Posted by: Michael McCarron | May 29, 2012

The Tough Days

After getting up at 5am so we could take my son to get tubes in his ears at 6:45, homeward bound at 8:30am, errands and yard-work all day, cooking supper, going through the bedtime routine, and ending up laying on the bed at 8pm, I *really* didn’t want to go for a 10km run.  It would be pretty easy to say, “screw it”, go downstairs, make a bowl of popcorn, watch TV until 11 when I fall asleep on the love seat with my neck all askew, then finally “wake” at 2am and stagger upstairs holding my sore neck to collapse into bed.

My wife saw me laying on the bed and asked, “Do you feel like going for a run?”  I said without thinking, “Nope, but I’m going to anyway.” 

“Good for you”, she said.  I got up and got my gear on, then went out.  It was a beautiful evening and once my pace was solid, it was very enjoyable.  Lots of birds around and the sunset was fantastic.  It made me feel like Forrest Gump, only without the scraggly beard or mild mental handicap. 

I remember one evening a month ago or so when I was standing at our computer watching fitness videos on youtube and putting off my run.  One video was a guy interviewing a fitness model on how she got her “awesome abs” and he asked her what her number one revelation was with respect to training.  She said, “I got over procrastination.  Just get out there and do it, stop putting it off.”  I immediately shut the browser off and let my wife know I was heading out for my run.  Procrastination makes the pounds appear like unwanted magic.

If you have a run to do, a workout to get at, or just stuff that needs a doin’, get to it.  And if you live nearby and need a massage, contact me – my info is over there on the right sidebar.

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Posted by: Michael McCarron | May 25, 2012

Bee Pollen Over-Hyped

Every year my family and I head to the Royal Winter Fair in downtown Toronto.  It’s a lot of fun and the kids love the animals and excitement.  One of the things I remember from past years was a booth dispensing and selling bee pollen.  I remember tasting it and not being overly impressed with it and thinking that it seemed like a lot of claims were being made with very little evidence. Here’s a “recent post from Science Based Medicine stating exactly that plus more information if you are interested.

Posted by: Michael McCarron | May 25, 2012

Training To Not Die

I am training at the moment for a Spartan Sprint just outside of Toronto on June 24th. What’s a Spartan Sprint, Mike? Glad you asked. If you’d like to check it out, here’s the website, but if you want the Coles Notes, it’s a 5km run at a ski hill with obstacles. These obstacles involve carrying cinder blocks or tires, jumping over flaming hay bales, throwing spears, and avoiding being pummelled by muscle-bound gladiator-type ruffians.

Likely the question in your head now is, “Why the hell would anyone do this to themselves?” This is a valid point to bring up and the only answer I have is that it seems fun and challenging at 41 years old to complete something like this without dying. The motivation to train with a task like this looming on the near horizon is high, so setting short-term goals is key to staying active. The goals have to be specific and achieveable so you don’t lose your drive, they have to be challenging enough that you want to get out on the road or do those chin-ups/push-ups/hill runs, etc., and they have to involve activity that you (at least partially) enjoy.

I still only run three or at most four times a week with two days of cross training. When you’re nowhere near a professional athlete, don’t rake yourself over the coals if life gets in the way and you miss a run/workout. Alternately, however, more than a day or so of doing nothing should feel like you’re slacking – at least once you get into a nice routine.

After the Spartan Run thingy, I’ve signed up for a half marathon in October. Speaking of not dying, that’s 21km of road out in front of you. Training is sort of imperative, so as soon as the June obstacle course is finished, we’re right into the 12-week “camp”. It’s exciting and I’ll post regular updates and personal goals as the races get closer.

Posted by: Michael McCarron | May 23, 2012

Basics Work

Over the last year or so I have lost approximately 40 pounds. At one point during my chubby days, I stepped out of the shower in the morning and got on the scale. Now, I am 5’9″ tall so when I saw 211, let’s just say I was shocked. I have no business being over 200 pounds, let alone another eleven. That was the breaking point.

I started to change my life. I knew that diets didn’t work because, by definition, they end and you go back to eating/doing what you did pre-diet, thus creating the dreaded “yo-yo” phenomenon. I knew I had to make permanent changes which is very easy to say, but quite difficult to actually carry out. When we got my daughter an iPod touch for Christmas I found a free app called MyFitnessPal (a calorie counting aid) and decided to see just how out of whack my eating habits were.

Like most people, I thought I ate fairly well. After I put in my current weight, my goal weight, and the time frame I wanted to lose it all in, I was given about 1580 calories per day. When I took the first day and tallyed my total intake…

Well.

It was in the neighborhood of 3200 calories. With no exercise. No wonder I was carrying a five year old around my waist all day in extra poundage. I was eating double my alloted amount and doing nothing to burn off the pasta, english muffins with peanut butter, and popcorn. Damn.

Let me say this as well: It’s really hard for the first two months or so when you cut back to *proper* portion sizes and eliminate junky food and stop snacking after supper (unless it’s water and fruit/veggies). Quite literally, ALL you think about is food. I dreamt about pasta. Pizza became porn. Let’s not mention beer, shall we? Holy crap, I never knew how much you could crave something until I passed the ice-cream section of the grocery store and had to keep on walking, looking back at the Caramel Crunch Explosion like it was a model in a short skirt giving me a bedroom-eyes twice-over staredown.

It is *really* hard to cut back on food.

But after that initial period, it gets easier. Now my motto is, “It’s easier to have none than some.” I give myself one cheat-day per week and even that is not too bad because I don’t want to ruin the runs and exercise I’ve done that week. Plus, once your stomach gets used to less food coming in, you can’t eat that much anymore. You start looking for things you can eat on cheat day that aren’t that bad, like low-calorie beer. Afternoon snacks become things like yogurt tubes or Skinny Cow ice-cream bars. You start watching American Ninja Warrior and thinking you might be able to do that obstacle course someday, with enough training…or not.

Now I’m back to my university weight of 170-175 pounds. It took some time to get there, but it’s fairly easy to maintain as long as I keep my portion sizes normal and only one cheat day. I’m at the point where I miss my runs if I don’t get them in, which is nice. If you’re in Brooklin, keep an eye out and you might spot me some evening or Sunday morning, sweating and very likely swearing softly to myself.

Posted by: Michael McCarron | October 25, 2011

Hello Flyer/Poster Readers!

Over the last few days, I have posted quite a few flyers and posters on mailboxes and telephone poles around the north Whitby/Brooklin area. I’m hopeful that several thousand people will flood my cellphone inbox and email with requests for relaxing or therapeutic massage 🙂 Please check out my details on the right sidebar to book a massage or drop me a line with any questions you may have about massage, my background, or a general question about health.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted by: Michael McCarron | October 7, 2011

Pancreatic Cancer

In light of the death of the iconic Steve Jobs yesterday, I thought I would post this article on pancreatic cancer. It’s interesting to know how your body works, and if the general public had a better understanding I think there would be less backlash with respect to public health measures. Have a read and discuss amongst yourselves, or leave a comment here.

Posted by: Michael McCarron | September 23, 2011

Sid the Science Kid Gets Vaccinated!

If you’re looking for a cool kid’s show about science, check out Sid the Science Kid. It’s hilarious for adults too, and it covers scientific topics in a kid-friendly way. Take a look at this episode on vaccinations for example:
It even mentions Ignaz Semmelweis for crying out loud. The website seems good, although the videos are only available in the U.S. (boo) and the positive messages about science and thinking are really hope-inspiring about the future. Keep it up, Henson company and PBS!

Posted by: Michael McCarron | September 20, 2011

Good Article on Science Based Medicine

I enjoy keeping up with the scientific blogs on the ‘net.  From the conglomerates like Science Blogs, Freethought Blogs, and Scientopia, to the singular ones like Neurologica, many of these provide a forum for discussion of current research and a dose of reality to nonsense.

One of the best of these is Science Based Medicine, a group blog which has contributers from a variety of medical disciplines.  Recently, one of the main editors, Dr. David Gorski, penned (typed?) a piece which mentioned massage therapy as it is usually used by “alternative” practitioners – i.e. as a Trojan Horse.

Most “alternative” practitioners are quite comfortable including massage as one of their own, although massage is not really “alternative”.  Its benefits are known and its effects have been proven in studies – granted, many people overstate these and even go so far as to start talking about “life energies” and other such woo woo hooey.

Once you get massage into the conversation under the banner of “alternative”, the trick is to switch what you’re talking about and begin mentioning really wacky nonsensical things like reiki, homeopathy, or reflexology and including them under that same tent.  It shouldn’t be allowed and Dr. Gorski calls out the perpetrators.

It’s well worth the read!

Posted by: Michael McCarron | June 28, 2011

Been A While

I’m back in the mix and looking for new clients in the Eastern GTA!  I’ve been pretty tied up with the two clinics I work at but now it’s time to start branching out on my own and spreading the wings.

It’s exciting to be working in massage now.  There are quite a few opportunities and some great people to get to know – I hope you’ll be one of them.  Contact me today to set up an appointment.

Posted by: Michael McCarron | March 3, 2010

Where I Am Located

I am a registered massage therapist based in Brooklin, Ontario who decided to provide home and office on-site massage services to the eastern GTA after working in a physiotherapy clinic for the last seven years. While I am still at the clinic, I look forward to building my own clientele and soon taking flight as both an RMT and business owner.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or appointment requests.

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