The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Back from the Northwest

Just back from Seattle and Norwescon. Love that convention, and the people there—my first time in four years. Got lots of comments on how lean I looked, including one from a friend who mentioned that his lesbian business partner was checking me out…hah!
Had dinner with writer Charles Johnson, a dear friend, brilliant mind and devout Buddhist. Ran the ideas about “Spiritual Autolysis” past him, and we enjoyed the evening, spoke of politics, art, race, life, raising kids, and a million other things. It reminds me of the time that he, I, Tananarive, playwright August Wilson sat in that same restaurant from seven until two in the morning, talking. God, that was great. I miss August…
It was just a little hard to keep on Intermittent Fasting while on the road. When I break my fast, I like to do it Warrior Diet style (fruit and vegetables first, then proteins, and then carbs) but I found that it was tricky. I cheated a bit, had a glass of orange juice here, and an apple there. Seems to have worked. Some answers to questions…
1) I’ve noticed no real difference in energy on fast and non-fast days regarding workouts. Note that I don’t do strictly weight-training workouts though, so I can’t comment on the specific anaerobic pathway workouts that some of you guys do with intensity. Please report back.
2) There are going to be family occasions and special times when eating is important for emotional connection. You know what? I say enjoy yourself, unless you notice it’s happening frequently, and is an indicator that your subconscious is screwing you over. Our ancestors certainly got lucky two days in a row some times! In fact, probably an even more powerful protocol—which I would NOT suggest, is to flip a coin thirty times at the beginning of the month. Heads you eat, tails you don’t…
3) I would say that on non-fasting days, eat PLENTY of fresh fruits and vegetables, take your vitamins, be careful. After all, Roy Walford, who pioneered Caloric Restriction, died at about 80 of Lou Gehrig’s disease. I don’t know, but it’s possible that that might have something to do with a lack of this or that nutrient. But then, he was trying to reduce calories by 50%, and then compensate with enriched nutrients. The problem is that you can only add back the nutrients you know about. It is egotistical to think we know everything God put into food, you know? So what I’m advising is to eat hearty on non-fasting days, cut calories only by cutting crap, and be VERY CONSCIOUS of how you are feeling on a day to day basis. Joints hurting? Low-level aches and pains? Energy spikes? Be careful here, people. I love you guys, and am sharing this out of a sense that you are grown-ass men and women who deserve to know about something which might save your lives down the road---or at least be a time saver and energy increaser. While I wouldn’t suggest it for specific weight loss, weight loss is almost inevitable. Don’t push it, o.k?
4) I had a conversation with a friend on racial and gender issues. The question came up of whether Hillary or Barack had the best electability. It was her contention that white men would rather vote for a black man than a white woman. I kind of agreed, based on the idea that, in war, I think the average soldier would rather charge up a hill behind a black sergeant than a female one. But the question presents itself: which causes more social and life problems, race, or gender? I don’t know (although I have opinions) but I have a suggestion for anyone who wants to know. By the way, I haven’t performed this experiment, so this isn’t a trick. Here we go: choose an arbitrary number large enough to provide some kind of statistical reality, say a minimum of 10 or 20. The next 10 or 20 black women you have any kind of real interaction with, ask THEM which has been more of a hinderance in life: race or gender. Which has caused more discomfort, and in which have they experienced more prejudice? Please report back with your results!
5) Got my portable yoga floor today! It’s a hinged wood panel that sits atop a rug to provide better support for wrists and ankles. Can’t wait to use it.
6) Oh…and before I close, I had a chance to work out at Coach Sonnon’s Rmax gym at the Bellingham Athletic Club. Wow! It’s a beautiful little space crammed with clubbells and kettlebells (yes, kettlebells! Scott has hooked up with world champion kettlebell master Valeri Federenko, and the results can only be spectacular.) Scott led us through his brilliant 4x7 protocol: 5 pushups, 10 1-legged squats, 15 pullups. Each modified for level of fitness (from pushup to Hindus on parallel bars to plank extensions, for instance). See how many cycles you can do in 20 minutes. I did 7.5 cycles, and was well trashed. Felt sore, tight, and oddly loose (!?) for days afterward. Then I attended his Rmax Sambo (Russian Judo) class, and ate humble pie. My my, it’s been a looooong time since I’ve done mat work, and it was all I could do to keep from being twisted into a knot! Scott is simply a phenomenal teacher, and I cannot recommend him and his methodology higher. He is the absolute best, and his approach dovetails to any other martial art you practice. Do yourself a favor—if you live anywhere near Bellingham Washington, experience Scott Sonnon.
7) One more thing: if you cheat too much on the IF plan, you could yo-yo your weight. Your body is definitely producing more lean WANTS to get heavier. If you give it too many calories by eating on fasting day, you can gain weight easily. But I'm looking great in the mirror...

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