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Weekly Wrap Up…

March 17, 2011

This has been an interesting week, or two… well, actually I have no idea when I did my last wrap up, but here goes the next one.

McDonalds is doing it:

A few years ago when I had offered my services to McDonalds as a lifestyle consultant and spokesperson I made a few suggestions to them.  The first of course was to only give out toys with healthy happy meals (no pops, no fries) as an attempt to reward good eating habits.  I thought this might get them out in front of the current controversy and it would have.  They would have come of looking like good guys, but instead they ceded that position to Subway who has run  with it.  By the way, Subway has an actual advertising policy for kids:

SUBWAY® Marketing Policy For Children
Any advertising on children’s programming features the SUBWAY FRESH Fit for Kids™ meals, which meets the above listed nutrition criteria. SUBWAY FRESH Fit for Kids™ meals compliment an active lifestyle and are shown in advertising with a mini low-fat sandwich, apple slices and low fat milk. The kid’s meal automatically comes with 100% juice or low fat milk (not soda).

Subway has played up its healthy image in shows like the biggest loser (and has become the largest restaurant chain in the world, in terms of units), but so far as I can tell, they haven’t really started to sponsor events.

By event, I mean runs, walks,  snowshoe run/walks, stairclimbs, swims, triathlons, try a tri’s, adventure races, etc.  Back when I offered my services to McDonalds, I offered them under the condition that they would sponsor a national activity campaign that would feature runs and walks in most cities.  Anyone who has read my book understands just how important I think events are for fitness.  Maybe it was my years training at Innovative Fitness, or maybe it is just the sheer volume of success stories you hear from people who actually do events, but seriously, if you want to lose weight and get fitter, choose an event, train for it and put up a time!  I go over all of this in my book and you can read the whole book for free thanks to a glitch at Amazon.com.  I am sure it will be fixed shortly, but if you click the look inside link on the picture of my book to the right, the preview of my book at Amazon is actually the whole book!!  Hmmm… thanks Amazon.  Still, I can’t imagine someone reading the whole book from the preview window, but if you want to, go to town… for now…

Well, McDonald’s isn’t doing as I suggested, but they are getting involved, or at least Ronald is.  They are sponsors for the kids MaraFun, a 1.6 km run that ends with the finishers of the Vancouver Marathon.  All cynicism aside and forgetting the fact that I hate clowns, this is awesome.  1.6k is a great run for kids ages 5 to 10 (above the age of ten they should be moving into a 2 – 3 km run as a minimum and more likely getting ready to start running 5ks)*.  *(Please note, I am not an exercise physiologist, nor a pediatrician, so please don’t take my word for these estimates.  These are just what I have seen in the kids around me.  Please consult an expert before working with your child to set some fitness goals, and start slow-I would recommend hiring a personal trainer with experience working with kids.  Start with a lap around a track.  Run walk the lap, break it into 4 parts.  Make it fun and work at your child’s pace, slowly building up the distance.  If your child is 14 and never run before, setting a 1.6 km goal is a great goal to work up to).  In any case, I think I will be bringing my kids to this event, so thank you McDonalds for putting it on.  By the way, almost every event has a child’s component.  These people are excellent at getting kids out there and active.  They have race numbers typically, and sometimes even medals.  It is amazing to see the kids after they have earned something like this, there is a palpable sense of accomplishment.  Check online for kids runs as part of any event in your city.

The thing is, if we are going to be able to eat larger calorie meals, and most of McDonalds meals fit into this category, we are going to have to exercise a lot to burn off those calories, so it makes perfect sense for McDonalds to advertise, promote and endorse running and other physical activities.

Speaking of Running and McDonalds

Joe D’Amico, a 36 year old Marathon runner going by the nickname, ‘McRunner’ is eathing nothing but McDonalds for 30 days as he prepares for the Los Angeles Marathon.  The whole story is here.  He is eating 3 meals a day at McDonalds and running weeks of 100 miles plus.  He blogs about his meals, thoughts and feelings at Confessions of a Drive Thru Runner.  Joe D’Amico is a very fit person.  Do you know how I know he is a fit person…  First, he is running a marathon at 2:36…   That is a minute or two faster than the fastest I have ever run a 1/2 marathon!  That is fast.  That isn’t the reason that I know he is a fit person though, it is because of his meal selections.  Check out several of these daily menus (these are just random meals, you can pick any day from his list found here):

March 14, 2011 (Day 25)

Morning:
1/2 bagel with strawberry preserves
bagel & egg sandwich
fruit & yogurt parfait with 2 packs of granola
small orange juice

Afternoon:
grilled chicken snack wrap (chipotle)
side salad with italian dressing
bucket of coke

Evening:
grilled chicken sandwich with bbq
small french fries
oatmeal, no brown sugar

Snacks:
2 chocolate chip cookies
white milk

March 12, 2011 (Day 23)

Morning:
4 hotcakes with syrup
apple juice

Afternoon:
2 hamburgers, no pickle
fruit & walnut salad

Evening:
2 grilled chicken snack wraps (chipotle)
oatmeal
small strawberry/banana smoothie
chocolate chip cookie
oatmeal raisin cookie

Snacks:
3 packs of granola
chocolate chip cookie
white milk

March 11, 2011 (Day 22)

Morning:
2 hotcakes
oatmeal, no brown sugar
small hot chocolate (non-fat…mrs mcrunner ordered it)

Afternoon:
filet-o-fish
1/2 medium french fries
medium coke
fruit & walnut salad
hot fudge sundae

Evening:
oatmeal, no brown sugar
fruit & yogurt parfait
side salad with italian

Snacks:
chocolate chip cookie
oatmeal cookie
white milk

These aren’t meals!! How can you sustain yourself on such light daily meals….  Where are the double Quarter Pounders with Cheese?!?!  Where are the McGriddles??? Where are the Big Macs and the large fries?!?!  1/2 of a medium fries?!?! Who can eat a half!?!?  This is sensible good eating…  How many salads did he have?  How much oatmeal?!!?  So far as I can figure the only way he is maintaining his disturbingly low body weight is his bucket of Coke.  By the way, he calls it a bucket… it looks a lot like a smallish large…  You always hear about the athletes being able to consume 6000 calories a day, 4 Big Macs and some pizzas… where are the calories…  Just look at Joe, he is emaciated!  Still, I am willing to bet that even while running 100+ mile weeks, he is eating less than you at McDonalds in an average meal.

Truth be told though, keeping your body weight down to a bare minimum is a requirement of a marathon runner.  When you look at body types of athletes, marathon runners are very small and thin people.  Joe eats well and if I was ramping my exercise up to 100 mile weeks (which is mind boggling-it is like running 5 marathons in one week), I would honestly be eating 4x what Joe is eating or more.  Running 101 miles at my current weight of 170 pounds would burn 11,212 calories, according to Run the Planet.  That is about 15 Double Quarter Pounders!  2 a day!  Okay, wait a minute… that is pretty sobering.  Running 101 miles in a week can be entirely offset calorie wise by eating 2 Double Quarter Pounders a day… wow… I might have to give up those Double Quarter Pounders… damn…

Speaking of Events

I have done my first event of the year.  This is important for 2 reasons… The first of which is: last year I didn’t do any events.  I did swim consistently 2x a week.  I did the odd run, keeping under a 30 minute 5 k pace (this is off my 48 minute 10k pace of the previous year though).  I gained about 20 pounds and did no events.  I didn’t have a training plan, and I fell off hugely.  This was after coming of an 6 or 7 event year.  So, this year I am back at it.  I have the audacious goal of doing my first 1/2 Ironman.  This is huge for me.  As I have said, when I was thinking about triathlon, 6 or 7 years ago, I thought,  undeniably that would be something I would never do.  I couldn’t swim, I couldn’t run and I got winded riding downhill from the bike store 4 blocks to my house.  It was never going to happen, I had a certainty about it.  But then, I started running, then swimming and cycling really isn’t that hard and next thing you know, I did my first sprint tri, and then on to my olympic tri.  Now up to Half Iron.  I haven’t yet thought about doing an Iron Man, or even trying to do one in my lifetime.  The goal Half Iron is Austin Texas in October.

The second reason why I am pleased at getting my first event done is because it was a tough one.  An approximately 12km snowshoe run.  Getting that distance and grade change done in difficult conditions so early in the year is setting me up well for my goal.  The event was great, but it was even better because they offered a Thursday evening snowshoe running clinic.  I only missed 2 of the clinic runs, which means I trained pretty well for the event.  The runs killed me, I could hardly walk afterward.  The Yeti was an awesome event, the people who organized it were fantastic.  You can find the website here and you can befriend them on facebook here.  If you want a reminder for next years training I can’t recommend befriending them enough.  It is a mid-winter serious training event.  There are so few of those.

A friend of mine recommending keeping all of my race numbers by the way.  I have done that for the most part and on top of getting to put them on the cover of my book, they are pretty motivating.  You can write your race time down on the back of the number as well and keep track of your times that way.  Race numbers used to all be the same by the way, just numbers, but now, with printing getting so damn good, each race number is pretty unique and some of them even have your name on them.

The Cola war rages into a new period:

I personally think this is good news, but I am sure Pepsi doesn’t.  Apparently there is a new #2 beverage after Coca-Cola.  Diet Coke.  The article is here.

U.S. sales of Diet Coke overtook those of Pepsi-Cola for the first time in 2010, making the diet soda the No. 2 carbonated soft drink in the country behind Coca-Cola, industry data are expected to confirm Thursday.

I think it is great that diet drinks are doing so well.  I went to diet drinks to get over my need for pop and it worked.  Now I drink the odd Diet Dr. Pepper, a fair amount of coffee and a lot of water.  Diet pop is a great way to ramp down your need for sugar. Consuming your calories in drinks is disastrous!  Pop has had a huge impact on weight gain.  How many of those shows have you seen with the massively obese people where drinking multiple 2 liter Super Duper Big Gulps 4 or 5 times a day is the norm?

If you read the story a little further though, there might be a darker. more unfortunate side to the story:

PepsiCo made a big bet in 2010, when it didn’t market its flagship cola on the Super Bowl or in other TV spots. Instead, it launched the Refresh Project, an online charitable-giving program that disbursed $20 million in donations “for refreshing ideas that change the world.”

Some industry analysts have questioned whether that program would translate into cola sales. PepsiCo says that the initiative improved its corporate profile as more than 87 million votes were cast for charitable projects, and that it will help boost revenue in the long run.

Wow… so Pepsi actually dropped faster than Diet Coke in terms of consumption, not because more people are cutting calories out of their diet, but instead because they chose to spend their advertising budget on ‘refreshing ideas that change the world.’…  The outcome of this is that people aren’t nearly as impacted by creative ideas to make the world a better place as they are by a 30 second commercial on Superbowl Sunday…

You can head over to the refresh project here, or find out how it works here.  Great idea Pepsi, here’s hoping it works out for you and for us in the long run…  Maybe Diet Pepsi or Pepsi Max makes it to #2 in the near future.  I think the lesson might be though, that giving away $20 million rather than spending it on advertising isn’t as good as giving away $20 million and spending $10 million on advertising that you are giving away $20 million…  For a fair bit less than that I could be their spokesperson for Pepsi Max, as long as they agreed to sponsor those national runs and walks…  I think I should drop them a line and offer my services, maybe I will propose it for their refresh the world thing.

A new Feature

I am tired of telling people how much I hate pop culture magazines.  I am tired of even thinking about how pathetic these magazines are.  If any magazine exemplifies this vacuous. pathetic, lazy writing and editing style it is the current issue of Cosmo.  They made my list because they decided to jump on the Flat Abs Fast bandwagon.  What a bunch of losers!

The rest of the article headlines are no better…  50 ways to seduce a man in a minute or less…  First, if you are doing it in a minute or less, you aren’t seducing us, you are just appealing to our base male instincts.  You don’t need 50 ways… there are probably no more than 3 with stupid variations…  What Guys HATE for you to wear to bed…  Cosmo, there really are 10 men out there who actually care what their significant other wears to bed.  Either you are in the honeymoon stage and you are just going to rip it off shortly, or you are in the I could care less stage and you are depending on the clothes to give you some indication if you are going to have sex tonight.  Either way, you could care less.  Kinky Sex 64% of you Secretly want to try this…  I don’t even know what to say… thanks for the very scientific number you pulled out of your ass…  Olivia Wilde…  I am sure your confidence tips are worth stealing, but I have known many women, and very few of them have looked as hot as you.  Many of them were confident, even with issues that would shake your confidence.  When you look as good as you do, are a celebrity on magazine covers, and are essentially paid to keep looking that good, I have no use for your confidence tips.  Real women though, if you are looking for confidence tips, ask people who shine above adversity, their tips are far more valuable.  As for 6 choices that will make you happier, I will give you 1.  Put down the magazine with the digitally altered sexy woman on the cover and the 1,000,000 photos of unbelievably hot models (most likely digitally altered to be impossibly hot as well) inside on top of the pages of advice made up by people who are probably nothing like you and have the values of a 12 year old girl, and the 1000 pages of products that people will try to convince you will make your life better-hint, they won’t-and walk away.  Put your $5 into a savings account for a trip to Europe, or Australia, or China.

So, for the new feature, I am going to be posting the weekly ‘Hated’ magazine cover with just a brief comment.  You can find it on the sidebar to the right.  I will also keep a running tally of the weekly magazine titles so I can report back who publishes the most offensive magazine of the year.  I am betting on Men’s Health or Life & Style, but I must say I am impressed with Cosmo’s move here…  If they keep putting fitness advice on their cover they will certainly have a shot.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bunni permalink
    March 18, 2011 2:16 pm

    Sadly, Women’s Health is rapidly becoming like Cosmo. I don’t need to be constantly bombarded with “How to get that 6-pack”. From what I’ve heard from my close male friends (and longtime boyfriend), a 6-pack on a woman makes her look mannish. (As in Jillian Michaels mannish.) I’d love to lose weight but I seriously don’t want to lose my 38F chest…

    I’m not going to even bother with the horrid lack of women of color in every issue of WH. That’s for another blog for another day 😉

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      March 18, 2011 11:30 pm

      I love that image of Cosmo and Women’s Health meeting in the middle of some vacuous soulless informationless magazine universe. Guys don’t care about six pack abs on girls, you are right. After David Zinczenko’s groundbreaking research, a study that determined the thing that people would pay most for in a diet is the word Abs, everyone has been rushing to throw abs into the diet claims, even as it has been universally agreed that you can’t spot reduce… so stupid…
      Lol… yes, pop culture magazines are way too low in representing minorities and that shouldn’t be tolerated. We all know from the Clark Doll Experiment (http://abagond.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/the-clark-doll-experiment/) how perception of beautiful can be influenced by the images we see and our environment, but these magazines just continue to represent an America that no one actually lives in.

  2. July 26, 2011 11:34 am

    what are your feelings on these unhealthy brands sponsoring major sporting events?can understand the sports boards accept the sponsor for the huge monetary value it holds, but is it not sending out a contradictory message to the less-knowlegeable consumer ie children?!
    I am a big fan of your purposal to McD’s awhile back with ‘tempting’ kids with the toys but only with the healthy meal option.
    Should consumers try and fight these corporations with much of their advertising aimed at children or would you rather see people embrace the fast food industry, but keeping pushing for bigger sports development programmes or general activity campaigns??

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      July 26, 2011 4:02 pm

      I think it is terrible that companies like McDonalds try to health wash their name by sponsoring Olympic athletics, etc. I find it tremendously disingenuous on all sides. That said, this issue is a lot more complicated than the ones I normally tackle. I just seek out honesty and transparency in marketing. I fight when I see a company lie about health benefits or when they imply benefits that aren’t evident, and I fight when I see inappropriate advertising targeted directly at kids. The issue of using fitness events to market unfit food is a much thornier issue. I think we should try to fight the false image these corporations present. I think we should try to illuminate their connection with lobbying groups that fight their less glamorous battles. I think we should help society find ways to enjoy indulgent meals from time to time while making good eating decisions the rest of the time. I think as we begin to push the unhealthy brands back, we will find sporting events will be less able to carry these brand names with pride. If the unhealthy brands don’t change, I think eventually the cost of sharing their brand will become too expensive for some major sporting events. There was a time when cigarette companies and alcohol companies funded all of the sporting events. The good news is though, as evidence today by McDonalds changes to their Happy Meals, something they swore they would not change, pressure is working!

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