses appropriately. Dress for the occasion. When in doubt, dress up.
8. Gentlemen read books. They know that the written word feeds their minds, gives them pleasure, and helps to make them more interesting.
9. A gentleman knows what’s going on in the world.
10. A gentleman is modest. He doesn’t boast nor does he sulk in the presence of someone more accomplished.
11. A gentleman doesn’t discriminate. He treats those around him with equal consideration, whatever their position, whatever their age.
12. Gentlemen are kind. They show kindness and consideration to everyone without considering if that person can “do anything for him.”
13. Gentlemen adapt to any company.
14. A gentleman places great value on honor and loyalty.
15. Gentlemen eat more than his lady companion and always lets her finish first.
16. A gentleman’s handshake is as good as a signed contract.
17. Gentlemen are on time.
18. Gentlemen use the silverware from the outside in.
19. Gentlemen keep the tablecloth clean.
20. Gentlemen can keep quiet and not interrupt the other person.
21. A gentleman let’s THEM out first before trying to get in: elevators, parking lots, traffic, etc.
22. Gentlemen show deference to women and those older than himself.
23. Gentlemen smile.
24. Gentlemen are confident without being arrogant.
25. Gentlemen are men of elegance.
26. Gentlemen stand up straight and have good posture.
27. Gentlemen suppress “body noises.”
28. Gentlemen don’t gawk, or stare when another person makes a mistake, has an accident, or has some other kind of misfortune. If he can’t help, rescue, or assist, then he will look away, allowing the other person to save face. Or he’ll take the appropriate action dictated by the situation.
29. Gentlemen take responsibility for their lives, their own mistakes, and shortcomings.
30. Gentlemen greet others by their names. A persons name is music to their ears.
31. Gentlemen don’t take credit for another’s work.
32. A gentleman allows the other person to “teach” them something that they themselves already know, replying with “Oh, really?” instead of “Oh, I already knew that.”
33. A gentleman can laugh at himself.
34. A gentleman can say, “I don’t know.”
35. A gentleman can say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” and mean it.
36. A gentleman will dismiss compliments directed at himself by others, but will give compliments freely and frequently.
37. Gentlemen say, “thank you” and “excuse me” without sarcasm.
38. A gentleman knows the names of the people who serve them: the janitor, the clerk, the salesperson …
39. A gentleman knows to correct a subordinate privately, but to praise him publicly.
40. A gentleman doesn’t stare, leer, or gawk at an attractive lady.
41. A gentleman doesn’t scratch in public.
42. A gentleman doesn’t stare. Eye contact is great, staring is creepy. Eye contact displays confidence.
43. A gentleman doesn’t cause trouble for others.
44. A gentleman never spits in public or in the presence of a lady, an older person, or a superior.
45. A gentleman doesn’t make any unnecessary noise.
46. A gentleman never litters.
47. A gentleman doesn’t yawn in public. But if he does, he will do it by being as discreet as possible and by making no noise.
48. A gentleman will choose dignity over stupidity.
49. A gentleman will remember that he has one mouth and two ears … better to listen than speak.
50. Gentlemen respect others and put the other’s feelings before their own.

Some of these are original opinions of mine, others are thoughts and perceptions that I’ve borrowed from others. The list isn’t complete and I’m sure that all of us can add to the list and refine the ideas behind them as we grow older, and hopefully wiser.

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


50 Shades of Gentlemen: What You Should Be, Know, Do, and Aspire To.

Jan. 13th 2016

In my early 20s I prepared a list of things that a gentleman should know or do. I did it for myself, mostly, as a companion to two other lists of things that were required of me as a United States Marine. The leadership principles and leadership traits required by the Corps help the individual Marine to know what is expected of them.
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/usmc/usmcleadership.pdf

As a young man in my 20s I started to put together a list of practical specifics that were more concrete than the more conceptual things found in the lists of leadership and character. Here is what I compiled over the next 25 years. It’s the list I gave to my sons. It’s the list I gave to my players when I was a high school teacher and coach.

50 things that a gentleman should be, know, do, or aspire to.

1. A gentleman stands up to greet a woman, an older person, or a superior. When in doubt, get up!
2. A gentleman opens doors for ladies.
3. A gentleman doesn’t talk about money. He neither brags about how much he has, nor does he whine about how broke he is.
4. A gentleman doesn’t show off or brag.
5. A gentleman is not conceited.
6. A gentleman is discreet.
7. A gentleman dresses appropriately. Dress for the occasion. When in doubt, dress up.
8. Gentlemen read books. They know that the written word feeds their minds, gives them pleasure, and helps to make them more interesting.
9. A gentleman knows what’s going on in the world.
10. A gentleman is modest. He doesn’t boast nor does he sulk in the presence of someone more accomplished.
11. A gentleman doesn’t discriminate. He treats those around him with equal consideration, whatever their position, whatever their age.
12. Gentlemen are kind. They show kindness and consideration to everyone without considering if that person can “do anything for him.”
13. Gentlemen adapt to any company.
14. A gentleman places great value on honor and loyalty.
15. Gentlemen eat more than his lady companion and always lets her finish first.
16. A gentleman’s handshake is as good as a signed contract.
17. Gentlemen are on time.
18. Gentlemen use the silverware from the outside in.
19. Gentlemen keep the tablecloth clean.
20. Gentlemen can keep quiet and not interrupt the other person.
21. A gentleman let’s THEM out first before trying to get in: elevators, parking lots, traffic, etc.
22. Gentlemen show deference to women and those older than himself.
23. Gentlemen smile.
24. Gentlemen are confident without being arrogant.
25. Gentlemen are men of elegance.
26. Gentlemen stand up straight and have good posture.
27. Gentlemen suppress “body noises.”
28. Gentlemen don’t gawk, or stare when another person makes a mistake, has an accident, or has some other kind of misfortune. If he can’t help, rescue, or assist, then he will look away, allowing the other person to save face. Or he’ll take the appropriate action dictated by the situation.
29. Gentlemen take responsibility for their lives, their own mistakes, and shortcomings.
30. Gentlemen greet others by their names. A persons name is music to their ears.
31. Gentlemen don’t take credit for another’s work.
32. A gentleman allows the other person to “teach” them something that they themselves already know, replying with “Oh, really?” instead of “Oh, I already knew that.”
33. A gentleman can laugh at himself.
34. A gentleman can say, “I don’t know.”
35. A gentleman can say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” and mean it.
36. A gentleman will dismiss compliments directed at himself by others, but will give compliments freely and frequently.
37. Gentlemen say, “thank you” and “excuse me” without sarcasm.
38. A gentleman knows the names of the people who serve them: the janitor, the clerk, the salesperson …
39. A gentleman knows to correct a subordinate privately, but to praise him publicly.
40. A gentleman doesn’t stare, leer, or gawk at an attractive lady.
41. A gentleman doesn’t scratch in public.
42. A gentleman doesn’t stare. Eye contact is great, staring is creepy. Eye contact displays confidence.
43. A gentleman doesn’t cause trouble for others.
44. A gentleman never spits in public or in the presence of a lady, an older person, or a superior.
45. A gentleman doesn’t make any unnecessary noise.
46. A gentleman never litters.
47. A gentleman doesn’t yawn in public. But if he does, he will do it by being as discreet as possible and by making no noise.
48. A gentleman will choose dignity over stupidity.
49. A gentleman will remember that he has one mouth and two ears … better to listen than speak.
50. Gentlemen respect others and put the other’s feelings before their own.

Some of these are original opinions of mine, others are thoughts and perceptions that I’ve borrowed from others. The list isn’t complete and I’m sure that all of us can add to the list and refine the ideas behind them as we grow older, and hopefully wiser.

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Dirty Secrets — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 1/7/2016

Jan. 7th 2016

I’m reading another biography about one of our Founding Fathers. As a former high school history teacher, I do this because I just can’t help myself. It also comes in handy when so many today vying for national leadership like to invoke “the Founding Fathers” to support some ridiculous religious or political views, claiming that the Founders believed this and such. These modern-day cherry pickers get away with it because most folks just don’t know very much about our Founders.

I like reading about the Founding Fathers because I’m drawn to that period of American History. So now I find myself reading another excellent biography about Benjamin Franklin, written by Walter Isaacson. Franklin is one of my favorites.

With apparent ease, Franklin moved in and out of a vast and diverse circle of friends and acquaintances. He was comfortable with the tradesmen of his day, often called “the leather apron” set, and equally at home in the audiences of Kings and Queens. He was a scholar among scholars, a scientist among scientists, and an able diplomat in the company of heads of state. He could talk to practically anyone about any number of topics and subjects, all the while making others feel more important than himself.

In his youth, the up and coming young printer of Philadelphia made a list of eight cardinal sins in conversation. In as much as he was able, Franklin tried to avoid these personal conversational pitfalls during the span of his long and illustrious life.

– “Talking overmuch . . . which never fails to excite resentment.”
– “Seeming uninterested.”
– “Speaking too much about your own life.”
– “Prying for personal secrets.”
– “Telling long and pointless stories.”
– “Contradicting or disputing someone directly.”
– “Ridiculing or railing against things except in small witty doses.”
– “Spreading scandal.”

I won’t enlarge on Dr. Franklin’s list. I think you can easily get the meaning and application. But what I wanted you to see was how easily and readily your eyes and interests were drawn to the list. How eager you were to receive in bitesized portions some wisdom from one of the greatest minds and personalities in American history, without wading through a 600 page biography.

We like lists.

And we like secrets. Franklin had to warn himself in #4 from the great temptation of prying into other’s hidden details.

To this end, I offer up a list of 10 Dirty Little Secrets of the Fitness Industry. Actually, they’re probably not that dirty and probably not that secret, but it sure sounds more titillating if I call them so, don’t you agree? Here we go:

1. 80% of your weight loss and weight gain are both diet.

Anyone telling you otherwise is selling you something. So the latest exercise craze that makes weight loss claims is lying. Some of them get around the fraud by telling you in the fine print, or during a 15 second bit in a 30 minute infomercial, that you have to follow a low calorie diet.

Exercise only plays a minor role in weight loss. Diet is 80% of your weight loss success and failure.

2. Being sore doesn’t mean anything.

Well, that’s not all together true. It means that a muscle or a muscle function has been used or loaded in an unfamiliar way. You hear it all the time though: “Man, that was a great workout, I was so sore!”

Anytime you tax a muscle differently—a different kinesis—you’ll get sore. I know trainers who’ll purposely have their clients do exercises just to get them sore so the client will think they had a great workout. As an example of this, I sometimes get you all to do “Windmills” just to prove the point. But at least I tell you this ahead of time! Make a small muscle group do a lot of work and that poor little muscle will scream. And that is true of every person on the planet irrespective of their fitness or athleticism.

3. You can’t out exercise a bad diet and you can’t exercise with a faulty one.

This is similar to #1. So if you eat 6,000 calories in a day you’re screwed. Unless you’re a professional marathon runner or a professional cyclist who is burning up a ton of calories all day long on the road. Otherwise, you 9 to 5’ers working in an office, or a hospital, or a classroom, or driving a truck, or filling teeth, or selling bonds, or taking care of little children, or fixing cars, or sitting in a courtroom, or sitting in a cockpit, or traveling on business, or standing in front of people telling jokes or teaching them American history—or maybe doing both of those at the same time, or designing buildings, or selling real estate, or filling prescriptions, or making sales calls, or making pottery, or doing theoretical physics, or stalking your ex—or crush—on Facebook . . . in other words, the VAST MAJORITY OF US will not be able to exercise enough to burn up those excess calories given the demands on our time.

And you can’t exercise with a faulty diet. That is, if you aren’t consuming enough carbs, you can’t exercise. Period. End of discussion. Your muscles need it for fuel. Exercise isn’t fueled by protein. (Muscles are repaired with protein.) Low carb diets are one thing, no carb diets are no bueno.

4. Heart-rate monitors are a waste of money.

Let me qualify that. I’ve owned a heart-rate monitor since the early 90s and own one now. But the data of the heart-rate monitor means something to me because I’ve been at this for a long long time. Most of the formulas that the heart-rate monitor makers and enthusiasts use to calculate heart-rate ranges is hardly better than guess work.

However, if you go to a sports performance lab where they put you on a treadmill and run a stress test with your nose pinched and you breathing into a mask with hoses attached as they measure your heart-rate and your VO2max as they increase time on task, along with the speed and angle of the treadmill, THEN you’ll get some usable and valuable data. That is, usable for YOU at THAT moment in time and condition of your life. That day! All of which can and will change.

“Perceived effort” can be a much more usable indicator of what’s going on. During last year’s Marine Corps Marathon training, I had runs where my heart-rate was up to 165 and I felt great. On the other hand, I had runs where my heart-rate was only 140 and I felt HORRIBLE!

What accounted for the differences? Heat, humidity, hydration, nutrition, and the amount of rest I got the night before. Or the phases of the moon. Sometimes you just don’t know.

In the 25 years that I’ve used heart-rate monitors, I’ve been up and down the ranges of readings and had inconsistent perceptions of effort and exertion per the numbers on the monitor.

That said, if you wear a heart-rate monitor to bed, and if it will give you readings of your heart-rate as you sleep at 1 minute or 5 minute intervals throughout the night with an average measurement, THAT would be useful data!!! An elevated heart-rate while you sleep is an indication of overtraining. And overtraining is bad. Overtraining is the last stop just before Burnout.

5. The “talk test” is better than a heart-rate monitor.

For the reasons I listed in #4, and for your own practical application, the “talk test” is a much better indicator of your effort on THAT day under THOSE conditions. If you can carry on a conversation without difficulty, that’s an easy run. If you can carry on a conversation but it’s labored and a little difficult, but doable, that’s a tempo or training pace run. If you can’t carry on a conversation at all, that’s interval and maximum effort running.

6. More than likely you need heavier weights and more intensity in your efforts.

You get out what you put in. You’ve heard me say this before. I’ve had people in the program who consistently over months and even years work like crazy and get the full benefit of the program. I’ve also had people come and half-ass the workout while using LIGHT dumbbells. And then complain that they weren’t getting what they need from us.

Conversely, the same workout I lead that works for the person next to them, someone working hard and not chitchatting with their neighbor and who’s using heavier weights and are attempting to do EVERY repetition, is having a totally different experience. A totally different workout with full range of motion, high intensity, and an elevated heart-rate.

The value of our workouts is completely in YOUR hands! If I’m kicking MY own ass, but you walk away with a “meh” … well, that’s on you! Sometimes our boot camp friends are great and sometimes not great at the same time. We love them so much and enjoy their company so much that we engage too much in socializing to the detriment of our workouts. I see it all the time. And that may be ok with you. And if that’s ok with you, then it’s ok with me too.

But it hurts my feelings and makes me angry when someone slips into the “boot camp as social hour” mindset and then quits coming. But then they tell others that I wasn’t meeting their exercise needs and that they had started gaining weight. (Remember how much your diet plays in your weight?) A program that worked for them in the past, suddenly became ineffective, they say.

I wish this never happened, but it does occasionally. And then sometimes that same person who quit, joins some gym or program and praises it on social media. It feels like a kick in the gut, to be honest. I probably shouldn’t take it personally, but I tend to invest personally in boot campers and in the program. For many of you, I can tell you the names of your children and even your pet’s name! I see you guys as friends and family, so it’s doubly hurtful when someone leaves and then blames me or the program for their lack of progress.

7. The health clubs want you to join; they don’t care if you come.

This is generally true of the majority of health clubs that have contracts and automatic drafts from your bank account or credit card. I’ve worked in commercial health clubs and it’s almost always about new memberships. Ever try to get out of one of those contracts? Good luck!

The health clubs know that if everyone who joined actually showed up, there’d be lines longer than the ones for the Star Wars opening in front of every machine and treadmill. They’d have to install some velvet ropes to keep people in a zig-zag queue just to get into the building.

8. There is no ultimate fitness program because there is no ultimate fitness definition.

In fact, there is no agreed upon definition of “fit” or “fitness.”

The fitness industry doesn’t know the definition. There are as many definitions of fitness as there are “fit” people. Is Marine Corporal Kyle Carpenter, recipient of the Medal of Honor, more fit than triathlete Jan Frodeno, winner of the 2015 Hawaii Ironman? Is Jan Frodeno more fit than power lifting champion Ray Williams? Is Ray Williams more fit than sprinter Usain Bolt? Is Usain Bolt more fit than swimmer Michael Phelps? Is Michael Phelps more fit than soccer great, Hope Solo? Is Hope Solo more fit than Chicago Blackhawks member Conn Smythe? Is Conn Smythe more fit than Olympic decathlete Ashton Eaton? Is Ashton Eaton more fit than ballerina Misty Copeland? Is Misty Copeland more fit than Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson? Is Adrian Peterson more fit than tennis great Roger Federer? I could keep going. But you see what I’m talking about.

There’s no definitive definition of fitness. And how could there be? Fit for what? That’s the question.

It’s easier to define was ISN’T fitness than to define what is.

9. People who fail at fitness are people who generally have a history of failure to stick to things, finish things, and complete things that require discipline and something an earlier generation called “sticktoitiveness.”

People who succeed find a way, people who fail find an excuse. People who get off track blame something or someone. Finding an excuse is easy. Giving up is effortless. Rationalizing poor life management is simple. Lack of self discipline is a habit. Talk is cheap. Negative self-talk is debilitating.

I wish I could get back every hour I’ve wasted trying to talk success into someone who was determined not to succeed, always countering with reasons why they couldn’t do something that they had every ability to do.

10. There’s nothing new in fitness and exercise, there are only new ways of marketing and packaging.

I recently ran across a blog by Canadian fitness coach, Taylor Simon, who said:
“Sure we repackage things and create flashy new titles for the same old same old. The zone diet has become the paleo diet. Ab workouts became core training, which is becoming functional fitness. Warm-ups became prehabilitation, which is becoming movement training. It’s all the same stuff at the most basic level. When you actually break it all down to individual components you will see that it is all basically the same thing. Except the new versions are making a lot of money for those who are able to get creative and do the repackaging.”

The body moves in predictable movements in time and space. Joints bend and rotate, muscles contract and relax in the same way they always have since our species learned to walk upright. You’re either taxing a limited number of muscle groups through work and overloading in predictable patterns, and/or you’re taxing the heart and lungs through cardio training and challenges. That’s it. Everything else is marketing and packaging. Or smoke and mirrors. Light shows and house music. Snake oil and hocus pocus.

Senator John McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam for over 5 years, relates stories of how he and his fellow prisoners, mostly all in isolation from one another, used Morse Code to communicate and boost one another’s spirits and to encourage each prisoner to maintain a daily schedule. Marines and sailors refer to it as “the plan of the day.” One of the things they did in their schedule, alone in their small cells, was exercise.

When at last they were released and flown home, the former POWs were found to be—with the exception of those who’d been injured in their plane crashes or through capture or torture—in remarkably good health and reasonably fit from doing daily body-weight exercises in their small cells.

It would be the acme of conceit for me, or anyone else for that matter, to boast of having the world’s best workout program. (Did you know that there’s a boot camp charlatan out there who claims that?!??) I have excellence as a constant goal, but truthfully, no one has the corner on fitness. No one is the final and authoritative voice. No one.

It’s possible to get healthy and fit through any number of exercise modalities through any number of programs, equipment, trainers, coaches, and facilities. But if American POWs in the “Hanoi Hilton” could achieve a level of fitness in a prison cell in South Vietnam, you can too . . . with your eyes open, your mind made up, and your commitment to find a way to give 100% consistently and regularly. Consistently. Regularly. A lifetime of lifestyle commitments making health and fitness a permanent part of your day to day life.

One last thing: This is the time of the year that many of our friends and family decide to get healthy and fit. Maybe they’ve done this before . . . every January. And then quit before Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to make jokes and poke fun at them, I’ll admit. If you can, and with a straight face, try to offer up some encouragement this time. Maybe it’ll stick!

It could happen!

— 30 —

———————————————————

All classes will be inside on Friday, January 8th!

———————————————————

I’ve given our Staff Registered Dietitian, the lovely Ashley Holloway, the week off. She’s been in Orlando this week attending her company’s annual meeting.

So here’s your nutrition moment from me in a few words:

You don’t need to detox or cleanse … unless you don’t have at least one functional kidney and/or a liver.

But if you want to, you can. It probably wont kill you. It’ll probably make your breath nasty. Enjoy.

Here’s to 2016, a year of constant commitment to daily exercise and healthy balanced eating!

Sgt. Tony

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