Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks -- My Favorite Holiday

My favorite holiday of the year - Thanksgiving, it just edges out Fourth of July in my book because of what it stands for – Giving Thanks. Teammates ask me all time – what gives with the constant Fired Up Attitude Alden??? Some who don’t know me throw the bullshit flag at me and call it false motivation until we spend about 2 minutes together – which should be about how long it takes you to read what I’m about to write…in my book Attitude is the number one thing you need to control before you tackle any goal you have in mind – especially if you’re looking to work on your body – Attitude is 100% up to you – no matter how powerfully positive or miserably negative you are – you’ve made that decision and you’ve made it based on a perspective that you’ve allowed your brain to accept. Your perspective in life fuels your Attitude – think you’re gonna fail, then you will; think you’re fat, then no matter what anyone tells you – you’ll remained focused on being fat; conversely, think about winning, then you’ll be thinking about how to win, and you’ll be on your way to victory; want to lose 10lbs, then you’ll determine how to lose it, and make it happen…no matter what it is, how you view your challenge is directly dependent on what perspective you adopt, and that perspective is your Attitude’s foundation.

So what’s this got to do with Thanksgiving? Everything! It’s about everything that’s TRULY important about your perspective in life – I give thanks for being able to move, to see, to feel, and especially to love my family and friends. We ALL get caught up in the rat race of life and when we do, we usually lose our perspective on the things that REALLY matter versus the things that seem to matter at the moment.

This Thanksgiving – take a moment to give thanks to the things that matter most in your life, and once you do, you’ll realize that you’ve discovered the power source to your own Fired UP Attitude…and if you’re struggling to figure out what thanks you should give – drop down and push’em out – then give thanks to the fact you can do a push-up – I know whole bunch of veterans that wish they could do what you CAN do.

Happy ThanksGiving – CHARLIE MIKE - ALDEN

Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting Older Is Not For The Meek

Guest blogger: Tom Rancich

“Okay—so I have fielded (or rather not fielded) a few questions on what to do when exercises become painful or age and injuries make workouts more hazardous than helpful. The answer is—adjust! Note the biggest implication of adjusting is that you are not STOPPING! So, when I was in College I would go to morning swim practice (4-5000yds), lunch hour weight training, afternoon practice (6-8000yds) then two hours of rugby practice. In the Teams we PT’ed at least 3 hours a day, and then spent 4-6 hours training which was always with full kit. Now I am an old retired guy with a broken neck (well it was broken and now has a plate where a disc used to be), compressed/fractured lumbar vertebra, a leg that does its own thing every once in a while, etc etc. AND----I no longer get paid to PT and I no longer have world class therapeutic doctors at my beckon call. So what is a boy to do?

Well, it sure as heck is no longer 13000 yds of swimming and two hours of running from wrestling match to wrestling match---but I don’t have to do that any longer. What I have to do is---or rather what I want to do, is be able to take my shirt off at the beach and not terrify small children (or any lady over the age of 20 J). I want to be able to toss logs onto the sawbuck and run a chainsaw 4-6 hours a day. I want to be able surf cast for a hour (face it, surfcasting gives way to beer drinking in an hour—no sense in working up to 2 hours). I want to be able to keep making money as an underwear model. And I never ever want to get beaten by Alden in a four mile run or a 500 yd swim. So the point is, I have neither the need nor the inclination to be in the shape I was in as an active duty Navy SEAL---my body can’t cash the check and I don’t have the time to do it. But I don’t want to be a lard-ass either; and I think that is where a lot of people make a disastrous mistake. “If I can’t be the stud I once was/if I can’t be the strongest guy in the gym/if I don’t want to give up 20oz ribeyes/if can’t run a marathon/blah/blah/blah then there is no sense in my doing anything.”

Adjust your goals---I never want to be the strongest guy in the gym (which is good on account of I am not) because I don’t have the time. What I do want to do is be able to press my body weight 5 times. So I do two things, I work at lifting 250 three times and I don’t let my body weight get much over 220. If I run more than five miles, my back goes into conniptions for days---so, I only run more than five miles two or three times a year when I feel like kicking myself in the testicles—but I have taking up bicycling which I can do for hours at a time (and to the tavern and back---incentive!) I use the Perfect Pushup so I can get the results I want without having to put my shoulders through thousands of reps—Mr. Penny I am not.

Okay, so the salient point is that getting older is not for the meek. That means that you may have to change your goals or your opinion of what being in shape means to you---that doesn’t mean you should stop. My view of the perfect line is that it is about fitness but also about understanding and setting up a fitness lifestyle that works for you. Sure, I want to be able to swim a 500 in under five minutes again but it ain’t going to happen. From April to November I swim just about every day though—and people frequently ask—“OH, as a Navy SEAL how far do you swim?” My reply is “Sometimes I am happy to just float.”

Oh, and for those of you wondering, the modeling calls have trailed off a bit of late guess it is time to shift to the long-john market.


Lt. Commander Thomas Rancich, US Navy SEAL (Ret.) is the co-founder of VRHabilis, a disabled veteran-owned small business that seeks to employ the highly trained and motivated veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for work in construction and related fields. Rancich and co-founder Elliott Adler are pioneering the concept of using adaptive technology to bridge the gap between industrial and medical technology. On a very serious note---to all the people who have seen the worst of this conflict---knowing the hollowness and lack of joy some returning veterans experience daily, Tom has said, "If things aren't going well, contact me at Off-Shore Consulting or visit the Veterans Hotline".

Through his consulting firm, Off-Shore Consulting, Tom provides professional advice on leadership and team building, often as a motivational speaker, in addition to being an expert consultant to the entertainment industry. The YouTube clip shows some recent work for a production company.

Alden Mills and Tom Rancich served together in the Teams. Longtime “on-line” coach for Team Perfect, Tom blogs monthly on Charlie Mike.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rugged Individualism & Operation Pull Your Own Weight

Guest blogger: Rick Osbourne

Recently I saw a documentary movie in which an extraordinary old British gent contended that democracy is still the most revolutionary concept that the human race has ever encountered. He proceeded to observe that despotic governments manipulate and control their people by keeping them fearful, demoralized, and in debt.
Than he added, "Demoralized people don't vote, they don't take responsibility for themselves, and they don't maintain their right to a political democracy," he said. "You see it takes strong, healthy, resilient, self reliant, and self confident people to form and to maintain a democracy. Strong people are much harder to control than demoralized people." I found myself wanting to stand up in the audience in order to shout YES!!!!

OPYOW and Rugged Individualism

In that light I'd like to make the following comments about Operation Pull Your Own Weight, a program primarily focused on childhood obesity prevention, and on developing strong, resilient, self reliant kids who refuse to drink from the mass produced, conventional fountains of indoctrination. Above all else, these kids think for themselves.

There are those who have embraced OPYOW because of its ruggedly individualistic connotations, and I don't deny that rugged individualism is part of its appeal. We actively applaud strength, resilience, self-reliance, and personal responsibility taking behaviors. They are key components of being human in the fullest sense.

Social Darwinism VS Enlightened Self Interest

On the other hand, OPYOW is actively opposed to Social Darwinism, a theory that endorses a self centered, me first, to hell with you, survival of the fittest orientation to human existence. That may be part of American folklore, but in real life, self centered individualism all by itself is psychologically alienating and socially counterproductive.

Instead OPYOW favors enlightened self interest, a concept that takes the position "what's good for my family is good for me. And what's good for my neighborhood is good for my family. And what's good for my city, county, state, nation, world, is good for my neighborhood, my family, and me." In the words of some wise old man somewhere, "We're all in this together." Failing to understand and to act according to the principal of enlightened self interest undermines democracy.

OPYOW Salutes…

So does OPYOW salute rugged individuals who can fend for themselves, their family, their friends, and maybe even their city, state, nation, world? Absolutely! Does OPYOW salute rugged individuals who refuse the lure of conventional kool-aid and think for themselves? Without a doubt! And does OPYOW salute rugged individuals who use their strength to help strengthen others and help them to become confident, self reliant, yet also humble, mutually respectful, and therefore fully human? Yesiree Bob.

Egalitarianism, mutual respect, quiet self confidence, and enlightened self interest are at the heart of democracy and Operation Pull Your Own Weight. Hats off to both!


Rick Osbourne spent 17 years as a physical educator and coach. He currently writes for a living, and serves as the Executive Director of Operation Pull Your Own Weight, an informational web site that's dedicated to eliminating childhood obesity in one decade. Third-time guest blogger Osbourne can be reached at pullyourownweight.net or via email at osbourne.rick@gmail.com.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mr. Penny and the Powers of his Pushups!

It Fired Me UP to learn about the Amazing Mr. Penny and the Power of his Pushups. Columnist Rachel Morand of The Auburn Villager in Alabama has given us permission to share her story of the ultimate Tiger fan with the readers of Charlie Mike.

Johnny "Mr. Penny" Richmond is on his way to becoming an Auburn legend. Mr. Penny has been at Dean Road Elementary School helping the town's little ones cross the street safely for the past 30 years. He's out there every morning, in sun, rain and snow, smiling and waving at 7 a.m. He's been there so long that he's working with the kids of the kids he used to help. The beloved crossing guard got his nickname Mr. Penny before he was born. While his mother was carrying him, she felt a constant pinch that felt like "a penny in her side." The name has stuck ever since.

Those who don't know him through the school or restaurant know him simply as that guy who does pushups at Auburn football games. The deeply religious man has been keeping up this tradition since 2000, when he heard a voice at 4 a.m. "I thought I was dreaming," he said. "I woke up, looked around and I didn't hear it anymore. By the time I closed my eyes again I heard it real soft. 'Push up."

Each morning without fail, the 55-year-old Auburn native pumps out 1,000 pushups in sets of 100. He said he uses the Perfect Pushup and bangs out reps like they're nothing. He's got biceps the size of footballs to prove it. On top of that, Mr. Penny has a tradition of running his own marathon on his birthday—a 30-mile round-trip to Opelika and back.

In 2003, Auburn struggled in its first two games, losing to Southern California and to Georgia Tech. Mr. Penny wanted to know why."I couldn't understand why the news was saying we were a bad team," he said. Mr. Penny made a visit to where the Auburn athletes eat on campus, Sewell Hall. He asked for a guy they call Cadillac. "I went right up to him and said, 'I'm Mr. Penny, and I want to know why ya'll aren't scoring.' Cadillac said, 'we're in a slump.'"

Mr. Penny wanted to think of a way to motivate the team and reverse the negative talk coming from sports commentators and writers. So, he made a deal with Carnell "Cadillac" Williams. "I told him when you score, I'm going to give you 50 pushups. Make the extra point, I'll give you 50 more. Get that field goal, that's 50 more," he said. After the deal was made, the Tigers racked up five consecutive wins, four of them Southeastern Conference games. The win over Mississippi State in 2003, saw Williams run for six touchdowns.

Last year, a teacher at Dean Road said Mr. Penny should do pushups for other stats during games. Now Mr. Penny has added 20 pushups for a first down and 10 more for a sack. By the end of each game, he's done at least 1,000. "Ever since I started doing my push-ups, Auburn has been winning, so it must be working," he said.

Here’s a link to the rest of Rachel Morand’s story of the Amazing Mr. Penny, from the 18SEP08 Auburn Villager.

Teammates, keep pushing out pushups -- your team, even if it is just you and your goals, is counting on you!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Stew Smith's Leg Exercises for the Road

Charlie Mike reader Luciano had a question about working out on the road: I´d like to ask you if you have some work out for the legs for those cases when you don´t have access to a gym. Did you train with squats, lunges etc.? I have trained in a gym for several years, but always think what happens if you have to travel or can´t go to a gym because you haven´t the time, money, etc.

Answer: Here is what I do when I'm traveling for leg days.

Option #1 - run 2-3 miles but in between each 1/2 mile I stop and do

squats - 25
lunges 15 / leg
heel raises - 25

Option #2 - if not comfortable with running around a strange town or gym does not have a bike, treadmill, etc... do the same leg exercises but run flights of steps.

I like to run 5 flights of steps / stop and do above leg PT - repeat 4-5 times. Then I go back to my room and do ab exercises in between leg stretching.


Stew Smith CSCS
Alden's USNA and BUD/S classmate and pal for more than 20 years (ouch)

Note: Charlie Mike blogger Tom Ranich (another SEAL pal on the 20 year plus plan) had the following advice for Luciano: Lunges, squat thrusts, 8- counts, flutter kicks and my favorite---running the stairs of the hotel. Lastly, Alden Mills's advice is to do the 8-count Body Builder Perfect Pushup workout (to the right of your screen: it's the fourth workout, at the bottom).


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author, certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the StewSmith.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at StewSmith.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at stew@stewsmith.com.