PJ's Fitness Blog

A blog about a fitter you. Come find out what is on the cutting edge of fitness science and be a part of the ongoing conversation.
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Don’t Believe Anyone

IMG_9456Are you confused with all the misinformation out there? Are you tired of hearing all the conflicting opinions out there on health and fitness? It’s not your imagination. Even the “experts” rarely agree, but here is a 4 step process to get to the truth.

1.) Believe no one (including me).

2.) Question everything you hear.

3.) Doubt everything you think you know.

4.) Research topics of interest for yourself.

People come to me all the time, confused about conflicting health and fitness information they have heard, like:

  • Total calories vs. its the type of calorie (i.e. not all calories are created equal).
  • Eat mostly whole grains vs. mostly fat.
  • Low fat diet vs. paleo/primal/keto diets.
  • Low calorie diets vs. paleo/primal/keto diets.

Or people tell me that they feel misled, or even deceived by outdated or wrong information like: (more…)

Do you feel blessed enough to “Frivagive?”

GenerousDo you like buying frivolous stuff for yourself that you don’t need but it’s just fun to have? Me too!

Do you like the feeling you get from giving to the poor and needy? Me too!

Here’s one strategy to do both. It’s a win-win! Join me in this movement to bless others in need because we are so blessed!

It’s called the Frivagive Challenge. It’s about blessing others because we are so blessed. It’s about altruistic, unconditional giving to those in need, without any expectation of a return, or even getting any credit at all, in any way.

Here is how the challenge works:

Keep buying frivolous stuff. No one judges! Then, for every frivolous thing you buy, place a proportional amount of money in a separate giving account, based on your income, to give to the poor when you feel called, in the amount you feel called to give.

For example, if you make $100,000 or more per year (net), and you buy something fun and frivolous that you don’t actually need, which costs, say $20, then you put 100% of that amount ($20) into your giving account to be given later when you feel called to do so.

If you make $50,000 per year, you put 50% of the amount of each frivolous purchase in the account. If you make $23,000 per year, you put in 23%, and so on, based on your income.

For more details, see the video below:

And now I invite you to join the movement with other people who have chosen to give in this way by participating in the Facebook group! Just click that link below.

You can help grow the movement by sharing the video (bit.ly/frivagive), comment below, email your peeps, join https://www.facebook.com/Frivagive/ and get your friends to join the movement!

It’s a fun project and a great way to help reduce poverty on our planet, so get on board today!

Schooled by Firefighters

I got schooled big time at the 2016 Big Climb.

I was allowed to participate this year in the LLS firefighter stair climb up the tallest building in Seattle. I’m not a firefighter, but the LLS staff is like family, so they let me in. I didn’t have a chip either, so it was basically just for fun.

Yes, I think stuff like this is fun.

Here I am, pictured right, lined up before the race, trying to keep cool, onnaccounta that gear is freakin’ hot just standing there in it, let alone climbing up a skyscraper. Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 4.36.10 PM

So I says to myself, I says, “How much harder can an extra 60 lbs. be and how hot can it get anyway?”

Well, my legs certainly protested loudly about all that extra weight, starting at about floor 9. But the worst part was the heat. It felt like hot yoga, starting around floor 20. That’s about when I started to fall off pace too. I picked 70 steps per minute (double-stepping) and that seemed pretty doable until the hot yoga part started. Then I just endeavored to keep double-stepping and quit listening to the metronome. I probably should have single stepped, at least for some of it, but I wanted to see if I could do the whole way up with double steps. I made it, but I’m sure it cost me time.

Floor 40 is the bottle change floor because that’s about the time most people run out of air and need to swap out for a fresh bottle. My low air alarm had just started, so the staff scooted me out for a bottle change. I wasn’t technically on a team though, so after walking around for almost two minutes, we gave up trying to find someone to help and I just went back into the stairwell. That added a bunch of time, but “meh – NBD” because I wasn’t being officially timed anyway.

Besides, that helped me set a bar so low I can roll over it, in case I ever do this race again.

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 4.54.11 PMEven with the nice little regrettable rest on floor 40, this event still kicked my butt. Here I am, pictured left, at the top, with my face stuck that way. This was how my face looked all the way up, as I labored to suck air from a tank, inside a claustrophobic, steamed up mask. My mom always told me not to make faces too long, or it will stay that way. She was right, but it thankfully, it wasn’t permanent this time. It only stayed that way for about 14 hours. I’m glad it went back to normal because I wouldn’t want to have to go to work like that tomorrow.

And that’s not hair gel you see in this picture either. That’s some nasty sweat – about 3 lbs. worth, in fact. That’s about as much as I remember sweating in an hour of hot yoga, back when I tried it – once.

Notice also there’s no “thumbs up” going on here like there was in the picture at the start line. I woulda if I coulda, but my thumbs were too tired to lift at this point.

If it weren’t for the nice ladies who were there at the finish line to help peel off my tank, pack, helmet, mask, gloves and jacket, I’d probably still be stuck in those too. I hear there’s a wait list for that job BTW. Apparently, the “undressing the firefighters” positions are the first to fill up.

Here’s the link to my Suunto data if you’re a biometrics nerd like me: http://bit.ly/firestairs

And the official race results are here: http://www.racecenter.com/results/2016/res_ff16.htm

But like I said, I’m not in the official results, onnaccounta I’m not a firefighter, but if I was, my 17:34 would have placed around 244th out of 1793. In other words, I got my butt handed to me by 242 fellas today and two chicks. The fastest female smoked me by more than 2 minutes in fact! I think I might have a new crush…

Was Jesus a Vegan?

My Christian vegan friends ask me from time to time, how my Christian conscience allows me to eat animal products, since in their view, Jesus was a vegan. Well, my answer is simple. I don’t believe Jesus was a vegan and I’ll explain why I have this personal opinion below (and then why it really doesn’t matter in the end), but first, I want to say that I support the strict vegan lifestyle choice for those who can do it the right way and the healthy way, like my friend Tim Van Orden.

I tried (more than once) going vegan and it just didn’t work for me. My physiology really struggles with it and my personal health requires some animal products. Because I feel strongly against the modern day farming practices, I would go vegan if I could, just to vote with my shopping cart, so I support that choice and if you are called to that lifestyle, I say go for it as long as your physiology agrees with it.

I also appreciate the passion that hard core vegans have for their cause. They have lots of really good points and sound concepts and as a result of talking to many of them, I have changed the way I eat animal products in many ways. First, I eat WAY less than I used to. I only eat them when my body is craving it, instead of every time I want to, like I did in the past. Second, I eat only grass fed or wild red meat from local sustainable farms, free range organic fowl, wild fish (preferably from Alaska), raw milk products from grass fed cows and organic free range eggs.

What I find curious however, is the vehement judgement and condemnation I see from some vegans toward omnivores. The foul language, insults, toxic hatred and even threats are coming from a place I just don’t understand. I feel really sorry for them and I hope they can resolve their issues before their anger takes an irreversible toll on their health.

As a Christian, I strive to follow the teachings of Christ and when He told us to judge no one and love everyone, I take that seriously, so I still love the “militant” vegans and hope they can find a way to replace their aggression with peace – especially the kind of peace “Which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) like I have found in Christ.

Speaking of Christ (A.K.A. Jesus), I believe he supported and even promoted the eating of animal products. I also believe however, that man was originally created as raw vegans. Sin, the flood, etc. changed things drastically though and as a result, God gave mankind specific instructions (in dozens of verses) on how we should kill animals, sacrifice them, eat meat, cook meat, etc. in the Old Testament. God even killed the first animals Himself, to make clothes for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). Genesis 9:1-4 seems pretty clear to me on whether we are supposed to eat meat or not. This passage also indicates that mankind had remained vegan up until this point.

Then in the New Testament, Jesus supported and even promoted fishing (John 21:6), personally fed fish to thousands (Matthew 14:18-21) and actually ate fish Himself (Luke 24: 41-43). These are only a few of the many verses on eating animal products in the New Testament and if I were to list all the verses referencing God’s instructions on meat in the Old Testament, this post would be ridiculously long.

As a Christian, I base my faith on scripture and accept the whole Bible and every verse in it as God breathed and God inspired. Otherwise my faith has no real foundation. Some vegans suspect that ancient texts were left out of the Bible by accident or through sinister intentions, or that translations were altered and edited and therefore we don’t really have a valid scripture today like we think we do. They think that all the verses I mentioned above were mistranslated or that other manuscripts that support their cause should have been included in the Bible in place of the ones that are in there now.

Based on 1 Timothy 3:16, I do not believe that God would allow Satan to twist His word and cause certain manuscripts to be edited, dropped, unused, mis-translated and/or swapped in order to land upon the final version we have today. That would make it no different than any other religion’s text. I either have to take the Bible as a whole, or not at all. I can’t pick and choose my verses based on what I think should be there, or my faith has no real base.

I have to believe that the Bible we have now is the Bible we are intended to be reading and that God is victorious over man and Satan in keeping it the way He wants it. Otherwise, I would have to assume the following:
1. God isn’t powerful enough to preserve His Word as the version He intended for us to read.
2. God isn’t wise enough to figure out how to preserve His Word.
3. God has enough wisdom and power to preserve His Word, but doesn’t care enough anymore to preserve it.
4. God had both the wisdom and power to preserve His Word, but purposely decided to mislead us by allowing man/Satan to change it.
5. God wasn’t smart enough to anticipate that man/Satan would change His Word.

So, based on scripture and my belief in it, I conclude without a shadow of doubt that:

  • Man was originally created to be raw vegan (Genesis 1:29).
  • After sin came into the world, many changes happened, including killing. God required man to kill animals as a sacrifice (first mention in Genesis 22:13-14) to Him as atonement for sins (that is, until Jesus came and offered Himself as the ultimate and final sacrifice for all our sins).
  • After the flood, we were instructed by God to eat meat. Whether this was for nutritional reasons due to the immediate changed landscape and climate or not, I don’t know. I also don’t know whether people ate meat or not before the flood.
  • Animal products other than meat were also promoted by God as a good thing to eat after the flood. Otherwise, His promise to the Israeilites in Exodus 3:8 of “A land flowing with milk and honey” wouldn’t have been a good thing.
  • Jesus ate meat (Luke 24: 41-43) and based on the prophecy about him in Isaiah 7: 14-15, it looks like He ate milk products too.

Some people ask, “If Jesus is God and God is all about love and peace, then how can He allow killing of any animals?” I agree that God is a loving and compassionate God. I also believe that His ways are higher than ours and that we aren’t able to understand them. In the Bible, God struck down thousands of people and animals in numerous passages through wars, plagues, and even through his own angels. In the end times, He will do that again. His judgement is just, and everything He does is done to perfect His kingdom, no matter how we define and judge His actions with our small limited minds.

In the coming millennial kingdom, I believe scripture indicates that there will be no more killing and the humans inhabiting the earth at that time will once again be vegans and will all be given the physiology to thrive as vegans, so there will be no more debate. Until then however, I appreciate healthy candor and respect differing opinions on the topic.

The bottom line is that some Christian vegans really want Jesus to be a vegan because it would validate their position in many ways. Most Christian omnivores don’t really care whether He was or wasn’t. I don’t really care either, because frankly, it doesn’t matter. What really does matter is believing in Him and putting our faith in Him because He truly is the only way.

None of us can be sustainable enough, good enough, righteous enough, or virtuous enough to save ourselves. Jesus let His own blood be shed and God allowed His only begotten Son to die in order to save us and create an easy way to salvation without the need for any other sacrifices. Believing in Him and accepting His free gift of salvation seems too easy for some and too simple for most, but that’s all it takes and that’s all that really matters.

So why am I talking about this in a fitness blog? To make the point that physical fitness and great health is good, but what really matters is your insides. Not just your organs – which is also important – but your soul. Jesus does more than just saves souls. He brings peace, unconditional love and true joy that is beyond explanation. I really feel like I have it all – the physical fitness, the great health and the fulfilled soul. This is why I am completely content every day no matter what I have and no matter what is going on. I want this amazing experience for everyone else on the planet too, so I can’t help but talk about it.

That’s why.

Raw Brahs Retreat!

What’s a Raw Brahs retreat and why am I blogging about it? Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s about an incredible weekend, designed to focus on yourself and transform yourself through learning the ultimate best ways to eat, live, be real, get fit, get healthy, and be raw!

By being raw, I don’t mean “in the raw,” A.K.A “naked,” but I do kind of mean that in a sense, because you will want to be naked in two ways:

First, you will want to be naked on the inside because you will learn how to finally bare your soul and not worry about being judged anymore or concerned about what other people think about you.

Have you ever envied people who (more…)

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