Sergeant Tony's Blog

Archive for February, 2016

Can a leopard change its spots? — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 2/25/2016

Feb. 25th 2016

Have you ever noticed that some people just seem to have crappy days?

You know the people I’m talking about. They start talking about their “woe is me” life for the umpteenth time today and you have to work hard not to roll your eyes. You’ve heard it so many times from them that you’re weary of it. You struggle to maintain a countenance that masquerades just how weary you are and just how badly you want to scream, “STOP WHINING AND START CHANGING!.”

They’re always broke, always sick, always bored, always angry, always in a dysfunctional relationship, always being laid off, always driving a crummy car that breaks-down, always blaming others, always in dead end jobs, always getting taken advantage of, always having some sort of drama in their lives, always nitpicking, always critical, always judgmental, always a doormat, always …

It’s always negative in their world. And they seem unable to explain why things don’t work out for them.

They’re living proof of the proverb: “the way you process the world around you determines the world you live in.”

It’s also true that the way you misunderstand the world around you, the way you misinterpret the actions and words of others, the darker and more negative your world will be.

The Law of Attraction, The Secret, The Golden Rule, and every major religion, teaches there’s a relationship between what you put out into the world and what you get back. There’s a relationship between the things you think about and the things you become. There’s a relationship between your energy and the energy around you. There’s a relationship between what you look for and what you find.

I had a friend who told me that when she meets someone new she starts out disliking them and expects the new person to disappoint her. What??? I looked at her the same way a dog reacts when it hears something new or weird, head cocked to one side. I had another friend who described themselves as mostly angry, as opposed to mostly happy. Is it any wonder that her world was mostly a dark and gothic place?

Do you know who Michael Strahan is? If you don’t know that name, Mr. Strahan was a member of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a football commentator for Fox, and co-host of a daily morning program with Kelly Ripa. I like him! He’s a fun, happy, energetic, clever, intelligent, winsome guy! (And he may have the widest tooth gap on television!) What you might not know is that he wrote a book called “Wake Up Happy.” It’s a list of his rules for waking up in a good mood.

I like that title a lot! I think there’s a message in it. As a rule, I wake up happy 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time I wake up confused, trying to figure out what that bizarre dream was all about and where in the heck did it come from?

But can people who are predisposed to be ill-tempered, grumpy, temperamental, neurotic, and angry change their orientation by reading a book and applying some rules? Can people change? Can therapy work? Self-help? Medication? (Sometimes medication is needed to address a chemical imbalance or an issue that self-help, exercise, and counseling can’t.)

Can a leopard change its spots?

I’d like to think so. I’d like to think that people can, if they are sufficiently motivated to do so, make changes for the better in their lives. Sometimes thinking so hasn’t always led to my own personal happiness. Many times I’ve invested in people who never changed and maybe never wanted to or intended to. But I held out hope that they would. I stuck around. But the longer I held out hope with no change on their part, my own personal misery index rose.

We all have a tipping point. A point that we say, “that’s it, I’m done.” I wouldn’t say that I have a long “fuse” (I don’t blow up) … I’d say that I’m long suffering. And it generally takes me a long time to get to the end. But once I’m done, I’m done.

There’s a great scene with John Wayne and Ronnie Howard from Wayne’s last movie, “The Shootist.” Wayne plays an aging gunfighter, recently diagnosed with cancer, who’s come to a typical western movie town to visit his doctor, played by Jimmy Stewart. And he also takes a young man, played by Howard, under his wing to mentor and to impart the wisdom of a lifetime. In this scene he turns to the young man and says, “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” I saw this movie for the first time in 1976 and loved the quote immediately. But it took years and years for me to put this wisdom in practice in my own life. I wish I hadn’t waited so long.

I’ve discovered that establishing boundaries is often necessary. Sometimes painfully so.

At times, our misery is a result of poor choices, lapses in judgment, stupid mistakes, or allowing toxic people to stay in our lives. Or our bad mood might be because we’re in a dysfunctional relationship with someone who’s wrong for us. We might be unhappy because we’re overweight and out of shape. Our sour mood might be the result of debt. All of those things can be changed with a plan. A written plan works best. (Of course, there are some sadnesses and dark days that we have no control over, and that visit us all. The death of a loved one. The sudden loss of a job. A debilitating illness.) But look at the source of your misery and I think you’ll see a way out.

As much as you can, as much as it’s up to you, put some positive light out there into the world around you!
Expect good things!
Look for good things!
Be a good thing!

— 30 —


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.


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.”)

Five Common Nutrition Mistakes

#1: Thinking that you are eating less calories than you are actually consuming. If you think that the bowl of ice cream has only 150 calories and that bowl of cereal is only 120 calories, you may be sorely mistaken. The calories listed on the Nutrition Facts panel is for one serving. But are you actually eating one serving, or are you eating two, or even three? If you didn’t measure how much you put in your bowl or on your plate, you could be consuming a lot more calories than you think.

#2: Thinking that lean ground meat means low fat. According to the USDA, lean ground meat is defined as containing no more than 10% fat, which means that it is 90% lean, right? Yes, but there is a catch: the percentage refers to product WEIGHT, not the percentage of calories from fat. Four ounces of lean ground beef contains 199 calories and 11 grams of fat, but since each fat gram is 9 calories, this means that 99 of the 199 calories are from fat, or in other words this ground beef is 50% fat! So if you are looking to reduce your fat intake, think even leaner, go for extra lean ground beef which is only about 33% fat.

#3: Thinking that you need to detox. Detox diets are touted as a way to flush toxins out of your system.The specifics of detox diets can vary — but usually a period of fasting is then followed by a strict diet of raw vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, and water. Some detox diets also advocate using herbs and other supplements along with colon cleansing through enemas or colonics to further empty the intestines.

You may lose a little bit of weight from a detox diet, but it is usually temporary from a combination of being on a very low calorie diet, losing water weight, and from having empty intestines. Plus, you’re likely to lose weight and then gain it right back when you go off any extreme diet.

There is little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body. Nor do you need to help your body “detoxify.” Your organs and immune system handle these duties, no matter what you eat. Your kidneys and liver are quite effective at filtering and eliminating most ingested toxins.

Some say that they feel better on a detox diet, but the reason why they temporarily feel better may actually come from the fact that they are avoiding highly processed foods, extra sugar, and fat. These benefits may come at a cost. Detox diets that severely limit protein or that require fasting can result in fatigue, muscle aches, and irritability. Long-term fasting can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Colon cleansing, through enemas and colonics, can cause cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting and even dehydration can be a concern. And if the diet recommends pills, herbs, or supplements, these items are not backed by the FDA and can interact with different medications and can cause issues on their own.

#4: Thinking that all organic foods are healthy. Organic cookies and ice cream are still cookies and ice cream. An organic food (or its ingredients) is grown without pesticides, antibiotics, or growth hormones. That may be admirable, but it doesn’t automatically make it a health food or lower in calories or higher in nutrients. Read your labels!

# 5: Thinking that certain types of foods will help boost your metabolism. The whole idea of metabolism boosting foods is generally a myth perpetuated by hype and the excellent marketing teams of different diet products and services. Your metabolic rate is determined by your gender, height, weight, body composition, and age. While there are a few foods that may very temporarily increase your calorie burn such as hot peppers and cold water, these effects are so very small that they should be secondary weight loss strategies, not primary. The best way to increase your calorie burn is through exercise.


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!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

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Announcements for 2-22-2016

Feb. 22nd 2016

Evening Crew, we’re inside this afternoon at 5:45!

Tuesday’s morning classes for (23 Feb) all classes will meet at CMC!

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Greed — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 2/17/2016

Feb. 17th 2016

Joining the Cub Scouts when I was 8 years old was a mistake.
Joining the Boy Scouts at 11 was too.
And it was a mistake to join the Civil Air Patrol at 15.
Joining the Marine Corps was a colossal mistake.

At the young age of 8, I was expected to understand words and concepts that weren’t a part of my vocabulary or my experience, nor the vocabulary of my friends and family, through the Cub Scout’s Oath. Each of those organizations requires its members to recite an oath or creed, to subscribe to a code of conduct. At the tender age of 8, I started reciting the word “honor” without much understanding of its meaning. “On my honor . . .” the Cub Scout Oath begins. You should have seen how cute I looked wearing my Cub Scout uniform and raising my little right hand, as if I were being sworn in to testify in court, extending two fingers—my index and forefinger—as if they were taped together, reciting the Oath.

On my honor . . .

“All men with honor are kings, but not all Kings have honor,” said Rob Roy to his sons.
“What is honor?” asked the lad.

When I used to interview prospective teachers and coaches, I asked questions and looked for certain life experiences. I often asked them to tell me who their heroes were, or to tell me about someone they admired. (I was always surprised when some said that they didn’t have any heroes.) Tell me who a person admires, and I can tell you something about that person.

Every applicant was a college graduate, and some of them had graduate degrees and a successful work history. At least according to their resumes. I mean, who would present a resume that portrayed the applicant as anything but exemplary? As you might expect, Marine veterans always got special consideration. So did Eagle Scouts. I’m not an Eagle Scout. I left Scouting at the rank below Eagle, enticed by girls, cars, and airplanes (I joined the Civil Air Patrol). But an Eagle Scout . . . well, that’s something special. A Marine who was also an Eagle Scout was practically hired on the spot!

Because of honor.

“Honor,” answered Rob Roy, “is what no man can give you, and none can take away. Honor, is a man’s gift to himself.”

As a lad, I was brainwashed to believe that honor was a preeminent character quality among men, among all real men. (I presumed it of women and girls too.) So imagine my frustration and surprise growing up and seeing the successes and popularity of young men with no honor. Liars, trouble makers, and scoundrels in the spotlight, girls fawning over them. Bad boys doing well. It was confusing.

And then the Marine Corps happened to me.

The Corps expected me to be a man of honor and they defined it this way:

“This (honor) is the bedrock of our character. It is the quality that empowers Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior: to never lie, cheat, or steal; to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity; to respect human dignity; and to have respect and concern for each other. It represents the maturity, dedication, trust, and dependability that commit Marines to act responsibly, be accountable for their actions, fulfill their obligations, and hold others accountable for their actions.”

(I’d be lying if I said that I’ve lived by this creed with perfection since the day I embraced it.)

Even now when I fill out an application for something important I’m asked if I was “Honorably Discharged” from the Marine Corps. (I was.) And for Marines, it only means that we’re not on active duty. We’re still Marines . . . with honor . . . currently unassigned.

When I lived in Japan there was a news story about three Japanese businessmen. The three had been friends since junior high school and had remained close their entire lives. Each became the CEO of their respective companies.

In the early 90s the “bubble economy” of Japan burst and companies across the country struggled to hold on and survive. Many didn’t. All three companies run by those three CEOs became unprofitable in the economic downturn.

One evening after that the three friends met together for dinner. After several hours of eating and toasting one another, the CEOs checked into separate rooms at a nearby hotel. The next morning, each man was found in his room hanging by his neck, suicide notes found on their desks. Each man explained that honor had required them to end their lives.

None of my Japanese friends discussed this with me with any degree of confusion. They understood very well what the three had done and helped me to understand it too. Japan is a country with an unyielding sense of honor, the preservation of “face,” and the strength and expectations of the Bushido code working in the background like a computer program influencing the outcome, but unseen. They will not abide a loss of honor, an insult, a slight, or disrespect.

In America we have little sense of shame, professional or otherwise. Just listen to this election season’s offering of candidates slinging mud and accusing one another of being dishonorable. As Mark Twain said, “If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times.”

Our failing CEOs get fired with golden parachutes to sustain their lavish lifestyles, free to run for president, or buy another luxury home, or ruin another company.

I’m proud to say that if a senior Marine Staff Non-commissioned Officer or Commissioned Officer files for bankruptcy, the Marine Corps dismisses them. Financial irresponsibility is a sign of poor personal management and therefore poor judgement. *

When a college coach making millions displays undisciplined behavior on national television, or continues to put together losing seasons, honor requires them to resign, at the least. But they never do.

It’s greed, not honor.

This isn’t a vague notion with me, nor some philosophical pondering in a vacuum. I know how it feels in the real world.

Years ago while living in Japan, and maybe “suffering” from “going native,” I resigned from a well paying job because I was dissatisfied with my own performance. I had no job lined up to fall back on, but plenty of bills to pay and a family to support. With no severance and no job, the struggle that followed was severe. But I’d do it all over again.

Sometimes honor requires a hard thing.

Sometimes honor demands it!

— 30 —

*The differences in a military situation and civilian circumstances can’t be overstated. Good and responsible civilians have, through no fault of their own, found themselves in financial distress and have desperately appealed to the courts for relief. Senior Marines have likewise had to file for bankruptcy and the Corps considers those on a case by case basis.


BOGA for everyone tomorrow, Thursday, 18 February!



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!


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.


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.”)


So, the HCG diet is back in the news, back in advertising, back in boutique weight loss spas, centers, and available online. But does the HCG diet work, and is it safe?

NO and NO!

The HCG diet is unhealthy, dangerous, and homeopathic HCG is illegal!

HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin, a natural hormone produced when a woman is pregnant! Products made with HCG, and the HCG diet, claim to “reset your metabolism, help you to ‘change abnormal eating patterns’ and help you lose 20-30 pounds in a month!” WOW! We should all be doing HCG, right?

HCG was first promoted for weight loss in the 1950’s and slowly faded away in the 1970’s when there was a lack of evidence proving it worked for weight loss. Well, this crazy diet has resurfaced again … just like most hairstyles, fads, and diets do.

HCG is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is a prescription drug (Type III controlled substance) for the treatment of fertility issues. It requires a prescription and is used mainly to treat fertility issues. However, many licensed medical doctors at “medical” weight loss clinics write “off label” prescriptions for HCG as a weight loss drug even though the (FDA) requires a statement and disclosure label on HCG stating: “There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more ‘attractive’ or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets,” that it is not approved for weight loss.

So these doctors knowingly dose out HCG for weight loss even though the evidence and the label state that HCG does not help with weight loss. How ethical is that?

HCG is not approved for over the counter use. In fact, it is illegal!!! HCG cannot be sold as a homeopathic medication for any purpose. Companies and weight loss clinics that sell homeopathic HCG in the form of drops, sprays, and pellets are breaking the law. Back in 1975, the Federal Trade Commission and the FDA brought lawsuits against weight loss clinics to stop them from selling HCG for weight loss and now that the diet is popular again the number of lawsuits, legal penalties, and enforcement actions against doctors, companies, and clinics are on the rise.

HCG products and the HCG diet are typically marketed with a very very low calorie diet of only 500-800 calories a day. People who follow such a very low calorie diet are likely to lose weight, at least in the short term, but the weight loss is strictly from the severe calorie restriction, NOT from the HCG. Very low calorie diets can be very dangerous and require strict and constant medical supervision to ensure that side effects are not life threatening. Risks of the diet include gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat, and an imbalance of the electrolytes that keep the body’s muscles and nerves functioning properly.

If weight loss is your goal, there are much safer ways to lose weight. Talk with your Registered Dietitian or other health care provider about how to make healthy changes that lead to permanent weight loss, such as eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.”


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!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

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The Boat Rocker — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 2/10/2016

Feb. 10th 2016

“Songs that suck from the 70s” was my imagined name for the Sirius Radio station I was forced to listen to on a road trip with some friends. The old rule, “the driver picks the music,” put me at a disadvantage in the backseat.

One of the songs that assaulted my poor ears that day was a little ditty by a short-lived group known as “The Hues Corporation.” This group was responsible for a terrible terrible song called “Rock the Boat.” If you know this song, and are now hearing it on repeat in your head, I apologize. If you don’t know the song, count your blessings and DO NOT GOOGLE IT!

The song says, in part, “… don’t rock the boat, baby … don’t tip the boat over …”

It was a powerful air, to be sure. <— total sarcasm. In grad school I took a class on critical thinking and analysis. I don’t remember the formal name of the class, we just called it “Advanced Boat Rocking.” The professor said that no subject would be off limits. Everything would be analyzed. All pop culture religious claims, philosophical catch phrases, fundamentalist assertions, and “common culture wisdom” would be challenged. Nothing would be considered sacrosanct. Everything would be held up to the litmus test of reason, logic, and cross cultural applications. The analysis started with an easy statement to examine, one that probably wouldn’t offend: “That which doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” Really? True or false? The class wasn't for the faint hearted, nor for the thin-skinned, nor the casual confessor of any religious belief system, political ideology, or social activist platform. The critical analysis wasn’t intended to winnow out the statements that were not only intellectually weak and lacking in reason and proof, but also to expose any hypocrisy that reduced those things to trite and pointless sayings. I was a skeptic before the course, but by the end of it I was skeptical even of my own skepticism. This wasn't the best thing for a younger me to be armed with. In my youth, I didn't always exercise good judgement when I challenged the superstitions, pithy sayings, pseudoscience, meaningless statements, “bumper-sticker-theology,” (which is “meme theology" in 2016) and “motivation-poster-wisdom" of my friends and family. I was soon labeled a "boat rocker,” among other uncomplimentary labels. Here are a few of the questions that were applied to the common core beliefs and assumptions challenged in the course: So? Is it true? Prove it? Then what? How can you prove that? What does that really mean? What should someone do if they hold that view? How should someone behave if they believe that? If it’s not true, then what? If it is true, then what? If you’ve seen the clip from the HBO series, “The Newsroom,” where Jeff Daniel’s character answers the question: “Why is America the greatest country in the world?” you’ll get a feel for what the class was like. Here’s the link to those 3 minutes of “The Newsroom." Fair warning if you’ve not seen it, it’s HBO, so the language is R-rated. It wasn’t always comfortable sitting in the boat rocker class. I squirmed on more than one occasion. We all did. Even the professor squirmed. As it turns out, none of us are immune from blind spots and from holding on to a life line that isn't attached to anything. A few years ago I fell into the Ocoee River in a series of class 5 rapids where I had several near death experiences, one after the other. I was seconds from drowning. (Ask poor Ashley. She watched in horror as I went under, not to be seen for a long long time and then only briefly.) The first life saving rope thrown to me wasn’t attached to anything, I don’t even know why it was thrown to me at all! I felt great relief when I grabbed it! I thought I was saved. But I wasn’t. I didn’t know that it was only a rope with nothing connected to it. When I pulled on the rope, it did nothing to get me out of the rapids. The rapids pulled me under. The rope was worthless. The truths we hold on to aren’t truths until they’re tested, until the rope is pulled and found to be attached to something real, and solid, and immovable . . . only then can it be declared true and trustworthy. An untested truth isn’t true, it’s just a possibility. For me, the class pulled back the curtain. It led to a pathway that eventually changed my life. I swallowed the red pill. I saw the code. I started demanding Snope’s-like confirmation on things that I had, heretofore, simply accepted without challenge. And if you think pointing out error or superstition makes you popular with others, think again. Just take a look on social media when someone posts something without fact-checking it first and then someone else posts the Snope’s facts that debunk that post and prove it’s false . . . the original poster does NOT appear grateful. They often seem resentful or they declare that Snope’s, or whichever source is cited, is wrong. Cognitive dissonance. But the real take away is that the original poster never checked to see if the information they were posting was bogus in the first place! Because the message of that post fit their own preconceived notions, perceptions, biases, feelings, or beliefs, the poster never fact checked it nor questioned it. When you shift this from the philosophic or esoteric to the concrete, in this case, to nutrition and exercise, you discover that everyone believes themselves to be an authority. "Because everyone eats, everyone believes they’re an expert on nutrition," Ashley Holloway, our Registered Dietitian, often says. And if a guy spends a couple of months at the gym listening to “bro-science,” he walks away thinking he’s also an expert. (For the record the “bros” aren’t authorities either.) It’s the blind leading the blind. Ashley puts out erroneous nutrition fires every day! Just about the time she puts out one, five more spring up! Facebook is FULL of food scientists … with no degree in food science … and that bogus information ends up circulating among us, passed off as science when it’s junk science at best. Last week I wrote about my first triathlon from July 1979—two years after my first exercise certification (1977)—and still I scratch my head in confused bewilderment when someone new to exercise and running wants to correct me on the two disciplines when I don’t tell them what they want to hear, or I disagree with something they heard someone else say. They often go off and do their own thing anyway. This would probably be a good place to say something about genetics. Some people did well in choosing their parents. They picked the right mom and dad! Well done! But most of us got average or “Abby Normal,” as they said in “Young Frankenstein.” Gifted people are always given a platform in everything from fitness modeling to marathon running. But the truth is, those gifted folks could do 75% less than you and me and still achieve more success than us. They could eat more than us and still look ready for the cover of “Shape” or “Men’s Health." They could train 75% less than we do and still go out and win or place in their age group in a race. And we secretly hate them. Or maybe not so secretly! Here’s the thing, those genetically gifted folks often write nutrition books that fly off the Amazon book shelves! They write books about running or triathlon or (fill in the sport in which they excel) and those books likewise set the publishing world on fire! That’s not to say the advice and coaching these gifted folks share is bogus or won’t work for us normal slugs, but the only way to know for sure is if their advice actually lines up with the evidences and results of science, of food science and exercise science. The accomplishments of the gifted might give them name recognition and help their agents get them book deals, but it doesn’t mean the content of their message is sound. In 1977, I saw the movie “Pumping Iron.” When it came out, every gym-rat-weight-room-junkie—myself included—attempted to replicate the results of those bodybuilders, which included Arnold Schwarzenegger. My Marine buddies and I tried everything. We ate like them. We worked out like them. We slept like them. We did it all. And not one of us ever came close to looking like them. Not even close. Now some would say that we didn’t take steroids like them, and that would be true. But we also didn’t have their genetics. From the late 70s to the early 90s, I did the same thing with every “celebrity” athlete I could find. I read their articles and books and followed their advice to the letter. But I never got close to their successes. Never. Genetics is the one thing you hear the least about, but it accounts for more cover models and podium appearances than the training. About 10 years ago I was training another half marathon group for the St. Jude half. The group was pretty big that year with about 25 to 30 people. Despite my instructions, I could NOT convince a small splinter group of 5 women to do things my way. Each of them had been running for a couple of years and had no interest in my advice. What could I do? They were grown adults, not children, and if they were willing to substitute my knowledge and experience for theirs, there wasn’t much I could do about it. I said my say. I rocked the boat. But they were determined to do things their own way. By the time the St. Jude half marathon arrived, only one of them was able to run it, actually she walked most of it. She was hurt and shouldn’t have done it at all, but she was also bullheaded and stubborn. One of them was in a boot to treat an Achilles tendon tear and the other three were too injured to walk without a limp. I see this all the time. After decades of coaching and thousands of athletes, I know what works and what doesn’t. But still I have to tell some, “OK, then … go ahead and do it your way.” And even then, I hope they defy the odds and don’t get hurt or burnt out, even if they come back to me and say “see, Tony, you don’t know everything, I didn’t get hurt!” I’d rather them be snarky to me, than for me to see them hurt. Religious platitudes can be argued along with philosophical and political ones. They can be analyzed and found to be harmless and baseless. That’s one thing. But science and known experience ignored puts people at unnecessary risk that has real world repercussions. Sometimes the risk may be minor and there’s little harm. But oftentimes the risk leans toward the red and the harm can be significant. If you wouldn’t think of relying on legal advice or medical advice taken from some random people on Facebook, then I hope you’ll think twice before you appeal to social media and other nonscientific sources for your exercise and nutrition advice. And for the record, if it doesn’t kill you, it may not make you stronger. It may break you. — 30 — ———————————————— BOGA for everyone tomorrow, Thursday, 11 February! ——————————————————— 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! ——————————————————— 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. ——————————————————— 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.”) Q & A with the Registered Dietitian Q: Do I need to consume lots of extra protein to build muscle? A: Dietary protein such a lean meat, eggs, nuts, dairy, beans, and seeds is an important part of a balanced diet, but eating more protein will not magically make our muscles stronger or bigger. The only way to grow muscles is to put them to work! Strength training exercises, like those we do at USMC Fitness Boot Camp, will help build strong muscles. And believe it or not, carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, are the best fuel for our working muscles. The carbohydrates we eat are partially converted into glycogen (sugar) which are stored in our muscles to be used to power workouts. Getting enough protein is important, but adding protein powders, drinks, and bars are usually unnecessary. Most of us can easily get enough protein in our daily diet as long as we eat some type of protein with our meals. —————————————— 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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It wasn’t what I wanted, but . . . Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 2/4/2016

Feb. 4th 2016

Jack Johnston died last week at the age of 80.

Jack was one of the pioneers of triathlon. He put on a multisport race in 1974 that many say was the first triathlon. (Yes, I know there are others who claim that they started it.)

I did my first triathlon a few years later in 1982 at a time when the sport was so new and unknown that I had to explain it to everyone when I told them what I was doing.

In honor of Jack Johnston, I present: Lessons I Learned From My First Triathlon. This wisdom was imparted mostly through humiliation, my favorite and ever present teacher!

The lessons began two days before the triathlon. At the encouragement of a friend, I applied a liberal coat of a new “rubber enhancing” product to my narrow road bike tires. I’d never heard of “Armor All,” but my friend said it would increase traction and make me faster. Awesome, I thought.

It was not awesome.

On a short bike ride two days before the race, and with a bunch of that new stuff slathered on my tires, I leaned hard and fast into a sharp turn. In a nanosecond, in the blink of an eye, in less time than it takes to say your name, my bike slid out from under me and both of us went airborne.

Upon impact, the whole right side of my body, from my right ankle to my right shoulder, became a human eraser, skidding across the rough pavement, proving the law of gravity and momentum. Grinding along the asphalt at 25 miles an hour, small rocks, pebbles, and other “road debris” became embedded into my screaming flesh.

This gave me something euphemistically known among cyclists as “road rash.” I lined up for my first triathlon two days later with my whole right side covered in a liberal coat of Neosporin.

First Life Lesson Learned from First Triathlon: “Don’t try anything new immediately prior to a race, and especially nothing new on race day.”

If you’ve ever done a triathlon you know the scariest part of the race is the swim start. There’s just too many bodies and not enough water to swim in. It’s crazy, chaotic, dangerous confusion. It’s like being in a human washing machine.

Back in those greener days of the sport, event organizers crowded us up in a big herd on the sandy shore of a lake, aimed us toward a small eddy of the lake, then fired the starting gun. That sent hundreds of running, frantic, confused athletes toward the same little 16 ounces of water to swim in. You ran through the shallow water until it became too deep and you had to start swimming. These days the organizers try to do it a little better and reduce some of the crazy.

But once the swimming started, the race turned into a thrashing, kicking, slapping, and elbowing affair, similar to some marriages. All of us new triathletes trying to make some sort of swimming motion; all of us in this same little fishbowl flailing about. It was crazy! You kicked others while others kicked you. You gouged others in the head, as others gouged you in the head. It wasn’t personal, it was just triathlon.

Second Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “Don’t take it personally when others kick you, there’s a good chance they didn’t mean to.”

Thankfully, all of that madness at the beginning of the swim start only lasted for about 5 terrifying minutes. After that, the field of participants started to spread out and I found a little pocket of semi-private water to swim in. At that point, I actually started making arm motions that resembled swimming strokes, instead of the panic-stricken dog paddling I’d been doing in that herd of people trying not to drown.

Unfortunately, in that initial chaos of my first triathlon, my goggles got knocked off by the kicking and gouging of others and were cockeyed on my head. The goggles were worthless and filled up with water. Plus the “road rash” running the length of my right side stung from the water. And even though the other swimmers weren’t trying to hurt me, every time they kicked, or bumped, or grabbed my right side, it hurt more than just a little.

“Why am I doing this again?”

Third Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “Keep swimming forward! Always forward! Keep moving! You’ll drown if you stop!”

After about 20 minutes of swimming, I got a glimpse of the finish line. Thank God! A few more minutes of swimming and I saw swimmers ahead of me standing up in shallow water running toward the shore! And when I reached the shallow water I stood and started running too. But nothing looked familiar.

Disoriented, in a mad dash, we ran around, trying to find our cycling clothes. In the early days of the sport they didn’t have a “transition area,” so there wasn’t a place to rack your bike in an organized way. Bikes and cycling clothes were literally littered everywhere, leaned against trees, bushes, cars, whatever, wherever. It was a total cluster! Plus the whole area looked different now, coming to it from the lake; I was discombobulated and desperate to find my clothes and get to the changing tent.

Yes, there was a changing tent. There was one changing tent. Singular. One tent. For everyone. Boys AND girls.

In those days, we changed out of our swimsuits and put on full fledged cycling clothes, as if we were going to race in the Tour de France. Nowadays triathletes compete in one suit, never stopping to change clothes from swim, bike, and run. But that wasn’t the case back when the sport was brand new and none of us really knew what we were doing. So we changed clothes for every leg of the race.

The changing tent was a giant green army tent (think MASH 4077) with very little, if any, light inside. You could barely see inside the tent, with the only light being the early morning light coming in from the front door flap of the tent. There also wasn’t a “boy’s side” or a “girl’s side.” We all ran into the tent and frantically tried to find a place inside to change. Once inside, my eyes adjusted to the dimly lit conditions and I could actually see the person next to me.

The attractive naked female person next to me.

Ordinarily, an attractive naked woman within arm’s length of me in a dimly lit room would have been cause for celebration and high fives! I might have turned to her and said, “Hey there, howUdoooin?” But such was not the case! I couldn’t have cared less. I was in a hurry to get moving and so was she. I hardly paused at all in my frenzied fumbling, trying to change into my cycling clothes and get out of that tent!

Fourth Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “Sigmund, you were wrong, it’s not ALWAYS about sex.”

I changed, got on my bike, and started the bike race. Just down the road a ways, I found some other guys to group up with. Drafting was allowed in the early days of triathlon, so we formed up like the peloton seen in professional bike races. There were about 10 of us riding together.

So there we were, riding like the wind on our fancy expensive Italian and French made bikes, wearing fancy cycling shoes, fancy cycling shorts, fancy aerodynamic cycling helmets, and fancy tight fitting colorful cycling jerseys. We were doing our best to imitate those colorful cycling teams seen racing in Europe. And I have to admit, I felt pretty cool, riding fast and looking like I was riding on the Champs-Élysées!

After about 6 miles into this 40-mile bike race, we heard a faint mechanical sound somewhere in the distance behind us. Somewhere back there, something made an awful sounding mechanical noise.

It was making a grinding scraping metal against metal sound. Because we were in a rural area, I thought a farmer had entered the road behind us driving an old tractor, maybe dragging an old rusty combine or plow. None of us turned around to look. That would violate proper “peloton protocol.” And it would make us look uncool too. Looking back was for sissy-boys, NOT for us cool guys.

As the noise got closer I was aware of a sound that was missing. There was no tractor engine noise. But that sound of rusty, grinding, metal against metal scraping kept getting louder and closer. We murmured among ourselves about the noise and the source of it, but none of us looked back.

At last the noise reached us and started to pass our peloton. That’s when we got our first glimpse of the old farmer and the rusty old combine. Turns out that it wasn’t a rusty old combine at all. It was a guy on a bike!! WHAT???

We looked to our left, and passing us, yes PASSING us, was a guy—ONE GUY–riding a nasty old, rusty, dirty looking early 1970’s era “Sears Free Spirit 10 Speed Racer.” We were being passed by a bike made out of plumbing pipe and sold in a hardware store! None of us would have been caught dead on that bike, much less compete on it! And to make matters worse, the dude passing us was wearing a ratty old t-shirt, cutoff blue jeans, a FOOTBALL helmet, and Chuck Taylor high-tops that were LITERALLY duct-taped to his pedals.

And did I mention that he was PASSING US??!!!

Awwwww haaaal nooo!!!

This would NOT do!

In one determined simultaneous move, we stood up on our pedals and sprinted past that upstart hayseed racer wannabe, putting him in his proper place BEHIND us! How DARE he try to pass US?!

But the thing is … he gained on us, he caught us, and the only thing that kept him from passing us completely was our united efforts to keep him from passing us!

Fifth Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “It’s not about the bike … it’s about the motor.”

The rest of the bike race concluded without further incident. We raced as fast as we could to the end of the bike leg and to the transition of the “bike to run.” The organizers had porta potties at the transition area to double as changing booths, so I ducked into one of them, changed into my running clothes, and took off on the last leg of the triathlon, an 8 mile run up and down course with some horrible hills. I gulped down three FULL cups of Gatorade and took off. Turns out that wasn’t a good idea. A half mile into the run, I had to duck into the bushes alongside the county highway we were running and deal with nausea.

Then at about 2 miles into the run, I heard another sound. No, not the sound of grinding metal against metal, or the sound of my gurgling stomach, but the sound of feet. I could hear the footfall of some guy gaining on me. Since I don’t particularly like being passed, I thought I’d speed up a little, so I increased my speed, thinking that it would hold him off, but I could still hear the sound of his feet hitting the deck moving quicker than I was. What??? He’s gaining on me?

OK, “time to make him hurt,” I thought. So, I sped up some more.

But no, this clown just kept coming!

“OK, dude … you wanna race? FINE! C’mon then … I got somethin’ fuuh ya … I’ll let you get up close and then I’ll make you hurt, I’ll start sprinting,” I said to myself.

That’s what I was thinking right up to the point where SHE got right next to me!

That’s right … SHE! WHAT????

She was PASSING me!!! She was some little sawed-off 5-foot nothin’ of a girl!! A GIRL?!! It was the first time in my life that a girl was besting me in a sport of any kind. My Neanderthal ego took a big hit that day — a huge hit — as the pitter patter of Little Ms. Smartypants passed me, her evil little ponytail swaying in the wind.

I tried to catch her … but … well … she was FAST!!! In racing parlance, to get passed by a girl is to get “chicked.” (I’ve been “chicked” in every single race since then! And that’s a LOT of races!)

Sixth Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “It’s not about gender either.”

(By the way, I did this triathlon 5 years in a row and this same girl passed me at the same spot EVERY TIME! By the third year, I was paranoid approaching the 2 mile mark. “Where IS she???” Knowing that she was about to appear, like the she-devil she was!)

The rest of the run leg of that first triathlon went as expected. Up and down hills in sweltering heat and humidity. The finish line was on a harness horse racing track inside a fairgrounds. Runners were to enter the fairgrounds, run onto the track, and take one lap around the track to the finish. I entered the horse racing track and tried to pick up the pace a bit. I wanted to finish strong in front of the crowd in the stands.

With about 200 yards to go, I heard a wheezing gasping sound from someone behind me. “Good lord, someone’s dying back there,” I thought.

But the dying sound was getting closer! What???? The dying guy was gaining on me???? That’s not right! How’s that even possible? How is someone breathing so heavy running faster than me????

With about 100 yards left in the race, the “dying guy,” . . . with the gray hair . . . passed me. HE PASSED ME! I tried to keep up with him. I tried to stay near him. But I was spent. He wasn’t. He disappeared around the curve and was gone!

The old dude beat me!

I crossed the finish line, proud that I had survived and finished my first triathlon. But post-race, all I could think of was finding the “old dude” who bested me.

You know how people linger after races, eating free snacks and gulping down Gatorade. I found the gray haired gentleman (aka “the old dude”) eating a banana and looking fresh. I’m certain I looked like a cadaver.

“Congratulations on a great race!” I said to the man who had humbled me at the end.

“Oh, thanks,” he said with a big grin.

“You passed me right there at the end … you were moving pretty fast!” I said.

“Oh, sorry ’bout that,” he said with a slight chuckle that said that he wasn’t sorry at all. One of those “sorry, not sorry” expressions. And then he added, “I hope you’ll forgive me.”

“Sir, I hope you won’t be offended by my question … but … how old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Sticking his chest out with pride, he said, “I’m 52 years old!”

“You, sir, are my new role model … my goal … my HERO!!!”

And this unknown 52-year-old man has been my hero ever since.

Seventh Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “It’s not about age either.”

Those things I learned in my first triathlon have been true in my life and not just about triathlon. It shattered many of my misplaced notions and prejudices. It helped to realign my thinking about things. They were not exactly the lessons I thought I would learn, but proof that one of the cool things about life, and about sport, is that we can continue to learn and grow, with or without the humble pie!

Thank you, Jack Johnston. RIP

— 30 —



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!


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.


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.”)

Shape Matters – Are you an apple or a pear?

If you haven’t noticed before, runners come in all shapes and sizes. Tall, petite, round, thin, muscular, and soft; we are as diverse as our fingerprints. One size definitely does not fit all. But when it comes to health, shape matters. And knowing whether you’re shaped like an apple or a pear might help you lower your risk for medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.

You can compare the two body shapes with an apple and a pear: If you hold them by the stalk, the pear is thickest at the bottom, while the apple is thickest in the middle. If fat tends to gather high around your abdomen, you’re an apple. If it collects more around your hips, buttocks, and thighs, you’re a pear. Unfortunately, you don’t get to pick the kind of fruit you want to be shaped like, it is genetic.

The dangers associated with obesity vary. If you are overweight, where you carry those extra pounds is important. And being pear-shaped is healthier than being apple-shaped. Research shows that if you have more fat concentrated around the waist as opposed to your hips, thighs and behind, you have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Too much fat around your belly is not good for your health, but the type of fat you carry there also matters. The softer, squishy type of belly fat is preferable. This is the kind of fat you can see and can grab with your hand. This is called is subcutaneous fat. This fat sits right under your skin and on the outside of your muscle wall and seems to be less related to heart disease and diabetes.

The deeper kind of fat which is underneath the muscle wall is called visceral fat. This kind of fat is much less healthy since it surrounds your organs and raises your risk of disease. Since this type of fat is underneath the muscle wall, not on top of it, this type of belly looks distended, but when you press on it, it feels firm to the touch, not squishy and soft. Men seem to have more of this kind of belly.

But whether you are shaped like an apple or a pear you don’t want to carry too much fat in your abdominal fat. How do you know if you have too much abdominal fat? The easiest way, besides using your eyes, is to use a measuring tape. Women should have a waist measurement of less than 30 inches and men should have a waist of less than 40 inches around. Note this is NOT your pants size! Your waist is measured around your midline at the belly button with your body in a relaxed state (not sucking in!)

Remember, no matter your body shape, apple or pear, if you weigh too much overall and are carrying too have much body fat, your health, well-being, and even your running will be greatly improved if you lose some weight.


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!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

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