What I've Been Thinking About...
I can't believe I am saying this but baseball actually caught my attention this week. As one Yankee slugger (Aaron Judge) passes another (Roger Maris), talk of who the real single season home run king has made its rounds on social media. Is it the juiced up players of the 90's or the non-juiced players? This is, of course, assuming those who never tested positive for a banned substance would never take anything to enhance performance. Wink wink ;)
Because of this story, I was reminded of an interesting book I read back in the day titled Cooperstown Confidential by Zev Chafets. In it, he brought up baseballs checkered past and details some of the shady conduct associated with the league. Eventually, he shares that Major League Baseball has a clause that reads: The Hall of Fame asks voters to decide based on a player's record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and team contributions. This is referred to as the character clause and is often cited as the reason for keeping legendary players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (known steroid users) out of the Hall of Fame. If character is cited as the reason for keeping some players out of the Hall, that is fine with me but lets take a look at some of the current Hall of Famers...
Assault somebody so bad they may have died (Ty Cobb), no problem. Members of the Ku Klux Klan (Tris Speaker and others), come on in! Doctor the baseball (Gaylord Perry) to ensure success, aka cheating, fine by me! Dabble with some cocaine (Paul Molitor) or smuggle some drugs (Orlando Cepeda) no problem there. Decades of Amphetamine use in every teams locker room, we will keep the door open for you. Take some performance enhancers or bet on a few games, NEVER! Am I being cyncical or is there some hypocrisy here?
Fitness Tip of the Week
Mike Mentzer, a legendary figure in the bodybuilding community, once said that "Anything you can do to make your training harder is a step in the right direction". Sounds like some solid advice. If you aren't getting results or making progress, it may be time to look at the intensity levels at which you are training. The body will not respond to ordinary behaviors. If there is no change in the stimulus (effort/energy exerted) then there will be no change in the response or adaptation (how you look, feel or improve).
So here is what I propose...
Pick one thing for the month of October to improve upon. Work hard at this one thing and make it your top priority. It could be sleeping more, lifting heavier weights, doing more cardiovascular work, eating better, or anything else you can come up with. Track your progress each day and see what helps and what does not. Continue this procress for the entire month.
For me, I am trying to accomplish a feat and I am counting how many workouts it takes for me to do so. The goal at the moment is to reach it in 10 workouts or less. If I am able to accomplish that, the next time I try it, I will try to do it in 9 workouts or less. This idea is something I revisit a few times a year and providing this type of challenge makes training a little more interesting!
Brain Disease and Diabetes: What is the Link?
Often times I feel like I forget more things than I remember (I hope this is not a sign of what I plan on writing about) and this topic is one of them. Around a decade ago I began realizing the effect that food has on our overall well-being after reading a book titled Grain Brain by David Perlmutter. This book outlines how sugar, carbs, and wheat can wreak havoc on your brain function. Fast forward to earlier this week and I heard another best-selling author, Max Lugavere, state that 80% of people with Alzeimer's disease have insulin resistance and it has become so prevalent that in some instances, Alzheimer's is refferred to as Type 3 Diabetes. This led me to conclude that if insulin resistance is the driving force behind most cases of Alzheimer's, then I should start thinking about avoiding foods that may lead to me becoming insulin resistant.
I understand that brain disease is multifactorial but one of the biggest modifiable things under your control is what you put in your mouth. If I can hedge my bets a little and choose to eat a little more "brain healthy", I can (hopefully) stave off some brain deterioration. Finger crossed!
What I've Been Reading...
Why, as a Muslim, I Defend Liberty by Mustafa Akyol
This book will be my third and final in the attempt (for now) to understand some of the more recent wars America has embarked on. How the Weak Win Wars discussed how smaller countries can use strategic maneuvering to succeed against a larger foe. Then, the Afghanistan Papers discussed the 20+ year conflict that occurred in that country and the messiness associated with it. This final book was chosen to try and understand the mindset of those who have been on the other end of the conflict. This book was released in 2021 after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan. The author, who is Muslim, acknowledges that human freedoms are being violated in the name of religious tradition.
While reading this book I was reminded of a story Malcom X shared in his autobiography. As Malcolm wrote, "I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug - while praying to the same God - with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white...We were truly all the same (brothers)". Malcolm X found a moment of clarity with his beliefs and realized judgment shouldn't be based upon what someone looks like, where they are from or even what they believe. Akyol agrees and warns his fellow Muslims that what they are doing now is not being true to their religious principles.
I finished this book a few days ago and it opened my eyes to the importance of freedom of thought that I recorded a podcast on the matter. You can find that episode here: Malicious Reflections
Quote of the Week
"Hypocrisy is a tribute that vice pays to virtue" -- Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld
I hope you all have an awesome week!