Archive for March, 2013

Getting healthy. That is the whole point of my entire blog. It’s not getting skinny. It’s not losing weight. It’s all about getting healthy. Being healthy deals with a lot more than just the number that you see on the scale. To get healthy, you have to start by liking the person you see in the mirror everyday. If you don’t have a positive body image, there are some things you can do to help with that. If you like these tips, you can thank my wife for these tips. She is the one who taught me all of these tricks!

Words of Wisdon

Words of Wisdom

Do Not Pick Yourself Apart Limb By Limb

You just stepped out of the shower. You happen to look in the mirror, and you start looking at everything you hate about your body. Next thing you know, you can’t find one thing you like about your body. The key thing to remember is that your body is not perfect and it never will be. There will always be things that you would prefer to look differently. Understand that, and only focus on those body parts when you are taking active steps to correct them. The rest of the time, focus on what you like about your body. If you continue to swear up and down that there is nothing to like about your body, at least try to find things that aren’t as bad as the other parts. Focusing on the negative all the time will make it seem like you are facing an insurmountable goal. Stay positive. It seems obvious to say that staying positive is essential to having a positive body image, but it can’t be reiterated enough.

Dress Your Body Appropriately

The biggest mistake most people make when they look at themselves in the mirror is they don’t wear clothes that make them look attractive. It is possible, regardless of what size you currently are. You may not think that is possible, but I promise you that it is. It’s all about picking out correct sizes and understanding what is going to look good on your body.

Don’t Wear Clothes That Are Too Big

A common misconception that many have who are trying to dress their body in an attractive manner is to wear clothes that are too big. I did this for years. The logic is that if I wear things that are too big, then people will think I am smaller because my clothes are so big. That couldn’t be any further from the truth. People are going to assume that there is more of your body there. On top of that, add in the fact that you look slouchy and unkempt when you wear clothes that are too big. Nothing about that is attractive

Don’t Wear Clothes That Are Too Tight

This is also true, but for the opposite reason. Clothes that are too big make people assume that there is more person under the clothes. Clothes that are too tight highlight areas that you don’t want highlighted, or they are going to squeeze parts of your body that don’t need to be squeezed. It’s not going to do anything for your self-esteem to see fat get squeezed into a ball because you wore a shirt that was one size too small. If you are trying to lose weight, I know you are probably wanting to get into smaller sizes, but getting into that smaller size too soon isn’t going to do anything to help you reach your goals. That brings me to my next point.

Don’t Be A Slave To Size

Every single clothes manufacturer makes their sizes a little differently. I like to think of sizes as more of a suggestion, not a hard fast rule. For example, I wear a size 32 for most of the pants I wear. There are a few brands where I need a larger size and some where I need a smaller size. Don’t let it get you down if you see that you lose weight and try on some brand new clothes, but your size according to the manufacturer hasn’t changed. It may just be they make their clothes smaller than most. Find something that fits, not a size you want to fit.

If you want to be successful, at some point, you are going to have to like your body. You can’t always hate it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make changes, especially if your motivation is to get healthier, but if you are ever going to have a positive body image, you have to start thinking positively starting today. Changing that thought process isn’t easy. That’s the reason we have so many health problems related to our weight today. People just don’t like what they see in the mirror.

I hope this helps you to get the positive body image you need. Have a great day ladies and gentlemen, and may all of your fitness dreams come true.


Good thing to remember

Good thing to remember

Exercise: Insanity Max Interval Circuit

Calories Burned: 1,068

Total Calories Burned for the week: 1,712

Weight Watchers Daily Points Used: 42 of 42

Weekly Points Used: 3 (45 left for the week)

Activity Points Used: 0

Activity Points Remaining: 17

Successes: Yesterday was another really good day. Sticking to my meal plan and getting my exercise in makes a huge difference in my energy level. I feel more refreshed, and I have a noticeable difference in how I feel when I do.

Failures: None. Nada. Zilch. Yes, that’s the same as yesterday because it’s the same result.

Outlook for today: No obstacles that I am aware of, so just don’t give in to any temptation that may pop up.

My workout this morning was P90X Arms & Shoulders. Still my favorite workout on P90X. I also am trying to focus more on my form, so I have gone down in weight for a lot of the moves.

My goal for today is to just do what I plan to do. If I do, it should be a good day. I love it when I eat healthy and do what I know I am supposed to. I just feel better all around.

I hope you have a great day ladies and gentlemen and may all of your fitness dreams come true!


Bright Young Things: A Big, Bad Idea

Posted: March 26, 2013 by Justin M. Strawn in Opinion
Tags: , , , ,

I don’t think we need to start portraying 11, 12, and 13 year olds in a sexual manner.

Are you aware of the latest product line being introduced by Victoria’s Secret? It’s called Bright Young Things, and if I have read correctly, it is a line of swimsuit products aimed at the “tween” demographic. If you haven’t figured out from the title of this post, I don’t think this is a direction we need to go, but it isn’t simply because It’s Victoria’s Secret. I am a Christian, and that certainly shapes how I see things, but I am not a Victoria’s Secret basher. They sell a needed product, whether it is underwear for women or products that help couples be more intimate. There isn’t a thing wrong with either of those. You may not like the way they advertise, but that doesn’t mean there is anything inherently wrong with their product. So why do I say this is a bad idea? Let me give you a few reasons.

Uh, You Write About Exercise. Why Are You Writing About This?

While this blog is about exercise, I try to help people lead a healthy lifestyle. Leading a healthy lifestyle includes mind, body, and spirit. I believe this directly affects how young girls view their body and their self-esteem. I don’t believe this would do anything to support a healthy lifestyle.

The Continuing Sexualization of Girls

I also want to be clear, I don’t think Victoria’s Secret selling bathing suits to this demographic, or underwear if they eventually go in that direction, is wrong. Tweens need to have bathing suits and underwear just like every other segment of society. It’s the way that Victoria’s Secret has designed these products that I have an issue with.

The design goes along more with their Pink products. The Pink products are notorious for having words full of sexual innuendo emblazoned across the butt or crotch. It’s bad enough that we have sexualized teen girls as much as we have, do we really need to do this with girls who are 11, 12, and 13 years old? This is a time when children’s bodies are going through a number of changes, now we want them being portrayed as sexual beings? As a person who has spent the last four years of my life teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, I know how difficult this time in their lives can be on anyone this age, boy or girl. Adding sexuality to the mix isn’t going to help.

I know there are middle schoolers who are already acting out their sexuality. I don’t want you to think that I am putting my head in the sand and ignoring the reality. Just because it is happening doesn’t mean we have to encourage the behavior. Children are being asked to grow up too fast as a result of so many other aspects of society, having them hold off in the sexual arena seems like a no-brainer.

One other thing, in a world of child predators, do we want this age group of girls to be made more appealing to such a segment of society? That may be a thought that many of us don’t want to entertain, but we need to recognize the threat. When a girl gets her brand new Victoria’s Secret bikini in the 7th grade, you know it will end up on Facebook or Twitter the first time she wears it to the pool or beach. Then it is free reign for any predator who can gain access to it.

The Loss Of Adolescence

Another growing trend happening in this country that this move by Victoria’s Secret is indicative of is the lessening of the adolescent period that young people go through. I hinted at this earlier, but it’s true. Because of split homes and parents who struggle to make ends meet, many teens and Tweens are having to pick up a lot more adult responsibilities than they ever have. There are a countless number of my students who have to go home and have dinner fixed by the time their parents get home. They also are responsible for making sure their younger brothers and sisters get their homework done and the chores are completed.

What does any of that have to do with a line of swim wear? Simple. Kids are asked to grow up too quickly, encouraged to do so, and are way too often given the means to grow up way too quickly. There is little time to learn who they are and what they believe.

Destroying a Positive Body Image

The battle for a positive body image is monumental for young girls. In a society that constantly tells girls that their worth is in their physical appearance, we are giving them one more hurdle to try to overcome in attaining a positive body image. Victoria’s Secret is doing this because they know it will sell. When tween girls put this line of products on, they are going to have preconceived notions about how they are supposed to look in it. If what they see in the mirror is remotely different from what they thought it should be, the danger of unhealthy eating habits can start to creep in. That can run the gamut from eating disorders to poor exercise habits.

I know that is a slippery slope, but there is a reason that we have eating disorders. It’s not because people look in the mirror and like what they see. Couldn’t any bikini do that? Yes, but the chances of looking like a 12-year-old girl would like it to look with “Feeling Lucky” embroidered across her butt is going to be slim.

I know there are people who will disagree with me, and that’s okay. Like I said earlier, I have no problem with Victoria’s Secret. I have a problem with the sexualization of 12-year-old girls. A bathing suit or underwear doesn’t do that. Placing sexual innuendo on the material does. Victoria’s Secret is a private company that can choose to make money in whatever way they so desire. This is one time when I think they should think of a better way to make their money.

Fitness Update 3/26/13

Posted: March 26, 2013 by Justin M. Strawn in Fitness Updates
Tags: , , , , ,


Exercise: P90X Chest &Back

Calories Burned: 644

Total Calories Burned for the week: 644

Weight Watchers Daily Points Used: 42 of 42

Weekly Points Used: 1(48 left for the week)

Activity Points Used: 0

Activity Points Remaining: 4

Successes: Great day yesterday! My wife and I have had some crazy schedules the last few weeks, so eating as a family has been a challenge. We both got home at a decent time last night, and not only did we have a good, healthy meal, we also got to have some awesome quality time as a family and hear all about our son’s day at kindergarten (I am sure my daughter would have shared hers too, but it is kind of hard for a nine month old to share).

Failures: None. Nada. Zilch

Outlook for today: No obstacles that I am aware of, so just don’t give in to any temptation that may pop up.

My workout this morning was Insanity Max Interval Circuit. It’s my second day in a row to. Get my workout done in the morning. I prefer it so much to doing it at night, but it’s hard to get back into that mindset. I forget it takes my body longer to warm up in the morning, so it makes it a little harder.getting it done in the morning means time for more important things in the evening. Much better all around.

My goal for today is to just do what I plan to do. If I do, it should be a good day. I love it when I eat healthy and do what I know I am supposed to. I just feel better all around.

I hope you have a great day ladies and gentlemen and may all of your fitness dreams come true!



Beginning Weight: 195.8

New Weight: 195.2

Weight gain or loss: -0.6 pounds

Total Weight Loss Since January 1, 2013: -4.0 pounds

What went right, what went wrong

Last week was full of mixed results. I only got in 4 workouts, I like to get in 6, possibly 7. I also ate terribly on the days that I didn’t work out. It’s always hard to maintain my discipline with eating when I don’t exercise.

On weeks where I don’t get as many workouts in as I would like, I have decided to make the Insanity portion of my routine the priority. Of the fours days, I did Insanity 3 days and P90X once.

Goals for the week

1. Get a full week’s worth of workouts in. Holidays throw me off a lot, and I am still seeing that from when I was out during Easter.

2. If I don’t get a workout in, I want to really practice being more disciplined when I eat. I nee dot get better in that area.

3. Just pay attention to the way my body reacts to the reintroduction of weight lifting. Adding weight to my body isn’t a bad thing so long as it is muscle. That being said, I also have to pay close attention to the way I eat because if I eat poorly all week and my weight goes up, then it probably isn’t muscle.

One other thing, I am going to try to blog as often as usual (1 or 2 times a day) but we are getting really close to State tests so my time will be really crowded during these last few weeks of school.

Have a great day ladies and gentlemen, and may all of your fitness dreams come true!



Yes, you are Shaun T

Insanity is done. I promised that I would give you an update on how it went, and I am a man of my word. It has definitely moved to the top of my list as far as far as exercise programs go. It works you like nothing I have ever done before, and you can’t help but feel stronger after you complete one of the workouts.

Why No Pics?

There are three reasons I don’t have before and after pics on here. The first is I am doing you a favor by not including shirtless pics of me because of the body hair I have. I have a lot. Like, Chewbacca levels of body hair. It’s not easy to see muscle tone when you have a lot of body hair. Keeping it shaved is also too much of a hassle, so I just don’t do it.


Despite the rumors, Chewie and I were not separated at birth.

The second reason I don’t put them on here is because I am a teacher. The last thing I need is a picture of me without my shirt on being passed around by my students. It would be one thing if I could restrict the access of it, but in doing so, it defeats the purpose of having a blog.

The third will have to do with the results themselves. I was rocking along and seeing some awesome results for the first six weeks of the program. Then I got sick and there was a drastic change in how much I was able to exercise and how affectively I was able to do so. I gave back a little of the work I had done at the end of the program, so it wouldn’t look as affective as it was. I will try to find some pics before and after that weren’t taken solely for that purpose and post them at some point, but I haven’t found any good ones yet.

The numerous variation on push-ups will work your entire body.

The numerous variation on push-ups will work your entire body.

The Good

So what did it do for me? The first area that I noticed was the obliques. I’ve always had the dreaded love handles, and while I haven’t gotten completely rid of them, they are much less noticeable. There is a much straighter line down both sides of my body. I attribute this to the way Shaun T just pounds your core muscles. Almost every move of each workout focuses on the core muscle group. Had I not had such a hard time the last couple of weeks like I did, it think I would have been a lot closer to the six-pack abs that so many strive for.

Another thing that I have noticed is just how much my endurance has increased. When I did Max Plyo Interval last night, it was the first time I didn’t have to sit or lie down during the 30 second workouts. When I first started the program, it felt like I was about to die during the breaks.

One benefit that I did not anticipate is how much more intelligent I have become about exercise. I know the value of engaging your core in not just your abdominal work, but in pretty much any exercise routine you do. If you engage and work your core constantly, you can make all the other exercise you do a lot simpler.

The Bad

So what’s the bad of Insanity? Not much. It’s a complete body workout. There are very few parts of your body that the program doesn’t work. The only thing I missed throughout the program was really intense arm work. The program does have an Upper Body Weight Training DVD, but it can be difficult to find time to work it in.

The Ugly

Suicide Drills are aptly named.

Suicide Drills are aptly named.

The Ugly would be my form, especially at the beginning of the program. It has gotten better, and it continues to improve while I have entered my hybrid program of Insanity and P90X. If you have done it, you probably know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, your form will probably be pretty good for the first couple of minutes, but the more it pushes you, the harder it is to keep it looking clean. The thing I had to constantly remind myself of was that it would get better the more I did it. It takes a lot of perseverance to complete this program.

My overall impression of the program was overwhelmingly positive. I know I am in better shape for having done it. Perseverance is key. You have to know your limits and know how hard you can push yourself. It also helps to have a little dose of humility as well.

Have a great day ladies and gentlemen, and may all of your fitness dreams come true!

Fitness Update 3/22/13

Posted: March 22, 2013 by Justin M. Strawn in Fitness Updates
Tags: , , , , , ,

Exercise PictureExercise: Insanity Max Plyo Interval

Calories Burned: 943

Total Calories Burned for the week: 3,251

Weight Watchers Daily Points Used: 42 of 42

Weekly Points Used: 16 (23 left for the week)

Activity Points Used: 0

Activity Points Remaining: 32

Successes: I followed most of the plan that I had set out, so that’s good

Failures: I planned to have one White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie. I had two. Not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but it was more than I needed.

Outlook for today: No obstacles that I am aware of, so just don’t give in to any temptation that may pop up.

My workout tonight will be P90X Legs & Back. I plan to start back with morning workouts next week. I haven’t done Legs & Back in a while. It is by far my least favorite workout on P90X. Chicken Leg syndrome runs in my family, so doing leg work kills me. I am hoping that all that Plyo I did with Insanity helps make this easier.

My goal for today is to make sure I get my workout in. I want to get back to doing it in the morning. It may not happen this week, but I plan to get back into the swing of things by next week. Have a great day ladies and gentlemen, and may all of your fitness dreams come true!