holidays, resolutions, and 2016 programming notes

Here we are at the midway point between Christmas and New Year's - smack dab in the middle of The Holidays. I thought I'd share a few quick thoughts today:

Holidays - I hope you enjoyed a great Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate), and that New Year's will be fun and safe. I write a lot about diet and exercise as means to health and fitness, but physical fitness alone doesn't get you to the finish line. It's also important to be healthy emotionally, and spiritually. This is a great time to celebrate, explore, and connect with your family, your friendships, and your faith.

Resolutions - the social webs will be filled with resolution advice, so I'm not going to bother with details you can find a hundred times over. But I do want to stress a couple points:

1.) Choose Resolution(s) that matter. Whether it's one simple thing, or a complete lifestyle overhaul, choose a resolution that will make a difference to your life, and then see it through will all the energy, focus, and passion you can conjure. Be resolute in your success.

2.) Start Anytime. If there's something you want to change in your life, why wait until next week? Start today! Or start any other time.. If something strikes you in March, or over the summer - simply pick a day and get after it. Give it all you've got - no holds barred. Success doesn't have to start with January 1st.

2016 Programming Notes - This will be my last post of the year. I finished 2015 eight posts shy of my writing goal; the problem is that my goal was way too low. I've been asked by a number of people to write more frequently, so I will try to do that in 2016. However, because there are only so many hours in the day (and I'm not willing to give up any more sleep or any more workouts in order to write more), there will have to be a trade-off:

In 2016, look for more frequents posts, but also for shorter posts. My typical post has generally been 800 - 1,000 words, along with a photo or two and several highlighted links. I think I can convey the meat of most topics with a shorter, text-based article. At the very least, let's give it a try and see how it goes.

I'd love to hear your feedback in the coming months - let me know what you think..

Farewell, 2015. We enjoyed your time.

Welcome, 2016. We're looking forward to another terrific year!

- Chris Butterworth


200 posts ago: fit-20 workout - July 4th edition

100 posts ago: making your own trail mix


run down and Christmas'd out

Last week was all sugar plumbs and candy canes. We were Christmas organized, ahead of schedule, and under budget. We had holiday events lined up, and were somehow managing to keep up with working out and eating well.

This week? Not so much.

A stomach-bug-thingy went through our house, knocking each of us down like dominos. The kids each missed a day or two of school and/or weekend activities. My wife and I weren't lucky enough to stay home and sleep all day, so we trudged through. We had to miss one of the holiday events we look forward to every year, and another event wasn't very fun.

Bedtime, when we should have been going to sleep early, was pushed late into the night by holiday cards, online photo galleries, and other family sharing stuff. We were tired from not getting enough sleep, run down from illness (and not being able to eat), and barely getting through the days. Suddenly, somehow, we're disorganized, behind schedule, and over budget - yikes! (And I haven't written or worked out most of the week!)

I'm not sure if the holidays or being under the weather for a few days has a bigger impact on my workouts. But having them both together was killer. Luckily I feel better today - I'll squeeze in a couple miles either at lunch or after work. 11 days 'till Christmas? Bring 'em on!

How are your Holidays coming along? Are you eating well and keeping up with your workouts while still enjoying the season?

-Chris Butterworth

Happy Thanksgiving - my mental, physical, and emotional approach

Happy Thanksgiving - my mental, physical, and emotional approach

This will be the only post I write this week; I'm going to savor the holiday weekend with my family. Hopefully you're able to do the same. And we'll be back to business as usual next week.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Microsoft clipart

There's no escaping the fact - this is Thanksgiving Week. A gigantic meal, which also serves as the kick-off to a Holiday Season filled with sweets, snacks, and more gigantic meals.

I'm sure the web will be dripping with tips and tricks for being successful, so I'm not going to write too much about that on this one. But I will share some of my personal thoughts on the holiday..

Mental Preparation

I like to take a look at how I've been doing lately before the day even starts, and game-plan accordingly:

  • If I've been relatively successful, I might not mind a set-back day - especially if I'm confident I'll be able to get myself back on track.
  • If I've been struggling lately, Turkey Day might not only be a major setback, it might also serve as the gateway drug to a failed season, and I'll wake up on January 1st with big regrets, big goals, and a big waistline.
  • Exercise - I understand that a Thanksgiving-day workout is great, but even a 500 calorie workout will pale in comparison to how many calories I might eat that day if I'm not careful.

Physical Execution

Once you have a game-plan in place, it's all about execution:

  • I definitely want to get a workout in on Thursday morning. Even if I don't burn off everything I'm going to eat, I know I'll feel better about myself. Last year I ran a 10-mile turkey trot (not fun!); this year I'll take my family on a hike in the local mountain preserve.
  • What gets on my plate - Option 1: small variety. One option is to limit what I eat. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, a little gravy, carrots-corn-peas-beans, and a reasonable helping of a dessert.
  • What gets on my plate - Option 2: small serving sizes. Another options is to have a little bit of everything, emphasis on the little. That way I get all the basics, but I can also try the casseroles, salads, breads and biscuits, and a bite or two of several different desserts.
  • Watch the liquid calories. Beer, wine, sparkling ciders, soda (with or without bourbon)... I could put down 1,000 liquid calories easily. Gotta keep my eye on this one.
  • Get away from the table. Those long, drawn out meals, where everyone just sits at the table and gabs away - I find myself eating just because there's still food on the table. Better to get out - grab a few of the kids and the dogs and go for a walk. Or take a football outside and play catch. It's not that I'm after exercise at this point; I just have to physically leave the table to stop eating!

Emotional Thanks-giving

What are you thankful for?

I spent the first 18-19 years of my life not knowing how good I had it, so the whole concept of "what are you thankful for?" was lost on me. I spent the next 18-19 years of my life focused pretty heavily on the stuff - house, toys, job, investing for the future.. So while I was happy with what I had, and with those people in my life, I was never satisfied. "What are you thankful for" became more a part of going through the motion than it was an actual question - I was happy, but I wasn't thankful.

The last few years have been different, very different. The Great Recession took its toll on me and my family, pounding us financially and emotionally. We've also lost a couple close members of our family. This year, I'll look around the table, and be legitimately thankful - more so than I can remember being at any other time in my life.

  • Thankful for my family - that we've had the strength to stick with each other through some difficult times.
  • For my extended family, and the support and love they offer.
  • That we have a roof over our heads, and a stable environment to call home. (something I've taken for granted my whole life, but which I've learned isn't a given.)
  • For being able to put food on the table, and my kids never having to worry about being hungry.
  • That my oldest son, who has autism, is one of the greatest kids on the planet. If every kid had his heart, friendliness, and compassion, the world would be a far better place.
    • I'm also thankful that he's surrounded by an amazing support team. (extra thanks on this one to my wife, most of all, who spent years assembling that awesome team.)
  • That my younger son, though I haven't always stacked the deck in his favor, has grown and thrived - time after time, in situation after situation.
  • For our health. As trite as it sounds, there are plenty of people who have more to deal with than the basic aches and pains of being in your 40's.
  • For the light at the end of the tunnel, which is burning bright and is easy to see.
  • For those who read this blog, and the digital age we live in. Never could I have imagined being able to learn so much from so many people, as well as having a place to share my opinions with others - from all across the world. All while sitting at my desk. Absolutely amazing.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

-Chris Butterworth


what to do with all that Halloween candy?

what to do with all that Halloween candy?

The kids scored big last night - a whole pillowcase filled with booty. (or worse - you didn't get enough trick or treaters and you have bags of candy left over.) Now what?

Halloween candy
image Microsoft clipart

You have options.

  1. Leftovers - GET IT OUT OF THERE! It's a goofy holiday, where kids go out and ask strangers for candy. That's not a good enough excuse for you to ruin your next couple weeks' diet. And besides, the "real" Holidays are just around the corner. Take your candy to the office, or a school. Or just throw it away. But there's no reason for you to be snacking on sugar, day after day, until it runs out.
  2. The Big Binge - Let your kids savor the Halloween spirit and eat lots of candy. Maybe for a day, or a week. Then, once the fun's over, get rid of whatever wasn't eaten. (Isn't there a tradition about a spooky monster who steals kids' candy late at night? There isn't? Well, maybe you should make one up!)
  3. The Slow Drip - Let the kids eat one piece each night for the next week-month-whatever, provided they've done their chores and homework. Yeah, it's candy, but it's something to hold over their head for good behavior..
  4. No Excuses - the Big Binge and the Slow Drip are options for your kids, not for you. No excuses; no reason to eat lots of candy.

It's up to you to make good decisions and set a good example for your family. This can be a great way to set the tone for the upcoming snack season - the first of many good decisions to come. Or it can be the start of that downward spiral, where you'll wake up on January 1st knowing exactly what your top resolution will be.

Be strong - choose wisely.

-Chris Butterworth


happy Independence Day!

happy Independence Day!

Today is a day to celebrate our country, and everything it stands for.  All the freedoms, opportunities, and prosperity we have, which we tend to take for granted, are a gift to us from our forefathers (and foremothers.)

I'm going to spend a few minutes today thinking about the big picture - political party, age or income bracket, and personal wants and needs be damned. If we can be willing to put our country first, like our grandfathers and their grandfathers before them, we can rest in peace knowing our grandchildren and their grandchildren will have the same freedoms, opportunities, and prosperity that we've enjoyed.

I hope you'll do the same..

Happy 4th of July,

-Chris Butterworth


Fit-20 Workout 07-04-12

Fit-20 Workout 07-04-12

Today is a holiday, but it's still Wednesday, which means we should be able to get a workout in at some point. Instead of posting a normal Fit-20, we'll call today a wildcard - do whatever workout you want for 20 minutes.

Some ideas:
  • Get an early morning run or bike ride in, before it gets too hot.
  • You'll probably be swimming at some point today with your family, why not turn a few laps in the pool.
  • Pick whichever Fit-20 workout you liked the best, and see if you can beat your time.
  • Pick the Fit-20 workout that was the hardest for you, and see if you're stronger/faster than you were the first time you did it.

Or, call it a holiday and take the day off!

I hope you enjoy your 4th of July, and I'll have a new Fit-20 for you on Friday.

-Chris Butterworth


Happy Memorial Day - 2012

I'm taking the day off today; I hope you are, too.

Hopefully you're spending time with family and good friends. Maybe you'll mix in some sun, water, and bar-b-que.

What would be even better is to continue to moving yourself forward, even on a day of (sort of) rest.
  • Get a workout in before everyone comes over.
  • Eat (and drink) in moderation, with smaller portions.
  • Spend a few minutes working on your goal / hobby / project.
  • Meditate and reflect. What's been working well for you? What should you focus on changing?
  • Be happy - Have fun - Enjoy yourself! (and you friends, and your family!)
Back at it tomorrow!

-Chris Butterworth