Monday, February 27, 2012

New Home

Hey everyone.

Just wanted to let you guys know that the DK FitSolutions blog now has a new home, so please come by and check me out.  You can find my new stuff at, so please come check it out.  My old stuff will stay here, and I'll reference the good posts from time to time. I just had to switch because wordpress offers so much more than google ever dreamed of, and hopefully this move will help things to start taking off a bit more.

In any event, thanks for following me so far.  Hope you'll come check out the new page and follow me there.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

Confession--I've got a thing for Kelly Clarkson, and I really don't have any idea where it came from.

I'm not a fan of American Idol, not even a little bit.  I didn't watch a single episode the year she won it.  Half of her hit songs I didn't even know were her's for weeks or months.  And yet, for whatever reason, I like her.

She's got a new song out called Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) and I love it.  At least the chorus.  The song is all about her breaking up with a guy, but the chorus is a great song to encourage perseverance during a tough workout or run.

Check out some other great songs for working out. What are some of your favorite workout songs? Leave a comment below.

When you are pushing your body to your perceived limit, it responds.  It gets stronger.  And the change may blow your mind.  There was a time not too long ago, when running faster than about 10 min/mile pace for more than a mile or so was a pipe dream.  But since I've started running much more seriously at the start of the year, I've already quickened my average pace to closer to 9 min/mile for runs of about 3 miles or less, and closer to 9:30 for 5-8 mile runs. 

Your body will adapt and change as well.  If you work hard, it will respond.  And it doesn't even have to be anything as strenuous as running.  Start a simple resistance program--heck, do as many good push-ups as you can.  Do them again tomorrow.  You'd be surprised how quickly you can get up to 25+ good push-ups.  Your body is an amazing machine, and the only thing holding it back from excelling is you.

Whatever is challenging you right now, vow to overcome it.  The first step may be tough, and it may hurt, but like my girl Kelly says, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller.... What doesn't kill you makes a fighter, foot steps even lighter....What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, STRONGER!"

Now, go get stronger.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is that one day of the year that almost no one is happy. If you're single, the day reminds you of how single you are. In a relationship? Now the pressure is on to do something great/romantic foe your significant other. In along term relationship? Good luck. The pressure is on to one up whatever it is you've done in the past.

In my opinion, you really can't win on this day.

The one constant on Valentine's Day, however, is the candy. Whether its the candy hearts, chocolates, or some other sweet treat, most people will indulge in something today. And the ones not getting chocolate from their significant other may well drown their sorrows in a bottle of wine and a box of chocolate.

If you're in the market for some chocolate on this classic Hallmark holiday,do yourself or your partner a favor, and opt for the darkest chocolate you find palatable. Darker chocolate is certainly more bitter, since it has much less sugar and cream as other forms of chocolate, which makes it a bit better for you. The darker chocolate also has a higher concentration of anti-inflammatory flavonoids which are actually good for you. Note, I'm not authorizing dark chocolate as a health food, there are some benefits of a small amount of dark chocolate over a whole box of milk chocolate. But if you're going to eat a whole box anyway, make it dark instead of milk or white.

As for me, I thankfully married a girl with low Valentine's Day expectations. So I'm getting off easy today. A simple card this morning and a trip to Home Depot this evening, as well as an ice cream stop on the way, and she's as happy as a clam.

My wife's the best. I love you, dear.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pulling the Plug on the Disconnect

Americans are as unhealthy as they have ever been. 

This is a fact. 

And there really is no good reason for it. We have access to the best health care ever, nutritious food has seldom been more accessible, and we have more knowledge (as well as the ability to gain more knowledge) about how to make healthy decisions than we ever have before. 

Regrettably, there are two sides to this coin. We have never lived in a time where doctors push medications to every patient. We are exposed on a daily basis to literally tens of thousands of chemicals. There are fast food restaurants on almost every street corner in America, with more being built every day. And while the Internet does provide us with a wealth of valuable information, it is also a terrible vehicle of misinformation and blatant falsities. 

Somewhere along the way, the people struggling to live a healthy lifestyle are suffering a serious disconnect. And this disconnect is costing them money and quite possibly shortening their lifespans. 

How do we fix it?

Health Care

There is no doubt that our health care system improves all the time. Recoveries from surgeries are shorter than ever, and people with terminal illnesses are able to live longer and healthier than ever before. The problem with health care in America is that we have somehow managed to forget that preventing health maladies is infinitely preferable to treating those same maladies for every conceivable reason. 

Unless, of course, you are a prescription pill manufacturer. 

Then, unhealthy America is nothing but a cash cow for you as you come out with the newest cure all pill for everything from cancer to diabetes to obesity. 

And sadly, we are ok with this. In fact, many doctors feel that what their patients want most from them is a prescription for a pill to solve their health problems. 

If only it were that easy. 

The Food We Eat

When I talk to people about their eating habits, by far the biggest complaint I hear is that it is too expensive to eat healthy food. These people are often drinking from a Starbucks cup or holding a McDonald's bag. 

I'm literally at a loss for words in these situations. Maybe you can explain this to me. How is healthy food too expensive when you can justify spending $5-7 on a coffee at Starbucks that has 1000 calories in it? Not only is that expensive, but it is terribly unhealthy. 

A better alternative? Brew your coffee at home and drink it as close to black as possible. 

But the real problem lies in the foods we choose to eat. If you can even call most fast food food. There really is little room to argue that fresh, healthy food can be a bit pricy. I get it. And yes, that food does go bad quicker than heavily processed, non-perishable food does. But you know what? You get so much more nutrition per dollar of nutritious food than you do from processed food, that the actual bang for your buck makes fresh, healthy, organic fruits and veggies way cheaper than the unhealthy alternative. 

The Knowledge Conundrum

The Internet is a great thing. I love it. There is so much useful information available online to help you make good choices about the health of you and your family. However, there are also no shortage of scams and misinformation available that you just don't always know what to trust. 

Another problem with the evolution of the roll the Internet plays in health care is Web MD. If used correctly, Web MD can be a great tool to help you figure out exactly how serious your symptoms are, and what an appropriate plan of action would be to treat your symptoms. However, for all you hypochondriacs out there, no matter what your symptoms are Web MD is likely telling you that you are dying. And at that point, you run to the doctor to get a prescription that you probably don't need, and the vicious cycle just repeats. 

The Internet is also a source of all kinds of diet and fitness trends that tell people they can loose weight with just a few easy payments and only 8 minutes a day.

Unfortunately, the good information on the Internet is harder to find than the bad information. And there really isn't a good way to change that. 

So, What is the Answer?

If only there was a good answer. 

The problem here is that everyone is going to have a different answer. And that is ok, provided the process is sound.

For some, that may mean just getting off the couch and getting more physically active. Workout doesn't have to mean getting on a treadmill and walking for days. There are plenty of ways to get in exercises that are not only fun, but super effective. 

For others, it may be time to find a farmers market in your neighborhood for some fresh and relatively inexpensive produce. A great resource for finding farmers markets and local foods is the Local Harvest web page. All you need to do is enter your zip code and you'll find plenty of local options, that you may have never known even existed. 

But no matter what your answer is to help you live a healthier life, it is up to you to make it happen. No one can do it for you, though plenty can help you along the way. 

There's never been a better time than now to get started on a better you. Go ahead and pull the plug on whatever it is that is holding you back. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

English Proverb

Yesterday afternoon I was looking through my twitter feed, when a post caught my eye.

Women's Health posted an English Proverb that read "Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork".

At first glance, I didn't quite get what they were going for, but after reading it a second time, I totally got it. Then I thought about how many people I know who are literally digging their own grave with their own knife and fork, and it made me a little uneasy.

I mean, we claim to live in the most modern of times. Medicine has never been more effective and saving lives and preventing the spread of diseases. People understand the importance of early detection of diseases such as cancer and hypertension, and yet they struggle with grasping the importance of preventing obesity. Yet obesity is a suspected contributing factor to many types of cancer as well as a long string of other potentially fatal health maladies. To put it succinctly, we have convinced people that it is important to get mammograms and colonoscopies to help detect possible tumors in their infancy, but we have somehow managed to forget that what and how much we eat is just as important.

It's kind of funny to look back at old proverbs and adages. I sometimes have to shake my head at how right those sayings are, only to see how badly we've gotten off the path and screwed things up. It's almost unfathomable to me, that in this modern age we really do have such a hard time seeing the forest for the trees.

It doesn't seem far fetched to me that what we consume plays a huge roll in our overall health, but, for whatever reason, some people just can't quit digging their grave with their own fork and knife.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just Get Going

This past weekend I completed my 3rd half marathon. This race took place at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, FL, and was a really great experience. I had been training for this race for some time, and while I didn't run quite as fast as I had hoped I would, I did finish with a new personal best time.

Along the way, I even had time to stop for a pictures with a couple of the coolest guys ever.

These races at WDW are always such a great motivator for me, because there are always runners of every shape and size imaginable. There are people that finish these races, some even faster than me, that look like they would struggle to complete a 5k, let alone a half or a full marathon.

The amount of inspiration you can get from some of these participants is incredible, and they really show that whatever excuse you have for not exercising really is a nothing but that--an excuse.

This weekend I passed a guy that was running the half that had both of his legs amputated. He was out there running with two prosthetics and enjoying the experience, when no one would have blamed him for sitting at home feeling sorry for himself.

Two years ago, a soldier ran the full marathon wearing full army fatigues, carrying his pack with him as he ran in honor of all the other soldiers serving overseas. Every person that passed him thanked him for serving our country, and he just humbly deflected all gratitude to those soldiers far from home.

This year I had some friends run that have never considered themselves runners, yet they all managed to finish their races. One actually wasn't planning to run until the day before the race when another person got sick. She hadn't trained and had every reason not to run, but instead she just went out and did it. She may not have been the fastest person out there, but she finished.

And when you finish something you never thought was possible, you feel so proud of what you accomplished, and it also helps you realize how much more is attainable. I love going to these big races to remind myself of what is possible when you convince yourself that you are able to do anything you put your mind to.

So whether or not you ever run a marathon, or even a 5k, please don't ever tell yourself you can't do it. Because you can.

And afterwords your muscles might be sore, and your joints might ache, but you'll have done something that can never be taken away from you.

And you'll know to never doubt yourself again. Ever.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Resolutions 2012

Happy New Year!

So I'm a few days late, but better late than never, right?

With the new year come New Year's resolutions. And every year it seems like the majority of those resolutions are to do something in order to improve your health. If I had to guess, losing weight would be the most common resolution that people make. Other common resolutions often include quit smoking, eat healthier, and drink more water.

So if we consistently resolve to live healthier, how come we are getting unhealthier as a country every year?

The answer is pretty straight forward. It is only the 5th of January, and already a large number of people have given up on their resolutions. Statistically, only about one in five resolutions last. That means 80% of our resolutions fail. Why so many failures? Making major changes to your lifestyle is difficult, and if you're not fully committed to the change it is easy to revert back to your old ways. And even if you are fully committed, slip ups happen. The key is to not let the slip up become the last straw. Instead, brush or off and get on with the changes you are working towards.

So whether you decide to lose weight, stop smoking, or get more exercise, the start of a new year is a great opportunity to make a lasting change for the betterment of your health.

And if you happen to fall off the wagon at some point, don't get discouraged. Just resolve to start over and then keep going.

You can do it.

As for me, this year's resolution is going to be a tough one. I'm setting my sights on running 728 miles for the year. I'll keep you posted on my progress throughout the year.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to take a second to wish everyone a very happy and healthy new year!

I hope you will make this year your healthiest one yet, and if DK FitSolutions can help you with that in anyway, I would be honored.