Quality Over Quantity

One of the more complicated things with being a content creator of any kind, whether it’s a blog or one of the other, stupider forms of content creation (I swear I’m not bitter) is that the online world has more than its fair share of artificial people and fake followers. You know the ones; people who comment on posts even if it would be easier and simpler to just scroll on by and not comment at all. Or the ones that like to incite arguments and troll people from the safety and comfort of their keyboard. Such is the way of the world, these days. I don’t always agree with other people’s perspectives and opinions and the light knows I hate this stupid TikTok trend that everyone is on, but I keep that shit to myself. For the most part.

The bigger problem is when people shop for likes. What I mean is people who will click like on a post or an article or even follow someone’s account in the hopes that it’ll be reciprocated. My follower-ship has grown significantly in recent years. It’s a slow process and I’ve come to appreciate all my followers and the people who take the time to read my content. But I always find it interesting when a post goes live and someone will like it almost the same moment as its posted. For those of you who have noticed, I usually put up my daily posts between 6 to 7 am, so depending on what time zone one happens to be in, it’s FAIRLY unlikely that someone will have read some of my lengthy shit within a minute.

I make a point that I don’t like someone’s post unless I’ve taken the time to read it completely. That’s a point of pride for me. Wanna know what another point of pride is? Knowing that people are actually reading what I post. This blog started a few years ago as a way to keep my writing skills sharp and to allow me to share decades of experience about Diabetes, martial arts and health & fitness. I’ve enjoyed it and its become an integral part of my life and my weekly routine. In a few weeks in fact, I should strike 1,000 posts in a row. That’ll be a milestone for me. Can’t wait. ☯️

From The Least Likely Sources…

I kinda like this. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that Robert Downey Jr. has been involved in movies for decades before the MCU “made him famous.” Personally, I thought he was great in Sherlock Holmes and Tropic Thunder. But from an 80’s standpoint, Johnny Be Good, Weird Science and The Pick-up Artist comes to mind. A great actor. But the thought provided above does get one thinking. Depending on who you’re dealing with, sometimes there’s no winning and you’ll just have to forge your own path regardless of what others think. ☯️

There’s No Gym Like Home…

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a certain level of fitness within my own home. Over time, I accumulated enough equipment that I could get a decent sweat going in my home. Due to different circumstances at different times, my workout areas have been taken apart and dismantled. A few years ago when my basement shifted and I had to have it demolished and braced, i moved my workout area to the garage. That was okay for a while, but colder weather made it problematic. Plus, everything that was in the basement had to be stored somewhere.

When the basement was completely braced and secure, I bought a bunch of floor matting and created a makeshift dojo in my basement. Once again, when the time came to renovate and rebuild the basement (it was down to bare concrete) I had to pack up the floor mats and I lost my workout area once again. Given that I was stuck at home and contemplating a job back in New Brunswick, I sold off most of my equipment in anticipation of moving away. When that didn’t happen, I found myself in a position where I didn’t have many options at home. Body weight workouts will only get you so far.

Last year, I learned that one of the benefits of my job is a flex benefit that can be used on anything fitness or health related. Although I used that flex benefit on my karate tuition last year, I didn’t need it for that this time around. Instead, I chose to use it to purchase a bunch of fitness equipment for my newly-renovated basement. As you can from the photo above, we have new flooring, newly-drywalled walls and a drop ceiling with recessed lighting. A full bathroom with a standup shower is included. Listen to me, I sound like I’m advertising my basement for rent.

I started with a simple curling bar and some weight plates. From there, I got the bench, straight bar and more plates. The half bosu is useful for lunges, squats and developing balance. 10-pound ankle weights, a weighted vest and a set of kettlebells completed the set-up. I also grabbed some heavier dumbbells as the ones I had were starting to lack a certain, shall we say, challenge. Combining all of this has given me the opportunity for a number of different workouts while keeping everything fresh and new. The small table in the corner holds my phone cradle that allows me to play music while I exercise.

I don’t think I need to stress the importance of exercise and proper fitness to someone who lives with Type-1 Diabetes. Proper diet and blood sugar control aren’t enough. You gotta keep that engine revving. It’s like the simple formula of life that I discovered, decades ago. Life brings movement. Movement brings energy. Energy brings life. Eliminate any of those three and it’s a recipe to end one’s life. Good movement is integral to good health. And working out at home is awesome! There’s no better gym than the one you create for yourself. Food for thought… ☯️

Remembrance Day

Today is near and dear in my heart. Not only because my grandfather is, at least to my eyes, a significant hero in that he helped to keep his family and country safe but because several if not all of the family members at my mother’s branch of the family has served in some branch of the military. Even several of my cousins have served, with my cousin Jason tragically dying in an accident on route back to his Air Force base. Now being a veteran myself, although not of the military, Remembrance Day has come to carry even more meaning, as I take the time and opportunity to recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice to guarantee the rights and freedoms of the modern world.

Today should be important to everyone, not only to remember those who fell in the line of duty but as a reminder of the horrible consequences when war ensues, a fact that more relevant than ever, in today’s climate. It’s easy to sit in a comfortable chair and state that war is never the answer without ever having experienced it. But I have fond memories of spending time with my grandfather as he would share stories of the things he suffered through oversees during World War II. Although I treasured the time with him, I always had a deep appreciation that none of what he suffered through should ever be felt by anyone else, even if many still are even as I write.

My grandfather, Lionel, in military uniform

Let’s make sure we take the time today to observe a moment of silence. We may not have been there and we may not have experienced war, but we have THEM to thank for that. We may not even understand why this day is observed, and that’s okay. One does not need to understand in order to show proper respect. If you value your rights and freedoms as you have them today and believe that we should never surrender when faced with tyranny, thank a veteran. And take the time to observe a moment of silence today. On the 11th hour of the 11th day, we will remember them. ☯️

The Little Engine That Couldn’t…

Have you ever noticed how finding the motivation to do something is usually difficult, if not all-out impossible? Why do you believe that is? If it’s something one WANTS to do, it would stand to reason that motivation should almost be self-fulfilling, right? But it never is. And there’s a genuine reason for that, that most of us don’t think about. You see, most people go through life assuming that motivation comes first. You’ll often hear one saying, “I need to get motivated to do this…” But that isn’t the way motivation works.

Loosely defined, because I LOVE to loosely define things, motivation means the general desire or willingness to do something. An easy example would be to say that I am motivated to learn karate or motivated to lose some weight and get in better shape. However, contrary to what the average person believes, motivation will almost assuredly never come first. Motivation comes as a result of success, and one can’t have success unless they make a start. Only then will one be motivated by their goals and achievements.

If I use myself as an example, I started karate at a tender young age at what feels like an eternity ago. When I first walked into the dojo, I wasn’t motivated. I wanted to be there, don’t get me wrong. I had goals and ambitions to achieve by starting in it, but I couldn’t rightly say I was motivated by karate. As I started to train and began to see some change brought on by my efforts and started achieving goals, I became motivated to continue, motivated to train harder, motivated to pop my clutch and study like a man possessed, which came about as a result of my success in learning some of the art and becoming proficient.

Had I not experienced that success, I likely would not have been motivated to continue with my training, which is what frequently happens to many people who join. I use this an my example because it’s an easy one, and one that I’ve experienced myself. But this concept applies to just about anything one does in life. Let’s say you decide to want to cycle 55 kilometres in the coming summer. You won’t be “motivated” to reach 500 kilometres; you’ll set the goal for yourself and become motivated to reach your goal once you’ve started to gain mileage and start seeing how your cardio and overall health is starting to increase.

It’s important to think of motivation a bit like momentum. If you try to run, you can’t leave your starting point at full speed. You need to get yourself moving and build up your speed through your own strength. The product of the runner’s mass and speed is what is considered momentum. Much like momentum, motivation can’t be achieved from a starting point; it needs to be fed and grown, and will only be experienced once you’ve reached a certain momentum in your goals and achievements.

Hopefully that makes sense and I haven’t muddied the waters. Too often, I’ve spoken to people who have said, “I’m just not motivated to do it, anymore…” Of course, you’re not! Because you haven’t achieved any of your goals or seen any progress. You won’t be motivated until you do. So if you feel yourself “unmotivated” in any particular thing you’ve undertaken, don’t believe that this is a reason why you should be determined to stop or walk away. A shout out to my friend, Ricky, for the idea to write about this! ☯️

Mother Nature Sure Loves Flippin’ You The Bird…

The changing seasons are a bit of an odd duck, since we al know they’re coming, we all expect it but yet it somehow still feels like a shock to the system when we wake up to that first blanket of white bullshit in the front yard. Winter has always been the less-preferred season for me. I know that for the most part, summer can be tougher because you can only wear so much less clothing before you have to deal with some of my former colleagues, if you go outdoors. At least in the cold, you can add layers until you’re adequately dressed for the weather. Winter stuck its middle finger up at me when it decided to strike with a vengeance, last weekend.

While some friends and family back in New Brunswick were posting photos of 22 degree weather and fire pits back home, we were experiencing -10 and storm-level winds and snow. It started on Saturday and carried on well into the night, which was brutal. Blowing snow, howling winds and thick, two-foot deep snowdrifts by morning. The light bless my next door neighbour for using his snowblower on both our driveways. I honestly don’t think I’d survive the winter without the help of neighbours. But Sunday was supposed to involve a quick trip to Costco for me and my toddler, followed by a couple of hours of fun and play at an indoor climbing gym. I don’t get to spend a great deal of time with my toddler, since my older son usually monopolizes most of my time.

When we hit the streets on Sunday morning, I found cars and even city buses stuck in massive snow drifts. By the time we had driven a third of our way to Costco, I realized I should have turned back and gone home, if turning around wouldn’t have likely meant drifting off the road as well. We made our way to Costco but came straight home afterwards. Winter is upon us and I don’t think we’ll see any signs of it leaving until next spring, which is why it’s important to remember a few key points as it relates to health & fitness, as well as proper control of type-1 Diabetes.

It stands to reason that effectively EVERYTHING affects blood sugar levels. There are multiple reasons for this, which I won’t try to explain in this post. But if you’re walking or spending time outdoors in colder weather, you need to be aware that it may cause your blood sugars to drop. You can add to that, if you plan on shovelling or pelting your son with snowballs. If you’re shovelling and have reached an adult age, it’s important to recognize that shovelling heavy snow can cause cardiac issues. Stay hydrated, take breaks and don’t overexert yourself.

Last but not least, don’t forget about our good ol’ friend, the sun. People tend to forget that even if it’s freezing cold out there, the sun’s rays are still hitting you and exposed flesh will still burn. If you intend on being outside in the elements on a sunny day, even during the winter, applying sunscreen is a good idea. There’s no getting away from winter (especially if you live in Canada), so it’s important to remember to be prepared. Check your blood sugars regularly (you should be doing that anyway), stay hydrated, mind the sun and keep yourself warm and dry. That way, we can get through the next six to eight months unscathed. ☯️

Lucky 13…

13 years ago, I was sworn in as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I received my badge and swore my oaths before being stationed here in Saskatchewan to protect the people of Canada. It was a gruelling 26 weeks of intense training, including being up before dawn, training and studying until midnight or later and doing it all over again. I walked onto the academy grounds at about 185 pounds and graduated at 165 pounds. It was intense and I acknowledge that not everyone makes it through. I have to admit that there were times where even I thought I wouldn’t make it, and we all know how stubborn and tenacious I am. But I digress…

One of the things that helped make it bearable, is my pit-partner. I remember arriving at Depot late on a Sunday evening. beds within the dorm were already assigned to us by name and I found my pit right away. Some scrawny, shy-looking dude was sitting in the pit next to mine. I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t remember his name. Long story short, he mustered out within the first week. I’m, not sure why he left, I just know that he wasn’t terminated. Light knows we were too early in the program for anyone to get terminated. The following week, I was greeted by my new pit partner who would go on to have a significant impact on the next six months and my success in the program: Blair “Mambo” Mombourquette.

Blair was the right combination of pit partner; equal parts sarcasm, comedy and strength of will. We quickly became friends and started enjoying every weekend hanging out together off base, as well. I even got to meet some of his family who lived in the Regina area, which would come to impact my life in a significant way as well. All in all, Blair made the basic training experience enjoyable and I often feel I may not have made it through, had I been paired up with anyone else. As is the RCMP way, we parted ways once we graduated. I got posted to Saskatchewan and he went on to be posted in Manitoba and subsequently, Nova Scotia.

Although I managed to visit him once at his initial posting as I travelled from New Brunswick to Saskatchewan, all these years have passed without us ever seeing each other. That is, until last Sunday. Blair flew out to British Columbia so that he and his son could drive across the country, back to Nova Scotia. They stopped in Regina with intentions to stay the night, last Sunday. I picked them up and we grabbed dinner at a local restaurant, shared a few drinks and reminisced about the “good ol’ days.” There are few precious opportunities for such things in life, so it was good to remember some of the good times, the training and the fond memories.

It was nice to look back and share some time with someone who was there. Out of all of my troop, there are really only a few that I got close to and that I believe would understand everything I’ve been through. Blair is one of those people. I have some photos of us, buried somewhere in my old barrack boxes. A good blogger would probably dig them up and include them here. Honestly, I think I’m just going to enjoy the new memories, mixing with the old. Sometimes, the good memories are all we truly have that makes us rich in this life. Food for thought… ☯️

Mornings Suck…

Does anyone ever really like getting up in the morning? It’s one of those things where many if not most people dislike the prospect of hitting the Sacco when they could watch that “one more episode,” or read another chapter, finish a hobby they’re working on, etc… But once we’re in bed, assuming we’re able to get to sleep, rising for the next day can be a tedious and bothersome affair.

For someone with Type-1 Diabetes, waking up in the morning is a like a bowling ball balancing on the head of a pin; depending on how the previous night went and how much sleep one has obtained, waking for the day can be downright tortuous and can fall in either direction. It always seems to be worse when I’m trying to plan something that should, theoretically happen during the morning hours. This is a hard lesson I learned last weekend. and of course, now I’m going to tell you about it.

“What A Disgrace It Is For Man To Grow Old Without Ever Seeing The Beaty And Strength Of Which His Body Is Capable.”

– Socrates

Recently, I’ve come to a certain number of negative realities that I am unhappy about. The biggest is that in 2009, I left my home Province to come out to Saskatchewan to protect the public as a police officer. Although I chose this career path for a number of reasons, including reducing people’s overall suffering as much as I can, there’s no denying that these choices did some damage that can never be repaired. Most namely, I have no school of Uechi Ryu in close proximity, meaning I’ve been training in karate mostly on my own over the last decade and a half.

Given that I’m slowly crawling my way towards an older age, not that I’m quite an old man yet, I’ve started to notice certain things. These things include the fact that I’ve slowed down significantly from how I used to be, especially within the dojo. I’m taking strikes where I would have blocked and countered with ease, even just a few years ago. I also take much longer to heal, which is a real pain (pun intended). Recovery time can cause delays in training and can make it really hard to get ahead.

By virtue of this and the fact that I’m tired of being unable to breathe when I lean over to tie my shoes, I spent several hundred dollars on fitness equipment for my home, last Saturday. Almost two years ago, I had a significant amount of fitness equipment in my basement, which I sold due to our basement being demolished and renovated and because there was some thought that my family and I might move back to New Brunswick. Obviously, that never happened but now that the basement is brand-spanking new, it was time to revisit getting some of that equipment back.

Because my motivation was anger-based, I may or may not have spent far more money in one sitting than I reasonably should have. I purchased a curling bar, weight plates, heavy dumbbells, a step-up bench, 10-pound ankle weights and a floor mat. There are a few other things that I grabbed as well that I just can’t think of, right now. I got back home with all of my expensive wares on top of the few items my wife had asked me to pick up, and got to work setting up everything, which included a storage shelf to hold everything.

Once I had everything set up, I had already worked up a sweat and it was discussed that my wife and I would perform a respective workout the following day where I would get to play and try my new equipment. Early in the Sunday afternoon, after getting home from doing our weekly groceries, I put on some bitchin’ music and hammered out forty minutes of my best, sweat-filled workout. It was glorious. It also prompted a “good” idea on my part…

I decided that I would start setting my morning alarm 30 minutes sooner than usual so that I could perform a brief resistance workout in the morning before going to work. It sounds like a good idea in concept. I wake up, hammer out a brief weight circuit, grab a shower and throw lunches together before rolling into the office with the glow of post-workout bliss to get me through my morning… Sounds promising, right? Life rarely cares about one’s plans…

On Sunday night, we made our way to bed a bit late by virtue of laundry and certain chores. Then, my wife and I both tossed and turned throughout the majority of the night. I also had low blood sugar at one point. Then, when i finally fell into a deep sleep, my pump alarm went off. It seems as though fate conspired against me. By the time the morning rolled around, we reset alarms to eat up the half hour we would have woken to exercise in favour of a bit more sleep.

On Monday morning, any thoughts of working out went out the window. And this is something that happens quite frequently, thanks to good old T1D. Luckily, I was able to hammer out a workout in the evening, once I got home. It dawns on me that, given the requirement to keep my blood sugars balanced and the need for proper rest, working out in the morning may not be a viable option for me. This sucks, because I frequently have karate classes in the evening that would prevent me from using my equipment at home.

Fitness is a delicate balance of time, effort and physical capability, all of which will affect blood sugars levels in some given way, shape or form. That’s why it’s so important to find a time and a method that works well for you. Every person is different. As much as I would love to work out, first thing in the morning, it just doesn’t seem feasible, given the chaotic nature of how my nights run. I’ll just have to be satisfied with the occasions where I can work out on non-karate nights. ☯️

A Little Respect…

This is a point of contention that comes up for me, every year. I totally understand the thinking behind some of it and the lack of logic that many may have in regards to it, but it burns my ass no less. We’ve creeped into the month of November and with that comes a very special day that’s near and dear to my heart. I’m talking about Remembrance Day on November 11th.

Remembrance Day is a Memorial Day that observed on movers 11th in Canada and in fact, in most of the countries who are part of the British Commonwealth, to honour the soldiers and military members who fell in the line of duty. The day has been observed since the end of World War I but has grown to incorporate any and all fallen soldiers and members of the military. In Canada, it is usually observed with memorial parades, reading of the scroll of fallen soldiers and with moments of silence.

The reason I bring it up and why it’s important, is because it always seems as though as soon as Halloween has come and gone, everything starts to steer itself towards Christmas. Even though I’m not the biggest observer of Christmas, although this has changed significantly since I had children, I enjoy Christmas as much as the next person and I have a fondness of the lights, music and festivities that accompany it.

That being said, none of that should be happening until AFTER November 11. Some retail locations have already started to set up their Christmas wares as a result of Halloween supplies having sold out and the holiday passing. As much as I can understand the need to ensure a retail location’s shelves aren’t sitting empty, respect should still be shown to those who gave their lives to ensure the many freedoms we enjoy today, no matter how much everyone complains they want more.

I come from a family with a significant military background. My grandfather was a combat soldier in Europe during World War II. The majority of my mother’s siblings all served in the Canadian Armed Forces, with many of my cousins choosing to do, as well. I was one of the exceptions who went the federal police route by virtue of my Diabetes. People don’t fully acknowledge the kind of things that a soldier experiences during active duty. Most are content with having their heads in the sand and simply enjoying their freedoms without acknowledging how they got there.

Let’s show our respect this month. Wear a poppy until the end of the moment of silence on November 11. keep your Christmas enthusiasm in its pants until November 12th. For those who gave their lives, it’s the least we can do and the least we show. Food for thought…☯️