Monday, January 27, 2014

Rivalries Can Actually Be Healthy

This is Super Bowl week, culminating with Super Sunday. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks should be a classic matchup.

Old school football fans remember when these two teams used to face each other regularly as part of the old AFC West before Seattle moved to the NFC. It was a bit of a rivalry, including all star players such as John Elway, Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy, among others.

Rivalries can get heated, especially for the super competitive folks. However, they extend beyond sports, and can actually be good for overall competition, fan bases, and obviously business.


Two of the best rivalries in all of sports are the New York Yankees/Boston Red Sox in baseball and the North Carolina Tarheels/Duke Blue Devils in college basketball. Both of these rivalries are intense, have lots of history, and the games often have championship implications. The same can be said for Auburn/Alabama and Ohio State/Michigan in college football, The New York Knicks/Boston Celtics in the NBA, and many others. You live for the days when these types of teams play each other.  Often houses, and even families,  are temporarily divided depending upon the magnitude of the games and fan bases. 


There are also rivals in the business world.  Some notable ones are Google/Apple, Xbox/Playstation, Ford/Chevrolet, Nike/Reebok, and McDonalds/Burger King. It can get intense in these respective boardrooms as the executives and marketing teams want to stay ahead of their counterparts.  Like any other rivalry, it's almost natural to pick a side.


There will always be certain yings and yangs in this realm. It became extreme and fatal in the 90s with Tupac and Biggie. Some rivalries that have been lesss fatal include Beyoncé/Rihanna, Michael Jackson/Prince, Adam Sandler/Ben Stiller, AC/DC/Metallica, Jay-Z/Nas, and even networks such as CBS/NBC/ABC, MSNBC/FOX news, and soap operas such as The Young and The Restless/All My Children. 

Paraphrasing a line from the movie "Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby", having a good competitor can make you better. Katie Couric needs Diane Sawyer, the Today Show needs The Early Show, The View needs The Talk, American Idol needs The Voice. George Lucas needs Peter Jackson. LeBron James needs Kobe Bryant. Jimmie Johnson needs Matt Kenseth. The Beatles needed The Rolling Stones. The list goes on and on.

A friendly rivalry is usually fun and not hate filled. You want to be on your game and do your best. This rival can often be your greatest motivator. You compare each other constantly, always striving to do better.

So as you tune into the Super Bowl this weekend, remember that the game imitates life in many ways. We all want to be on the biggest stage of our careers or passions, and it always feels better to win.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Seven Workouts To Try To Get You Going

My series on health, fitness, and healthier living continues. Often we find ourselves not sure what to do or what to work on in the gym. There's more than simply walking on the treadmill for an hour, doing 100 situps and pushups, and getting on the bench press.  You should try to work the entire body through the week if possible, and concentrate on certain areas that need the most attention. 

Now many of these workouts are most effective with proper diet and water. However, they will all give you a jumping point.

1. 2 on, 2 off.

I learned this years ago from my former trainer. Stay on the treadmill for about 10-15 minutes. Walk for two minutes, run for two minutes, and then repeat.  You can adjust according to your strength level. 

2. Eight sets of everything

You may be working chests and arms, or simply legs. Try working a favorable weight, but doing three sets of eight on every machine. I often do fifteen, but I have started at eight.

3. HIIT/circuit stuff

This high intensity interval training includes sets and intervals of squats, lunges, burpees, planks, and even sprints and suicides. These have been shown and proven to boost the heart rate and burn more calories and fat. 

4. Classes

Don't underestimate a good class. Many are already included in your gym membership so take advantage. ZUMBA, Insanity, Body Pump, spin, MMA, etc. My gym, Anytime Fitness, even has Fitness On Demand, where you can choose a specific class, and watch and workout with it on a large projection screen

5. 20/20/20

On an all-cardio day, this is very effective.  20 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the bike, and 20 minutes on the stairmaster. You can sub in any cardio exercise. But pick three and do each for 20 minutes/piece.

6. Sports

Engaging in a sport such as basketball or racquetball can get the heart pumping.  Full court basketball is particularly always good cardio, arm and leg workouts.

7. Abs

Working abs is the toughest and often the last body part to get fully sculpted. It relies heavily on your diet, rather than your workouts. However, there are many ways other than sit ups to work these. I mentioned planks earlier.  There are also several ab machines, bicycles, sprints, jumping up and down, and the ab roller for instance.

Hope these help in your fitness journey!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Seven Simple Tips To Lose Weight, Get Into Shape, And Feel Great

Many of you who started the year on a mission to lose x amount of weight are starting to see how difficult it really is. It takes time, patience, and lots of hard work, both physically and mentally.  Nevertheless, before you throw in your gym towel as many are starting to do, check out these seven tips that will help make your fitness goals easier to accomplish. 

1. Proper Diet

You can exercise for two hours/day, seven days a week.  However, if your diet and eating habits aren't proper, you're wasting all that time. Learn to treat your body like a temple and take care of it well. There are hundreds of diets out there that yield results. What really burns the calories and speeds up the metabolism is simple clean eating. Lots of water, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates are a great start.  Keeping a food diary with calories and fat grams is also good to see what you're eating.

2. Safe Exercise

Proper, safe workouts not only burn fat, they tone the physique and make you feel good inside.  Well not initially though.  You will be sore for a while.  However, a good workout where you sweat and push yourself is a good stress reliever and is good for the blood circulation.  Don't forget to seek a doctor's approval before beginning a workout, and don't feel you must over exert yourself too fast. Take baby steps until you reach the level that you want to lift, run, or workout. Develop your own routine and worry less about other people's workouts

3. Plenty Of Rest and Sleep

You should give yourself at least one rest day each week so your body can rebuild and recover. Also, make sure that you are sleeping well. The average person needs at least six-eight hours of quality sleep to achieve maximum results.  Naps are also great as I've mentioned in the past.

4. Stretching

Spend at least two minutes stretching before and after you work out.  This gets the muscles and joints loose, and prevents injuries such as pulled muscles or hamstrings.

5. Stress management and relaxation.

Basically, take time to mediate, breathe and relax every day. Having lots of stress will also impede fitness results.  Therefore, simply relax and have fun in this journey to get fit. The results will then take care of themselves. 

6. Motivation

You must have a definite reason or "why" for you to keep at it, especially when times get the hardest and life interferes. Post your motivation and short-term goals, and stare at them every day.  Also, keep yourself pumped up through surrounding yourself with like-minded people, and have plenty of upbeat music on your playlist.

7. Dedication. 

This may be the most important.  You must stay dedicated and committed to the process. It is not meant to be a quick fix. You are developing a new lifestyle.  One must be in the routine for working out, eating healthy and taking care of themselves.  Think of yourself as a company and maintaining your health is your job. It would be a shame to fire yourself for not doing what is necessary to succeed. So take responsibility and don't allow that to happen. 

Just remember that it is possible and don't give in. I've learned that it is an ongoing process as you improve in your fitness, regimen, and in age and wisdom. Keep at it; the rewards are great.  

Now pick that sweaty towel back up and put in work!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Reasons Why I Hate Shopping

Alright it's the beginning of the year and we're getting into some more spending holidays and occasions.Tax season is upon us, not to mention Valentine's Day in a few weeks.  Retail chains nationwide stand to make a grip from many shoppers spending money as their bank accounts are now revived from the post-Christmas frenzy.

Anyone that knows me well knows I loathe shopping. I shop as less frequently as possible, and try to do it all in one day, often at one store if possible.  I'm even like this when I shop for Christmas, holidays, birthdays, or go spending some of my tax refund. 

There are various reasons for this extreme dislike

1. Too time consuming and exhausting

I was raised by two women: my mother and grandmother. My mother didn't shop much and when she did, she limited her time and stores she went to. My late grandma, on the other hand, wasn't the person you wanted to go to the grocery store with. She would turn a 15 minute shopping trip to the local Community Cash into an hour.  It seemed she would always find something else she wanted, plus she would run into someone every minute and would talk and talk and talk.
I may have inherited my gabbing from my grandma, but I got my shopping habits from my mom. I always aim to be in and out of any shopping excursion in 30 minutes or less.  Often if it takes that long, it's not worthwhile to me. When I do have to go do a lot of shopping, it tires me out so easily. 

2. The lines

I have written before about how I cannot stand waiting in long, unnecessary lines. I purposely shop early or late to avoid all of this. Therefore, I don't like huge shopping days such as Black "Whack" Friday, Christmas Eve, and back to school time.   It's way too nauseating for me. Let's not forget the crowds at stores such as Wal-Mart.

3. My frugality. 

Yes I am extremely frugal, cheap, or as I refer to myself "economically sound". I have a hard time handing over my hard earned cash or swiping my debit card. I like to hold on to my money and not frivolously spend, spend, and spend some more. Many people don't seem to have this problem though.

4. Online shopping

It's so easy now to simply buy stuff at the touch of your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You can even buy groceries and order pizza online.  And it's becoming more and more secure, especially with PayPal. You do not even have to leave your house in order to purchase certain items. Many times, this is a great thing.

Shopping is an adrenaline rush, even a sport for many. It's more of a chore for myself, especially for the reasons stated above.

So if you say you're going shopping and I'm with you, it better not be an all day trip. I will respectfully decline.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Encouraging Newbies At Your Gym

Yes, yes I know and understand.  A new year can be exciting and refreshing. However, if you're a regular gym rat, fitness buff, or are at the gym religiously, it can be frustrating. Your own routine can be interrupting by new folks hogging the machines, weights and other equipment.    There are all sorts of people trying to start anew and get fit for the New Year. Some stick it out, many give up after a month or two. 

One reason people throw in the towel so quickly is that they are newbies, or rookies to working out. They know they need to get healthy; they just need the proper encouragement and motivation.  A NYE resolution may have brought them there. However, how do you keep this new member from becoming a Holiday Hopper (only showing at the first of the year and just before the summer to tone up for vacation season.)? Here are some suggestions I have. It's been decades since I was a newbie but I'm always willing to help anyone trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.

1. Patience.

This is for both rookies and veterans alike. Anyone new to working out must realize that real results will not come overnight. You will also be really tired and sore at first but this will eventually go away. Also, veterans, please make them feel welcome and don't be the gym police. Kindly remind them if they are taking too long on a machine or a piece of equipment.  Answer any questions they have and even ask them if they would like to workout in some sets with you. If they decline, that's fine. A warm personality can go a long way.

2. Seeking other help

The key word here is still encourage.  Encourage them to work out with you if they desire. Better yet, get them in a class, bootcamp, or get them to try a session with a trainer. Many gyms offer free 30 minute personal training sessions. This can help the gym neo get some motivation and drive to keep trucking.  The classes are definitely good for that as you are working out with folks of all fitness types and walks of life. Many personal bonds can be formed as well.

3. Have them set goals, short and long terms. 

Their goal may be to lose 50 pounds. Well, how about helping them lose one pound at a time? Also, suggest a routine that includes slowly substituting unhealthy foods for healthier ones. It's all about baby steps. When achieving a fitness goal, slower is often better. It speeds the metabolism up and you have smaller goals and milestones. These all build up to the big picture. 

4. Social media

It's hard to forget Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the others. Suggest that they connect with you and/or others that are like minded throught fitness groups. You can share healthy recipes, motivate and cheer each other on when someone is making progress.

The key is to make newbies comfortable and keep them excited. This is beyond the regular staff. The members can also help. It is ultimately up to the individual.  However, with a kind push, that new member can potentially go further. They then realize fitness is a lifestyle and a commitment.  They will not want to miss a workout, and will think twice about their snacking choices.

So next time you see a newbie infering with your workout, try offering a helping hand, rather than a scoff or a side eye. It can go a long way. They may not listen, but it doesn't hurt to try. The gym should be like a family or a village, where everyone is encouraging each other. It starts with one person at a time.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fellas, You Might Be A Mitch If,...

20 years ago, Jeff Foxworthy came on to the Southern comedy scene with his "You Might Be A Redneck" series. Well I decided to do a similar one based on mitches.  These are a type of men I cannot stand to see.

Mitches are the male version of a "female dog" to keep this post PG. In short, they whine, nag, are needy, and keep trouble stirred up. It's sad when I know heterosexual women that are more men than certain mitches. It's also a growing epidemic in our metrosexual society.  Being feminine and being a mitch are different, and it's way worse to be the latter. Here's how you might know if you or another guy is a mitch.

1. If a group of two or more guys gangs up on someone on social media that's outside their circle and causes drama, cyberbullies them, and such, you might be a mitch. REAL men handle their altercations in private minus the drama and slapfests.

2. If you have an inflated need for attention and getting your way and cry and nag until it is so, you might be a mitch (could also be a spoiled brat).

3. If you are jealous of another man and/or always find yourself hating on him instead of improving yourself, you might be a mitch.

4. If you cry and moan more than your woman, you might be a mitch.

5. If you shy away from confrontation but always run your mouth, you might be a mitch.

6. If you act in a two faced manner towards a group of dudes to get them to like you whilst tearing them down, you might be a mitch. 

7. If you seem to always start some sort of childish drama, bickering and tomfoolery (think of half the reality shows out), you might be a mitch.

There are definitely more as the mitch epidemic continues to grow. Let's make it a goal as men AND women to distance ourselves from these baby boys. They aren't true, genuine men, and perhaps never will be. They talk a big game, but rarely deliver.

Finally, if you are offended by this post, you are either a mitch, or you are friends or lovers with one. Do not get angry with me for telling the truth.  Often facts do not lie and they hurt.  One should change who they are when they are unsatisfied with themselves, rather than concern themselves with what I write or what others are doing.

Now put that in your man purse and keep it moving.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pros and Cons Of Joining A 24/7 Chain Gym

Many out there want to get more fit and healthy.  One of the first ways is to choose which type of gym you want to attend.  I currently attend Anytime Fitness, a 24/7/365 gym that is part of a chain of over 2,200 worldwide. I was used to attending a local gym for years with limited hours. I have found Anytime to be more advantageous, and so have many other fitness buffs. 

It appears 24 hour fitness centers are opening everywhere, and increasing in popularity.  Here are some of the pros and cons of joining this type of facility. 


1. You obviously get to workout anytime, anywhere your gym is located.  If you're on vacation, or a night out, you can squeeze in a late workout.  You control your hours and workout pace.  You also are not limited by holidays.

2. You open yourself to a wider network of people and equipment.  Before, you may have been limited to only one gym, with a certain variety of equipment and classes. Now you are exposed to an unlimited variety of the latest in equipment, classes, and overall fitness tools.

3. Security is usually tight at these sorts of facilities.  There are extra cameras and alarms.  Therefore, no one can just come in, not even during staffed hours. Police also have rapid response times when an alarm is enabled.

4. You are now low on excuses to workout, which goes back to #1. Many chains have something for everyone besides flexible hours and days. There are large gyms, small gyms, and those right in the middle.

5. The members are very friendly and helpful.  The rules are stricter, especially during non-staffed hours.  Therefore, more people, veterans and newbies, tend to take their fitness more seriously.  They are also very willing to help you out and let you work in sets with you.


1. Personal touch can be lost. Many locally owned gyms depend solely on the membership base to survive and not stockholders. Therefore, they are often quicker to show their appreciation and grace.

2. It's easier to find a workout buddy or group at a traditional gym. Since hours are limited, more people come at the same time, to the same gym, and building bonds is easier. Members of 24/7 gyms tend to come at scattered hours and days and are harder to catch.

3. Cost. Monthly fees and contracts are easier with a local gym. 24/7 gyms have to abide by corporate regulations, which means higher start-up costs, and long term contracts.

4. It can be easier for a newbie to be distracted and lose focus. At a traditional gym, staff and trainers are always on hand to encourage and assist. There are times where one may feel isolated at a 24/7 gym.

5.  You may not have a 24/7 gym close to you. Let's face it, having access to many gyms is nice, if you're out a lot and/or are in close proximity. The closest and cheapest gym to you may be the local, mom and pop gym and that is fine.

I chose my gym because it fit my preferences and fitness lifestyle.  I am not trying to force anyone to join. The aim is to show what appears to be an evolution in fitness, and something that may be worth a try. 

The main thing is being somewhere where you're comfortable and motivated to go regularly and lead a healthier lifestyle.  The final decision will be up to you.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

You Are A Mate, Not A Remote Control

Many of the things people usually do in a new year is lose weight, become healthier, make more money and find love. Some become so desperate or caught up in love that their new beau makes them a doormat or puppet, controlling all or part of their lives.

I've seen it happen over and over. Some people love control and domination for various reasons.  They have trust issues. They are in management or leadership positions and are used to taking charge. Or they are possibly delusional and have been watching too many of those clique' Lifetime struggle movies.

Many times, after the love fades,  the person realizes things must change or they need a way out. Sometimes it takes others praying and intervening to give this individual the strength to stand tall and to work a compromise. A relationship is supposed to be a partnership, not a dictatorship. They are NOT your toys, children, or universal remote control.  This is your partner (mate, spouse, lover). Often even the most docile person will eventually put their foot down against unjust treatment. 
This being said, it's good and healthy for two people to encourage and compliment each other. Positive change is usually always good, especially when a person has destructive habits such as verbal abuse, drinking, incompetence, and non-compassion. However, one should get to know their main squeeze well and realize there are some things, and people that you cannot change or control. You knew who this person was when you met them; it's not fair to try and make them who you want them to be. If they don't like shopping all day on a Saturday or sports, then you need to find a friend, or another mate who's into that.  The term equally yoked is used for a reason. When you two become one, it means you embrace your similarities and celebrate and tolerance differences. It is give and take after all.

Basically, control and manipulation isn't the way to go.  It's time to put down the whip and use your words to get what you want from a person.  One should do what they want to do, not what they feel they have to, or out of fear or a guilt trip. 

No relationship of any kind will be perfect. However, having mutual respect for one another and trusting them to be themselves goes a long way. Let's drive people towards us and not away from us. Strangely enough, you will find a more caring, willing mate that doesn't require manipulation or anything an underqualified love guru is feeding you.

How have you been controlled/controlling in the past? What happened to make it all stop?