To the naysayers

“To the naysayers, I say your words will fall on deaf ears. To the doubters, take your misgiving elsewhere. To the envious, do not desire what we will achieve. I will beat back mediocrity with a fierce hand, will demolish conformity, so that when it’s time to cash in my chips, I won’t leave a legacy of regret, that I didn’t go for mine. In each one of us lies the power to start something…. So to those of you out there who hear, let me say again, who are you and will you stand with me?”    – AnimalPak

Dear Tract-Wielding Granny…

I struggle with how to write this, because the last thing I want to be is disrespectful. And I love Jesus. But our interaction this morning was incredibly awkward.

You must remember me. I was the solo runner at the park to whom you handed a tract. Actually let me back up. I had just finished a 100 meter sprint on my 2 mile circuit run and was in a painful recovery jog when you rounded the corner. Now I’m not surprised to see elderly folks walking at the park; it happens often. What I wasn’t expecting was the incredibly quick movement you made to block the path as I neared, arm outstretched. For all the room you left me, you may as well have straightened your doctor-prescribed, Star Trek sunglasses, and slammed your walking stick into the blacktop while shouting “You Shall Not Pass!”

Let me explain some of the runners’ rules to clarify why what you did was problematic:

1. A solo runner runs solo because he’s not out there for conversation. He wants to be left alone. He’s not out there to meander about for an hour while burning off the equivalent of a chocolate chip cookie. No, he’s out there to thrash his body. I repeat – he wants to be left alone.

2. Breaking a runner’s stride is rude. Like walking up to someone on a treadmill and saying, “Hey Isaiah, haven’t seen you in forever, how’s it going?” At that point, I want to aim my water bottle at your head.

3. I’m wearing shoes and running shorts. Do you see pockets anywhere on my body for a tract? My only option is to hold it in my hand while my sweat gradually reduces it to pulp.

Now, I’m thankful for your zeal and love for my soul that you want to reach out to me, but you don’t know me. We have no relationship. At least proffer the tract in my direction, acknowledging my choice to take it or at least grin and pant out “I love Jesus” as I blow by. But you gave me no choice. I had to take it, so take it I did. Rounding the back of the park, I dropped it in a trash can since my sweat had already drenched the cover. But then, horror of horrors, I realized I’d most likely encounter you again on my final lap. No doubt, you’d be eyeing me to see if I still had it. The best I could think of was to ball my fists and hope you’d think it was still jammed inside my sweaty hand, but I didn’t have to worry. As I passed you the final time, you stayed on your side not even acknowledging me. I guess your work was done.

If I see you out again, I’ll hope you remember some of the rules I’ve shared, and this time I’ll stop and give you a big sweaty hug. You don’t need pockets for those.

Workout. You’ll feel better.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a bit of a fitness nut. After completing a Tough Mudder race in December, I had dropped over 10 pounds due to my cardio training. I’m now on a “bulk up” phase and decided to go with a different workout from what I’ve used for the past several years. After talking to a professional bodybuilder who runs my gym, he encouraged me to really cut down on reps and add more sets. I’m using a modified “Stronglifts 5×5” program with some light cardio on the side.

“Stronglifts 5×5” consists of 3 workouts a week rotating back and forth between 2 simple workouts. The key is intensity, with a goal of adding 5 lbs to each exercise every week.


StrongLifts 5×5 Workout A StrongLifts 5×5 Workout B
Squat 5×5 Squat 5×5
Bench Press 5×5 Overhead Press 5×5
Barbell Rows 5×5 Deadlift 1×5


My first thought when reading this was “no way these exercises hit the whole body…where’s the arm isolation? abs? etc.” After a week of using it, I can attest that these actually do hit the whole body. I’m interested to see the results after a few months.

This picture was taken at 171 lbs. My current weight is 177. Goal weight of 190. Current max bench = 265.

Here we go.

The sea will swallow you

This quote hangs on a poster in my gym. It’s fitting, not only for working out, but for every aspect of life.

“It’s late and I’m out of focus. I feel adrift at sea, lost in my backbreaking labors. Then all at once it hits me like a beacon in the night. In the middle of my rep, halfway through my set, that familiar feeling returns… The pain. It washes over me, wave after wave. My senses reel. Yeah, I could drop it all, walk away from this burden. Instead, I grit my teeth, catch my breath, and plow forward. When the going gets tough, many head for safe harbor. I don’t. I welcome the pain — it keeps me honest. It grounds me. Brothers, this sea is wide and rough. Though the pain may come over you, never let it overcome you.”