Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Interesting Thoughts

Mutually Beneficial Relationships

Revolution is not making everyone adopt one position, but the creation of symbiotic relationships between different unique individuals.

We have been held back for decades now by the competition and conversion tactics of various left wing factions who could not understand this. Each one felt that in order for change to take place, the rest of humanity had to be convinced that their particular way of thinking and doing things was the right way; but in a society in which conflict is institutionalized as the system of relations, revolution would simply be the discovery of ways for different individuals and groups to coexist and cooperate. Not everyone has the same needs, or perspectives, or methods, and that is a beautiful thing. We need to stop working on “converting” others, and start finding ways to work with them, while trusting them to know what is best for themselves. A world of intellectual anarchists (or practical syndicalists, or commune-dwelling primitivists. . .) would be no more desirable than it is possible.

This means no more bickering over tactics. Every experiment must be worth a try. Find tactics that work for you, that give you joy and express your character in all its varied and conflicting facets, and find ways to make your efforts complement those of others. There is room for the young woman whose heart sings at the shattering of plate glass, for the stern grandfather who pays his dues in the steelworkers’ union, for everyone in this resistance, or else it is not revolutionary after all, just more authoritarian ideology-peddling.

Once people from the various cliques and ghettos of our society are integrated into such complementary relationships, the unnecessary conflicts created by the tensions between individuals subscribing to different brands of “identity” will begin to dissolve.


Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Freakin Tuesday or Monday?

Nothing like a three day weekend to make you realize work is a four letter word!

Went to a workshop for teens and their allies this weekend. Stayed up too late, but had a blast. It was great hanging out with my 15 year old son. We went rock climbing on Sunday. The best part of the whole weekend was this thing called "the chimney". You climb for about 8 feet, then its just slick wall after that and you have to prop yourself up and slide slowly up. I watched my son take this on with some serious speed. Then I tried it. So my best part is when I was getting tired toward the top and my son had climbed up another wall and was looking down from the top of the chimney. He put his hand down to help me up. Very sweet.

There was lots of cool things. I just gotta figure out resting now so I can lift tomorrow!

Amor y Rebeldia!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Long Thursdays!

Friday workouts have sucked! Mainly because I've had long Thursdays. Not the long day like in a boring day, but like 8am to 10pm or midnight long. Hopefully that's over for awhile.

Overall things are going alright. Its always stressful at the end of the school year. One, because of all the end of school year stuff. Two, because there's always this tension around the house as to how much chores are fair - it's more complicated because my wife is off too so we get into all kinds of fun discussions, ok arguments about those kinds of things.

Finished a 7 week legs program. Now that I'm cleared to lift fully. I'll check for max lifts next week and then the following week start a full body workout for about 12 weeks!

Have a great weekend!

I'll be away from computers until Tuesday.

Love and Rebellion!

Thursday, May 26, 2005



I'm gonna be asked to talk on the radio, KUNM.org, about health issues. So if you have anything about this blog you'd like to mention please post it in the comments. I know one person has not been able to access the comments section. I don't know why, but give it a shot!

Thank you if you're a regular, and if not, thanks for checking it out today. The interviewer, a good friend was going to post a question, but I don't see it I'm hoping its not because she can't access the comments either.

By the way the comments section is at the bottom of each posting. Click the link and go from there.


Eating Tip for the Week - and Rant =)

A few years ago, I quit drinking soda, all soda. I ended up losing about 15 pounds with no exercise involved. The average US person drinks around a 1,000 calories of soda per week. That's about 2 and a half pounds. (3,500 calories gives you a pound)

It's that simple. Stop drinking soda! I'll try again too.

I ended up even doing a couple of presentations on soda and food as liberation. Funny, now that I've started drinking sodas again I got fatter, hmm.... I have cut back, and since I don't drink coffee and smoke, I know when I'm tired. But overall its a good thing to let go of.

I've gotten very passionate emails about all kinds of health related subjects. Actually what we put into our bodies is a form of direct action, a form of self-determination. Even bodybuilding, or just exercising is a form self-determination. We are taking control of our bodies and being accountable to ourselves. Our movements need healthy warriors.

Eating healthy is a way to thumb your nose at corporations who get rich off of us. Even worse, they get rich off of us getting sick! They spend millions on getting us to buy their products. What if they put that money into paying workers better instead?

Why is it that some of the tobacco companies also own different brands of "the patch"? So they get your money when you're hooked, and they get your money when you try to get clean! One corporation makes money off of you getting obese or diabetic off of their sugar product, and another gets money from you taking diet pills, or your blood testing equipment.

Think about it, alcohol companies get money from us buying their product, which contributes to liver problems, obesity, diabetes, child abuse, domestic violence, loss of work, accidents, fatal accidents, suicide, murder, etc. AND THEN, our community non-profits turn around and get sponsorship from these people!

So I'll recap, we buy their product so we pay once. Then there are the impacts of the product, so we pay twice. Then we get sponsorship from them which gets them free advertising in our communities, you decide if that counts as payment. And then they write it off as a tax-deductible "donation," who pays taxes, us! So we pay at least three times every time we get sponsorship from some corporation.

I don't know if that's worse than regular wage-slavery but its pushing it.

Now I'm not perfect on any of these topics, but I'm getting better. And one thing I've learned is that you often think ahead of what you practice. Some people forget that and get self-righteous, but that's usually not productive.

So reclaim your power and sovereignty over your body! It is your temple, it is with you always! Appreciate what its been through - if you're like me its been abuse more than once!

Amor, Rebeldia y Auto-Determinacion!

Corporations and Diabetes

The American Diabetic Association (ADA) is suddenly countering decades of scientific studies that have consistently linked diets high in sugar to diabetes. In a May 16 interview, Richard Kahn, the chief scientific and medical officer with the ADA said "What is the evidence that sugar itself has anything to do with diabetes? There is no evidence." Coincidentally, last month, the ADA announced a "three-year, multi-million dollar alliance" with Cadbury Schweppes, which is the third largest producer of soft drinks in the world.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Cool Quote

"...once the habit of deferring to politicians or ideologues is lost, and that of resistance to domination and exploitation acquired, then ordinary people have the capacity to organise every aspect of their lives in their own interests, anywhere and at any time, both freely and fairly."



There's always struggles going on. Had a great lunch with a good friend at Souper Salad.

got to talk a lot. And we got to talk about how we don't talk about our health issues. Definitely something we need to get better at.

Thanks for visiting, keep coming back and let me know what is helpful to you!

Eat your Breakfast!

I know many people who skip breakfast. Some do so to lose weight. Our bodies naturally respond to this practice by absorbing all the fat possible out of the next meal. Our bodies think they may be in a starvation situation so they hoard as much of the fat as possible during the next meal.

From RealAge.com
Breakfast eaters consume fewer calories throughout the day and have better blood lipid profiles and insulin sensitivity than breakfast skippers, a recent study concludes. Low-fat yogurt with fruit, granola with skim milk, or whole-grain toast with peanut butter are all great choices to start your day.

There has been some research that says eggs actually help lower appetite during the rest of the day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Every once in awhile I get sore. Many people don't want to lift weights because of the soreness. Its good not to seek out pain - that's a dysfunction we can avoid!

If you lift regularly and add weight or increase your volume of lifting slowly, you shouldn't be sore for more than a couple of weeks. Maybe even just one.

I'm a little tired, but its more from all of the end of school year stuff than from working out. I'll be out this weekend for a 3 day weekend away from the computer so hopefully I'll have lots of good thoughts to share.

Amor y Rebeldia!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Figuring Out Loading

Well, I'm still at 174.4, I was hoping to be under 174 by now, but its still progress. My waist is at 39 3/8 still also.

Next week I'll only be lifting on Wednesday and Friday. I'll be figuring how much weight to load based on figuring out my maxs. What I'll do is calculate a 1 Repetition Maximum (1RM) and then I'll calculate 75% of that to use as my starting weights. I'll go through most of my exercises and see what happens.

Usually people are told to use their 10 rep max, but I found a more flexible chart:

Reps - Multiplier for 1RM Calculation
6 - 1.21
7 - 1.24
8 - 1.27
9 - 1.30
10 - 1.33
11 - 1.36
12 - 1.39

70-85% of 1RM is what I've read is good for "hypertrophy" (building muscle), 85-100% for strength. I'll test again at the end of summer!

Have a great day, gotta go work for a living!

Friday, May 20, 2005

May Day Benefit Review

Review of May Day Concert by Samir!

Brazilian Town Declares Orgasm Day

Orgasm Day

Interesting because I think sexual health is part of the whole package. Maybe if more people had them some things would be better. What's tricky is the stereotype of grouchy people as not having them, or sex in general.

Had a friend who thought it would be interesting to try and have a whole section of the globe try and have one at the same time.

Well, the day was last Monday, so if you missed it, go ahead and get yourself an extra one for the weekend!

Health On the Mind

Lots of people have emailed me about health stuff. It's been cool. When I was at the docs office the PA or RN asked me if I had the surgery for carpal tunnel. I told her that I was refusing to go that way - that I was taking care of it and healing it.

She was a little shocked but thought she was getting carpal tunnel so asked me to say more. I told her about sleeping with the brace on, going to the chiropractor, doing the wrist exercises, and getting some acupuncture going.

She seemed happy to know that was helping.

Another good friend told me about being told "you're borderline diabetic." Man, that's the one thing about starting down this path. You hear all the stuff we normally don't talk about. This friend is gonna have a healthy potluck and take recipes so she can copy and distribute them. Think this is cool.

I think I'll see if people want to meet at a park in June and just talk about health and maybe connect to people for support.

Again, just some amazing emails about trying to figure out health and also about being small and how people think you are healthy just cause you're not big. And also how people forget that some big people are fairly healthy.

Ate a lot yesterday. Paid for it, my stomach was hurting around 2am. Made my workout tuff. It was like going to work. You show up and hope you get something done. Gotta get the cooler going today. Supposed to be 92!

Gonna eat lite today. Daughter's bday party is tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Went to the doc's today. Got the OK for weightlifting. He looked a little surprised when I told him I was still lifting, just with leg exercises. But he said everything looked good! I'm one happy Chicano!

My Triglycerides went from 162 to 138, Cholesterol from 218 to 182, and my LDL went from 142 to 117 (goal is to get it below 100). My good HDL actually went down too! He said exercise and green leafy veggies would bring it up. Obviously its the veggies. Goal will be to bring that up above 40 for the next test.

He did the screenings for other stuff like glucose and different overall things and I'm doing well.

Feeling good. There's an interesting discussion going on about the Chican@ Movement on a couple of the Raza Unida lists. May write about that at sometime. Finished reading War of the Flea. Very thought provoking - I got it through AKPRESS. Someone trying to keep things non-violent would also find lots to think about in this book.

Hope you are all doing well, will write more tomorrow. Had a couple of GREAT emails about health and the blog.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Workout Update and Thoughts

Working out this morning was not fun. Slept funny and my neck was tight. That's OK when you're working legs, but this was my shoulder/back/chest workout.

Did well anyway, I think. Increased a little weight. In two weeks I'll do the testing for max weight and set my weights for my summer workout. This will make the workouts a lot harder! I'll also learn about doing pictures on this site. Hopefully I'll get to somewhere inspiring.

The last couple of weeks have brought me some compliments. From some women friends, and a couple of homies. Even one of my sisters. The best though is when my kids say something. Because they have definitely been open to telling me I'm fat! My wife has noticed too. She doesn't like the idea of her lifting weights, but she's been supportive overall. And since my sister is lifting and losing weight, my wife is definitely thinking about doing something to improve her health as well.

Found out one of my activist friends is going to the cancer center. Don't know any more details than that. Its a bummer. Just gotta remember that modeling a healthy activist lifestyle and hanging in where people have a hard time is important. Even if everyone doesn't make it.

A friend posted her first workout. She's on the links on the left. Very inspiring. Hope she keeps it up!

Hydration and Beans

Read my friend Kim's blog about her workout. She's going at it! Hope she keeps it up.

Turned on the tube this morning and on FOX, yes Fox news, they were talking about how water was better than sports drinks! Let's see no sugar, no salt, and should be much cheaper - duh! But those commercials are so damn good. By the way, taking a container of water and adding a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar should take care of your needs.

Here's a recipe for a homemade hydration drink.

Another tip from realage.com
Eating beans at least twice per week may reduce the risk of breast cancer, a new study of women reveals. The fiber, flavonols, and other beneficial phytochemicals in beans may explain their cancer-fighting powers. Good choices include black or red beans, garbanzo beans, and soybeans.

Chicanas and Chicanos should have it made on this one. Unless we've left our traditional diet too far behind! (no pun, well maybe a little pun intended)

Beans are a good protein source too. If you're trying to keep your protein levels high, but don't want to eat too much meat its a good way to go. Including corn, or corn tortillas seems to help make more protein.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Chicano Healthy Eating Tip #2

I'll have to keep track of these. Last week I talked about using small plates and ordering from the children's menu.

This week may be just as hard for some people. Dump the white flour tortillas!

Yes, and I haven't totally lost my mind. The white flour has been bleached, drained of its nutritional value, so besides holding your taco together (when I was growing up anything in a tortilla was a taco) the main job of that tortilla is to stick to your intestines!

If you can make the adjustment use corn tortillas. Corn and beans combined make a good protein. If you can't do that try the wheat tortillas. The trick is to look at the ingredients to see that you're getting "whole wheat". Some taste better than others so you'll have to do some testing. There's also spinach tortillas, if you can get yourself to eat green tortillas go for it! I have to be in a really good mood to handle the green ones.

The same actually goes for bread. I know the word "wonder" equals bread in many peoples vocabularies, but the whole wheat won't be trapped along the sides of your intestines as long and actually help you keep your colon clear! You don't want your colon jammed full of white bread do you?

Take health into your own hands!

A Dumbbell Workout Example

Earlier I posted how I would start with dumbbells if I started over. Here's another example of a dumbbell workout.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Chronic Pain

More than one of us has some chronic pain.

As far as lifting and the pain. Its not like "walking it off"! Pay attention to the pain. A lot of joint/tendon pain is aggravated by our fat. No pretty way to deal with that.

Let's just say you're pain is in the arms and back. Try building your leg muscles through weight training. Larger muscles burn more fat, as long as you don't increase your calorie intake because of the weight training. It may reduce the aggravation to the rest of your body. Leg extensions, leg curls, and calf raises should help there. You can do this with just dumbbells if that's all you can get right away.

Hopefully you'll only be sore for a couple of weeks. Keep moderate and increase slowly. Start light, let the joints get ready. You can add the smallest increment of weight as you go for two weeks, then drop back to the first week's weight. Increase to week two's weight for the start of the second month, then repeat the process.

You could also start a program like the one for injuries posted earlier, but instead of starting with one pound, you can start with no weight! If it aggravates you to do it with no weight, even one pound won't help. If it does cause more pain - stop! You can wait as long as you need to try again.

An article that might help here

*Remember these are my thoughts, and you need to take charge of yourself and your health. Asking your doc before trying to get back in shape is smart!

Week 22!

Orale, this might become a habit. Asked my kids what they thought about me trying to be a buff Chicano. My son thinks its cool - especially if I help him gain a little muscle too. My daughter had a different reaction. She was like, "Dad, if you get buff I'll never have boyfriends! The guys around here are already scared of you!"

I don't know exactly why I'm scary, but it might save on purchasing fire-arms!

Spent the weekend with really cool people talking about parenting. Deciding to feel good about my decision to be more of a parent during the rest of my children's' homelife. I figure it may be 4-5 years before they are out of the house, but by then I should be ready to get more active with communal liberation.

I've given other parents a hard time about using their kids as an excuse not to be involved. Hopefully never too strongly. But there are people who do that. To me they are the reason to be involved. I'll still be doing stuff, just not leading and initiating much - unless its directly youth or health oriented.

Working out SUCKED this morning. Got up late and didn't feel it. Did good on beating my personal records though. One more week of this routine and then on the week of May 30th I'll test for what's called 10 rep max - actually 6-12 rep maxs. Then I'll pick the poundages for my summer routine.

I was stressing that I was gonna have to get up at 5 am to workout because I'll be doing 3 15 minute EDT PR Zones instead of two. But since I'm not waking anyone up for school, I'll have more time in the morning. Then when school starts it will be a little tight until the end of August, or I'll just get up earlier, and then I'll start a new routine in September.

Funny thing at the workshop was having someone try and get me to reconsider lifting weights as my form of physical development. They were trying to get me to do yoga. I think yoga is cool. But not what I want right now. Though I do stretch on non-weight lifting days.

Keep Pumping!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Long Days

Going to record tonight. Makes for long days. Long days mean little rest. It's like working and going to meetings. Gotta figure out smart ways to do this.

Anyone figured it out?

Random Thoughts

Had my blood drawn for cholestoral and all of that today. See how what the results say next week. Have a doc appointment on the 19th, one of my sister's bdays. Hopefully I'll get the green light to do upper body work. ('cause if necessary it wouldn't be the first time I ran a red light!)

Still trying to think about how activists are self-abusive. Work too hard, party too hard, don't rest, stay stressed, eat crappy food because its convenient, and all of that good stuff.

Have heard great compliments on my children's band - Mezcla Experience - there's even been a good write up about them on the net! Trying to really take in that I've been a good influence in helping them get a band together with my nephew. They are also starting to lift weights. My sister is planning to use my garage gym also. Its very cool. Even one of my daughter's friends is starting to lift.

Lifting tomorrow, I really look forward to workouts, how cool is that!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Measuring Progress

One of the things that discourages people is feeling like there is no progress.

If you walk or do aerobics, being able to longer is a measure. If you are lifting weights, which you should be for long-term body change, you can measure lots of ways.

You can take before and after pictures! How horrifying to me and, I've found out, others. You can lie to yourself in the mirror (both negatively and positively), but pictures will show you real changes. What to wear? That's up to you. From speedo/bikini to regular clothes. Depends on how much you want to record of your body change.

Tape measure yourself. Get a friend to help with arms, shoulders, upper body. This will tell you if you're losing inches or gaining them - depending on your goal at the time. Try to do them at the same time of the day and in the same way to keep you accurate.

If you're lifting weights you can measure your strength increases, which at the beginning are very motivating. As you progress they slow down, but are still measurable.

Of course, the scale is another way to measure, but if you're losing weight, you also lose some muscle - and muscle burns fat! If you're gaining because of weight training, it may not tell you how much fat you are also gaining. Not the best, but not totally useless. I'm still trying to get down to 165 just for the benefit of my joints.

If you can get your bodyfat measured that will be helpful to because you may still weigh the same, or even look a little bit the same, but if you know you're losing fat and gaining muscle, that's progress!!!

Hope that helps!


I increased my weight on the cable abductor/adductor workout for Weds. last week. It ended up hurting my back. Since my chiropractor said it would be ok to start bench pressing, as long as I wasn't doing any wrist twisting, I figured it was time to start working my back again.

My back is a weak area. I had a cyst on my left shoulder for a long time, got a new doctor and got it taken out, it wasn't cancer. But I think the cyst and the extra weight have taken a toll on my back. I also play bass and acordeon.

I did a light workout today. Side raises, and pulldowns for the first part, and cable rows and dumbbell bench pressing for the second. My shoulder felt weird, I'll let you know if that is chronic or just getting used to motion again. My mid back also feels a little funky. Will keep an eye on that for injuries.

Chicano Eating
Found stuff on Mexican food. Will be sharing when I get the chance to look through it. I'll also tell you if I've tried the recipes or not.

Walking and Colon Cancer

From RealAge.com :
Colon cancer is among the most common forms of cancer in many developed countries. But research shows that people who cycle or walk to work have significantly lower rates of colon cancer. If you can't find an active way to commute to work, lace up your walking shoes for a brisk stroll at lunch.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

More on the Ahuacatl

Quick lesson, the word Avocado comes from the word Aguacate, which comes from the indigenous word Ahuacatl.

Here's a quote from a website called "World's Healthiest Foods"

Enjoying a few slices of avocado in your tossed salad, or mixing some chopped avocado into your favorite salsa will not only add a rich, creamy flavor, but will greatly increase your body's ability to absorb the health-promoting carotenoids that vegetables provide.

A study published in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition tested the hypothesis that since carotenoids are lipophilic (literally, fat-loving, which means they are soluble in fat, not water), consuming carotenoid-rich foods along with monounsaturated-fat-rich avocado might enhance their bioavailability.

Not only did adding avocado to a salad of carrot, lettuce and baby spinach or to salsa greatly increase study participants' absorption of carotenoids from these foods, but the improvement in carotenoid availability occurred even when a very small amount—as little as 2 ounces—of avocado was added.

Adding avocado to salad increased absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein 7.2, 15.3, and 5.1 times higher, respectively, than the average amount of these carotenoids absorbed when avocado-free salad was eaten.

Adding avocado to salsa increased lycopene and beta-caroetne absorption 4.4 and 2.6 times higher, respectively, than the average amount of these nutrients absorbed from avocado-free salsa. Since avocados contain a large variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, eating a little avocado along with carotenoid-rich vegetables and fruits is an excellent way to improve your body's ability to absorb carotenoids while also receiving other nutritional—and taste—benefits.

World's Healthiest Foods

Mas Comida!

Got an email from someone who wasn't able to post in the comments section.

She said she eats Guacamole EVERY DAY! 1-2 aguacates every day since September and that it helps with other foods she doesn't like, like green veggies. She eats it also with rice cakes. Sounds like a good strategy!

We eat aguacates with our salads. It adds flavor. I don't use dressing though, I use lemon. Keeps the calories down, and I like that flavor better, otherwise I wouldn't eat salads much.

Avocados have the good kind of fat. You'll also get some fiber, protien and carbs. For 100 grams of avocado you'll get: calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitimin C, vitamin A and more. Read more at http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/nutrientfull.php?id=9037

Native Articles

As a Chicano I see myself as indigenous. I may have minimal contact with any rancheria (reservation), but I have ZERO contact with anyone or anything from Spain.

So here's a couple of articles that I thought were good. The first one is on indigenous diet, and the second is on breast cancer.

Traditional Nutrition Heals

Fighting Breast Cancer


OK, I've gotten more than one request for walking. I think walking is good. I don't do enough now that we have two vehicles. I used to walk to work and to meetings every day, now it is uncommon.

If I were gonna use walking for health I use a stop watch, and a workout principle called progressive resistance.

Stop Watch? Yuppers. Here's what I'd do if I was walking (and I got this idea from reading - Charles Staley again I think):
Pick a distance, we'll use 1 mile as an example.
I would walk 1/2 mile and see how much time that took. I would work toward walking the other 1/2 mile in the same amount of time. If it took me longer to walk the second half, I probably picked too long a walk.

If you don't have a measurement just use time. It takes X minutes to get to here, it should take me the same amount of time to get back.

You could use blocks if you're walking your neighborhood, but time would be a rougher guess based on the amount of traffic, if you see a neighbor you talk to, etc.

What the heck is Progressive Resistance?
Progressive resistance, I think you can also call it periodization, is the idea that our bodies adapt and so what was a hard workout today may not be challenging in the future. So we continue to make it harder on purpose. Lots of guys do this in weights by increasing the weight - some times too fast and getting hurt. We can do this slower and get long term success.

How? In walking you could do it two ways. One would be to walk further. Once you get to where you're walking out and back at the same speed and its a little easy, add some distance. A 1/4 mile, another block, another 2 minutes, whatever works for YOU. The other would be to walk faster. If you are walking 3 miles in 45 minutes (guessing) try doing it in 44, then 43, and so on.

You can increase super gradually, like once a month, or a little faster, like once a week. Or every single session! If you increase on every session you can try increasing twice, then going down once. This will help you maintain your increase and ensure that you recuperate sufficiently.

Hope that helps!

Remember that taking care of ourselves is step one of real Self-Determination! You're worth it!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day in the US. In México it is the 10th of May - always.

So here's an short thing on the history of Mother's Day.

The best thing we can do for Moms is to value them, and value the life they bring into the world. Even if you're mom has passed on, value yourself because that's the life she brought to this world and you, and she, are worth it!

Chicano Healthy Eating Tip #1

How to eat comida Chicana and eat healthy has been the most consistent request. Food is such an important thing to people it kinda makes sense.

Also we don't realize how much of our food is over processed. That to me is the key of knowing how healthy what you're eating is. How far is it away from its natural state? That answer will help. The other is portion sizes. Which leads to tip # 1.

Use the small plates to serve yourself food. This may take awhile to get used to, but restaurant portions have grown in the US - at least as fast as my waist! =)

When you eat using the small plates its harder to over eat - not impossible, just harder. When you finish the plate, you have time to decide if you feel hungry. Many of us have been conditioned to finish our whole plate and if you're like me you often don't realize you're full until you're stuffed.

In restaurants it may mean asking for the kids plate. I've done it, and in a Mexican restaurant people look at you weird! The other option in a restaurant is to order a la carte and sides to make your own plate. I'll often get 2-3 tacos, a side of beans, a side of rice, a jalapeño, and water.

Feel free to try it, and let me know if it works for you as well as it does for me!

Amor, Rebeldia, y Auto-Determinacion!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Dumbbell Workouts

How to start? If I was starting over I would start with dumbbells. I think the best kind are the ones where you can change the weight. They usually come with 2.5 and 5lb weights which lets you work with 5 and 10lbs to start with. Some used sporting goods places carry 1 1/4 lb weights which are good because then you can increase by 2.5lb increments instead of 5lb. There's a reduced chance of injury in increasing weight slower and you can sustain your progress longer.

It takes about 6-12 weeks for your joints to get accustomed to weight training. Your muscles start adapting right away, a lot of people hurt their joints by increasing weight too quickly. (Been there, done that!) Take it slow. You're worth it.

So start your exercises with 2.5 or 5lbs. There are lots of different ways to workout. You can do 3 sets of 10 which is kind of a standard, and useful if you're starting light. You can do 5 sets of 5, and lots of other combinations. (for those who want to lift heavy right away, think about this. If you increase by 2.5 lbs every week for a whole year you'll have increased an exercise by 130lbs!)

I've read some articles that say that 20-24 sets are most since more than that and you start to lose benefit. If you're starting light you can do a full body workout every other day, 3 times a week. Most people go Monday, Weds., Friday. But you can adjust to your schedule. 3 sets of 10 will allow you 7 to 8 exercises. As you go heavier there are good reasons to go to sets of 5, but we'll get into that more later.

So here's 8 exercises you can do with dumbbells - you can see how they are done at Bodybuilding.com. I suggest working out the opposite muscle groups together one exercise after the other because this helps by keeping the joints warmed up and working opposite muscles help ensure that you are balancing your strength gains.

dumbbell Workout:
Bicep Curls and Tricep Extensions;
Bench Press* and Dumbbell Rows;
Lunges and Rear Lunges;
Calf Raises and External Rotation**.

*you can bench on the floor if you don't have a weightlifting bench.
**this is good to prevent rotator cuff injuries when you start benching heavier!

Finishing Week 20!

I'm assuming that in June I'll begin full body workouts again so I've been thinking of a routine. And I've been thinking of starting routines for people who have asked me questions about working out.

Here's my overall routine for now. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I do weights. Right now 30 minutes, and for the summer 45 minutes. Then Tuesday and Thursday I'm supposed to do light cardio and stretching. But because of gigs, rehearsals and some organizing stuff, I've been resting by sleeping in a little longer on those days. But I can tell the difference in that my weight has stopped declining. I've hit what I'm gonna get out of this routine without the aerobics.

People want me to walk with them, but I can get as many calories burned off in 20 minutes of good cardio as I can in an hour of walking. And as someone with kids, I have to take the efficient route. Actually health as a lifestyle makes more sense thank thinking about it as an extra thing I'm trying to add. I figure if I can live to be an active 80 year old, that will help my activism, music, and familia more than if I'm a burned out diabetic when I'm 50.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

A fat loss article-link

Muscle is metabolically active tissue, thus allowing you to burn more calories at rest. This article talks about measurement and meals. It also talks about lifting weights and managing cardio exercise.

It's got some other interesting stuff.

Today's my Bro Shawn's bday!!!

More on feedback

In asking for feedback, I've been getting good and interesting responses.

Something of interest is that 67 million birds die in the US every year because of pesticides! And those pesticides are used mostly on the food we buy at our grocers.

Food is a big deal. Many of us use food for comfort and as part of identity. But it is definately important to think about. The amount of processed food is harmful.

In the US we're overfed calorie-wise but malnourished nutrient-wise. This is a big issue. It impacts our children and our longevity.

Another big issue is the activist lifestyle. Saving the world by day and drinking and smoking all night is not likely a good formula for success.

With that in mind, weightlifting, activist lifestyle, healthy Chicano food will be the main foci of the site. Other things will be included as well. But its obvious that I can't and this can't be all things to all people. But most of the feedback is positive and thought provoking.


Workout Update

Have been doing this program called EDT (see earlier post). I think I started too light. But at least with too light you can go up. It's less helpful to go down.

Since I'm only doing legs, I do a 3 way split. Weds. is my abductor/adductor day. I was doing 15lbs and went up to 20 because 15 seemed too light. Man, did I find a challenging weight.

I start with sets of 5 then as I get more tired I go to sets of 4 and down. I really haven't gotten to where I HAD to go down before, I usually do so I can increase my reps the following week. But yesterday, I definately had to.

Tomorrow, Friday, I'll be doing glutes, quads and hams. See how that goes!

Why Weightlifting?

Basically, I've tried dieting and aerobics - and just kept getting heavier. Then a co-worker loaned me a book that talked about muscle loss as we get older.

So I figure if muscle burns fat 24/7 why not! Walking a lot helps to burn off calories, but as far as I know doesn't add to muscle mass - maybe it slows it down some.

I'm guessing that I have from 20-40 lbs of fat on me. My doc doesn't do the body fat testing so I'll have to go somewhere else to be sure. But I figure even with muscle gain, I should be able to go from 177 yesterday to 165 by July 1. I'll let you know.

Also, I've asked for some feedback from people on what would make this blog useful for them. What I've gotten so far two women and two men have responded. The men both talk about walking. One says we should start, the other one has already started. Think I'll connect them. The mujeres wanted stuff around being able to eat Chicano food in a healthy way, and to talk about how the activist lifestyle can be healthier (because it usually isn't!).

I'll get to those topics more later!

Amor y Rebeldia!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Liberation Lifters?

Heard the Governator talking about "close the borders" and supporting the Minutemen. Funny how an immigrant can get that way - usually they want borders closed AFTER they get in. But it just shows how bad California is in picking ex-movie star Governors. The other one, you 'member "Bonzo goes to Washington" - called Cesar Chavez a communist and attacked the Black Panthers for protecting their communities from government intervention (ie police brutality and neglect).

Anyway, too bad that he's the main official spokesperson of mainstream bodybuilding. Maybe progressives and radicals should begin "Liberation lifters Clubs."

Think of all of the contradictions to the crap we're led to believe. For example, there are vegetarian bodybuilders; women should be strong!; it really is very difficult to look "freaky" (usually steroids and complete commitment to the gym); less fat means more energy!; children can get strong too; and it only takes a change of diet and about 3 hours a week!

Think, if liberation activists focused more and were healthier how much more could get done. It looks like the fascist right in this country is fairly united and focused. They have an agenda and people focus on an area. The progressive side looks like it gets spread too thin trying to take on everything. Also, there is lots of infighting.

Bodybuilding doesn't have to be about being huge, just getting stronger and healthier enough so that we can go through regular days with energy to spare, and can deal with tough days easier. Whenever you think a muscle is getting too big, stop increasing that workout and shift to maintaining it.

Just think of a bunch of buff, retired, elder Chicanas and Chicanos having time and energy to make their communities better!

Amor, Rebeldia, y Auto-Determinacion!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


One thing about getting back into shape - not the "I've been in shape all my life stuff" - is that your body doesn't necessarily like the stress. You may be able to get into shape without injuries, but if you aren't read on. So as an out of shape Chicano here's my thoughts.

First of all know that I've the aerobics and Tai Chi route. It didn't do it for me. I've learned that after 25 - yes only 25! - your body starts losing muscle. Since fat is less dense than muscle your weight doesn't change for awhile even if your clothes start getting tighter. I also learned that muscle burns fat. Roughly 1 pound of muscle burns 5 pounds of fat per year! So I decided that adding muscle is a good thing. I also realized that a lot of the elders that look weak, its because of muscle loss.

Ok, back to injuries.

If you're lifting and you hurt something, don't listen to a doc who tells you to quit lifting altogether. If you hurt your arm, shoulder or wrist, you can do leg workouts. If you hurt your leg, knee or foot, you can still do upper body workouts. If you hurt your back its way trickier. Just depends on how bad and where exactly the injury is.**

You can also lift to prevent injuries or rehab yourself. For example, for rotator cuffs - if you're gonna bench press, you need health rotator cuffs! - You can exercise these by getting a dumbell and laying on your side. Put your upper arm along your body and put a 90 degree bend in the elbow. Then like a tennis swing move the dumbbell up and down - that's one repetition. (I'll talk about sets and weight at the bottom.) The opposite of that is to do something similar with the arm under you. It's good to switch everyonce in awhile to get all sides of the muscle and to reduce odds of repetitive strains. That's true on all exercises.

Working out various muscles that are part of your other exercises will keep you from getting injured.

Change part of your workout at least once a month, and the whole workout could change every three months and keep you from getting bored, allow you to work various muscles, and also keep you going on some exercises long enough to see the difference.

Sets and weights. I'm not an expert but I do know a little about what I'm doing here. This guy Charles Staley who developed the program I'm trying out (Escalating Densisty Training - EDT) talks about dealing with injuries.

Here's what I've done using what he talks about. When I got carpal tunnel I stopped doing upper body workouts. I took a couple of weeks off altogether, then I started doing wrist curls and reverse wrist curls with a 1 pound dumbbell. I did one set of 5 repetitions (reps) on Monday, then Tuesday 2, and so on until Friday, I did 5 sets of 5 reps. Took the weekend off, and the next Monday I did 5 sets of 6 reps, Tuesday 5 sets of 7, and 5 sets of 10 on Friday. Then I repeated the two week cycle with 2 pound dumbbells. I'm at the beginning of the 3 pound dumbbell rotation and in two weeks I'll go up again. Of course if doing this hurts you in any way you stop, let it heal, and go back to the beginning. It's better than trying to go to heavy and giving yourself something worse to worry about.

Stretching on days you don't lift helps also.

I'm doing something similar with upper body. My chiropractor said I could do upper body work again, so what I'm doing there is on the days I work out I'm doing very light upper body lifts as part of my warmup. So I'll do one set of 5 on Monday, 2 sets on Weds., and 3 sets on Friday. Then I'll go up very slightly next week and so on for the next three or four weeks when I start doing a full body program again.

Here's an article on EDT.

Amor, Rebeldia y Auto-Determinacion!

**By the way, nothing on this website is intended as medical advice and you need to take responsibility for your own health. That's what Self-Determination is all about.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Que Ching....

So how did all of this get started? Let's see if I can figure out this blogging onda.

My dad died at 45, and my mom at 55. And my day job is to promote health. This last winter I just got fed up with being tired and feeling like crap. My motivation for community work had also declined like crazy. My body just didn't feel right.

So first I decided to work out, just to skip the heart problems and diabetes my parents had - it was all about avoiding something like that. My blood pressure was going up, and so was my weight. Then after a little while, I started thinking that it would be great to be in good enough shape to have high activity fun with my kids and someday - hopefully way away - my grandkids.

From there I emailed some friends and let them know I was pulling back on activism and trying to take care of my health. I developed carpal tunnel, and my knees were not used to working out. So I was on a bummer for awhile. My hand is getting better, and since I skipped my doc's advice about avoiding working out, my legs are getting stronger. I've been doing only lower body work for the last few weeks and got about three more to go.

I'm trying to get up to an appropriate weight and still not hurt myself more. Being patient about this sucks!

Since I play music, I've also been seeing a chiropractor, who is a musician, and she's helped me alot in figuring out to avoid the surgury and other things my doc didn't really talk to me about.

In all of this process I noticed that there were some chingon seniors who were way up in age and lifting weights. That has helped with the patience to some degree. I'm going up in weight at a moderate pace right now and will slow down once I get to a reasonably heavy weight on my exercises.

I've pretty much cut out sodas, fast food, and extras. I'm eating about 5-7 small meals a day, with increased salads and leaner meats. And learning things like if you drain the tuna can, then add water and drain it again you get rid of some of the extra sodium that's in the can. But I still eat Chicano food! Just smaller portions and with salads. =)

This all feels weird and self-indulgent as an activist used to thinking about other people most of the time. But there's something about taking care of ourselves that is not present in movement work. So as I get healthier, I'll keep writing. This seems like a big deal for many of the activists and organizers that I've talked to.

There's lots of systematic issues around health, like media, poverty, racism, sexism, and much more. But as my kids get through high school (I'm trying to spend more time with them) maybe I can try and support those who are dealing with the systematic issues deal with their individual well being. It's worth a try.

Amor y Rebeldia!

Quick Overview

So what the heck is this Blog about?

Basically, if you're one of those people who when you were growing up noticed that the only Chicanos that were buff were the homies that just got out of the pinta; if you ever notice activists talking about health issues, have a bunch of health issues because they don't take care of THEIR health; if you're just noticing a loss in energy and a gain in waist size - then this blog is for you!

If you believe that being an activist is being a warrior for your gente - this site is also for you. Look around, many things we take for granted are there because of activists, from the 8 hour day to the ending of the short handled hoe. If you're not an activist, go give one a hug today! If you are, take care of yourself, you are vital to the future!

Amor, Rebeldia y Auto-Determinacion!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Cuerpo Aztlan - Because Your Body is YOUR Temple!

Happy May Day!

Cuerpo Aztlan is about being healthy individually and working toward a healthier community, and world.

More to come soon!!!

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