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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

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

100 posts ago: making your own trail mix

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checking in on my fitness plan

I've been challenging myself to the same weekly goal since mid-September (you can read the challenge here). Now, 3 months later, seems like a good time to reflect on what I've learned:

Success
  • Big success will come when you have enough little successes to keep it company. Running a couple miles in the morning doesn't feel like anything Earth-shattering; heck, it's not even worth sharing on social media. But the results add up:
  • I had previously only run 50 miles in a month once before; I've now done it two months IN A ROW! (and I'm getting close to the mark for this month too!)
  • On a weekly basis, I had clocked 10 miles only 20 times, with the last one being 67 weeks previously. I have now run 10 miles 9 weeks in a row and 12 of the last 13!
  • You can't short-cut success, anymore than you can wake up one morning and decide to run a marathon. But a short run, everyday, adds up to a lot of miles.


Running in the Cold
  • Is Hard - my very first post on this blog was titled "Running in the cold is hard", and I still think that's true. But I've learned a few things this winter which have made it easier:
  • Gear Matters - As the morning lows have dropped from the 60's through the 50's and 40's and down into the 30's, I've been able to wear the right gear - which makes the cold a little more bearable.
    • Ear Band - a simple, inexpensive fleece headband to cover my ears has made a world of difference. I can't explain why I've never used one of these before.
    • Layers - base layer long sleeve, short sleeve t-shirt, long sleeve microfiber running sweatshirt, long sleeve baggy cotton t-shirt, and I'm out the door! When the temperature is mid-30's or less, I'll skip the last cotton t-shirt and replace it with a heavier cotton sweatshirt. For bottoms, I've been fine with track pants all the way down to 32 degrees. (my coldest run so far.)
    • Gloves - warm hands are a big deal (almost as much as warm ears), but I didn't like wearing gloves. Luckily my long sleeve microfiber running shirt has really long sleeves, so I've been pulling the sleeves down over my hands, and it works great.
    • Feet / Socks - I generally run in Luna Sandals (more on that here), and I rode the cold weather all the way down to 32 in my Lunas. However, that last week of 36, 35, 32 sucked, and my toes were numb after 10 minutes of running each day. I've since decided that anything lower than 38 degrees deserves socks and "typical" shoes.
  • Patience, and Savor your Victories - when it's really cold outside (or wet, or windy), I know before I even start that I'm not going to break a speed record that day. So I give myself permission to run at whatever pace my body wants to run. The victory comes from taming the "lazy beast", keeping the streak alive, and adding miles to my body's fitness, and from doing something all my friends think is crazy. (Maybe I am crazy, but I get a bit of pleasure from knowing I'm the only one out there getting it done.)


Consistency Wins
  • Before the Run - Sometimes I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. Simply rolling my feet over the side of the bed is a huge victory. However,
  • After the Run - I have not once, repeat - not one time, finished the run and thought I would have been better off with another half hour's sleep. I might wish I had gone to bed earlier the night before, but I've never felt like the run was a bad idea.
  • Pace - it's difficult to explain how much better I am at running today than I was 3-4 months ago. My fastest times are faster than they were, which is to be expected. But what's unexpected is just how much easier running has become. My "slow" runs today, where I'm just cruising along at a fairly easy pace without breathing too heavy or exerting myself too much, are at about the same pace as my "fast" runs used to be.
  • Endurance - My 2.25 mile baseline course around the neighborhood - it used to feel like a workout and today feels like a warm-up.

Conclusion
  • It's been 13 weeks - that's a long time compared to one week, but it's a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. That being said, it's a great start.
  • I'm not a marathoner, and I'm not even very fast compared to the "real" runners out there. But I feel a lot more comfortable running than I used to, and I'm getting faster.
  • Add to all this running that I'm able to do more push-ups and pull-ups than I could 3 months ago, and I'm more flexible than I was, and that my weight has remained constant while at the same time I've been able to increase my meal portions - and it feels like a win-win-win.

I think I'm going to stick with this program for awhile longer - maybe I'll revisit this post in the spring..

- Chris Butterworth

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200 posts ago: links I like 07-03-12


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30,000 steps

Last month we did a lot of walking on our vacation - a lot of walking. My wife's pedometer read 30,000 steps one day, and I'm not even sure that was our longest walking day.



The walking site tells me I walked 15 miles that day, which means I blew through about 1,875 extra calories, if we assume 125 calories per mile. But that doesn't tell the whole story of the day - I could still have either gained weight or lost weight, depending on how much I ate.

So, let's see how I did:
  • Breakfast (600 calories). I brought a bagel with me and grabbed a mocha from the hotel's Starbucks.
  • Snacks (900 calories). I ate a few energy bars during those in-between times. (mid-morning 225, noon-ish 225, 5:00ish 290.) I also had a few handfuls of some of my boys' sweets.
  • Lunch (500 calories). We ate a late lunch, and I split a plate with my wife.
  • Dinner (1,200 calories). We ate dinner at a restaurant, where I enjoyed a full meal - and licked my plate clean!
  • Total Consumption for the day: I consumed about 3,425 calories.
  • Total Calories Burned for the day: I walked off 1,875, plus my normal 1,900 calories per day at rest. Overall I burned about 3,775 calories.

This means I burned off 350 more calories than I ate. 350 calories - that's all - on a day when I walked 15 miles! This helps to make a few points:
  1. It takes a lot of exercise to outrun your daily eating, but it's possible.
  2. I was able to slow-drip food all day long, so that I was neither hungry nor full throughout the day.
  3. Restaurant meals are too big. Even with 15 miles of walking, splitting lunch was the difference between net loss and net gain; I would have eaten more than I burned if I had ordered my own lunch. And that restaurant dinner.. I would have been way on the good side if I had eaten a non-restaurant dinner.

Most of us aren't able to walk 15 miles in a day; it simply takes more time than we have available. But the lessons learned can be applied to our everyday lives.

Move a little more. Eat a little less. Snack strategically. And be careful in restaurants!

- Chris Butterworth

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just because it's there

Does your office supply bagels and cream cheese in the mornings, or have a table-full of snacks in the lunchroom?

Bagels, muffins, and danishes show up in my office's kitchen like magic every other Monday morning.


Does your significant other love baking desserts? Brownies, cookies, apple pie a la mode? Yum!

Maybe lunch was catered and there's a full spread.

Or a candy jar at your co-workers desk, always beckoning. You don't want to offend her, right?

Or you could have another helping of that terrific dinner, or an extra slice of pizza.

Or...

You don't have to eat it - just because it's there.

- Chris Butterworth

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200 posts ago: Fit-20 Workout - sprints, renegade rows, squats

100 posts ago: choosing the right workout partner

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running for dinner - or running from dinner

RunKeeper tells me I ran approximately 12 miles last week and burned about 1,400 calories.

I'm not saying whether that's good or bad, a lot or a little, and I didn't run all 12 miles at once. I ran 1-3 miles at a time over the course of 6 different runs. There was nothing particularly notable or astonishing about any of these runs individually, but the fact I was able to consistently get myself out of bed (when it's still dark outside) to get my day started with a run... That's an accomplishment which took some dedication and perseverance, even if only for a week.

This weekend was hectic around our house (even more so than normal), and we were getting into Saturday evening without a dinner plan. At one point while we were in the car I considered stopping at the local Applebees, just so we could take a break and let somebody else prepare dinner for us.



If we had eaten there, I would have ordered the boneless wings (810 calories) with classic buffalo sauce (200 calories) and french fries (440 calories) - that's 1,450 calories for dinner, and that's if I'm able to stick with water to drink!

Turns out waking up early and motivating myself to get out the door for a run 6 days a week is exactly what it takes to offset one dinner at a restaurant (1). Just think how much I would have to run if we ate out more often..!

Luckily for me our last event of the evening was behind schedule, and we decided it was too late to stop off for a long sit-down dinner.

- Chris Butterworth

(1) - I've written many times that it's possible to order small at a restaurant and be ok on your eating plan. But for me, hungry at the end of a long, hectic day, I would have ordered a "regular" sized portion that night, and I would have cleaned my plate!

200 posts ago: FDA approves new weight loss pill - just what we need

100 posts ago: goals and resolutions - an 8-point primer

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potential is a dirty word

Potential is great, for kids. They're smart, industrious, inquisitive, funny, athletic - they can be anything they want to be, and the world is their oyster.

As you get older, potential isn't such a great thing. It usually describes what you could have been (or could have done), rather than what you are (or are doing.)

But we all still have the potential to be fit and healthy.

Eat a little less, move a little more. Slow and steady. Put your potential back to work - it's time to get healthy.

- Chris Butterworth

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200 posts ago: Fit-20 Workout (shadow boxing / mountain climbers / sit-ups)

100 posts ago: the curse of open eyes - seeing calories everywhere you look
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changing safety with the changing seasons

I can tell the seasons are changing, although here in Phoenix the change is subtle - it'll be 106 today, but it won't feel as hot as we're used to. (and look at what's coming next week - especially the lows!) It's also been dark outside in the mornings for the last few weeks.



But with the changing seasons comes changing needs, especially safety needs.
  • Maybe you were visible on your morning or evening run when the sun was out, but now the cars can't see you. Are you wearing reflective clothing?
  • As the temperatures continue to fall, maybe a change to mid-day is a good idea.
  • You might not need to carry as much water or sunscreen, but that should leave you room for your sweatshirt (once you're warmed up.)
  • That neighborhood or parking garage might have been mostly safe in the daylight, but you don't feel comfortable now that it's dark? Time to change your route!


Earlier this week I was running on the desert trail behind my house when I came face to face with a coyote - less than 20 feet away - and I had an uh-oh moment. He looked at me for a few seconds before moving nonchalantly off the trail. I turned around and headed back into the neighborhood (while hoping not to get eaten by a coyote or crushed by a falling Acme-branded anvil..)

image credit: nickneely.com


I've been on that trail a thousand times before, and there always seems to be other runners, dog-walkers, and cyclists. But not this particular morning at this particular place and time - it was just me and a coyote, in the dark, in the desert. Who knows if he had any buddies watching from the side of the trail..? I was completely alone and exposed, even though I was 25 feet away from the back wall of my neighborhood.

Change of plan: I'll be doing a "city run" during the winter - out the front of my neighborhood instead of the back.

Seasons change, and our safety needs change with them. When you go out for a run, your first priority should always be to make sure you get back home!

- Chris Butterworth

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200 posts ago: shadow boxing

100 posts ago: change 4 life obesity advert

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should you use a fitness tracking app on your phone?

If you're trying to accomplish something specific, such as losing weight, gaining strength, or running a marathon, it's important to keep track of your progress.

There are scores of smartphone apps available to help you keep track. The question is: should you use one, and which one should you use?

I love tracking data, and I love technology. But these apps are only useful if they make your life better or easier.

I've been using RunKeeper to track my running for almost 5 years now. It works for me because I like having my phone with me when I run (just in case I need it), so I don't have to do anything extra except push the start button, and RunKeeper does the rest.

I've tried using LoseIt! and My Fitness Pal as food journals, but I've found myself spending too much time trying to log my foods. Since I spend most of my working day in front of a computer, it's just faster and easier to look things up online rather than on my phone.

The key is to do what works for you. Smart phone app, computer spreadsheet, pencil and paper - it doesn't matter.

Have a plan, keep track of how you're doing against that plan, and adjust as necessary. It's that simple.

- Chris Butterworth

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pizza for lunch on a diet?

Absolutely!

Success comes more from how much you eat than what you eat, so you just need to eat the right amount.

Trying to find the exact calorie count for a slice of pepperoni pizza is an inexact science - I'm finding numbers ranging from 300 - 400 calories per slice at most places (330 for a large slice of Papa John's.) I usually eat slices from Barro's - they're near my office and they have a great lunch special, but since their slices are thicker and heavier than average, I'm going to ballpark a 400 calorie number from the high end of the range for my example.

Now, how much pizza can I eat?

400 calories for a thick slice of pepperoni pizza.

600 calories if you can stop at one and a half slices.

800 calories if you eat both slices.


You have to start by knowing what your calorie budget is for the day.

I burn about 1,900 calories per day without exercising, so allowing for 2,200 (give or take) on a day when I run is a fair number. If I drink a 350 calorie fruit juicee for breakfast, I can eat 2 slices of pizza for lunch, and still have over 1,000 calories available for snack, dinner, and dessert. This also gives me flexibility to adjust how much pizza I eat according to how much I'm going to eat for dinner, or whether I skipped a workout, or even if the scale showed a bigger number than usual that day.

If I was trying to lose weight, or if I was a 5' 3" woman trying to maintain weight, my daily calorie budget might be about 1,500. In that case, 2 full slices would probably be too much pizza on a regular basis, but 1 slice should be ok. I could even get away with 1 1/2 slices if I managed the rest of my day really well.

On the other hand, someone trying to keep their daily calorie intake down to about 1,000 calories would find a 400 calorie slice of pizza as their large meal of the day - a feast of a meal. But even in that ultra-restricted scenario, a half slice of pizza would be a filling way to spend 200 precious calories..

What I like about pizza - other than that it tastes awesome! - is that it's a filling use of calories. It's a good blend of carbs, protein, and fat, which gives your body plenty of short-term and long-term fuel.

So go ahead and eat some pizza. Enjoy it. Savor it. Just don't eat too much. And don't wash it down with a large soda!

- Chris Butterworth

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200 posts ago: running for time or distance

100 posts ago: Happy Thanksgiving - my mental, physical, and emotional approach

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my fitness plan 092015

You're only in shape for whatever it is you're in shape for. These days I'm trying to stay generally fit - I don't have a big race on the horizon, and I'm not hiking the canyon anytime soon - I just want to stay healthy and fit.

So what's my current workout plan, and why?

Running
  • 10 miles per week, or more.
  • at least 5 runs per week (and preferably 6).
    • Mon - 2 miles fast
    • Tues - 2 miles slow
    • Wed - 1 mile fast
    • Thurs - 3 miles slow
    • Fri - 18 minutes of 1-minute intervals (one minute running fast; one minute recovering at a slow jog; repeat)
    • Sat or Sun - 2 or 3 miles slow, or a nice trail run.
  • I typically run early in the morning, first thing, before eating or drinking anything. I just get out of bed and go.
  • Stretching - I'm enjoying some stretching while cooling down after running on most mornings. This is a big change for someone as non-flexible as me - maybe one day I'll be almost flexible...


  • 3 times per week, do one or the other (alternate exercises each time)
  • 3-4 sets at a time, in rapid succession, of as many as I can do.
  • Add in some extra core work if I have anything left in the tank.
    • For pull-ups, this means knee lifts or leg raises.
    • For push-ups, I can do planks or dozens of other variations.
  • I generally do these in the evening after work.


Why this Plan?
  • The running / push-ups / pull-ups combination gives me a good mix of cardio and strength training.
  • I did this workout a lot over the summer and really enjoyed it.
  • I like how I feel when I'm in "running shape", and I like how I look when I'm in "pull-up shape".


Why these distances / reps?
  • A goal should be attainable, but not easy.
  • I've used RunKeeper to track all my runs since 1/1/2011, and the data shows I've run 10 miles in a week 20 times since then (out of 247 weeks.) I haven't run 10 miles in a week yet in 2015, and I only did it 5 weeks in all of 2014 - with the last one being in May 2014 (approx 67 weeks ago.)
    • This goal is doable, since I've done it many times in the past.
    • But it won't be easy, since I haven't been able to do it very often. Getting 10 miles in on a consistent basis will be challenging, and hopefully rewarding.
  • As for the reps on push-ups and pull-ups - I want to feel sore enough to know I worked out, but not too sore to be comfortable the next day. I also want to get stronger over time, but I don't need to look like a body builder to feel successful. Enough is enough - no need to overdo it.
  • I wrote about the optimal amount of exercise a few months ago - this should be more than enough to stay fit and healthy, without being excessive.
  • I'm thinking this might be a worthwhile plan for the next year, but I'm going to commit myself to it for the next 10 weeks, and re-assess from there.


Eating is King

As always, diet has a larger impact on weight than exercise, unless you're working out for several hours a day. So I'll want to continue to eat a reasonable amount of real foods (or as close to real as practical) to maintain my target weight. Running several days in a row does not give one free license to eat unlimited amounts of fast food!

So there you have it.

Simple, but not easy. Attainable, but not without consistent dedication. And rewarding - I should be in "fit and healthy" shape when my 10 weeks are up (the week after Thanksgiving, coincidentally, and speaking of eating reasonable amounts...)


- Chris Butterworth

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200 Posts ago: Fit-20 Workout 06-27-12


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which is the healthiest bread?

I started thinking about this article while enjoying the irony of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on toasted artisan-crafted bread. (believe me, it was a really good PB&J..)

What is bread, really? At it's most basic form, and it's been around for thousands of years, we're talking about milled grains (wheat), leavening agents (yeast), and water, mixed together and heated (1). Yet considering what a simple product it is, there are so many choices at the grocery store it makes my head spin!

Why so many? And which one should I be eating?





Some quick thoughts about bread:
  • Prices range from really cheap (about $1 per loaf) to really expensive ($5 or $6 per loaf). Feeding a family who eats lots of sandwiches at $6 for a small loaf seems excessive - buy the bread you can afford.
  • Cheaper options tend to have more man-made ingredients in them; this helps the bread last longer before going bad.
  • More expensive (and healthier) options tend to have ingredients you've heard of, such as flour, water, salt, and yeast. Maybe they'll add some nuts, garlic, herbs or spices, but it'll still be whole ingredients that you know what they are (2).
  • Whole wheat, fortified, organic, multi-grain, 11 grain, white, wheat, sourdough, rye, gluten-free, artisan...
  • Lots and lots of choices

More thoughts about bread:

  • Buy what tastes good. If you buy the ultra-organic, 46-grain bread with all the healthiest nuts and seeds baked into it, but then you don't eat it, why bother?
  • Eat bread with fewer, if any, man made ingredients.
  • Don't get caught up in the arms race to healthiest, because you can't win.
  • Your bread is simply a nutrient delivery tool - what you put ON your bread will have a much bigger impact than what is baked IN your bread. (plus all the other food choices you make throughout the day.)
  • If you're eating the super-healthy, most expensive bread because it has 3 grams of fiber, consider that's less fiber than a serving of broccoli (about 5 grams), raspberries (8 grams), or lentils (15 grams) (3). Maybe you could scale back the bread and pair it with a better side dish?

In the end, there is no perfect choice. There are better choices, sure, but there's no such thing as perfect. Eat moderate portions of real foods, and mix in some exercise, and you'll be on the road to healthy.

Meanwhile, all this talk about bread has me craving a turkey sandwich on sourdough with havarti, lettuce and tomatoes...

- Chris Butterworth

Sources cited:

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around the web 090315

I've read a few articles this week that were interesting enough to share..

Caffeine Crisis

Caffeine has been the stimulant of choice around the world for thousands of years. Now, suddenly, Americans are overdosing on caffeine in record numbers.

Here's the full story:

How America’s love affair with caffeine has sparked a crisis of overdoses — and what the FDA is trying to do about it


More calories end up in those "bring your own grocery bags."

A study of thousands of grocery store shoppers found that those who brought their own "good for the environment" bags purchased more organic foods. They also bought more cookies!

Here's the full story:



Omega-3 fish oil supplements do not boost brain activity

After studying 4,000 elderly subjects over a 4-year period, researches have determined that any perceived benefit from taking fish oil supplements is only a myth.

Per the article: "It is possible that eating foods rather than taking any specific single supplement may have an effect." Further study on this is needed.

Here's the full story:



Have a great Thursday,

- Chris Butterworth

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keeping a food journal

The only way to be sure you're eating fewer calories than your body burns is to know exactly what you're eating (and how many calories your body burns at rest). And the only way to know exactly what you're eating is to keep track of it.

This is especially true when you are just starting out on your road to losing weight. Your internal, "gut feeling", of how much to eat is out of balance - writing down what you eat and paying close attention to it will help you re-calibrate your gut feeling.

It doesn't matter what format you use; it only matters that you know, with absolute certainty, that you've eaten fewer calories than your target number.

Here are a few types / options to consider:

Spiral ring notebook. It's a little old fashioned, but it still works great. Boot-up time is zero; just open it and start writing.

Computer program. Your computer may not be portable and always at your side, but if you sit in an office all day this can be a great place to keep your food journal.

Spreadsheets, word processing programs, or a note taking application like Evernote or Onenote all work equally well.

Many of these programs are easy to integrate with your phone, so you can use your phone as well as your computer.

Smartphone app. Your phone is always with you, just waiting to do your bidding. You can input the details of your lunch as soon as you've finished eating, wherever your are.

Most of the apps I've sampled also come with a food-lookup option, so you can determine how many calories your lunch had from within the app itself.

Many of the apps have online access as well, so you can view and edit your food journal from your computer, and keep track of your history, from that larger screen in your office.

Bottom line

There are many different methods you can use to keep track of what you're eating. It doesn't matter which one you use, only that you use one.

Can you splurge a little bit at dinner, or have a brownie for dessert? Guessing at the answer could be the difference between losing weight and not.

- Chris Butterworth

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mediocre is the opposite of excellence

Terrible seems like it would be the opposite of excellence, but terrible is easy to fix.
  • You didn't workout last week? Pick yourself up and get back on track.
  • You've been eating everything in sight? Stop. Take a breath. Regroup. Re-assess your plan. And get back on track.


Mediocre is much more difficult, in part because you might not even notice it.
  • You've been working out, but maybe not with your desired level of intensity. Or maybe you're getting to the gym sometimes, but not as often as you had planned.
  • You're eating pretty well, paying attention to what you order, where you eat, and how often. But you're not losing any weight. Maybe you're rounding up on your calorie counts, or you might be grabbing a handful of snacks without even realizing it.


It's hard to get down on yourself when you're trying, and mediocre masks how hard you're trying.

Mediocre is frustrating. It robs you of your results. It fills you with hopelessness, and makes you want to give up, because you think you're doing the work but you're not seeing the results.

Changing your habits, and your body, and your health, is hard. It takes commitment, and it takes excellence.

Pay very close attention to your actions, and to your results. Keep a journal. Be reflective. Are you reaching excellence, or merely mediocre?

- Chris Butterworth

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fruit juicee - orange banana blueberry watermelon

Here's a summer fruit juicee with some ingredients you might not think to combine, but which tastes surprisingly refreshing together:

Ingredients:
  • Orange Juice - 8 oz
  • Banana - 1, peeled
  • Blueberries - approx 2/3 cup, fresh or frozen
  • Watermelon - approx 1 cup, sliced into chunks
  • Ice (optional) - just a couple-few cubes


Directions:
  • Put all the ingredients into a Magic Bullet cup. (or any other blender device.)
  • Screw on the blade cap.
  • Blend until juicee'd.
  • Enjoy!


orange banana blueberry watermelon fruit juicee


orange banana blueberry watermelon fruit juicee


Nutritional Information:
  • Approximately 300-350 calories, depending on the amount of each fruit.
    • 110 calories from Orange Juice
    • 121 Medium Banana
    • 57 Blueberries
    • 46 Watermelon
    • Calorie counts for fruit provided by calorieking.com



A fruit juicee makes a great whole-food-ingredient replacement for a breakfast or "snack-aisle" snack. It's also terrific for refueling quickly after a good workout.

Give this one a try and let me know what you think!

- Chris Butterworth

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getting great results on days you don't want to workout

Some days you just don't want to work out, and there are dozens of reasons why:

  • You're too tired.
    • You went to bed too late.
    • You didn't sleep well.
    • You got up too early.
  • You don't have time.
    • You're too busy at work.
    • You woke up too late.
  • You'd rather go to bed early.
  • You're too sore from yesterday's workout.
  • You don't feel well.
  • You just can't get motivated.
  • You're battery is almost dead, and you can't workout without your music.
  • The weather's no good.
    • It's too hot outside.
    • It's too cold outside.
    • It's raining / snowing / windy outside.


These are all legitimate, yet none of them should be enough to stop you. Sometimes the very best workouts are the ones you didn't want to do.

When you can motivate yourself to get a workout in on the days that you don't want to - even if it's not one of your best workouts, you get very powerful results:

  1. Physically, you get a workout in. From a fitness standpoint, this beats the heck out of sitting on the couch or laying in bed.
  2. Mentally, you get a huge victory over that lazy devil sitting on your shoulder - you get to prove to yourself that you're more awesome than you thought you were.
  3. Surprise yourself. Sometimes once you get started, you end up having a great workout. I've broken a few PRs on days I didn't really feel like running when I started out.
  4. Illness remedy. Sometimes when I'm not feeling 100%, getting a good sweat on helps shake off whatever's been bothering me. On the other hand, if you're really sick, with a high fever and all those other bad symptoms - maybe that's a good day to skip the workout and stay in bed...
  5. Muscle stretcher. When you're really sore from a previous workout, doing a light workout can help stretch out your muscles and ease their recovery.


Missing a workout once in awhile isn't going to change your life. But getting into the habit of not workout unless conditions are ideal will - it'll rob you of your fitness. Let's face it - conditions are rarely ideal, and once you start giving yourself permission to skip workouts, it gets easier and easier to do.

Tell that lazy devil on your shoulder to shut up, then get up and get moving. (before you change your mind!)

- Chris Butterworth

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delaying breakfast for good effect

"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" - at least that's what I've been told my entire life.

I'm an early riser, and rising early usually means eating breakfast early. It also means, if you're a high energy person, that you're ready for lunch early. Or more to the point, that by the time lunchtime rolls around, you're starving (and ready to eat gigantic portions!)

Recently I made a conscious effort to delay eating breakfast, eating closer to mid-morning rather than earlier in the morning. And it's had a dramatic effect...

Early Breakfast
  • 6:00 - Eat breakfast shortly after waking up.
  • 9:00 - Get hungry. Either eat a mid-morning snack, or fight off hunger the rest of the morning.
  • 12:00 - Lunchtime! By now I'm really hungry, so it's easy to over-order, or to lick my plate clean and start searching for what to eat next.
  • Afternoon - Since I've over-eaten lunch, the same problem is going to persist between afternoon snack and dinnertime; I'll be hungry but I've already eaten too many calories to justify a snack. Then I'll probably over-eat at dinner...


Late Breakfast
  • 6:00 - Drink a small glass of juice, and some water. Let my body start working with whatever energy is still available from yesterday, or it can start converting fat into energy if I'm tapped out of reserves.
  • 9:00 - Eat breakfast, usually a fruit juicee. Plenty of easy to digest carbo calories to give my body a boost of energy.
  • 12:00 - Lunchtime. I'm starting to get hungry again, but not enough to make bad choices. Now it's much easier to order a reasonably sized lunch and be satisfied with it.
  • Afternoon - Since I stayed within my calorie budget, I can eat a small mid-afternoon snack, which should hold me over until dinner.


The golden rule of calorie counting is: "3,500 calories = 1 pound".

The corollary of the golden rule is: "Every 1 pound of fat in your body is 3,500 calories' worth of energy, just waiting to be released."

Give it a try. Delay your breakfast and let your body use all that extra energy being stored as fat. Then see how much easier it is to get through the rest of the day..

- Chris Butterworth

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small. consistent. big.

Small, done consistently, becomes big.

We see it everyday, without even realizing it.

  • That guy in your office who used to be a lot bigger? He didn't just drop 60 pounds one day last year - he lost those 60 lbs a little bit at a time over the course of the last year. You just didn't notice it right away because each week's change was so small.
  • That friend of yours who's been posting on Facebook about her first marathon? She didn't just decide last week to run in the race next month - she's been training for it, running a little bit further each week than the last. Heck, she probably couldn't run a full 3 miles without walking on her first training session.
  • Those giant-sized, high school aged people living in your house and emptying the refrigerator daily? They used to be those cute little kids who looked so grown up ten years ago when you dropped them off at their first day of school. Turns out they've been growing and maturing, a little imperceptible amount each day, for a long time.


Today is probably not the day you're going to achieve your goal - your end goal will be the accumulation of lots and lots of tiny victories compiled over a much longer time period.

But today could be the day you lose your goal. Apathy, laziness, and just "not doing it" are the enemies of actions achieving goals.

Keep your eye on that big goal way out in front of you. And keep moving forward, one small step at a time.

- Chris Butterworth

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