Face The Monster, Don’t Run Away From It!

In Frankenstein, Victor tries to avoid the monster he created by running away from it.  In the end, it comes back to bite him, as the monster gets revenge on Victor by killing all of his family.
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Fitness can be paralleled by this example, except instead of just one monster, there can be multiple monsters.  For one person, it could be sticking to their diet; for another, it could be doing cardio.

Whatever that monster is, there is no way of avoiding it.  If you try to avoid it, it will come back in the future and haunt you, in one form or another.  If you don’t stick to your diet and cheat on it constantly, you’ll put on excess fat, and will have to diet for even longer to shed it off.  If your training regimen mandates you do cardio, and you don’t do cardio, you may not be able to lose all that stomach fat and be shredded for summer.

Simply put, if you have trouble with any obstacle on your path to achieving your goal, face that obstacle sooner than later.  It may be tempting to dodge your obstacle and face it later, but doing that will only have consequences in the future and delay the fruition of your goal.
Andy Phan P2

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The Different Sides of Fitness

Frankenstein is simply a book, but it has so many different facets to it then simply just telling a story about a monster.  Likewise, fitness can be so many different things besides just being healthy.

The world of fitness cannot be defined by just eating healthy and having heart.  There are many different perspectives from which to look at this universe.  First, the definition of fitness must be explored.  For the power lifter, fitness is achieving a 200 pound squat.  For schools around the country, fitness means being able to run a mile in a certain time.  For the average person, fitness is exercising for thirty minutes a day and eating relatively healthy.  Clearly, fitness does not mean one thing.  As a result, a person who wants to get in shape should first establish what his or her goals are before they do anything.  That way, there is a focused effort rather than just aimless exercising.

Fitness is not just limited to getting on a treadmill for an hour. Look at what you want to do, and adjust your method to achieve your desired goals.

So, what’s your goal?  Do you want to be faster, or just maybe shave a couple inches off that waistline?  Whatever it is, establish it, and work hard.

Harrison p6

Motivation for the Unmotivated

During the past week, I watched an inspirational video in English concerning a man suffering from ALS.  ALS is a degenerative disease that affects nerves cells and the spinal cord, leading to eventual death.  In the video, the man suffering from ALS was expected to die five years within diagnosis, but has miraculously survived for ten years and counting.  Not only has he survived, but he has continued to live life fulfilling his passion: writing.  Even though he cannot move his limbs or talk, he has still found a way to express his thoughts and share it with people around the world.
ImageMy question is, if a man suffering from a life threatening disease can still find a will to do what he loves, then why can’t someone looking to get into shape get off the couch and go to the gym?  Or start making better food choices and improving eating habits?  If you really want to get in shape, you have to be motivated to do so.  You have to want to attain your goal so badly, that you’d be willing to make sacrifices for it.
– Andy Phan P2

Diet Response Theory

Recently, I learned about one of the most complex, yet simple, English concepts:  Reader Response Theory.  The idea behind this theory is that everyone has their own interpretations of what the text is.  Seems simple enough right?  I mean, we’ve been doing this sort of analysis in our English classrooms for years now.  Reader response theory, however takes these interpretations a step further, proposing that each interpretation is considered “right”.  Thus, according to this theory a text is a paradox.  It always says the same thing, but it can also mean anything.  As I was mulling over this concept, I realized that this phrasing could also be used to describe dieting.

I found that reader response theory is similar to the idea of Schrodinger’s cat. It is both alive and dead, just like how a text will always mean one thing but also many different things at the same time.

Nowadays, there are so many diets that seem to be popular.  Paleo, Ketogenic, low carb, fasting, or eating multiple meals a day are just some of they many examples.  However, look past all the specific nuances of each diet, and you’ll see that all diets follow the same general guidelines.  The first, and usually the most obvious, is to avoid processed foods and increase intake of fruits and vegetable because they are calorie dense, making you feel fuller a lot sooner.  The first part of that rule should be self explanatory; chips, instant noodles, and the like are called junk foods, and rightly so, and they should be avoided at all costs.  The second rule is to not to overeat.  All of these diets have specific ideas, but at the end, they reduce the amount of calories a person will consume.  Paleo does this by taking out high calorie processed carbohydrates, fasting does this by reducing the amount of meals eaten a day.  Finally, the last rule of all these diets is that they require strict adherence to succeed.  If you don’t follow the guidelines and cheat, then all the rules will be for naught.  At the end of the day, these shouldn’t even be considered rules, but rather a healthy approach to eating.

This is a great example of why vegetables should be prioritized in any diet. They make you feel more satiated, and you can eat more.

All diets are the same.  The users of the diet all say swear by the diet, saying that there is scientific research to back each statement, and that the methods are tried and true, and, they are all right.  The template for a diet will always be the same, but the methods of application will be different.

Harrison P6

You are Beautiful

I was looking around for some inspirational pictures and found this. I think it perfectly says everything I want to say. No matter your size, your eye color, your hair… you’re beautiful.

-Minh Thu Le

If you break it, you buy it.

ImageThe Maury Show focuses on making men own up to their responsibilities. Though not the most philanthropic of TV programs, it serves as a shocking reminder for all of us to not take on what we can’t handle. Every single day, a child is given birth to, fatherless. I think it’s so cruel that people abuse the gift of reproduction because they simply fear the responsibilities of being a father.

Victor Frankenstein is one of those men. I think he should have gone on the Maury Show himself. (I made that meme up there, brilliant right?).

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The paternity test would not be able to prove anything, but Victor still created Frankenstein himself. As soon as he came alive, however, Victor ran away from the repercussions. He was fearful of the monster he had created. Two long years had passed until he could bring this creature to life, and not until it’s limbs convulsed in awakening did he suddenly come to realization that he wasn’t ready.

“How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to form!”

He ran out of the room. Away from his ‘son’. Away from his inevitable fears. I don’t know why he thought he could avoid the situation; he would eventually have to face it. This relates back to health.

It takes a person years to create their monster. When I say monster, I mean poor body image.

People gain weight, lose confidence, begin to reject their own looks, and fear looking into the mirror because they would see what they have created. When I gained a lot of weight years ago, it wasn’t overnight. Over time, I ate junk food, stopped exercising, and I just wasn’t being healthy. This monster inside me grew, as I started to hate my looks. I felt and looked lethargic. How did I deal with it? Like Victor, I didn’t. I avoided it. What I didn’t understand at the time was this:

I would eventually have to deal with it. So why not start now? 

If you created it, you can fix it. If you don’t, the repercussions will eventually get to you. In Victor’s case, his monster returned. His nightmare came true as Victor realized that Frankenstein was at fault for the death of his cousin. This also relates to health; if you continue to avoid making a change in your life, your health will be at risk. You will become vulnerable to illness, disease, and death.

That is why I urge you to not run from your monsters. Embrace them, and improve. Confront your fears and make the changes you need to, now, before it’s too late.

-Minh Thu Le

Beware the Consequences

The problem with reaching higher levels of lifting is that there is a higher risk of injury.  Two hundred pounds can do a lot of damage to your body.     That’s why you need to lift with proper form when you first start out lifting.  At the beginning it’s pointless, but at the end when there are pains all over your body, it suddenly becomes very important.

Lifting is not necessarily limited to weights. Everyday actions done with incorrect form can lead to unnecessary pain.

Although it may seem extremely dangerous, weightlifting is in fact safe compared to other sports.  The main problem is form.  Lifting will lead to all sorts of problems if done incorrectly, especially if this incorrect form is repeated.  That’s why it’s essential that you get the advice of experienced lifters at the beginning of your journey.  Victor Frankenstein was so caught up in reaching his end goal, and he paid the consequences.  You don’t want to be that guy who was so focused on lifting three hundred pounds that you have chronic back issues.

Harrison p6