Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holiday Fitness Tips

It's that wonderful time of the year again. A time for friends and family to get together to eat, drink and make merry. Now there's nothing wrong with this, just be careful that you don't over do it or you'll start off the New Year looking like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man! Here's a couple tips that might help you out during the next couple weeks.

We all know how easy it is to avoid exercising during the holidays. It's easy to make the excuse, "Oh, I want to spend more time with my family and friends." Who doesn't? When I'm home, I try getting up a little earlier than everyone else and go for a jog or hit the gym. Get it out of the way in the morning. That you won't put it off during the day. You really feel so much better the rest of the day after a little morning sweat. It's also a good way of cleansing the system from the night before.

How do we avoid over-eating and filling up on all those goodies? This is very difficult. I grew up on a farm and my mother can cook. Unfortunately most dishes are made with old-fashioned Crisco. The good stuff. To avoid over-indulging as much as I possible, I go shopping for myself even before I get home. I like to stop by the store and buy fruits, veggies and lean meats. I know I will not find a lot of this at my parents. When I'm sitting at home and the urge strikes to munch, it's nice to know that I have some healthy alternatives. It's not a 100% guaranteed, but hey, every little bit helps in the battle of the bulge.

I hope that everyone has a very Healthy and Happy Holiday Season!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Death Valley Marathon recap

We got to Death Valley Friday night around 9:00PM. It's been six years since I was there. I really forgot how incredibly awe inspiring the place was. Plus, I forgot how darn cold it can get there at night. The temperature was around 37 degrees. I pitched the old Sierra Design tent and we crawled in our warm and cozy Mountain Hardwear sleeping bags. Race day was bright and sunny. We checked in at the Furnace Creek Saloon to get our race numbers and chips. Nicole's goal was to run a sub-4 hour marathon. My plan was to pace her. At 8:00AM we were off. It was a pretty small group of runners and spread out fast. I forgot how darn hilly Death Valley was which really affected our mile split times. Still, at the turn around point we were right on mark. But the hills did catch up with us and we crossed the line at 4:05:32. Not bad for a December marathon in a beautiful place like Death Valley.

If you ever get a chance, you've got to do the race in Death Valley. It really is an incredible experience. If the marathon isn't for you, they have a half-marathon and a 10k. For marathon, half-marathon or 10k training info, check out I've been using Hal's programs for years to get ready for races. Hope this helps!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Death Valley Marathon

We head out today to run the annual Death Valley Marathon on Sat., Dec 2. Ahh, 26.2 scenic miles through lovely Death Valley. Well, maybe not so lovely, but it is definitely an awe inspiring place. I have run across the length of it twice now while competing in the annual Badwater 135 http://www.badwater135/ . 135 miles of running on asphalt, in July, from Badwater, 282 ft below sea level, to the Mt. Whitney portals at roughly 8,600 ft. Why? Because it's there of course. It is an extremely challenging race but what an empowering achievement once completed. Tomorrow will just be a little stroll down memory lane. A chance to ponder how totally alive I felt in a valley named after Death. Hmmm...Interesting. It's hard to believe that my passion for running ridiculous distances all started with my meat head buddies in the gym saying, "Dude, you can't run. You're too big and bulky." I replied, "Yes I can. I just choose not too." And then actually thinking to myself that maybe I couldn't run. I didn't like the thought of not being able to do something. So I grabbed my old worn out pair of Chuck T's and hit the pavement. And just like Forrest Gump, I kept runnin' and runnin'. Hopefully this will inspire of few of ya to dust off those running shoes and do the same. "Life is about the journey, not the destination." Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Gear

I get tons of questions about gear. I've added some to Joe's Gear link for you to check out. It's very important that you get the proper gear if you're going to start a new fitness program. Here are just a few of the products that I like. You may not like these or may have your own favorites. That's fine, just make sure you're well equipped and ready to rock-n-roll!

Shoes- For road running, I like the New Balance 1221 or the Asic's Gel Kayano. These shoes are not flashy but are very high quality. I use these and their off-road shoes for trail running too because they have great cushioning and support. They come in bigger width's for those of you with Fred Flintstone feet like me. Also, I would definitely recommend Salomon's shoes for adventure racing and anything in the wood line. They are comfortable and very durable. Try on different shoes to find the right brand for you. Your feet, knees and joints will definitely let ya know.

Workout Clothes- Under Armour is my favorite. Their stuff is durable, comfortable and looks cool too. You gotta look the part. Just remember to get something that wicks the moisture away from you skin. Try to stay away from cotton.

Outdoor Clothing- When it comes to rugged outdoor gear, you can't beat Mountain Hardwear or Patagonia. Their stuff is the state of the art, lightweight and extremely durable. It kept me warm and dry when we raced 520-miles across the Himalayas a few years ago.

Socks- I'm a big fan of Feetures performance socks. They kept my feet blister free while running through Death Valley and crossing the Sahara Desert.

Toys- Boys do like their toys and I'm no exception. I love my Garmin, Suunto and Casio watches. The Garmin is great for plotting the distance of running and cycling routes. Suunto is the ultimate Adventure Racing watch. It can be used as a compass, an altimeter and even a barometer. Casio is my Boot Camp and gym workout watch. All three are tough watches. My IPod is a must while doing cardio in the gym or getting pumped up before an event. Nothing like rocking out to some Metallica before a heavy lifting session. Plus, I like to keep my small Cannon camera with me at all times to take awesome photos while training, competing, or wine tasting with friends.

Misc.- Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing of all, BodyGlide. Trust me this stuff works.

This is some of my favorite stuff. I'd love to hear your recommendations. Drop me a line and let me know what makes your list of must have gear.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Goal

Ok gang, you've all had enough time to get motivated and hopefully start thinking about some challenging and interesting event that you'd like to undertake. This is where you draw that line in the sand and come up with a goal. Not an unrealistic goal like looking like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Sorry guys, that ain't happening for any of us. Or the same old goal of losing weight and getting in shape. Set a fun goal, like a race, strength contest or charity event, and work systematically towards achieving it. I tell people not to focus on weight loss, but to let it become a by-product of your training. That way you're not constantly obsessed with food, not eating and the good ole scales. For instance, I have a group of ladies training for a Jan. marathon. They're all getting in shape, having fun together and losing weight. Weight loss is the by-product of their training. You don't have to choose a marathon. Your goal can be a 5k, 10k, Cancer March, Triathlon, Muddy Buddy, Strongman, Highland Game, Bodybuilding show or Ultramarathon. You pick it! Make it fun, adventuresome and exciting. Gather some family and friends to join ya. That's the best part. For instance, here are some very cool events that me and some friends are doing in 2007;
-the Death Valley Marathon,
-Arizona's Strongest Man competition,
-La Ruta de los Conquistadores,
-North American Wife Carrying championship, Come join the fun. Life's too short. Work Hard and Play Harder!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Veteran's Day Reunion

Saturday, Nov. 11th, was Veteran's Day. A time for Americans to pay tribute to the US military men and women that have defended and are currently defending this great nation. So many times we forget about those around the world that are protecting our freedom and putting their lives on the line. As a Vet, I have seen this day come and go many times without really giving it that much consideration. This year I wanted it to be different. I decided a few months ago to attempt to break a World Record on Veteran's Day to pay tribute to our troops and create national patriotic awareness. I told an ole Army buddy, Morse, about this venture and he decided to help out. Within a couple weeks, Morse, had tracked down Hobbs, Trim, Dunn and Donahue. All of us had gone through basic training at Ft Benning and were eventually stationed together at the 10th Mountain Division in Ft Drum, NY. It had been 15 yrs since we had last seen each other. Where does the time go? It just seems like yesterday that a group of snot-nosed 18yr old kids were hitting bars in Kingston, Ontario on the weekends and training how to kill with sophisticated weapons during the week. Ah, the good ole days. They traveled from all over the country and got into San Diego on Thursday evening. I met the gang at the Hilton in La Jolla. It was hard to believe that it had been 15 years. It really seemed like only yesterday. We talked for hours about all the crazy stuff we had done back then and how we were all very lucky to be alive today. The group met up on Sat. morning, Veteran's Day, for our big one-mile run. I wanted to attempt to break a world record and Morse just wanted to complete the mile. As we ran the course together, some of us Vets and some still serving, I really felt proud to have served my country and to have served with this group of great guys. This I thought to myself, is what Veteran's Day is about. If any of you are Vets and haven't made the time to see the friends you served with, take my advice, make the time and get together. This past weekend spent with the guys I served with will be one I'll never forget. Life is short. Too many times we let it slip on by. I challenge all of you to take a moment, stop, and try to contact someone special that you haven't talked to or seen in years. Like the VISA commercial states, "It's PRICELESS!"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Let me hear ya!

I've talked about motivation, accountability and setting goals. This I'll continue and will be a weekly part of the blog. In addition, I want to hear from all of you. What motivates you to stick with it? What sort of goals have you set and how do you hold yourself accountable? Believe it or not, we just might be able to learn from each other. Feel free to send me any questions that you might have about training, eating, shoes and clothing or just getting started. I'll pick out a couple questions and post them on the blog. Also, we'd love to hear suggestions about must try wine, beer, cigars, books to read, where to eat, places to go and people to meet. That stuff is every bit as important as exercise in the broad scheme of things. For those of you that have been asking about products, I do have some that I like to use on my website under the "buy products" tab. I'll add more as time goes on. Send any recommendations that you might have for necessary or outstanding gear that you think others would be interested in. Of course I had to find a couple links to help motivate you through the rest of the week. This link is to an amazing human being that has overcome extreme adversity to motivate other's. And this is a story from a 29 year old kid that I know continues to motivate him today. Remember the old Chinese proverb, "The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with one step." Today that journey begins with putting down the chicken wings and remote control. Get out there and enjoy this fabulous day! Work Hard and Play Harder!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Those Monday morning blues!

As a kid, growing up on a farm in the Midwest, every week my Dad would tell us that he was going to start his eating and exercise program come Monday morning. As you can imagine, Monday would roll around and Dad would inevitably postpone it until the following Monday. Well, it's 25 years later and Dad still hasn't started that program yet! Like most of us though, he does have good intentions. Mondays can be difficult. You've had the weekend to relax and indulge and now it's time to get back to the ole grindstone. How do we keep that promise that we've made to ourselves on Friday to take control or our eating and exercise on Monday? Many times, just like Dad, we only half-way commit. We know in the back of our mind that we're not seriously ready to make the change. Change only comes with commitment. You've got to take a good long look in the mirror and decide that you are 100% ready to make that change. Next, you've got to set goals and develop a plan of action. You can do this. Yes, it will take hard work and dedication. The things that we value most in life are the things that we've had to work the hardest for. It is well worth it. Physical fitness is the closest thing that we have to a "Fountain of Youth." Here are couple of examples of people that have drank of the fountain their entire lives, Jack Lalanne, and Helen Klein, . I hope that these incredible stories of everlasting youth will help to motivate you on this Monday morning. Drink up!

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's Friday!

T.G.I.F. Thank God It's Friday! The week is over and it's time to kick back and relax. The weekend is almost here. This is usually the point that most of us destroy what we've worked so hard all week to accomplish. All week we've been good about watching our food and alcohol intake (somewhat), we've got plenty of sleep and actually exercised. The weekend rolls around, and BLAM, all of our hard work goes to hell in a handbasket. How do we gain control of this vicious cycle? If any of ya know, please tell me. I'm just as guilty. You can't beat pizza, wings and beer while watching the football games. I've found if you can't beat'em, then join'em. The key is to try to get a workout of some sort in on Sat. and/or Sun. morning before the big games and life gets in the way. This will keep you on track and help with those Monday morning doldrums we all experience after a rough weekend. And try setting achievable goals throughout the year to keep ya motivated. I'm currently teaching an Outdoor Fitness class on Sat. and running with a group on Sundays that is training for a Jan. marathon. Plus we have the Death Valley marathon coming up in Dec. These and other events keep me motivated and on track. Set health and fitness goals and go for it. Have fun. You can do it! Like Baz Luhrman said, "You are not as fat as you think you are and do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly!" Work Hard and Play Harder!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


On Nov. 11th, Veteran's Day, I'll be attempting another World Record. This time for running a mile while carrying a 40 lb pack all in 5 min 35 sec. People ask me all the time why I contuinue to attempt these crazy stunts. For me, it's just to challenge this incredible human body that we were all given. To see what this thing can do. It's not for the glory or the ego. The human body was meant to be challenged and tested and pushed. It was not meant to sit behind a desk all day punching a key board. I know at times it can be difficult to motivate ourselves. And I know that it is something we all have in us but just need to find. I like to call it, "the fire inside." Think about this for a second. Are you happy with you current fitness level or state of mind? No. Then do something about it. Set a goal. Make a serious promise with yourself to take back control of your life. It is your life and doesn't belong to Nintendo or McDonalds. If you still need a little motivation, check out this video. I guarantee that it will fire you up. Remember, "We're not here for a long time, just for a good time!"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Here we go!

Finally, after countless emails from around the world and lots of poking and prodding from family, friends and clients, I've decided to enter the new millennia and start a blog! I've put numerous hours of thought into "what" I wanted the content of this blog to be. Should it be just about extreme fitness, or proper diet and exercise, or what fitness means to each of us or even books, beer, wine and cigars? I've decided it should be a little of all of that good stuff but also motivational, inspirational and thought provoking. I want this blog to provoke you to think outside the box. I want it to "fire" you up and get you motivated. I want it to inspire each and everyone of us to really "live" and not just "exist." Oh yeah! I'll try to answer interesting and timely relevant health, fitness and life questions that I get sent daily. And I'll post current training info, upcoming events, inspiring people, and any thing else that will help us rock-n-roll through the daily grind that many of us call life!