More Random Thoughts and Quick Hits

My Random Thoughts and Quick Hits seemed to be a hit last week, so I have decided to continue on with it. Along with the weekly Videos of the Week, these random thoughts will probably become a consistent thing in my blog. Truth be told, my mind is pretty random so this works out well. Here it goes.

1. Movies. With my new internship being six days a week and not getting home until 9pm, I have not been able to go to the movies too much recently. I am a big movie guy, so I miss it. Luckily, the last two movies I have seen have been excellent: The Town and, most recently, The Social Network. I highly recommend both of them if you haven’t seen them. Here is the trailer for The Social Network, out in theaters now.

Speaking of movies, does anyone else feel like the quality of comedies has gone down recently? It has been awhile since a really funny movie has come out. The Hangover was pretty good, but even that doesn’t even sniff stuff like Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball, Anchorman, Old School, and my all-time favorite, Dumb and Dumber. I started to think I had outgrown comedies since I haven’t been too into them, but upon further consideration, I realize it’s just that there haven’t been any worth watching. Hopefully this changes soon.

2. Size. I am always getting asked why I have stayed the same size for the past couple years, as if I am making huge dietary mistakes and limiting my progress. It is true that my weight has stayed between 173-180 for almost two years, but that is completely intentional. When I was lighter, I had a goal to get bigger, but once I reached a point I felt comfortable with, I stopped trying to gain weight. I guess some people cannot understand that, but that’s fine. At the end of the day, we all need to do what makes us happy.

3. Building a base. Training to gain, whether it be size or strength, is very hard. On the other hand, training to maintain once you have built the foundation is easy. You ever see those huge guys in the gym that are just putzing around with baby weights? I see it all the time. In the beginning, I used to wonder how they ever got so big and strong in the first place training like that. Then I realized that they didn’t always train like that. They built their base through brutally hard training for many years.

This might not seem fair to the new lifter, but it’s not unlike other parts of life. Pay your dues early and reap the rewards later. Think about all the rich older guys that just gallivant around on all sorts of different vacations. Except for a lucky few, you can bet those guys were the ones busting their butts in their early years working long hours while the rest of the people partied and slept in. Success does not happen by chance. It takes years of hard work. If you aren’t prepared to put the work in, don’t expect the results.

4. Perspective. It’s easy to get bogged down in the daily grind and start feeling sorry for yourself and lament about how hard your life is. It happens to me all the time. Whenever I get in this mindset, it helps me to step back and put things into perspective. I have a family friend that had a stroke about five years ago and has not been able to walk since. Recently, he has been experiencing some very serious heart issues and has been in and out of the hospital and the nursing home. I have been driving home every Sunday on my day off to visit him. Every week, this guy seems to get worse and worse physically, yet his attitude remains as upbeat as ever. If that isn’t perspective, I don’t know what is.

5. Podcasts. I love these. It is the perfect learning tool for someone in my situation right out of college that works a lot and does not have a lot of extra time and money. It is basically a free snippet into the minds of some of the top coaches in the industry. Plus, you can listen to them while you drive to wherever else you need to be. When you think about it, it really doesn’t take any time because, after all, you have to drive there anyway right? It’s either listen to a Podcast and learn or listen to the Top 20 countdown for the 50th time. Easy choice. I hardly ever listen to the radio anymore. I keep a spindle of cd’s in the passenger seat of my car that I burn from my computer (I know I know, I have not joined the Ipod craze yet…working on it) and have a constant influx of priceless information: priceless because it’s great, and priceless because, well, it’s free.

Trouble is, I am running out of things to listen to. I have gone through basically all of the Podcasts from The Strengthcoach Podcast, The Fitcast, and most recently, In the Trenches Fitness with Mike Robertson. If anyone knows of some good Podcasts that I may not have heard of, I am all ears.

6. Sleep. I read a lot of stuff out there how 8 hours of sleep is absolutely essential to be able to function properly. Here is my problem with this assertion. Sure, sleep is important, but how many successful people do you know that actually get 8 hours every night, let alone ever? I don’t know many. I’m not saying sleep is not important, but I have a problem with generalizations that do not play out in the real world.

7. Shoes. I feel like a chick talking about shoes two weeks in a row. You guys must be thinking I’m some sort of diva. In fact, until this week, I had not bought gym sneakers in three years. Last week, I mentioned that I was intrigued by the idea of barefoot training and had ordered a pair of Nike Frees to see how I liked them before trying out the Vibrams Five Fingers. Well, shortly after that post, a friend of mine put me in contact with a sales rep from Vibram who sent me a free pair of the VSO model to try out. So now, after rotating through two old pairs of sneakers for the past three years, I got two new pairs on Tuesday. I will probably start out with the Frees for a bit and then switch to the Vibrams and compare the two. I will say that they both feel pretty comfortable just trying them around and walking around my living room. As far as looks go, the Frees are the clear winner, so the Vibrams have some ground to make up as far as comfort and functionality. From what I have heard though, this is entirely possible.

(Side note: I have never seen a group of people that are so loyal to their footwear than Vibram wearers. Since that post I have received a bunch of messages about how great they are. I react to this passion in two contrasting ways. One: I am impressed with such passion and want to get in on the action myself. Two: I am put off by the almost cult-like devotion and want to avoid them just for the sake of being different. At the end of the day though, it’s just shoes and I will see how I like them.

8. The new hitting policy in the NFL. I am torn about this one. On the one hand, the recent influx of head injuries is just scary. Guys are getting so big and so fast that the collisions have become much more vicious. I hate seeing guys get hurt. At the same time, the fan side of me still loves watching big hits. I can’t deny that. I hope the new rules do not water down defenses too much, but at the same time, I hope something can be done to lower the incidence of serious head and neck trauma.

Along these lines, please send a get-well message to Eric LeGrand, defensive tackle from Rutgers University. This past weekend, Eric was paralyzed from the neck down in a freak collision. This was not the result of a dirty hit, but you still hate to see it. I do not know Eric personally, but it still kills me to see this stuff. I saw this link to send him a message and I think it’s a great idea. We all need support in our times of need. Click here.

9. J Rod’s new website. Check out the new website of my friend and coworker Jaime Rodriguez. This guy is a tremendous coach, a great athlete, and a nice person. I have learned a lot from him in my time at MBSC. Check out the website here.

10. New experiences. In addition to my internship at MBSC, I recently started going to Holy Cross two days a week to intern in the weight room there under Jeff Oliver. So far it has been a really good experience. Coach Oliver is great, and it is great to experience a different environment and work with different athletes. Right now I am working primarily with the football team, which is something I have really wanted to do. My goal in interning this fall is to accumulate as much coaching experience as I can and learn as much as I can, and I think the best way to do that is to experience as many different things as possible.

11. Knee pillows. A lot of people that come to me about their back pain complain that it is worst in the morning. This used to the case with me as well, until I got a knee pillow as a Christmas gift about three years ago. Now I never sleep without it. You can get them at any Wal-Mart or something similar, and they are not expensive. If you suffer from back pain that is exacerbated by the way you sleep, I recommend you look into one for yourself. Check it out.

12. My football hierarchy. I love football season. Here is my football hierarchy in order of interest.

1. The Patriots
2. College football
3. The NFL

First and foremost, I am a Patriots fan. I clear out time on Sundays to watch them as if it is a commitment. That aside, I like the college game better than the NFL. To me, it is just more exciting. The guys play so hard, and because the defenses are not quite as good, there are more big plays. You don’t have to hear about contracts, holdouts, and all the other bs that comes along with professional sports. Furthermore, each game is vitally important because even one loss can disqualify a team from winning a championship. In the pros, you can lose a few games and still make the playoffs, where anything can happen from there. I don’t even have a favorite team in college. I just like watching good football. Now that conference play has started, this is easy because every Saturday is filled with good games.

So there you have it: my random mind. Hope everyone has a good weekend!