Tar isn’t the problem

Fb wrote

You seem relatively knowledgeable in health matters so I thought I would ask this question. I have recently given up smoking and started vaping. The guys at the Vape shop say vaping is healthier and not harmful but I am seeing some news articles on Facebook talking about how it is harmful and is an epidemic. I thought the tar was the bad part of smoking so is there something else I should be worried about?

Fb

Fb,

First off, let me say that inhaling anything other than the air we breathe is harmful …and sometimes even the air we breathe can be harmful.

While there is a lack of long-term data, studies do prove vaping is harmful because the “vape user” and anyone in the vicinity are inhaling a series of chemicals including – at minimum- concentrated nicotine which is usually consumed at a nearly toxic level, a chemical flavoring base, and the suspension liquid that turns into the vapor (this can turn into formaldehyde when heated into vapor…it is NOT just water). None of this is good for the lungs. While cigarettes, marijuana, and hookahs do contain a host of other chemicals and/or plant tar, vaping is still harmful – and if you are trying to be healthy, it’s best to avoid smoking in general. Nicotine in general can also affect brain growth in fetuses and small children as well, so it isn’t just you that should be considered.

I know I mentioned marijuana there, and there are people that need to take it for medicinal use, but I’d recommend looking into non-smokable options if that is the case.

I hope that helps,

Sean

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Protein mysteries

I recently had someone ask me what protein I use.

I responded with, “Use when?”

There are different proteins for different situations. First, I never do plant protein…it doesn’t absorb as easily into the body, it’s usually very low in natural BCAAs and protein grams, and it’s almost always a nasty taste and it makes your teeth feel fuzzy. I am also not “plant based”, and never will be, thank God. Give me beef or dairy protein all day, every day.

Second, I also don’t use those proteins from companies like Thrive, Arbonne, GNC, or Beachbody. For those of you that have only had those types of proteins: THERE ARE WAY BETTER TASTING PROTEINS OUT THERE. Don’t settle for crappy tasting and overpriced protein. Do some research and find a flavor that works for you.

My top protein choices are as follows (in no particular order):

Dymatize – They make a great tasting whey and great tasting casein protein. They don’t amino spike, and it mixes really well with water, almond milk, or milk. I drink this blended with a banana, some honey, and milk after a workout. Gluten free too.

MAN Sports Clean Protein – One of the best tasting protein blends out there. It’s a mix of fast and slow digesting protein, has no amino spiking, and no artificial color. I drink this at work during the day by pouring a scoop with some milk. The Unicorn Milk flavor tastes like strawberry cake (not just strawberry). Says gluten free but processed with equipment that processes wheat.

Sparta Nutrition Spartan Whey – I can’t seem to get any response from the company on whether or not it’s gluten free at all (I’ve emailed, Facebook messages, etc), but the taste is amazing. The “Pebbles Cereal” fruity one really tastes like cereal and is great mixed with milk. It’s also a blend.

APS Isomorph Whey Isolate – This was a new one for me, but it slides right through a funnel for mixing (which is awesome for anyone that’s spilled protein powder on their desk before) and flavors taste exactly like they say. Cinnamon Graham is awesome. Like Sparta, I can’t get a response as to whether or not it’s gluten free.

RedCon1 MRE – This one is more like a meal. Most certainly not truly gluten free like MAN Sports Clean Protein, but it tastes amazing. Don’t let the blend of oats, beef, salmon, chicken, egg, rice, pea, and sweet potato fool you, it really tastes great and Blueberry Cobbler is like dessert (there are tiny oat chunks in there for you texture people).

I am always on the lookout for new, great tasting proteins, so I’d encourage you to try these and check back to see if more get a recommendation from me over time.

Sean

Ways to tell if a guy’s a d*ck before meeting or committing.

Soon-to-be-back-on-the-market wrote:

Sean, I’ll be divorced soon after over 10 years of marriage, and I’m rusty with dating and am not sure I even knew what I was doing before when I was single all those years ago. I’m not sure I know how to see the signs that a guy isn’t worth my time. Please help.”

STBBOTM

STBBOTM,

Online dating can be a drag for women. One minute, they are happily completing an online dating profile and the next thing they know, they have an inbox full of penis pictures and hateful emails yelling at them for not immediately responding.

Here are some ways to tell how if a guy online will be someone to avoid, or if you’ve already weeded through your inbox and set up a date, what to watch out for:

1. All of his role models and favorite celebs/athletes/musicians are male. If there is no important female in his life, odds are, you won’t be important either.

2. He doesn’t introduce you in social settings (or he diminishes what you do for a living). If he likes you, he will find what you do and who you are important enough to “show you off” to others. Not that you’re a trophy , but rather someone that he is proud to be with (run away if he only introduces you based on looks). If he diminishes what you do (i.e., “she just works in a daycare”), you are spending your time with a self-important douche.

3. He comments on more than 3 social media pictures at one time without emailing you to introduce himself. Social media is one way people can connect outside of dating apps but watch out for the randoms laying it on thick, like “You’re so hot.”, “We’d have so much fun together.”, “Love your hip tattoo”…these are all signs he is viewing you as an object and not a person. Normal people introduce or reintroduce themselves, make small talk, and get to know someone before making comments like that. Likes are a little different, but if a guy goes in and likes all 300 pictures of you on Instagram, start filing your restraining order.

Go ahead, turn this upside down..

4. He sends unsolicited sexts. If you think you’re getting a nice hello email and open it up to a what looks like an upside down Muppet modeling headshot, delete and block.

5. He is constantly rude to – or rude about- your friends. “Brenda is slutty, plain and simple.” or “Brenda, you’d find a decent guy if you weren’t so butch.” Go. Go now. Let Brenda beat his ass.

6. His online dating profile is all group pictures. This goes for women that have all group pictures in their profiles too. These people will eventually pull the “Well I’ve known them longer than you” card when you express frustration about only seeing them in group settings or one day a week. It’s best to avoid these types. A relationship happens when two people get to know each other on a personal level, not with a group of his (or her) friends.

7. His profile mentions his video game system. An adult doesn’t put enough priority in video games to mention them on a dating profile (unless it’s their living or they design games). If he talks about wanting to find someone who will play PS4 with him or his pictures feature him playing video games with his buds, it’s best to tell this guy “game over”.

“My name is Elliott. I like My Little Pony collecting. Would you dress up as Sparklefart for me?”

8. He posts pictures containing only him and his material things or all “flex” pics. Boat, motorcycle, house, alcohol or gun collection, and 13 shirtless pictures. Best to just leave this guy alone or it will be all materialism, all of the time.

9. Their profile says “I travel extensively for work” and they don’t work for an airline. While they may travel for work, these people usually want someone that is okay being alone most of the time (the person gets home wants to see family and friends and THEN you) or they are flat out lying and want to keep it casual without having that conversation. Some travel is okay, but if it’s more than a third of the year (that is over 100 days for you non-math people), it’s best to let them fly away while you stay grounded.

Hey, I heard you like butterflies, so…

10. He is all about grand gestures. A fun and unexpected first date is nice, as are some romantic gestures after getting to know someone. If it’s all about flashing cash and expensive things, he’s a collector. He collects things to show off and if you want to be treated like an equal, that will never happen with this guy.

The pose

Anonymous wrote,

You mentioned a pose in your “ways fitness habits are ripping you off” post. Like someone has a back problem. What is that pose?

Anonymous

Anonymous

It’s the one above. This was found with just a 5 minute scroll through Instagram.

To be clear, I am not knocking these women or home fitness (though it is proven to be somewhat ineffective for long term benefit as 33% quit by the end of their first year), or even the vendor, but I am suspecting the vendor or the vendor reps are coaching these people on how to stand and it’s really annoying.

That’s all.

Fame?

Myrna wrote

How do you deal with being famous? I have like 200 people following my Insta and leaving comments and things and I can’t deal.

How do you deal with being famous and the attention it brings?

Myrna

Myrna,

I am not famous, nor have I ever pretended to be. I have a blog and a around a thousand followers on all social media in addition to random readers here. Sometimes they comment, sometimes they email, and I do my best to respond. I don’t have riches, I don’t have instant recognition wherever I go, and I haven’t had a chance to do something major with my life other than help some people and donate to & encourage everyone to donate to the American Cancer Society.

If 200 people following you is famous in your eyes, I am glad you found fame and I hope you handle it responsibly. Personally, I wouldn’t consider anyone truly famous until they’ve amassed over 10k Social media followers, started in a movie or TV show, done something good in pro sports, released music or writing on a large scale, and done something notably benevolent with their fame or income. It’s easy to be rich or YouTube famous these days just by being an idiot, doing pratfalls or semi-correct workout videos, or by saying stupid things. I am not saying you do those things, but that’s the way the world is working lately. No one should strive for that…strive for more. If you feel you’re famous, encourage your followers to come donate money or time to a charity that will affect the largest number of people you can affect (AIDS, Cancer, or MS charities are a good start) or have them pledge time to a United Way or Habitat for Humanity event. If your followers all give time, you’re certainly more famous than some already famous people because you’re moving your followers to do good things.

Sean

Ways your fitness habit is ripping you off

Everyone is getting fit these days and I t seems like there are so many different ways to push yourself to new levels of perfection, so how do you meet your goals without going broke? Let’s take a look at ways you can push your peak without breaking the bank:

1. It shouldn’t cost more than $50 per month for a decent gym membership. I know what you’re thinking…”but my gym has a pool/towel service/24 hour schedule/multi-club access..”. News flash, there are plenty of $50-or-less-per-month gyms that have all of this. My gym, for example, is short scheduled on Sundays and closes at 8, but is open 24 hours a day during the week. It also has a pool, fun classes, and multi-club access, for $21 a month. In a world of 24 Hour FitnessAnytime Fitness/LA Fitness/or Xperience Fitness, there is no reason to be overpaying for a gym with decent amenities. Just find the one that has what you need.

2.Your multi-vitamins should not cost more than $1 per day. GNC is excellent at ripping people off here, by trying to show the GNC vitamins have extra “stuff” in them, by showing how they break down in water, etc., but there are two things you are overlooking if you fall for this scam:

A. The extra stuff in their themed vitamin packs should almost always be taken at a different time than the vitamin to maximize their potency.

B. Your stomach can digest metal so how a vitamin dissolves in water has no meaning to your stomach-it will dissolve. If you’re pooping out a whole vitamin, you’ve got bigger issues.

3. Your protein should also cost under $1.40 per scoop. It doesn’t matter if it’s organic, grass-fed, magic protein milked right from the last male unicorn…$1.40 per scoop is the MAX you should pay for good protein, unless there is a protein blend, an IGF-1 additive, or it’s a limited time thing (like it was made with unicorn milk). There are also two other things to take into account:

A. Flavor is a big deal. GNC and some other brands will tell you their vanilla flavor is different (which means it tastes like garbage) because they focus on the added nutrition and protein blend, not the flavor. Vanilla should not taste like a plastic toy or burned coconut. Dymatize, ON, Bucked Up, Sparta Nutrition, and others make delicious protein that actually tastes like the flavor on the tub. Don’t overpay for crappy flavor.

B. Watch for amino spiking. For example, if the serving size is 33 grams, and the tub says 24 grams of protein, 11 grams of glutamine, 6 grams of leucine, the manufacturer is substituting amino acids for “protein” count. Your protein grams plus all of the amino acid grams should be equal to or make up around 80% of the serving size. Furthermore, you should never buy the “multivitamin in my protein” kind of protein. Some nutrition is okay, but if the protein is equivalent to your multivitamin, you’re buying garbage disguised as protein.

4. Your sleep supplement shouldn’t contain more than 4mg of melatonin. A sleep supplement can help with recovery, growth hormone development, and overall well-being…but if your sleep supplement is more than 4 mg of melatonin, you’re wasting your money. A proper sleep supplement should have GABA, valerian root, EAAs, phenibut, and some other things if necessary, but a high melatonin count means your body will eventually develop a tolerance to melatonin, and that the manufacturer wanted to add a cheap sleep ingredient for a high price and make a buck off of a sucker like you.

5. Your thermogenic shouldn’t be a caffeine pill. Fat burners are a decent addition to help burn some stubborn fat, but while a thermogenic could have SOME caffeine, any thermogenic that has over 75% of the total ingredients comprised of caffeine is a joke. A good thermogenic should have any of the following: L-Carnitine, CLA, Yohimbine, Rawuscoline, Vitamin B, Caffeine (some), Phenylalanine, Eria Jarensis, or DMHA. Just watch out if you’re taking any anti-depressants or other medications.

6. You do not need a meal coach. There is enough info online to put together a solid meal-prep for a week…you do not need to pay someone to do this for you, unless they pay for the food AND cook it for you.

7. The majority of fitness clothing you see in FB or IG ads is a ripoff. Leather-free shoes for $200? $80 CrossFit shorts? A lifting shirt for $40? Just say no, people. TJ Max , Sierra Trading Post (my fave), and Amazon all sell fitness clothing from reputable brands for a reasonable price. My Merrill trail running shoes would have cost $140 regular price, but they were $40 at Sierra Trading Post. Unless those leather-free shoes are going to last 5 times as long as normal shoes with twice the comfort, they aren’t worth it.

8. Your at-home fitness videos won’t provide long term benefit. We’ve all seen the friend who posts at-home fitness routines on social media with the “hands on hips while leaning forward toward the camera like they have a back problem” pose. For quick and short-term weight loss, these programs work well…but for long term benefit, nothing burns fat and protects bone density like dense muscle and you won’t get dense muscle without lifting a decent amount of weight. It’s the secret these dance in your living room video programs don’t want you to know: you WILL eventually plateau and they WILL try to upsell you to “take you to the next level”, but you could do this with a simple gym membership and some actual weights. My advice here is use them while you can (if under $50 a month and if you have kids or a fear of sweating around others), but eventually get your ass to the gym and lift.

There you have it…8 ways to help you get or stay fit without breaking the bank. Try a few, or all 8, and put your savings toward a masseuse or some ibuprofen-you’ll need it.

Sean

The other side of the hill..

Since I am 40 today, some may consider me over the hill. I consider myself in my prime. My 20s and 30s were definitely fun, but it was more of a primer for these “adult” years. Here are some random moments in the last 40 years:

I once shot my friend Kris in the ass with a paintball gun, totally by accident…from about two feet away. He got revenge by shooting me in the balls with a paintball gun from about 100 feet away 20 years later.

I was riding my bike with my friend Joe and whipped into the underground parking ramp at top speed. The door to the ramp was closed and my bike hit a rain drain, sending me over the handlebars and face first into the ramp door.

I cut the tip of my finger off while making chicken salad for the woman that is now my wife. We never did find that tip.

I met an adult film star in downtown Minneapolis after the bar once but was too shy to get a picture with her. I just shook her hand, made small talk, and said it was nice to meet her.

My friend Brian and I once had a little too much to drink and fell asleep (we may have passed out) on top of our tent while trying to set it up for the evening. I ended up wrapping up in the tent to stay warm.

I have been to 38 states.

I’ve had three surgeries and 8 sets of stitches (not counting wisdom teeth).

I went to basic training in Georgia and before finishing, was given medical discharge for a wrist cyst that swelled up my arm. I am just now regaining grip strength from wrist surgery.

I can now bench press 205lbs (and not just the “I did one rep, so that counts”…crap) and I squat 185.

I consume copious amounts of protein.

My favorite artists in the 9th grade were Tori Amos and Queen.

I once rode 10 hours to Indianapolis after getting over severe food poisoning (an hour before we left) to watch a roller derby bout. I vomited so hard I lost a contact and had to flirt my way to getting a free contact trial pair at a Shopko in Wisconsin.

I have made some great friends over my 40 years and my family (both sides) couldn’t be a better group of people. I love you all. Here’s to another 40 years. May our hearts hold up longer than our hips.

Sean