Exercise gimmicks and programs

Anyone who watches any amount of television will probably have the pleasure of watching a fitness commercial or infomercial promising a new body if you only buy their product or exercise program.  Those 6 packs abs are just around the corner and you will be the envy of the beach this summer according to their claims.

Being someone who is very active and works out regularly, I  find myself paying attention to some of those infomercials, however, in the back of mind, I wonder if they really work or if it just another scam to rip people off. For example, the other day, I watched  an infomercial for a new program called P90X, which according to the program, will make you look lean and trim in just 90 days. Now, I have no doubt the program will work but you also need to donate at least 45-60 minutes a day according to the plan. I do not know about you but that is a lot of time to be sacrificing each day. How many people really have the time to train everyday for an hour?  And what about after the 90 days are up? What type of program is there to maintain that chiseled look.  Any good fitness program is about looking good for the long term.

In my opinion, quality rather quantity is the key to burning fat and developing a firm figure.  Just walking at a slow pace for 45 minutes on the treadmill will not do the trip. Instead why not increase your pace for a few minutes followed by a slower pace of recovery. Even add a few hills to your faster pace. You can probably get in a better workout and burn as many calories in less time. Interval training is an awesome workout and I apply it to some of  my workouts

So much of  developing certain muscle groups such as the abs is really all about form. I see so many people at my health club think they are working their abs during crunches  when in fact, they are not doing anything but hurting themselves.  A slow controlled motion is the proper way instead of the typical herky jerky motion.  It is better to do 25 good crunches rather than 100 fair ones.

What a really good exercise program boils down to is good, quick results.  Without those things, many folks become discouraged and end up quiting.  And of course don’t forget to do those pushaways! Away from the dinner table!  Having a good diet is very important and a bad diet can kill any gains that you may have made.  Good luck to all of those on an exercise program, have fun and work hard. Those gains are just around the corner.

My fearless predictions for the NCCA basketball tournament

So how many of you out there are ready for a mulligan on your  NCCA picks? If you are, you are in the risk taking group.  Nothing that has happened so far has really shocked me at all. The Big East has 5 teams in the sweet 16 which should come as no surprise to anyone since that conference is heads and shoulders, the toughest conference in the land this season. It would not surprise me to see 3 of the 4 final four teams to come from that conference.

I am still in pretty good shape in the my two pools since my final four teams consisting of Louisville, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Memphis are still alive.  All of those teams had a few minor scares but managed to prevail.  I nearly drove off the road last Friday afternoon when I heard Pitt was losing in the second half but millions of people all over the country were relieved to see them come through.  That would of been the biggest bracket buster of all time for a 16 seed to beat 1 seed.

Having said these things, I expect a fabulous weekend of basketball coming up.  I have always felt that this is the best part of the tournament, the weekend before the final four games.  This is the part of tournament which really makes or breaks  brackets since these are the big point games. I have seen many number one seeds stumble during the sweet 16 or elite 8 games and to me,  watching these upsets is  really what makes this tournament special.

As I predicted earlier, I feel the Big East will be well represented in final four but I have to pick my North Carolina Tar Heels to win it all. Having Ty Lawson back is a huge plus but another huge advantage is their experience since they have many starters back from last years final four team.  It is hard to beat a team with that much talent and experience. I predict they will beat Louisville in a classic championship game.

President Obama’s thoughtless remarks

You could say last week was certainly the worst week of our new president’s term. He had several blunders ranging from the  non-disclosure about his party’s involvement in the AIG bonus mess, his budget, which was revealed will create a much higher deficit than originally thought and of course, the silly idea that veterans should use their private insurance to pay for their combat wounds.

However, the one thing that has everyone buzzing is his remark that he made on the Jay Leno show about his fine bowling skills. He compared them to the special Olympics thus insulting many people in this country who are affected by Downs Syndrome.  I know a few people who have this disease and they are some of the most courageous, determined and funniest  people to be around. Just because they have a handicap is no reason to make fun of them.  They did not ask to be born that way and people should have more compassion for them. I am a little disappointed that the leader of this country would make those comments.

I really think President Obama got off easy on this one. There seems to be little outrage over his remark. Can you imagine if a Republican president made that remark? The media would be all over him for at least 2 weeks. My friends over at MSNBC would probably call on him to be impeached.  Of course, that is just the double standard that the media has.

Hopefully in the future, the President will be a little more sensitive towards all types of people. After all, I was told the Democratic party is suppose to be the party of the people?  Pardon me while leave the room and laugh for 15 minutes!

Expansion of the NCCA men’s tournament?

Every March, there are a number of things which are guaranteed to happen.  We get more daylight, there is a crippling snowstorm somewhere in the United States, usually here in the upper Midwest, and of course, the talk about bubble teams and which teams deserve to get into the men’s NCCA basketball tournament.

I love this tournament. It is my favorite sporting event of the year and it is something I really look forward to every year.  I am also looking forward to taking some of my co-workers money in our office pool. However, there are a few things that I feel could help change the post season for the better in men’s  college basketball.

First of all, get rid of all those silly conference championship tournaments.  They really serve no purpose other than helping some team who was mediocre during the regular season, steal an at large berth.  I believe you should be rewarded for what you do during the regular season and that should carry the most weight. I have seen time after time, a team get hot and win their conference tournament and thus knock off a more deserving at large berth team who had a better regular season but was not as successful in their own conference tournament.

Another tournament I would get rid off  is the Not Interested Tournament, otherwise known as the NIT.  No offense to the officials of that tournament but what is the purpose of this 2nd tier tournament? So ESPN can carry more hoops?  I really doubt there are any college teams which have a goal at the beginning of the year of making it to the NIT.

Instead of these meaningless tournaments, why not just expand the tournament to say 128 teams and have more games.  Every year, there are countless teams who really deserve to be in but are left out because they play in some of the smaller conferences that do not get as much publicity.  I always enjoy seeing some unknown team come out of nowhere and shock a big conference foe.  That is really what makes this tournament special and more opportunities for this would happen if  the tournament had more teams from these non major conferences.

The AIG bonuses to executives is wrong

While reading the paper this morning, a certain headline really caught my eye.  After receiving a bailout from the government,  AIG is still preparing to pay bonuses to executives.  So let me get this straight,  the same group of executives who headed the unit of the company which nearly put them out of business are getting a bonus!! I do understand that logic at all. If  those executives were working for me,  the only bonus they would receive is a free one way escort out the door.

The sad part about all of this is that it is becoming a common practice in the business world to reward mediocrity.  Do not get me wrong, I am not a critic of bonuses. I think they are essential to ensure a company retains some of its top employees, especially it executives.  But having worked in a business setting for a number of years, I really believe the success or failure of a business starts from the top and rewarding an executive for poor performance of a company is totally insane and ridiculous! How these people in good conscience could even accept bonuses when the lower level people of the company are dealing with wage freezes or getting laid off is just unimaginable!

I think there should be some type of law which states that any company which accepts company bailout money cannot give out bonuses until the money is paid back to the government.  There needs to be some accountability as to how they bailout money is spent. Until then, some of these companies will continue to use taxpayer money to reward the undeserving.

The marvelous month of March

We all have our favorite months of the year.  For many folks including myself, the summer months of June, July and August stand out.  Other people love the fall season and months with the cooler temps and loads of color.  As strange as it seems, I have another month which I really look forward too, March.

Having lived in Minnesota all of my life, the month of March is kind of like the end of a long hard journey.  The winters around here can be very brutal and when March 1st rolls around, I know that those cold bone chilling days are becoming far and few between.  Any cold snap that we may get is usually short lived. Believe it or not, March is one of our snowiest months but compared to December or January, the snow melts very quickly after a big storm so the storms do not seem as bad.  Those first really nice mild days, which typical occur in March, really boosts  my moral when I can finally get reacquainted with the outdoors.  And of course with the change to daylight savings time,  that extra hour of daylight in the evening is really great!

Being a sports fan, the month of March is like heaven to me.  March means tournament time and after having to endure several months of meaningless games, it is wonderful to watch games that really matter with everything on the line. I feel the NCCA men’s basketball tournament is the best sporting event of the year and I always look forward to it.  You just cannot beat the suspense of those games.  And of course, let’s not forget those high school tournament games which I always find very entertaining.  Sitting in a packed gym or rink and watching two high school teams battle is well worth the price of admission. And last but not least, the major league baseball season is just around the corner and that is always popular with people in this area.

Finally, anyone who is an avid golfer like myself, is just counting the days until we can get out and hit a few.  The season is just around the corner and my clubs are getting a bit lonely from having to sit in my closet for the past 5 months.  Life will soon be good again!

Rush Limbaugh vs. The Democrats

For the past several weeks,  it has been hard to ignore the ongoing feud between Rush Limbaugh and the Democrats, especially President Obama.  It all started when Limbaugh allegedly made a comment during an interview that he hopes Obama fails as a president.  The true of the matter is that he said, he hopes Obama’s POLICIES FAIL. He also stated that he would support Obama if he adopted a more conservative, Reagan type of government.  Of course we know what the odds of Obama actually doing that are!  I saw the interview and it is very clear what he said. Unfortunately, several liberal members of the media and the Democrats blew the whole thing out of proportion to make it sound like he actually wanted the country to fail.  Let me get this straight but didn’t several Democratic members of Congress state publicly just a few years ago that they wanted the troop surge to fail. Where was the outrage then?

I have to laugh when Democratic leaders label Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican party.  That is like saying Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann along with some of those other clowns at MSNBC are the head of the Democratic party.  Limbaugh is nothing more than a shock rock radio commentator who has never run for public office.  There are several of these radio personalities around the country and to take them on is just a waste of time and effort. The more attention the political parties give these personalities, the more people will tune into their show and that is just what good old Rush wants.

Yes, I do listen to Rush on occasion when my work schedule allows for it and I find him very entertaining and knowledgeable.  He is not just another radio guy who just blows a lot of hot air.  When I listen to him, I feel like I am a student sitting in his classroom.  Sure I do not necessarily agree with everything he says but I admire him for calling out the President and members of Congress for some of their phony policies. These people need to be held accountable and sometimes the media gives these guys a free pass especially with regards to the President.

With 2.5 million job losses in the past 4 months along with a 20 percent drop in the stock market since the Obama took office, maybe the Democratic party should spend more time worrying about the people of America instead of some fat guy who sits behind a microphone for 3 hours a day.