health

6 months to live

Stardate: 16th January, 2017

“Ask him”, a woman’s voice said.
“Excuse me sir”, I heard a boy say. “Are you a trainer? Can you train us?”

I smiled, angling my head in the direction of those voices. A mother. Her three young boys. It was June of 2016… in a random carpark… at a random mid-morning hour.

“I have cancer”, the mother informed me. “I’ve been given 6 months to live. I’m going to beat it though. So, I’m going to hire you for 12 months.”

On July 7th, I pulled in to her driveway. Off and on for months, we trained hard. 6 months passed. She was still alive.

Last week, during month number 7, she messaged me. “I have bad news. The cancer’s spread to my bones. I am in SO much pain.”

She didn’t respond to any of my follow up messages. Her doctor had basically told her to say her goodbyes. I thought… Christ… that our last conversation, would be our last conversation.

Stage 3 cervical cancer.
Stage 3 lung cancer.
Silently, I stalked her social media… vicariously experiencing the days through her eyes.

This morning… Monday, 16th of January, she showed up at my door in workout gear.

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“I don’t know if this makes sense”, she said.

She’d given up.

I haven’t.

To date, she hasn’t documented her fitness journey.
Today, I’m sharing a snippet… without revealing her name or face.
Hopefully, your kind outpouring will encourage her to do the same.

…to know that she’s supported, loved, and admired.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

5 Supplements You SHOULD be using, that you’re probably not.

Stardate: 18th April, 2016

Greetings!!

supplements

As many of you would know, I’m not big on supplements. When asked “hey bro. Should I take [*inserts name of popular go-to fad*]”, my reply is always a blunt two-pronged one:

1: “I don’t take that stuff… I eat food. Lots of it.”
2: “Supplements… should supplement your diet. Novel idea. I know.”

The stuff I actually DO use isn’t fancy. It’s functional.

i.e. It’s the stuff nobody really cares about: the stuff that helps your gut et. al. work better. Why should YOU care about ’em though?

Simple: Gut health is everything. The gut impacts the immune system, the brain, our ability to gain muscle and mobilise fat stores, the quality of our sleep and skin. I mean, holy shit, why would you NOT be interested?

Let’s get down to it!

Here are my mainstays, and a couple notable mentions:

  1. ‘Colon Cleanse Powder’

…aka Psyllium Husk Powder. This product is usually sold as a laxative. But, that’s secondary. I don’t believe in the whole ‘colon cleansing’ notion… but I do recognise that most of the population suffers from a too-low fibre intake. Even dieters, who are eating loads of ‘bush’ (lol) often complain of constipation and the like. The average person, for one, severely underestimates the amount of fibre they eat and need… and it doesn’t help that shady companies represent the minuscule amounts of fibre in their products as something monumental. “Oh. Eat my cereal. It’s fiber enriched! 1 gram of fiber per serving (of 20 grams of sugar and other useless shit)!” What the fuck man?!

Guidelines indicate that we should be taking in 30 grams of fibre per day. i.e. 10-15 grams per 1000 calories. Most of us struggle to get in TEN grams per 2000-3000 calories. That’s crazy!

That. Is. Crazy.

Enter psyllium. One tablespoon gives you 5 grams of fibre. Personally, I blend 3 tablespoons in to my smoothie… and I’m currently up to 5 tablespoons per day.

Try 3 tablespoons per day, plus a couple servings of broccoli, kidney beans, and/or oatmeal spread over the day, and you’re set! 30 grams easy!

2. Probiotics

One of the things I’ve noticed about adulthood is the prevalence of digestive issues. And, it affects all of us… even the fitness personalities like myself. Stress is a major contributor. It absolutely wrecks the gut.  For one, it affects the balance of ‘good’ bacteria to ‘bad’. As this bacteria influences the immune system, we can generally say ‘Stress affects the immune system!’

If it were only stress though, this section of today’s article would be a lot shorter.

Unfortunately friends, our gut flora gets attacked from multiple other angles. Stress, the overconsumption of sugar and starch, wanton overprescription of antibiotics, the absence of prebiotics (i.e. fibre), Exercise (or its absence). Tonnes of stuff really.

A good probiotic is essential shit!

Pun.

3. Digestive enzymes (especially proteolytic ones like bromelain)

I’ve noticed, particularly in new clients, a lot of younger people are complaining about bloat, indigestion, gas… and generally feeling like their food just sits there. Some of them have that lower tummy pouch going on. But, upon pinching the skin there, one realises that it isn’t usually fat. It is legitimate bloat.

I mentioned the prevalence in younger people, because the above used to be an older person’s ailment: Usually an age-related decline in enzyme production, and quality (i.e. the elasticity of the actual enzyme’s protein – blah, blah, blah, science stuff). Nowadays, we’re living longer… but we seem to be aging faster. At least, our organs seem to be.

Fixing the diet, reducing stress, and adding digestive enzymes helps. Not just from the digesting of food standpoint (- which is pretty fucking major as a standalone). Naw… the addition of dietary enzymes can also reduce systemic inflammation. And, this means, enzymes can potential reduce our risk of diseases we shouldn’t even have been at risk for in the first place.

Anyhoo… That there is a rant for another time.

Back on topic: I like bromelain. I use a lot of it. I’ve used it to recover from injuries, swelling, soft tissue damage, and poor digestion.

If you try only one supplement. Try this.

And… while we’re on the topic of inflammation:

4. Quercetin

Quercetin, is basically a plant pigment…  a flavonoid, with SERIOUS antioxidative power, found in richly coloured fruits.

Being a great antioxidant aside, it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory (which means it can potentially help mitigate inflammation-based diseases such as insulin resistance, heart disease, arthritis etc.). It’s also proven to help with allergies, pain, and boost endurance.

Holy shit right?!

I use 1000mg per day. I don’t know if I’ll live longer. But I sure as hell plan on doing everything I can to improve my quality of life!

*pops another cap*

5. Chromium Polynicotinate.

I’ve written about chromium EXTENSIVELY in the past. For about 2 decades, it’s been a mainstay in my supplement regime. I can’t say enough about it’s benefits. But, I’ll rehash anyway:

It may aide in longevity.

It may improve insulin/carbohydrate sensitivity.

It may improve body composition.

It may [blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, super-cool stuff!]!

Bottom line? Chromium is an awesome addition… especially in a population, like ours, whose diets are so starch heavy! I mean, who DOESN’T want to be leaner, healthier, and better able to process carbohydrates? AND it’s cheap. Who doesn’t like not breaking the bank?!

*pauses for dramatic effect*

That’s it!

Hit the health store!

I’ll see you at bootcamp tomorrow!

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

Fitness: The Power of Words

This morning… I awoke with an overwhelming spirit of “can’t”.

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Stardate: 21st February, 2016

Hi.

Some of you know me: Corey Springer; that insane fitness guy from St. George – “I mean… did you SEE what he made those people do with those tires? Oh hell, are they about to push trucks?!!” – That guy.

Some of you are clients of mine… and aware of my super-long work days: 7-12 one-hour long Personal Training (PT) slots per day, plus 3 hour-long bootcamps per week, plus a couple hours per day of administration and cleaning/upkeep.

Some of you, just see the end product.

Both groups of you miss two things, that I plan on sharing with you today.

And they are:

  1. Despite appearances, I struggle with my own personal fitness… daily!
  2. Sometimes, despite my best intentions, I fail.

Today, I’d like to talk to you about not failing.

Today, I woke with a spirit of “can’t”. For whatever reason, I missed several workouts this week. To accommodate, I’d thrown in some sessions on the days I had bootcamp. So, needless to say, by the end of those days, I was pretty fried mentally and emotionally. Friday and Saturday were like that. Today, Sunday, after my first client – I had absolutely no interest in doing anything exercise-related.

A glass of wine maybe. Some cuddle-time with my daughter and pups, maybe. The cardio I was supposed to do? Hell no.

“I can’t. I am not able.” – These are the words I’d told myself over and over, from the time my alarm went off at 4 a.m… conditioning myself to a day of failure.

And, I would have failed… had I not walked past the mirror and caught a glimpse of the sloped-shouldered, dejected guy there.

It was me… but it wasn’t. The weight of my words bore down on my frame, contorting me into someone unrecognisable. Someone who I, in that moment, no longer wanted to be.

I grabbed my bike. I grabbed my gear. I whispered to myself: “I can.” And, I hurried out through the door. In my haste, I even forgot my water.

2 kilometres in – “OH MY GOD! My legs are burning. How am I going to get home?!”

4.4 kilometres in – “This isn’t so bad. But how am I going to get home?”

7 kilometres in – “My lips! Oh God! I’m parched! But, I’m making it! Why is there so much broken glass on the road? Will I get a flat tire? Is that RAIN I smell?!”

8.9 kilometres in – “I can do this. I can.”

10.94 kilometres – As I live at the top of a hill, I had to sprint the last 50 metres. My lungs were shot. My legs were shot. My legs were shot. Did I mention that my legs were shot?

 

…but I made it.

I wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t fed my subconscious different words.

You may have rolled your eyes at this point, if you haven’t done so multiple times before now. I get it. I truly do.

I don’t look like someone who’d understand your struggle. I’m not the fat teen I was (- the fat teen that hardly anyone remembers as being so, because my current persona is so overpoweringly-Mr.-fitness). I’m not the heavily medicated asthmatic teen I used to be.

I’m also not the 20 years old, with no responsibilities.

I’m you: mid-30s, a full time business (-three really); a wife, a daughter, two dogs, and bills that need to be paid every month.

I am your body issues, your deadlines, your logic. All of those things affect my life, as they do yours.

And, like you… I am also my words.

So… Will YOU join me, in changing your defining phrase today?

You “can”.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

Last night, I punched my daughter in the face

But, before you report me to child protective services, let me explain: for the past 7 months we’ve been co-sleeping.

Co-sleep·ing/ˌkōˈslēpiNG/ (noun) – the practice of sleeping in the same bed with one’s infant or young child.

…Which I’ve been vehemently against, because I’m a 220 lb male with ZERO mid-sleep spatial awareness.sleeping w baby

Stardate: 10th February, 2016

So, last night it happened: after basically a 17 hour workday, I fell into a very deep sleep. I’d asked my wife not to put our little one between us whilst we slept, and at the start of the night she’d obliged. Somewhere during the night however, she moved Nevaeh to between us though. However I didn’t know this, until about an hour later when I felt a weird pressure under my left elbow… which woke me.

That pressure? The baby.

My elbow was resting on her forehead.

Did I mention that I’m over 220 lbs?
Her forehead!
I leapt up!

Jesus H. Christ, did that ever end my night’s ‘rest’. (- I say ‘rest’ because I used to average and be able to function on 2-4 quality hours per night. Presently, there is absolutely no quality to my nights.)

Immediately, I left the bed, and found something to occupy my brain until my alarm went off. That’s been the norm these past 7 months… when I actually attempt to sleep in bed.

Initially, we’d agreed not to co-sleep. There was a lot of conflicting research, as well as the loud “DON’T DO IT”s from my married female friends, whose relationships and quality of life had each been affected by co-sleeping. Some of my friends had pointed out that they’d read the blogs and tried it… and four years later, their children were still finding their way into their beds in the middle of the night.

My wife and her friends had different opinions, and read different blogs though obviously, because it was implemented anyway. We have, for the past two months, been trying to get our infant out of the behaviour however… but there’s been absolutely no progress on that front.

Please note: this isn’t a blame or shame post. I’m not calling out my wife or her people. I’m simply presenting a case for other soon-to-be-new dads and moms out there… from a guy who nearly crushed his beautiful daughter to death in his sleep. (lol – dramatic much?)

So what does the information on co-sleeping say?

Some pros!

  • It’s easier to soothe the wee one (- babies go back to sleep more easily as well).
  • Encourages breastfeeding.
  • Allows mum to get more rest at night (- rather, to sync her sleep patterns to the baby’s).
  • More bonding time for mum. Can lead to more intimacy for dad, if dad doesn’t see baby much during the day.

Some cons!

  • Less sleep for dad. Way less sleep actually.
  • Decreased opportunities for dad and mum to be spontaneous or intimate (- or spontaneously intimate) i.e. marital interference.
  • Less sleep for the baby. While those pro-co-sleeping claim that it results in more sleep, those opposed to it claim the opposite. The latter claim that the over-attentiveness (namely soothing every whimper) actually results in babies whimpering more… seeking out, and being rewarded with more attention as a result.
  • Terminal night-time dependency: the inability to fall asleep without the parent there; fear of waking up alone… and the like.

Like I said: there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. You, as a new parent, have truly got some reading ahead of you!

My conclusion though?
Co-sleeping isn’t for everyone. There are tons of pros, as well as cons. Research, research, research… communicate, field test, buy some wine, and a sleeping bag.

Did I mention that I bought a sleeping bag? It’s blue. (lol)

Yours in fitness (… and hopefully [still] marriage),
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

The Day after Crop-Over: Our Road to Recovery

Stardate: 4th August 2015
Yesterday, having followed my 14-days-until-cropover-fat-loss-diet, you looked and felt spectacular.

Today however? You feel like shit.
You may take the day off. You may be considering asking your doctor for the entire week off.
You ‘just… need… to… make… it… through… a… couple… more… fetes” after all.

fetes

“Just… one… more… fete.”- img src: bajantube.com

The last thing on your mind right now is fitness.

Exercise, right now – in your mind, is a four-letter word: The most filthy of four-letter cusswords to boot.
And, rightfully so.
I mean, the last thing you want is burpees in your tail. *sic*


*resists urge to vomit*

I’ve been there.
I *am* there, right now friends.
And, I’m here to guide you right back on track.

Step 1 – Rehydrate
Really, in a utopia – whilst partying, we’d drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed. This would make avoiding dehydration much easier. The reality is however, nobody does that. My go-to here is coconut water. It’s electrolyte content makes it superior to plain water for post-partying rehydration. Grab two gallons. Keep it cool. You’re welcome.

Step 2 – Eliminate toxins; replenish depleted stores.
The process of alcohol metabolism is pretty straight-forward. It is [blah-blah-blah, science-science-science]. Ok, that said: Let’s get to what you REALLY need to know.
Alcohol metabolism leaves the body depleted of b-vitamins. It depletes the body of antioxidants, like glutathione  (- placing the human organism under greater oxidative stress). And, most importantly, it leaves behind a great volume of the very toxic compound acetaldehyde (- which the body then has to metabolise and eliminate). Acetaldehyde is a beast of toxin. It compromises brain function, damages the membranes of red blood cells (and a host of other deleterious shit).
More importantly, to us partiers: It is the compound that makes you feel hungover.

To address all of the above, trying adding the following to post-binge-day recovery cocktail:

  • a b-complex vitamin
  • vitamin C
  • N-acetyl cysteine

Step 3 – Give your digestive tract a rest.
Here’s a little known fact: Drinking decreases the body’s lipase enzyme output. Lipase is the enzyme necessary for the metabolism of fats. Why does this matter? Well, most ‘hangover cures’ are greasy high-fat foods. What people who use hangover cures don’t tell you however, is that they tend to lead to diarrhea. Yes, they feel ‘better’, because they’re replacing some of the sodium (i.e. table salt) excreted the night before via sweat and urine. However, they feel worse… because now their stomach is wrecked.

Me personally? I hydrate through-out the day following a night out. If my blood sugar feels low, I have a light protein with fruit. Generally though, I just fast til the afternoon. Then I have a moderate workout, and a meal. By then, everything’s pretty stable.
While on the topic of working out though:

Step 4 – Workout!
I never skip the gym after a night out. Neither should you. I’m not saying to attempt the most hardcore workout known to man. I am however saying: GET MOVING!
As cliche as this may sound: Exercise may help you sweat out the accrued toxins.

Whatever you do, avoid sitting around waiting to feel better. We’ve still got one more fete.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net