Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A proper timepiece makes all the difference

After losing 60lbs and getting back to "fit Dutch", I've worked more on clothing and accessories that reflect me and my personality.  As a former Army Ranger, triathlete, power lifter, body builder and competitive 3 gun shooter and archer, I struggle to find jewelry that not only match me and my personal style but can survive my active, rugged lifestyle too.

I've found that watches are the one thing that a man can add to his ensemble that quickly makes a statement . The Italians call it "sprezzatura"...a brash style. A large, attractive, well built, luxury watch, matched with a great outfit is the human equivalent of driving up in a Ferrari. It's bold. It's ostentatious and it's going to get you noticed. 

That sums up EVERY watch that the S-Force Brand makes. They have six different collections ranging from everyday wearers to timepieces that belong on the red carpet. The watches are in the 50mm size and they are sure to grab attention no matter where you are.

I went with the "Adonis", a stunning dual time, calendar, chronograph. Because of my smaller wrists I decided to get it in the new 43mm size option. This watch is built like a tank, has great weight and rugged good looks that fit in on the gun range, gym, with every day clothes AND with a suit. It has Swiss movement, luminous markers and hands, steel case, sapphire crystals and one of my favorite features...a beefy crown guard to prevent “watch bite”.

And the company’s vision for their watches? “We believe in the raw power of the human spirit. All of us have a strength that will not be defeated. You need a worthy companion to guide you, a timepiece every bit as unstoppable as you”. Ya, this watch is PERFECT FOR ME!

Want to get one for yourself or choose from a host of other wicked styles and designs?! Click the link “http://bit.ly/2PnvgJS“, or hit their site and enter “Dutch10” at checkout. You won’t be disappointed. Their timepieces are just badass. And did you see on the watch face? “Strength overcomes”...indeed, indeed it does! And. What do you think? Should I stay with the 43mm or go up to to 50mm?! Inquiring minds wanna know.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

When check-ins are FANTASTIC!

Had an awesome check in with my coach today.

I have been on this “transformation of me” journey and for the first time in a year (yup, I’ve been at this with Casey Shipp for a year) I didn’t drop weight. I actually added a pound. Hehe. And. All the personal exploration and growth, the workouts, the food, the mindset and an extra pound (I’m 164lbs)...look like that. I’m not gonna lie, a year ago I didn’t think recovering from surgery or dropping the weight I’d put on afterward or even fixing my mindset was possible. This past year has been filled with ups and downs...some I never thought I’d recover from.

Now, I’m looking at power lifting meets and bodybuilding competitions in 2020, I’m looking at Ironman races and I’m looking at a career change. I’m planning what I want my life to be in the next 6 months, year, 5 years and 10 years and I want to get after it with my Ranger tenacity and focus.

Am I proud of the work I’ve done thus far and how I look? You bet your ass I am!!! I’ve lost 60lbs and completely rebuilt myself skin in and skin out. Am I done? Hells no I am not!!! I got stronger and leaner to get and new challenges to undertake. Let’s see what this body and a fresh, positive-thinking-mind and perspective can do! Hell, if this kid with body dysmorphic disorder can be excited to share progress pics...anything is possible! And oh by the way...if I can do it and look like this at 47 after numerous injuries, surgeries, repairs and recoveries (physically and mentally I might add)...I promise you that YOU can do it too.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

That look when you see it IS paying off

That look on your face, when you’re in the middle of a power lifting session and my workout partner says "damn, flex"... and you see all of the hard work and training and eating is paying off. I mean really paying off. 

Ya, that’s a total look of surprise on my face! And...honestly...I don’t even recognize me. I’ve come so far and transformed myself, skin in and skin out, so much over the last 10 months. And these last 10 months have been a roller coaster of ups and downs. From work to my personal life to my health. I've had some amazing highs (like I thought I finally had life nailed down and was happy and was on top of the world) and some unbelievable lows (that honestly just gutted me, tore my heart out, and introduced me to a level of misery I never knew and that I never thought I'd be able to recover from). It's just crazy. 

Through it all I just kept getting up everyday and telling myself it was all going to be worth it in the end. And I'll be TOTALLY honest and tell you that I knew it was a lie I was telling myself because I didn't think it true at all. I was just trying my damnedest to believe it and get myself through it.

I did really believe I was due for some good karma (because Gods know I've been depositing good karma in the bank for YEARS) and I knew that AT SOME POINT I'd catch a break. I mean, I'd have to right?! And then boom. My work situation is deal-able (looking up even) my personal life gets on track with an amazing person and my body looks like this. And...dare I say it...I'm actually happy. I don't want to jinx it but ya, life is pretty great. And it shows.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

You really don’t know

I don’t post pics like this...ever. But I’ve been having conversations with my coach and some other folks about being open and honest and I preach you have to be positive and think positively about yourself. I’m great at saying it to other people but I’m really bad at doing it for me. How bad you ask? I recently had a dear friend whom I adore point out how I’m downright malicious I am to myself on occasion. To have that pointed out to me from someone who doesn’t see me that often really struck a nerve. And that was part of my reason to spend time, energy and money to work on changing my mind and myself. 

So here goes. 

This is post a 1-mile swim in the Caribbean ocean here in Aruba. No shirt, no filters, no smirk, no problems. Right? Wrong. Lots of problems. I don't put up pics like this on purpose. Because it can’t stand to look at myself (ya, I put up gym/workout pics but that’s a little different). It's called Body Dysmorphic Disorder...and I’ve suffered from it most of my life. It's not a girl thing or a guy thing...it's a people thing. Not something uncommon that people who have been obese (or people who are skinny or people who have issues with their looks in general, honestly) deal with. For me -the former as an adult, the latter as a child/teenager. 

Even though I’ve dropped the 245lbs I used to weigh at my heaviest...and even when I was 170lbs Ironman racing...I still thought/think I look fat. And my body...if it were a wonderland, all the rides have been broken...multiple times. Torn, sick, ripped, fractured, repaired, operated on, healed. I've put this body through hell (my brain too) and I’m paying dearly for it now. Cut to me to today where I’m at around 200/205lbs (I don’t honestly know because scales and weighing myself makes me very upset) and I refuse to look at myself in the mirror...much less without clothes on...and even though I have medical issues I am and have been dealing with, for quite some time (and the docs can’t understand how I get anything accomplished based on my health - honestly it’s a combo of stubbornness and “Ranger” willpower)...all is see is the unattractive (even though to be honest I’ve never seen myself as a good looking guy. Just being honest, not fishing for compliments) Jabba the Hutt version of myself. And it takes a toll. 

I was dreading this trip to Aruba because how can you not be happy and half naked at the beach?! I had hoped to look different for this trip too given the workouts and food and work I’ve been doing over the last 6 weeks but since I’m not gorgeous with 12 pack abs, my level of stress was through the roof. But, but, but, the “change” now is not beating myself up...rather it’s focusing on the work I have been doing. Even here while on vacation. I’m making sure I’m still getting my workouts in (gym, yoga AND meditation) eating LOTS of delicious grilled seafood and veggies and fresh fruit and not gorging on sweets and/or alcohol. Does it take away from my enjoyment on vacation? Nope. But it does make me feel like I’m not losing the gains I’ve made thus far. 

I don’t know if I look any different but I certainly feel different. I feel stronger. I feel like I’m getting fit again. I’m actually sleeping (solid, REM sleep that I haven’t enjoyed in YEARS) AND I feel better regardless of how I “look”. I share all this because a: people make assumptions about me and my health and my fitness (and they’re almost always wrong) and b: I know I’m not the only guy that struggles with this and others who do should know they’re not alone. 

I’ve said it before but you body eats everything you give it...including negativity. The only way to change and grow is to be positive and accepting of your limitations, change what you can and reach out for help to change the things your struggling with. That “re-wiring” of the brain in addition to the physical stuff is the key to success and a lesson I’m learning. You can only “Ranger through everything” for so long. I’m not where I want to be...but I’m getting there. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

So here's the deal...

Oh, the last few days have been a trifecta of shit-tastic-ness. Professional/personal/health...all a mess. But losing water at my apartment (water main break that shut down the entire property's water, ooph) was a blessing in disguise because it forced me to go get a workout in. Ya, that’s a look of satisfaction after a HEAVY lift...after a week out of the gym...where I was pushing weight...I’ve NEVER pushed before. I guess eating right and trying to get sleep but NOT smashing my bags training everyday is an approach that pays off. I honestly never would’ve believed that. Ever.

Speaking of, I was having a conversation with a buddy of mine today about the stuff I’ve been dealing with and he was like “I had no idea, I’ve been having similar issues and couldn't figure out why” and "you need to talk to more folks about this...it cant just be us that's experiencing this".

So, here’s the deal. I have run myself so ragged for so long that it’s had serious effect on my body. How so? Well in addition to the life and the training/racing ans the breaks and tears and surgeries and "procedures" over the last few years...complete adrenal fatigue...that’s resulted in: weight gain (while not eating), speaking of - little or no appetite...ever, constant fatigue which leads to inability to recover, brain fog, gut issues, tremors, even though exhausted -inability to sleep, inability to get RESTFUL sleep (I haven't dreamt or had REM sleep with any regularity in years...and you know what no sleep does to the body/mind) and a host of other physical issues. Then add in the deteriorating back, pelvis, ankles and knees...and the pain and discomfort those generate...oh ya, AND the mental state the aforementioned has created. All added together has completely wiped me out. 

Look, it's not like I haven't been seeing docs and trying to figure out what's going on. But, it’s taken me years, literally, to find a team of health care folks to listen to me (an A++ personality-ed, high performing athlete-person that knows something’s wrong) as opposed to giving me the standard “you’re healthier than x percent of the population, you’re fine” crap answers I’ve been getting from  docs. Even more importantly that team has given me a path forward and hope that this will be fixed. And when something’s not working, there’s something else to try. And...there’s no giving up until we get it fixed. Because it's fixable! That's led to a whole package revamp if you will (meds, food, workout regimens, mental approaches, mental outlook) that's constantly under review.

I can’t even begin to explain how that's helping...physically and mentally. Bottom line? Different tests by a different group of docs, experienced with multisport & bodybuilder athletes, who are knowledgeable and that aren't the the first to say "well, you're getting older" or "you've been through so much you're just not going to be the old you" or "what do you expect? you're x age". That's complete and utter bullshit. And yet a standard line fed to us by society AND docs now. It’s a work in progress, I'm a work in progress and it’s baby steps of progress right now...but it’s PROGRESS. 
So...do not take "no" or "your fine" as an answer. I swear to the gods that if I have one more doc tell me "if my patients were as healthy as you are, I'd be out of a job", I'll set a building on fire. Ya doc, but I'M not a 100%, could we focus on getting ME better?!?! No it's not your "age". No, you're not "crazy" (well ya, maybe you are but that's not the reason you're not performing optimally". There is a symptom and there's always a cure or at the very least a fix. Don't settle for any answer that's less than that.
Is it a struggle? Yes. Are the changes happening as fast as I want (do you even know me?!0. Never, But, for the first time, in a long time...I’m looking forward to the future and getting back to being "me".

Monday, February 18, 2019

Learning lessons

How is it that with this new workout/food plan I’m stronger and “feel lean” but look like a busted can of biscuits out of the gym?! I mean after 3 weeks I why don’t I have a 6 pack already?!?! No, as unrealistic a thought as that is...I still have it.

 Yes, today was shoulders and of course I threw in some arms (because, duh) but that pump/look only lasted about 10 minutes (what? I know how to take a picture!). There have been some major changes I HAVE made though. Probably the biggest being sleep. If I’m exhausted and dozing off, beating myself up in the gym probably isn’t going to help a fatigue problem.
I can’t even begin to tell you how hard a lesson that’s been to learn! Another is being kinder to myself. I honestly can’t even believe I’m writing that. I have always been my own worst critic and NO ONE rides me harder than I ride myself. And it’s been a steady diet fueled with negative verbiage and energy. One can only do that for so long before it takes a toll. And it’s taken a toll. Focusing on the wins rather than getting bogged down in the failures is the stepping stone to success. Man, that’s a tough one to rewire my brain over. Not to mention there was a time that spending less than an hour in the gym meant I really didn’t work. Ha! I guarantee I worked my ass off. That was a heavy workout and the time it took doesn’t matter. Like the old Army adage goes “train to standard, not to time”. I got my lifts in and the workout competed. I’m trying to learn, grow, and most importantly I’m trying to be better

Saturday, February 9, 2019

It ain't all pretty

That face pretty much sums it up. Sheer disgust. Social media gets flooded with pretty people hitting all their workout marks and looking great doing it when in reality most of us (if not all of us) are barely keeping our heads above water and look like hammered shit in the process. All the while balancing the day job and the gym time and on occasion a hobby or two.

Over a week of getting killer workouts and good food only to have life and work crap shit it all up the following week. Bonus? I got sick. The cold or the crud or something. I spent three of the days this past week just coming home and falling asleep on the sofa until the wee hours of the morning. Now I know people are gonna say “don’t be so hard on yourself” or “life happens” but it’s just that kind of sentiment that keeps us from attaining our goals. It’s okay to pay a coach to yell at us but it’s not ok to yell at ourselves. Or some such nonsense.
So, a little pre-workout, some good tunes and a self imposed bag smashing session later and I feel a bit better. Maybe even throw in another workout later today to catch up. No surprise that with this new training regimen my legs are coming back quickly. Now if only the rest of my body will follow suit. I’m grateful to have a stockpile of these @topoathletic shoes. Since lifting barefooted is frowned upon now, they’re the next best thing, perfect for the gym and keep my feet, legs and
core engaged throughout my workouts.