Friday, December 13, 2013

The Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who 
comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, 
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

-Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Accompanying the increasing popularity of Paleo/Primal lifestyles is the concept of Intermittent Fasting (IF),  a feeding schedule which consists of extended periods of fasting followed by a feast which occupies a short time period. Don't eat for a long time, then refuel hard. The key is the pulsing cycle of feast and famine, flooding the body with nutrients then an abstinence from food, causing key hormones such as insulin to become more sensitive. This would have mimicked the natural feeding habits of our hunter-gatherer predecessors. The bodybuilding and powerlifting communities have started to buy into IF, departing from the original theme of eat 6-8 meals a day.

Recently, the idea of carb-backloading has become increasingly popular. Although still under the same principles of your typical primal intermittent fast, carb back-loading toys is counter-intuitive, in that carbs are ingested at night, when insulin resistivity is said to be higher. 
See DH Kiefer's site for more information.

Interview with Rob Wolff regarding the carb backloading. Posted by Matt Wichlinski

Regardless, the point of this post is to address the current trends, which cater to the desire to overindulge in an uncontrollable binge, an indication of our always abundant food supply. This was necessary prior to our adoption of agricultural methods, where we had to stuff ourselves, as the next feast could be days. 

Therefore, when asked to partake in a traditional fast, I willing accepted, as the idea of abstaining from solid food for 48 hours was appealing. Now there are many reasons to fast, from the obvious weight loss and detox to increasing longevity and spiritual reasons. See Mark's Daily Apple for a more comprehensive read and read the other five parts in his fasting post: 

Personally, I viewed it as a physical and mental challenge to endure and a much needed break from food. This was an opportunity for my body to clear out waste and run on my stored fuel (fat). The body expends much energy in digesting food and the energy freed up from these processes is said to be diverted to immune and excretory system function. 

48 hours is not a long fast, but increasingly hard for the general population, as many are accustomed to permanently high blood sugar levels, as carbohydrate levels stoke the metabolic fire every few hours. I've tried to control my insulin levels in past years, and thus did not suffer huge headaches and "bonks" due to low blood sugar. 

Nevertheless, the task was still difficult, as eating is an activity that we are habituated towards. Meals are attributed to times, and don't always eat because we are hungry, but simply because it is lunchtime or dinner. Thus the idea of hunger and appreciation for what we consume is elevated during fasts. When fasting, one should not broadcast to too many people. In biblical times, this was so as not to boast. In present times, it can offend those who are addicted to food. If it is a hunger strike however, and you have political purposes, by all means, do as the late Mahatma and let it be known. 

Carrying out a fast during a work week, while maintaining all extracurricular activities is something to be cautious about, but also encouraged, as you learn quickly that it is a mental game and that we don't need as much as we think to survive. I did however, have one small fresh carrot/apple juice and a cup of turkey broth during the 48 hours. The first 24 hours is hard, but once the body breaks through and switches to a more efficient, aerobic mode, the hunger subsides. You have to remember that if our ancestors couldn't go a few days without food, we wouldn't be here today. 

After breaking a fast, the key is to do a light brush out with greens, and go easy on the proteins and fats, which are difficult to digest. I threw some yogurt in as a probiotic source, to replenish the gut flora. 

Perhaps if everyone in developing countries were to fast periodically, the paradigm of overconsumption could be shifted and humanity's plight could be resolved. For now, I simply encourage short fasts for two basic reasons: 

1. Your gut needs it
2. To learn the lesson that human desires are temporary; you always have enough. Anything more is abundance. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ain't No Sunshine

As time passes, societies will look back to the past generations and will see only what remained, the most resilient structures and monuments and the most pervasive cultural elements. With regards to the latter, artists and profound celebrities alike can shape a generation, an effect which is only realized after the fact. 

YouTube has spawned into a cultural accelerator, spreading ideas to the masses overnight. Viral videos spread faster than any pandemic could even wish to spread. Videos that are shocking or well marketed can rise and fizzle, yet in the end, we will still see the timeless relics, the true ingrained achievements of the human race, surviving among the ashes. 

This post will honour Bill Withers, whose simple songs such as "Ain't No Sunshine" or "Lean on Me" will be forever timeless. These have been cut, compiled and covered numerous times, but the substance in the original recordings will be forever unique. It is only with a blind hopefulness that one can even attempt to capture the deep soul behind the brevity of song. 

Thus, it was with this hope that the author found the best vocalist he could to pay homage to Bill Withers' "Ain't no Sunshine". Covers have gone viral time and again on YouTube, as it allows aspiring musicians to reinterpret those who came before them. Playing covers is indeed the sincerest form of flattery. 

So here it is, a one-take, uncut cover of "Ain't No Sunshine" :

Monday, April 23, 2012

Motion is Lotion

Welcome to the daily grind: 9:00am to 5:00pm in the cubicle, the professional desk jockey practices his craft.


If stress from your job is not an issue, or occupational hazards don't pose enough of a threat to your life, then it is guaranteed that anyone working 40 hour weeks will be subjected to the dangers of overuse injuries.

From athlete to journeyman to CEO the rule applies: if your body remains in one position for a prolonged period of time, it is subjected to the rigours of immobility, nerve damage and pain, which seriously degrade quality.

 For this post, we will focus specifically on desk jobs. We have glued our strong gluteal muscles to our seats and committed ourselves to the harsh blue light of desktops that force us to flex our spines and strain our big heads forward, demanding a serious amount of uncomfortable and unnatural stress on our joints.

Thus, we enter in the occupational therapist, who provides ergonomical solutions to our predicament. Special keyboards, nice grips on mice, fancy chairs and a set regimen of 90 degree angles to adopt (see Kelly Starrett's video for more on 90 degrees).

This is all fine and dandy, however this humble writer does not think that it will circumvent the pending anatomical issues that lie ahead. Then you have your individuals who have improved on the chair of death and subjected themselves to standing workstations, or Swiss ball bouncing fun.
Now we're getting somewhere. But let's not forget that part of the issue is not just the chair which forces the hip flexors into a compromised position, elongating the glutes and twanging on the sciatic nerve to send pain from spine to leg. People have these SI joint issues from sitting, which is very clear, but assuming a standing position all day will inevitably put the body in a tough spot.

Standing is better than sitting, and bouncy balls are good, so long as you keep bouncing (see the post below for more on this). Yet at some point, one must realize that the job is still the issue. I am certainly not going to sit here and spout off about paradigm shifts and society's addiction to work. That would be for a more philosophical post.

We are here to talk functional, and pain free. If your job consists of a day of sitting and then a quick break for coffee, a sit-down lunch and perhaps, if lucky, another break in the afternoon, the result is potentially 7.5 hours of immobility and knotted, unsupple, soft tissues.

Therefore if you have read this far, I will present you with a game-changing idea: Motion is Lotion
Don't find yourself stuck in any position for a long period of time!

I give a lot of credit to Kelly Starrett, DPT, for his contributions to my mobility woes. Visit his website if you would like to save yourself on thousands of PT/chiro treatments. Mobility Wod - see this link for more in-depth discussion on matters which I have barely touched on.

I will post his visit and lecture at Google below, but for now, since you have kept reading, here is the skinny:

1. Chest up, ears away from shoulders.
2. Braced spine - sternum in line with belly button, butt softly contracted.
3. Arms externally rotated (think standing savasana) Plus a bonus- for those of you who like to sit.

At long last, watch this video (or listen if at work).

Monday, October 31, 2011


50,000 words: this is the magic number which by technicality, separates the novel from the novella.

Closing in on a nearly 8 month hiatus, the HUP! blog is alive again, spurred on by the ingenious incentive of National Novel Writing Month or NANOWRIMO. The task is simple, and the appeal of committing just a small portion of time for 30 days straight in order to complete my first novel seems simple enough. 1,666 words a day.

What's it about?

This author has a few ideas in mind, as well as a unifying theme. However, it would be unwise to uncover this, as things are sure to change. Clearly the research will not be as extensive as a proper novel, however, the simple act of putting pen to paper, or in this case, fingers to keyboard, is a poetic justification in itself.

Certain events are said to change lives. I believe that completing a novel is such an event.

With that said, let us begin the countdown to November 2011's NaNoWriMo. 54 minutes remaining. Good luck, fellow competitors.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Travel "Quotes" and Quotes

As the title indicates, I will summarize my travels with not my own words, but those of other travelers, who have better captured what it is to journey. But first, I'll give you the quotes:

15 countries, 15 weeks.

330 hours on bus, which may not include all the day trips.

No more than 5 days in any given place.

Umpteen facebook friends to reconnect with in future travels.

Dollars/credit spent: not important.

Here's Ernesto Che Guevara, before his epic and life changing journey to explore South America. I'll open on his quotes from "The Motorcycle Diaries" as I had hit the same route as Che during part of my voyage.

"What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land"

Wandering around our America has changed me more than I thought. I am not me any more. At least I'm not the same me I was.

~ Ernesto 'Ché' Guevara

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

Happy travels!


Tourism to Mexico has been marred as of late due to the escalating drug violence and which has included not only police authorities and dealers, but has also lead to the unjust murders of civilians, children and tourists who had no connections whatsoever to the wars.

It is a shame that the blood has stained a country otherwise known for its culture and music, food and passion. Many people now associate the food of Latin America with that of Mexico, even though this is sometimes not the case (in allusion to South America). The Mexicans have the closest ties to North America for the simple fact that they are in closest proximity. The tourism hit defers the further exploration of the country, which, for the majority of tourists, is limited to resort areas like Cancun or Puerto Vallarta.

However, let us not forget that the real essence of Mexico does not lie in the white sand surrounding the $6 bucket of Corona's being lapped up by the turquoise water. No, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata led their revolution across the land, in order to free the people and redistribute the wealth. Perhaps one day, when borders are not such a bloody mess, Bolivar's dream of a united Latin America, supported by Marti and Neruda, will refer to all of the Americas, the New World.

For now, Mexico still provides a getaway, some beach time, and flavor in our lives, despite it's turmoils.