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Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Journey to Good Health

    It has been a long time since I have made a post here on my blog but I wanted to share something that I've been doing recently that is beginning to show improvement in my health. Before I do,some background. Last year, like many of us during the Covid lockdown, there was so much time spent being sedentary (couch potato), eating excessive calories (junk), and not doing any exercise. These habits, coinciding with my 50th birthday last fall had me trending in a very unhealthy direction. 

    One benefit of the lockdown was more time spent with my family. It was during this time as I approached my milestone birthday that I became familiar with the app TikTok as my daughters were using it. To see what it was all about I downloaded it to my phone. Now much of the world of Social Media is a large waste of time but it was on here that I saw the TikToks of Clark Bartram. Mr. Bartram is a 57 year old man who has been in the fitness industry for over 30 years. He posts TikTok videos he calls 3 moves, 3 minutes. In these TikTok videos, he demonstrates three exercises that target a specific area of the body.  Each of these three exercises can be done in a minute.  Additionally, he shows modified versions of these exercises and encourages the viewers to "do what you can the best you can."  These videos inspired me to get off my butt and try them.  Hey it was only an investment of three minutes of time!  So, I began to do these occasionally and started to follow his account. I checked out his link provided on his TikTok account and learned that he had a free group on Facebook called The Nanotest Performance System which I joined. Here I learned that Mr. Bartram moderates a live ZOOM every Saturday where he has new members begin a 6 week program called the 6 Week Solution which I was very enthusiastic about joining. 

    I joined and began in November 2020. I went to the first ZOOM and first heard from Mr. Bartram the 5 core principles of the group (I'll get to those shortly) and listened to a guest speaker talking about these principles. I was pumped up and began, but like most things when you go into it quickly, you fizzle out quickly. I'm not going to go into the excuses I made up in my mind to justify this but my desire to improve my health stayed with me. So I saw another 6 week cycle was beginning in late March of 2021 and this coincided with a week off from my work, so I could launch my participation properly. I did and attended the first meeting on ZOOM and reintroduced myself to the group. There was so much support and encouragement from the members and Clark himself to ensure I would get off to a good start this time. I was immediately invited to join a "huddle": a smaller group of members, some original (OG's) and some new. These guys have been an amazing influence towards me achieving success with my short-term goalwhich was to stay in for the 6 weeks and learn this program.   This group and I have shared recipes, short videos of our workouts, and overall badassery (is that a word?) attitude. This participation in a huddle is one thing I did not do in November and I believe it been a major factor in my success thus far with this program. 

Another factor crucial to my improvement is that I have adhered (by and large) to the 5 principles as spelled out by Mr. Bartram and promoted on the Nanotest FB Group:

Mindfulness: First the mind must be oriented in what you are doing and focused towards a goal. I have done this by living in the moment and focused on what I need to do at a given moment. Additionally, I have not beaten myself up if I fall short. I just resolve to do better the next day or opportunity. It all starts here with Mindfulness.

Movement: As noted above I was not doing any of this. Now, I have incorporated movement daily: brisk walking, flying up the four floors of stairs at work, getting over 10,000 steps a day, doing the circuit exercises as presented in Clark's free PDF book (found in his FB Nanotest group). The PDF book also has tips on nutrition and specialized diets. 

Meals: This is so important the fuel we provide our bodies. As noted with the previous principles, being mindful of what we are eating is so important. I have pretty much eliminated all the junk I would eat and I am making steps towards healthier choices.  Including an increased consumption of water daily.  

Community: This is the magic of the Facebook Nanotest Performance System for men:  the support of your fellow members of the group and the encouragement they have provided. As I mentioned earlier this is a positive benefit of Social Media.  It has allowed me to share with others snapshots of me using my resistance bands, lifting the limited weights I have, making comments on my walks. I have become part of a group that stretches worldwide. 

Supplementation: Mr. Bartram has shared a link to Persona, which provides suggested vitamins and other supplements based on questions about specific health issues. Subscription based plans for suggested supplements are provided. Also, Mr. Bartram has developed his own natural testosterone booster called Nanotest. As a man over 50 I have noticed a large number of these boosters on the market, some with slick advertising with former athletes espousing the benefits of these products, I'm referring to Frank Thomas and Doug Flutie on those cheesy commercials. However, does purchasing their product come with the coaching and community Mr. Bartram has created? No theirs does not. 

Full disclosure, I have not purchased Nanotest yet. However, already the investment in time and effort into this community has paid off already: At the start, at 5'10" I weighed 228 pounds with a noticeable "beer belly". Just three weeks ago, I was down to 214 pounds.  Update:  as of the end of my 6th week, I am down to 207.2.  People have noticed a difference and have asked me this weight loss. I am finding clothes are getting looser around my waist. 

I am pleased, thus far, at my successful launch towards my journey to good health. If your over 50 come join me on this journey.  

Friday, August 7, 2020

Covid-19 Blues

 2020 has been a horrible year.  I've got the Covid-19 Blues. 

Well I got that off my chest.  Since March, five months ago, life as we know it has been upended.  We've seen schools closed and remote or virtual classrooms used to instructed our children.  Grocery stores and restaurants began to deliver food directly to homes in greater numbers than ever before and masks have become fashion statements.

This has been the summer of discontent as we've seen the number of cases of Covid-19 rise steadily from June thru the present in many southern and western states.  Where I live, New York, the cases have dropped from its peak earlier in the spring.  Just today the Governor Cuomo announced that schools would be opening in September as long as the average rate of positive tests is below 5 percent.  Most of the state, including NYC, has maintained a 1 percent positive rate.  

This summer has also seen the voices of protest echo throughout major metropolitan cities and suburbs to address long standing issues relating to policing in these communities and equity in society.

To top it all off, we are also in a Presidential election year which will no doubt numb us all with advertisements during the fall.  

I often wonder if things will ever get back to how they were.  I'm not so sure.  What do we want a post-Covid-19 America and world to look like? I'd love to hear your thoughts so be sure to drop a comment.  

I would argue that now, 2020, we stand at a unique moment of time and each generation, Silents, Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Generation Z all have important roles to play to ensure that 2021 and beyond will be better days.  

One thing I know for sure:  it's sure to be a bumpy ride.  



Thursday, August 6, 2020

Return of the Blog - SK's Emporium

Welcome to my Blog Page.  It's been a few years since I've actively posted content here on this page and I'm happy to have returned.  Moving forward, I will be adding new posts commenting on a variety of topics.  

In the meantime, I'd like to introduce the designs I made for a host of products found at SK's Emporium (my teespring shop).  The link is https://teespring.com/stores/sks-emporium

The first is called 2020 Is it over yet?  This design is available on cloth face masks, t-shirts, mugs, stickers, and on I-Phone cases. 

The other design is called Home Schooled and is on Kids t-shirts.  Check out my shop and look for more designs in the future.  

No doubt, your purchase of any of the items found at SK's Emporium will be a source of conversation and humor.  Lord knows we need to laugh during this time. 

Thanks and please leave me a comment.  I'd love to hear from you all!

Steve



Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Use for Old Baseball Cards Pt II

Having started the project to hack an exisitng piece of IKEA furniture: the LACK table, I planned to finish it sometime before my spring break vacation was finished which meant today.

To recap, I purchased the LACK table from IKEA last week and I placed 70s and 80's baseball cards to the table top.  Yesterday, I sealed the table by applying a mixture of 4 parts glue with 1 part water.  This morning I was ready to apply the epoxy resin to coat the entire table top.  The resin would be left to cure and by tomorrow I will have a cool piece of furniture/nostalgia.

The epoxy resin was purchased at Home Depot and following the directions I measured roughly 8 oz of the epoxy and after stirring I combined with the sealer again mixing for 3 minutes.  This seemed to be enough for my table and I used the paint stirrers from Home Depot to spread the mixture across the table.

Once I was satisfied with the application, I covered the table so no outside debris or my kids would disturb the table as it cured.

Here are some pictures:


So far, so good.  The cards have taken on a shine and once fully cured, the table will be very nice to look at and to use.  This has been a fun project and while researching it on the web, I saw a cool video for making a game table that I might try with the same IKEA table (I do have enough Epoxy for one more table).  First I want to see how this one turns out.  

That's all for now, thanks for stopping by.