Friday, March 18, 2011

Good morning to all. I have an apology to make for not having updated this blog in forever. I hope to get things started again and keep up with the posts. A friend of mine on a fitness forum had this blog link in his own blog and I realized that I had really dropped the ball on this one. Thanks for the kick in the pants, papabear. More to come as I get my act together.

Monday, April 6, 2009

# 255 – The Gym According to Dr. Seuss

The Gym According to Dr. Seuss (04-06-09)

Good morning, all. I wrote the first few lines of this as a response to a post a while back and as a little joke. But it stuck in my mind and I finally took a little time to extend it. I hope it adds a little humor while getting across the message.

Stanley Lifts A Weight

I am Stan.Stan the man.
Can you liftthe weight I can.
Can you lift it overhead.
Can you lift it with a dead.
Can you lift it with a squat.
Bet I can, and you cannot.

Can you lift it in the air.
Can you lift it anywhere.
Can you lift it, no he shrugs
I can’t lift it without drugs.

Can you squat front, rear and hacks.
Do you know your one rep max.
Can you do a power clean.
Nope not on a Smith Machine.

Do your lifts impress the girls
Can’t do that with biceps curls.
The ladies just might notice you
If you don’t lift just like they do.

Is your gym a place to play,
A stop within your busy day
Do you go to be a jerk
Or is it where you go to work.

When you go there what do you do
I hope not just what comes to you
And while you’re there don’t be a clown
Lift weights and put that cell phone down.

Do you lift heavy, break a sweat.
If you don’t you’re not there yet.
Can you get strong like Stan the man,
With some hard work, of course you can.

If you’re consistent, lifting weights
And work real hard, and add some plates.
Then you’ll get strong, I know you can,
Like me, I’m Stan, I’m Stan the man

Copyright 2004-2009 John R. Gesselberty. Mahler's Monday Morning Motivators (MMMM) may not be copied or used without permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 30, 2009

# 254 – Another Mountain

Another Mountain (03-30-09)

The darkness of pre-dawn was gradually, imperceptibly illumined by the, as yet, clandestine morning, creating a half-light as the rising sun reached up over the edge of the horizon to cast the sky in a band of crimson. It was as though the dome of the heavens was pouring out its life’s blood over the earth in sacrifice to renew the world for yet another day.

He stood there in the chill morning air and looked up to see it towering above him, black and ominous as it was silhouetted against the dawn. This was his destination. This was his direction. This was his goal. This was his mountain to climb. The journey would take days, perhaps weeks, but he had prepared well and the task ahead was both foreboding and welcoming.

He set out into the foothills for what was initially an easy climb, all the while knowing that there would be trials and difficulties ahead. As the day wore on, that knowledge proved to be singularly true when the agreeable slope steepened and the grassy terrain gave way to rock and ravine. And yet, this did not deter him. This was the reason for the climb. This was the challenge. The exhilaration of that first day carried him far and as night began to assert its dominion, he settled down for a well-deserved meal and rest, pleased with his progress and confident in his abilities to continue on in the morning.

Morning came all too soon and day followed day, with arduous progress and disappointing setbacks. He waged a constant battle with the cold, the pain, the exhaustion and the loneliness. More than once he had reached a ledge or plateau, only to look up, see the peak rising above him, and realize how far he had yet to climb. But, looking down to the distant valley below, he would realize, as well, how far he had come, how much of the journey he had already completed. And that knowledge gave him the strength to move on, and move on he did. Before long the day came, the moment arrived, when the summit was within reach. He had merely to take those last few steps. All the hard work and the trials were but a memory, the stuff of stories to be told to friends and companions around a warm fire someday.

As he made that last effort he was urged on with a sense of pride and of accomplishment, but troubled as well. The journey would be over and the trophy won, but mixed with his supreme elation was the nagging disappointment that it was ended and done with. The descent would be routine, almost mundane. Standing now at the apex of a journey that had consumed his energies for so many days, what, now, was there for him?

As the mists of dawn were dispelled and the air became clear, there in the distance, was his answer. Reaching up to catch the first rays of the morning sun and crowned in its glow, was . . . another mountain.

Copyright 2004-2009 John R. Gesselberty. Mahler's Monday Morning Motivators (MMMM) may not be copied or used without permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 23, 2009

# 253 – Let Them Eat Cake

Let Them Eat Cake (03-23-09)

Back in the latter part of the eighteenth century, France was ruled by Louis XVI and his wife, an Austrian import, named Marie Antoinette. Let us just say that she was not well received by the populace, who already just about had it with the aristocracy and the monarchy in particular. And the arrival of a foreign model fresh off the assembly line didn’t make matters any better. Marie was extravagant almost beyond belief and the press of that era painted her with words that even the media of today would balk at when talking about a public figure, as difficult as that might be to believe. France was in a pretty bad situation financially and Marie was the cause of it all, or at least that is what they made her out to be. She was even dubbed with the sobriquet of “Madame Deficit.”

There were widespread famines and shortages throughout the reign of her husband, Louis and things were not looking good. It is reported that one day, upon being informed that the populace was suffering greatly due to the shortage of bread, she replied with the now famous phrase, “Then let them eat cake.”

Now, it is questionable as to whether or not she actually said such a thing, but from the very beginning of his reign, Louis was painted as incompetent and somewhat naïve. Adding Marie to the mix, with her excesses just made it easier for the average citizen to believe when the country was in turmoil, recession and on the brink of revolution.

Fast forward to the twenty first century. You, yes you, are Marie Antoinette. I know, I know, most of you just aren’t pretty enough, but some of the gals are. Hopefully, in the current economy, you are a little more reserved in your spending. When it’s someone else’s money, it is somehow easier to be extravagant. Now, unlike the real Marie, you have a desire to satisfy the populace and yourself at the same time. And, again, unlike her, you may be regretting the excesses of a winter of food and frolic. With the warmer weather coming, you will be ready for wearing less clothing and exposing a little more flesh. You will be rummaging through the closets and drawers to pull out those bathing suits, short sleeved tops and shorts. And, when you go out among the crowd, what will your subjects, your public, be expected to feast upon? Will you present them with a meal that is gross and unpalatable? Will that extra flesh be a little more than they can handle? Or, will you give them something more pleasing to the palate, and a little easier on the eyes? It’s time to put in the extra effort; to get to work. Marie neglected her job and lost her head over it. Will you? Oh, make no mistake, you can be arrogant and say “let them eat cake.” But, will it be pound cake or beefcake?

Copyright 2004-2009 John R. Gesselberty. Mahler's Monday Morning Motivators (MMMM) may not be copied or used without permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 16, 2009

# 252 – Peripheral Vision

Peripheral Vision (03-16-09)

If you have ever been to an optometrist, one of the tests that will be given for your eyes is to check your peripheral vision. The test will gauge how far outside of your normal central area of vision you are able to see. For lack of better words, it checks your side vision or those fringe areas where you are just able to see light or motion, but not necessarily distinct images.

Peripheral vision can be a wonderful thing and even a lifesaver. It helps you to duck out of the way of that wayward baseball coming at you almost from behind that you hadn’t expected. It helps you to avoid that car coming out of the side street as you are about to step off the curb. Hell, it even gives you a heads up on that mischievous friend of yours who is making his move to dump that beer on your head. Quite simply, peripheral vision allows us to keep tabs on the world around us while we are focusing on the world in front of us.

Recently, I went to a concert with a group of friends. It was loads of fun with plenty of music and laughter. But, as I was sitting there, taking it all in, I couldn’t help but notice the eerie glow of the many screens from cell phones and other electronic devices in the crowd seated in the rows in front of me. And that glow was not intermittent. For some, it was constant throughout the three hours of entertainment. One hoped at some point that the batteries would give out, but that was not to be. And, while there was no phone use allowed, in the sense of having phones ring during the concert, there was plenty of activity taking place. There was the ongoing checking for important messages by people who did not look in the least to me like brain surgeons waiting for that report on their patient. There was the constant text messaging, no doubt telling friends what a great concert this was, all the while they were so engrossed in their phone that they were actually experiencing as much of the concert as the friend on the other end of that text message. And, there was the ever-popular web browsing, I can only conjecture, to entertain themselves while they were, uh, being entertained.

All of these people, in a very real sense, were using peripheral vision. They had surrendered their eyesight for the events in front of them and were devoting the lion’s share of their attention to the fringe areas of their lives. In the same sense, just in noticing them, I was guilty of that peripheral vision, too, even though they were pretty hard to ignore.

It happens, more than we would like to admit, that we get caught up in the peripherals of our lives or in the peripherals of our training and forget what the hell we are really out to accomplish. We get so involved in picking the perfect program, the right shoes, the best moisture wicking gear. We obsess about micronutrients and macronutrients and percentages of proteins, carbs and fats that we eat. We try to get that perfect mix loaded on the iPod, or look constantly for that magic piece of equipment that will complete our training arsenal. And in all of this, sometimes we forget that the real purpose of what we do is to lift the damned weight and get stronger, run the damned course and get faster and eat the damned food and get healthier. We let our peripheral vision direct our actions and literally close our eyes to the goal right in front of us as we try to perfect the fringe areas of our training. If you are one of those people using your peripheral vision more than you need to, and I am as guilty as the next guy, then it’s time to look ahead. The only thing you want to use peripheral vision for is to stay out in front of that other guy coming up from behind, because he is the you of yesterday, and you don’t want him catching up while you’re not paying attention.

Copyright 2004-2009 John R. Gesselberty. Mahler's Monday Morning Motivators (MMMM) may not be copied or used without permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 9, 2009

# 251 – Daylight Slaving Time

Daylight Slaving Time (03-09-09)

Well I hope all of you are recovering from that loss of a single hour of sleep over the weekend. That loss, like some universal jet lag, is the scapegoat for any number of issues in our lives from missing church on Sunday to missing a workout the following Wednesday. We have, of course, just entered into that controversial time of year governed by Daylight Saving Time. (Note that there is no “s” after the word “saving.”) I say controversial, because you will probably find as many people in favor of it as you will those who would just prefer that we stop giving Father Time an annual goose.

While the idea has been attributed to, or one might say blamed on, any number of people, including good old Ben Franklin, the annual adjustment, much like the work of some temporal chiropractor, was the doing of one William Willet an English builder and sportsman. Bill, you see, took a morning ride on his horse each day and was simply appalled at the number of his fellow countrymen who were still sleeping away the daylight hours. He was also an avid golfer and got very much put out when he had to put away the clubs at dusk. He came up with the idea and lobbied for it until his death in 1915. It was not implemented during his lifetime, but the idea struck a chord with the Germans in 1916 and the music made its way to the United States by 1918 when it was adopted. Adopted is a good word, because it was much like a wayward stepchild, loved by some and summarily ignored by others.

Of course, in 1918, the process involved nothing more than moving the hands of the mantel clock in the living room ahead one hour and perhaps grandpa adjusting his pocket watch. Today, the greater part of a day can be spent adjusting everything from clocks, to microwave ovens, video recorders, telephone message machines, GPS units, the stove, the refrigerator, the coffee maker, and that new digital toilet you just had to have for the bathroom.

Initially used as a way to cut power usage for a newly electrified nation, its purpose has changed much over the years and has come full circle to return to Willet’s original idea of providing some extra daylight for afternoon and evening activities. In our modern world, often those activities have little to do with the outdoors, in the sense that Willet had in mind. If you own a home, for instance, that extra hour is just something that can be used to clear another item off the “honey do” list. As spring approaches there are weeds to be pulled, mulch to be spread, windows to be washed, screens to be installed, shutters to be painted, and decks to be scrubbed. In short, it’s Daylight Slaving Time.

Now, even with all the work ahead of me, I actually look forward to the extra daylight and generally take on and get into the “get ‘er done” mode of operation and I am sure a lot of you do too. What I would like to suggest, however, is that we all put a little hold on Daylight Slaving Time once in awhile, by taking the opportunity, if only once or twice a week, to use that extra daylight to do something that good old Mr. Willet had in mind for us. After all, there are trails to be hiked, roads to be biked, tracks to be run, hills to be climbed, games to be played and bodies to be challenged.
Copyright 2004-2009 John R. Gesselberty. Mahler's Monday Morning Motivators (MMMM) may not be copied or used without permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Complete Maher's Monday Morning Motivators

To date I have written 255 Monday Morning Motivators. Until I can organize and post them here, you can view the entire set at
They are in a sticky post at the top of the Training forum.

Keep watching this blog for updates and additional material.

Thanks to Jonathan Fass for the mention and link to this blog.