Road to Bluegrass 8/7 + JTFStrong

Happy Monday, freaks! Monday is definitely Road to Bluegrass day but today it’s happening a little differently. Let me explain.

If you’ve followed by blog for any amount of time, you know my story. I was sick, I worked my ass off, I became well and now I help other people do the same thing. I love sharing stories about the workout plan I’m on, the races I’m training for, the classes I lead and the meals I prep. But you also know I do a lot of other stuff, too. Primarily taking photos of the cool places I go and sometimes live streaming myself drinking wine and deep frying shit.

While I’m kind of into the idea of keeping it all together in one place, I thought it was about time that I separated all things fitness from all other things I do. Enter JTFStrong.

I’ll be in the process of moving over all things fitness/health/diet to that site and its social media compliments as well as creating new original content for the site including workout plans, meal-prep recipes, videos, commentary and maybe even an eBook.

If you’re a follower of this site because of the fitness stuff, please take a second and follow the new one. If you’re on Insta or Facebook, it’d be way rad if you followed me there, too.

If you’re really interested in how training went last week, I’ve already posted about it on the new site so now’s a great time to get used to checking there and (hopefully) bookmarking it.

This site isn’t going away. In fact, I hope to include more different things here in the coming weeks. Maybe more creative stuff, I don’t know. Definitely more personalized writings and likely some videos of my dogs.

Anyway, this is exciting for me and I hope you guys can benefit from the stuff I write on the new page.

Get Stronger, Get Prettier…

JTF

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Friday Fitness Finds 8/3

Erin passed me an article today that I nearly included in this list but I thought I’d make a few comments on it instead. Brad Stulberg of Outside Magazine wrote the article Why Do Rich People Love Endurance Sports? and brought up some great points.

The first thing most of us who lift heavy things or run long distances (read: more than the short distance between you and a closing elevator) is going to think is: Rich? Come on… Yes. Rich. In 2013 a Gallop-conducted poll found that the worldwide median household income is merely $9,733. The median per-capita income is $2,920. That’s annually, y’all. Compare $2,920 to your annual salary and you’ll soon find out that not only are you rich, but you’re of the filthy, stinking variety as well.

The article goes on to explain how even in our “modern” and “civilized” country, a huge portion of our citizens do not have access to proper facilities or safe places to train for endurance sports. One would think that running, arguably the cheapest sport to get into, would be free for everyone. And I suppose to an extent it is, but if you want to properly fuel, support your body, have access to training materials, not get mugged or murdered while you train and actually compete in races, one needs the financial means to make it happen. And let me tell you — there’s a lot to finance in this sport.

Enter the rich and successful guy.

So you tough it out. You go to school and you get the job and you get the marriage and you get the success and money you were looking for. You’re successful! You probably wear a tie to work and drive a BMW! I bet you have a rehearsed laugh and scowl at the IT geeks who wear t-shirts to work. You’ve made it, right?

Not necessarily. Having a comfortable home on the safe end of town and a job that gives you ample expendable income is great, but for a lot of us, that safety isn’t really what we’re looking for. Personally, I enjoy knowing my bills are going to get paid and that my wife won’t be harassed if she goes somewhere on her own in the parts of town we frequent. I like knowing nothing is going to be stolen out of my yard if I leave it out there at night and that I can sleep soundly every night without packing heat. You could say I even take it for granted. Because I do.

A lot of us do. And this, according to the article, is often where endurance sports come in.

Exercising as hard as I do gives me a reason to push myself. It gives me a reason to hurt — to feel like I may be in danger. It makes me learn how to deal with pain and it shows me time and time again that I’m able to overcome it and get stronger. Is it the same as having to fight for what you have? No. Will running my next half-marathon earn me a black hat with COMPTON spelled out across it? No. Does it give me enough danger to make me feel more alive than I do 40+ hours a week when I’m doing the “rich guy” thing? Hell yes, it does.


Here’s this week’s stuff:

  • Portobello Fajita Meal Prep by BudgetBytes
    I got this earlier this week and I think it looks amazing. I like the idea of replacing the traditional steak or chicken in the fajitas with mushrooms and the “Cowboy Caviar” looks great, too. I’m super interested in the cornbread but I don’t know how it’s going to work macro-wise. I hope to make this in another week or two so I can actually calculate them. Follow up if you’re interested.

  • 4 Bad Running Habits and How to Fix Them by Shoshanna Cohen via Bodybuilding.com
    I think this was intended for folks new to the sport but there’s some Running 101 tips here that even the seasoned runner could stand be reminded about. Me included. If you’re just getting into running, especially, just know that despite this list and many others like it, you’ll likely break the “rules” and learn the hard way regardless. I know that’s how it’s worked for me.

  • Muscle Club Apparel Promo
    Nothing to read here but Muscle Club Apparel is running a special through the weekend where orders of $35 or more will ship with a free tank! And let’s be honest, we can all use more tanks — NO SLEEVES ALLOWED!

  • Hella Recipes by PaleOMG
    Buffalo Chicken Bacon Ranch Potato Salad: I’m not crazy about potato salad but I could make an exception for this. YUM.
    Grilled Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Pork Chops: I love cooking with fire. I love pork chops. I love pineapples. This recipe sounds amazing.
    Almost 5 Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie: This has “make me next week for meal prep!” written all over it and I think I’m going to allow it assuming I can find some spaghetti squash this weekend!

  • Losing It in the Anti-Dieting Age by Taffy Brodesser-Akner via The New York Times Magazine
    This is a long read but it’s an interesting topic. Break it down into parts if you need to. Ultimately, this is a study of how the diet culture a lot of us grew up with is dying off in a way with words/phrases like “diet” and “lose weight” being replaced with “clean eating” and “get healthy.” Statistically, people are happier being fat now than ever before — so how do you sell them lifestyle changing habits?

  • 18 Uncomfortable Truths About Nutrition, Health and Fitness by Nia Shanks
    You guys know by now how much I love Nia’s blog and I hope I’ve sent her at least one follower over the last several weeks. Her 18 Uncomfortable Truths… couldn’t be more spot-on and they’re relevant for everyone no matter your gender, age or where you are on your fitness journey. I read these and felt pretty guilty about a lot of them, but make no mistake, making you feel guilty is not the intention of this post. Rather, read through it, identify with some of her topics and learn to accept them as truths worth working with.

  • Free Fitness/Nutrition Guides from Nerd Fitness
    This is awesome! You guys already know that I’m a big fan of Nerd Fitness anyway but this is a perfect place to go if you’re ever wondering why. Here, NF has put together FREE guides on newbie health mistakes, the Paleo diet, beginners workouts, weightlifting basics and more. In all, there are eight incredible guides written by a useful and non-intimidating source, all for free. You can’t beat that!

Music to Run Fast-ish, Lift Heavy and Punch Hard To

Nothing this week, y’all. Nothing.

But before I left work I had a conversation about the Dream Warriors so here’s this:

Friday Fitness Finds 7/21

You’re squelching your emotions — All you talk about is old times
You don’t do what you want to — But you do the same thing everyday
No sense of humor — But such good manners
Now you’re an adult — You’re boring
It’s a life sentence — It’s a life sentence

This morning I busted out an old favorite of mine on the way to work — the Dead Kennedys Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death. As I drove down the highway blasting and singing along to classics like Police Truck, Pull My Strings and Too Drunk to Fuck I was feeling more carefree and bulletproof than I have in weeks. Then it hit me…

I’m 32 years old and I’m driving my fairly new (five years old) car through the security gate at work where I write descriptions using a controlled vocabulary for a multi-billion dollar corporation. While the lyrics may be tattooed on my heart, when I sing songs about fighting a potential police state, ripping on those who sacrifice their morals for money and being more concerned about having a proper career than being a decent human being, it’s actually 16-year-old me that’s singing along.

I’m living the old man life nowadays because I like paying my bills and going to bed before 10:00. But these hardcore punker songs still speak to me. I still feel them in my bones. They set raging fires in my heart. And today, they made me realize I’m doing the exact same thing old dudes do when they constantly relive their glory days of when they were the star running back.

As long as it’s pushing you to be a better you that day, have at it. Even if you were an asshole jock back in the day. Or a punker. Or a metalhead. Or a 32 year old that’s somewhere in-between.


As for this week’s stuff. Let’s get to it. It’s mostly food this time around.

  • The Top Ten Signs that Say “I’m a Real Fighter” by Doug Ward via TITLE Boxing
    If you’re able to read something metaphorically then this is a dynamite article. It’s from the archives of the TITLE Boxing Blog and, therefore, is directed as boxers-in-training but I think there’s a lot to take away from it even if you’re not a boxer. Showing up, having passion, respecting your journey and yourself are all things that can benefit every one of us in different aspects of our lives. Boxing just happens to be a great way to illustrate it. Maybe instead of the Sweet Science they should change the name to the Sweet Philosophy.

  • Quit Overeating by Defining Your Happiness by Alex McBrairty via Breaking Muscle
    Yes, this article does address overeating and yes it does quickly start talking about how willpower is a shitty crutch and yes it does touch on the philosophy of being happy and several other weird “how did we get here” topics. But it also mentions how eating a whole pizza can be good for you. It also makes a Bruce Lee reference. And if you’re a top-notch reader, you’ll find that it makes many really good points about how important it is to keep yourself in check and remaining the hero in your own story.

  • Turkey Taco Salad Meal Prep via Damn Delicious
    Chungah is back in the house again this week with a pretty killer meal prep idea, especially for those that are new to the game. This can’t get much easier and I’m confident it can’t get much tastier. Though I may not be a big salad eater, I can definitely make an exception if you include taco in the title.

  • {Comfort Food} Shepherd’s Pie by Frisky Lemon
    PaleoGrubs pointed me to this recipe this week and I think it’s such a rad idea I’m going to make it for meal prep next week. I’ve done Paleo Shepherd’s Pie before so I know it can be done and can be done well but it’s been a few months since I gave it a go. And come on, it’s Shepherd’s Pie for Christ’s sake! Paleo + Comfort Food = win/win if you ask me (did anyone ask?).

  • Apple-Basil Chicken Burgers by Cave Food Kitchen
    More Paleo foodage that’s going on the meal plan for next week. Ground chicken isn’t something I work with a lot but these look and sound super good. Probably going to serve with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli but, I mean, there are no rules. Just tasty food!

  • Chocolate Cream Pie by Naked Cuisine
    The tags for this recipe include gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, Primal, Raw, Vegan and Vegetarian. In case you missed the main point here, it’s also a chocolate !@#$ing pie! I can’t guarantee that I’m making it this weekend but I intend to.


Music to Run Fast-ish, Lift Heavy and Punch Hard To

It was definitely not a great week for heavy music. I’ve listened to tracks from about 12 or 15 new metal releases this week and came up with nothing worth sharing. This is a shame because in the non-heavy realm, it was a very good Friday for your humble narrator. My friend Brandon hooked me up with his band The Lees of Memory’s masters for their upcoming record The Blinding White of Nothing At All and it’s pretty sick. I don’t like using that term (see also epic and badass) so please know that I don’t use it lightly. I’ll probably make a full post when the record is officially released. If you’re into it, you can pre-order your copy with the link I just posted.

If you weren’t aware, sweet Lana Del Rey released her new record Lust for Life today. I haven’t listened to this one just yet but I did get my pre-order download early this morning and was hooked up with some of the preview tracks a few weeks ago. It will be gold, I know, because she always is.

But enough of that. While I don’t have anything to lift heavy to, I do have some jams worth rocking while you’re moving your body. Since seeing the Aquabats last week (I swear to god there will be new photos this weekend) I’ve been rocking some of their newer material harder than I did when it originally came out. These are the two main offenders. Turn them up and go move those feet!