Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 16 - Seeing the big picture

Today I was doing my regular chores and felt something different - my thoughts kept bouncing back to something Patrick said in one of his emails:

"So when we bow before and after our workouts, we are showing respect for ourselves, and the universe for lending us this energy and form. This is why, in my mind, developing your body and physical skills is so important for a full human life. To use all these gifts for eating junk on a sofa in front of a TV is a mind-boggling waste!"

I think it was bouncing around in my mind today since I was cleaning up a lot of junk and recycling things I no longer need. I realized that most of what I have really doesn't matter, and in the end what's the difference whether you own 3 of something or nothing. It's such a waste of time and energy to accumulate all this stuff, and for what purpose, especially if you're not heathy?!

I think it's as important to think about whatever we buy before we consume it, whether its food, toys or stuff. There is a finite amount of energy and time out there and filling it up with trinkets and bobbles is also a mind-boggling waste.

What do you own that you just had to have but know is a complete luxury?

Off my high horse now, my workout went well tonight. My balance was not so good and my leg still is a little tight but I'm still here!

Mediation was a little funky tonight but good - I'll talk more about that tomorrow.

See you soon.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 15 - Balsamic Vinegar

I gotta say I'm excited about getting full bore into this. The Kung-Fu is awesome and who doesn't love being in shape but I also love the food! For the last two weeks I've been eating really well getting ready for the strict diets we would eventually get - we have them now and I'm surprised that I actually missed the regime of cutting, weighing and cooking precise amounts of food. And then there's my favourite, Balsamic Vinegar!

I know that it would have been more difficult getting through the Peak Condition Project without Balsamic. The rich tart taste is contrasted with a sweetness that mellows it, making it a perfect seasoning for rice, pasta, vegetables, meat, you name it.

I also found that there are many reputed positive effects to eating Balsamic:

- Balsamic has anti-baterial and anti-viral properties which make it an effective remedy.
- Some suggest it cures body pain and energizes
- The polyphenols in Balsamic are powerful antioxidants that fight cell damage and boost the immune system.
- Studies have shown that the antioxidants in Balsamic also protect against cancer and heart disease.
- Balsamic improves metabolism by boosting the activity of the digestive enzyme pepsin.
- Some studies suggest that a five teaspoon portion of vinegar with a meal can improve insulin sensitivity, controlling diabetes complications.
- Balsamic has been shown to reduce cholesterol.
- Balsamic antioxidant may slow the aging process.
- Balsamic can strengthen bones, prevent fatigue and help suppress appetite - aiding in weight control.

This is all very good but I love the taste! It's very rewarding to find something that is healthy and you enjoy eating and can be combined with so many other foods.

Thank you Balsamic Vinegar for always being there for me.

Work out was great tonight. I did have a little trouble with the jumping straight kick and strained my right leg. It felt a lot better during the chin to knee stretch but I'll watch it over the next few days. This is where increased flexibility would really help.

My punches are getting a lot quicker and more accurate - I'd also like to say more power if I can judge that correctly. I also took to heart Patrick's last email asking us to concentrate on the body movements during a kick/punch - exactly as he described. Good to understand where the power really comes from, good to be mindful of this during the agility training.

Two weeks gone. I feel I've accomplished a lot during this time - My excitement is still strong and I'm getting so much out of this programr.

See you soon.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 14 - What the What?

Sweat Jesus the wide forward bend is a mother! Look, I know this will build hip flexibility and I want to sit in the lotus position someday but this one hurt. I held it for a while, watched a little tv to take my mind off the strain and then played a video game at Patrick's suggestion but died often through lack of concentration.

I am the poster boy for the stiff and inflexible of the world. I know this is going to be tough but I also know its worth it so I'm gonna work on my flexibility even if it kills me(I almost died tonight).

The best part of it was when I stopped and the blood and feeling came rushing back - I actually felt quite good after, and my legs, hips and back were pulsing with my heart, a very relieving feeling.

I'm going to start every day and finish every evening with some stretches... How's your flexibility?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 13 - Montreal part Deux

Second day in Montreal and it was pretty good. Lots of meetings and a trade show that was interesting if not exciting.

I started my day by breaking up my workout. I did my strength training as soon as I got up: Triceps dip, plank and side crunch(skipped the Incline pull-ups), did my rope jumps and then had a breakfast of oatmeal, fruit and eggs.

When I left the hotel I brought some almonds and oranges for a snack on the go.

For lunch we ate down at the waterfront. The restaurant wasn't great but I managed to get a fairly healthy meal. I was the only one not to drink and I think some of them thought I was a recovering alcoholic. I took that opportunity to tell them about the KFB and to visit the site and blogs. We'll see who visits and leaves a note.

The afternoon was pretty business and didn't even get a chance to have a snack but time flew and before I knew it was diner time.

I had a green salad with balsamic vinegar, chicken breast and vegetables. Again it was quite easy to change my order, they were helpful and accommodating. I haven't always gotten this in the past but I will be forceful and adamant at getting my way from now on.

I just finished my agility training working on my kicks and combo punches plus flexibility and meditation.

I think I'm getting a little more flexible but not a fast as I thought - I'll keep tabs on it and be patient.

I'm driving back home tomorrow morning and I'll let you know how it goes.

See you soon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 12 - Montreal

So today I woke up early, drove for 6 hours, met several clients and had a long business meeting.

I now sit in my hotel room exhausted from the day and a great work out. Here are my thoughts:

- Great start to the day was a great meal of oat bran, hard boiled eggs, carrots and water.
- On the road I drove for approximately 6 hours so I practiced some of Patrick's Knowledge Worker's Survival Guide and stopped frequently to stretch.
- I brought a lunch of wholesome protein and vegetables.
- For diner I asked the waiter for whole grains, no sauce, seasoned chicken and vegetables - waiter didn't flinch or charge me extra - French Canada can be very European.
- Got to my hotel room, bowed, busted out the jump rope and push-up bars and had a good work-out.
- Ready for a restful sleep.

- I get really energized with trips like this, meeting people and hearing both positive and negative feedback that speaks of success and potential. I hope I can sustain this level of energy for tomorrow!

See you soon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 11 - Soccer

My youngest boy had his first game of soccer today and it didn't go as well as he expected. Before the game he was pumped to be playing and kept talking about winning and how well he was going to play. But on the field the bigger and older kids shut him out, leaving him behind and frustrated.

I let the coaches do what they do best and talked to him after. I asked how it went and he respond by saying "Good, except nobody would let me have the ball!" I told him that that was what soccer was all about, passing to your team mates and trying to stop the other team from scoring. I'm not sure he got it but he hasn't given up yet. Next week we'll see how he does.

I'm not entirely upset that he hit this roadblock - What better way to learn than this and we'll practice a little bit and get him kicking the ball at the right goal. In the end I know he'll be better for it.

While pondering my son's soccer career, I thought about obstacles that I face and how I handle them - really they're not that different and I'll try to take my own advice. Take tonight for example - I didn't want to work out and stretching seemed like it would be such a chore so I decided it was too late to do it tonight and I'd catch up later...But I knew it wouldn't go down like this in the end - of course it's a slippery slope. So I got up, finished my workout, and I know I feel a little bit better for it. Most of the the wining for me or my son is just showing up - the rest comes from way deeper and there are many ways we can stoke that fire.

As I mentioned I was not excited about the workout today - not really sure why but I slogged through it. In one word I sucked! I'll sleep on it and get back to my standard tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I'm off to Montreal on business. I'm excited to see what obstacles I hit with food and exercise - truth be known I'm looking forward to a few days in Montreal and welcome the change.

See you soon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 10 - Hail to the Queen

Today it's Victoria Day in Canada where we celebrate Queen Victoria's Birthday, who was the Queen when Canada past Confederation. We get the day off and rejoice that good weather is upon us!

The problem is that most Canadians feel out of touch with such a holiday since Canada's ties to the U.K. are no longer as pronounced or important. Most people call it May 24 weekend for that date and for the huge uptick in case sales of beer. In fact national beer sales spike sharply during this weekend and is the unofficial start of the beer selling season for breweries.

While I don't drink much beer I will toast the Queen today with a Guinness. I don't much care why the holiday exists, It's good to celebrate the start of Summer with a beer and and birthday.

Out with the family I only got my strength and conditioning done today. I am determined to not fall behind so I'll add a bit to tomorrow's routine!

See you soon.

Day 9 - European Pounds

I just read that Last Saturday was European Obesity day. I just got back from a trip to Italy for business and ended up loosing 5 pounds or so - a combination of lots of walking and great wholesome food - the Italians do a great job here. Directly after the trip I headed to North Carolina for another round of business stuff and found the contrast amazing and unfortunately gained those 5 pounds back.

I found the food in Italy generally flavourful and natural tasting, fresh and clean while States side it was overburdened with salt, fat and in a portion size twice as big.

Just off the highway going to Milan I stopped for some Italian "Fast Food" I had some whole wheat pasta, a salad with balsamic vinegar and fruit - this was as bad as the fast food got.

The other aspect that I found interesting was how my Italian partners changed orders, asked the waiter for things not on the menu and casually insisted on getting what they liked. By the end of the trip I was doing the same and enjoying the fact that I could get what I wanted without extra charge.

I made the mistake of trying this at home and got a funny look, the waiter checking if it could be done and then charging me extra for the trouble.

North America and increasingly the rest of the world is becoming more processed, automated and refined. In order to get your $12 steak they need to prepare it earlier and hire a cook who does not have the skills to work on the fly.

I also saw that the Italian/French/Spanish etc. attitude toward food is more sacred and they take the time and have patience for it. My worst meal in Italy would be one of my best back home, partly because of the attention given to it.

Lastly I found that there were so many restaurants that were doing well in Italy, despite the economy. They have great respect for waiters, chefs, managers and owners and it is usual for a person to work their entire career at one restaurant, starting as a waiter and one day owning it. Quite different from the way we think about waiters/cooks/restauranteurs over here in North America.

Worked hard today burning out my power kicks and punches. I'm getting pretty good at the maneuvers concentrating on my form up to the last hit.

My meditation has been off - My mind is such a mass of voices and ideas lately - I've got alot on the go and have to quiet those voices down - Any Suggestions?

See you soon.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 8 - Week 2

The KFB is already on week 2! I can't believe it, so I've reduced my carbs and now I'm going to cut out anything and everything that is prepackage, over processed and basically things that my Great Grandmother would not recognize.

Since I started the Peak Condition Project I have been scrutinizing the packages of food I buy, counting the number of ingredients and looking for any word I would need a scientist to decipher. Its hard sometimes to find packaged food that is not over processed and that's why I usually make my meals from scratch. Its fun, actually saves money and you start to get in tune with what you are eating - how your body reacts to it's fuel.

When you start to really gauge how your body reacts to food, you can perceive subtle differences in chemistry, mood and how you react to people and situations. I think women do a much better job of this then men likely because they know about and focus much more on their bodies and because men are not hard wired as well for it.

I do love that clean feeling after eating heathy natural food, as close to the basic root as you can get.

We're ratcheting up the training this week - more reps and some new exercises! The training was good today and I think my flexibility is starting to improve! Baby steps...

See you soon.

Day 7 - One week down

Great day today! Work went well and I had loads of energy to do all my strength, agility and flexibility plus I went for a 25 minute run.

I know days won't always be this good, however when it happens I like to look back on it and see what went right. I know it was a combination of things:

1) It wasn't like things didn't go wrong, they always do, but I didn't get stressed about it.
2) I ate a really good breakfast, had a great snack, good lunch and so on. Really if I get cranky its usually because I didn't eat right.
3) Lets face it, Fridays are usually a good day - We know the weekend is coming and live for it.
4) I really became conscious of my internal voice a few years ago - you know the one that says things when life goes wrong. When I started to really listen to it I realized that It was not helpful and was so universally judgemental and made things seem worse than they actually were. I now respond differently to what happens to me firstly by how I choose to internalize it.

So I take each day as it comes but I hope I have more of these - they're awesome!

What does you're inner voice say when things go wrong?

One week down - See you soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 6 - Men are Big and Strong?

I just read an interesting study by Psychologists at the University of Mcgill who examined the body image of males and females. While there have been many studies on the body image of females and that they feel being overweight or obese has been associated with a poor self image and a lower quality of life, the association is not so clear in men.

As you would expect, the study found that both satisfaction with their looks and satisfaction with life were inversely associated with excess weight in females.

However, In contrast, excess weight in older men was associated with greater satisfaction with life (body image in men was not examined and I'd like to know why).

The study found that overweight men appear more satisfied with life than do overweight women with the notion that while men associate excess weight with being “big and strong”, women tend to associate excess weight with being “fat”, something both sexes appear to fear.

Other researchers have also suggested that while men may avoid high-caloric foods for health reasons, women tend to do so primarily to control their weight.

While I know everyone is different I think this study is a great way to understand the differences in men and women and it clearly points to the fact that unique and different/distinct strategies are needed to address excess weight in men and women.

Here are the results of my benchmark tests:

Standing High Jump: 28 inches

Consecutive Ping Pong Punches: 37

Morning Standing Forward Bend: 9 inches from ground

Boy would I love to touch my toes!

Current Weight: 218 lbs.

Current Height: 6'4"

Current Picture:

I'm gonna love seeing those love handles go but I guess I do look kinda big and strong :)

See you soon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 5 - Milestones

My eldest son lost his first tooth today - he was scared at first and then excited that the mysterious tooth fairy would visit him tonight.

Right now he's running around full of energy wondering what he's going to do with the money that he gets in exchange for a tooth. I'm wondering how much I'm going to give him, but more importantly what my actions will teach him.

I'm often looking for object lessons, ways I can help my kids learn, this is good but I wonder if I'm sheltering them from something by not just going with it more often. They have set up donation jars for those less fortunate, do some limited chores and are really good kids, but what will they do if I let them decide more what to do while I gently guide?

I think the tooth fairy will leave him a twenty and tell him to spend it on something fun and frivolous...We'll see what he does with it.

The workout was great today, I'm getting in a groove with the kicks and punches. Flexibility sucks but I can wait and the meditation feels really good - I found myself looking forward to it all day.

I'm starting to get that clean feeling like a pure glass of water, since I've been back on a good diet. I've been off it more than I realized.

I'll get my pics up tomorrow.

See you soon.

Day 4 - God those Habs are Lucky!

I went a little easy on myself today doing the strength training and flexibility portions of the program. I was a little late getting to it since I was watching the playoff game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens. I watch a bit of hockey during the regular season, but the playoffs are so much better since the teams work harder, there are less cheap shots/crap and the teams have so much more to loose. Really its just better for a fan to watch.

However the Canadiens - Les Habs, have been giving it all they've got against a stronger, more powerful and arguably better team, and coming up short. This is in contrast to beating the best team in the league in an earlier round and winning the hearts of fans everywhere - who doesn't love an underdog!

But they shot at the goalie almost 60 times and didn't score once. Thats unheard of and I wonder how they will get their confidence back. Obviously their goal is to score a goal but what do they really need to do?

When I did the Peak Condition Program last year I lived it and related everything around me to the program or vice versa. Its obvious with food, but also in the way we look at, act and talk to people. I'm trying to make myself better and that even at a minute level, affects my outlook on the world. Simply put the PCP and now KFB colour my world - fortunately in a good way.

I believe that everything is connected and I don't believe in luck. Most of what we get out of life is due to our own efforts or lack thereof - I know the lottery works for some but lets talk 99.9999999% So if I eat right, exercise, stay flexible and brush my teeth and pay my bills everything will be fine. Probably not since if my attitude sucks, If I think I'm going to fail, If I believe I can never score, I'll likely end up loosing - a self fulfilling prophesy.

I recall reading about an experiment on luck where people were put into a blind study where certain setups were in place to gauge reaction and attentiveness. These setups included a $5 bill on the ground, sitting next to a person who was willing to give something if interacted with and a waitress who gave a free dessert if complimented. The subjects were placed into two groups, one who considered themselves unlucky and the other who thought of themselves as lucky. You've probably guessed what happened - the unlucky ones were inattentive and didn't see the bill, they didn't talk to the person beside them and they didn't get the free dessert. It was simply that those who felt they were 'lucky' were mindful, polite and full of optimism.

So what does this have to do with the price of beans? I feel that programs like the PCP ang Kung-Fu Body are ultra important to our confidence, optimism and positive beliefs - our luck factor, because a program like this gives positive tangible results all on the weight of our own actions. Couple this with meditation and a heathy dose of instinctual defensive martial arts and you have one whopper of a positive effect. I feel better about myself, I feel better about the world and good things start to happen - we've all seen it.

So I am calling on the Montreal Canadien Hockey Players to find their own PCP or KFB because right now they're hearing the negativity and probably wondering at least a little bit how they got this far as the underdog and likely believing a bit of the press. If they don't believe they will get the goal they won't ever get it.

I'm pretty pumped to be part of this program, I'd like to say I'm lucky to be part of it...

How about you, do you think you're lucky? Do you know someone who believes they're unlucky?

See you soon

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 3 - Balance

I was having a little trouble today with the straight kicks, loosing my balance several times until I stopped, refocused on my stance and tried it again. Once again I had trouble balancing while kicking out front. By the end of my reps/sets I was doing pretty well, feeling my way to balance rather than thinking through it.

This was not like playing complex games, virtual or actual where you play against an opponent or yourself, figuring out the best way to get better or win. It's true that you're not going to get any better without practice but the difference with the legs kicks is that I was focusing too much on what to do, rather than letting my body instinctually move. When I let go I got better.

This in many ways is like the meditation I spoke about yesterday - it wasn't until I stopped trying, stopped thinking about it that it worked for me.

The workout went well today and I was patient with the stretches - this is not going to happen quickly, but rather slowly and maybe painfully. I've always known I should have stretched more - especially after a long run, but It was so easy just doing a quick ease out stretch and stopping. Now I'm paying for it, but at least I'm doing something about it!

Like good times again I'm back on the PCP diet, cutting down on the carbs and feeling good with my meals.

See you soon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 2 - I...Can't...Not...Concentrate...

I knew that the flexibility portion of this program would be tough for me but I didn't really think about the meditation... I'm finding it difficult to concentrate, or should I say stop the thousand voices, thoughts and stresses banging around in my head.

I guess this is part of the process. I am becoming aware of how active my mind actually is. It's tough not to follow the flow of thoughts - I get side tracked and find myself trying to figure out some problem that's currently bothering me. I spent about ten minutes meditating today and for the first bit my mind was all over the place, then I concentrated on my deep breathing. Close to the end I could feel the relaxation setting in and started to understand what I needed to do.

It's the turbulence of distracting thoughts that really gets me and the fact that forcing them away doesn't work, at least not the way I've tried. I know this is a case of practice and I'm looking forward to the peace and relaxation that will surely come with this meditation.

I'm sore from yesterday's work out - perhaps pushing the straight punch a little more than I should have and today I appreciated the stretching as it helped me understand a little more my total range of flexibility.

I'm cutting back more on the carbs but I'm trying hard to find enough food to satisfy my hunger. Any suggestions?

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 1 - Kung-Pow?

It's the first day of The Kung-Fu Body for me and I'm very excited to be apart of this project. Its seems like I just completed the Peak Condition Project and hopefully I get the same great results from this new project.

So here's what my goals are for this program:

1) Get back into the similar shape that I was when I completed the PCP. I'm now a few pounds heavier but still maintaining a similar diet and activity level to the early stages of the PCP. This should kick start me back to where I want to be.

2) Gain the agility and flexibility that I so badly need! My God if I could only touch my toes! I know that my mobility suffers and if I can increase my flexibility, it will give me greater freedom of movement, increased physical performance, increased relaxation and stress reduction plus I will have less risk of injury. All of these benefits I hope to gain from the KFB.

3) Be more relaxed. I remember how relaxed and and stress free I became at the end of the PCP. I want to get that way again and not for a short period during and shortly after the program but rather learn what is making me happy - how I have become less stressful, whether it's physiological, emotional, mental or all of the above I'll find out how to tap into it.

4) Experience the benefits of Kung-Fu. I have taking several forms of Martial Art and remember the benefits of them: Increased discipline, reduced stress, increased flexibility, increased strength and a sense of connecting with something spiritual even mystical.

So there you go. My goals - I hope I met/exceed them. If the PCP is any measure - I say let bring it on...

Today I tried to cut down on my carbs as Patrick instructed - That leaves protein and fat. Hello my old friend eggs! I still ate carbs but cut back where I could.

I started the Strength, Agility and Flexibility sections of the Program. Strength was fun and easy to get back into a tougher regime.

The agility section was great, straight punching and kicking through sets and feeling pretty good!

The flexibility section was not so great - As I mentioned I have trouble with this area but I struggled through it. I enjoyed a restful meditation period In my slacker pose - I tried the lotus position a few years and it is my nemesis - I know I'll get closer to it in this program.

So there you have it. One day down - I feel more like Kung-Pow than Kung-Fu but It's great to be back in a good program like this!

See you soon!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Kung Fu Body 1

Stay tuned for The Kung Fu Body!