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Archive for March, 2010

Training Tuesdays: Intervals

03/10/2010 6 comments

According to www.intervaltraining.net, “Interval training can supercharge your fitness, boost your metabolism, burn off that extra fat with a blow torch and enable you to start reaching those goals that you have set yourself.”  No worries, it is not an actual blow torch although I am sure that would do the trick.  I have increased my calorie burn by about 1.5X by incorporating intervals into my cardio program without increasing time spent.  That means I get to eat 1.5X more buffalo wings. For you it might mean more pints, beer or ice cream depending on your addiction, or maybe it just an extra 20 minutes of sleep.  Whatever the guilty pleasure is, intervals will allow you to indulge in it—hopefully not quite as much as Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Is this guy really in a political office?

If you are not convinced yet, this blog is better used as toilet paper.  If you are ready to workout smart, workout efficiently, workout for results, then you should subscribe!  So why does interval training work? It is conditioning.  Intervals are basically an efficient way to push the body harder and farther so you can keep increasing the body’s capabilities.  “The body begins to build new capillaries, and is better able to take in and deliver oxygen to the working muscles. Muscles develop a higher tolerance to the build-up of lactate, and the heart muscle is strengthened.”  (http://sportsmedicine.about.com)  As Arnold would say, “It’ll pump you up!”  So how do you do an interval?  There are two phases and one key.  The first phase is the sprint, the second phase is the recovery, and the key is intensity.  Depending on your current fitness level, you will want to gauge your sprint so it is a few notches higher than you normal cardio intensity and your recovery should be a couple notches lower than your normal cardio intensity.  Each sprint phase should be within the range of 1 minute to 3 minutes, while each recover phase will be about 70 percent of the time you spent in sprint.  If you are working out on a machine, there is probably an interval or hill program you can set so you can leave intensity and timing to the system.

An added benefit of intervals is combating boredom.  Time flies when you are giving it your all and then scraping to recover before the next bout.  Here is a video to get you going—no, not that kind of video!  Contrary to Arnold’s perspective, you can leave the lights on!

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Meal Mondays: A Vegan Affair

03/09/2010 3 comments

Texas, home of the rib-eye, born and raised, it’s where I spent all of my days and most of my meals until I traded that red, hot state in for a snowy, blue one, or so I had thought.  I abandoned Texas for Massachusetts nearly 2 years ago and since then Massachusetts has turned Republican on me and I hear my hometown, Austin, has been getting actual snow.  In a world upset by Mr. Scott Brown and global warming, it is not so shocking that my inner beef-lover is walking on the wild side of veganism and other alternative choices. This weekend I checked out two local vegan eateries, both superb in their own right.  I did work in a turkey burger just to be safe and  I am happy to report I am still shaving my legs, using deodorant, and hugging people, not trees, but I am even happier to report that my adventure was nothing short of a flavor feast.

First stop: My Thai Vegan Café.  I knew it was going to be a good night when I found parking in Chinatown.  I walked down Beach Street, which really does not deserve a superior title to alleyway, and nearly missed the place. Standing directly underneath the sign, I realized the unmarked door at the top of a descending basement stair case might actually lead me to the restaurant.  Was this a Chinatown store front for corrupt cops like friend Nick Seagers describes in one of his recent novels?  I walked through the door and thankfully saw clear signage leading me to the third floor.  A few huffs and puffs later, the third floor opened in front of me to an impressively quaint atmosphere.  Tom Yum was my date for the night.  Served with tofu and an array of juicy vegetables, he was sweet, hot, and perfectly proportioned.  I barely finished a bite of crispy, flavor-rich veggies before craving the next salty, sweet piece of tofu.  Chopstick skills fairing well, I may have broken a timed record for an unskilled American eating with chopsticks.  But if veggies and tofu just will not rock your bed, the menu is full of delicious options from traditional Pad Thai to Mango Curry.  I have a feeling most of their money is made off their non-vegan menu items.  The price was right so I will be stopping by for more traditional tastes and some bubble tea as early as next week.

Last stop: Organic Garden Café.  (https://www.organicgardencafe.com) My first visit to the Organic Garden Café was Valentine’s weekend.  The meal was a romance of its own.  The founder, affectionately known as Rawbert, is a master of subtle flavor teases. The apple pie is sweetened with dates and apricots and drizzled with a creamy almond butter.  Embracing natural flavors, this dessert will have you forgetting traditional sugar like it was just an old college fling.  The dessert will ignite your interest, but the entrees will keep you coming back for a healthy, committed relationship with raw ingredients.  This week I had the Zucchini Fusilloni & Nut-free Meetballs* with Red Sauce.  The zucchini was one endless, perfectly shaved spiral complimented by a thick sun-dried tomato red sauce.  These clean and sweet flavors cut the strong nut flavors from the seed and flax ‘meatballs’ to leave each of your flavor cravings satisfied over and over.  But the Organic Garden Café is most known for their luncheon.  Their Monk’s Bowl, a choice of soup and special item over greens and brown rice or bean sprouts, is a hit for vegans and non-vegans in downtown Beverly, but my next visit will be for the macaroons.

They say hunger is the best spice, but I am beginning to believe purity is just as gratifying to my wanton taste buds. When eating vegan, no cheap salt and pepper thrills are necessary.   I’ll take my ingredients unadulterated.  And with so much change happening around us, I am perfectly content to be discovering joy in the stable, natural flavors of the earth.

Success Sunday (week in view): Preparation and Persistence

03/07/2010 Leave a comment

“How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I’m committed to?” asks Anthony Robbins, also affectionately known as Tony Robbins and considered a leader in self-help.  Billy Mays would be proud of this profiting self-improvement guru that is regularly featured on 30 minute infomercial style lectures selling the hope of success like it is a slap-chop.  Mr. Robbins has gained fame beyond his peers of cracker jacks and life coaches that preach to deaf ears.  I am reminded of my grandmother snoring with the home shopping network on in the background.  They lure in desperates with the sliced and diced carrots of money, success and stability.    Their multi-step plans and lists of tips have an overall common denominator: attain your desires with simplicity and ease. Simply and easily? Whoever heard of anything worth having being gained through simple and easy methods!  According to Danny Dreyer, famous as an expert in “chi running”, a specialized training program for distance runners, “Struggle is the food from which change is made.”  Deductive reasoning will lead us to assume the avid followers of these cereal box life solutions are not already successful.  We will root for them making the Wheaties box next year, but probably, they will just be taking down bowls of this stuff with no resulting change.

So how is success gained?  Mr. Robbins asked the right question.  What should a success searcher incorporate into their daily routine?  Preparation and persistence towards their individual goals.  Machiavelli recognized the value of preparation.  He wrote that a prince should always practice in action and in thought the art of war so he would be ready to handle it at the necessary time.  He wrote, “Therefore [the prince] ought never to lift his thought from the exercise of war, and in peace he should train more than in wartime.  This he may do in two ways: one is with his deeds, the other is with his mind.”  He went on to say about an example, “that because of these continuous cogitations there could never arise any accident when he was leading armies for which he did not have the remedy.”  Being ready and able is half the battle towards success, after all.  The other half of reaching success is the stamina it takes to prepare day in and day out for an achievement that is not yet within your grasp.  This week, my week will be about persistence.  I am in my second week of working out and launching my blog.  The hours and the struggle are wearing on me and the initial adrenaline is running out.  I know I must overcome this basic resistance and future challenges to be a success at these endeavors though.  Besides if I stop now, I will never get that cookie.

Note:  I am aware desperate is not a noun, but I believe in the malleability and creative evolution of the English language.

Success Saturday: The Plan

03/06/2010 1 comment

While working out this morning (yes, I am strategically leading with that tidbit since today is Day 5 of the new workout plan implementation), I saw a segment on ABC News in which watchers describe their week in 3 words or less.  What an excellent way to employ interactivity—even if John Smith’s exclamation, “made shit happen”, is not my business.  Check it out:

http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=6259567

If I were to describe my week in three words, they would be “I will succeed.”  Maybe it is all of Obama’s rhetoric for change, but I’ve been inspired!  2010 will be a year of change and success. Okay, so it is about three months too late for 2010 New Year’s Resolutions—I’ve been busy, OK!  I was promoted to “e-Business Programs Lead”.  Cha-ching! I have lost weight. Oh yeah! My blog readers doubled to almost triple digits. Phew! Besides, better late than never as they say…

According to Benjamin Franklin: “Think of these things, whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account.”  So for me to plan for change and success in the rest of 2010, I need to figure out what I’ve already done.  Last year, I learned to juggle my career with my extracurricular activities.  Yes, ‘activities’ is code for drinking at the bar with friends too late and too often.  But in January, I quit drinking and smoking for 6 weeks.  No support from Obama on that one.  Maybe he should follow my lead.  In February, I began working out, albeit for two weeks, but going strong again this month.  And in March, I launched my blog.  I am incredibly grateful for the aforementioned success I have reaped from those efforts, but what’s next?

One of the keys to success is preparation so I’ve decided to plan the next 3 months worth of goals.  In April, I will have fully incorporated yoga and running into my workout plan.  In May, I will be fully involved with a non-profit.  In June, the month of my birthday I might add, I will have learned and be fully excelling at my new responsibilities compulsory to my promoted position.  3 months. 3 words.  I will succeed… I will succeed… I will succeed…

I have prepared a plan for my readers, too.  The days of the week, moving forward, will cover enriching topics as shown below:

Success Saturday: Week in Review

Success Sunday: Week in View

Meal Mondays

Training Tuesdays

Weekend Wednesdays

Technology Thursdays

Foundation Fridays

Leave a comment because I’d love to hear about your goals.  What would your three words be for the week?  What do you want to accomplish this month and next?

It is March 6th, 2010.  Go! March forth!  Plan for your success in 2010!

But first enjoy this hilarious parody on ABC’s Your Three Words:

Growing: A Reflection on Self-Propelling Behavior

03/03/2010 2 comments

In pure and utter gratitude, I dedicate this blog to SwervePoint, my bosses, and the Programs team for all of the support, feedback, criticism, advice, assistance, praise, and general love that has fostered my happiness and growth as a young professional for an amazing, growing company.

I got promoted–officially!  According to urbandictionary.com, promotions are defined as “an increase in pay, title, and responsibility for an employee within a company that should be based on his hard work – but occasionally is based on nepotism, office politics, or sycophantic behavior while on the job. Example: No one seemed surprised by Joey’s promotion at work, as he is the boss’ son.”  So let’s see where my promotion came from?  Am I just another Michael Scott?  Well,  I cannot be enjoying the spoils of office politics.  My idea of office infantry tactics is generally retreat and build reinforcements.  The fallout left by office drama never seems to have a victor anyway.  And while sycophant does come from the Greek, συκοφάντης (sykophántēs), sycophantic personality traits have escaped my own personality and are not typically reflected in Greek culture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sycophancy).  Is it possible then that my mother had an illicit liaison with my much younger boss a couple of decades ago?  I wish so I could bring some sensationalist scandal to my blog and instantly increase my subscribers!

I have worked long and hard for this promotion. But growing is not about working harder or longer.  It is about working smarter.  Sadly, I know far too many young professionals, including myself, treading for hours in torrential waters, becoming weary of responsibilities and believing that survival through the storm is enough, whether the storm is the economy or a new huge project.  But growing, promotions, and careers–these things are brought to life by taking survival steps to the next level.  Thunder through major responsibilities by working efficiently and creatively, rather than wasting energy.  If you are wavering on this point, ask a much larger storm, ie. your boss, for constructive criticism on how to make waves instead of ripples.

Then embrace the opportunities you are given to let a little lightning illuminate how capable and accomplished you are lest someone’s cloud overshadow your surge.  There is a fine line between shameless self-promotion and self-propelling behavior, but it must be floated upon.  As Machiavelli said, “For, if everything be well considered, something will be found that will appear a virtue, but will lead to his ruin if adopted; and something else that will appear a vice, if adopted, will result in his security and well-being.”  So balance self-promotion with the virtue of humility by being gracious.  But be realistic–if your time and efforts deserve praise, if you are being a force of nature in the workplace, let others know the kind of impact you make.  After all, physics says a force of a nature requires a reaction, and hopefully a promotion!

I’ll leave you with the lyrics from Child in the Night and a quote from William Jennings Bryan, “Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.”  Go forth and prosper!

Child in the Night, by none other than Ludacris

It’s gonna get in ya, child of the night
.. and the hood rolls on
How do I begin to, do this shit right
.. get my hustle on

[Ludacris]
Look here!
Now I’m a man of many talents and a man of my word
But on my path to see the light sometimes my vision gets blurred
It’s all a part of growin up and seein life at it’s worst
Then tryin to iron out my wrinkles, puttin family first
It seems like the whole world is out for sinkin my boat
But with God as my navigator I’ll be stayin afloat
And I admit to bein caught by many foolish distractions
Then I’m forced to pay the price as the result of my actions
I’m battlin with MYSELF and every DAY it’s a war
Curiosity killed the cat, why am I Curious George?
Gotta keep my nose up outta thangs that ain’t none of my biz
And just cause somethin looks don’t really mean that it is
Get through the agony and anger, the pain and strife
And take the necessary steps to try to change my life
I got some questions for you Lord cause my mentality’s hood
So why is everything that’s bad for me feel so good?

[Chorus]

[Ludacris]
Now I’m a only child, so excuse some of my selfish ways
I got spoiled when I was young, spoil myself today
Oh but I feed at least a thousand stomachs and how I’ve done it
is from the ground up a hundred miles and runnin
Dodgin and duckin everybody tryin to hammer me down
A self-made millionaire, baby look at me now
Can’t tell me nothin still hungry as the day I began
Cause all I ever really needed was a pen in my hand
And a, pad in my lap, didn’t matter in fact
Me and my momma lived in one room, and what’s badder than that
was a young man forced to grow up at the age of 12
Tryin to get in where I fit, streets givin me hell
But yet I give it right – back, so how you like – that
Continue doin wrong ’til I was on the right – track
Tell me ’bout heavy money I might give it a PUSH
But a, bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
Come on

[Chorus]

[Ludacris]
No matter how much older we get man, we all still children at heart
We all make mistakes, it’s all good

Now I’ve tried plenty of times to get rid of my bad habits
Livin life on the cuttin edge, takin a stab at it
And learnin from my mistakes, try not to make ’em twice
Just admittin when I’m wrong, tryin hard to make it right
And baby, nobody’s perfect in this world of ours
There’s plenty people gettin stitches in this world of scars
But over time, pray to God that he can heal your wounds
Try to love and love again until they seal your tomb
Cause life is short if you don’t know this it’ll pass you by
That’s why my head is in the clouds tryin to pass the sky
Never blinkin for a minute, keep my eyes on my foes
They wanna catch me in the open, bring my life to a close
Meanwhile that’s why I’m bringin so much life to my shows
I’ve seen smiles I’m makin changes turnin glitter to gold
Don’t let these devils play you down or belittle your soul
Just be happy with yo’self and it’s so simple to grow
Come on

In pure and utter gratitude, I dedicate this blog to SwervePoint, my bosses, and the Programs team for all of the support, feedback, criticism, assistance, praise, and general love that has fostered my happiness and growth as a young professional for an amazing, growing company.