A Mile In Their Shoes

I am constantly tying to learn more about myself. My hows and whys are fascinating to me. One of the biggest ways I have grown in my ability to look inward is by doing the opposite. By trying to figure out what makes others tick you can gain a lot of insight into yourself as well. 

We have a regular at the bar. A woman who is absolutely great. She knows her team and loves them. She is absolutely a knowledgable fan. Football first but a love for baseball as well. Or maybe a love for her husband who loves baseball. Football though, that one she rules the roost on. I often times catch her focused on the game as he socializes away.

I like her. She knows our business well and is just as good a customer as she is a fan. I began to notice one thing though. Out of our familiarity I try to talk about our industry with her and she often times answers to the effect of “Oh I know…” I was initially taken aback when I noticed it but in the interest of learning more about her, myself and people in general I started to watch for this. 

Of course now it pops up often but I also see the same car I drive everywhere because that’s how perspective works. In the interest of my observations I even intentionally broached industry topics with her. As pried a little in to her past experience and looked at her thoughts I finally realized what the source may be.

In an industry dominated by men I can’t imagine what it takes for a woman as clearly intelligent as her to often times have to defend her knowledge and expertise. I am fully aware this woman knows more about wine and liquor in general than I ever will. But I can also imagine that she runs into people almost talking down to her. I’ve observed this trait in men in our field so often I don’t even know that I notice it any more. 

This insight gives me a couple things. One I really like her so I am going to go out of my way to acknowledge her superiority on many of the topics we discuss. Such a small thing that I really hope on some subconscious level frees her up to enjoy our interactions even more(hopefully she does to some extent already). It also makes me want to be more conscious of gender stereotypes in general. 

The biggest take away though will be that simply by taking a moment to consider the experiences that shape a persons behavior it can help us understand their why.

The Cause of Change Matters

Friday

Mostly I did nothing…I woke up wondering how I had acted the night before. If I had humped someone, harmed someone, or only harmed my own reputation.

Luckily in the coming days I would find it was none of these. But I always wake up from nights like that with a real panicked sense of anxiety. The interesting thing was because there was no reports back of dangerous behavior I found myself waiting and wallowing in a bit of self loathing. 

One of the habits I have been engrossed in for the last year has been podcasts and the easy nature of consumption has me crushing through them. As I was attacking my various to-do lists(something I do with ferocity when I am delivering mental self-flagellation) I heard Ryan Holiday discussing his book "The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph," (I regret not giving the credit where it is specifically due because I do enjoy them both so much but it was with either Aubrey Marcus or Joe Rogan) He alluded to a part in his book that covers Edison and a massive fire that consumed his labs. I can not do it better then Holiday himself so here is his writing - 

One evening, Thomas Edison returned home after a long day working at his research laboratory. Shortly after dinner, a man rushed to Edison’s home and delivered some devastating news.

A fire had broken out at his research factory a few miles away. Firemen from eight nearby towns were desperately trying to put out the fire, but were struggling to contain the out of control blaze.

Edison arrived and pushed his way through hundreds of onlookers and stared at the green and yellow flames, seven stories high, fueled by the many strange chemicals inside the building.

That’s when Edison quickly looked for his son and told him with the excitement of a kid on Christmas, “Go get your mother and all of her friends – they’ll never see a fire like this again!”

“What?” Edison’s son said, not understanding his father’s strange reaction to the horrific scene.

“Don’t worry,” Edison continued, “It’s alright – we’ve just gotten rid of a lot of rubbish.”

As I heard this story I was in the depths of self loathing that I experience after a drinking binge(Is one night a binge? Does that imply multiple days, or can I make up for duration with volume?) I realized that I was doing the opposite of Edison’s message. And to what end. Nothing. I either had actually come to a place where I meant to make a change or I hadn’t. Sitting around and mentally breaking my own self down over actions that had already taken place simply wasn’t going to fix anything. 

I took some time Friday afternoon and really gave some thought to how alcohol was affecting me. The real irony of all of this coming after a night where I DIDN’T have any problems wasn’t lost on me but maybe that was what it took. Maybe it was the idea of changing because I wanted to and not because I had done anything wrong. The fact that even when it all went fine I still wasn’t happy with how it went was so clear and apparent. [Thanks Mushrooms ;)]

 I decided then that I wasn’t going to make any long term goals and commitments or any of that. I took a few moments and thought about who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live. Thinking through the basics and the principals gave me shift in perspective. Instead of looking forward at some all encompassing self that I saw as a goal I just thought of the little things I wanted to do that day. 

  • Don’t drink today

  • Be positive

  • Move on from self-flagellation

  • Enjoy things or do not do them (You don’t owe people your presence)

Knowing that the things would change from day to day I spent the rest of the day with a little extra pep knowing I was in a new mindset. One that has made me feel truly free since then.

I know they are simple goals and basic instructions but recommitting to them every morning has made all the difference to me.

One of the things that we have gotten going at Cruisers is initiating parties. Basically I reach out to folks who may have a reason to celebrate, invite them to Cruisers and offer them a bottle and pizza if they can meet a 10 person minimum. It’s been paying real dividends. I probably only land 20 percent but most weeks that’ll get me one or two parties. This Friday was a real example of reaping that benefit. We had a going away party pretty early at 7 and then a local influencers birthday at 9.  Based on those two and one other party one of the other guys had set up we decided the band would be worthwhile for retention so the night overall was a lot better for just an hour or so worth of effort. Look at me, I’m a promoter lol


Saturday

Saturdays in my life nearly write themselves most weeks. A lot of my day after the gym is just me catching up on personal life. Laundry, gym, tanning(just kidding I mostly answer personal emails and review my finances to make sure I’m not slipping back into jack ass behavior. I headed into work afterwards but it was a fairly mellow night and I was out by 11 and off to bed for the early Sunday open.

Sunday

I am truly a morning person I hit the ground running. Social morning person…not exactly. I just don’t want to be caught up in a conversation or even really any social interaction before I’ve had a chance to settle my mind into the right framework for the day. If that was a little true before it has become doubly so since I’ve adopted a habit of setting my mindset directly at the beginning of each day. 

After the tragic loss the Vikings suffered on Thursday I did get to go through the day wit a little more focus on my job. Normally I have half an eye on the Vikings game and a full eye on the score. Which I can fully acknowledge leaves me sometimes lacking in attention span for other tasks, you know…like customers. 

Once work was done I made it a point to get my week set up for success. Taking the time to have all the things I need; gym clothes laid out, shaker cups set up, meat marinading. All the little things, really make it so I can jump into where I want to be as soon as I am up.

Monday

I DRAAAAAAAGED at the gym this morning. I had everything laid out, so I got going on my routine. Once I got there though it was just all a little longer than I wanted, from the weigh-in on the InBody scale to the time pent lifting, it all just ran a little slower than scheduled, which led to me getting into class just a few minutes late. Unfortunately those minutes included me getting into the HIIT class late enough that teams had already all paired up so I just added myself on to the first team that was short. Unfortunately(or lucky for me?) the team I joined on only had 4 of 6 members. So when we started out at battle ropes with no chance to meet my team or really even make them aware I was joining them I was forced to improvise. Because I am a masochist when I make an error the nearest approximation of battle ropes with pushups I could think of was to do burpees. Even Sarge called out that I was gonna regret that once he saw me start in…He was right!! But I pushed through class.

As I went through my morning analyzing my sleep I couldn’t help but realize the fact I got plenty of it and still felt run down could only be attributed to the one variable I had missed on. I had finished the book I was reading, Wall of Tears,  and wasn’t quite ready for sleep. As I am prone to doing as soon as I deviated from my routine I forgot the little things. One of my late night habits that has drastically improved the quality of my sleep and therefore my energy and efficiency the next day has been my Enigma blue light blocking glasses.  Obviously this is a myopic case study of one, but I know it can’t have helped what would’ve been an otherwise ideal night. Early to bed a little reading, all of the tools I wanted for the next day ready to go, but that one deviation cost me what would have otherwise been a  solid morning.

I went from the gym and hit Trader Joe’s for a few fresh vegetables. I am particular with this. I love fresh crispy veggies in a lot different forms. Ok mostly the same form but different avocado oil dressings will make for a nice variety out of the same veggies. Once those veggies begin to wilt or show the first sines of aging and softness I have to toss em. Spoiled I know, but if freshness is what keeps my diet on point I can make it a point to every other day the store. 

One of the changes I decided on this week was to start doing my measurements on Monday so that I can keep current on posting my transformation on Tuesday. It was another good week of habit and and in turn I got some progress. I dropped from 23.9% to 23.2% on my body fat percentage. That leaves me about .5% ahead of my pace schedule to get #To15by215 

Transformation Tuesday - Self Love, Self Loathing

After last weeks results I was definitely in a good mindset, getting a little progress out of a little effort just made me want to push even more. I got a decent leg day and then pushed HARD in class.  I hit my shaker cup (recipe in last weeks post) and topped it with an eggs chicken sausage scramble when I got to the incubator to put some work in.

On Tuesdays I open the bar so I have a cook at my disposal. Lunch was a bun-less Italian beef sandwich. Not the cleanest for sure but its all veggies and meat so I am fine with it for now.I may have to fine tune meals like that as I get closer to my goals. I also finished off Tuesday with taco Tuesday. OK, not really. I had a taco salad, again meat and veggies. Small sprinkle of cheese. If I have one advantage in my dietary struggles it is that I don’t really LOVE cheese. I did have an 805 and an amber ale from Bell’s(for all your beer fans, check them out. SOLID brewery out of Michigan.

One of the big factors I have found in my success so far is setting myself up the night before. Little things like laying out my clothes and gym gear, setting up my shaker cup, and getting in bed at a reasonable hour. I always start out the week strong and this was no exception, in bed by 11:00

Wednesday

Sleep has always been strange for me. I’ve never been an 8 hours guy. By getting myself to sleep at 11:00 I was up before my alarm at 4:15. I did forget my sleep mask and ear plugs which may have  contributed on some level but we’ll take more about sleep and my patterns later. 

Continued on my diet program well with the breakfast shaker and headed to the gym where I was just too excited to not give my body fat a check.down a little which is good but really one day is not much of sample, I am fully aware I was indulging myself. But hey it’s my journey.

One of the interesting side affects of being up early is that I FEEL like I have more time. SO instead of pushing myself through the steps of my morning routine I end up dawdling, so much so that I ended up running late to the gym. My back and bicep workout got cut a bit short but I worked it pretty hard and I got to get some forearm in as well with my new fat gripz. I liked the impact and the feel but I can see where some of my peers have given the advice to only use them on tricep exercises instead of incorporating them in to general workouts. 

The rest of my day was pretty full since I was cramming a full Wednesday into a half day due to me bartending Wednesday night to free up Thursday to hit the Vikings at the Rams. A decent amount of that was establishing our new beer list but I collected samples and pushed them back to take on the bus trip to the game.

Thursday

The only down side of closing Wednesday was that I still needed to get all of Thursday ordering in before the bus trip which means no dice on the gym that morning.

An unfortunate trend that would continue to spiral from that moment on in my week. I got my to do list wrapped up just in time to grab a beer with the Vikings fans headed tot he game on our party bus and then it was just all beer n booze from then on. I was fairly drink by the time we got to the game and the poor play and the ongoing back and forth with the Rams fans did nothing to improve the pace of my drinking.

While the loss was shitty(what exactly happened to that defense we spent all that money on?!?!) the game was still fun to watch. 1000 yards offense is never dull. Once the game ended in the Rams favor we all headed out to the bus and made our way back. 

Unfortunately drunk me didn’t want to call it a night. Which is usually when I need to call it the most. So I headed back to my bar. Which I have definitely agreed not to do drunk. Luckily I got my food and got out of there. After that I hit all my usual suspects on main street and didn’t eat a bite of my pizza. I’d call that a small victory but I got around to it…

But That Is a Story for Part II… 

To be continued

Transformation Tuesday - Mindset



It’s been an interesting week for our TO15 vs 215 Challenge. Bud and I both went to Vegas together for a bachelor party for our buddy Charlie. Knowing you have a bachelor party that also involves traveling right in the middle of our challenge meant we were going to have to accept some setbacks. Honestly this was a little bit of an advantage for me. Realistically it is easier for me to avoid unhealthy food than it is for Bud to keep up on his 4500 calorie a day supply of beef. 

Despite knowing that, I didn’t really take advantage I drank more than I needed for sure and while I ate decently I certainly didn’t curb myself too hard. I’d actually say food was a win, exception being more carbs than I would have liked. 

Back to an actual timeline of the week. Tuesday after I posted I had a pretty tight food program. I had taken my morning shaker to the gym(I’ll throw the recipes at the end) and had a breakfast of Watermelon. ( I should’ve been eating protein but back to that mindset thing…frustration at my waistline last week had me all gung ho on losing lbs. The thing is I KNOW BETTER. If I’ll just fuel my body with lean meats and low carb vegetables the work I put in will pay off. 

This day was the only day I tracked fully with my diet so take it as an approximation. With a few exceptions .As described Vegas was less than ideal. I had a couple slices of stuffed pizza Monday night. As usual the ongoing problem of working in the same space as a bakery got me a couple times as well. (Seriously people this banana bread is ridiculous.)  

I had an egg and sausage scramble for breakfast topped with some Kim Chi. The kim chi is a great probiotic, and I do enjoy the spice but there is just something satisfying about using sauerkraut you’ve made in that roll instead. Unfortunately I fell a little behind on production, and I am waiting on my current batch to finish up. So in the meanwhile…store bought.

Lunch was chicken breast and sautéed veggies. I am sure the kitchen cooked that shit in oil or something but honestly I am gonna call it a win when I make the right choices. 

Dinner was a special plate from our executive chef. This is really where the advantage comes in, I have two extremely talented and creative chefs at my disposal and I just holler out I want something High Protein and fat and little to no carbs and in a bout 20 minutes I have some amazing bowl of delicious. I can’t even remember what each one was but I probably went back to that well 4 times in the course of the week. 

Better notes this week I promise. By Promise I definitely mean I promise to intend to. 



Since you sat through all of that here’s your pay off. 



Morning Shaker Recipe

I use a Smart shake that has two additional compartments that allow me to store all of these separately

1 cup Almond Milk
1/2 Scoop (.5 serve) Karbolyn
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
1/2 Tsp Milk Thistle
1/2 Tsp Chaga
1/2 Tsp Cordyceps
1/2 Tsp Lion’s Mane

16 oz Water
2 scoops(1 Serv) Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

16 oz Water
2 scoops(1 Serv) Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

16 oz Water
1 Scoop(1 serv) Nitro Tech Protein

Thank you sincerely for following along with this life changing game and thanks for spending your time with me. I truly appreciate it. Join me wherever you like to connect. 

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Transformation Tuesday - 215by215 Becomes To15vs215

THE GAME HAS CHANGED

I know I have barely scratched the surface on discussing the Health & Fitness challenge I recently embarked on but it’s changing so you get a one stop shop for what it was and what it is now….and what I AM GOING TO MAKE IT BE!

My good friend Bud has decided that he wants to change his body. He has always been a bit on the thin side. He is an inch taller than me and walked around 165-170 and would occasionally run that up a few pounds but never in a way he liked.

With the amount of time we spend together I couldn’t help but notice the massive amounts of food he was forcing down and as we talked over his progress and goals our challenge was born. 

I have always been on the other end of the spectrum…at least since leaving a lifestyle of daily athletics after my school career ended. So as he discussed a goal of getting up to 215 by 2/15(2019) we settled on the goal of meeting there, him rising to it and me falling to it. The challenge didn’t look too daunting. I was sitting at 239 on 8/1…24 lbs in 28 weeks set me at under a pound a week…cake. 

EXCEPT I had some travel planned. 16 days worth in fact. Travel that would take me through London and Dublin(Not exactly bastions of health, onto Ibiza where I drank most of  my calories, and then into Italy for a bachelor party in Rome and a wedding in Romito Magra between all this food and drink, which I have zero regret about, I came back in a deeper hole. Less time and more weight, a lot more.

The 12, where I work out primarily, has an InBody machine that takes your weight but also gives you a breakdown of that weight. How much fat, how much muscle, what kind of muscle. My first weigh in when I got back was on 9/12 an underwhelming 252.8lb and 24.3% body fat. I was obviously disappointed in myself but I also could easily look at my recent lifestyle and see exactly how I had gotten there.

As the week went on and we were discussing our results and progress I realized I didn’t really view 215 as a goal. I had just fallen into how catchy it sounded(you should see what alliteration does for me) so we settle on To15vs215 Still catchy and fits my goals better I am much more interested in lowering my body fat to 15% or better than I am in what the number on scale says. 

That being decided on Monday I headed off the gym this morning in anticipation of my InBody results. I had made it to only one HIIT class but I had made it to lift every day but Sunday and I had incorporated jumping rope between sets to elevate my heart rate on the days I didn’t get to HIIT at The 12.

My results were a handful of things. Frustrating, disappointing, motivating. 

The reality of it is, you can’t argue results. I know my body, I tend to respond quickly once I start putting in the work, the plateau will come later. That only leaves one option, I didn’t put in the work. I can’t even act that surprised. I kind of worked out, but I missed things I had said I would do. I kind of watched my diet, but I cheated here and there. I kind of curbed my drinking, and I also drank to excess the other days. 

This week I will be keeping more detailed notes on food and drink. I look forward to sharing this challenge with you. This is a lifelong game so I am excited to get going again.

Chaga Mushrooms


Chaga Mushroom.jpeg

One of the hardest things that happens to us as we age is that we don’t see the little things happening. Oh I know I’ve got a little wrinkle in the corner of my eye. I am fully aware my waistline isn’t what it once was. But I don’t remember those things happening. They just showed up one day. A lot of those things are negatives but we can find positive ones as well.

I had developed a little sniffle. Not sick, not full blown allergy level stuff just a little nothing. I would just notice day to day that I’d have to give a lil sniff here and there. It wasn’t as if I felt anything either. But our bodies don’t just do that. Something wasn’t quite right.

I had been hearing ads for Four Sigmatic’s chaga mushroom packets and decided I’d give their “forcefield for your body” a try.

There was no sweeping change. I didn't “feel” healthier after the first sip. But a week later it awned on me. I haven't sniffled in a while, days in fact. Months later I’ve got Chaga as part of my routine and it’s slowly and quietly made things a lot better. 

Chaga is a Russian word for the nonotus obliquus mushroom. It grows in a large mass on the outside of Birch trees, where it ends up killing it’s host tree. it can do wonders for our health though.

. Chaga has long been used as folk medicine in the regions where it grows naturally, Siberia, Canada, Alaska and even some northern portions of the continental US. It is now being researched heavily and many of these traditional uses are being confirmed. 

One of the primary benefits is the increased production of Cytokines. These help you immune system to by increasing the white blood cell production found in your bone marrow. It also helps your immune system focus itself on the actual issues to prevent you from suffering from undue inflammation. 

Another study showed that in mice who were suffering from cancer that had  spread to a second region of their body consumption of Chaga reduced their nodules dropped by 25% compared to a control group.

So now that you’re all sold on the miracle of Chaga, where can we get it. I use two different kinds. For cost and because I prefer to control my own dosing and blending of different supplements I buy Chaga in bulk from Wild Foods. They sell both on their website and Amazon. I do not however like to roll through TSA when I am traveling with a bunch of little baggies of powders. So I use Four Sigmatic's perfect little pouches which you can also find on Amazon

 THE QUICK SLICE

  • Chaga mushrooms can be found in both tea and coffee powders
  • Anti-viral
  • May fight Cancer
  • Helps with inflammation
  • Improves endurance

Turmeric

As an avid listener to podcasts I’ve been hearing a lot about turmeric lately. After enough repitition from Tim Ferris and Ben Greenfield espousing it’s benefits as part of golden milk I felt like taking the deep dive.  As with any of my writing you can always scroll to the bottom you’ll find my Hot Slices where I strip down all excess and give you the bullet points. I always follow this with my personal take on how I found this optimized my life.

 

Turmeric itself is a longish root that grows under ground. Turmerics active ingredient is curcumin(Curcuma domestica).  Basically turmeric is the yellowish powder used to flavor foods, while curcumin is a chemical contained within turmeric. In the interest of making this easy we’ll just stick with calling it Turmeric here. You’re not going to go hunting up Curcuma at your grocery store(seriously though A-MUH-ZON)

 

One of the biggest benefits of Turmeric is it’s anti inflammatory properties. In a study of 367 osteoarthritic patients who scored there pain as a 5 or higher the Turmeric was found to reduce the pain caused by swelling  as effectivrly as ibuprofen without any of the gastrointestinal side effects. 

 

A second study that was a review that Condensed results of multiple studies showed that on average the pain was reduced by 2 on the WOMAC scale used for asseseing Osteoarthritic pain(0-20). 

 

The most interesting thing is that Turmeric can help with the newest iflamation we’ve become aware of. It’s not the inflamation of injuries but the silent inflamation throughout the body that is getting all the attention these days. 

 

Have you ever gotten out of bed after a rough day of physical activity. Or even a full day of drinking and thought “ughhh I feel old” that’s because old age feels like a soreness and inflamation akin to injury. 

 

By getting Turmeric into our diet regularly we are extended our quality days. We are all striving to get more time, but Turmeric can be a part of our regimen that gets us better time. 

 

 

The where to get Turmeric is as plentiful as the how to get it in you. Everything from a farmers market, to a whole foods, and all the way up to our favorite place to get nearly everything, Amazon. 

 

I personally prefer it in a drink that I can just put down and check off for the day. I have a morning Golden Milk(Recipe Below) as well as an evening one (Recipe Below)  as a part of my routine to make sure I am getting my fill.

The one consistent part of both recipes alongside Turmeric is the black pepper. I just grind it up and place it on top of my blended up golden milk. It seems strange as an idea but I actually found I enjoy it.

 

  • Tumeric - Root that gives us Curcumin

 

  • Morning Milk
  • 1C Almond Milk
  • 1 drop Stevia
  • 1/2tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2tsp Milk Thistle
  • 1/2tsp Chaga

 

  • Blend, shake, mix…you do you

 

  • Top with cracked black pepper

 

  • Evening Milk
  • 1C Almond Milk
  • 1 drop Stevia
  • 1/2tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2tsp Milk Thistle
  • 1/2tsp Chaga
  • 1/2tsp Reishi

 

  • Blend, shake, mix…you do you

 

  • Top with cracked black pepper

 

 

 

        It wont be immediate and it wont be extreme, but I can tell you from my own journey. The benefits add up and help your liver help you. The overall feeling and energy you get from a body that is working better in it’s filtration system is just too important to neglect. Expecially when it is so easy to slide into your regimen. 

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/246722...