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#20FITEEN

December 16, 2014

According to Josh Shipp[1] in his interview with Rich Roll – “the path from helplessness to empowerment begins with understanding that:

  • Your imperfections are what make you human.
  • Your humanity is what makes you influential.”

Below is a summary of Torah Parsha (Portion) Mikeitz from www.chabad.org

Joseph’s imprisonment finally ends when Pharaoh dreams of seven fat cows that are swallowed up by seven lean cows, and of seven fat ears of grain swallowed by seven lean ears. Joseph interprets the dreams to mean that seven years of plenty will be followed by seven years of hunger, and advises Pharaoh to store grain during the plentiful years. Pharaoh appoints Joseph governor of Egypt. Joseph marries Asenath, daughter of Potiphar, and they have two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

Famine spreads throughout the region, and food can be obtained only in Egypt. Ten of Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to purchase grain; the youngest, Benjamin, stays home, for Jacob fears for his safety. Joseph recognizes his brothers, but they do not recognize him; he accuses them of being spies, insists that they bring Benjamin to prove that they are who they say they are, and imprisons Simeon as a hostage. Later, they discover that the money they paid for their provisions has been mysteriously returned to them.

Jacob agrees to send Benjamin only after Judah assumes personal and eternal responsibility for him. This time Joseph receives them kindly, releases Simeon, and invites them to an eventful dinner at his home. But then he plants his silver goblet, purportedly imbued with magic powers, in Benjamin’s sack. When the brothers set out for home the next morning, they are pursued, searched, and arrested when the goblet is discovered. Joseph offers to set them free and retain only Benjamin as his slave.

2014-12-16 09.20.37With 2015 fast approaching, I thought I would do a blog on New Year Resolutions and making 2015 your fittest and healthiest year yet.

The first question is are New Year Resolutions or making changes possible?

From Rabbi Berrel Wein’s weekly Blog it would appear that making changes is very hard “..change is hard to come by, for the inertia of past events always weighs heavily upon the current drive for change. …, and King Solomon in Kohelet taught us that change is very difficult to obtain. He stated that “what was, is what will be,” in that human nature is pretty much unchangeable and that complete change is really an ephemeral and almost unattainable goal.”

But with this week being Chanukah I noticed a beautiful article by Rabbi Peretz Segal (or Perry) in the www.ohr.edu newsletter titled “CHANUKA Shedding New Light on Boredom” that paints a different picture. Rabbi Segal say – “Yet, in the inner chambers of the Jewish heart lies a “vial of oil”, too pure to be defiled and too powerful to be extinguished.” That says “light me”, inspire me by lighting the Chanukah candles to change. Yes I can change.

From a practical perspective I have witnessed people who have made big changes. Some of my cycling buddies have taken up running and done so well. Adam Rosenblum went from zero to doing a half marathon and Ryan Levin is steadily improving to over 10km runs. In the last few weeks we have all been inspired by Rabbi Garfunkel’s appeal to his congregants at Ohr Yisrael to attend Shachris (morning prayers) and put on tefillin in honour of the victims of Har Nof killing. As the victims died praying with their tefillin on and will no longer have the ability to don these tefillin, congregants were asked to come to Shachris and put on tefillin. One congregant went into Gold’s Bookstore and decided then and there that in the merit of these holy souls he was going to buy the best tefillin and begin to use them regularly. He started in the shop there and then! His story made the Israeli newspapers.

In an article “Who Says You Can’t Change?[1]” The author says “But there’s hope for all but the most dedicated slackers. … research in the field of willpower suggests that you can improve self-control the same way you would increase your fitness…—simply by using it. Turns out, activating your willpower is the key to honing it.” She goes on to say “The good news is that, like a muscle, self-control gets stronger with practice. And now is the time to pay attention to it because the “fresh-start effect” is a legitimate thing.”

Matt Frazier the No Meat Athlete suggests “start now – in December. So that you can reflect, get inspired, and make intelligent choices about the results you want to create. So that you can lay the groundwork, and take the first few steps to creating the new habits you’ll need…. And so that when New Year’s comes, you’ll be ready.”

Thinking about this New Year’s resolution regarding Healthy Lifestyle. Everyone’s resolutions and motivation are different. Below are some thoughts from articles, Podcasts and Tweets I have read:

  • As a Triathlete, I assume that I am fit and healthy, but there is always more. Maybe I need to change the way I train or my attitude to training:
    • in an interesting quote by Phil on the FatBlack Podacst[1], he said.. “you can be fit but very unhealthy which in turn won’t lead to longevity in the sport.” “True Performance requires True Health”. This point is brought to light in a new book “Fit Not Healthy” by Vanessa Alford, whose journey from runner to addicted/ obsessed runner is documented;
    • in an article in the Saturday Age “Running on Empty”, the point was made that 3% of the population are “exercise dependant” and 52% of triathletes are. What are us Triathletes all “addicted” to exercise? Is this healthy and do we need to change?
  • Legendry triathlete Dave Scott tweeted @davescott6x – “TriChallenge: Reflect on what you did well in 2014. What were your strengths & how will this help you in 2015? #DS6xTriChallenge #triathlon”
  • World class cyclists are just ending their off-season and now need to start training for the New Year. I noticed a Tweets by professional cyclists @laurenstendam of the @LottoNLJumbo[2] cycling team – “Train eat rest, repeat. 2015 kick-off” and a Tweet from another professional team @tinkoff_saxo “Riders and staff preparing #tinkoffsaxo to the fullest for 2015. Morning training, hard riding and a great atmosphere” or Sky Team @skyteam – “Harder, better, faster, stronger. @IStannard working hard in Mallorca this evening. #2015StartsHere” These guys are motivated!
  • Most people assume that there is no fitness component to being a Formula 1 racing driver, but according to Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, he will be taking a bit of a break during the off-season, but based on his training program, it does not look like he will be taking much of a break before the New Year. He says that he will still follow his detailed driver’s training regimen – cycling for endurance, endless core strength and stability work, leg activations, squats. To me that routine looks pretty tough. He says “if I’m home for a week, 5½ days will be training”. Looks like Daniel wants to stay fit and continue to do Australia proud in F1;
  • Some of us need to start from Scratch, it sounds more daunting than it really is. As I mentioned, some of my cycling buddies like Adam Rosenblum and Ryan Levin have slowly built up their running. With modern technology such as these Fitness bracelets and iPhone Apps such as Couch to 5K®, we can all start. Run Coach Gary Cohen says @rungarycohen – “#RunningTips: ‘If you run little, but regularly cardio bike, swim and walk, you can complete a 5k with a run/walk approach.’” We can all get there if we just start!
  • 2014-12-12 09.13.31Or some of us want to do a triathlon or some cross training. There are many advantages to “cross training”. Run coach GaryCohen #RunningTips: “‘Cross training helps you to use a variety of muscles & minimizes overuse injuries.’ #fitfam #fitness #fitnessfirst”. Ironman have a campaign #committoTRI to get people motivated for the new year and take up this amazing sport;
  • Others may have other reasons to get started. Noticed an advertising campaign for a gym – “Curls get girls”.

Change is hard, New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep, but if hopefully if you start, your will power will strengthen and you will make the new year #20Fiteen.

I was not planning to mention anything on diet as the blog is long, but watching the movie Equalizer last night, Denzal Washington who plays a bit of a “health nut” is giving one of his work colleague’s diet advice and says – “Progress not perfection”. No diets are perfect, but we can all try to improve our diets over Chanukah and into the New Year.

You may ask why the mention of Chanukah? I read an article “5 Ways To Have A Healthier, More Plant-Based Hanukkah[1] and the author says “Over the past few years I’ve slowly, quietly transitioned my family away from the “Hanukkah = oil fest” model towards a greener version of the holiday.”

In an interesting article – “Unveiled! The15 foods to add to your #diet in 2015[2]” there were foods I have never heard of such as Plantains, foods I would not try such as Crickets and then a number of foods that I have embraced such as Coconut flour, Rosemary and Capers. I think it is more important to remember to the cleaner eating approach, rather than trying all these “fad foods” – “Less sugar, more fruit. Less meat, more veggies. Less soda, more water. Less worry, more sleep. LESS WORDS, MORE ACTION.” – @Fit_Motivator

“The hardest thing about exercise is to start doing it. Once you are doing exercise regularly, the hardest thing is to stop it.” -Erin Gray

[1] Josh Shipp is an American teen behaviour expert, motivational speaker, best-selling author, and TV show host. He is often referred to as “The Teen Whisperer.” Josh began professionally speaking at age 17

[1] http://www.bicycling.com/training-nutrition/training-fitness/who-says-you-can-t-change?adbid=542987184379162624&adbpl=tw&adbpr=17900130&cid=socTN_20141211_37109387

[1] http://www.trispecific.com/fb68-obstacles/

[2] http://www.teamlottojumbo.nl/

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristin-kirkpatrick-ms-rd-ld/15-foods-to-add-to-your-d_b_6257344.html

[1] http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16571/5-ways-to-have-a-healthier-more-plant-based-hanukkah.html

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