Sergeant Tony's Blog

Archive for May, 2018

Death By Small Group — Tony Ludlow, May 17, 2018

May. 17th 2018

Do you remember your best day at school?

I do.

It didn’t have anything to do with exams or social intrigue. No extra-curricular activities or special events. In fact, though I loved school, or rather, I loved being at school, but not always loving the subjects, it wasn’t until my junior year in college that I had this “best of the best days.” It also wasn’t until college that I got serious about my studies. It’s funny how your own money financing your education does that.

The professor for this particular English class, Dr. Amy Blankenship, was, to put it kindly, a lady of a certain age who had never married and had passed beyond the age of birthing babies. Her work was her life. She taught and she wrote and — as if she weren’t stereotypical enough — she took care of her 5 cats. She was wonderful and her enthusiasm for academics and teaching were almost equal to her love for cheesecake.

On this best of all days, she divided us into groups and gave each group an assignment. Ordinarily I’d rather take a hammer to my head than to break into small groups. I groan inside every time a teacher or speaker says “let’s break into small groups.” And this breaking into groups thing was starting out like every one of those other miserable experiences. (Thing is, they’re never nearly as miserable as I imagine. I have no idea why I have such an aversion to the whole thing.)

The assignment was simple: as a group, formulate 10 opening sentences for a book or short story. The sentence needed to get the reader’s attention and draw them into the story. We were to compose things like:

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.” — “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” by Hunter S. Thompson.

“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.” — “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee.

“The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.” — “The Dark Tower,” by Stephen King.

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.” — “The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.” — “Fight Club,” by Chuck Palahniuk. (This line also incorporates the beginning of “The Satanic Verses,” by Salman Rushdie! Kind of a genius move, I’d say!)

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” — “The Bell Jar,” by Sylvia Plath.

“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” — “I Capture the Castle,” by Dodie Smith.

“Call me Ishmael.” — “Moby Dick,” by Herman Melville.

“The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.” — “The Red Badge of Courage,” by Stephen Crane.

All of us were quite certain that none of us in our little groups were going to come anywhere close to these lines, but we were determined to try. And I can’t tell you how much fun this was! I don’t remember any of our lines, I just remember how much fun it was to conjure them up out of thin air.

Afterwards, one member from each group read their group’s lines to the whole class. When that was over and the group time was over, Dr. Blankenship had us write 10 sentences of our own composition and hand them in. When we were finished, we could leave early. I stayed until the bell rang. I was finished with time to spare, but I just kept rewriting the lines, correcting or altering or modifying, and I just kept writing additional sentences.

I wasn’t alone. Several of my classmates did the same thing. And when the bell rang, we reluctantly got up and handed in our pages of work, happy in the experience, but sad that it was over.

For some students, this might be “the worst of times.” But for me, it was the “best of times!”

I think the essence of happiness in this world is to find things that give you that kind of joy. Things that ignite your passions! Things that make time fly. Things that you get lost in.

Not long ago a new friend asked what I did for a living and I said “I’m a reader and a writer.” She got very excited and said, “Oh, how exciting! Have you had a number of things published … could I buy your work on Amazon or Kindle?” “No,” I said, “the few things I’ve had published aren’t available anywhere … I don’t actually make any money writing … I run a fitness company for money … but I write for a ‘living.’” (Actually, I’m pretty passionate about fitness and athletics too!)

Sometimes people tell me that they’re unhappy in their current job or profession. I ask them what they’d like to do instead. A lot of times they don’t know, they just know what they don’t want to be doing. But sometimes they say that they’d love to be doing X, Y, or Z because they’ve got a love for that, a passion for it. I always encourage them to try doing those things part-time. Test the waters without giving up the gig that pays the bills.

If you’re serious, downsize your life to facilitate the dream. Buying a smaller house, driving an older car that you don’t owe anything on, giving up needless luxuries like country club memberships and Florida condo timeshares to simplifying your life so that you can worry less about money and invest more of your time and psychic energy into your passions. We must be careful that we don’t become enslaved by our possessions. There’s an interesting admonition in the New Testament book of Luke that goes like this: “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

What are you passionate about? What makes the time fly? What gives you joy?

It may not be anything that will ever pay the bills, but find a way to carve out space and time in your life for those things. For those things are what redeems the time you have in this life.

— 30 —

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Patreon

Through the years—almost 19 now—folks have been super supportive of USMC Fitness Boot Camp and all that I do through it.

Weekly, I hear from former boot campers who’ve moved away. They write saying how significant the program was to them, how much they miss it, and how much they enjoy getting the newsletters and Facebook updates.

Sometimes, those who’ve moved away send money because they want to be helpful and to support the program. This happened just a few days ago. Sometimes these folks know that at any point in time, there are about half a dozen boot campers coming for free because they lost their job, or there’s been some other detrimental change in their finances and they’d have to drop out boot camp.

We’re the only fitness company in Memphis that allows members to continue to participate for free if they lose their jobs or their finances take a horrible hit. And when they’re back on their feet, they just start paying from that point forward. The months they came for free never have to be paid back.

I consider what I do to be more ministry than business, and don’t kick anyone out because of money problems.

Like you, I support different causes and organizations in Memphis just because I believe in what they do and want to help them keep doing it. Monthly, I support 8 different local entities, including WKNO and Literacy Mid-South.

Additionally, last year I started supporting two different people on a site called Patreon. It’s a way to support artists, musicians, writers, instructors, and others who produce content or provide services of a broad nature but might not be able to continue doing so without financial support from patrons … like how educators, artists, musicians, and others were supported by patrons back in the day.

I’ve been encouraged to join Patreon myself, giving folks an opportunity to support the program in small automatic monthly amounts.

Check out the page and if you feel led to support the work I do, even if it’s $1 a month, the number of patrons will be an encouragement to me and others!

https://www.patreon.com/TonyLudlow/overview

Thank you so much!

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TODAY’S NUTRITION TALK
by Sergeant Major Ashley Holloway, M.S., Registered Dietitian, L.D.N.

(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.”)

Do you need to Detox?

Detox diets are touted as a way to flush toxins out of your system. These diets are quite popular, but they are not scientifically proven.

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 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.

Finally, keep in mind that fad diets aren’t a good long-term solution. For lasting results, your best bet is to eat a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein.

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MAKE A $&(#&@^#!*% FACE!!!!

INCREASE YOUR WEIGHTS!

YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN!

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.

YOU DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR WORKOUT IS HALF-ASS OR KICKASS!

It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!

MAKING A FACE (THE GRIMACE) IS THE POOR MAN’S (OR WOMAN’S) FACELIFT!

————————————————————

EVERY WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY ARE T-SHIRT DAYS!

WEAR YOUR RANK INSIGNIA SHIRT, SUB 7 SHIRT, OR OTHER USMC FITNESS BOOT CAMP SHIRT!

—————————————————————

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

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Text: 901-644-0145

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


‘Tis But a Scratch — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 5/10/2018

May. 10th 2018

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 9.26.17 PM

Two of my favorite movie swordsmen are complete opposites.

The Black Knight is an unyielding buffoon from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” and Ujio is a dedicated warrior from “The Last Samurai.” The Black Knight is totally comedic. Ujio (eew-gee-oh) a samurai, is quite the opposite.

Two opposites.

Two awesome guys!

If you’re not a Monty Python fan, The Black Knight is famous for saying the most absurd things while LOSING a sword fight. I mean, you’re LOSING a sword fight and you’re talking?

In the movie, King Arthur systematically dismembers The Knight. And if dismembering can be funny, then this scene is the funniest dismembering scene in cinematic history.

The King wants to end the duel since he’s obviously beaten the Knight. But as each body part is lopped off, the Knight continues to taunt the King, trying to provoke him into continuing the duel. It’s silly and so stupid that it’s funny.

The Black Knight’s famous response, after the King cut off his arm, was to dismiss it as nothing because “it’s just a flesh wound.” And even as King Arthur is leaving the scene and continuing on his quest to find the Holy Grail, the dismembered Knight continues taunting and yelling at The King, calling him a coward and trying to get him to keep fighting!

In the very serious “The Last Samurai,” Ujio spends the first two thirds of the movie wanting to kill Tom Cruise. A feeling that we can all relate to from time to time, no doubt. (Probably more so after that whole “couch hopping” foolishness on Oprah several years ago. Or maybe after his interview on The Today Show when he called Matt Lauer “obtuse” or “feckless” or some such vague, but insulting sounding word. Not to mention the whole Scientology business.)

But in the end Captain Algren (Mr. Cruise) and Ujio become comrades and go into battle together against a common enemy. It would be a battle that Ujio would not survive.

At one point during the battle, Ujio is wounded multiple times, severe enough that he could have been taken from the field, and where he would surely die … behind the lines. Not an option for a proud and noble samurai. No warrior wants to die on the ground behind the lines.

Ujio rebuffs the concerns and the assistance from his fellow samurai, all the while spitting out blood. He gets to his feet without help, stands up straight, readjusts his battle armor, and without a word being spoken, nods to his fellow samurai, to let them know of his readiness and his resolve. Ujio then sets himself in preparation for the next wave of enemy soldiers. And when those soldiers attack, Ujio rushes into the battle to meet his enemy head on!

The fact that neither The Black Knight nor Ujio ever gave up would be reason enough for me to admire them. And would be reason enough for me to tell you about them.

But what I particularly like about Ujio and The Knight are their obvious choices to focus on something other than their circumstances, their wounds, and their sure defeat. They are singularly focused on their duty. Their eyes are fixed upon doing their duty, staying the course, and finishing their mission. They are mission focused and mission capable. By an act of their will, they ignore the obvious calamity and turn their attention to finding a solution to their dilemma and completing their mission.

“Tony are you ever serious?” I get asked from time to time. Usually it’s in the form of some critical remark or tone. Usually it comes from some stuffed-shirt-stick-in-the-mud-fuddy-duddy who takes things waaaay too seriously and takes exception to my jocularity and optimism. Usually it’s from someone who doesn’t know me very well.

I get the impression from them that they believe that somehow, I’ve managed to live this long without being touched by tragedy or heartache. That somehow the lines on my face have been caused only by sophomoric and juvenile jokesterisms and tomfooleries. That I’ve been spared the rejections and betrayals that accompany most others through this journey. That I’ve somehow veered away from the potholes and pitfalls; I’ve avoided the deathbeds and the funerals; I’ve missed out on life’s misfortunes, the pain of loss and loneliness, the death of a dream, or the tragedy of brokenness.

But if you know me at all, then you know that I am well acquainted with those things, the same things that accompany all of us in life.

What I refuse to do is to focus on them.

Or at the very least, try not to focus on them. I’ll take the rose-colored glasses any day over playing the victim or yielding to cynicism.

I don’t want my worst moments, or my most misguided decisions, or my deepest tragedies, or my most horrific experiences to define who I am. They will not permanently discolor my world nor cast darkness across my personality.

I want to be like The Black Knight and Ujio. I want my focus to be on moving forward. On the mission.

I’m not looking for excuses. I’m looking for opportunities.

I want to face my enemy with a sword in my hand and a crazy grin on my face. And in the process, I’m going to be irreverent and silly, occasionally serious, but mostly absurdly borderline inappropriate, light, and funny.

But I will also purposely and daily engage in introspection and reflection with a hope of discovering a better way to be a better me.

But at the end of the day, I want more laugh lines in my face. I will systematically put aside those things and those people that are not in my best interest, who take the smile from my face, or who drain the energy from my life. Not everyone in my life has earned the right to be there.

And so should you put those things aside.

Dismiss from your life those who constantly misunderstand you and assign ill intent to your most innocent of actions. Keep at a distance from those who would rather jump to conclusions than understand the situation and the circumstances. Let the “right fighters” fight alone.

There are many of you reading this who have overcome incredible and horrible experiences and yet you CHOOSE, by an act of your will, to focus on the now and the future! You know that happiness isn’t found, it’s manufactured … from within. You refuse to be shackled to the past or to an experience that YOU did not choose.

Many of you have honored me by sharing some of those experiences with me. You have brought me into your inner circle of friends and family and allowed me to see the burden — invisible to the rest of the world — that you have chosen to leave on the side of the road. You’ve shared with me your stories of victory and triumph. And the ugliness of those experiences has only made me admire, cherish, and appreciate you all the more. You shine like diamonds in the sun! You have become more noble and winsome in my eyes … you are more precious and amazing.

I have a recurrent theme, a sermon, a message that I am almost daily compelled to recall and share. It’s the ancient lesson from Plato: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Choose life! And choose it on your own terms! Ignore the critics and the fearful. Take chances. Say yes!

Live an extraordinary life, despite your circumstances!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain.

— 30 —

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Thursday’s Schedule: Rain? BOGA. Clear? CARDIOGA

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We have a fellow boot camper who is on the search for a new job. She is searching for something in the field of meeting planner, executive assistant, or project manager. If you know of anything or need more details please let me know.

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I’m excited to announce that our own Ashley Holloway has been asked by the University of Memphis to join the faculty as an Adjunct Professor! She’ll be teaching graduate students in the area of nutrition. They sought her out because she is outstanding in her field! She remains with Abbott Nutrition and with us! Congratulations, Ashley!!!

TODAY’S NUTRITION TALK
by Sergeant Major Ashley Holloway, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., Adjunct Professor

(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.”)

The Health Benefits of Oatmeal

1. Boosts Energy- Oatmeal has a good number of carbohydrates, and your body needs carbs to keep its energy levels up. That’s where oatmeal can come in handy. Low fat and relatively low calorie, a single bowl of oatmeal can help to boost your energy levels (very important in the morning) while not loading your body with fat. Pair a small bowl of oatmeal topped with chopped up fresh fruit and nuts with a glass of milk to give your muscles the tools necessary to rebuild while giving your muscles a head start on post-workout muscle recovery.

2. Prevents Diabetes- Oatmeal has a low glycemic index which is beneficial when it comes to reducing the risk of diabetes. A low glycemic index helps the stomach empty its contents slowly, which has a positive effect on our insulin sensitivity. Oatmeal also contains fiber which slows down how quickly the carbohydrates effect blood sugar levels.

3. Helps with Weight Loss- Oatmeal helps decrease your appetite because it is full of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, which delays the emptying of your stomach, keeping you full for longer periods of time. This is very beneficial if you are trying to eat less. Also, cholecystokinin, a hunger-fighting hormone, is increased with the oatmeal compound beta-glucan. A 2009 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found satiety increased as a result of eating foods that contain beta-glucan, like oatmeal.

4. Fights Colon Cancer- Oatmeal is full of both soluble and insoluble fiber, and a high-fiber diet can be beneficial when it comes to reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. Insoluble fiber has a laxative effect and adds bulk to the stool, which prevents constipation. This fiber attracts water and passes through the digestive tract easily, speeding the passage of food and waste. And according to the American Cancer Association, insoluble fiber helps the body to fight against bile acids, and their toxicity, which helps to lower the risks of cancer and helps to promote good colon health. A 2011 study published in the British Medical Journal found that total fiber intake, was strongly associated with a reduction in colon cancer. For every 10 grams of fiber consumed there was a 10 percent decreased risk in colon cancer. The more fiber people ate, the more risk reduction was found.

5. Boosts Heart Health- Oatmeal’s soluble fiber helps with heart health. The soluble fiber helps to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood stream. The way this works is the soluble fiber sort of gathers the bad cholesterol to itself while traveling through the body, then takes the bad cholesterol with it as it leaves your body. Oatmeal also contains both calcium and potassium, which are known to reduce blood pressure numbers. A 1999 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found whole grain consumption, because of its soluble fiber, was associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

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MAKE A FACE!!!!

INCREASE YOUR WEIGHTS!

YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN!

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.

YOU DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR WORKOUT IS HALF-ASS OR KICKASS!

It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!

MAKING A FACE (THE GRIMACE) IS THE POOR MAN’S (OR WOMAN’S) FACELIFT!

—————————————————

EVERY WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY ARE T-SHIRT DAY!

WEAR YOUR RANK INSIGNIA SHIRT, SUB 7 SHIRT, OR OTHER USMC FITNESS BOOT CAMP SHIRT EVERY WEDNESDAY!

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Q. How can I get up in the morning on a consistent basis?
A. Contrary to what many think, I am NOT a morning person. I have to be “dynamited” out of the bed! Here are some tips to help you get going in the morning:
1. Use two alarm clocks. I have a snooze alarm that starts going off several minutes before I intend to get up. Then I have a “Last Call” alarm clock that is located across the room. This alarm clock is set to go off when I MUST get up.
2. Once the last call alarm goes off, the bed becomes OFF LIMITS! Get moving!
3. Get out of bed, turn off the alarm clock, and start turning on lights all through the house. Turn the TV on!
4. Lay out your clothes the night before. Don’t go wandering around the house in the morning trying to find your left shoe and your favorite shorts. So, have things ready the night before.

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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

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Text: 901-644-0145

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


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