Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Smashwords

My eBook version of Reclaim Your Youth: Growing Younger After 40 is available in all formats, including online reading, for a very low eBook price at Smashwords.com: no paper, no warehouse, no shipping, no middleman, so the savings shave half off the price of a paper book.

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/2835

Richard Sullivan Workout Tutorial: lateral deltoid, or side shoulder muscle

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Average Joe Is Now A Fitness Guru

How is it that people respond so favorably to "fitness gurus" with average physiques telling them how to get into shape? People would laugh at a poor person telling them how to get rich. People would scoff at a disheveled guy in raggedy clothes asking them to buy his no-fail fiscal strategies for success. Yet they pay money to guys who aren't fit, firm and healthy to tell them how to get fit, firm and healthy?

Why do people buy into Oprah's choice of Bob Green as a "fitness expert", when both Madonna and Michelle Obama have better arms on them than Bob Green does? Or the bloated and puffy ponytailed Tony Little, or the love-handled guys who hawk ab machines on late night infomercials?

It isn't just on TV, either. Over the decades I have seen countless "personal trainers" in gyms from Gold's Hollywood to World Gym San Francisco to Crunch in New York, who look as if they have never worked out a day in their life. They cover themselves from head to foot thinking baggy sweats disguise their complete lack of toned muscle —yet clients are paying them $75-$100 an hour to create a new physique for them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Maybe I Don't Want A Jury Trial, Considering

It's time again for the annual "Stella Awards"! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember..... she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that - right?

That's right, these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy. 

Here are the Stella's for the past year:

 7TH PLACE :

Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

6TH PLACE :

Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbour ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbour’s hub caps.

 Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.

5TH PLACE :

Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT, days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish.

 Keep scratching. There are more....

 4TH PLACE :

Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbour’s beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

Grrrrr ... Scratch, scratch.

3RD PLACE :

Third place goes to Amber Carson of Lancaster , Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113, 500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. Whatever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?


 Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are only two more Stellas to go...

2ND PLACE :

 Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

1ST PLACE : (May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please?) This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home.

 On her first trip home from an OU football game, having driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich.

Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned.

 Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

'Roid Rage!

The only true "'roid rage" is that which spews out of the mouths of TV's omnipresent talking heads, who care little about fact or responsible journalism, because they're just hoping for a quick book deal.

The reality is that most of what we hear and read about steroids is so preposterously untrue and idiotic, if people would care to start googling and actually do some responsible research for themselves, rather than following like a sheep, they'd quickly realize this.

Most people don't want to know the truth, because controversies such as this, or the flag burning outrage of not long ago, are "safe"...meaning angry people can vent and scream and feign outrage without having to pay any significant social price.

Steroids are a pharmaceutical like any other, and a miracle pharmaceutical at that, having saved millions from the jaws of death. There is drug USE, and then again, there's drug ABUSE. How is it that the general public falls so easily, and so stupidly, into an argument whereby certain pharmaceuticals are actually vilified, when in fact they could be saving your life —or your child's— next week?

I qualify for a doctor-prescribed anabolic, so if I could tolerate steroids, I'd greatly value them for half a dozen good reasons, from increased energy and strength, to faster healing. But I cannot.

As John Stossel so rationally reported on a recent episode of ABC TV's 20/20 program, we allow doctors to install plastic sacks into women's chests for purely visual reasons, but vilify doctors who administer steroids to renew a man's libido, heal physical injuries, or enhance his athletic abilities?

As Outliers author Malcom Gladwell writes in his blog, why are athletes allowed to be legally shot up with narcotic painkillers during a game to allow them to continue playing, when doing so could permanently damage them and end their career? Why are athletes like Tiger Woods allowed to have lasik surgery to enhance their eyesight, or permitted to take vitamins, or ingest ibuprofen to help them heal from injuries faster? All of these are "unfair advantages" compared to athletes who do cannot tolerate ibuprofen, who don't have the money for lasik, and who can't digest vitamin pills.

Is the population actually getting stupider as time goes by?

And You Thought YOU Were A Mess :-)

The following post of from the AARP website forum, Staying Fit After 50. This person has no desire to change, despite all the scary storm clouds on her horizon. She asks for "a kick in the pants" in her post title, but ends by telling people not to lecture her. People like this lady are energy vampires, latching onto others to vent and whine rather than stepping up to the plate. People who have the desire to change, change. They don't suck up others' time and attention with drivel like this:

" I am 62. I have arthritis and had one knee replacement in Sept 08 and looking for 2nd one in April 09. Sit at a desk 8 hrs a day with little time to move or exercise during the day. Hate to cook, dislike most veggies, and love to watch tv. I come home, grab food and sit at computer or in front of tv. It is snowing a lot this year and can't do much outdoor exercise. Food haunts me and calls to me from the refrigerator in the evenings. Hate being overweight but haven't found the motivation to change eating patterns. Diagnosed with Diabetes type 2, do not have to take any meds for it. AIC 5.9 now but it won't stay low if I don't change. I am also 4'11" and most of the machines at Curves are not meant for short peope so it takes me 30 sec. to get on and off. Need alternative exercising. I am always tired because my job is stressful too. Looks like I may get some good ideas and feedback from this group. Just had colonoscopy and am fine, low blood pressure, decent cholestoral, so I still have time if I could just get through nights and weekends. Hate salads too. Any suggestions or encouragements appreciated. Lectures or scolding doesn't work. Just makes me retreat more to bad habits. Thanks."

Fix Yourself

When I am driving around in Los Angeles I often see joggers amidst city traffic. I mean, right in traffic. Breathing emissions straight from the exhaust pipe and thinking you're doing something healthy for yourself is stupid enough, but running with your leg in a brace? I have seen that too, a dozen times or more.

My Grandma used to say "There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who are smart enough to know how stupid they are, and those who are too stupid to know how stupid they are."

The majority of people are walking around right now with multiple things wrong with them, all fixable. You don't run after sustaining a leg injury: you rest and heal. If your past problems have so hijacked your present life that you taint everything and everyone you touch, you need to see a therapist to rid yourself of the demons and destructive behavior. Of course, few people ever do this, opting instead to spread their venom wherever they go, making themselves and everyone they "love" pay dearly for what some other person did to them long ago.

Whether it's problematic teeth or gums, a bad back, painful knee, obesity, smoking, junk food...whatever is dragging you down is fixable once you decide to fix it. So, decide. Living with and exacerbating pain or diminished capacity intentionally is insane.

We have just one shot on this earth. Why do so many people throw it all away?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

You're Right

I received some criticism from people for saying that strength training is no more difficult in your 60s than it is your 20s, because I hadn't considered those people with ailments or injuries. You're right. So let me rephrase that: strength training is no more difficult in your 60s than your 20s if you are in decent health and able-bodied.

I do realize that after decades of smoking, or for obese individuals, or those who have suffered injury, it seems tough. You can't sit around for 3 decades and suddenly adopt a challenging fitness regimen and not feel discomfort. But while the crybabies finish drying their tears, I'd like the rest of you to meet Errol Hannigan, AKA Captain Ahab, whose pictures speak louder than any words that I could write: Click his photo above... he's the guy with the bionic leg.

My philosophy is that I don't care whether people take care of themselves or not; just that they be secure enough in their choice not to be continually trying to justify it. The next time someone you know tries to make a lame excuse for...well...just about anything, send them a link to Errol's website.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ultimate Low Fat High Protein Luscious Maple Custard French Toast

Recipes are like chemical formulas: change one ingredient or leave out one step, and the result is completely different.

If you are lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe's, pick up a loaf of TJ's pain rustique bread. Amazing. Try not to eat it on the way home. Also, buy TJ's Canadian maple syrup. If no TJ's close by, buy a bakery loaf of French bread, such as a peasant loaf or similar —white, not whole wheat. TJ's pain rustique is full of big air holes, and is chewy, which is important for the outcome of this recipe.

Beat together then pour into a shallow dish:
4 egg whites + 1 egg yolk
3 tablespoon skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons maple syrup

To accelerate the process, I wrap the bread in a wet paper towel and nuke it on high setting in a microwave. The bread then becomes very soft and soaks up the egg mixture much faster.

Take 4 slices of pain rustique and place them in the egg mixture and allow to soak 10 minutes or more to absorb as much of the egg mixture as possible. Lightly coat a warm undamaged non-stick skillet with butter by holding the butter stick in your hand to control the amount, and apply evenly: don't just throw a big pat of butter in the pan.

Get the pan nice and hot, then place each slice of bread —make sure the bread is fully absorbed with the egg mixture— and cook on medium high, standing there to keep an eye on it. After one minute you can turn the heat down to a low setting, and put a lid on it. Experience will tell you how long to cook it, so on your first try, keep vigilant. You want it to cook slowly because only then will the egg mixture set like custard. When it looks firm and feels so by poking it, turn it over and cook the other side. It takes 12-16 minutes or more for me to cook this on a gas stove, but electric is trickier because of slow response to heat adjustment.

The end result should be a crispy outside with buttery taste, and a sweet, tender, firm custard-y interior. If it doesn't cook long enough. the interior will instead be soggy.

Remove the French toast from pan when done and add any remaining egg mixture to the pan to quickly cook that, and add it to the plate. Douse with more maple syrup to taste. Crunchy outside, creamy, firm custard inside: when you get it right, it is out of this world.

Great-Tasting, Low Fat Breakfast Pasta

Especially on weekends I love a hearty breakfast pasta, high in protein, low in fat, and very very tasty and filling. You can tweak this recipe endlessly to include more egg yolks, add crumbled bacon or parmesan cheese —whatever. But this following basic recipe will be the lowest in fat and cholesterol:

4 egg whites + 1 egg yolk
Garlic to your taste (granulated, dried, fresh, powdered...it's your choice)
Salt to your taste
1 Tomato, chopped, or 2 tablespoons chunky pasta sauce
1 Chopped fresh roasted Anaheim or haberno chile, or dried chili flakes, optional

Beat together all the ingredients, then add and thoroughly incorporate:

1 serving Cooked pasta, al dente (rotelli, penne, angel hair...)

I always have an unblemished non-stick fry pan on hand, which I always wash and put away immediately after use to avoid any scratches. It makes all the difference in the quality of my dishes and in the actual fun of cooking.

Put 1 tablespoon, more or less, olive oil in the cool pan and rub to coat the surface, then turn on the heat. This dish cooks fast so stand there; don't turn on the heat then walk away. You can cook on higher heat if you are very vigilant and the task will go faster. Don't use a rubber spatula as the rubber does slowly melt into your food over time. I use a wooden rice paddle to keep the pasta moving and making sure it cooks evenly.

When done (it will no longer look wet or shiny), place on your plate, have a seat, and enjoy.

Don't Allow Your Physician To Project His Insecurities Onto YOU.

It's interesting that until recent problems were uncovered, doctors encouraged older women to seek hormone replacement therapy, but reacted negatively, condescendingly —even angrily— when men sought the same treatment.

HRT is purely a personal matter based on Quality Of Life. If a woman suffers horrible night sweats, daily hot flashes and is always irritable, alienating family and friends, the slight increase risk of heart disease or breast cancer sometime in the future might be worth having a much improved and happier life right now.

Men who have low testosterone will find that Androgel or injectable Testosterone can completely transform them. When I sought HRT, I was amazed at the almost indescribable calm and general feeling of well-being I felt, last experienced in my early 20s. Even when life was stressful, there was an underlying sensation that even so, all was right with my world. Testo also renews your libido, stops muscle loss, and relieves depression. In some cases, such as my own, it raised blood lipids and increased red blood cell production, causing my heart to work harder to pump blood. Since I am the oldest male in my family never to have suffered a heart attack, I wanted to keep it that way. If I can find a way around the physical problems it causes, I will gladly resume HRT. To determine whether HRT may cause threatening side effects for you, ask your doctor to get a testosterone level the next time you have a blood test. If it's low, ask for Andogel, or Testosterone Ciprionate. If you have no contraindications, yet your doctor balks at HRT, then he has a problem, and you need to see a physician, such as a urologist, who doesn't project his own hang ups and insecurities into you.

Once beginning HRT, you need to follow up with another couple of blood tests to determine if it is causing any unwanted effects, such as the ones unique to me.

If you live in Southern California, an excellent physician with vast knowledge of HRT is Alex del Rosario MD. Click his photo to go to his website.

Obesity: A Physical Problem, Or An Emotional Problem?

Denial is rampant in this world where so few people are willing to accept personal responsibility. If you're fat, it's because you eat too much, and eat too many of the wrong kinds of food. Period.
When I tell people that obesity is an eating disorder no different than anorexia or bulimia, a howl goes up from the crowd.
Nobody is force-feeding anyone, or requiring they subsist on pizza, fast food "meals", or snack foods.
Obesity is all about self-medication. It's about self-protection by building a defensive wall of fat to keep the world out. It's about filling a black hole created mostly by abusive adults and other children back when we were children ourselves. It's about not seeking professional help to deal with these demons once and for all, thus accelerating our unhappiness and our ultimate demise.
Every time I have to pick up a 35 pound dumbbell at the gym to carry it 40 paces to the preacher bench to do my sets, I groan, because I don't WANT to carry 35 pounds of dead weight across the gym, maeuvering between benches and machines. It is irritating and throws me off balance. I can't imagine anyone intentionally adding 35 pounds to their body to clumsily carry around and maneuver like that, 24 hours a day.
We all have 167 hours in our week, with on average 30 or more hours devoted to sitting and watching TV. Yet few are willing to spend 3 hours a week in the gym, or engaged in some challenging physical fitness activity which would completely transform their lives for the better.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Circling The Drain, Intentionally

It's one thing for young people not to take care of themselves —they have time, a resilient body, and a lot more flourishing friends and relatives than older people do on their side. They believe they can and will get around to it someday. But older people...hmmm. Older people are a real curiosity.

The same individuals who wouldn't dream of letting the roof sag or the foundation crumble in their home, or who would be mortified to be seen driving to town in a disintegrating junker, determinedly maneuver their giant asses and jiggly man-boobs around in public with no shame at all. They have already lost a large percentage of their muscle mass —7% per decade since age 30— which used to give them a human form, burn fat effortlessly, and house their immune system. They've lost up to 70% of their deep lung capacity due to lack of aerobic exercise and smoking. Their bone mass has diminished to such a degree that when they fall due to the muscle loss and fat gain, they break their bones because their very structure has been so compromised.

Who in their right mind accelerates their deterioration intentionally by shunning exercise and embracing gluttony at a time in their life when they can least cope?

The correct answer is, nobody.

Strength Training: It's The Most Control You'll Ever Have.

We can have no success in our work or business without people hiring us, promoting us, or buying our goods or services. We can have no success in marriage or friendships without the cooperation of others: they hold the cards. People leave. They die, they move on, and sometimes friends just stop calling with no warning or explanation, leaving us to wonder, what happened? There is little in life that really matters for which we do not need the permission or cooperation of other people.

The one wonderful exception is fitness, or lack thereof. It's our choice, and ours alone. We alone decide what and when to eat, how much and how often. We alone decide whether we sit around the house during our off hours doing nothing, or engage in regular physical activity.

We cannot control our relationships, or their outcome: if the other person is finished, then it's over no matter how we feel. If the economy sours, or the boss hates us, we can lose our livelihood, no matter how much we love the job, how desperately we need it, or how good we are at it.

The one and only thing we can control is the appearance and fitness level of our own bodies. How ours looks, functions, performs, how strong we are, how soft or firm, how attractive or not, are all things we decide. Right now, you and I are living in the exact body we have become comfortable with up until this moment. When we are no longer comfortable, or satisfied, we can change our bodies by changing our food intake and activity choices. It's that simple. There is no one to tell us "no".

No Paper Publisher —Yet

My newest book, Reclaim Your Youth: Growing Younger After 40 is only available at this time on Amazon Kindle, and iPhone.

It's not easy getting published, and I apologize to all those who want to buy my book in traditional form. I make daily efforts to contact publishers and literary agents around the globe, so I am optimistic, and I will keep you posted.

The Scourge Of The Fitness World Is...

...gym owners who themselves do not work out. Over the years, the worst gyms I have ever been to, or worse, been a member of, were those whose owners had no interest. No interest in fitness, no interest in listening to their customers, and worst of all, no interest in keeping their gyms in working order or providing a safe and healthful environment.

They are oblivious to the malfunctioning equipment that members could hurt themselves on, and thereby end up quitting... another customer lost. Owners spend money trying to win a new customer, then do everything they can to drive him/her away. They are immune to complaints or suggestions that they fix things, or even take offense, yet they spend their spare time complaining how bad business is.

The gym isn't just a place to work out. It's a refuge from the outside world. Loud music, blaring competing TVs, equipment scattered all over the floor, dirty bathrooms...too many people have left all this behind at home. They don't want to pay good money to deal with these kinds of annoyances, distractions and disrespect in addition to trying to get through a challenging workout.

A lot of people tell me they have a hard time getting themselves to the gym. Is it any wonder?