Category Archives: health

Body Weight Exercises For Those Wanting To Stay In Shape During A Crisis

At this point, almost everyone’s life has been disrupted in some form or another by the ongoing Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Unless you live on a deserted island, a cave, or shack in the mountains, you’ve been effected by this crisis. Whether it’s living in an area that’s on total lockdown or just had your favorite sporting events cancelled, you’re feel the pinch of this crisis.

I certainly have. Recently, the crisis hit home in another profound way. Every gym in my area, including the one I go to on a regular basis, closed for the foreseeable future. A few may not open again until mid-May. That’s a long time to not have access to a gym. If ever you wanted an excuse to avoid working out, this is it.

However, I actually enjoy working out. That’s something my 21-year-old self might laugh at, but it’s true. Working out is one of the most cathartic parts of my week. The prospect of not having a gym to go to is genuinely jarring for me.

As difficult as it is, that doesn’t mean I’m just going to let myself go. I still intend to stay in shape and I strongly encourage everyone else to do the same. If you have free weights, an exercise bike, a treadmill, or some other piece of gym equipment in your house, I say use it. I don’t because I always had access to a gym. I didn’t imagine everything could be shut down to this extent.

Luckily, there are ways to stay in shape without the aid of equipment. I know because I’ve used them whenever I’ve had to travel or be away from home for an extended period. They mostly consist of bodyweight exercises, which is exactly what it sounds like. You work out, but you don’t use weights or a machine. You just use your body, physics, and a clear space.

They’re not quite as effective or satisfying, in my opinion, as using weights. They still get the job done for the most part. Combined with regular running and jogging, which I highly recommend as well, you can maintain your health and your physique. At a time when a novel disease is ravaging civilization, good health has never been more important.

To that effect, here are some handy charts I’ve found that depict both the types of bodyweight exercises you can do and ways to go about doing them. If I find a routine that works, I’ll gladly share it. If you have a routine, please share it in the comments.

Image result for bodyweight exercise

Image result for bodyweight workout

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Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay awesome everyone.

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Filed under Current Events, exercise, health

When Crisis Brings Humor, Irony, And Religious Absurdities

Whenever the news is consistently awful, you tend to get numb to it. At some point, you just can’t bring yourself to get too worked up anymore. It’s not a good thing. Once you get numb to terrible news, you’re less inclined to do something about it. That’s not healthy for any society.

I don’t deny that the news surrounding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 has been awful. It might be the single worst news story we’ve collectively endured in over a decade. It’s bad, especially if you’re a sports fan. It may very well get worse before it gets better.

However, it’s for that same reason that we should all laugh and take comfort in stories that expose absurdities, frauds, and assholes who don’t deserve the notoriety they usually enjoy. Of all the things that fit every one of those criteria, faith healers are right up there with creationists, snake oil salesmen, and conspiracy theorists.

Now, I could go on an extended rant about how faith healers are one of the most perverse manifestations of organized religion. I’ve gone on similar rants before on far less serious subjects. However, this is one instance where no rant is necessary. The facts alone expose the absurdity, hypocrisy, and stupidity of the whole endeavor.

It comes courtesy of a megachurch in California and a story covered by Raw Story. Rather than describe all the crazy details, I’ll just leave a link and a brief summary of the best parts.

Raw Story: ‘Faith-healing’ megachurch cancels hospital sessions over coronavirus fears

A megachurch in California that regularly conducts “faith-healing” sessions at local hospitals apparently doesn’t believe the power of prayer is strong enough to cure coronavirus.

The Bethel Church in Redding, California, which serves as the spiritual home to an estimated 6,300 weekly worshipers, announced this week that it is canceling its regularly scheduled visits to hospitals as fears of the coronavirus pandemic take hold.

Think about that for a moment. Faith healers profess the power of healing through prayer, specifically through prayers to their favored deity. They claim that their spiritual service can bring wellness to the sick while protecting the healthy. That’s the power of their faith.

Then, a virus comes along that is utterly unaffected by their dogma. It infects everyone, regardless of what they believe, and no amount of prayers can stop it. The fact that these “faith healers” have ceased going to hospitals out of fear of infection is an indirect admission that their healing doesn’t work. It also exposes just how weak it really is.

A virus is not some invading army or repressive government. It’s a tiny bit of biomatter. Despite that, it’s still strong enough to defeat any prayers that a believer may offer. No matter how ardent they may be, the virus still infects because wishful thinking is no match for harsh reality.

Now, I’m not foolish enough to believe that this crisis will put all faith healers out of business. At the very least, this offers a huge red flag to anyone whoever crosses paths with someone claiming to heal by faith. If they can’t heal you from a simple virus, then what does that say about their faith, their religion, and their motivations?

In this case, washing your hands more powerful than any prayers you could offer.

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Filed under Current Events, health, psychology, religion

The Joys Of (Briefly) Unplugging And Running

I freely admit that I love technology. I also admit I’m on my phone constantly, checking social media and playing games. I’m the kind of person who gets extremely stressed out when my phone battery is low or think I’ve misplaced it. I think that puts me in line with most people my age.

I cherish technology. I celebrate it and contemplate how future advances will change our society, for better and for worse. Mostly, I favor the better, but I don’t deny that it can negatively effect people in certain ways. Like anything, you take the bad with the good and determine whether the good will suffice.

That said, even I see the importance of disconnecting every now and then. It’s not about fighting an addiction. The whole concept of tech addiction dubious at best and deceptive at worst, depending on who stands to make money off it. It’s a good thing, but like cake or beer, you can have too much of it.

That’s why I make it a point to do something regularly that allows me to separate myself from my phone, my computer, and any other device that has more computing power than a calculator. It’s not pretentious. It’s not because I’m trying to make a stand or something. I just find it genuinely helpful for my physical and mental well-being.

The way I disconnect is simple. I put on my workout clothes. I put my wallet and keys in my pockets. Then, I go out for a nice long run around the various trails around my house. I don’t listen to music, podcasts, or radio. It’s just me, the trail, and my thoughts. It may sound boring and bland. For me, it’s anything but that.

Unlike running on a treadmill, with which I do listen to music and podcasts, running outdoors along trails is more active. You’re not staring at the same wall or hearing some outdated piece of gym equipment crack with every step. You’re actually traversing the real world. You watch trees, streams, and grasslands pass you by. Even when you haven’t gone far, you feel like you’ve gone somewhere.

It’s not just a nice dose of fresh air. Running without any device beyond my keys allows me to just organize my thoughts. Sometimes, I have a stressful day when it’s hard to keep up with everything. A nice run outdoors allows me to get my heart going while my brain just streamlines itself.

It’s a very therapeutic experience. Thoughts become more streamlined. Ideas become clearer. Perspectives feel more balanced. Some of the ideas that have made it into my novels and my sexy short stories have come to me while I’m running. I doubt I would’ve gotten those ideas if I’d been focusing on music, podcasts, or something else.

Again, I love technology. I love my phone and my music collection. It’ll always have a place in my world. However, there are times when I just need to be on my own with my thoughts and the natural world. It’s a simple pleasure that I’ve come to cherish in my adult life. I won’t claim it has the same effect for everyone, but I strongly encourage everyone to try something like it. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy it.

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Filed under health, Jack Fisher's Insights, technology

Staying In Shape, Eating Right, And How A New Appliance Helped Me With Both

Contrary to what every fad diet and overpriced exercise gizmo may tell you, there’s no real secret to getting in shape. You just have to eat right and exercise regularly. It’s not something you can do every once in a while. It’s not something you can condense into a few minutes and see the same results. It’s a habit that becomes a routine. If done right, it works. There are plenty of documented cases to prove this.

The exercise part is hard enough. I’ve shared my struggles with this before, but it’s the eating right part that most people find extremely challenging. I’m certainly among that crowd. One of the hardest things I did when getting into shape was changing my diet. At that point, I’d become very fond of sugary cereal, carb-heavy snacks, and candy of every kind. Just cutting back on that stuff was a huge test of self-discipline.

However, it can be done. In fact, there are many ways you can go about it, none of which involve buying into fad diets or purchasing overpriced meal kits. Trust me. If a guy like me can do it, then anyone can do it. I’m not that special, in that regard. I figured a lot of this stuff out through trial and error, but you don’t have to endure my errors.

When it comes to eating right, there’s only one way to avoid eating those sugary foods and overeating in general. You have to not feel hungry when you’re around them. That may sound like something that requires self-hypnosis, but it doesn’t. It just requires a little knowledge of which foods make you feel less hungry.

Those foods do exist and you can buy them anywhere. There’s no advanced science behind them. They’re just foods that are high in protein, fiber, and volume. They include chicken, fish, oatmeal, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and eggs. For me, the one food that helped me the most was eggs.

This is where my favorite new appliance comes in. When I first got serious about eating right, one of my go-to meals after a workout was an omelet with tuna. It was tricky to make and if I was in a hurry, I wouldn’t bother. However, I knew eggs were a great food for feeling less hungry, so I tried to figure out a more efficient way of consuming them.

That’s where my favorite new appliance comes in. It’s nothing fancy. It’s just an egg cooker I bought off of Amazon. It cost me less than 20 bucks. It’s easy to use and it effectively streamlined the process of cooking eggs for me.

The way I use it is fairly simple. Before a meal, or as a snack, I use it to make three hard-boiled eggs. You just put the eggs in, poke a hole in the top, pour water in the device, and turn it on. The cooker does the rest. After just five minutes, I’ve got three hard-boiled eggs. Before I eat anything else, I make sure I eat those. As a result, I’m less hungry overall and end up eating less.

I cannot overstate the value of being less hungry when you’re trying to get into shape. It’s probably the biggest obstacle everyone faces when trying to eat better. It doesn’t help that we’re surrounded by so many delicious foods. Will power alone is not going to help you avoid them. In fact, relying on will power can be damaging in the long run.

Thankfully, the human body can be tricked, as can the mind. It’s not some fancy transcendental mind-body meditation strategy. It’s just simple chemistry. Eggs and foods like them have the chemistry that makes you feel less hungry. As a result, you’re less inclined to overeat. That’s what this egg maker has helped me do since I got it and if anyone is struggling to control their hunger, I highly recommend you check it out.

Please note that everyone’s body is different. Some people require more than just tweaks to their diet and a few extra eggs to get into shape. I am not a doctor or an expert. I’m just sharing some tips about what has worked for me in the past. I don’t make any bold claims or ask for your credit card information. This is just useful information that I thought I’d share.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, all this talking about eggs has given me a craving for an omelet.

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Filed under exercise, health, psychology

Sounds Of Relaxation (And Productivity)

Let’s face it. There are a lot of distractions and I’m not just talking about cat videos, Baby Yoda memes, or FaceBook feeds. The world is a noisy, chaotic place. That’s just life in general. Finding peace and quiet can be difficult, especially if you want to work on something.

In college, I lived in an all-male dorm for a few years. It didn’t just get noisy. I heard sounds in those dorms that I can never unhear. I also smelled things I can never unsmell, but that’s beside the point.

Despite these distractions, I did manage to stay productive. I wrote many short stories, novels, and essays for my own enjoyment. It wasn’t easy with so many distractions. Thankfully, I discovered a useful tool that I’d like to share. It’s called brown noise.

It’s kind of what it sounds like. It’s just a steady flow of noise that you can play on your computer or phone that helps block out any external noise. In college, I had it as a two-hour MP3. Today, there are 10-hour YouTube videos that do the same and I can consider them a godsend. They help create this private domain in which I can focus, work, and conjure all sorts of ideas for novels and short stories.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, I encourage you to give it a try. If you have an internet connection and a good pair of headphones, it’s completely free. Here’s a video of the noise I often use when I write.

If you want something that sounds a bit more natural, then try rain. It’s also great if you’re trying to nap in the middle of the day.

A few variations even incorporate thunder, which some find relaxing. One of my old roommates used to use that while studying.

If you need something with a bit of a rhythm, try a little light jazz music. While this has never worked well for me, I know some people who just need music to stay focused.

These aren’t the only sounds that can help with relaxation or productivity. I encourage everyone to experiment a little. Go on YouTube and find different videos. Eventually, you’ll find something that gets your mind in the right place and your world will be richer because of it.

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How I Made My Morning Cup Of Coffee More Awesome (By Accident)

As I write this, I have a fresh cup of coffee right next to my keyboard. If you’re reading this early in the morning, chances are you have some coffee too. We’re in good company. A nice cup of coffee is a great way to start your day. Whether you have a full time job, are an overworked college student, or retired, coffee is one of those magical elixirs that gets us going in the morning.

It’s not just a multi-billion dollar industry. It has real health benefits. Most functioning adults can’t imagine getting through their day without it. I didn’t always drink coffee, but I’ve come to appreciate it as I’ve gotten older. It’s one of the best parts of my morning.

For that very reason, I’d like to share a brief story about how I made this routine, yet enjoyable part of my day more awesome. Moreover, I did it by accident and I hope it inspires others to find new ways of making their morning coffee even better. Consider it a gift that I bought by complete accident.

It happened a while back around Halloween. It was around a time when everyone was stocking up on candy. Some friends of mine had more than done our part. We had a big bowl of candy in the kitchen that everyone picked at for days on end. I was one of them.

One morning, I grabbed a few peanut butter cups while brewing my coffee.  Typically, I drink my coffee black. I never use creamer or sugar. Sometimes, I will pour a little cocoa powder into the mix, usually around holidays or social gatherings. I wasn’t planning to do that on this particular day.

Then, something amazing happened.

After setting my cup of coffee down, I accidentally dropped a peanut butter cup right into it. At first, I felt stupid and clumsy. Then, I looked down at the frothy, chocolate-laden mixture forming in my cup. I soon realized that this might be the greatest accident I’ve ever had.

I took a sip of my coffee with the peanut butter cup now floating within it. A strange new convergence of tasty joy followed. It was like a revelation. It took two wonderful things and combined them into something that was even better. It made my morning and the rest of my day.

Again, this was a complete accident, but one from which something beautiful emerged. If you happen to love coffee and peanut butter cups, I highly recommend you give it a try. Just one or two cups will do. Give if a few minutes to melt and froth. You’ll be glad you did.

If you have another way of making morning coffee even better, I’d love to hear it. Just know that the sweet, potent combination of peanut butter cups and coffee will be hard to top.

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Filed under health, Jack Fisher's Insights

My Workout Playlist (For Those Still Committed To Get In Shape This Year)

The first few days of 2020 have gone by quickly. We’ve still got plenty more to go and for those still serious about their New Years Resolution, I applaud and encourage you. Anyone who has given up on theirs by now was probably not serious about them in the first place.

Since one of the most common resolutions is to get in shape, I thought I’d touch on that again. A few days ago, I wrote about how certain people at the gym I go to didn’t seem to be taking that effort very seriously. I tried to be fair and offer advice for those who genuinely want to improve their health, fitness, and overall well-being. In hindsight, I think I might have been a bit harsh.

To make up for it, I thought I’d share one aspect of working out that I genuinely enjoy. It involves listening to music during a workout. I know that’s not a novel concept. Chances are that when you go to a gym, most of the people working out will have headphones on. I know because I’m one of them. In fact, listening to music while working out is something that makes my workout genuinely enjoyable.

If you want to do something that’ll make exercise feel less tedious, a good playlist is a great way to achieve that. What constitutes a “good playlist” varies from person to person. Not everyone has the same tastes. I know people who can work out listening to classical, jazz, country, and rap music. There’s nothing wrong with any genre. As long as it helps get you in the right mindset, then it can only help.

I have a lot of music on my phone, but I have a special playlist that I call my “Workout Mix” that I listen to whenever I’m at the gym. Whether I’m lifting weights or running on a treadmill, I just put the list on shuffle and have at it. Before long, I’m rocking out and working out. It’s win-win.

If you intend to get into shape in 2020, I highly recommend putting together a workout mix. If it helps, I’ll share mine. Please note that mine is tailored to my tastes. Yours are likely different. Pick the music that works best for you. This just happens to work best for me.

Metallica – Enter Sandman

Metallica – Hardwired To Self-Destruct

Quiet Riot – Come On Feel The Noise

DMX – X Goin’ Give It To Ya

Lady Gaga – Applause

Flo Rida – Right Round

AC/DC – Thunderstruck

Motley Crue – Kickstart My Heart

Collective Soul – Shine

Collective Soul – December

Soundgarden – Spoonman

Robin Schultz – Sugar

Rick James – Superfreak

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Nelly – Hot In Here

James Labrie – Pretender

Guns N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle

Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child Of Mine

Eve 6 – Inside Out

Drowning Pool – Step Up

The Beastie Boys – Fight For Your Right (To Party)

Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

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Filed under health, Jack Fisher's Insights