Sergeant Tony's Blog

Archive for September, 2017

Gibbs is Wrong — Sgt. Tony’s blog post for 9/21/2017

Sep. 21st 2017


Like cat videos, tattoo fails are all over social media. Misspelled words, horrible “portraits” that bear no resemblance to the actual person are comical. Then there are the tattoos of random words, goofy inspirational phrases (some with conflicting ideologies), and all those barbed wire and tribal decorations. My favorites might be the ones with unreadable Chinese/Japanese symbols or kanji characters that don’t mean anything remotely close to what the tattooed person thinks they mean.

But the tattoo that says “No regerts” is priceless and ironic.

Why no regerts?

One of Frank Sinatra’s signature songs, “My Way,” contains this famous line: “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.” (I bet you just read that in Frank’s voice!) Apparently, having regrets must be a sign of weakness or an admission of failure. And these days, everyone must look strong and infallible.

The problem is, we ARE fallible. It’s the narcissist who thinks otherwise.

The movie “Love Story,” based on the novel of the same name by Erich Segal, had a famous line that is simply NOT true: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Balderdash! Love most certainly means having to say you’re sorry. (We all probably have that one friend or acquaintance who never apologizes.) Even the fictional character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs of “NCIS,” says that saying you’re sorry is a sign of weakness. Nope. You’re wrong about that Special Agent Gibbs.

Here’s the thing, every single day I end it with some form of regret. Every. Single. Day. Along with counting my blessings every day and having a spirit of gratitude, I must also take note of my shortcomings. How can I get better if I don’t? How can I be the best version of myself tomorrow, if I take no notice of my missteps today?

What kind of regrets?

Failures in time management. Wasting time. Not using my time profitably or wisely. Allowing myself to be distracted. Procrastination.

Then there are the multitude of failures in conversation. Did I need to say that? Did I need to say that at that moment? Did I miss out on an opportunity to be kind, encouraging, friendly, cheerful, winsome? What about my tone of voice? Was my tone positive and uplifting? Was I rude or disrespectful? Was I judgmental? Impatient? Arrogant? Petty? Was I condescending? Did I speak to others with compassion? Did I commit any of those regrettable things online? Did I use social media well?

What about my failures in conduct? Did I lose my temper in traffic? Did I assume the worst in that person who cut me off? Did I show anger to the person going 20 MPH when the speed limit is 45? Was I unfriendly to the person at the grocery store? Did I give others the benefit of the doubt? Did I interpret the actions of others in the most respectful way possible?

If I don’t reflect on my regrets, if I don’t spend some time in examining my conduct and conversation, how will I improve as a person? As a man?

Tomorrow I will do better. And if I must make restitution or ask for forgiveness, I’ll do that too … because I have regrets. And that’s okay, because tomorrow, as Scarlett said, is another day.



If you’d like to pay using VENMO, you may! I’m Tony Ludlow on VENMO!

If you’re unfamiliar with VENMO, it’s a payment app for your phone (or computer) owned by PayPal and functions like a check. You can LITERALLY make a payment on your phone in less time than it takes to fill out a check! Click, click, click, done! All done!


by First Sergeant Ashley Holloway, MS, RD, 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.” You could follow the nutrition advice of some Facebook friend of a friend … or you could follow the advice of a scientist.)

Ashley recommends that you read this excellent article from the New York Times.

What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.







Have a GREAT Thursday!
Yours in good health and fitness!

Sgt. Tony

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Sep. 2nd 2017

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What is the name? — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s blog for 9/2/2017

Sep. 2nd 2017

A few years ago, I was the speaker at Memphis University School’s weekly assembly. I am not an alum of MUS. I was asked to speak because I come cheap. Or something like that. Maybe because I am the father of three grown adults? Maybe because I was a high school coach? Maybe because I was not a felon? Whatever the reason, they asked, and I spoke.

During my talk, I told the story of marching my three kids (between the ages of 8 and 13 at the time) into our kitchen. In the sink, there were three “dirty” cereal bowls, three spoons that had been used for the Cap’n Crunch, and three cups with milk rings. On the counter, there was an open cereal box, an open loaf of bread, an open container of butter, a “used” butter knife, and enough bread crumbs to make a park pigeon happy. The three unsuspecting messy kids were happily watching a video before I pushed the pause button on the remote and escorted them into the kitchen.

“What do you see in the sink?” I asked.
The guilty looked but said nothing.
I asked the question again.
“Dishes,” said the oldest one.
Head nods in agreement from the other two culprits.
“Whose dishes?” I asked.
Cricket noises.
I asked the question again.
“’Our’ dishes,” answered the oldest offender.
Head nods in agreement from his co-accomplices.
“Tell me the name of the person you expected to clean up your mess and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher?” I asked.
The three plaintiffs nervously shuffled their feet, looking down at the floor.
I waited.
“C’mon, what’s that person’s name?” I said.
No answer.
At last, the oldest conspirator got the point. He explained it to his fellow violators. They went to work cleaning up their messes. I never had that conversation with them again. All I had to do was ask, “What is the name …”

To the young men at MUS, eager to be free and independent of their parent’s confinement, I explained how personal responsibility is an attribute of adult behavior learned early in life. When your parents see you being responsible in small things, I said, they will be eager to give you freedoms and responsibility in bigger things. Ultimately, they want you to leave their house and lead your own life, independent and responsible. They want to see you doing things for yourself.

(I wonder what kind of adults helicopter parents think their children—pampered, protected, problem free, and privileged—will be?)

Of course, the accumulation of years does not mean a person is responsible. I know a woman in her early 50s who is in between husbands #7 and #8. She cannot do anything for herself and she cannot be alone. She has to be taken care of.

There are plenty of men who are equally inept at managing their own lives. In fact, joking about men unable to get their s—t together is a thing in our culture. When I returned from 10 years in Japan, there were a number of television shows that were of the “Yes, Dear” variety. Shows where the hero, or in these cases the heroines, were the inept guys’ wives or girlfriends. The men were more like children than men. Big doofuses. “King of Queens,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and “Friends” had a cast of unremarkable men doing stupid stuff.

What happened to men while I was gone, I wondered.

It is not just on television. I met a lady at a faculty party when I was teaching and as we were chatting she learned that I was single. “Well, who takes care of you?” she asked. My answer, “I take care of me” seemed to confound and amuse her. “God doesn’t want you single,” she said, “you need a woman.” Then it was my turn to be confounded and amused.

That day in the kitchen with my children has played over and over in my mind since then when I have asked myself “What is the name of the person who must do this?” I am reminded in that moment that I am responsible for me. No one is coming over to make decisions for me, nor do I want them to. I broke up with a woman many years ago who turned out to be pretty bossy. After telling her repeatedly that, according to my resume, I had managed to accomplish things in my life without her and that I needed neither a mother nor a project manager, I broke up with her. Her response was classic: “Tony, you’re obviously making a huge mistake and you need to reconsider your actions.” “Nope. I’m good,” I said. These days, she is married to some poor schmuck. Every once in a while, I see her and her husband out and about … I always say a silent prayer for him. Then again … maybe he is the kind of man who needs a boss and a project manager.

I am responsible for me. I am responsible for my perspectives of the world. I am responsible for my attitude and my happiness. I am responsible for my failures and accomplishments. And whenever I am in doubt, or stuck, or procrastination is keeping me from progress, taking action, or making a decision, I ask myself, “What is the name of the person who is going to move you forward?” That person’s name is always my name.

And the same is true of you.

As the rabbinic sage, Hillel the Elder, famously said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” ~ Carol Burnett

What is the name of the person who is going to change your life?

The weather tomorrow looks a little iffy for Cardio!
If it rains, we’ll do BOGA in the gym instead!



Let me know if you’re due for promotion between now and the end of the year! Please email me with the month of your promotion, the number of years, and VERY important: the size shirt you prefer. Thank you!



The Buffalo Runners are running! Half marathon training begins this weekend!

We’ll meet at 7am on the southeast-side of the Visitor’s Center at Shelby Farms. (That would be the area in between the bicycle rental shop and the Visitor’s Center.)

We’ll be running 1hr 10min on Saturday, using the run/walk program made popular by top marathon coaches across the country.
IF it’s raining Saturday morning, we’ll switch to Sunday morning. I’ll post on the Buffalo Runner’s Facebook page. “Like” that page now if you haven’t already. If you’re still not sure, you can text me at 901-644-0145.

ALL ARE WELCOME! The cost for the 3 months of training is $75 for active duty boot campers and $125 for inactive boot campers and “friends of boot camp.”



No BOOT CAMP on Labor Day! Enjoy your holiday and I’ll see you on Tuesday! The 5:30am class will be at St. Mary’s on Tuesday morning, September 5th.





If you’d like to pay using VENMO, you may! I’m Tony Ludlow on VENMO!

If you’re unfamiliar with VENMO, it’s a payment app for your phone (or computer) owned by PayPal and functions like a check. You can LITERALLY make a payment on your phone in less time than it takes to fill out a check! Click, click, click, done! All done!


by First Sergeant Ashley Holloway, MS, RD, 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.”)

Processed Foods: What’s OK, What to Avoid
by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (

Processed food has a bad reputation as a diet saboteur. It’s blamed for our nation’s obesity epidemic, high blood pressure and the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes. But processed food is more than boxed macaroni and cheese, potato chips and drive-thru hamburgers. It may be a surprise to learn that whole-wheat bread, homemade soup or a chopped apple are also processed foods.

While some processed foods should be consumed with caution, many actually have a place in a balanced diet. Here’s how to sort the nutritious from the not-so-nutritious.
What Is Processed Food?

“We have to determine what processed really means when we’re talking about processed food,” says Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, past spokesperson of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For example, Giancoli considers white bread refined since most of the healthy fiber has been removed during the processing. “It’s also processed, but keep in mind, that as a cook you’re doing processing yourself. Have you ever heard of something called a food processor? I think we get really caught up in the word processed without realizing what it truly means.”

Processed food falls on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed:

* Minimally processed foods — such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables and roasted nuts — are often simply pre-prepped for convenience.
* Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned beans, tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna.
* Foods with ingredients added for flavor and texture (sweeteners, spices, oils, colors and preservatives) include jarred pasta sauce, salad dressing, yogurt and cake mixes.
* Ready-to-eat foods — such as crackers, granola and deli meat — are more heavily processed.
* The most heavily processed foods often are frozen or pre-made meals including frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners.

The Positives of Processed

Processed food can be beneficial to your diet. Milk and juices are sometimes fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and breakfast cereal may have added fiber. Canned fruit (packed in water or its own juice) is a good option when fresh fruit is not available. Some minimally processed food such as pre-cut vegetables are quality convenience foods for busy people.

“Bagged vegetables and salads are helping people eat more vegetables,” says Giancoli. “They’re more expensive, but if your choice is between paying less and chopping it when you know you’re not going to do that, and paying a little more for the bagged vegetable you know you’re going to eat, the [bagged vegetable] is a better choice.”

“You have to look at the big picture,” says Giancoli. “Be a detective — read the ingredients list and review the nutrition facts panel. Food is complex and we need to get to know it.”
Look for Hidden Sugar, Sodium and Fat

Eating processed food in moderation is fine, but consumers should be on the lookout for hidden sugar, sodium and fat.

“We have tons of added sugars in our food supply,” says Giancoli. “We think that just because a product says ‘organic’ or ‘natural,’ that means it’s better and healthier for us, but that’s not always the case … whether [a product] has added high-fructose corn syrup or natural cane sugar, we need to be wary of both.”

Sugar isn’t just hidden in processed sweets. It’s added to bread to give it an appealing browned hue, and there’s often a surprising amount added to jarred pasta sauces and cereal. The number of carbohydrates on the nutrition label also includes naturally occurring sugars which may be a significant amount in foods such as yogurt and fruit. Instead, review a product’s ingredients list and look for added sugars among the first two or three ingredients including sugar, maltose, brown sugar, corn syrup, cane sugar, honey and fruit juice concentrate.

Most canned vegetables, soups and sauces have added sodium, which enhances taste and texture and acts as a preservative. We need some sodium, but we often consume much more than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation of less than 2,300 milligrams a day.

Surprisingly, a heavy hand with table salt may not be to blame for our overconsumption of sodium. “Three quarters of our sodium intake comes from processed foods,” says Giancoli. “Only 20 or 25 percent of it comes from salting our food. The salt shaker is not the major problem.”

Canned vegetables, soups and beans can be packed with nutrients, so don’t cross them off your shopping list entirely. Instead, look for reduced or low sodium on labels. “Buy products light in sodium, and then sprinkle a little bit of salt on top if you need it,” suggests Giancoli. “You’re still going to get a lot less sodium than if you bought the regular product.” Also, always rinse canned beans and vegetables — this simple step reduces sodium content by about 40 percent.

Added fat helps make food shelf-stable and gives it body. Trans fats — which raise our bad cholesterol while lowering our good — are on the decline in processed foods, but you should still read food labels. According to the FDA, a product can still claim it has zero trans fats if each serving has less than half a gram of the fat.

“If [a product] has a really small serving size and you’re eating three or four servings, [trans fats] add up,” says Giancoli. “Even if a product says it has zero trans fat, check the ingredients list. If it contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, then it’s going to have to have some amount of trans fat in it.”


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

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Text: 901-644-0145

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