Archive for November, 2010


Happy Veterans Day to all of our American heroes both former and actively serving. Know that you are viewed as a hero and that I recognize you are not tied to the politics and debates. You act to protect and serve and do a damn fine job. I take my issues up with the politicians and provide you with 100% of my support.

This also goes out to my own family members and to my many close friends who are actively serving in the army, navy, and special forces (you know who you guys and gals are).

 

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Squirell-ator

During a long workout or on days when you’re just not inspired you may be tempted to read, watch television or talk while you workout. Yes this may keep your mind busy and trick you into thinking your workout went by faster than normal, but what you may not know is that you are actually causing more harm than good.

The mind-body connection is always strong, but never as strong as it is during exercise. Exercising with your mind detached from the activity makes just as much sense as eating bag of potato chips then going for a walk. Why is it such a bad idea? Several reasons:

  1. If your mind is focused on the television, book, phone, or friend on the treadmill next to you, your body is not in proper form. Improper form leads to injury.
  2. Mindful exercise is more effective than when you “zone out.” According to a recent study published in the New York Times, participants who were mindful during physical activity had lower blood pressure and lost more weight than those who worked with distractions.
  3. If you’re distracted, then you’re not operating at maximum output. Half-ass effort yields half-ass results.

So how do you practice mindful exercise?

  1. Before you begin your workout take stock of your mental and emotional state. If you’re feeling

    Via Woman's Day

    blah, sad, or otherwise less than grand an attitude adjustment may be in order. Your attitude has a major impact on the effectiveness of your workout. This post from Mindful Muscle goes into greater detail about state of mind and its effects on workouts, but I doubt anyone would disagree that attitude is a big part of any endeavor, exercise or otherwise.

  2. Eliminate all unnecessary distractions. I find that listening to music helps me focus and block out everything, but for others it’s a distraction. You know best what makes your mind wander.
  3. As you work out focus on the muscles you are targeting. If you’re doing a triceps press, focus on isolating the muscles as you contract. Concentrate on your breathing, making sure to exhale on exertion. You will notice that you feel the contraction deeper in the muscle and that you will feel a higher level of exertion than when you workout with distractions.

Try it for a week while also tracking how you feel before, during, and after your workouts. Trust me, you’ll notice a major difference.

Rise of the Anti-hero

People have been fascinated with heroes since the dawn of time. The Greeks and Romans had their pantheon of heroes, as did the Celts and Native Americans (among others). Often those heroes represented a perfect ideal, the ultimate vision of our human potential. Usually this meant a hero free of flaws–a one dimensional 1950’s boy scout who loves his mother, is ind to animals, and helps old ladies across the street. A worthy image yes, but terribly boring and unrealistic.

Enter the Anti-hero.

The anti-hero often lacks grace along with a few other desirable qualities (like tact or sobriety). They represent a less than perfect ideal, a more realistic picture of a hero who may not do everything right–despite their good intentions, who may not have a handle on his personal life, and who deals with other issues such as unemployment. The anti-hero finds a soft spot in heart because even though they screw up most of the time they come through when it matters most. They are also more interesting to watch (because you really aren’t sure if they’re going to come through) and are more dynamic than the perfect superman, which means they can actually grow and change.

I’m sure we all have our favorite anti-hero. McClane from Die Hard, Tony Stark as Iron Man, Hellboy–the list goes on and on. I fall into this category. I know I’m not perfect. I’m a little messy, have a temper, and I don’t always react the way I should in certain situations, but I like to think that when it matters most I come through. So I may not be a 1950’s Girl Scout–at least I’m not boring!

So here’s to the anti-hero. May you not destroy more than you create, may yo always come through in a crunch, and may you please work on the relationships that matter most

Yesterday was Halloween, so naturally I watched the Ghost Hunters marathon and live event on the Syfy channel (yes, I don’t like the name change either–it’s supposed to be Scifi!).While watching Jason, Grant, and the rest of the TAPS team I started thinking about the many ways they represent what it means to be a superhero (which made me love them even more).

TAPS Founders Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson

For those of you who don’t know the story, Ghost Hunters is a reality series that follows the investigations of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, or TAPS. Started by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, TAPS investigates paranormal claims for residences and businesses. Everything they do is pro bono–the families and businesses they help don’t pay for the service, but what they get in exchange is a piece of mind and a caring, levelheaded team that will conduct an unbiased empirical investigation of their property. They aren’t sensational in their approach–on the contrary–they often debunk claims, finding rational and physical reasons for certain experiences.

So why do I think TAPS can teach us a thing or two about being a superhero? Actually I have several reasons:

One-They found a way to help people by drawing on their own skills and experiences.

Jason and Grant both had their own personal paranormal experiences. This shared background–and the lack of help available to people in their situation–made them decide to start a service to help other normal, everyday people experiencing paranormal activity. Jay and Grant weren’t paranormal researchers by trade. In fact they are plumbers. That may not seem like a natural progression, but their knowledge of plumping and homes combined with their problem solving approach has allowed them to debunk many claims (and fix a few leaky faucets during investigations). Every team member they bring on comes with their own backgrounds and experiences, all which help add credibility to the team and enhance their investigations.

Two–They’re not in it for the money. 

TAPS Team Members Dave, Jason, Grant, Steve, and Kris

Real heroes don’t do it for fame or money, and neither does the TAPS team. Like I said earlier, all investigations are done free of charge. TAPS invests their own money (plus some donations) into state of the art equipment and covers all overhead including gas and their time. Because of their unique, level-headed, and caring approach TAPS earned interest from the Syfy channel and now they have a growing brand to associate with their service, but this wasn’t the goal for the team. They did it to help people.

Three–People come first.

Every member of TAPS demonstrates the value of people first. Whether it’s their client, team member, or their own families, TAPS only does what’s best for others.

Four–They started small.

Jason and Grant started small and local, keeping their efforts in line with their resources. As they gained support, equipment, team members, and other resources they started reaching out more. Even now they recognize their limitations, especially when it comes to meeting their personal obligations such as family, and operate within those boundaries. This way their mission is sustainable, which is important for the many people they have yet to help.

Five–They attract and train others.

Every superhero needs a prodigy. TAPS is always looking for other serious, kindhearted team members to join them in their mission to help others. They have teams stationed in other areas (including with Ghost Hunters International) and continue to grow. Attracting and training like-minded people helps further their mission and to extend their reach, without overextending individual members.

Six-They balance family, work, and their superhero endeavors.

Just like any superhero, TAPS members have regular lives that they also have to keep up with. Family, work, friends, and home all need to be balanced with the many people who need their help. Though it isn’t always perfect, TAPS manages to keep everything balanced and fulfills their superhero role without neglecting loved ones or other obligations.

Above all, TAPS has heart. They saw a need and found a way to help people, even if it was in an unconventional way. So in my mind, the Ghost Hunters are real life heroes and we can all learn something from them.