Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Life in Captivity; Lessons from Ivan

Ivan was born in Zaire in 1964. He was purchased by a man that owned a funky little shopping mall in my hometown, Tacoma, Washington.

The man placed Ivan in a 14' x 14' concrete cell with a large viewing window in the center of his funky little mall, "The World Famous B&I" on South Tacoma Way. For 27 years, Ivan sat in his little room as B&I shoppers strolled passed him.

I remember seeing Ivan once during my childhood. To the best of my recollection, there was hay scattered on the floor of his barren quarters, a limp tire swing hanging from the ceiling and a punctured 4-square ball rolled away in a corner.

What I remember most, was Ivan. He was beautiful and magnificent, an astonishing creature designed for the lowland forests of the Congo. He sat before me in the dingy B&I bathed in vomitous fluorescent lighting. His 14' x 14' cell was his personal fortress of solitude. He sat there, not moving, just gazing out through the glass, his sad eyes looked right through me.
It's almost unfathomable to imagine the profound sadness and loneliness that 27 years alone in a 14' x 14' cell at the B&I could do to any pack animal. I wouldn't want to spend 27 minutes alone in the B&I, much less 27 years.

PARADOX. I enjoy taking walks in the evenings. Depending on the weather, it's pretty common for me to go for an hour long stroll 3-4 nights a week. It's a healthy habit that I find very refreshing. It's great to be outdoors, breathing deeply and just walking (humans are designed for long walks). You can walk with a friend, family member, golden retriever or just enjoy the chance to be by yourself and do some serious thinking.

I'll usually take a route through a safe and familiar neighborhood, and guess what I see... I see people sitting slack-jawed on their couches staring at television sets, ALONE. Certainly, some families watch television together, but often times I see people sitting by themselves in front of a Television. Isolated, alone, secluded, watching TV. It's disgusting.

How often do you watch TV alone? Many American households have more television sets than people! A fact that makes it easy for each member of a household to slink off to their private quarters and watch TV by themselves.

Ivan was forcibly confined to his 14' x 14' concrete cell, but how many of us willfully choose to live in isolation? We confine ourselves to a couch and allow the TV to watch us! We slouch down into the cushions as the television beams powerful messages paid for by multinational mega corporations. They tell us what to think and feel, they tell us what's cool and what we HAVE to have. We choose to sit stupidly in front of the television while we are brainwashed to purchase light beer, potato chips, extra value meals, cars, trucks, SUV's, soda, diet soda, diet pills, prescription drugs, blue jeans, and jewelery.

Ivan was forced to receive a daily bath of that awful fluorescent light at the B&I, but we choose an even more treacherous light bath, from our plasma and LCD screens as they instruct us how to be good little consumers. So we can go to mall and make sure we have the latest khaki pants from the GAP and get the most "extra value" from our fast food cuisine. The smiling faces of models, dancers, actors and athletes swirl before us, exalting the latest goods to appease our ever growing consumer appetites.Make a better choice. Go outside. That's where real life is. Life is growth, learning, movement and connection. Go for a walk, take your dog, or a friend, or your son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father. Walk and talk. Be real people. Plan something, discuss ideas, current events, relationships, religion, politics, anything! Stroll passed the homes in your neighborhood and see all the people sitting alone like Ivan did for 27 years. Real life is outdoors, it's physical, it will occasionally cause you to break a sweat, it will bathe you in refreshing sunlight.

When you go to the grocery store, casually look in the carts around you. You'll see carts full of pizza rolls, hot-pockets, pop-tarts, soda cans and other microwaveable nonsense. It's the food that the TV told your fellow shopper would make them happy. Coca-Cola has ad spots with the slogan "open happiness." Can you believe that? It would be a lot more accurate if they said "Open carbonated water mixed with high-fructose corn syrup" with another warning label that stated "WARNING: This product may lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes and premature death." Now certainly television and soda could be used in moderation...

I'll be the first to admit that I watch my share of television, that that antics of Snooki, Jwoww and the Situation are a guilty pleasure. If you are going to watch television, please meet every advertisement with skepticism and be aware of the more sinister form of brainwashing, product placement. If you are going to watch television or have a coke and a smile, plan to share the experience with another real person that is really there! PS: "Coke and a smile" is another one of those creative ad slogans that sells you faux feelings.

I've strayed tangentially from my main point of this piece, which was, "Go outside and connect with other real people." So I'll just reiterate that, GO OUTSIDE AND CONNECT WITH OTHER REAL PEOPLE. Life is growth, learning and movement. Choose to LIVE.

Ivan was eventually freed from solitary confinement at the B&I penitentiary. He now resides at the Atlanta Zoo. He stretches out under the sun and enjoys the company of other gorillas.

Chris Krueger

Transform your body now and change your life forever. Get the TSC Heart of a Champion Program and Make it Happen! http://www.tscheartofachampionprogram.com/

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The TSC 300 Challenge

The TSC 300 Challenge is a fitness test that measures strength, stamina and cardiovascular endurance. The purpose of the test is to help you transform your body and achieve true health and fitness. That means looking your best possible, feeling your best possible, and being your best possible.

The TSC 300 Challenge is composed of 3 events. Each event is worth a maximum of 100 points. With proper training, like the TSC Heart of a Champion Program any able bodied person can max the test and score 300 points. This is remarkable considering that many professional and Olympic athletes would not be able to score 300 points if we gave them the test tomorrow.
Obviously, severe asthma, arthritis or other disabilities would make it more difficult to score 300 points, but every able bodied person can max this test. The TSC 300 Challenge doesn't require abundant athletic ability, talent or skill beyond doing the basics of pull-ups, push-ups and running 3 miles.

The first event is a maximum set of pull-ups. You can do wide grip pull-ups with your palms facing away from you or narrow grip pull-ups with your palms facing towards you (these are also called "chin-ups" and are typically easier for most people). Start each pull-up from a "dead hang" fully extended position and pull up until your chin is level to the bar.

There is no time limit, you can hang tough as long as you want, trying to squeeze out one extra rep, but as soon as you drop off the bar, you're done.
The scoring for men is 5 points per pull-up, 20 pull-ups scores the maximum of 100 points.
The scoring for women is 10 points per pull-up, 10 pull-ups scores the maximum of 100 points.

Rest for up to five minutes while you catch your breath and mentally prepare for the second event, maximum push-ups. At the top of your push-up your arms should be slightly flexed, then lower your body until your upper arm creates a 90 degree angle with your lower arm. There aren't any judges that will disqualify you if you don't go down low enough or up high enough, but do your best to use a complete range of motion. Be honest with yourself, using a limited range of motion only hurts you in the long run. For the best form, keep your chin up and your eyes looking straight forward. Do as many as possible without breaking proper push-up position. This means that if your hips start to sag or your but shoots up in the air, you're done.Ideally, your push-up strength will develop in a 3:1 ratio with your pull-up strength. Thus a person that can do 8 pull-ups should be able to perform 24 push-ups. If your push-up to pull-up/pull-ups is far outside of this ratio, it's indicative that you have muscle and strength imbalances or that your total body weight is outside the ideal range for you. Don't worry though, The Heart of a Champion Training program will correct these imbalances over time.
Men, you score two points per push-up, 50 push-ups scores the maximum, 100 points.
Women, you score 4 points for each push-up, 25 push-ups earns you the 100 point maximum.

The final event in the TSC 300 Challenge is 3-mile run A.F.A.P (As Fast as Possible!) I prefer running 12 laps on a rubberized track to complete your 3 miles. You can find a track at most high schools and colleges (in the United States). Running on a track offers several advantages, it allows you to calculate your split time, the rubberized cushioning is easier on your joints and if you travel, it's easier to find a track than to map out a new 3-mile course each time.

Other methods include creating a 1.5 mile loop and completing two loops or choosing a "turn around" point 1.5 miles your starting point and running there and back. You can also choose to run your 3 miles indoors on a treadmill, but I prefer the great outdoors (even if it's well below freezing).

Always run in a safe and well lit area. The last thing you want to do is sprain an ankle because you didn't see a crack in the sidewalk or get mugged running through a park at night. Ideally, you should be doing your TSC 300 Challenge on Saturday morning, so it shouldn't be an issue.

Guys, to max the run you must complete 3-miles in 18 minutes or less. For each 10-second interval above 18:00 subtract one point from 100 to get your score. Thus for each minute over 18:00 you will subtract six points.
Women, the scoring is the same for you, except your goal time is 21 minutes. For each 10-second interval above 21 minutes subtract one point from 100.

Like I stated earlier, every able bodied person can score 300 points on this challenge. It doesn't take athletic ability, skill or talent. Your goal should be to improve in each category every week as you progress towards scoring 300 points. Please keep in mind that plenty of Olympic and professional athletes would not be able to score 300 points if we gave them the challenge tomorrow, or even if we gave them an entire month to train for it. Again, the goal is steady improvement, not perfection.

Don't be discouraged if you don't do well the first time you take the challenge (it's entirely possible for individuals with poor fitness to score zero points the first time they take the challenge) or if you fail to improve in each category every week. Just continue to show up and give your best effort as you strive for your goals. You will get there eventually and along the way you will find true health & fitness, that magical point at which you look, feel and perform as well as you possibly can. That is the promised land and the TSC 300 Challenge and the Heart of a Champion Training & Nutrition Program can help you get there.

Chris Krueger

Transform your body now and change your life forever. Get the TSC Heart of a Champion Program and Make it Happen! http://www.tscheartofachampionprogram.com/

Saturday, January 2, 2010

You Complete Me

Tom Cruise's famous line in Jerry Maguire is total BS.
"You complete me" is something you should never think or feel. You MUST complete yourself. I've talked with two friends recently about their bad break-ups and both placed the blame for their failed relationships squarely on their ex-girlfriends.

They kept whining, "Why couldn't she be more understanding?" "She never called me back!" "She was selfish." "She didn't want to help me." "She wasn't there for me when I needed her." They had both used their previous relationships to fill a void in themselves. They had a piece missing and they thought a girlfriend would complete them.

Besides recent bad break-ups and useless diatribes of "she wasn't ______ enough when I needed her most." Guess what else these two guys had in common?


They are both FAT and extremely out of shape. They both choose to live boring sedentary lives and both of them blame others for their failings in business, school and relationships instead of taking responsibility for themselves.

Being out of shape and fat carries so many disgusting side-effects; low self-esteem, lack of energy, depression, lack of confidence, denial, guilt, stress and the need for external stimulants and validation. Your fat weighs you down, literally. It's like an anchor and a rain cloud that follow you everywhere. You're fatness is your personal prison cell.

But you have the keys to unlock your true self! You are only fat because you choose to be! Consciously or unconsciously you make decisions everyday that keep you fat, unhealthy and rob you of the opportunity to be happy, confident, energetic and empowered.

If you're a fat, depressed, sloth of a human of course you are going to fail in relationships! Of course your girlfriend will dump you or your wife will want a divorce. If all you care about is what's on TV and whether or not you have cold beer in the fridge, you are a LOSER! And the saddest part is that you choose to be a loser.

You have to complete yourself! How can anyone be in a healthy relationship if they are themselves incomplete and in search of validation? It's impossible! It's like the 13 year old girls that go on Maury Povich and say that they are gonna have a baby and that the baby is going to love them. It's the same thing with depressed fat people. They get themselves into relationships just so that they can hear the other person say "I love you." Really it's one of the most selfish things you can do.

Think about this paradox... Many people associate fit people with narcissism and think "all they care about is looking good in front of the mirror." I will readily admit that the world is full of fit people that are total jerks, tools and jokes (see the Jersey Shore) but, the most narcissistic people in my opinion are depressed fat people.

Often, they blame everyone else for their shortcomings and failures and refuse to take responsibility for themselves. They need others to care for them because they won't to care for themselves.

You can't truly love someone else until you love yourself. Now, I'm not talking about being "in love" with yourself and spending all day doing your hair, posing in front of the mirror, and picking out the perfect outfit (see Jersey Shore again). I'm talking about genuinely caring for yourself and your well being. When you take responsibility for yourself you are actually being selfless, not selfish. Once you take responsibility for yourself, you can no longer be a burden on others or society as a whole.

When things aren't going the way you want you should look inward first, it's probably your fault. Stop looking for scapegoats. Blaming others for your situation might feel good in the moment but it usually results in burning bridges, losing friends, and ending up right back where you started, but worse.

Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

So if you're fat, depressed and keep blaming everyone else and it still isn't working, don't you think that it's time for a change...or are you INSANE?

Take responsibility for yourself and your health and fitness. You hold the keys to your personal prison cell. When you are ready to feel real joy and happiness, get the Heart of a Champion program and transform your life.

I can't give you the "heart" but I can help you find it. You don't learn to have the Heart of a Champion, you have to uncover it like an archaeologist. When you take responsibility for yourself and your well being and commit to the program you will reveal the Heart of a Champion.

Hopefully my friends will find the heart and transform their lives before another unfortunate female gets trapped in their web of incompleteness.


Chris Krueger
Transform your body now and change your life forever. Get the TSC Heart of a Champion Program and Make it Happen! http://www.tscheartofachampionprogram.com/