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90 day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 12 Garlic knees & serial killers

Garlic Knees

Me pretending i didn't want to go to yoga this morning...

Due to scheduling difficulties [watching too many movies at the Film Festival] it has been nearly impossible for me to make it to Palm Desert for Bikram classes this past week.  So I was pumped to be able to go this morning, and even better got to take my friend Justin’s class for the first time!

Excitement unfortunately wasn’t enough to propel me through the 90 minute class; I hit a total wall before we even got to tree pose (there was still A LOT of class left, and zero energy in my tank).  Rough class.

My knees smelled like garlic–you spend a lot of time looking at and smelling your knees in yoga–and I was tempted to lick them for energy.

Today’s class reminded me how critical a regular yoga practice is if you want to make any kind of progress with flexibility and strength.  When I used to do Bikram regularly I found that it took about 3 classes every week to maintain whatever level I was at…and four or more classes per week to progress…

One or two classes a week (while sometimes that’s all I can do) can be frustrating.

I’ll be back in the heated room tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.  The super chill aspect to Bikram is that it doesn’t actually matter how “good” you do–the point IS to struggle–so it’s all good regardless.

Plus I got a “that’s a pretty good camel Ken” from Justin.  So there’s that.

Eating Is Confusing

My intention is to get back to a daily accounting of exactly what I eat.  Not because I haven’t been eating good, but because I need it as a tool to see what is working for me and what’s not.

Since ending my strictly 100% raw foods for 60 days thing I have not had ANY refined sugars, commercial meat or dairy, white processed flour, or any kind of fake foods (low-fat, non-fat, GMO, artificial sugars, fake meats, etc.).

What I have been eating is my citrus and green smoothie every day, fresh fruit, raw snacks like LARA bars, raw chocolate energy shakes, cold-pressed oils, hummus with blue corn chips, pasta made with brown rice that I toss with my raw pestos and tomato sauces, quinoa with lentils and roasted veggies, etc.

All that is fine & well.  My cravings are at bay.  My diet is pretty damn clean.  But…I don’t feel nearly as light and energetic as I did when I was 100% raw.

Another Raw Push & Beyond

not my girlfriend

Because my girlfriend is a gluten-free vegetarian and because we only have two nights a week we can eat together, I cook meals we can share on those nights.  The other nights I eat whatever is around when I get home from work.  Her diet works very well for her, but I suspect it isn’t what is best for me despite it’s being so healthy…

Like me, she eats a lot of greens and fresh fruits during the day (we both like that now and don’t feel the need any longer for traditional breakfasts and lunches) and then at night she eats a lot of grains, potatoes, grilled veggies, corn tortillas, legumes, and organic cheeses.  I love the way those foods taste, but they make me feel very soft.

When I was eating raw I had an intuitive flash that I didn’t want to be a vegetarian (many report the opposite epiphany).  My intuition tells me that the diet which fits my body best is almost all raw fruits and veggies, a little bit of raw nuts, seeds & raw goat cheese, with a serving of beef or fish a couple times a week. [I am now so picky about the meat/eggs/and dairy that I eat that it is difficult to find…]

Soon I will be setting aside two weeks to eat 100% raw beegan again, and during that time I will be seriously upping the number of yoga classes I attend.

After those two weeks are up I will be trying the above version of a high-raw diet vs. the one I do now that has a lot of vegetarian cooked foods…

If you are wondering why I don’t just eat 100% raw all the time and leave it at that, my simple answer is that I don’t want to.  I like to cook.  I like beans and rice.  I like melted cheese.  I just don’t need as much of it anymore and when I do eat those foods now, somewhere in the back of my head is an unshakable craving for an orange or a peach.  Often, after a cooked dinner, I immediately begin to imagine how good my morning green drink is going to be…

Tonight’s Movie…


Very excited about the film I will be seeing tonight at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.  It’s part of a trilogy about a serial killer, the series is called Red Riding. Tonight I will see film one: Red Riding 1974.

Day 12 Food & Exercise log:

  1. Quart of water on waking
  2. A coconut water before Bikram
  3. Another quart of water during Bikram
  4. A tropical tango smoothie after class (coconut water, coconut, papaya, pineapple, strawberry)
  5. Freshly made hummus from the health food store deli.  I add cold-pressed olive oil and roasted garlic…and eat it with “Sesame Blues” chips.
  6. Drank some water while I cut my Annie’s hair (I insist on being called Pedro while I cut hair).
  7. Will have a green drink (grapefruit/orange/spinach) before I go to the Film Fest.
  8. Will ride my bike to the theater and during the movie I will have a raw energy bar called ‘matcha’ from earthling organics..they taste like coconut graham crackers!
  9. I have a huge pot of veggies [brocc,leaks, garlic, red/blue/and yellow fingerling potatoes, carrots, asparagus, red onion, brussel sprouts] marinating in wine, olive oil, and herbs in the fridge.  I will oven roast them when I get home and we will have a huge veggie feast with some organic red wine from Trader Joe’s.
  10. Tomorrow is another Bikram class!

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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 6 Health is the Ultimate Perk

I have some issues with this “challenge.”

I have to level with you and share that I have a real problem with the following words:

  • Natural – What the hell does that mean anyway?  Aren’t we all natural, even when we’re not?
  • Fitness – It’s kind of a gross word, that for me conjures up images of treadmills and those stupid giant balls people workout on.
  • Challenge – The word itself is a challenge, and in an abrasive way.  Sometimes we like a good challenge, but most of us don’t like to be challenged.

beats me

So why would I call this a Natural Fitness Challenge?  Because I only have words to work with here 😉 and because the three words together, kinda sorta almost convey what I am trying to do for the next 90 days of my life.  Actually I have 84 days left!

The whole package, aka, stronger & longer lasting.

Looking good Kim...must be all those Carl's Jr. salads...

I have tried–successfully & unsuccessfully–to “tranform” my body in the past.  Unfortunatley, even when I did succeed it was short-lived.  And something else always bothered me too…those transformations weren’t really about me.

Having only external goals like “I wanna lose weight and have big muscles,” or “the most important thing in my life is that I can wear a bikini this summer,” doesn’t get you to a place where the transformation sticks.  I want you to wear a bikini this summer too–I really do–but I want you to be wearing the polka dots every summer after as well.

That’s the thing that has been so different about both my 60 day Raw Food challenge and now this 90 day Natural Fitness challenge, I am focused on the whole package, and I want the change to become a permanent part of me.

Do you want to be healthy?

One of the biggest parts of the package is health.  What’s the point of getting super fit but in the process flooding your body with cancer causing artificial sweeteners, meat & dairy full of hormones and antibiotics, and “fat burners” that quickly wear down your nervous system?

And why undergo a trans-formative process that leaves you feeling only more critical of yourself?  That’s never healthy.

We live once.  We are these bodies, which I don’t believe are separate from us as most of us have been taught.

We can live incredibly with all kinds of savory sensory input and loads of dynamic energy and skin on skin and bellowing laughter, or we can drive around town with cheetohs on our dash and a big gulp in the cup holder with cigarettes burning our upholstery and our lungs hating the world and…you get the picture.

And yeah..I’m dramatizing both realities..we are all somewhere in the middle of that picture…which is right where we should be.

What I did on Day 6:

I am so blown away by how fast you can heal if you get out of your own way!  If you read the last couple blogs I mentioned I had to slow down a bit because of a debilitating sinus infection.  I rarely get sick, but when i get sinus infections they are serious business.

Gabrielle Brick, who I am a not so secret admirer of, gave me some great advice on how to make my sinus infection “cease to exist” quickly.  I used to have month long infections, following her advice it’s almost completely gone in 2 days!

Today I will be going for another strenuous hike since it’s my last day off for a bit and I must be outside in this gorgeous weather (it’s absolute sunny perfection and in the 70’s in Palm Springs).

  1. 2 glasses of h2o each with a tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar (for my sinuses)
  2. Juiced 2 grapefruit, 4 oranges, and blended with 2 big handfuls of spinach and some blueberries.
  3. 2 more glasses of water w/ ACV.
  4. took a slow hike at a pace that would get my heart rate up w/o stressing my immune system.
  5. ate a LARA bar on the hike.
  6. bought a new matcha green tea raw bar at health food store and ate it–so delicious! like a sweet graham cracker.
  7. made chickpea tacos with spicy mexicn seasonings and lots of fajita veggies: zucchini, carrots, onion, red pepper.  served on steamed corn tortillas and with spicy corn on the cob. i skipped the organic sour cream because of my sinuses.
  8. swallowed 2 big cloves of garlic (immune booster) in a tbs of raw honey (anti-bacterial).

Tomorrow I think I’ll feel good enough to get back to a Bikram class!


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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 4 Exercise & other paradoxes…

If I had a religious bone in my body, I would think the devil was determined to see me fail in my personal challenge of 90 straight days of exercise.

The word prolapse is disgusting

The day before starting the challenge I slipped on some wet concrete (long story) and fell down some cement steps.  Crash landed on my back–barely avoiding a crushing skull impact.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that to keep my head from striking the steps I strained so hard in mid-air that I aggravated my lower left abdomen where I have had trouble in the recent past with the beginnings of a hernia, aka a “prolapse.”

It scared me because previously that lower ab pain & bulge meant almost 2 months of pain/discomfort/and limited movement.  It got so bad last time (hernias trigger giant swollen testes and all kinds of other fun n’ games) that I was pretty sure I would soon be laying on an operating table.

No joke, this is a painting on medieval hernia surgery!!!

What got the prolapse to go away?  The main aggravating factor of hernias is being fat.  Yep.  Like so many health conditions and even diseases, I had brought this on myself.  The hernia was one of the reasons I finally decided to do something about my un-health by eating only raw foods for 60 days.

So when I fell the other day and could feel within minutes that strain-pain coming bak I was angry and super disappointed.  I even e-mailed my brother and a few other people who were starting the 90 day natural fitness challenge with me, asking them if maybe it would be better that we start it a few weeks later…

The reason I did that was because exercise just makes the hernia thing worse!  Doesn’t that suck?  You’re fat and you have a frickin hernia because you’re fat, but if you exercise you make it worse!

Fortunately the strain ended up being a little milder this time and I started the challenge on schedule (with some misgivings) and am just being extra careful in certain yoga poses, and making sure I don’t lift anything in a foolish way.

Exercise is both stress and stress relief

Now, just 4 days into my 90 day challenge, I have a sinus infection.

Owner of one of the hardiest immune systems on the planet, I get sick once every two to three years. But, when that sickness comes in the form of a sinus infection Doctors shriek when they shove that scope-light  thing up into my snot caverns.  The last time I had a sinus infection (maybe 5 years ago) the Doctor said that he was just going to “skip the pussy antibiotics and go straight to the most hard-core one that we try not to use because if germs ever figure out how to get around this shit–mankind is totally fucked!”  Thanks doc.

Here’s why I think I got the sinus infection now.  I read somewhere that while exercise is clearly one of the best things we can do for our bodies, from a purely physiological level we still perceive it as plain ol’ stress.  That’s a funny paradox…exercise helps us deal with stress and even release it….but it itself is stress.

My theory is that exercise is especially stressful when you are out of shape and not used to doing it, and when you are already under a bunch of other kinds of stress (work/bills/family/being overweight).  So I started the year off with a bang and almost no sleep, but because of my commitment to the 90 day challenge, forced myself to get up each day and workout anyways.

Which is OK.

I’m going to pull out a quote that I hate to use, because people get all huffy about it, and because I hate using quotations. But if you “get it” I think you will appreciate how I’m using it, and know that I’m not being a dick when I include it here:

“Life is difficult. So what?” –M. Scott Peck

Peck wrote an uber non-fiction bestseller called The Road Less Traveled. The book opens with that stark statement followed by the question which at first glance seems to be shaped in the form of a challenge.

Here is how Peck goes on to explain his view of life and difficulty not only being inseparable, but why he sees no need for that to be the case…

“Life is difficult.  This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

So I’m going to apply that same way of thinking about life to exercise.  Yeah, it’s difficult, it’s stress, so what?

Also, know that I am not being cavalier about my health or yours.  If you read my descriptions of the 90 day challenge you will see I already talked in depth about the need each week for a “rest” day so that your body can repair and stabilize.  Remember, this challenge isn’t about the challenge anyways–it’s about you.  So as always, do what you know is right.  Just know, that that may not always be what’s easy.

What I did on Day 4 (Mon Jan 4)

  1. Drank a quart of water
  2. Had a tropical tango smoothie (mango/papaya/pineapple/coconut meat & water) 2 hours before Bikram
  3. Drank another quart of water during my 90 minute Bikram Yoga class
  4. Ate a wrap made with a brown rice tortilla, organic roast beef, lettuce, tomato, and balsamico.
  5. Before work I had homemade hummus with roasted garlic & olive oil & organic blue corn chips
  6. At work I drank another quart of water and ate a LARA bar
  7. After work I was starving and made some quick nachos with the blue corn chips, whole pinto beans, organic jalapeno jack cheese, and organic tomatillo salsa.
  8. I lay down on the couch with a glass of organic red wine to watch a movie (one of my favorites “Ronin”) and immediately passed out.


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90 Day Natural Fitness Challenge: Day 3 What are the rules?

TONS of people are asking me how they can participate in the challenge!  But a couple questions  keep being asked.  Here’s the scoop!

What is “natural” fitness anyway?

Someone asked me yesterday what I mean by “natural fitness” challenge.

I struggled a bit with what to call this thing I’m trying to do, and settled on alternating between “90 straight days of exercise” & “90 day natural fitness challenge.”

Ninety straight days of exercise is pretty self-explanatory.  Most modern peeps don’t do some form of exercise every day.  Many haven’t exercised in 90 days!  So my plan is to get moving every day for three months.

The reason I chose to use the word natural in conjunction with fitness is that much of the fitness world has nothing to do with health.

Looking back…

In the eighties it was assumed the two words (health & fitness) were synonymous…

  • Remember when everyone was obsessed with eating low fat and sugar free?
  • Remember when endless cardio sessions and massive bowls of low fat pasta and bread were the hallmarks of health and fitness?
  • Not to mention the massive amounts of supplements people were taking!  Vitamins, minerals, protein powders, ginseng, memory aids, sleep aids, super dieters tea…
  • And the one that cracks me up the most is remembering how cool & “healthy” we thought we looked with a cold diet coke in our hand!

A lot of that mentality is still around, and most of it can be found in gyms.  Have you seen how massive some of the tubs of whey & soy protein powders are that they have for sale at gyms?  And yes, people are still popping creatine and testosterone pre-cursors like candy.

I did all that.  Years ago I completed a 12 week fitness challenge called “body for life” sponsored by EAS (a huge supplement company).  I looked damn good after that 12 weeks.  I also spent well over $1500 on body building supplements.  Including fat burners, creatine, whey, and HMB.  It was effective, but not necessarily about health.

2010 and beyond!

After eating only raw foods for the last two months of 2009–and losing over 33 pounds–I now have the motivation and desire to get incredibly fit! But I am not interested in anything other than a natural approach to doing so…

No way am I going to embrace an artificial, chemical, fear-based approach to fitness.  We all want to look great naked–no doubt about that–but NOT at the cost of our health.

I believe we can do both.  And I believe that journey will take people mostly out of the gym and into nature.  I think the fitness revolution of the coming decade will happen in yoga studios, in the ocean, and on mountain tops!

I think fitness can be the way we actively meditate, the way we give back to ourselves, and a way to share and connect with the people we are closest to.

What are the rules?

The next question I am being asked is, “so what are the rules of the 90 day challenge?”

Rules are a funny thing.  We need guidelines and even full-blown rules sometimes.  But for the most part they aren’t really the thing that’s important…it’s just that we feel uncomfortable without having them.

When people start eating raw as an example they are often hyper concerned with the “rules.”  Is tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) raw?  Can I eat these olives?  Is it ok to have a glass of wine on a raw diet?  After time you begin to realize that what you are after isn’t some prize, or to be able to label yourself a raw foodist, but health, energy, LIFE!

Food

I am very comfortable with how I eat now.  I did a ton of research and experimentation during my raw challenge and I believe I have found what is best for me:

  • 2/3 or more of my diet is raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
  • I do not eat refined sugars.  When I have “sweets” the sugar comes from dates, raw honey, agave, etc.
  • I literally almost never eat “white” processed flour, i.e., pasta, bagels, bread.
  • I avoid foods cooked in oil, while I liberally use cold-pressed oils and avocados in my daily intake.
  • I eat no artificial ANYTHING!  No artificial sweeteners or preservatives.  Nothing that says diet, sugar-free, low-fat.  None of that.  And that includes supposedly healthy processed soy products or other “fake” meats, etc.  I only eat real food.  If I have a veggie burger its made of veggies and legumes, not texturized soy protein isolates or seitan (wheat gluten).
  • Very rarely will I have beer or hard liquor.  I have 2-5 glasses of organic red wine a week.
  • I love raw superfoods like cacao (chocolate), maca, and spirulina–but they aren’t a huge part of my diet and I don’t spend a lot of money on them.
  • I eat very little meat or dairy, and when I do I am committed to only eating grain-fed, hormone/antibiotic/and confinement free beef, poultry, eggs, and dairy.
  • Most days start with a simple green smoothie followed by snacking on fresh fruit throughout the day.  Some days I make a cool raw dinner and have a 100% raw day.  Other days I make a healthy cooked meal or go out to one of few places I know I can purchase REAL food.
  • Greens are a BIG part of my intake each and every day.  I support local farmers and purchase most of my produce at my local farmers market.  Some of it is organic, all of it is at the very least pesticide-free.

Is this the only way to be healthy? Of course not.  Is this the right way for you to eat?  I have no idea.

This is just where I am at and I feel really good about it.  Maybe you will find these guidelines helpful.

I will say that I think most people will never really get the raw thing without committing to being 100% raw for a period of time (at least two weeks, and preferably a full month).

It is very empowering, illusion-shattering, and awareness-inducing to eat 100% raw for a time.  If you want to commit to it, get in touch with me and I will help you any way I can!

The bottom line though is this…in order to benefit from this 90 day natural fitness challenge you need to be eating what you consider to be a healthy, natural diet!

Exercise

The rules of the challenge are more clear cut when it comes to exercise–do it EVERY day!

A note about rest.  Rest is critical in order to “recover.”  Recovery is when your body repairs and grows new muscle.  So you need one day a week where you give yourself a break.  But that doesn’t mean you lay on the couch all day.  It just means you take a long walk and smell the roses, or ride your beach cruiser around the boardwalk.  Rest by moving.

The other six days show no mercy!  Seriously.  Six days a week of intense exercise.  It can be in a gym.  But it doesn’t have to be…

Maybe you have a favorite workout DVD you like to pop in.  Maybe you do Pilates or yoga (just make sure it is real hatha yoga and that it is intense).  Maybe you get up early and run/walk around a lake or hike straight up your favorite climb for 60-90 minutes.  Whatever it is–PUSH!  Really truly push and get your heart pounding and your ass shaking.

Thirty minutes of intense exercise is the BARE MINIMUM, and if you are only exercising 30 minutes you better be sweating like crazy after.  Most days you should be shooting for a solid hour of exertion.

If you are out of shape like I am, don’t use it as an excuse.  Instead take heart knowing that your fat ass will be easily taxed by almost any form of movement or resistance!  That’s right!  It’s actually easier for out of shape people to do this challenge!  Have you noticed I haven’t said one thing about how far you should run or bike?  This isn’t about distance if you are using this to get in shape.  This is about getting in shape.

The pose that eludes Annie...the Pigeon...LOL!

The people who have it toughest are those who are already fit but want to use the 90 day challenge as  a way to go further.

As an example my girlfriend, a Bikram Yoga teacher who already eats very healthily and exercises six to seven times a week, EVERY week, is doing the 90 day challenge along with me.

Her unique challenge involves attending a once weekly advanced Bikram class.  In addition to her daily exercise she is now going to once a week put herself through a 5  hour session of hellish and uber-intense advanced hot yoga.  A process that is an extreme physical and mental challenge.  Makes me feel like I’m getting away with something…

I think it will be fascinating to see what people come up with.  Maybe some snow-bound people will be cross country skiing, maybe there are people who are ready to train for their 1st triathlon or amateur mountain bike race…

So the bottom line is that in order to participate in this challenge you must commit to 90 straight days of exercise!  There are no make up days, this is meant to be tough.

So how do I start?

The rest of this is optional but highly recommended:

  1. Let me know what your start date is! I would love to stay in touch throughout the process and it will motivate me & others to know you are doing the challenge.
  2. Take before pics. Trust me, you will be glad you did.  Nothing is more motivating then comparing before and AFTER pics of yourself side by side!  If you are thrilled with your results and are open to it, I would love to post them on a blog and tell everyone about your personal experience with the 90 day challenge!
  3. Get an initial weight and any other measurement that you think are key: waist, dress size, bicep measurements, resting heart rate, blood pressure.  After you take these initial measurements DO NOT take them again for another 30 days!  Once every 30 days retake the measurements and record them.
  4. Tell other people. Let your Facebook, Twitter, and (gasp) even people you actually see in person each day know that you are doing this and you are pumped about it.  Feel free to include a link to my blog any time you like. Maybe you will get some 90 day workout partners!
  5. Write stuff down. Every single day record what you ate and what you did that qualifies as intense exercise.  I don’t know why writing stuff down makes such a big difference when it comes to accomplishing things–but it does.  That’s the whole reason behind this blog…it’s a way for me to write it down.
  6. Enjoy yourself and be your own best friend. This is about feeling healthier, looking great, and enjoying life.  It’s tough to enjoy life if you don’t like yourself.  So be a true friend and thank yourself at least as hard as you are pushing yourself!  It’s not the 90 day challenge that actually matters, so don’t ever get discouraged.  What matters is you!

I truly hope this is something that will continue to spread and benefit people.  It may seem far-fetched, but I truly believe that anyone can completely reinvent themselves in just 12 weeks!  It’s one of the coolest things about being human, this capacity we each have to change…

——————————————————————————————–

What I did on my 3rd day of the challenge:

  1. Slept in and missed my chance to do Bikram today.
  2. Drank 3 glasses of water.
  3. Juiced 2 grapefruits & 2 oranges.  Blended w/ spinach & spirulina for a green breakfast.
  4. Road my bike and did errands (including buying tickets for Palm Springs Film Festival screenings!).
  5. Did an hour long “training” ride on my fixed gear bike.  Fixed gears only have one speed, are geared pretty high, and don’t “coast.”  That means if I ride for an hour I am literally pedaling for an hour.  I like to find hills and race up them until my heart feels like it will explode, then ride steady until I am breathing normal again, and then repeat over and over for an hour or more.
  6. Drank 2 glasses of water.
  7. RAW superfood energy chocolate shake:  almond butter, maca powder, cacao powder, cacao nibs, raw honey, and raw hemp seeds (great protein) all belended with some water and ice! Delicious, full of antioxidants, and gives me tons of energy.
  8. Snacked on a couple tangerines at work and probably drank another quart or more of water.
  9. Tossed brown rice noodles with homemade pesto (raw walnuts/basil/cold-pressed olive oil/garlic cloves/sea salt/lemon squeeze), some diced fresh tomato, and some raw goats milk cheese.  Enjoyed with a glass of organic wine.
  10. Drinking more water as I type this before bed.  I may sneak in another one of those Uli Mana raw chocolate truffles!

Tomorrow I am taking Annie’s Bikram class fershizzel my wizzles!

Cheers to everyone and I look forward to hearing about your 90 day challenges!


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90 day natural fitness challenge: Day 2…Beginner Bikram lessons learned

Insomnia has been a painful issue with me for some time now.  I’m hoping that 90 straight days of exercise will help me fall asleep earlier and that I can experience deep rest.  Deepak Chopra says that dynamic activity begets deep rest which begets dynamic activity…

So this morning I crawled in bed at 3AM and lay there unable to fall asleep until about 4:30AM.  It was real TOUGH to get my ass up at 9 for yoga.  But that’s the great thing about a commitment to something bigger–like the 90 day challenge–I got up.

And I am really glad I did.  I was able to take Damon’s class (he is one of the owner’s of Bikram Yoga Palm Desert) for the first time.  Damon is hilarious and his class is fun while still being focused on max exertion.  When I used to practice on a regular basis I was always blown away when I learned something entirely new.  Today Damon taught me two things in class that I had never heard before:

  • In the balancing stick posture Damon actually did a breath count with us!  I’ve heard teachers simply say to make sure you breathe in this posture, but he literally guided us through 3 or 4 deep inhalations and exhalations.  It changed my entire perspective of this posture and what I could potentially do with it as I progress.

The man and the pose...Damon doing balancing stick pose

  • The other thing he said which blew me away has to do with a pose that’s almost at the end of class and that in the past I always payed little attention to and sort of treated like a “cool down” stretch.  It’s called janushirasana with paschimottanasana or “head to knee pose.”  But the last part of this poses name is “intense stretching posture.”  I had NEVER heard that before and a light bulb went on and I did stretch more “intensely” and it was amazing!  So thanks Damon.

The other thing I love about being a beginner with Bikram is that it’s actually easier as a beginner.  Sounds weird, but when you are new, just trying to breathe and stay in the heated room is an intense workout.  You get a little better and just doing all the postures is a big thing.  When I practiced every day and got a little more proficient is when it got really difficult.  Suddenly I was flooded with nuances that make the practice even more hard core.  So I’m going to relish being a beginner again!!!

One last observation about Bikram has to do with listening.  We all suck at it.  Seriously.  And Bikram is this place where you can practice listening, not just to the instructors voice, but your body too.

Today is a 100% raw food day for me

My plan is to continue eating a ton of raw fruits and veggies every day.  But several times a week I will eat 100% raw for the entire day.  It’s such a powerful way to not let food cravings get out of hand and I have a lot more energy when I go all the way…

Today so far:

  • Quart of water before yoga
  • Coconut water before yoga (only thing I like having before a Bikram class, a little natural sugar & tons of electrolytes)
  • Another quart of water during class
  • Shopped at Farmer’s Market
  • Made a delicious smoothie: Juice from 2 grapefruits & 2 oranges.  1 cup frozen blueberries.  Packed the remaining space in the blender w/ organic spinach.  Blended and drank down this perfectly flavor balanced combo!
  • A tropical tango smoothie from Luscious Lorraine’s Juice Bar in Palm Desert.  It’s packed with coconut water & coconut meat and tropical fruits!
  • Tonight when I get back from a late night working at the bar I will make raw nachos.  I top Leaf Organics  raw corn chips with heaps of fresh guacamole, cut up black olives, cilantro, and my favorite raw hot sauce made by Cafe Gratitude which I bought extra bottles of last time I was up in the Bay Area!
  • And then for desert I will have Uli Mana’s raw chocolate truffles with a glass of organic red wine!

I’m not sure yet what I will do tomorrow for the fitness part of this challenge.  But I’m looking forward to putting my body to work again tomorrow.

Cheers! And I hope you are enjoying this long New Years weekend.


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90 day natural fitness challenge: DAY ONE! Hiking hungover…

“Ringing” in the New Year by drinking, is at best strange, and at worst just stupid.

I was the guy dispensing the booze all last night, so I didn’t actually start drinking until after the party goers left the bar.  And when I say “left” I mean grownups crying, cussing, and falling down on the way back to their cars or cabs…

Some highlights of my New Years Eve:

  • A retarded crackhead couple (I’m not being funny–I’m serious) who snuck into the party just a few minutes before the ball dropped.  Just in time for free bubbly and to have me take their photo with the woman’s camera phone–A picture I would kill to have!
  • There was also a couple who reminded me of Sigfried & Roy–except they were straight.  Picture a trailer park version of Fabio making out with a female version of Fabio who has enormous breasts.  Which Fabio kinda has anyways…

  • A woman in her seventies kept beckoning me over with her finger (not bending me over…beckoning…) and she would say things to me like, “You have the most beautiful eyes, can I stick a star on your face?”  Wasn’t long before I had two or three big silver plastic stars stuck on my forehead and cheeks.  There is probably some old guy writing a blog right now about how there was an idiot bartender at his New Year’s party that was trying to look like Paul Stanley from KISS.

  • The piano player got so drunk from steady bourbon shots that at one point he just started screaming into the microphone “SUCK! SUCK! SUCK!…SLUTS! SLUTS! SLUTS!”
  • One of the guys who played a bartender on “The Love Boat” was at my bar!  Not Isaac, the white one.  He ended up becoming an actual bartender.  How weird is that…kinda like the “I play a Doctor on TV” thing.

So after all that, I had a couple shots of tequila myself, and they knocked me on my ASS!  Damn my tolerance has lowered dramatically since I stopped being a drunk.

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Today is day one of my 90 day natural fitness challenge!

Despite being slightly hungover, I accomplished my daily goal of doing some kind of intense exercise each & every day.  Now I only have 89 days left to go!

So I will be doing at least a brief post every day where I will share what I ate, and what kind of intense exercise I did that day.

Once a month I’ll post pics, my weight, some measurements and other stats.  The core of my regimen is going to be Bikram yoga and a diet high in raw foods (I’m shooting for somewhere around 2/3 of my diet being raw).

If you are curious, you can read more about the challenge here.

I am hoping this spreads and that many of you will want to join me.  There aren’t a lot of rules, and it’s  OK that you didn’t start right on January 1st.   It’s meant to be personal, and customized to help each of us accomplish whatever we feel we need to.

For me, it’s getting ACTIVE as a person and rebuilding my body, which has become a shipwreck from years of not using it and even worse abusing it.

So far there are four of us who have started as of today:

  1. Me.
  2. My brother Mike.
  3. My Aunt Carrie.
  4. And Annie!

In the next few days I will begin writing about each of them and what their goals are and what approach they are taking to get there.  Each of them have also agreed to let me post their “before & after” pics as well as interesting stats at the 30, 60, and 90 day markers!

If this seems like it might be the right time for you to join in, please check out this page which has links for you to get in touch with me!!!

DAY ONE

I wanted to start the year strong by spending the day outside and hiking through some breathtaking desert-scape!  Annie and I spent three hours hiking in the famous Indian Canyons.

The first 90 minutes we pushed really hard (we were nearly trail running much of the way), and it was mostly up.  My heart was tearing through my chest and my ass & thighs were really working it.  Great hard core sweaty workout.  Annie started overheating and taking her clothes off…

Then she passed out in a dry riverbed despite my warning her of the very real dangers of flash floods!

I let her sleep for about 15 minutes (she was up early this morning and already had done a 90 min Bikram yoga class!) and we slowed it down on the way back down so we could enjoy the views…

Today:

  1. Quart of water
  2. 2/3 of a pineapple & a banana
  3. Rigorous hike
  4. Ate 2 LARA bars while hiking and drank another quart of water.
  5. Fabulous Dinner at ACE hotel:  Spicy re-fried beans, Cojita cream corn salad, Chilaquiles (they have the best I have EVER had), plenty of hot sauce & a cold Negro Modelo!
  6. My fave raw dessert, Earth Cafe’s cherry cheesecake, which I buy by the slice at the health food store and keep in my fridge for nights like this!
  7. Goal is to finish off a third quart of water before I go to sleep later…

Tomorrow is yoga at Bikram Yoga Palm Desert & a trip to the farmers market!!!