The Morning After…

Days and weeks that have sort of blurred all together. Very late nights in the office, sneaking away for me time, for relationship time, for BJJ time whenever possible, but far too little…

No real time to bask in the success and fruits of labor. Not yet, anyways. We did good work.

But as I say this, here comes another wave.

To Be Healthier, A Better Person, A Better Man

I want to share a video of a comedian, long-time UFC commentator and martial artist, Joe Rogan receiving his 10th Planet Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt the other day.

This video was poignant for me. Joe is a very successful entertainment professional, an already accomplished martial artist in Tai Kwon Do and has accomplished more than most people I have ever met. But, as you’ll see, Joe sheds a tear after being a brown belt for about 8 years, diligently working on his professional life and his BJJ.

I won’t do him a dis-service by trying to paraphrase his acceptance speech. Just watch.

I’ll put it this way – this encouraged me to drive down to my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school (Easton BJJ in Boulder) and sign back up for classes after being gone for 3 months.

I’m just a lowly white belt with no stripes, but I dream of accomplishing as much as Joe Rogan someday. That includes getting a black belt.

Here’s to a long and hard uphill challenge that I think could be one of the most rewarding in life.

The Centered Yogini is Me

Last week, after much planning, hesitation, procrastination and excuse making, I tried yoga for the first time.

I decided to try yoga for several reasons:

  1. My girlfriend and pretty much all of her friends do yoga regularly. If they’re not actually doing yoga poses, they’re talking about yoga poses. I can’t escape it and I hate feeling left out!
  2. I bought a few personal training sessions which left me enlightened to some awesome new exercises as well as some residual soreness and a general awareness of how much inflexibility was a liability in day-to-day life.
  3. I joined a local gym that most of my friends have a subscription to. It’s clean, inexpensive and easy to get to. Plus, there are free yoga classes there included in the monthly fee, so why not try it?

My post-yoga conclusions is that I wish I started doing yoga a long time ago. It cleared my head, was physically challenging in ways I haven’t pushed myself before (reminiscent of sweat pools post Muay Thai workouts) and it’s helping me get more aware of my core and release tension and tightness that I had learned to live with before.

Why should you try yoga? All of the above plus a litany of your own reasons exist of why yoga could work for you. I’ve read tons of posts about why yoga is so amazing, yet it took me a while to get on the bandwagon. It’s not easy, but if you come in with an open mind, your yoga matt should prove to be one of the best investments you’ve ever made for your body and mind.

Why I’m Probably Checking Out Your Backside

*This is a semi-rant, personal story, stream of consciousness about past weight loss, my vices and how much I don’t like most media post Read at your own risk.

I don’t know what’s sexier– the backside of a jar of almond butter or the back of a CocaCola can. What about the backside of Bill O’Reilly or Keith Olbermann, er Kaitie Couric … oh wait, don’t answer that…

Do you look at the labels of the food you eat? Do you know the calories, sugars, fiber, protein and various chemicals that you put into your body? Probably to an extent, huh? Sometimes, but only if you’re trying to lose weight and you look for certain things as being wrong but accept the rest… Are you the same way with the information you consume?

I’m guilty of this lackadaisical attitude towards information AND food when times get hectic and I let my guard down. If you put enough junk food in front of someone who’s bored or even hungry, they’ll probably eat it regardless of what the ingredients say on the back of the package. Life gets busy, yet we’re still probably bored with a big chunk of our day, so we’ll often entertain ourselves with drivel.

When I was 20 years old, I was way overweight. I’m still a big dude, but I’m talking WAY overweight to the point where I could barely do a push up or jog a mile. It was too much reality too soon and I basically cut all junk food out of my diet and started exercising regularly by riding my bike to work. One of the most profound memories I have about that period of time was giving up soda all together and alchohol for 5 months. I drank lots of Coca Cola and Pepsi on a regular basis and I liked it. I liked it with rum, whiskey, vodka, by itself, whatever…

Quitting drinking was tough because it was the summer and giving up junkfood and soda was tough too because I loved it as a comfort food. However, I quickly learned that there was an entire world outside of food and culinary goodies and I became distracted with a lot of things my life was missing out on before that.

After I lost 50 lbs–which is where I lie at my current weight contemplating another run at another 50 lbs– I remember grabbing a can of CocaCola, greedily grasping the can, cracking it open and putting it to my lips taking 3 long, hard guzzles… then something happened. I felt my teeth grit, I felt my tongue get sticky and tingle and I spit what I hadn’t swallowed up on the ground.

Something so simple and what I thought to be good, was completely gross to me after depriving myself of it for a period of time. I became aware of vitamins, minerals, veggies, lean protein, pushups and other cool things about becoming healthy again and I had no room in my life for this water flavored with corn sugar syrup and lord knows whatever else they put in that stuff.

I cut the cord on watching television in the same dramatic fashion, traveled the world a little, learned about some injustices, heroes, made some bad and great choices and realized that life had very little to do with the pre-packaged bullshit that you get throughout television channels, newspapers, magazines and whatnot.

This title obviously sounded better when it popped in my mind than it does now, but I’m going to keep it up there. This post took an expected turn towards a personal story, but either way, my main point is that people, including myself, tend to do a lot of self-destructive things. Some of those things are more socially acceptable than others, but at the end of the day, they’re still killing us, lowering our quality of life or keeping us dumber than should be allowed during this short time on earth.

Just something to think about whenever I look at some sugar, alcohol, or plastic surgery laced images on the TV with the “ohhh you want this!” aura branded all around.

Family Heath Rocks

Since moving back to my hometown my sister and I have been cooking dinner together a bit. She still lives at home and my mom never buys fresh food (or food at all really). So, when I go grocery shopping I’ll pick-up for two and she’ll split the bill with me. She’s a fitness freak and measures out her food and counts calories every day. So, now I’m buying lots of high quality ingredients that she’s not used to having around so she’s learning new recipes and trying new things.

Her newest flavor interest is tofu (although it has a distinct lack of flavor on its own). She always attested that it made her gag and that the texture was too gross. So, I marinated some and cooked a vegetable stir fry with it. I made sure to fry the tofu well done so that it wasn’t so mushy. She loved it. Now instead of buying expensive meat all the time, which we both still love, we’re going to eat more soy and tofu products. They’re healthy and MUCH cheaper. A pound of tofu at Trader Joe’s costs about 1.50. You’d need to find a real sale to have chicken or beef at that price!

My cousin who I share an apartment with likes me and my sister’s cooking too and I think he’s trying to learn. He surprised me when he said he tried to go vegetarian. I think it’ll be an interesting journey helping him learn to cook and discover what he likes for recipes.

Now all I need to work on is getting my mother to eat better. That could prove A LOT harder.