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When you look at the big picture, being 28 years old is really still a kid. I mean, I can’t even think about retirement for about 35 more years, seven longer than I’ve lived.
But still, I think at 28 you can start to have opinions and thoughts geared to how life will be different for the generations of children behind you.
My worries have nothing to do with politics or religion, but more to do with life experiences. Here are a few of the examples I’ve been kicking around in my head.
Will kids that leave home and go off to college get to experience making coffee the old-fashioned way and figure out how much grounds to put in the filter with how much water, or will they just put a tiny plastic cup in a machine and press a button every morning.
How special where these trips to Toys-R-Us to buy a video game when I was seven or eight? You only knew games by the ads in comic books or on Nickelodeon and had to look for a voucher in a little sleeve to see if the store had Double Dragon in stock or not. You then took that voucher to the front of the store where a clerk fetched it from a glass room. Does simply downloading the latest title from the Playstation Online Store have the same appeal?
And on that subject, video games of today are sort of a joke. Kids will never again play Contra on the NES where lives mattered and you were lucky to play 10 minutes before starting over from the beginning. Recently I played through Red Dead Redemption on X Box, and guess what happens when you die? Nothing. You just come back to life, maybe in a different location, but still in the same place in the game. What kind of experience is that?
I also don’t want to think about what life will be like going through school with social media. Probably from 1st grade on kids will be posting Instagram photos from recess competing for likes. I luckily dodged all of that business until around my sophomore year of college when Facebook came out at Louisville. Then it was a useful tool to look up the girls from your class syllabus, but now it’s a way to look at wedding and baby albums.
I’m just saying if I was a kid today, I’m not sure there’s any way I’d read a book, blow into a video game system to get it to work, walk to a video rental store when a Redbox is at McDonalds or ever buy a CD from a record store with Pandora and Spotify available.
Everything we have now is instant, every bit of knowledge and information we have is literally in our pockets thanks to iPhones. Is all of this good or bad, I’m not sure.
I’ll admit, I love working out as much as the next guy, but I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be ripped.
The simple truth is Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s breakfast is all too good.
No matter how much I work out, my donut to bicep-curl ratio just won’t give me that ripped-to-shreds body that some guys desire.
Gains in strength aren’t an issue, my bench press continues to go up, but I just can’t be a mirror athlete. Won’t do it, can’t do it.
Plus, can you really trust people in the weight room that look like mini Arnold’s, just strutting around with veins popping everywhere? Unless their job is to lift nonstop and smash healthy meals, then it’s probably not a typical body of your everyday 9-to-fiver who spends more time checking Twitter between sets than worrying about impressing the next lady to walk by.
A recent podcast I listened to described the steps to being ripped as constantly moving, check, lift heavy weight with low reps, check, and cut out all sugar and unhealthy carbs, UNCHECK! I just couldn’t look in the mirror and see myself with bulging biceps and not think about those poor frosted blueberry donuts.
But seriously, if checking Twitter between sets is wrong, then I don’t want to right.
- Unbelievable that I’ve never watched the TV series ‘Trailer Park Boys’ before this month. My friend Ryan gave me the tip and I cued it up on Netflix. Easily the funniest thing I’ve watched. It’s shot Reno 911 style, but way funnier. Give it a shot and let the Bubbles character grow on you.
- Avril Lavigne still married to Chad Kroegger, unbelievable.
- Per some friends request, I got drawn back into the world of Snap Chat. Someone needs to devise a pyramid chart showing what social media/apps are permissible for which age groups. Once you hit your late 20’s Snap Chat is endless pics of your friends cats and lunch.
- I’m afraid of the man I’m becoming because my current fire jams are ‘Crazy Kids’ by Ke$ha and ‘See You Again’ by Carrie Underwood. Carrie’s video is tear-jerker city.
- Not sure where I am with Selena Gomez, she brought me in big time with the release of her ‘Come and Get It’ music video, but I feel like she totally mailed in this performance on Ellen.
- A lot of buzz for powdered peanut butter, let me try it in person before I believe the hype. Plus, almond butter is my new hotness.
1. “Could It Be” – Charlie Worsham
Rule No. 1 really with hot-fire jams is to not watch these music videos. Why do we even have videos anymore? Something for CMT to roll from 6-9 a.m.? But beyond Charlie Worsham freaking me out with his, “I’m such a laid back, nice, cool guy” vibe, I think this song is great. Solid vocal performance, a really inspirational song for guys like me looking for a country girl who likes running and a good laugh and may or may not already have kids.
2. “The Race is On” – George Jones
Am I country-emo right now? I don’t know, I’m just in a mood where these country songs about love and heartache are just calling my name. George Jones can flat out sing too, gotta appreciate that old-school sound that I grew up listening to at Grandpa’s house.
3. “Red Rag Top” – Tim McGraw
I’ll keep getting older, but this song will stay being legendary. I think I hate Tim McGraw, don’t know why, but regardless this is one of my favorite songs of all time. It’s one of those hard storylines to follow, but I think a young couple hooks up in a convertible, gets pregnant, decide not to have the baby, figure out they don’t love each other, the end. But the song makes it seem much more eloquent.
4. “Someone, Anyone” – Anberlin
Am I allowed to still like rock music that sounds like high school? Ok, good.
5. “Remix (I Like The)” – New Kids on the Block
Laugh all you want, but this song jams. Well, jams as much as five 45 year olds trying to relive their teens can.
I consume a lot of nutrition and fitness information, for better or worse, and started a practice of keeping notes of everything interesting in a notebook. In fear of losing my notes, I figured I would archive them here for myself and any readers who like such things.
Also, the headline of this blog keeps making me think of “Cleanin Out My Closet” by Eminem, so I Invite you to play this song while you read my tips if you wish.
- When eating put three fist-sized portions on your plate of a protein, vegetable and fruit or legume.
- Drink coffee every day to lower stroke rates.
- Routinely eat eggs, fish and vegetables for higher energy and always look to nuts for a snack.
- For eye health: In the morning, moisturize with a lotion that has SPF (Neutrogina Oil-Free 30 SPF), before bed use an eye cream with vitamin C.
- Eating fresh broccoli? Dip it in plain mustard for a healthier liver.
- Make a salad with fresh spinach topped with sardines and mustard for a jolt of healthy Omega 3’s.
- Berry Parfait Recipe: Cup of frozen berries thawed in the microwave, 1/2 cup granola, 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt.
- When wanting chips with a meal, eat pistachios instead. 45 Calories per serving instead of 160 or more.
- Book recommendation: Money Rules – Simple Path to Security.
- Four to five cups of coffee per day will help fight off colon cancer.
- SuddenlyFrugal.com for money saving tips.
- Boss-Inc.com – Offers classes to learn to live off the land.
- StoryvilleApp.com – Read a new short story each week.
- Multivitamin made from food is the best (Juice Plus+).
- Take Align Probiotic.
- To fall asleep faster, rub lavender oil on pillow.
- Shake recipe: 1 Cup coffee, ice, banana, 1/2 cup walnuts, vanilla protein powder and tbs of cocoa powder.
- Quote: “You can waste a lot of time waiting for inspiration.”
- One glass of red wine a day. Best bet a Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Glass of lemonade a day made from at least 10% lemon juice wards off kidney stones.
- Eat brussell sprouts routinely for prostate health.
- Healthy beer of choice: Amstel Light
- At the gym, use 8-6-4 for reps on the bench press with increasing weight each set.
- Aim for at least 35 grams of fiber per day.
- 8,000 mg of Echinacea good for endurance.
- Have a shake or chocolate milk immediately after a workout, a meal of steak, chicken or eggs can come later. Shakes and milk are absorbed faster.
- Two cups of cooked spinach a day gives you enough nitrate to help fuel muscles.
- Salad recipe: Arugula, basalmic vinegar, olive oil, walnuts, blue cheese, apple, minced garlic.
- Oregano supplement good for your heart.
- Say positive things in your head like “I feel good” while working out to boost strength.
- Visualize yourself conquering a workout before you do it.
- Running shoes: Aasics, Gel-Lyte33
- Hit the heavy bad for strength and endurance.
- Music recommendations: Earth, Daskthrone, Lycia
- Best gas station/road foods: Pistachios, beef jerky and raisins.
- Dry Hands: Neutrogena Hand Cream.
- Your first hour defines your day: 30 minutes of stretching, walking, running or elliptical.
- Hungry at work? Snack on apples or fresh vegetables.
- Stand on one leg while brushing teeth, switch legs as you move to each quadrant.
- Eat two cups of grapes daily to lower blood pressure with their polyphenols.
- Cottage cheese is good to prevent diabetes, spinach helps prevent cancer.
- Boost testosterone: Eat almonds, oatmeal, pistachios, try to go organic with each.
- Train fast using explosive movements because life is not lived in slow motion.
- Step up cardio exercise during cold and flu season, boosting circulation build immune cells.
- Cologne recommendations: Feel young (Armani Aqua di Gio), Outdoorsy (Mark Ecko Green), Classy (Dolce and Gabana Pour Homme).
1. Crispix Mixed With Corn Pops
I used to buy those variety packs of cereal when I was in college with about eight little boxes, but was never satisfied with the amount. I guess it was the literal serving size on the box which is just ridiculous with cereal. So on one great morning I said screw it, and emptied two boxes into one bowl, those boxes were Crispic and Corn Pops.
The taste, texture and overall experience was legendary. Now mixing cereals is just a normal part of my breakfast game. But no matter what I try: Smacks/Honey Combs, Fruit Loops/Fruity Pebbles, nothing turns me on like the sweet crunch of Crispix/Corn Pops.
P.S. Anyone who is a fervent supporter of the chocolate cereals is straight Looney Tunes. Just always felt a little too desserty, when what I want is wholesome goodness. Even crazier is when there is a choice, like fruity pebbles and cocoa pebbles. Fruity all day, every day.
2. Peanut Butter in Your Oatmeal
Oatmeal is God’s gift to breakfast, the undisputed champion in my book. Haven’t started a day without it since about 2002. But about a year ago I had a plan to put a scoop of almond or peanut butter in it while still hot and see what I got. The result is something a million angels couldn’t describe.
3. Chocolate Almond Milk, Jillian Michael’s Protein Powder, Banana, Peanut Butter
Basically adding peanut butter to anything makes it awesome, but this smoothie combination I came up with is the bomb. I don’t know why it has to be Jillian Michael’s Protein Powder, but it just does. It was all I could find at Wal-Mart one night (I know, go to GNC bro, I live in a tiny town, get off me) but the taste was surprisingly great.
Just use chocolate almond milk (Silk brand) as the base, add powder, one banana and a spoonful of PB and blend with a couple cubes of ice. Straight fire smoothie recipe, you’ll never want anything else.
4. Regular Mustard on Canned Tuna
If you’re like me, you eat your tuna straight out of the can like a beast. And the best way to not feel so poor when you’re doing it is to add your favorite brand of deli mustard straight on top and eat it with a spoon. Dr. Oz told me that mustard brings out the nutrients in green veggies, like dipping broccoli in it, so I figured why not let it boost my tuna too. The taste is so good you’ll laugh in the face of mayo.
5. Espresso in Your Chai Tea Latte
If you love chai tea lattes, iced or hot, from a coffee house, then do yourself a favor and make it dirty with a shot of espresso in it. I prefer the iced variation with skim milk from either Baxters in Somerset, Ky., or Starbucks. The result in pumpkin pie in a glass, which sucks if you don’t like pumpkin pie, but if that’s the case you should probably just leave America. I know coffee-house drinks aren’t for everyone and chai lattes in general are not good for you, but one of these a week is a worthy sacrifice.
Because I spend a lot of time in a gym, you get to see a ton of hardo moves. The following list will be the top-five hardo things you see happen in a gym. I can laugh at it, because I have probably done them all dating back to when I first did a bench press in college.
Gallon Jug of Water
Drinking plenty of water is always on my mind when I work out. I feel like it’s extremely important due to how much you sweat and the exertion on your muscles. Luckily gyms are full of water fountains, even though I constantly wonder if a weird kid did that thing where they put their mouth on the faucet, but still, as a man, I trust in the fountain.
But some guys don’t, and the answer is carrying around a full gallon jug of water. I think I last did this when I was about 19 in college at Louisville. I felt like if I wore my Greek letters and traversed the quad carrying a gallon, then the ladies would have to take a second glance.
Straight Up Bringing Your Protein Powder to the Gym
I’m on this kick where I have to consume as many grams as protein as my ideal weight (155) each day, so I always keep some type of whey protein powder around the HOUSE. I think it’s a smart move if you’re on a weight lifting program to have some around the HOUSE.
However, for some bros, the gym is their kitchen, their Muscle Milk Lab if you will. I routinely see people bringing the container out of their bags and scooping it out into a shaker mere seconds after a set of bench.
I admit, I brought my shaker into the gym last week, but already had the ingredients mixed up and I still felt like a hardo. Doing that move where you’re in the corner shaking that thing vigorously, hoping no one is staring. I’m just saying, getting back to the house and peacefully mixing my hardo shake relaxes me, I just don’t want to do my meathead Emeril impression next to the squat rack.
Screaming Like a Maniac
I’m going to start this topic off by saying that you get a free pass if at the time of scream you are the most jacked dude in the gym. If you’ve done the work to be a scary dude, then by all means I say scream your face off even when you’re doing bicep curls.
But for guys like me that lift a lighter weight for the health benefits, it’s just not a good look to grunt and yell during each set of 150 on the bench. It’s like I’m already embarrassing myself enough, might as well not sound like an extra on The Walking Dead.
Portable iPod Speakers
I’ve belonged to an infinity amount of gyms in my adult life and one thing stays the same, the music is dreadful. Always has been bad, always will be bad. I guess it makes sense, they have to pick a station that will appeal to the highest percentage of people, which always ends up as a Kenny G/John Mayer hybrid. Luckily, the remedy to this is the invention of sports headphones and iPhones/iPods.
Still from time to time you will see a group of hardos break out one of those mini portable speakers and play their own jams while they lift. This is a tricky move, because at the end of the day I’m actually glad to hear something other than adult contemporary, but you’re also still the guy that brought a portable speaker to the gym.
I respect the need to hear your songs while you lift no matter how you do it. I do the majority of my workouts in the athletics weight room where I work and in there I can crank up my own tunes however I see fit. I’m about 50% stronger in there, turning it into 2002 with 50 Cent, Disturbed and System of a Down.
Matching Clothes From Head to Toe
I have no problem when girls put on a fashion show at the gym, don’t even think twice about it, but I get oddly annoyed when bros have full, matching workout outfits on. Like matching a neon green Under Armour logo with neon green shorts and a strip of neon on the shoes. Hardo city.
When I work out, I try to find the most ratty t-shirt I have so that it looks like I work out really hard in it, when in reality it’s just a 15-year old shirt that I wore back when I was husky.
Kind of like the portable speakers, I still don’t entirely hate on the matching workout clothes. If being sexy and you know it motivates you to get to the gym, then I say match on. Any excuse to go to the gym is worth it, whether it’s vanity, battling stress or picking up chicks.