Sergeant Tony's Blog

Archive for January, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

Jan. 15th 2017

Tomorrow, Dr. King’s celebration day, all classes meet! That’s me doing something for you! You’re welcome! See you on The Quarterdeck!

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SNOW DAY! 1/6/2017

Jan. 6th 2017

Memphis city schools (Shelby Co.) have just now closed. We will be standing down today. My apologies if you’ve already left your house. So very sorry. Y’all be safe out there!

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What is your why? 1/4/2017

Jan. 4th 2017

We had a GREAT morning today to start 2017! Thanks, everyone!

If you read my recent post about Relevance, Significance, and Purpose, you might be interested in another word that I’ve written in my journal lately: Intention.

More specifically: being intentional.

This new year will see a shake up and a new approach to some of the things we do. Here are a few of the things you’ll see:

* Abbreviated stretching time
* Shorter huddle up times with some days none at all
* Ashley’s nutrition talk biweekly or monthly
* Thursday’s workout (BOGA) will be the only day with an assigned workout
* The year will be broken down into quarters with themes
* Every 6th week will be devoted to exercises without dumbbells
* All classes inside during the first quarter: no need to check the weather
* New workouts will be incorporated into the rotation
* No Mt. Fuji workout during the first quarter

It’s easy sometimes to get the airplane to altitude, point it in the right direction, and turn on the autopilot. I must admit that I’ve done that to some extent. But I can do better and I’ve taken us off autopilot!

Being intentional.

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Jan. 3rd 2017

I’m reading another biography about Benjamin Franklin. History nerd behavior.

Franklin moved in and out of a vast and diverse circle of friends and acquaintances with ease. He was comfortable with the tradesmen of his day, and equally at home in the audiences of Kings and Queens. Franklin was a scholar among scholars, a scientist among scientists, and he helped draft both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He was an able diplomat and served as our first Ambassador to France.

Benjamin Franklin ran away from home at 15 and never had the money or opportunity to attend college at a time when the majority of Founders graduated from Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and William & Mary. He was self-taught, and didn’t attend school beyond the age of 10; the living proof of being able to get an education for “a dollar-fifty in late charges at the Public Library.” He actually started the first lending library in the Colonies. Franklin received honorary doctorates from both Harvard and Princeton.

As a young printer in Philadelphia, he made a list of eight cardinal sins in conversation.

1. – “Talking overmuch . . . which never fails to excite resentment.”
2. – “Seeming uninterested.”
3. – “Speaking too much about your own life.”
4. – “Prying for personal secrets.”
5. – “Telling long and pointless stories.”
6. – “Contradicting or disputing someone directly.”
7. – “Ridiculing or railing against things except in small witty doses.”
8. – “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 bite-sized portions some wisdom from one of the greatest minds and personalities in American history, without wading through a 600-page biography.

We like lists. We like bullet points.

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

2. Being sore doesn’t mean anything.

Being sore simply 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. Take a world class tennis player and put them through a weight training workout or a swimming workout or a cycling workout and that world class tennis player will be sore.

It’s a different kinesiology.

When I coached basketball, my players who were also on the football team, would literally go from football practices one day to basketball practice the next. Without fail, they’d be sore and moving slow and these were young men in their prime, already conditioned from months of football practices and weight room workouts.

It’s a different kinesiology.

There are trainers who’ll purposely have their clients do exercises just to get the clients 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 that point. (But at least I tell you this ahead of time!) Make a muscle group do a lot of work they haven’t been doing and that muscle group will scream. And that is true of every person on the planet irrespective of their fitness or athleticism.

It’s a different kinesiology.

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 YOUNG professional marathon runner or a professional cyclist who’s burning up a ton of calories all day long on the road.

And you can’t exercise with a faulty diet.

That is, if you aren’t consuming enough carbs, you can’t exercise. Period. 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 some form of a heart-rate monitor since the early 90s when they first started to appear to the general public. I own one now!

But the data of the heart-rate monitor means little to the general public. The HR means something to me because I’ve been at this for a long time. But for the majority of exercisers, the numbers on the monitors don’t mean much. The formulas that the heart-rate monitor makers and enthusiasts use to calculate heart-rate ranges are hardly better than guess work. Poor guess work, actually.

You buy a heart-rate monitor and the first thing they tell you to do is to calculate a number of heart-rate ranges based on taking the number 220 and subtracting your age from that number. That figure is mostly meaningless. That figure takes no account of:

* body weight
* level of fitness
* gender
* metabolism
* daily medication
* daily rest

All of which can affect your heart rate. Outside you’d have to include heat and humidty.

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 my most recent Marine Corps Marathon training, I had runs where my heart-rate was over 170 and I felt fine. 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’d gotten the night before. Or the phases of the moon. Sometimes you just don’t know what accounts for such changes and variances.

In the more than 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 complain about poor results.

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.

You get out what you put in.

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. And it’s distracting to other boot campers around you.

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.

The health clubs know that if everyone who joined actually showed up, there’d be lines longer than the ones for the newest Disney theme park opening. 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. Even exercise science hasn’t come to an agreement across disciplines.

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 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. Minimal fitness for the Army isn’t the minimal fitness for the Marines. Minimal fitness for basketball isn’t minimal fitness for lumberjacks.

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 at other things too. They tend not to stick to things, finish things, and complete things that require discipline. My grandparents generation called it “sticktoitiveness.” (But what would they know about that? They only defeated the Nazis and Imperial Japan to win WWII!)

People who succeed find a way. People who fail find an excuse. Finding an excuse takes no great detective genius. Giving up is effortless. Rationalizing poor life-management is simple. Lack of self-discipline is a habit. Talk is cheap. Blaming others is easy. Negative self-talk is debilitating.

I wish I could get back every man-hour I’ve wasted trying to talk someone into success who was determined not to succeed. People always countering with reasons why they couldn’t do something that they had the ability to do. Winners find a way, quitters find an excuse.

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 they were finally 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’s possible to get healthy and reasonably fit through any number of exercise modalities through any number of programs, equipment, trainers, coaches, and facilities. And 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!

And if you’re a “lapsed boot camper” and it’s been a while since you were on the Quarterdeck, come on back! I promise not to make fun of you or give you a hard time. What I usually do when someone comes back is to smile real big, like when you haven’t seen a friend in a long time, and then say, “Hello! My name is Tony Ludlow!”

Our assault on the new year begins tomorrow, Wednesday, January 4, 2017! Join me!

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