LGN 75: Yin Yang

Inside: Short term goals: vegetables, handstands; MTB meetup; “The Obesity Era”; this is long


Before the yang of Underground Athlete there was the yin of PIES Fitness. Before the strength training there was yoga.

I thought the My Body Don’t Bend That Way class was going to be easy. It was a great intro to the world of yoga for me but it was challenging from the git go.

Malyssa did not play. Well, she did play but even that was physically challenging.

Once I started strength training the yoga class was actually almost too much. Just because my body wasn’t used to all that wear and tear. My shoulders were killing me and intensely fatigued.

Great combination, though. So it’s a very good thing to be able to do/practice yoga with the UA people. And the classes are progressing. Still very gentle compared to PIES so far. Me no like hot yoga.

Yoga lets you know where your glitches are. Oh. A bit of advice. Roll out beforehand.

After two Underground Athlete yoga classes my legs — the rear drive train — have definitely recovered some flexibility. Those Romanian deadlifts and single leg deadlifts turn my hamstrings into ground beef. Gotta stretch that mess out.

Ideally, I’d do yoga more than once a week but my time and moneys have their limits.

But I am taking Friday off so I’m gonna hit up PIES. It’s been too long.

I will admit that there’s some ego involved, which is not very yoga-like. I want some photos of me in Crow (which is much easier to do when you’re wearing pants, as opposed to shorts) and a handstand when I can do one. I like inversions. Binds are still out of reach.


When I get the urge for change I get antsy. If I get to the point where I’m signing up for classes and meet ups you can bet that I’m impatiently waiting.

I’ve been in a rut. Very unsettled. Socially stagnant. Other people are making big changes and big moves. Some of those big moves have left my world much dimmer.

It’s all good, though. That’s how you know it’s time to crank up your own wattage.

We’ll see how the meetup.com mountain bike ride goes. I’ve been reduced to, like, meeting people ‘n junk. What a world.

Work is … the writing is on the wall. That’s pretty much a done deal. It’s just a question of when since the office is being shuttered in September. It’s a fair amount of heads up, though.

So it goes.


I did a bridge! Briefly. And held a handstand for, like, a fraction of a second. I don’t know if I was really balanced, though. More like I was very slowly in the process of falling but I’m still counting that as a good start.

The meetup ride was fun. I am — awkward. The navigation app I was using took me to the wrong place, though, so I missed it. BUT I decided that if my gears were shifting properly I’d just explore the Reston Difficult Run trails on my own.

After meandering for a bit I stumbled across a group of riders but kept going. Then after riding a section of overgrown, thorny sticker bushes I came across them again except even more people than before so I knew it must have been the Gears and Beer group.

I almost passed them by but then, realizing that I had no idea where I was, I figured it’d be better to ride with them. Besides … I should. Y’know.

They’re freakin’ fast. I mean big ring fast. I wasn’t wearing a helmet — the clip connection thingy fell off the strap and went wherever little lost things go — and that thought kept flashing through my mind as the back wheel would kick out to the side when sloshing through trail mud at cruising speed.

I kept up with the lead group for a while and then I got burned out and was somewhere between the packs. Not smart considering I didn’t know where I was going but it all worked out.

Then, as their name suggests, after the ride there was beer and popsicles and hot dogs on the grill and so on in the parking lot.

By the way, I don’t care what anyone says; grape is the best fruit flavor when it comes to tart/sour candies and treats. Bet.

I almost signed on for another ride today until I looked and saw that it was 25 miles. I got back from UA yoga a little while ago and my body has been telling me that I’ve overdone it a little this week. Point taken, body.

Definitely time to rest.



I just read this article. I’ve got thoughts. Warning: There’s a good chance that I entirely missed the point of the article.

But first, here’s an excerpt from another article I read on CNN earlier this week:

Since Velez had never been a gym-goer or calorie counter, many people who knew him discouraged him from starting his weight loss journey. They told him he was working toward an unrealistic goal because of his past habits.

Velez says that he’s competitive and that their words fired his desire to prove everyone around him wrong.

“You really have to want it bad enough,” says Velez. “Once you get the mental part right, you can’t let the negative Nancys get you down.”

Rock on, sir. Rock on.

Back to the “Obesity Era” article. I’m a little confused after reading it. I’ve been seeing more articles about fitness and health along those lines. The gist seems to be, “Eat healthily and move more is too simplistic. There are many other factors that contribute to obesity including environment, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, gender issues, genetic expression, pollution, modern industry, Capitalism and economic forces and manipulation, etc.”

All true, I’m sure, but the emphasis of the modern day zeitgeist is that “things beyond your control are making you ____”.

There’s also a movement or push to not shame people for being overweight, obese or out of shape, which can go way in the other direction. I mean, it’s a good concept but it seems like our political correctness has run amok because we, as a society, don’t seem to be able to hold two dichotomous concepts in our head at the same time. So we opt for the one that feels good or validates our “way of life”.

I think that it’s a matter of emphasis.

Maybe internal vs. external locus of control? One extreme would be, are you an independent agent/being capable of doing what is necessary to be happy and healthy? The other extreme is, are you a victim of your environment and circumstances?

Oh. Let me repeat something. Two somethings.

1. Being obese or even morbidly obese doesn’t make someone a bad person. It doesn’t mean that they’re lazy, undisciplined, out of control or … morally flawed. I’m still overweight and maybe even obese by some standards, although I’m fitter than I’ve ever been and the journey continues.

And yes, there are a lot of people out there who are complete dicks and will trash, judge, ridicule, and insult people for being overweight and sometimes a “normal” weight. Just look at comments on the internet if you want to validate your notion of the world being full of judgmental, derisive a-holes.

But if we get our sense of the world or self from anonymous trolls on the internet, well — that’s an issue in and of itself. Let’s just say no to wallowing in the mental filth of others.

2. Trying to lose weight doesn’t mean that someone loathes themselves. If I love myself — if I truly can love and accept myself even if that takes conscious effort and work — I can love and accept myself AND strive to better myself physically. To be more fit, to be healthier, to be more physically able. To be my best.

Love — true love — encompasses flaws and imperfection. True love also wants the best and to encourage the quest for, what. Purpose. Self improvement (including another’s self improvement).

Then again, as bummed as I am about it, true love also accepts the fact that there are those who will never start their journey toward whatever  in earnest or who are stuck. And that may require boundaries. Or just patience. Or distance, even.

3. A third something. Being my best me is not going to be the same as someone else’s best. Even when I do reach my physical goals I’m never going to look like [insert name of hunky professional athlete] or [insert name of dreamy actor]. I’m never going to look like the tall, perfectly proportioned, well-coiffed, square jawed, photogenic dudes with chiseled features, y’know. And that’s okay, I tell myself.

Because I will be the finest short, stocky, shaven headed, stubbly jawed man that I am capable of being. That may or may not mean ripped abs and single digit body fat (probably not), but it will mean being stronger, faster, and fitter than I look or than I ever thought I would be.


So while there are plenty of contributing factors to obesity and all other kinds of physical ills — we are in a cosmic dance with entropy after all and entropy is leading — it comes down to this: what do I have control over?

While any complaints I may have about the food industry may be valid, it doesn’t negate the fact that I need to choose wisely and with my goals in mind. I have to look out for me because I know that our system and society aren’t going to do it for me.

And yes, fight for sensible food and environmental changes. Call out the mega corporations that will do anything and put anything in your food as long as they get your money and churn a profit and ever-increasing profit.

Y’know. They’ll put silica in the ground meat as a filler. Or one of my pet peeves here. A company like Unilever will buy Ben & Jerry’s or Breyer’s — something that’s all natural and simple. Then they’ll replace basic food ingredients with fillers and gums in order to maximize their profits. Not that I eat ice cream much these days, but when I do I want it to be made from cream, sugar, whatever flavor it is (like actual strawberries or actual chocolate), and cold.

Or They’ll genetically engineer food crops to not reproduce, which I think is just evil, so that farmers have to buy seeds or whatever every season. Blah blah blah and so on.

But my point is, despite all of that, I still have to watch what I eat, make my own food more often than not, and train and exercise and then also move just for the fun of it.


Anyway, I think I just ranted a little bit.

Through family and friends, I’ve seen and am seeing the complications that arise from being obese and, for all kinds of reasons, not doing those individual things that are our only chance to counteract all of the bigger socioeconomic, environmental, and industrial factors.

I’ve seen and am seeing the damage that bad personal/individual habits can cause. I do not enjoy being a pall bearer. I do not enjoy watching people die. I do not enjoy meetings where the doctors and support staff try to convince you that it’s time to, for example, stop the medical intervention and let your loved one die. I do not enjoy watching people suffer. Or to hear them question whether it would be better to die than continue on.

No one does, especially when a particular illness was probably very avoidable. Caused by a longitudinal combination of bad habits and lifestyle.

I see what happens when people spend all day sedentary in front of a TV as a way of life and then eventually and up ailing to the point where they pretty much can’t do anything else.

And again, it isn’t about judging people as morally good or bad or lesser. It is about, “Hey, what you’re drinking and eating every day is empty calories, has next to no nutrients and the doctor said you need to be loading up on vitamins and minerals and so on before the next round of treatments start.”

Or, “You barely survived throat cancer. Please stop smoking and drinking.”

So yeh. I think we have to do what we can. Control what we’re able to. And live.


Let’s get out there and live, my people. Live, love, laugh, sing, cry, dance, run, jump, write, move, groove and celebrate life, hopefully in a way that makes the world a better place for yourself and others.

Well, I’m going to try to do something constructive with the rest of this long weekend. It’s been a good one. Thanks to all the people that were a part of it.

Peace and hair grease! I’m out!


Add Yours
  1. jannamo

    True that about grape. It’s the best.

    I wish there was more “eat healthy and move more”, and far less “it’s complicated, there are many factors”. The latter may be true in the sense of being accurate, but completely unhelpful.

    Gears and beers sounds like fun. 🙂

    • garyarthuryoung

      All about the grape.

      I figure that the “eat healthily and move more” part is the only thing we can do for ourselves that can counteract all of the rest. The fact that the rest of it is true makes it even more important to do what we can for ourselves.

      And since we aren’t all the same that means finding what works and dealing with whatever situations and issues we may encounter.

      Oh well. I can tell you this. I’m thankful to be healthy and to be able to move and get around. Enjoy it while you got it and work to keep it. That’s going to be one of my mottos.

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