EDGE Magazine PRIDE ISSUE: RX For Pride Panic
Here is the story I have running in the current issue of EDGE Magazine. My assignment: How to get ready for Pride at the last minute in ten steps.
Like Christmas, Gay Pride is here again – the most wonderful time of the year. Except you’re not ready, are you? You’ve been binge eating chocolate sea salted caramel ice cream and binge watching House of Cards, when you should’ve been at the farm stand and the gym. Now you only have a month to get ready for that big weekend, the parade and all the parties, not to mention all the new outfits you want to wear and haven’t bought yet. You’re in panic mode and don’t know where to start. Step out of the panic room. Let’s do this scientifically and get you ready; you still have time. Here are ten things you can do to get yourself prepared for your own, personal, Pride celebration.
- Start a year ago. It’s a danger to set yourself up with finish lines which, once crossed, drop you back into old habits. Your body and your psyche suffer when you go on extreme diets and workouts for your birthday, then New Year’s Eve, then Pride, then Halloween because, after each finish line is crossed, people tend to recover or reward by binge eating and letting themselves go. Then, a month before the next event, they go back to the extreme again. Why not just change the way you live, eat healthily and form a regimented workout that lasts? That way, you won’t be in the panic you are in right now.
- Cut it Out. Kill what you love quickly. Go cold turkey and give up dairy, sugar, wheat, simple carbs – all the things that you already know you shouldn’t be eating. We all know; we just don’t heed the advice that’s been given. We cheat a little bit every day, justifying it with the “it’s only” syndrome. It’s only a bag of popcorn at the movie, it’s only one donut at the office, it’s only one pint of ice cream at midnight. If you want to show off on the Gay Pride float, you have to make a sacrifice. So sacrifice. Every action movie star, competition body builder, American Ninja Warrior and ballet dancer suffers for their art with a dietary deprivation – you can do it to. Even the alcohol, which has more calories than anything you’re going to eat all day.
- Sweat it Out. Do cardio every day. No days off, from now ‘til Pride. If you lift weight five days a week, do cardio seven days a week. You don’t have to do anything hardcore that will cause you to burn off the muscle you’re lifting. Most bodybuilders keep fat down and muscle up by walking on a treadmill at an incline of 3 – 3.5 and a speed of 15. If you want to burn a lot of fat calories, change your cardio, day by day. Jump rope one day, yoga the next, kickboxing the following, bootcamp after that, swimming the following day etc. Shock your body into burning more fat calories with these changes and, also, by putting in a full hour, each time. You’ll see the difference. I promise.
- Clean it Up. Since you’ve already removed the offending items from your food pyramid, clean up the ones that you have left. Steam your vegetables instead of sautéing them, switch from salt to Mrs. Dash, go for a less oily fish like salmon to something lighter like tuna or tilapia, eat only white meat from your poultry, switch from whole eggs to eggwhites, drink only water (there is so much sugar in juice and soda is the devil), eat raw nuts instead of roasted, stick to oranges and green apples for sugar instead of starchy or nectar fruits. Actually pay attention to your caloric intake. Clock it by using a food scale and an app. My Fitness Pal is a great way to keep track.
- Change the Game. Make dramatic changes to your workout. Shock your body into performing better and growing more. If you are accustomed to doing four sets of 20 reps, switch to 3 sets of 15 with more weight than you usually do, for a week. The next week, take those heavier weights and go back to four sets but with 25 reps. Try an exercise you haven’t done before, like lifting weight on a BOSU ball or a balance board. Take a TRX class, a weightless training class or a kettlebell class. Change your training time from nighttime to first thing in the morning, to get your metabolism going all day long. Get off that plateau you’ve been on and your body will respond like you threw ice water on it.
- Hit the Bricks. Get outside and get some sun on your skin. I am not a big advocate of tanning (especially indoor tanning) but it is a medically supported fact that we all need some vitamin D in our skin. Doctors have been known to prescribe sun tanning to people with a D deficiency. If you just spend a little time walking in a park or along the river, roller blading, playing sports, you will get a little color in your skin, making you look healthy, get some vitamin D, making you BE healthy, add a base coat so all your Gay Pride outdoor activities don’t leave you sunburnt and the muscles you are working so hard for actually will show better through your tawny glow. Use sunscreen, though, on these initial ventures out into the sun. If you live in a place that actually has a winter, chances are your skin hasn’t seen much light these last few months – moderation is key. By the way, your lungs will appreciate the fresh air they’ll get during this step.
- Go to Bed Hungry. They say you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Start your day with meals that will fuel you for hours, dial back your portions and the types of food you eat, as the day passes. Have the meats and the carbs (complex!) first and finish the day with the plant matter. Stop eating your carbs by two pm. Have a big salad (no meat, no dairy, no dressing –maybe oil and vinegar) for dinner and no snacks before bed. Sleep on an empty stomach. You will notice a difference within two weeks.
- Read a Book. Take some time out with a book or some Google-ing to remind yourself what exactly Gay Pride is. Read about the trailblazers who came before, who paved the way, who fought the fight. Know what it is we are celebrating and what it is that gives us Pride. Have the ability to converse with others about gay history, to inform those who don’t know, those who are younger, those who didn’t read Tales of the City, watch Paris is Burning, attend the Keith Haring exhibit, have a drink at the Stonewall Inn or buy a Harvey Milk postage stamp. Spend part of Gay Pride weekend actually being proud ; and then get your shirt off and your party on.
- Give yourself a Break. When you are at the parade, the parties, the events, the orgies and every other thing you do during Gay Pride week or weekend, don’t compare yourself to the other people you see there. All gay men are beautiful. Don’t hate on the other guys because they don’t look like you; and don’t hate on yourself because you don’t look like them. All gay men are beautiful. Repeat this to yourself often.
- Start Training Now. Gay Pride 2016 is 12 months away. When you roll in on Monday morning, spent from the partying and all that goes with it, all that makes it happen, don’t recuperate with ice cream, with waffles, with pizza and beer, with a week of resting, with a week away from the gym. Get back up the next day and keep moving in the exact same direction. You aren’t just training for Pride, for Halloween, for New Year’s, for Valentine’s Day, for Black Party, for Pride again. You are training for life.
That’s something you can be proud of yourself for, every day.