BEFORE I DIE…

By Terry Carter, Editor

I just finished watching a 6-minute video at Ted.com by New Orleans artist Connie Chang. If you are not aware, Ted.com is a popular website where sometimes inspiring, sometimes groundbreaking ideas are shared in short snippets. Many are calls to action.

Connie’s talk centered around a large chalkboard put up in a neighborhood with the beginning of a sentence and space for the community to fill in their personal answer. The introduction is: Before I Die, I Will…  The website for is http://www.BeforeIDie.cc

While the chalkboard allowed for one line of handwritten completion, many scrawled entries beyond the formal spacing. The canvas was filled in fewer than 24 hours. Now you can find “Before I Die…” walls in Houston and around the world.

In support of Connie’s idea to transform a rundown, abandoned home into a constructive location, I want to chip in my input. I am confident that it too will exceed the formal spacing allowed although it may not match the first signer Connie highlighted. That was a man dressed as a pirate, scribbling: “I want to be TRIED FOR PIRACY.”

Still, here is my personal list.

Before I die, I want to:

  1. Live my life fueled by hope, faith and love
  2. Inspire greatness through God’s will
  3. Show love, appreciation daily to my outstanding, wise and talented children
  4. Celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary with the only woman in my world
  5. Break 35 minutes in a 5K run — hopefully all downhill and with a gale force wind
  6. Write more than 25 books
  7. Play golf in the United Kingdom with Rory, Jordan and Tom Watson
  8. Financially support life-changing organizations like: Archway Academy, Cornerstone Recovery, the American Diabetes Association, The Bruce Lee Foundation and many more
  9. Contribute to world peace with my unique gifts
  10. Share positive family stories for my children to cherish and my grandchildren to adore hearing

Friends, my list is a bit extreme, I admit. But I have always dreamed of accomplishing great things. My wish for you is that you will join me in posting your “Before I Die” list. 

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TINY TRAINING ADVICE

By Terry Carter, Editor

I am not a physical trainer. However I listen to trainers, athletes and read the best advice available as I continue to chase my goal weight. So I consider myself pretty informed compared to most people who enter the commonplace weight room for a workout.

I like to start with stretches because I’m older than dirt. Don’t argue — I’m probably a century older than you. Regardless stretching is essential for everyone, whether round or thin, tall or short, male or female. After a 5-minute, warmup stretch, then start with a walk to get you perspiring.

Why? Because you don’t visit the gym in shorts and a muscle shirt just to because you bought new running shoes. Sweat matters. For many of us, the more we perspire, the more weight we lose. My experience is ongoing, but I’ve seen that fat areas start  to slim down where I perspire the most. Even my neck dropped 1.5 inches in the past year due to evening walks, mixed with short sprints and some strength work in the gym.

PS — The strength work probably does not help your waist, neck, thighs unless you work in classic Circuit Training style. Translation: Medium-to-heavy weights, high intensity and very little breakdown between exercises or sets. Bruce Lee used this method to create the best real world physique ever — and remember Bruce was amazingly lean.

So I’m calling this workout the Midlife Fundamentals for those of us who fit this generous description: No longer 30; no longer as thin as we once were;  no longer as strong as we once were; no longer flexible. OK some of you were cheerleaders, and others never stretchy. You know who you are. We all have things to deal with — stand tall.

After stretching, a 5-10 minute walk/run is essential to start the sweating, aka weight loss. If you are a slow starter like me or you haven’t worked out in a while, sprint at least 3 times for 30-60 seconds. You know what kind of shape you are in. So give it 70-80 percent of your top speed. For me that is about 6 miles per hour.  Have mercy on me, you younger athletes. I realize you can fly at 15-18 mph and keep it at 12 mph for complete 5k run. 

Here is a quick anecdote that may prove helpful to your workouts: I was at the gym today and observed a personal trainer there working with several female clients. I noticed that some of the people coming to the gym consistently focus only on their strengths, aka strong guys work on strength exercises; thin girls focus on burning calories on a treadmill. My advice to myself and you is simple: If you are actually overweight like me, use their calorie-burning, endurance excises for 60-70 percent of your gym time. If you are thin and not entered in 

Now for 3 upper body strength exercises. Minimize the break time to keep your heart beating fast by perspiring. Remember to vary your various exercises, the amount of weight, the repetitions/sets so that your strength exercises continue to put muscle where you need it. Schwartenegger set the bar in the 1970s at Mr. Universe with legendary trainer Joe Wieder by varying his intense workouts. 

I focus on my back, shoulders and whole arms (biceps, triceps). I use cables, an adjustable military press and a lat pull down machine frequently. Use what machines you prefer, including free weights. BTW guys: It’s not necessary to workout your biceps with a 100-pound barbell each time you visit a gym. Every muscle needs 36-64 hours to recover from an intense workout. Working hard on the same, sore muscles you used yesterday results in more extreme soreness and virtually flat-line growth.

Then go to core exercises and/or machines. One abdominal machine I started on 2 years ago was brutal. I could not move the machine with only 10 pounds on it. I know somebody was probably laughing at me struggling to do a seated crunch. But  I endured the moment. Better technique and time have helped me to now workout with 60-80 pounds. I’m hoping to max out at 100 pounds this summer. 

Another point: If you go to a weight room more than once, you should max out on all the machines you will frequent so you can create your standardized 3 sets, 10 reps workout with the proper weight. In reality, most people — including me — cheat on the 3 sets/10 rep standard we all heard of or read about years ago. If I am trying to build a little muscle, I will find a weight that allows me to barely finish 8 reps and either 2 or 3 sets. If my goal is to burn fat/calories, then I increase my repetitions to 12-15 and do 3-4 sets with a lighter weight on the bar.

Once the core is worked over — and certain dense much groups like calves and abdominals can be worked harder due to their ability to bounce back quicker — move on to legs. Like I said earlier, I’m ancient. So I can’t do all the leg workouts. But a leg press do in 4 different positions with the maximun knee bend can do wonders for your inner, outer thighs, as well as calves. Let me know if you need more details on this.

Finally when you are feeling leg weary, you have 2 choices to complete the gym portion of your workout. Either go swimming for 30 minutes like I did recently, or go 15-30 minutes on a treadmill, Stair Master or elliptical. Or just go for a jog in a nearby park.

Invest in a 30-45 minute workout like that 2-3 times each week and try to go walking before or after work for 30-60 minutes with a friend or pet. And you will be feeling 10 years younger if you embrace the fun some people call hard work. Check with your physician before you go to the gym to get some advice and approval for such an exercise plan. I started taking the tiny aspirin tablet each morning years ago, and I find it makes me more comfortable when I get to the park or the gym with big ideals of an intense workout.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve lost a little weight, about 25 pounds. However I still have 30 pounds to go. I’m not perfect and never will be. If you prefer sitting in a lounge chair and smoking a cigar while laughing at my efforts, I wish you well. But I really wish — under my breath — that you would get out of that sleeping chair and join me at Cullen Park near Barker Cypress…

…At least when it’s not flooded. 

DO SOMETHING GREAT ON OCT. 4

  By Terry Carter, Editor

Do you have plans for today, Oct. 4? Cancel them. Tickets to the game or show? Give them away. What happens Today in Washington D.C. has probably already affected your family or a close friend — and it could save millions of lives in the future.

Join me in supporting a worldwide event on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to support comprehensive diagnosis, medical care, treatment and resources for addiction. It’s called United to Face Addiction — a topic that affects 1-in-3 families in America, but is often ignored because of apparent embarrassment or social pressure.

The free rally will include musical performances by the likes of Steven Tyler, Joe Walsh and John Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls and expected notable speakers like TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz and many others.

In honor of my daughter and the roughly 85 million people in America are affected by a chronic addiction — and as many as 90 percent of those with signs of addiction are not treated — I offer my own version of Martin Luther King’s landmark 1963 I Have a Dream speech. It is tweaked to the current topic of addiction and recovery as addiction to alcohol and other drugs is now America’s “most urgent health crisis.”

Blessed are those who live in America for opportunity is great here. May that soon be the truth for those who are so often ignored and refused proper care today because of addiction.

______________________________________________________________speech

I am so happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for improved care, treatment  occurs today for those drowning in America’s “most urgent health  crisis.”

We live in the 21st century, an educated, enlightened and medically advanced age when virtually all major illnesses have cures or longer life expectancies considered impossible even a century ago. With these advances and a proven treatment system for drug addiction and recovery, now is the time to embrace the fact that a person in recovery is not a failed human. They  fell into addiction by genetic disposition and enviroment.

When my daughter was first diagnosed with drug addiction in 2011, we were told by a physician that medical studies revealed that 15 percent of the general public has an addictive disposition in their genetics, their unique DNA code. That means more than 1-in-10 people, if exposed to alcohol or any addictive substance, could be addicted in a short time. From that day on, their decisions must be deliberate and focused on sobriety. The 12-step system created for acoholics in th 1930s during the heart of the depression was a monumental victory in saving lives.

More recent additions of alternative peer groups, counseling, youth programs and even sober schools have raised the lives of those in recovery to a point where they can and do reach a totall productive life. There are hundreds of organizations that are interdependent in the life of a person with such a chronic medical condition. 

With so much achieved and so many millions of cases of addiction undiagnosed, it is physically impossible to suggest a community or a school district personnel to suggest that addiction does not exist on their turf and therefore needs no attention. Addiction is everywhere from Congress and the richest neighborhoods to the janitorial department in your office building and the slums — as are those who have recovered from this illness and are today famous musicians, politicians, judges, teachers and much, much more. You cannot isolate yourself from this disease. Instead face it and work with the hundreds of organizations in Washington D.C. today hoping for a better future.

The time has come to embrace this medical field, not ignore it or push it aside like an unwanted child. Those in recovery are more mature and wise than you suspect. I  am consistently amazed with the wisdom of my many friends who have been influenced by the world of recovery. 

There is no place for shame regarding addiction in your world or mine. To avert your eyes and say this worldwide issues does not affect you is like saying massive pollution will never affect your food, air or water. Wake up, friends. You are blinded by fear and shame hoping addiction avoids you, but your neighbor may still be attending recovery meetings.

Drugs such as alcohol and its companion, addiction, have been soul mates since the first liquor was swallowed long before America’s democracy was founded. For thousands of years, drunkards have been a waste product in each socity. Today a huge number of homeless and jailed persons are suffering from addiction and have no treatment options. They are part of the estimated 90 percent of drug addicts who are untreated. But we can fix this in the future.

  
I have a dream that one day men, women and their children will live in a world where everyone is created equal — and can have a chance to succeed regardless of challenges. A world where everyone is cared for, loved and given the medications they need.

I have a dream of a day when addicts are given value and care, where they are not judged by their failures — but by their victories over a relentess, chronic disease. I have a dream that we are all judged by the content of their character. I have a dream that recovery organizations across the nation awaken U.S. officials to the fact the “war on drugs” has failed, but recovery is the better way to win. I have a dream that the perception of  ignoring addiction in society will stop forever while so many of us are living strong and achieving great things in recovery.

I have a dream that the rich and the poor, the white, the black, the hispanic, the asian and others can receive proper treatment for their addiction by asking for it — and that imprisonment or dark alleys are no longer the path for an alcoholic. I have a dream that addiction and addictive tendency become standard terms since medical research reveals that at least 45 million people in America are battling this chronic illness.

I have a dream that your family and mine can emerge from the shadows currently shoving those in recovery to accept menial jobs when they have more wisdom, talents and energy to give. I have a dream of total victory against this medical disease, but unity is our greatest strength today. And with this circle of friends, we will emerge victorious in finding addicts earlier and curing addiction through proven methods. 

I have a dream that diabetes — a chronic disease my daughter and I share — and addiction will one day be  on the same level of treatment for all. Diabetes is currently nearing a cure once and for all. New inventions, medicines and millions of dollars of research are invested annually to solve this riddle forever. If diabetes can be tamed in my lifetime and the life expectancy doubled in the past century, then surely the larger family of those dealing daily with addiction, its complications and a proven recovery system deserve a cure as well.

With your contribution to this cause, which is receiving coverage on The Huffington Post website today, one day soon we shall proclaim: Thank God almighty for another miracle on this Earth — addiction can be cured and even prevented in the future.