Make the outdoors a gym for the ultimate training.

I’ve been home gym training since late this summer and It’s been great. In some ways I do miss going to the gym but those reasons do not outweigh the reasons I have to continue crushing  it down in my basement. The absence of any social contact is definitely noticed and sometime I feel like a recluse especially when I end up staying home all day. At least going to the gym can get you out of the house on a slow day.

But, another thing I have to consider is that …….Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Once it starts warming up I will definitely be getting out a whole lot more. With this in mind and spring drawing ever closer I figured I would get a little list written down with some of my outdoor fitness plans I would like to put together.

I’m bringing hardcore fitness up from the basement and out into the fresh air and I can’t wait. My goal is to utilize my outdoor space to add another layer to my home fitness regime. I have a few items I have to purchase , a few things I have to make or build and a couple of things I need to acquire to bring it all together.

Tractor tire for flipping.

A Prowler

Another olympic bar

Rubber bumper plates

Build a chin up bar

Make a Sand bag

This is a plenty good list to get together in about 8 or 9 weeks so I gotta get crackin and get to work.

I need to call around to junk yards for the tire. I will build a prowler and the chin up station and make my own sand bag (maybe about 50 lbs to start).

I already have an olympic bar but I want to check craigslist for a used one and leave one in the basement and the other in the garage .

Grabbing opportunity before it’s gone,fitness is fleeting the mind is powerful.

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho (Photo credit: nrkbeta)

“The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people’s opinions.”

Paulo Coelho

My two cents;  Having patients yet not allowing an opportune moment to get past you requires a delicate balance and understanding of yourself. Look at everything in life as if you have never seen it or heard it before. Don’t be quick to judge until you have fully considered each and every aspect. In this way life becomes less mundane and you avoid falling into predictable patterns or habits.

So the physical aspect is what so many people get hung up on but we must remember that the physical is somewhat fleeting. It is the mind, heart and soul that we must remember will be with us into old age and has almost unlimited power.

So we will be deadlifting and squatting or skydiving and scuba diving until we are old and gray, just not as heavy or often or deep. Yet our bravery,wisdom,love and friendships will grow stronger and our minds will be more powerful as we get older.

Are we happy that the NHL is back?

I don’t mind the cold winter as it is, but having hockey to look forward to just makes me that much more eager for the blustery snowy winds.

Of all the sports out there, hockey has to be one of the most hard hitting and speed driven spectacles to see.

And don’t get me started on the playoffs! No other sport in the world puts on a playoff season of such intensity and at such a magnitude.

Elbows to the face are not allowed but they still happen. These guys show up on the ice a couple times a week to endure game after game. They are hardcore to the bone.

These modern day gladiators combine power and strength with technical skills such as skating backwards while handling the puck. It’s amazing to see.

So yes, we are happy to see the NHL back in business after their long lockout.

 

I Miss You

Ride the trail,salt air smell,forget the world

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Enter Buritto

This here is a big ‘ol plate of good,goody,goodness.

A beef burrito with beans , fat free cheese, lightly sauteed greens with lots of garlic,roasted sweet potato with spinach and cranberrys.

So proud I’m gonna cry……

burrito

 

Now I know you may not be interested in a bulking diet like myself but you can still eat this. Just don’t eat as much. Dieting 101 right there folks.

 

Motivation

Reading about the challenges other people face and how their success and failures change them as a person can lead you down the path of great inspiration. Success and failure come with every endeavor , it’s what we do with this success or failure that defines who we are.

Dieting, Dating and Dialoguing

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
~ Zig Ziglar

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How much weight does a firefighter carry?

“How much does all that gear weigh?” is probably the most common question asked of me along with questions about the equipment that is part of the structural firefighter’s uniform called Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

A “married axe and halligan” can weigh in about 18 to 20 lb. These kind of tools go with a fireman everywhere. Throw in your air pack, coat and pants (turnouts) helmet and personal tools stored in pockets and your looking at about 70lbs.

I remember carrying at least 100 lbs. in the form of a heavy forcible entry tool called a “rabbit tool” and a fire extinguisher (water can) up 5 flights of stairs to a working fire. When we arrived at the apartment door we had to force the door and then don our masks and go on air. Then we entered the apartment where the kitchen was on fire. This was at 3 am at the end of our shift after working a real ball busting day.

My workout program is clearly defined for an occupational athlete such as myself. I have to maintain good cardio to scale the 5 flights of stairs while carrying a lot of weight. This happens while wearing gear that does not breathe (so you overheat quickly). Once we are at the door of the apartment there is a switching of modes to having to use extreme force to get the door open. We then enter an enviroment that can kill and perform search and rescue while controlling breathing to conserve our air supply. If a victim is found the rescue may involve you and your partner carrying the fattest person in the building to safety(its never someone skinny). Sliding the person is sometimes not an option so you may have to squat and lift them up (deadlift).

When the fire is over and the work is complete you still have some time before your shift is over. You have to regroup and be prepared for the next emergency.

I train heavy and I mix it up with some high rep stuff. Because I have to keep cardio as a priority I tend to sacrifice some size. I’m a typical guy and I like to bulk up and be big. But when I tried this before (bulking)I noticed that the lack of cardio greatly reduced my ability to perform my job. Over the years I have concluded that my cardio keeps me about ten pounds lighter. That’s ok though because I can handle stairs and swinging an axe and still have enough strength to lift a 250 lb unconscious woman to a window sill and get her and then myself out of the building before I run out of air.

I notice that when I’m a little heavier and eating more I can lift more in the gym. I kinda get pissed cause I would like to go back to that and do more weight. But I have to make my profession the first priority.

Re-blogged. Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Re-blogged from L-Jay Health at http://ljayhealth.wordpress.com/ check it out.

Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup are in many processed foods, juices and can sodas and should be eliminated if you are looking to increase your overall health and well being. Be very cautious when purchasing food items that may contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. The way you know if this is in your food is by reading through the ingredients on the back of the food label.  In my experience I have overlooked reading it on the label because it is not easily identified while reading the ingedients so read very carefully. Below are some of the many dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

1. Significant Risk of Weight Gain & Obesity

The list of studies that show HFCS to cause increased weight gain over other forms of sweeteners is much to long to put into this post. One of the better, and more recent ones, was conducted at Princeton University[1], and found that rats that were fed HFCS gained fat 300% more quickly than those fed an equal (or slightly larger) dose of fruit-derived sugar.

2. Increased Risk of Developing Type-2 Diabetes

Over the years, consumption of high-fructose corn syrup can lead to a huge increase in the likelihood of developing diabetes.[2] The worst part about it is how easily this life-long condition can be avoided in most cases. Excessive amounts ofsodaenergy drinks and junk-foodsimply aren’t worth losing a foot or going blind or harming your children.

3. Hypertension and Elevated “Bad” Cholesterol Levels

High-fructose doesn’t just make your body fat. It makes your heart fat too. There is a strong link between the irresponsible consumption of high fructose corn syrup and elevated triglyceride and HDL (bad cholesterol) levels.[3]Together these can cause arterial plague build-up and eventually lead to dangerous heart conditions including hypertension, heart disease, and even stroke.

4. High Fructose Corn Syrup & Long-Term Liver Damage

This is a big one that a lot people overlook. Like anything else you eat or drink, HFCS is processed by your liver, gallbladder and kidneys. And it’s especially destructive to your liver. When combined with a sedentary lifestyle, permanent liver scarring can occur.[4] This greatly diminishes the organ’s ability to process out toxins and, over time, can lead to an expansive range of other negative health concerns. Another study suggests that HFCS may also cause fatty liver.[5]

5. Mercury Exposure from HFCS

Even if you were already aware of previously mentioned risks associated with corn syrup, there’s a good chance that you didn’t know it also often loaded with alarmingly high levels of mercury. In a study conducted just last year they found mercury in over 50 percent of the samples tested.[6] Mercury exposure can result in irreversible brain and nervous system damage – especially in young, growing bodies. This is especially worrisome with the abundance of HFCS in children-target foodstuffs.

Alternatives to High Fructose Corn Syrup

The dangers of high fructose corn syrup are both numerous and severe. Some estimate the more than one-third of the American food supply has been polluted by it. If you’re looking to cut back on your exposure to corn-sugar, I urge you to start really reading product labels if you don’t already. As an alternative, I would  recommend splenda, stevia or raw local honey as a sweetener.

Food Fact of the Year

Spinach

Spinach is considered a miracle food in most cultures, and we all know of the famous cartoon character “popeye” who always made sure he had his spinach for the day to maintain strong muscles and bones. Here are a load of great benefits of spinanch and the positive effects that it has on your overall health.

  • Good Eyesight: Spinach is a rich source of beta carotene, lutein and xanthene, all of which are beneficial for eyesight. Beta carotene is supplied to the eyes by cooked spinach. It can prevent one from vitamin Adeficiency disease, itching eyes, eye ulcers and dry eyes.
  • Age-related Macula Degeneration (AMD): AMD or Retinitis pigmentosa is responsible for causing blindness. It is due to the degeneration of lutein and xanthene which form central part of the retina. According to research conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, consumption of spinach can result in regaining of the two pigments and preventing AMD effectively.
  • Blood Pressure: Spinach has high content of potassium and low content of sodium. This composition ofmineralsis very beneficial for high blood pressure patients as potassium lowers and sodium raises the blood pressure. Folate present in spinach contributes in reducing hypertension and relaxes blood vessels, maintaining proper blood flow.
  • Strengthens Muscles: A component of spinach, factor C0-Q10 which is an anti-oxidant, plays important role in strengthening muscles especially heart muscle which continuously pumps blood to all parts of the body. As per the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, C0-Q10 can be used to prevent and treat many cardiovascular diseases like hyperlipidemia, heart failure, hypertension and coronary heart diseases.
  • Cataract: Lutein and zeaxanthin present in spinach act as strong antioxidants thus preventing the eyes from harsh effects of UV rays that lead to cataract.
  • Atherosclerosis and Heart Attack: Atherosclerosis is caused due to hardening of arteries. A pigment named lutein found in spinach has been shown to reduce the occurrence atherosclerosis, heart attack as well as stroke. This is due to the fact that spinach proteins tend to reduce the cholesterol and other fat deposits in the blood vessels.
  • Neurological Benefits: Several components of spinach like potassium, folate, and various antioxidants are known to provide neurological benefits. According to Neurology, folate which reduces due to occurrence ofAlzheimer‘s disease can be revived by spinach.
  • Bone Mineralization: Spinach is a good source of Viatmin K, which functions in retaining calcium in the bone matrix thereby leading to bone mineralization. Apart from this, other mineralslike manganesecopper,magnesiumzinc and phosphorus also help in building up of strong bones. This in turn can prevent an individual from osteoporosis of bones.
  • Anti-Ulcerative: It has been found that spinach and some other vegetables have the ability to protect the mucous membrane of stomach thereby decreasing the occurrence of gastric ulcers.
  • Anti-Cancerous Property: Spinach made up of various important constituents has been found to be promising in various kinds of cancer. These include bladder, prostate, liver and lung cancer. Different constituents in spinachlike folate, tocopherol, chlorophyllin act via different mechanisms to treat and protect patients suffering from cancer.
  • Skin Protection: Different phytonutrients and pigments have been shown to protect the skin from harmful rays of sun including the UV rays. These not only protect but also repair the damaged genes to some extent thereby preventing skin cancer in long run.
  • Foetus Development: Folate found in spinach is needed by the growing foetus for proper development of new nervous system. Defects like cleft palate or spina bifida may occur due to deficiency of folate. Vitamin A offered by spinach is advised to be consumed in more quantities by the mother. Vitamin A is required in lung development of foetus as well as during breast feeding.
  • Protein Rich for Infant’s Proper Growth: ‘Popeye’, the sailor man is known for his obsession for spinach. The cartoon was deliberately shown to eat spinach and get strong. Infants are advised to be fed with spinach which is a rich in protein, vitamins minerals and phytonutrients. These will result in proportionate development in there growing stage

Food Fact of the Day

Blueberries

-An Antioxidant Powerhouse

Packed with antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, blueberries neutralize free radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues that can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease and cancer. Anthocyanins, the blue-red pigments found in blueberries, improve the integrity of support structures in the veins and entire vascular system. Anthocyanins have been shown to enhance the effects of vitamin C, improve capillary integrity, and stabilize the collagen matrix (the ground substance of all body tissues).

-A Better Brain with Blueberries

In laboratory animal studies, researchers have found that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Researchers found that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging animals, making them mentally equivalent to much younger ones.

-Boost Heart Health

Researchers fed rats bred to become obese either a high-fat or low-fat diet enriched with whole blueberry powder or carbohydrates as 2% of their total diet.

After 90 days, the rats fed blueberries had less abdominal fat, lower cholesterol, and improved glucose control and insulin sensitivity.

Healthy Food Fact of the Day

Kiwi

Kiwi is known as a major fat burning fruit and is packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange. Kiwi also provide premier antioxidant protection riding your body of free radicals, contains a ton of fiber to help control blood sugar levels, cardiovascular and colon health. Eating vitamin C-rich fruit such as kiwi may confer a significant protective effect against respiratory symptoms associated with asthma such as wheezing.

Nutrition Tip of the Day:


Just because you are eating healthy doesn’t mean you cant eat out at a nice restaurant, go to a party with friends, or attend a celebration. When we attend parties or celebrations we are having so much fun and enjoying the time that we forget how much we are actually eating. The key trick is to select the foods that are still healthy for you and control your portion amounts. You are still able to enjoy the chicken wings as they are packed with protein and contains no sugar or carbohydrates. You can go for the diet soda or juice for your beverage as they contain very minimum calories. And remember to keep the alcohol intake to a bare minimum if necessary. So go out and have your fun and enjoy yourself and keep in mind that portion control is keen.

Healthy food choices- Take it one step at a time

-Start by keeping track of your food choices and eating habits. Make notes throughout the day of what you ear or drink, along with how much of it, and why. Do you eat when you are bored? Do you eat when you are stressed? Making notes will help your recognize certain eating habits that you might want to change.

-Set goals for yourself; Would you like to lose a few pounds? Do you want to lower cholesterol levels? Just make sure to be realistic when setting your goals. You don’t want to set a unrealistic goal because if for some reason you are unable to reach that goal you may disappoint yourself which may cause you to give up or no longer wanting to pursue reaching your goals. For example; see below
Goal: Eat more vegetables
Plans: Make a sandwich with turkey, cheese, mustard and add extra veggies on the sandwich.

-Dont rush it: Being patient with seeing results from your plan is really important. Lifestyle changes take time if done in a healthy manner. Yes, it is easy for us to gain weight or to make ourselves unhealthy but it takes hard work and time to reverse that cycle. The organs in our bodies needs to re-adjust from all of the years and months it took to get our bodies a certain way, therefore it takes gradual time to see the results from you plan.

-Keep track of your progress- If for some reason you get off track due to a birthday party or going out for drinks with friends; simply pick up were you left off. Theres is no need to fill guilty for cheating or breaking the plan; the most important part is that you get back on it. Also; rewarding yourself will help you reach your goal quicker and help you to stay focused. Treating yourself to a night on the town, or a football game is great way of rewarding yourself for making your goal.

Finally, re-evaluate your plan every-other week. If for some reason your weight loss has stalled or your blood pressure has not decreased enough. You may need to change up your plan a little to maybe adding more vegetables or increasing the amount of time yo are exercising each day. Keep in mind that its not all about what you eat but how much of it your are eating!!

The Warrior Philosophy

I started Life Hardcore after reading the Warrior Philosophy or Code. Anyone who follows this philosophy is absolutely hardcore in my book.

It’s the very philosophy I try to incorporate into my life. I say try because I’m human and sometimes I make mistakes. To develop these attributes over time I need to constantly remind myself of them and rehearse them as often as possible.

By doing this you become very aware of yourself and guess what……you have to be honest with yourself. That’s something that can be very hard to do. Life is about experiencing the journey and sharing in its brilliance , I choose to dig deep  and feel the raw energy that comes from being a man and a human.

Being a firefighter doesn’t really make me a warrior. Lifting weights doesn’t either. But following this philosophy may one day make me a true warrior and one step closer to 100% Hardcore-a-tude.Oh and btw….following this philosophy is guaranteed to add 10 lbs. to your deadlift.

Warrior PhilosophyThroughout history there have been many philosophies developed to regulate the behaviour of those within society deemed warriors. The more well known of these philosophies are the codes of Chivalry from Europe and Bushido from Japan.  Many have been influenced by the social mores of the culture in which these warriors lived. Through most, though, run a common core of attributes that define how a warrior is expected to live his/her life.

The Way of the Modern Warrior follows these attributes :

COURAGE __ The warrior faces his or her fears. There are many things we are afraid of; fear of failure, fear of looking a fool, fear of getting hurt. Well, that is natural- but, the warrior has to learn to acknowledge that he/she is feeling fear because that is all it is, a feeling. Recognise where the feeling is coming from and why and then it is possible to overcome the fear. We can then face the challenges of life and do those things we would wish to.

HONESTY __ The warrior is honest in all he/she does. Honest with others and, most importantly, honest with his/herself. In dealing with others always do so in the spirit of truth – the idea of things as they truly are- as there is no value in fooling others (yes, the little white lie is still acceptable in the right circumstances, which leads us to the next attribute).

COMPASSION __ The warrior has an open heart. He/she helps others at every opportunity. The warrior considers the idea of hurting others needlessly abominable.

COURTESY __ The warrior has respect for others. In his/her dealings with people the warrior exhibits politeness and regard for others. This applies to all the warrior comes in contact with; whether friend, enemy or stranger.

SINCERITY __ The warrior is sincere in all he/she does and says. He/she will endeavour to keep any promise given. Any act that the warrior says he/she will do, will be done. Speaking and doing are the same action.

LOYALTY __ The warrior is intensely loyal to those in  his/her care. The warrior remains true to those that depend on him/her. The only exceptions being those that would cause the warrior to give up the next, and last, attribute.

HONOUR __ The warrior is always conscious of his/her honour. How a warrior behaves is a reflection of who he/she is. The other attributes are the actions that allow the warrior to have honour, it is the state that defines the warrior. No warrior would allow his/herself to be involved in anything that would bring dishonour on his/herself. 

Erica Blockman Firefighter & Fitness Champ

I came across this article by Erica Blockman who was a volunteer and a career firefighter for about 5 years in California. She is currently a Personal trainer, fitness instructor and national level figure/physique competitor in Oregon.

Her article was published in Fire Engineering.com and I pulled a quote from it that I felt was worth repeating.

Erica is speaking about the difficulties of being a female in a male dominant  position. What I wanted to state is that her advice can also be applied to men as well. Take a read yourself.

……….”If physical fitness is not a top priority for you, I think you may want to reconsider the job. I know I would not be in any part of this service if I had not made health and fitness a priority. Yes, I had and still have to work a lot harder than most men to do a task they think is simple, but I do it, and that’s what matters to me. The last thing I want to do is put another brother or sister’s life at risk because of my physical shortcomings. If I am ever not able to bodily do something and I know that I gave it my all and trained my hardest physically to master it, that’s all I can do and that’s all you can ask of someone. I’m not going to beat myself up about something I know I gave 110% at. That’s when you ask your fellow brother for help without shame. You’re part of a crew with people who are good at some things and not so great at others. As firefighters, you may be a jack of all trades but also a master of none. Know that there will be some things that you will have to work harder at; it’s okay, and it’s what makes part of the challenge of the job. But it is extremely important to challenge yourself when you are not at work. Make physically challenging yourself and your body a part of your life. I found that doing this makes the challenges of work much less stressful.”

This is absolutely how it is for me as a career firefighter. I have to make fitness a top priority. I’m going to be throwing ladders,humping hose,carrying weight, and working in inhospitable environments for another 20 or 30 years. As I age It will become harder to complete these tasks mainly due to the possibility of injuries.

Because proper diet and fitness is an integral part of my profession I am therefore an athlete. I must behave as one on and off the job. If my fitness is lacking then my performance on the fire ground will be lacking. Only, this won’t cost us the game it may cost someone their lives.