What could I possibly have in common with those names in the title? I guess you could make the argument that just like James Dean and Steve McQueen, I am a lover of motorcycles. The only connection I would possibly have with Jay Leno is we both have Italian ancestry. But the four of us have one other thing in common: We all know a woman named Vern.
I know what you’re thinking. The name Vern is just not popping out at me. Well, Vern along with her husband, Ed, own a very popular and internationally known roadhouse tucked high in the Santa Monica Mountains, just east of Malibu, known as the Rock Store. It’s been a favorite of locals and celebrities alike for close to 50 years. But it serves a greater purpose to me than a place to buy a beer. On my long weekend climbs through the mountains, where I can be on the bike from anywhere to 10 to 15 hours, the Rock Store has been my savior on more than several occasions.
I told you that to tell you this, there is a second angel in those mountains. Paul Herold has a business called RockStorePhotos.com. He sits on the same steep climb of Mulholland Highway about two miles from the Rock Store and takes pictures of motorcyclists, fancy cars and bicyclists. You should check out his pictures at RockStorePhotos.com. You never know who you might spot. I want to thank Paul for last Saturday. It was 109 degrees as I climbed up from the Rock Store to the top of the section known as the Snake. I was having a rough ride and pushing hard by the time I reached Paul. He had no problem refilling my water bottles, giving me extra water to pour on myself to cool. He even shared his snacks with me, which consisted of blueberries and ice-cold mango already sliced. It was just what I needed as a pick me up to complete the last 75 miles of my ride.
If you ever find yourself on Mulholland on the weekend, stop by and say hi to Paul. You never know what can come of it. If nothing else, his girlfriend Shera Richter, also a great photographer in her own right, is easy on the eyes. Once again, check out his site: RockStorePhotos.com.
If you ask me, Comic Con has everything to do with being fit. Let’s take a closer look at the obsession with comics.
I have a girlfriend who I think is the most beautiful woman on the planet. I’m not the only one who thinks this. A lot of guys feel that way. A lot. How many? I’ll tell you. A lot.
Serena Scott Thomas has a rare title. She’s a Bond girl. Am I telling you this because I’m bragging? Yeah, a little. But I’m mostly telling you that to tell you this: I didn’t always have a Bond girl as a girlfriend. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have a girlfriend at all when I was growing up. I couldn’t get one. Back in school, girls were all too busy goofing on me. Why? I had a speech impediment. When I tried to talk to girls, they would mimic my voice, laugh and walk away.
Boys were no better. They used to treat me like a punching bag. Just like Rodney Dangerfield, I got no respect.
Most nerds like me would retreat to their bedroom or basement. They would either become like Travis Bickle or Rupert Pupkin when they grew up. That’s right, I just used a couple of Robert DeNiro references, but that’s what nerds do. We also blog. Nerds would read comic books and look to characters with imaginary freakish muscles and super powers, like Green Hornet, Superman and many others.
I didn’t become that guy. Instead of reading about superheroes, I set out to become one. My goal was to build a shield around me. I began working out when I was only 10 years old. Technically, I was too young to work out at such an age, but I did it anyway. It paid off, too. I became so intimidating to kids that they quit beating on me. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I didn’t know how to fight. All I had done was change my physical image.
This would be a good spot to define fitness as I see it. What does fit mean? Obviously a guy who spends all of his time in a gym and becomes a bodybuilder could never run a marathon. Yet, Deena Kastor, an Olympic marathoner, couldn’t be expected to fare well in a weightlifting competition. But they’re both very fit. It’s all about being fit for an activity, whatever that activity may be.
I became fit enough to play college linebacker. I then dropped about 100 pounds to become an ultra-marathon cyclist. The one thing that my level of fitness in both directions has never been able to do is get rid of who I really am: the nerd who would still live in his parents’ basement at 47 years old. I don’t have to go to Comic Con. The difference between me and most guys cooped up in a bedroom is that I chose to live in reality instead of a fantasy world.
So what does Comic Con have to do with fitness? In my eyes, everything. This weekend my super sexy girlfriend will be at a signing in Los Angeles where nerds with greasy hair, pocket protectors and sweaty palms pay good money to put an arm around her and take a picture. Little does she know, she lives with one of those nerds. Just don’t tell her that.
When Mireille Guiliano wrote “French Women Don’t Get Fat” it reached the number-one spot on the New York Times advice bestseller list. The idea behind the book inspired similarly-themed ventures, such as the Web site French Women Don’t Get Fat.
When you think of the best food in the world, don’t you think of French food? The French are famous the world over for their delicious dishes. They eat cheese, butter, and drink wine. Conventional wisdom would lead one to assume that France would rank high among the most-obese countries in the world. But that isn’t the case. The French can’t hold a candle to the kind of overweight and obesity rates we’re rockin’ in the United States.
That’s not to say that these problems don’t exist in France. They are struggling with a spike in rates, but nothing like we have.
Look at the typical French approach to eating: they go for fresh foods of high quality, eat small portions and savor every bite. They don’t shun dessert; they indulge.
Now witness the American way: Grab any and everything available, no matter the quality, go for the super-sized version and stuff it all in, even if engaged in some other activity, like sitting in front of the television or coasting down the highway. Many Americans don’t believe there is ever a time not to eat. The idea of three square meals a day has been blurred into eat whenever you want throughout the day. Americans have invented meals between meals.
My clients are always telling me about how they notice this difference in the two cultures. And it’s not only France. Another European country, Italy, shares a similar way of life.
When in Rome, I noticed it was not uncommon to see more people walking and using bicycles. In fact, they have a system where you can unlock public bikes, ride where you need to go, and drop off the bike in another place. The Italians rent bikes like we pay parking meters to basically rent a space to leave our vehicles.
Vespa Scooters are a common site. Even though cycling is a focus of this site, I am also a fan of motorcycles. They’re not for everyone, and can be dangerous. But my motorcycle fits into a sliding scale of necessity. My first choice is to take my bicycle, if I can. If I have to go too far, my next choice is to take the motorcycle. I basically go from zero cylinder to two. Next on the scale is four cylinders: my car.
In Rome, there seems to be more Vespa type scooters than cars. Women, men, grandparents…everyone uses them. I’ve seen a man on more than one occasion with his kid on his lap and his gray-haired mother on the back clutching grocery bags.
In southern California, where I live, people buy the most car they can afford. A lot of them buy more car than they should, or even can afford. I know people who make less money than me who buy expensive foreign cars. This speaks volumes about how we look at things here. Everyone wants to see how comfortable they can possibly get.
We’ve set up society so we never have to walk. It’s common to find escalators and elevators in many places. Some gyms, like the Sports Club, have valet parking. Think about how absurd this is. People get someone else to park their car so they won’t have to walk, then they get on a treadmill so they can finally get around to doing some serious…wait for it…walking! Then there are those who take the elevator, not the stairs, to the second floor, so they can get on a stair machine.
Our priorities are in the wrong places. Don’t we see the irony in all of this?
When I was a kid, I was told to eat all of my food so I can get dessert. We were pushed to overeat, so we can eat more. The French have seemed to figure out that it’s not about how much you eat, but the quality of what you eat.
If there is one thing I can come down on the French for, it’s for not using deodorant.
Miracle weight-loss stories are frequently splashed throughout the cottage industry of celebrity news. We put certain people on a pedestal, and look to them for advice on everything from politics to weight loss.
Why would they have any special information? Just because someone can act, or sing, or dance, doesn’t mean they have the credentials to give such advice.
It seems that we often take mental shortcuts. We figure anyone who has figured out how to win an Oscar or an Emmy must have a grip on everything else in their life. But this isn’t true. Celebrities are flawed, too.
Oprah gives health advice all the time. It’s just a part of the entire Oprah network. She seems to have her hand in just about everything. What’s next? The Oprah douche?
I’m trying to remember exactly where I was standing when she become a doctor, or even an expert on anything. Oprah is nothing more than a brand. She has been called the world’s most influential woman, but that usually comes with people of great wealth. And that doesn’t mean she is the best person to influence our health.
Oprah has catapulted others to success. One of them, Dr. Phil McGraw, is a psychologist who has actually written books on weight loss. That is not even his area of expertise. He doesn’t specialize in weight loss, it’s just one of the many balls he juggles. It’s all an act. If he knew anything, he would take his own advice and be in better shape. News flash: Dr. Phil is fat. Stop listening to him.
Dr. Phil, like Oprah, tries to be all things to everyone. People catch on and listen to them because of their celebrity status. They must know something, they figured out how to get on television. But then again, so did Anna Nicole Smith. Of course she also lost weight, and pushed a diet product and ended up dead.
If Oprah knows so much, and has so many experts surrounding her, why does she stay fat? Her so-called “fitness guru” Bob Greene sure has a lot of products to sell. Maybe writing all of those books keeps him from working with his most famous client. In the meantime, Oprah’s waistline continues to grow like her bank account.
It’s all about results, and these “experts” don’t get them. Why would anyone take advice that clearly doesn’t work?
Kirstie Alley is another famous fatso. Judging from her site, she’s fatter than ever. And this is a woman who made millions just a couple of years ago shilling for Jenny Craig. In case you’re wondering, Jenny Craig is not really in the diet business. They are in the food business just like…oh, I don’t know…McDonalds. Kirstie Alley’s latest product push is something called Organic Liaison.
“I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. I’m a regular person,” she says on her site. I’m not sure why she calls herself a regular person. Regular people are not obese.
She then proceeds to make a bunch of unproven claims, only exposing her lack of health knowledge.
Wouldn’t you think the most resounding endorsement would be your own? Wouldn’t it be nice to say, “Take a look at me. I use my own product, and it works great!”
Kirstie Alley won’t say that because she can’t. And the same goes for Oprah, Dr. Phil and many other celebs. In my opinion, they can’t even point to their own success because they haven’t had any. It would seem as though they are failures in their personal lives. Their faulty advice is passed off as good, and they want us to purchase it.
They throw these ideas against the wall to see what sticks. They know they’re full of shit, but if they can get away with bamboozling a few people for a buck, then it’s worthwhile.
Well-known singer Carnie Wilson became even more known in the late 1990s due to her obesity. She had gastric bypass surgery in 1999, and eventually dropped to 150 pounds. In later years she gained weight back during a pregnancy. She even turned to VH1′s Celebrity Fit Club to combat the weight problems that had returned. It seems as though she was taking a page from Oprah’s book, where she got a show when she had the operation, and got another show when she put it back on. What a career move!
Surgery was not a magical solution. Carnie Wilson and others who undergo gastric bypass and other procedures are not addressing the root of their problem. They turn to surgery because they feel like it’s impossible to lose weight. Well, why do they lose weight with surgery? It’s only because their stomachs are reduced to the size of an egg, and they can’t overeat. Think about how drastic of a measure this is.
Carnie Wilson is a woman who can’t be trusted with her own stomach. What and how much you eat make all the difference in the world. After surgery, you have no choice but to cut back on eating. Which only proves the point that you can lose weight after all. Only sewing your mouth shut would do a better job.
Ever watch the show Survivor? Contestants eat meager rations and participate in physical challenges. Any extra weight is burned. It’s simple biology. That goes to show how efficient the human body can be. Over the years I’ve seen contestants who had anywhere from 20, 30, even 60 pounds to lose. And within three weeks of being on the island, look downright sexy. Which proves that it’s not that difficult to do. The idea of the show is not to lose weight. But it’s a byproduct of what happens. And while we are on that subject, the ration they give on that show is rice. So anyone who thinks you can’t lose weight on carbs, think again.
Still, so many seem to want their cake and eat it too.
With clever advertising, Subway has used pitchman Jared Fogle to promote its chain of fast-food restaurants. Now, it may be true that Subway’s menu is generally healthier than a lot of others in the fast food business, but it is by no means the healthiest. Subway has landed in the middle ground, and has milked it for all it’s worth. Oh and by the way, Jared hasn’t been able to keep the weight off either.
With pseudo-celebs like Jared, we reward people for things they should have done anyway. It used to be common for a person to be within a reasonable weight. It was uncommon to be as obese as Jared was. Being proud of not being obese is like being proud of not going to jail. Yes, even you, Lindsay Lohan.
I’ll start paying attention to these celebrity pitches when they can back up their claims with evidence.