Monday, February 8, 2016

Motivational Monday: When you feel like quitting...

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Disclaimer: I am not an expert, but the advice dispensed here has been researched or is something that has worked for me in the past.  Proceed at your own risk...

I came across that quote this morning as I was scrolling through Facebook.  It’s by no accident I’m sure.  The original post came from the Southern Illinois Men’s Expo page and was put there by Harness Digital Marketing.  I think most of us can relate to the words, whether it’s with a fitness plan, career choices or relationship goals.

If you’re reading this on Monday, then you know it’s the day after the Super Bowl.  Like many people in this country, I overindulged at a party Sunday evening.  I stayed up later than usual for me (I get up at 1:30 a.m. daily) and as soon as my alarm went off I instantly told myself “you get to take a nap today.  Skip the gym and come home and sleep.”

One of many plates. 

 But then as I got some caffeine flowing and came across the Motivational Monday quote of the week, I knew going home and napping wasn’t an option.  I really needed to get to the gym for a couple of reasons.  I had lost five pounds last week and I celebrated that fact by having an epic cheat day at the Super Bowl party I attended.  While I know I can’t undo the cheese and bacon filled mini potatoes, guac and chips and buffalo chip dip I indulged in, I knew that I would feel better working out.  Also daily frustrations had already built up and Gold's Gym is a more effective stress reliever than eating a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles like I used to do.

I’ve started and stopped working out more times than I can remember since graduating high school nearly 25 years ago.  I often think where I’d be had I stayed the course.  Now at nearly age 43, I’m determined more than ever to reach my fitness goals.  I hope when you feel like quitting you’ll think about why you started.  I know I will.  Good luck on your quest.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff scarred me for life

Mr. Wonderful: The bendie 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Growing up in the 80's I had most of the LJN WWF wrestling figures.  They were not dolls!  I would come up with dream matches all the time as I clunked the big rubber wrestlers around the ring.  After the first couple of rounds of the larger figures, LJN introduced us to smaller, bendable Superstars.

I didn't have nearly as many of these, but I did have was "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff.   One Saturday night I was bored and laying in bed watching "The 3 Stooges" on KPLR (St. Louis readers know what I'm talking about).  I was about 13 at the time, old enough to know what I was about to do was stupid...

In one hand I had the Mr. Wonderful figure.  The other hand a pocket knife.  I proceed to cut down Orndorff's spine with the blade.  To this day, I don't know what possessed me to do this.  But what happened next is even more mind boggling.  With the knife stuck in his back, I rammed Mr. Wonderful into the wall.  When I did, the blade folded down and sunk into my right index finger.

You can kinda see the scar in this 

I immediately dropped the weapon and my victimized wrestling figure. I ran into the bathroom in an attempt to clean up the blood.  After a few minutes of pressure, my parents determined I did not need stitches.  I can still remember trying to explain what had happened and why I did it.  

Some 30 years later I still have the scar on my finger.  It's not a badge of honor like most scars.  Instead I view it as a moment of stupidity in my teenage life.  Moral of the story: don't play with knives, the experience isn't "wonderful."  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

You can't outwork a fork

Working the ropes
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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On New Year's Day I posted a blog about how running had made me fat.  I decided then that after years of talk, 2016 would be the year I find my abs.  My friend Tyler Hatton reached out to me and offered to work with me at Gold's Gym.  This is my one month progress report.  (By the way, you can listen to my podcast with Tyler about fitness and nutrition here.)

When I weighed in on January 1, I was 193.6 pounds.  I'm pretty sure that's the heaviest I've ever been.  Today (February 2), I'm down exactly 10 pounds, weighing 183.6 pounds.  My goal remains getting more toned and defined.  I'm seeing some progress in that department, but as we all know these changes take time.  

Back and biceps day

I am proud that I've been consistent with my working out. I hit a different group of muscles each time I'm at Gold's, which is at least four days a week.  I'm also running (not as much as I used to), but more importantly I'm eating so much better than before.  I've said goodbye to flavored coffee creamer, fast food and I very rarely eat sweets. 

Spaghetti squash burrito boat

This past Sunday I splurged and had a cappuccino, a glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut and a few hands full of chocolate caramel popcorn.  But I limited my poor choices to that one day and I'm back on course.  I recently made a spaghetti squash burrito boat to replace the usual wheat or flour tortilla.  It was incredibly delicious.  

Ab workout
Chad and I are both competing against each other in this Operation Find My Abs challenge.  It's not about being vain and posting a bunch of pics, although I did here.  My goal (and his) is to motivate each other and help readers and listeners along the way.  His main focus is DDP Yoga,  a program I still do from time to time.  I'm staying mostly in the gym for my quest.  

If you're thinking about getting started, it's not too late.  Don't wait until "Monday."  Finish reading this and then start.  Play episode 60 of the podcast and get some fitness and nutrition tips from someone who knows what he's talking about.  Good luck! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Motivational Monday: Taking on February

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter
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About three years ago, I ordered the DDP Yoga workouts and was determined to beat Kevin in the “Operation Find My Abs” faux challenge. Once I got the DVDs, I wrote a blog to publicly announce my intentions to get in shape in hopes that if I put it out there I would have to go through with the plan. Even with getting a call of encouragement from “Diamond” Dallas Page, the initial euphoria of working out only lasted a few months before I fell back into old habits and let the DVDs collect dust. 

Last December when the DDPYoga Now app was released, I figured if I bought a year subscription then I’d have to use it. Otherwise, I’d just be wasting money. This time however something was different. Previously, I was doing the workouts but that was about it. This time, I knew I had to make changes to my lifestyle. The big question was would I be able to make those changes and stick with them. 

The first step was getting into the habit of doing the workouts. I had started looking at the new workouts on the app. These would be the first pieces to change my mindset. Previously, one of the excuses I used was “the workouts are too repetitive” because I was watching the same DVDs every day. Now there were new workouts to try out. However, I will admit that after a month of working out daily, I’m starting to slip into the old mindset. I need to refocus. 

Second step involved eating. I have been living in fast food joints for the better part of twenty years. Now was time to learn how to use the big white box in my kitchen that produces fire. I waited until after I finished my last job on January 8 before starting this step. Since January 9, with the exception of this past weekend when I wasn’t home, all my meals have been home cooked. So far, I have successfully changed my mindset. I don’t look at fast food as food I can’t eat. Instead, I view it as food I DON’T want. If you’d told me at the beginning of the year, I could go three weeks without Taco Bell and not be craving it; I would have thought you were crazy. Now though, I’m looking forward to improving my culinary skills and seeing what new things I can try in the kitchen. 

Something that has helped me over the past month was being unemployed. It’s not a thing that I’d recommend. In fact, if anyone reading this knows of anyone hiring, I could use a job. Anyway, being unemployed gave me more time to integrate more cardio into my daily activity. In the past, when I would be unemployed I’d usually go see a movie either daily or at least three times a week. In addition to sitting in a theater for 2-3 hours, I would always get a pizza and either a water or large Cherry Coke. Not exactly the best decisions if you’re trying to get in shape. 

The past three weeks though, instead of sitting in a theater, I spend the 2-3 hours walking. I try to average at least seven miles a day and on really good days, walk 10-12 miles. Again, it comes down to mindset. I would rather be doing something active to pass the time than simply letting the day pass me by while I sit. 

My goal when I started, or re-started, was not just finally finding my abs before Kevin finds his. I knew I wanted to lose 20-25 pounds and get into better shape. After the first month, I am well on that path. I’ve lost 10 pounds and feel much better. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to take my 30-day progression photos before writing this blog. You’ll just have to take my word that there’s been a noticeable change. I will get photos before the next installment of the Accountability Blog. 

If you’re reading this and either are on a path to better yourself, or thinking about it, Kevin and I are here to help cheer you on your way. I know Kevin has been hitting the gym more. I stand by the DDP Yoga app. Whatever you choose, try to stay positive and keep pressing on. Success isn’t judged by one day and neither is failure.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The time Sid went sycho on me

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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When I worked in Alabama as a TV reporter and anchor I had a couple of opportunities to meet a handful of wrestling greats.  In 1998 I interviewed a handful of wrestlers at a WCW Thunder event in Huntsville.  Buff Bagwell, Goldberg, Bobby Heenan and the late Ray "Big Bossman" Traylor all spent some time with me.  

About a year later, a local gym owner and wrestling promoter was hosting a show with Sid Vicious as one half of the main event. Because he knew I was  a huge fan, the promoter extended an invitation to me to attend the show.  I took a chance and asked if Sid would be available for an interview for the newscast.  I was excited to learn that he was.

Sid in action 
Sid wanted to do the interview before his match.  I was ushered back to a hallway where Sid was pacing back and forth.  We shook hands and exchanged hellos.  My intent was to ask Sid a few questions about his career (this was after his championship run with WWE but months before he showed up in WCW and won their title).  

Meeting the big man
I mounted the camera on my shoulder and held the microphone up to the big man.  Before I even finished asking my first question, Sid snatched the mic out of my hand and proceeded to cut a wrestling promo for me.  He did this at the top of his lungs, screaming until his face was beat red. Bottom line, the "interview" was nothing I could use for the newscast, but it was quite awesome being in the presence of the wrestling legend.

When he returned to town a few months later, Sid came into our studio for a sit down interview on the newscast.  This time he was much more subdued and didn't yell.  It was one of the most surreal moments of my career.  Those encounters with Sid were some of my favorite memories working in "the Shoals." 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Just give Reigns the title

Photo courtesy: WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter
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I made, I guess you could call it a New Year’s Resolution, to be less critical this year when it comes to writing blogs. I get tired of complaining about the same things and I’d guess loyal readers are tired of reading my complaints. Today though, I just have to vent. I promise this will be the last I write about this issue. At least until SummerSlam rolls around and nothing’s changed.  

If you’ve listened to the Royal Rumble recap podcast1) you’ll know about the awesome contest we’re running over the next month and 2) you know I was not too impressed with the outcome of the Rumble match. I understand why Triple H was a surprise entrant at number 30 and why he won the match to become World Champion. Just because I understand it doesn’t mean I have to like it. 

On RAW, the Authority ended the opening promo saying they would announce the main event for Fastlane, with the winner of that match going on to Wrestlemania to face Triple H, at the end of the show. After the segment ended, I texted Kevin to say surely the Authority wouldn’t put Roman Reigns in a position to go on to main event Wrestlemania, right? 

Courtesy: WWE
Then at the end of the show, Stephanie McMahon announces the main event for Fastlane would be a triple threat match featuring Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns. Vs. Brock Lesnar.  This is the epitome of stupid, lazy booking. 

Barring WWE going with a Russo level swerve, I’m going to predict the main event at Fastlane ends with the Wyatt Family attacking Brock Lesnar and Reigns scores the pin fall on Ambrose. Which would give the fans Roman vs. Triple as the main event at Wrestlemania Star. I hope I’m wrong. 

As I pointed out on the podcast, Roman Reigns entered the Rumble match to a chorus of boos. After he returned from being attacked by the League of Nations, the crowd booed again. Nothing personal against Reigns, but now is not the time for him to be Champion and Vince McMahon needs to understand that. Maybe push him down the card the way Bray Wyatt, Rusev, Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler have and let Roman get the fans behind him organically to the point where they want to see him as champion. 

My personal issue with this story, besides the fact I’m tired of Hell Authority trying to keep popular baby face away from title storyline, is the title has been yanked away from Roman so often that I burnt out from seeing him in title matches. Not to mention that if he wins at Wrestlemania, Roman will be a three time champion in the span of 4-5 months and I’m old school and think title reigns should mean something. 

Another factor is the winner of Fastlane will face Triple H. Besides giving Roman the chance to get the shot, which goes against the Authority not wanting him to champion, why would Triple H want the possibility of facing Brock Lesnar? They’ve already fought a couple of times since Brock came back, so the match isn’t fresh. Brock has been presented as a suplexing monster, why would HHH want to be in the ring with that creature?  

Again, I understand the story being told, it’s just not a story I care to watch. With a roster as talented as the one WWE currently employs surely there are better matches to book and stories to tell other than what we’re getting. 

Anyway, as I said, that’s the last I’ll write about it. I’ll remind you to check out the podcast for the Road To Wrestlemania contest. You can find more details here.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Motivational Monday: Be burgundy

Hospice of Southern Illinois
35 years of service

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Disclaimer: I am not an expert, but the advice dispensed here has been researched or is something that has worked for me in the past.  Proceed at your own risk...

The directors of the Gala
Photo courtesy: Jennifer Lee 
For three years now I've been privileged to be a part of one of the biggest and best fundraisers in my community.  The Hospice of Southern Illinois Red Carpet Gala may very well be the premiere event here. Each year it grows in size and in 2016 more than a thousand people attended to support this great cause.

Hospice of Southern Illinois provides end of life care for people in our community.  They also provide support to the family and loved ones during and after the difficult time.  They do all this at no cost. That's why fundraisers like the Red Carpet Gala are so important.

Here's Johnnnnnny & Ed McMahon
Photo courtesy: Heather Fear
The 2016 theme was Late Night Tonight and dozens of volunteer performers became personalities like David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Ed Sullivan and Johnny Carson.  Also taking the stage, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Joan Rivers and dozens more.  

The Blue Collar Comedy Tour
Photo courtesy: Heather Fear
In the previous two years I've danced and sang (both poorly).  This year I was asked to be a part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.  So I delivered a few "Here's Your Sign" jokes in the likeness of Bill Engvall.  The reaction was very positive, so I think we did a good job.

Mick Jagger and his backup dancers
Photo courtesy: Heather Fear

The inspiring part of the evening is seeing all the volunteers come together after months of practice and putting on a truly great performance.  From top to bottom this was an exceptional show.  There's also countless unsung heroes behind the scenes making sure those of us on stage look and sound good.  It made my heart feel good seeing so many people in southern Illinois there to support the cause.  

Photo booth fun
Leigh Bedokis Photography 
I don't have a lot of money to donate to causes like Hospice of Southern Illinois, but I do have time.  That's why I volunteer at functions like this.  Find a cause near and dear to you and get involved.  We can all make a difference, no matter how small it may seem. A few dollars, a few hours or just sharing information on social media can go a long way.  #BeBurgundy