The Corporate Lamp Post

Yes, David was a hero, history should be kind. Though Goliath was a giant, he was also blind.

This is the person or persons that initially interview you to screen you for the open position. Usually someone found loitering around the coffee machine that management wants to keep busy. They are refreshing in that they are mostly uninformed, awkward and have a relative in the C-Suite.

They read the hypothetical questions like a first grader and express relief at getting through the process. (And profusely thank you for helping them.)

The other day, I was taken from the lobby to a series of unavailable meeting rooms in an assortment of campus buildings. (Perhaps that was the tour?)

When we finally settled in, there was a mild argument on who would ask what. (Very entertaining.) I became a bit concerned when they asked what position I was applying for. (They didn’t have my resume.)

When we finally got rolling after about 25 minutes, there was a knock on the door. The real interviewers had appeared. With resumes but more confused than the two lamp posts I was initially awarded.

Again, the same questions in the same awkward, halting, way. HR must want the interviews to be spontaneous. (I’ll give them that.) As Leonard Cohen might say, “I have seen the future, and brother it is murder.”

This was a huge company. I am left with only one conclusion: Big is the new stupid.

 

Groundhog Days

Arizona. This is the most exercise conducive place I’ve ever lived. Every single day is sunny, dry and wide open.

There hasn’t been a day in almost a year that I haven’t been able to take advantage of its repetitive beauty. I think about that every morning as I’m hoofing my way down El Camino in the dark.

Then it hit me: what about me? If I’ve been able to bound out the door every morning, surely that has something to say about my own steady state of fitness and health.

I haven’t been sick or come down with anything to derail my fitness efforts in all this time. Wasn’t always the case. Kind of unnerving when I think about it.

It all comes back to “you get back what you put in.” Which I shrugged off in my younger days. CVS used to give me their annual orange bottle award.

I could go a few months on good intentions but always got sidetracked with one damn thing or another.  I’m seeing it now, real life changing results in my mind, body and attitude.

By the way, what day is it?

The hours in between

I’m a convict not an inmate,
I’ve been in here before.
Thinking makes me suffer
As I crawl across the floor.
Like a prison built on madness,
It scars me to the core.
So I move in midnight hours,
Where my shadow can’t be seen.
Pounding out my penance,
In the hours in between.

That Thinking Feeling

Have to stop thinking. I went out the door this morning with two interviews in my sights. Thinking the first one was just a warm-up, a dog. Just some light sparring before the main event.

Surprise! The first place took my doors off. I was blown away. I am a sucker for elegant office space and co-workers who aren’t dressed like pirates. It was huge and impeccably laid out. Everyone looked coherent and actually happy.

I felt like calling the next outfit and telling them to take the afternoon off.

Didn’t hurt that this first place had the state of Arizona tied up in contracts and they’re staffing up to meet demands. You could smell the money.

The interview went very well, I thought. For me, they’re not interviews, I prefer to call them performances.

If I could get paid to interview, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

After that, I left with a new angst. (Like I need another) I wanted this gig. Oy!

I hit the next target approximately an hour later. The one I originally thought was the prize. It was OK, but no cigar.

Like a bad love triangle, they wanted me like I wanted the other guys. Anyway, at this point, I was warmed up and just happen to love the sound of my own voice, so I went for the fence.

Most places will tell you they’ll call you after they make a decision. Not today.

After my performance, the guy leans over and says. “You gotta work here Bob, whaddya say, you in?” Then he slides a paper cup wrapped in plastic over to me and motions towards the men’s room.

Oh, by the way, I also like being pursued.

I think.

Personal Training: Staying in the picture

Personal training is not unlike any other consultative sell. You have to ask open ended questions, handle objections, have a strategic path forward, a stretch goal, (pun intended) and a WIFM.

The least difficult is the needs assessment.

Most clients will readily agree there’s a need. What they can’t see is an outcome. They just can’t conjure up a suitable image. A long term goal needs vision and support. That’s where we come in.

There is a whole lot more to a successful client/trainer relationship than just changing the numbers on a weight stack, or yelling, “Gimme one more.”

Trainers are in a delicate position, they can nurture or destroy. If you think your guy or gal is a self possessed creep who’s watching the clock, you’re gonna start missing appointments. That’s a lot of responsibility right there. Especially if a doctor dropped your name. Need I say more?

Oh, and making a personal training cold call could get you killed. “Hey, fat boy, what time are those pants due to explode?”

There are calls at night, e-mails, panic attacks, relationship issues, (serious business) stalls, setbacks and folks who are pulling their own chain as well as yours.

When you take on a a client you are almost like an AA sponsor. You have to be there. You take that responsibility seriously. Very seriously.

 

South by Southwest

Verse

I left Boston with a good intention

Now goin’ back there is a point of contention

Seemed like a good idea at the time,

 I’m all out of money, not out of rhyme.

Gotta get back to collect what’s mine

But I been restrained, might be doin’ time

Gettin’ back there’s gonna be a mess, South by Southwest

 

Now money and marriage supposed to go both ways

I’ll get it figured out one of these days

When it comes to legal matters, I gets confused

But I got a good lawyer, to reduce my blues

Then I’ll  get back to what I know best, South by Southwest

Chorus

I know I’m moving in the right direction

When the sun starts staring me down

I’ll drive all night, drive all day

Until I cruise back in to that Old Bean town

Verse

I been up north, I been back east,

But A-Z is the best

You hit Oklahoma City then you hang a hard left, South by Southwest

 

Pluggin’ The Whole

I was invited to give a talk at Salem State Teacher’s College on alcohol abuse. My curriculum vitae for the event was being a gold medalist in the Olympics of self destruction. I had thirty years of sobriety at the time and they thought I would be a safe bet.

What they were looking for, they didn’t get. My approach to life salvaging wasn’t in their course of study. They sat there in stunned silence. Faculty who never had a drug problem. 🙂

When you hit the wall, it’s time to do something else. Whether it’s booze, pills, crack, meth, sex or doughnuts, here’s your sign.

Your early warning blinker is on. You can ignore it as many do, or you can take a turn into a whole ‘nuther life. My philosophy.

Getting hooked on stuff doesn’t make you a bad person. We’re all searching for relief from something. Can I get an amen?

I meet a lot of folks who abruptly stop a nasty habit and wait. They go to meetings and pray. They ask their higher power to just get them one more day without their addiction(s).

When I have to kick something, (see above) I make a decision to fill that void with something life changing. Something positive that will change me forever.

These vices are a distraction, they keep you from becoming you. A simple understatement.

I think that if I’m going to kick something huge, something huge better slide right in there. I feel If I’m gonna be uncomfortable, it might as well get really hot in here.  It works for me.

I have reached expert status in so many things just to keep my “jones” at bay. You might have picked up a little compulsion here.

The first time I almost met my maker was in 1979. I should have hit the rubber table but it was unavailable. I had to go cold.

In my pain and misery, I vowed if I couldn’t drink, smoke, or do dope, then goddamit, I was gonna scare the crap out myself.  And the world.

Then I became enlightened.

I became a track star, dropped fifty pounds, got a GED, started sleeping on top of the bed instead of underneath, went back to church and became a nutrition expert.

After twenty years of burning the candle at both ends and in the middle, I blew my own doors off.

I entered a new world. A beautiful world.

This.. absolutley…scared… the ….shit out of my family. They intervened on me. The old Bobby they understood…. who the fuck was this?

So when I meet newly straightened out folks who have just come out of the abuse tunnel, I tell them to get leveled off by which ever means possible, then replace that negative distraction with a positive.

You should always get some gain from your pain. Open ‘er up and jam something positive in there.

Here’s your sign.

Good luck and God bless ya.

 

 

 

The Swerve

I was taught a crazy technique on an abandoned airfield in Bryan, Texas a quarter of a century ago. It was a Dupont-sponsored safety course that included an evasive driving component developed for bodyguards of the rich and famous. No lie.

We spent three nights on those runways knocking over orange barrels and popping Dramamine. We were swerving and crashing into things until the sun came up.

This was a technically valuable but arduous course. It must have cost thousands. One of the nuggets I extrapolated for personal use was “The swerve”.

When you are on the highway, traveling at a high rate of speed, and you are roaring up on an obstacle like debris, a stalled vehicle, or someone purposely slowing down to detain you, instead of hitting the brakes, you stomped on the gas quickly and swerved your way out with your hands on the wheel at 3 and 9 o:clock. Scary. Bring a change of underwear.

It took a lot of nerve not to hit those brakes. But sometimes, it just felt… good. Know what I mean?

We actually believed Dupont didn’t give a shit if we ever sold anything, as long as we didn’t jeopardize the self-insured behemoth’s bottom line in an insurance case. (I left before they implemented the “seat belts on all toilets” program.)

I’ve changed the name of the technique to “balls to the wall” because it’s an extremely unfair negotiation tactic. When I feel like I’m being taken advantage of, I step on the gas. All bets go off. It has saved my bacon.

You just have to not give a shit at some point. You can’t be frightened and pissed off at the same time. Try it. No one wants to deal with the unreasonable. Because it works.

As the old blues players used to sing, “Be careful with a fool.”

Screech!

My Blue Ocean

I have a plan.

I will freely share it because to steal my plan you need one intangible element….me.

I’ve been inching toward this concept for a few years now and I think I have come upon a model and a strategy: On-line Training for Seniors.

Training people my age who are crippled by real or imagined limitations. A big blue ocean.

If you are familiar with the blue ocean/red ocean concept, you know in the blue ocean, you create uncontested market space and capture new demand, thereby making your competition irrelevant.

There is no one else there. Yet.

In the red ocean, which is bloody from competition, they are competing in a existing market space and fighting over the same treasure. Flowing red.

A reasonable person would try to think up a new angle and move to a space that’s not so congested. Like Starbuck’s. They totally changed the game by not focusing on coffee, but the experience. Uh, that’s gotta be me.

The current state of play in the personal training red ocean is geared toward younger folks with weight problems and insecurities. Or middle agers under doctor’s orders. Neither has a long shelf life. They drift.

I want to bypass that scrimmage.

The positioning I have decided on to differentiate myself will be:

1. A unique selling proposition that will lay out what I do, how i do it, why it’s unique, and why it’s perfect for my client base.

2. A personal narrative that will explain why I care about this audience: my age, my circumstance, my failures, my weaknesses and my success in overcoming my physical shortcomings. Which are legion. And how I did it.

The me element is critical because of my age, my history of failures, belly flops and detours. I have “been there and done that” to such a degree, I’m lucky to be alive.

I have all the boo-boos covered.

What I have learned about fitness and nutrition over the years has not only saved my life but has given me new health and helped me prosper.

3. Creative content delivered by video, blog, podcast and every other source of social media available. Topics will include physical training, nutrition, flexibility and more importantly, attitude. I’ve been producing content for more than twenty years.

I am excited, I have a book in the oven and an outlet for my “uncontrollablenthusiasm.” Let’s get this party started.

See you online.

 

Perimeter Shopping: Are you eating clean?

 Tomatoes are in, ketchup is out.

Eating clean means eating on the edge. It means staying out of the center aisles at the grocery store unless you need coffee or toilet paper. Foods allowed include a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nonfat dairy, and healthy fats. Which you won’t find next to the chips.

A calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise are the mainstays of any plan. Much like most successful weight loss plans, you should eat wholesome foods high in fiber, along with lean protein to reduce cravings and help satisfy hunger on fewer calories.

Starting the day with a nutritious breakfast and eating high-fiber carbs, lean protein with a little healthy fat every few hours, along with strength training can boost your metabolism and be a natural detox.

Exercise is an essential part of any program, including regular physical activity and weight training at least three days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Here’s your list. See you on the perimeter. Keep it edgy.

 

 

 

 

“She’ll See You Now”

You know your shit but you hate this process. The dumb hypotheticals. The intentional waiting. The unreasonable scrutiny. Someone’s going to judge you on their own quirky set of values. It’s visceral. How do you prepare for that?

You just have to be comfortable in your own skin and bring it….the confidence and self assurance physical conditioning gives you. Presence.

A quick flight check:

You feel alive, vibrant, clean. Your respiration’s even. You look down and see buckle instead of belly. Your palms aren’t clammy and you’re sitting up straight. Ramrod straight.

Your legs feel powerful and you feel your delts trying to push through the corners of your jacket. You’re tight, your fit, you’re ready. Key.

You’re an organized, highly efficient, fully functioning human being. On purpose.

You’ve made the most of your gender selection. It all comes down to confidence, demeanor and presentation.

When the secretary says, “She’ll see you now,” you know all of your principled conditioning and sweat equity is going to come through….today.

Sake Anyone?

Meet our sales team.

They have big ones out here in Arizona. The kamikaze sales system is alive and well. “Do you like making calls so cold you need an ice pick? Do you not take no for answer? You do know no means yes, right?

Do you love the thrill of rejection? Well, do we have a career for you. We have no customers, no leads, no overhead and no clue. All you gotta do is barge in on ’em. You just gotta know who ’em is.

If you are lucky enough to get the privilege to represent us, then all you gotta do if find the money to get yourself to Minnetonka for training. What’s not to like?” (We pay for lunch.)

Mellow-tonin

I consider myself an expert in sleep medications. Prescription, over-the-counter, under-the-counter, I have tried them all. Ever since my first AA Meeting, when they told us “No one ever died from lack of sleep.” I didn’t believe them. I’ve been chasing that “sleep jones” for more than 40 years.

Recently, I have been using melatonin. 5 milligrams, sublingually. I can barely remember my head touching the pillow and I have to pry my eyelids apart before I venture out of the bedroom in the morning. I’m heading straight to the shower these days.

I’m also noticing some rather pleasant side effects. I seem to be recuperating faster from my workouts, I’m leaning out more in my midsection and feel less muscular aches and pains.

Better sleep also means better regulation of hunger hormones (like leptin) and metabolism, which are affected by your circadian rhythm.

Another explanation may be that melatonin reduces the production and release of insulin, and has been reported in a number of studies.

This effect by melatonin may also explain why supplementing prior to training increases the use of carbohydrates for fuel during a 30-minute bout of endurance exercise.

I’m not sure why, but my coffee consumption is dwindling instead of increasing. Wish I knew more about this stuff back in the day, could have saved myself a lot of heartache…and money.

A Reminder….

Dear Robert,

Just a note to remind you that we had a meeting scheduled two years ago that you abruptly cancelled. I say, rescheduled. I was of the understanding that you wouldn’t be long in meeting your long awaited obligation to me.

I took you at your word.

Judging from your daily activities and your rigorous regimen, I’m starting to think you have no intention of meeting my needs.

It’s not wise to make me wait. I’m thinking you might be blowing me off for years, even decades.

That doesn’t make me happy, Bob.

Let me remind you of the inevitability of your situation. Pay me now or pay me later doesn’t work here. Besides, I thought we had a deal.

My advice would be to stop the nonsense and get back on the program. We’re supposed to be working from my schedule, not yours. Got it?

Yours in anticipation,

G.R.

The corner of my eye.

Sometimes when I’m working, I leave the TV on without the sound. Some of the commercials I witness are so idiotic and over the top, I shudder.

As a veteran corporate video producer and editor, I know first hand that nothing that hits the screen is an accident.

The opposite is true. Every gesture, vowel and nuance is meticulously edited in.

It is thought about, written, re-written, wrangled over, shot, re-shot and overproduced with drop-fame premeditation.

They bring in psychiatrists, psychologists and even a Freudian analyst, like Herta Herzog, who they brought in when they were shooting an early Alka-Seltzer commercial in the 1960’s.

When they started to shoot a hand dropping a single tablet into a glass of water, she said, “drop two in , you’ll sell more.” And they did. (Also see: rinse and repeat)

When a plan comes together…

The recent kerfuffle at the VA on May 10, over my lipid panel, (video) was more than histrionics on my part. Or that cranky little headache I received from skipping my morning dose of caffeine.

It was part of a plan to see if I could actually prescribe an eating plan for myself that would succeed in overturning 70 years of mixed, disappointing results. Which usually would be followed by the urging of my doctor to at least try another flavor of statin.

When the orderly told me it looked like they didn’t tick off the cholesterol box on my blood draw, I was more than disappointed. I went shithouse. They had just stuck their finger in the eye of my latest business plan.

As a personal trainer, how can I help people get their numbers down if I can’t get my own act together? The results were a critical piece of my strategy. I was misinformed about the test and as my doc said, “Your results are perfect.”

I have a serious problem with trainers who don’t know or care what they’re talking about. There’s plenty of them. It’s a money game, don’t forget. Besides, it’s dangerous.

In video production we say, plan the shoot, shoot the plan. Which is what I did with my diet. The results blew me away. I thought I was just another victim of genetics.

Pounding weights will straighten you up while it straightens you out. But the science of body re-shaping lies at the dinner table. Food is a chemical. And a drug, lest we forget.

Why go to the trouble of putting on muscle only to have it covered up with a layer(s) of fat?

What’s the point of all that hard earned muscle if no one can see it? Unless your a linebacker.

Losing body fat has more healthful benefits than can be discussed here. We have information overload already.

After seeing the results of my pragmatic approach to diet and exercise, I’m starting to think I just might know what I’m talking about. God help us all. 🙂

 

Physician, heal thyself.

Now that everyone knows I’m a weenie when it comes to fasting, I can sit back and analyze the data from my recent (dramatic) blood draw. All my life I’ve had trouble with low HDL and (very) high triglycrides, then flipping those numbers in clumsy attempts to right the situation. With disastrous results, I might add. Statins led to head pain which led to pain killers, which led to…, well, that’s another story.

A few years ago, my doc didn’t want me to leave the building. This time, at 72, I knocked it out of the park. This time, I used the knowledge I gained as a personal trainer and a nutrition certification to save my own bacon. Bacon’s probably not a good analogy.

This time, my efforts were deliberate and intentional. I now know, first hand, what works and what doesn’t. I’ve witnessed the changes in my body, my energy levels and more importantly, my confidence. Which are all inextricably tied, in my opinion.  My thinking was, as a personal trainer, if I’m going to fix someone, I should know how to fix myself.

I am on a grand total of zero medications. No heart, no blood pressure, no Flomax, and more importantly, no sleep medications. My pharmacist wants to know if it’s something he said.  🙂

On August 18, 2016, a Sunday, I surrendered my bloated, defeated, addicted carcass to the VA in Bedford Ma, to see if there was anything left to salvage. Seems there was. As my mother used to say, ” A pat on the back is a good thing, as long as it’s low enough and hard enough.” As usual, Nora was right…..

Willing

It occurred to me this morning in the darkness of the 2:00 am desert, that I will succeed. Period. In whatever direction I point, I will get there because I’m willing. I am willing to immerse myself with no thoughts of the outcome.

I am one of those fortunate few who enjoys process. The grind. The training, the long hours at the gym, learning new technologies, musical passages, recipes, prose, art. I like the effort, the journey, not the destination. Always have.

I like going into seclusion and woodshedding on whatever my passion is at the moment. With no thoughts of the morrow.

My outlook has caused me no end of conflict, because once I set my sights, my elevation and my windage, it’s on, for better or worse. I am immersed beyond comprehension.

So as I was plodding along this morning in the thankless dark, I wasn’t thinking about a 32 inch waist, (which I will achieve), or a rippling six pack at the age of 72, (ditto), it’s because I love the goddam pain of it all. It’s a price I am eager to pay.

I overcome the weenie inside me every day and I embrace the ritual. Because I am always grateful for the opportunity to struggle and I am….wiling.

What do you want? Blood?

Nothing makes me crankier than a fasting blood draw. I sweat it for weeks beforehand because it upsets my rhythm. My life is clock-work methodical. To the minute. Today is the first day I didn’t run in six months and my body is in shock. I have a nasty headache and was really feeling disoriented after 12 hours of nada. I was actually so irritated I didn’t even worry about what disease they might find. That’s different.

At 7:26 I pull into the VA parking lot and there they are, the wreckage from the past: walkers, oxygen, canes, bellies and campaign hats. Anxiety. I sit in my car taking it all in as the line grows and grows along with my caffeine deprived nerves. We’re told to take a number and my headache comes back. Coffee, please. I start looking around the packed waiting room and try to imagine what these guys looked like when they were back in the war. Omitting myself, of course.

They take five of us in the lab at a time and start sucking the blood out. They are extremely efficient. But it slows to a t-r-i-c-k-l-e…. when we are asked for a urine sample. After my last blood pull, I am wrapped up and told I am all set. It’s about time I’m thinking. As my caffeine “jones” rears its ugly head again I say, never again. I got lost twice trying to negotiate myself out those winding, Trump-lined corridors. Coffee, please.

One last sweep through the standing room only waiting room and I am once again brought to my injured, deprived, and outraged senses. I wonder what kind of shampoo I’ll need to wash that sight out of my brain. Back home, as I’m over filling my coffee into a 5 gallon cup, I am searching for a new yellow stickie to paste on my bathroom mirror.

O’Hearn: Shut the fuck up!

Jethro Rides Again

 She always called me Jethro. (I have no idea why)

If you listen to me, life should be a shit show. That’s if you’re doing it right. I have blown myself up so many times and in so many different ways, I can’t believe I’m still thumpin’.

I remember sitting in that tiny apartment in Ayer, Ma, after slipping on one of my many cosmic banana peels. Things couldn’t get much worse. I lost everything, felt betrayed, and was a physical wreck with no future. 70 with a fork in me.

I was shaking off the effects of massive doses of Seroquel and horse tranquilizer to keep me from stroking out at the VA. I kept falling over and blacking out. Alcohol and Xanax was doing me in. Could things get much worse? Oh yeah. Someone gave the IRS my phone number.

I was sitting on that dilapidated couch in that dilapidated dump, frozen. If you tapped me at that point, I would have dusted. It was out of body. Then some rock star died. Rich. Had everything. Whoa! Right in my puss.

I’m thinking…. death. The final solution. What a relief that must be. Over. I don’t pretend to have an inkling what happens after this. As long as this stops.

I remember how relieved I felt with that realization. Everything just got relaxed. My respiration returned to normal. All misery has to end at some point. It did. That day.

So now it’s back to work disrupting the planet, being totally ridiculous and unreasonable. For the record: I am not chastised. I am not taking this life serious. Ever.

The clock is ticking and there’s no time to dawdle, I have a shit show to produce. Don’t I? Don’t we?

My mother would have loved all this.

Steady State

Go west, young man:

One of the big reasons for moving back to the state of Arizona, besides being wiped out financially, was the weather. The “Ground Hog Day” repetition works for me because there is never an excuse not to get outside and get some form of aerobic exercise. I’ve barely missed a day in six months. It shows.

The other day I had to put a shirt and tie on and when I checked myself in the mirror I noticed I had an extra inch around the collar. I kept thinking “geek” on my way out the door. I’ll just have to downsize.  🙂

Live and lean.

Regardless of what state you live in, as we age, the need to stay lean is critical. The myriad of disease states that have a direct correlation to not “moving it around” are legion.

If you can find a spot to rest after a long career, where you can remain lean and active, go for it. Your declining years don’t have to be reclining.

There are plenty of excuses to skip the roadwork without the weatherman chiming in. The state of the state is good.

 

Cleaning Closets (Again)

I woke up Monday morning feeling pretty damn good about myself. I was getting the hang of my very technically complicated, high pressure job. Finally. I have always believed the steeper the learning curve, the more enjoyable the work will be down the road. This was proving to be true. I worked all weekend nailing that theory down.

Monday is also online One on One time. My manager, a breath of hot air if ever there was one, must have caught himself in his zipper that morning, because he was twitching and argumentative, taking cell calls from a family member and hyperventilating.

He told me the plan going forward was to “dig in”. No more ‘Mr. Nice Guy” with clients. My numbers were great but we need to kick it up a notch going forward. He was describing overcoming objections with a billy club. He was telling me how to shame clients to our will. I will have no of that, thank you.

While he’s rambling and arguing with his father, I start pulling my papers together and throwing them in the trash bucket behind me. All of which he can see on his computer screen. I was so done. I can tell you, that was the last thing I expected that day. But once my switch gets flipped, it’s over.

It’s true, you don’t quit companies, you quit managers.

Within 30 minutes, I printed off three offer letters while I furiously cleaned my closets. Cleaning closets is a ritual I developed over the years as life would twist its way around me. A cathartic exercise that usually precedes a massive life change. This episode did not disappoint. I am on to another great adventure. Yipee!

Now it’s Thursday morning and I’m sitting in my big beautiful kitchen with my hands folded, watching my sun dappled dog as she eats to her hearts content knowing Daddy will be able to provide. Always.

So here I sit, dazed, delighted, and so full of gratitude, I have to unbutton my shirt.

 

Sunday morning coming down..

….my heart rate is anyway, as I’m turning the corner down my street after an hour of H.I.I.T. Whew! …felt this one.

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods.

This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.

If I’m going to lace up and head out in the middle of the night, I want the payoff, not diminishing returns, once my body acclimates to the routine.

In the whole hour, after running, jumping and jogging, my Fitbit was never able to fully calculate my heart rate. Glad I’m not the only one confused.

I can always find other ways to torture myself, but this fits one the Arizona weather. Besides, whattaya think i’m doing this for, my health?

A Stand-Up Guy

I have paid dearly for my sense of humor. I have also been paid dearly for my sense of humor. I used to hate the arm around my shoulder from my overly concerned manager because I was disrupting yet another business meeting with my Irish Tourette’s. His problem was, everyone was loving it, and we can’t have that. Can we?

I’m back in the sales game again and I am smokin’. What worked me for then, works for me now. In spades. Humor. Honed from years of stand up and making a goddam fool of myself. Anything for the laugh.

Being funny is key in human interaction. If you want to be good at it, you have to watch your prey. You gotta listen. You gotta have timing and a great big hunk of emotional intelligence. Without that, you’re sunk.

If you can make ’em laugh, you got ’em. I’m not dealing with professionals anymore, like docs, phD’s or scientists who know what they want for the most part, I’m dealing with the uninformed public.

I have to open them up and get past objections, excuses, fear and distrust. My juices are flowing again. Wait’ll they get a load of me.

I used to think I did well back in the day because I wasn’t bad looking. At least that what those female techs told me over breakfast.

Ba Da Bum!

Composing Yourself

Most folks, given a choice, would like to change their body composition. It’s not an altogether neurotic goal. Slimmer in the waist, wider in the shoulders, a couple of toned calves, or at least some that don’t jiggle. Body sculpting can be done if you’re willing to make small mortgage payments. Not wise.

You can aerobicize until the cows come home, but you most likely end up what I call, “skinny fat.” Skinny fat is not attractive. Basically shrinking down but keeping the same shape you were unhappy with in the first place. Been there.

Every time I’ve slimmed down, I get what my mother would call, gaunt. I would lose whatever meat I had on my shoulders and chest, my legs would disappear and I would invariably keep my little pot belly. Same thing, just smaller.

Resistance training changes all that. Proper diet changes all that. What I mean by proper diet, is smaller meals spaced out through the day and not cramming our face until we tip over. ‘Nuf said.

Adding muscle jacks up your metabolism so you can burn calories at rest. Sleep even. It will give you those lumps and bumps in the right places. It will correct bad posture and make your clothes fit the way they were designed, with you in mind.

We are made to work, to move and to struggle. Today’s technology is putting an end to all that, so it’s up to you to compose yourself.

 

Die, you bastard…

I’ve spent most of my adult life knocking the balls off of my old man. He was violent, quick tempered and I thought, unreasonable. I received my first, (of many) punches in the face from him. He could be deceptively charming, articulate and erudite. He was responsible to a fault.

No matter what condition he would get himself into the night before, which wasn’t often, he always showed up for work the next morning.

He worked in the heat treat department at Carr Fastener Inc., one of the more unfavorable positions at that plant. When he was really suffering, he would mutter, “Die, you bastard” to show he was accountable. To himself.

When our family unit was busting at the seams, 12 people in a small apartment, I often wondered why he stayed. I used to look at him, then the back door, and wonder why he wasn’t making use of it. It was misery. His unhappiness could permeate the walls.

We tried to stay outside for a couple hours after he came home and went to bed. Because once he looked at you, he would remember things. We wanted no parts of that. None.

Because of those traumatic years, it’s easy to forget the goodness in him. Believe me, he could care less what you thought. He kept his own counsel.

Even though I never had a family, his logic and sense of responsibility is still with me. (He might disagree.) No matter how tough things got, he stayed, went to work and contributed to the household. He even died early to make it easier on us.

He was “Steady Eddy.” All the time. He brought continuity. He instilled values and a sense of responsibility. The latter being the most important to me. Because, even to this day, I have never once accused anyone else of shitting in my pants. 🙂

Thanks, Pop.

Thin Ayer

Ayer is a dismal town. And I was in a dismal apartment in that dismal town, under dismal circumstances. Compared to Groton, the town next door, it was an alternative universe. Bizarro. Gritty was what I would call it. I was there to do penance and lick my wounds after an epic fail. A fail administered by my own hand. I have a habit of knocking down my own sand castles when it suits me.

In my thirty-odd years at “The Company” I was hard to manage. I kept having epiphanies. I kept trying to sweeten the pot to whoever would listen. Sometimes, they listened. I was afforded a lot of opportunities. I had a lot of jobs. Some, I created. But it seems it was never enough. I kept trying to make it up as I went along. I was in plays, musical endeavors, even put out a safety record. But still, my Jones kept coming down on me. Everything, all the time.

I resigned three times. The last time, for good. First time, I damn near doubled my salary. The second time, I tripled it. At least! Didn’t sit well with the V.P. of Sales at the time. Captain Queeg if there ever was one. He could make goldfish turn on each other. I was making more than him as a video consultant, so you can imagine.

Still, I was never quite satisfied. When I was told my name kept coming up in the Executive Board Room, over how much money I was making, I doubled down and threatened to quit. Loudly. I could feign outrage with the best. You could hear me all over the executive offices. Ha! Bite me! It worked. The finance guy got a kick out of me. Then he paid me.

The last time I quit there was nothing to spoil over. They went from streaming live video around the world, to using a flip chart. Mr. Rogers had to keep turning the chart so everyone in the cafeteria could see it. Tick…tick! I kept my car running in the parking lot. When I went out that gate the last time, I didn’t even turn around.

So now I’m walking down Main Street in Ayer with my little dog. Cold and broke. I walk by a hair salon and look in the window and who do I see in a waiting chair, but I guy I used to pick up the phone with back in the day. He’s still there. Now, it’s beginning to snow. It’s starting to trickle down my neck but I can’t move. I study him close. I’m transfixed. He’s grayer, heavier, more placid. I look in his eyes. Nothing. It’s just another day for him.

He was a good guy, always did what he was told. Towed the company line. His wife works there too. He’s got a bunch of kids and he’ll probably go down with the ship. But at least he belongs somewhere. He didn’t detonate his security. He’s not coming up with big, uncomfortable ideas.

But I know where he’s been every fucking day of his life for the last forty years. Is that a price I was willing to pay? Not so much. Poor guy, I thought.

I picked up my slushy little dog and headed back to my cramped quarters to plan my escape. It was time for a new plan. Was it ever.

 

A Nice Cold Dish

Most folks will tell you that revenge is a very unhealthy thing. I beg to differ. I stopped turning my cheeks years ago. I think there is a huge benefit in getting into such an unreasonable state. First, it banishes fear. Fear brings everything to a halt. Fear makes the stool go runny. Fear is not your ally. Fear can make you ill. I’m not ill.

If you get mad enough, been trespassed enough, or slyly stuck with an unfortunate circumstance, it is motivating. It focuses you. It makes you feel insanely alive.

Yes, I’m still grieving over my dog. Now I’m bitter. And resigned. But it brings other issues to the fore. The unfairness of life, the cruelty of other humans when it benefits them, lack of character and a willingness to twist the knife to gain advantage.

I was living in a state of panic off and on for more than a year. Not any more. I have scores to settle and miles to go before I sleep. There is a spring in my step.

When I pull into the gym parking lot in the early am, I plant thoughts of retribution into my head that make me squeeze that barbell for all its worth. It’s cathartic. It works.

Like all sin, it feels good.  I can’t go to a hell I don’t believe in. Gonna be a great year.

You’ve been warned. 🙂