Operation 80 to Baby.

Although it would have been hilarious for me, a lot of people would have been angry if last week’s big announcement was an elaborate April Fool’s prank.  Thankfully it wasn’t.  Neither is the sympathy weight I’ve been packing on.  That’s why yesterday, when I re-entered the world after a nice baby-free vacation, Anne and I launched our latest project.  Operation 80 to Baby.

Operation 80 to Baby is an elaborate workout program that I developed to make sure that my future kid does not have a morbidly obese dad.  Here’s how it works.

Step one:  Make a chart.

photo (17)

 

Anne’s participating as well, but she’s stuck on step one.  Her chart has to be all pretty.  Mine is purely functional.  I used construction paper and a blue pen.

Step 2:  Write 80 numbers on the chart, one for each day that you plan to work out.  I chose 80 because the baby is due in about 20 weeks.  If I can work out an average of 4 days per week every week until the baby’s supposed to arrive, then I will have successfully created a habit that won’t go away post baby.  When I was moping around saying to Anne, “Blah blah I’m so lazy Blah Blah,” she reminded me that it will probably be easier to start now and continue than it will be to restart from nothing in a few months.  Point taken.

Step 3:  Every time you work out, cross one of the numbers off.  I like to do this in order, but you really don’t have to.  Anne’s still trying to figure out what she should put on her chart.  This morning she thought that taping 80 little pictures of babies would be “fun.”  I told her it was creepy.  But she didn’t hear me.  So she won’t get mad that I said that until right now when she reads this.

WARNING – BLATANT PRODUCT PLUG ABOUT TO HAPPEN – WARNING:  

For my first work out, I did a little yoga at home.  Recently, YogaJack, a company that has developed a line of yoga products specifically targeted to manly men like myself, was kind enough to send me one of their mats to review.

mat1_1024x1024

As a man (and a particularly sweaty and chubby one), I can say that I’ve put this thing through the ringer.  My initial impression was that I wanted it to be a little stickier.  The more I use it, however, the better it gets.  Apparently yoga mats have a weird sheen on them at the beginning that wears off over time.  This one was no exception.

I don’t know what makes a yoga mat manly (but why would I?  I don’t even know what makes a man manly), but here’s why I like this mat:

  1. It’s long. 
  2. It’s thick.
  3. It feels good in my hands.

Uh.  Hm.  Jeez.  That really didn’t come out right, did it?

I do know one thing that made it manly.  The mat clearly has a top and bottom.  When I used it, I correctly placed the mat so that the “top” was facing up and the “bottom” was touching the dirty floor.  Anne tried the mat, and she had it upside down.  Women, right???

Final note, before I started using the YogaJack mat, I had a lululemon mat.  In all fairness, this mat was “stickier” than the YogaJack mat, but it smelled like a plastic fart, which is not a smell that is nice when your face is literally pressed against the mat.  I’ll take care of making a mat smell like death in my own time, I don’t need it to start out that way.  But not only does the lululemon mat smell like fart, it also sounds like fart if it gets wet and your skin touches it at all.  So basically, if you use the lululemon mat, everyone will just think you’re ripping away, and they’ll believe it too because it will smell like that.

Step 4:  Share your plan with the internet.  Let them hold you accountable when you slack off.  When you see me, if it looks like I’ve gained 80 lbs of sympathy weight, remember that’s not how the plan works.  Feel free to poke my belly.  If I laugh like a doughboy, the plan’s not working.

Step 5:  six-pack abs.

And that’s it.  If you’re interested in a personalized plan for yourself, please email me.  How much would you guess such a plan would cost?  10,000 dollars?  One million dollars?  No dollars?  Oh no, you can have a plan of your own for just $199.99.  That’s right.  For just $199.99, a mildly successful blogger will create a plan exclusively for you.  You can pick the color of the construction paper and the color of the pen to match all of your fitness needs.  But wait, there’s more.

I couldn’t think of anything to offer for the more part, so forget I said it, okay?

With just a little bit of work, this could be you in 80 days:

A drawing by Rob Pollak - 80 day workout plan for fathers to be

 

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35 Life Lessons I Learned before Turning 35

Life Lessons by Rob Pollak

1. There’s no cure for a hangover, but good Lo Mein comes damn close.

A drawing by Rob Pollak - How to cure a hangover:  Lo Mein

2. There are three things that are always worth the money: International travel, excellent food, and Blu Rays.

3. When you make a list of thirty-five things, don’t number the items until you’ve finished the whole list. That way, when you’re editing your list and realize number three is stupid, you don’t have to make up some ridiculous lesson to avoid renumbering the whole thing.

4. No matter how much your parents annoy you, piss you off, yell at you, or tell you that you need to wait before hitting your driver (even though the group in front of you is 400 yards away), they do it because they love you and want the best for you. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way, but it’s true. Take a step back to see things from their perspective. It may help you appreciate why they do all that annoying shit.

5. When you get good service, tip more than expected. The few extra dollars won’t kill you and will mean a lot to the person who provided the excellent service.

6. Stop being scared. If there’s something you want to do but aren’t doing because you’re scared, suck it up and do it. The only things in life to truly fear are (a) stepping in dog shit, and (b) asking the one question that makes a public speaker take back the claim that “there’s no such thing as a dumb question.”

7. When you find a blog you like (like this one) go out of your way to tell the person (genius) that writes it (me) how great (best thing in the entire world) it is. Share the content with your closest friends (the whole world). You may think you’re being stalkerish (you probably are) by reading something that you think isn’t aimed at you (it probably wasn’t). But if someone took the time to create something and put it on the web, it’s because that person is an attention whore (and he will be happy to hear from you regardless of his initial intent). And attention whores crave lots of attention (from anyone). To be helpful, I drafted a template for you in case you decide to follow my advice:

Dear [ROB],
I know we last spoke at Hebrew camp in 1991, but I have been enjoying your blog since we reconnected when you spammed my facebook page. I especially liked your post about when lawyers can go home. You have an excellent command of logic and the handwriting of an armless nine-year-old blind child. I wish there were more people like you in the world. You also look trimmer than you did when you were 13. Well done! How did you manage to trick a beautiful intelligent woman into marrying you? I never would have expected that from you. I remember a time when you refused to play on the skins team in a shirts vs skins basketball game. Boy were you fat. I wish you well in the future. Here’s a few dollars. Buy yourself something nice. I learned about the importance of tipping from your blog.
Love,
[Mom]

8. Don’t believe anything the Mayans say. They keep predicting the end of the world, but they never get it right. I wish they would just go away already.

9. Anything that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler do together is funny. Women are funny. Deal with it old men. Here’s my favorite:

10. Three things that are never worth it: (a) Holding grudges, (b) extended warranties, and (c) super-sizing your meal.

11. Nothing good ever comes from drinking a beverage with an ä in its name.

A drawing by Rob Pollak

12. Don’t be scared to request the vacation time you’re entitled to at work. Other people will tell you the “right way to go about vacation time.” Those people are assholes. If you’re in a job that doesn’t let you go on vacation, that job is stupid and you’ll burn yourself out. Vacation refreshes you to go back and do a good job. At least for the first 3-4 hours after it ends. Then you need another vacation on the books so you have something to look forward to.

13. Coleslaw is disgusting. Mistrust anyone who likes it. Unless it’s vinegar-based and atop a pulled pork sandwich. Then it’s majestic.

14. Be wary of anyone who likes some combination of the following teams: Lakers, Cowboys, Yankees, and Notre Dame.

15. Stop hating the foods you’ve hated since you were a kid. You might surprise yourself and find out that brussel sprouts are really good now. Most restaurants put bacon in them.

16. After two weeks of pure torture, exercise becomes amazing. If you don’t exercise now, commit for two weeks. Suck it up. Force yourself to do it. Whatever it takes. If at the end of two weeks, you don’t feel the pull to keep it up, then you can stop. But after one day of stopping, at least try to force yourself to do another two weeks. Keep repeating this until you realize how amazing you feel. If you don’t feel amazing after three tries, then stop eating all that fast food, idiot.

17. If you want to be a news anchor, realize that you have to spend years and years reporting from the coastline during natural disasters. Ask yourself: is it worth it?

18. Never set out to make a list of 35 things without thinking it through first. Thirty five is a lot. Even more than you think. By the time you get half way, you’ll probably regret your decision.

19. Have you ever seen a piece of fruit the color of a Maraschino cherry? That’s why you shouldn’t eat them.

20. Have you ever eaten a Maraschino cherry? They’re amazing. Sometimes just trust your instincts even though you know the consequences.

The Maraschino Cherry - Life Lessons by Rob Pollak

21. The Cosby Show holds up better than Seinfeld.

22. Proofread everything on more time than you think you have too.

23. If you do anything because you want other people to think you’re cool, stop doing that thing. That makes you a poser. Do things because you like to do them. That makes you interesting and awesome.

24. Trust your own taste in music, movies, and beer. Even though people will make fun of you for liking 4 non blondes, you still know What’s Up.

25. Resist the urge to Google the answer to every question. Yes, there is an objective answer to the question on Google, but sometimes it’s more fun to just see how it plays out. I know this because I always Google, and everyone hates me.

26. Say “yes” to pretty much any request, especially when it’s something easy like seeing a movie, attending a wedding, or supporting a friend. Your friends will appreciate you, your life experience will increase, and your comfort zone will continue to expand.

27. Make a prank call at least once a year.

A drawing by Rob Pollak

27a.  If you are the recipient of a prank call, laugh it off. No one likes the guy who thinks he’s above a little humor:

28. If a particular food gives you diarrhea, don’t ever eat that food again. No matter how good it tastes (the food, not the diarrhea).

29. Always give directions to those who ask or who look like they might need directions. If you have a few extra minutes, walk them to the destination and pretend you’re a college tour guide.

30. Try meditation. I thought it was stupid for the longest time. It can do amazing things if you give it a chance. If you think it’s stupid, you probably don’t know what it is. It can have nothing to do with religion or spirituality if that’s what you’re scared of.

31. People older than you don’t have it all figured out. They may speak with authority, but they mostly make it up just like you do. Most of them are full of shit. That said, listen to their advice. There’s a lot of wisdom in that shit.

32. The following things are fake: (a) emails from Nigerian princes, (b) the four hour work week, (c) Lance Armstrong, and (d) those funny autocorrects you read about on the internet.

A drawing by Rob Pollak

33. Ignore the instructions on everything except crazy glue, hot sauce, and power tools.

34. If you can run three miles, you can run six miles. You may not think you can, and it may be painful and miserable, but you can 100 percent do it.

35. No matter how wise it seems, don’t trust any advice you get from the Internet.

(Note – This also appears on Elephant Journal.  If you made it all the way down here, you might as well click this link and then follow me on Facebook!)

Present me v. Future me: What I learned from the Willpower Instinct

If you’ve been following my blog, you might me remember my struggles with ice cream, or the time I quit training for the NYC Marathon, or the many months when I didn’t post at all [null link].  Maybe you’re noticing a pattern here.  I certainly did:  I have no willpower.

So I set out to remedy that by reading Kelly McGonigal‘s book The Willpower Instinct:  How Self-Control Works, Why it Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It.

Okay, you caught me.  I’m lying a little bit.  I didn’t actually read it.  Not the whole thing anyway.  But!  I did listen to the Audiobook while commuting.  Most of it at least.  And sometimes I would think about how I could do the exercises to try and get better about things.  But then I would remember my defensive driving training and return my eyes to the road, focusing on any immediate emergencies 2 seconds ahead or scanning for potential danger up to 12 seconds ahead.

At the very least, just by listening to the book, I now can’t help but think about some of the broader concepts that McGonigal discusses.  (Note – if you’re going to listen to the audio book, you’re in for a rude awakening if you expect the narration to be in the author’s voice.  And judging by her picture, she has a hot voice.  The narrator is a monotone man who probably sent a dozen other people to defensive driving class through no fault of their own.)

One concept I learned about was the struggle between my current self and my future self. From what I gathered, my current self is lazy, selfish, shortsighted, irrational, conniving, lazy, calculating, and optimistic.  While my future self is an amazing person, but I never get to meet him.  Here’s an example of a conversation I have with my current self all the time:

Rob1 (current self):  Man, I haven’t been to the gym in a week.  I am harnessing my pants together with an airplane seatbelt extender.  I have ice cream drippings solidifying in the folds of my chin.  Maybe I should go to the gym today.

Rob2 (also current self):  Good idea.  But didn’t you want to watch the new episode of Two Broke Girls?

Rob1:  No, not really.  I should go to the gym.

Rob2:  Dude.  Two Broke Girls!

Rob1:  Hm, that does sound good.

Rob2:  We can just go to the gym tomorrow.

Rob1:  True.

Rob2:  And let’s get some pizza and more ice cream because we’re going to start eating healthy tomorrow too.

Rob1:  Oh yeah, I did say I was going to do that when I was eating lunch at Arby’s.

Rob2:  Totally.  We’re going to be awesome tomorrow.

Rob3 (Future Rob):  Whoa.  I really committed to a lot tomorrow.

Rob1&2:  Yeah, but you’re so amazing.   We love you.

I’m not sure if reading that book will change the way I think about these conversations, but it’s at least made me aware that I totally justify things by thinking I’ll get better about them tomorrow.  And not only that, but McGonigal uses things like sciences and experiments to back up her findings.  I’m a democrat, so I really dig that kind of hogwash.

I’m not saying that this book has all the answers, but if you’ve been keeping track, you have probably noticed the dramatic increase in volume to this blog (and the distracting facebook clog I have caused on your timeline).  So you’re welcome and I’m sorry.

For the visual learners – this is present me:

Image

And this is future me:

runpic2

Now, about that ice cream….