The social media world is constantly talking. Your most powerful skills are those of discretion, focus, and filtering. Everything that moves you and entertains you doesn’t benefit you. Hyperbole is rampant. Words and images are in a constant battle to grab your attention. Discretion. Focus. Filtering. These are paramount. Don’t get distracted. Fight the urge to comment on everyone else’s life so freely, frivolously, and carelessly. There are so many wormholes to distract you. So many slants to make you FEEL better but leave you standing still when you try to LIVE better. You don’t need to read an entire book collection to get started. Start by turning on your life filter! Constantly refine it and start creating your own book. Be creative. Stay thankful for what you have. Stay connected to people and opportunities that help you grow. Decide and go. Decide and go. Decide and go. It’s OK to choose wrong. It’s process. It’s a skill. The next decision gets a little easier. Then the next. Then the next. You figure it out. Don’t get pulled down. You don’t have to desire to make a million dollars. You can start with a desire to manage your 10 dollars better. To manage your 60 minutes of free time better. To find time fuel your mind. To build your body. Decide what matters most and go. Handle your business and find out how good it feels. Feed off that energy. Be discrete. Focus. Seek out opportunities that you decide are appropriate and have value. You are building you. Refining you. When others notice, give them something of value. Share with purpose and good intention. -jp
By: Nicole Benson
100% Cosigned by Danielle Benson
My father, Erick Benson, LOVES Prince. I can remember listening to Prince my entire life. As a small child I used to confuse Michael Jackson and Prince because they are both two light skinned artists that sang with a high voice. I’m pretty sure to this day this still frustrates and bewilders our father. Not that Michael Jackson isn’t talented but just isn’t, well…. Prince. When Prince died, we had to do a watch on our dad, to make sure he didn’t take off to Minnesota to mourn the Purple Badness. We even bought him an “Our Condolences” card to help him through this tough musical loss.
From cleaning the house, to road trips, to sitting doing work on his mid -1990s IBM desktop, Prince was always in the background.
Dad always involved us in anything he was doing so if he was jamming out to Prince, his two girls were too. Fun Fact, he can sing in a high falsetto when he sings the chorus to “Adore.” I can remember being in the back seat of the car with my sister sucking on lollipops, eating snacks, (snacks and candy? Yeah, we are his kids) and listening to Prince on our various family road trips. Prince’s funky beats kept Dad alert and entertained, while he enjoyed watching me and my sister sing and bob our heads along to the music. In fact, I don’t think much has changed from that young high schooler driving around Spartanburg listening to his Prince- well perhaps he slowed down…I imagine having a family in the car makes one do that.
Before the turn of the millennium I can remember sitting on the bed, with Prince playing in the background, Dad was busy doing something, when he stopped to explain to us the lyrics “They say two thousand zero, zero, party over, Oops, out of time! So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999!” Not that an explanation was anything major, just a little moment where he stopped what he was doing to explain something new to us. Every time I hear this song I still, at 24, reminisce on him telling us the lyrics are a reference to the unknown of Y2K.
When we hear Prince, we think of our Dad, and all the wonderful bonding moments we’ve had involving him. How Dad shared his love of Prince’s music with us.
Hype4life is about creating that family bond. Whether that is through listening to the same type of music, joining challenges, or sharing a new recipe or workout. It is about getting hype and working through the grind, together.
Dad, your girls “Adore you.”
-Nicole and Danielle aka “The Most Beautiful Girls in the World”
One thing to know about me. I don’t listen to music when I run. Not even for the marathon. I don’t listen to it when I drive the 12 hours back to my boyhood hometown. Both for the same reason: I have a lot of mind-clearing to do. For me running is a conversation between personal aims and physical limits. I think those two adversaries should have the floor rather than Lil John, JZ, Katy Perry or Beyonce. But I know it isn’t that way for many, and for others, running is intolerable altogether without tunes. Different strokes for different folks; live and let live; run and let run. This is just my own eccentric view, one no doubt in the minority. Make no mistake, though, I do love music. Anyone who truly knows me, knows this to be true. Even if you don’t know me well, I think it soon becomes self-evident. I like this song EZ chose. The rock-n-roll instrumentation is light-hearted and playful in spite of its plaintive lyrics. Ironically, I think it would be a great running song (if I ran with music), especially coming on during the last half-mile of the run.
I guess with me running has led to a reversal in the so-called “the traditional roles.” Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? Why, huh? “That’s alright,” I say to the notion of running…”I can *change* you.” Well, it’s no surprise that, as in most other cases when those words are uttered, it’s soon proven untrue. You don’t have to flip to the back of the book to figure out it was *me* that got changed. Laugh if you want.
After the most recent Bull City run I completed, I said, “This atmosphere is awesome!” as I took part in some rather juvenile humor with my buddy Wayne on that brisk fall morning (let’s just say all those rolling hills of Durham move more than a runner’s spirit.) The atmosphere, the weather and being done were awesome. But those hills…ooooh-wee, man. Oooh-wee! Don’t get me wrong: I think I ran a solid race. Aww, but Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? There were giggles at the end, for sure. But wouldn’t it be great if there were some in the middle, too. If I could literally, not figuratively (that’s no fun) shut out the pain and tap into comedy gold at 6 minutes per mile. Giggles, man. And guffaws. In reality, eeking out that last 10 percent of effort in sports and in life endeavors is more like the lyrics here…what’s wrong with my broken heart, Baby? I can do it no better… As for me, that’s what I tell myself anyway. Until the next time. “I can *change* you.”
Truth is, sometimes like many other folks I know, I’m a bit modest about how hard it actually is to achieve my fitness goals. I never go with the hard-sell, and prefer the light touch and light-hearted approach. I’ve never been one to tell people what to do. I can only tell what I’ve been through. Like or no like, reciprocity, no reciprocity. I put in that work(out) to get those dividends. I put in that sweat to get those results. On and on. So you know next time you hear me kidding, and saying I ran this past weekend, if I say I took a beating, just know that however it actually went down, I did push through. Jokesters gonna joke… I Play the Fool When We’re Together. I Cry When We’re Apart. Putting in that work. BUT if I ever break character and come off sounding as if attaining that runner’s spirit is easy, just know that in that last half-mile I surely and many times have thought, Why You Wanna Do This to Me? I’m trying to love ya.
We all have our favorites. Favorite foods, favorite book, favorite television show, favorite exercise. At one time, running was my long -time love. Turns out, Running did not love me. It was a destructive relationship. “Why you want to Treat me so bad ?”
I loved Running in Umstead Park. Or heading to the track and running 400 after 400 at what felt like Carl Lewis speed. In reality, it was more Jerry Lewis than Carl. Just grab music and GPS watch and go. We had such a good and comfortable thing!
Playing on the headphones Nate Dogg “Regulate”, Rocky, or any Prince song. Little did I know, that the mind clearing, calorie burning runs would now leave the knees and hips stiff and sore” I even gave you my body“. Running, you know I love you, ” how can you do this to me?”
I gave it my all – 5Ks, half-marathons, a full marathon in the heat and hills of Raleigh. “You know I care“. Running was always a good thing. Now I am left to wonder if Running has moved on without me. “Why you wanna treat me so bad when you know I love you?”
“There’s some talk going ’round town That you really don’t give a damn“. After all I’ve given, Running has the nerve to say, I’m too much for you. Why don’t you try the elliptical machine, the recumbent bike… or a little low-impact walk in the park. I mean “ain’t that enough?”
The message from running has become clear to me. It’s over. Running, “Why you wanna treat me so bad?”
Dare I reveal the EZ-Hyde? OK, I acknowledge he exists, that’s the first step to finding a cure. The question: which is my dominant persona?
No manner of exercise can compensate for bad nutritional choices. For me, it is easier for Dr. Jekyll to handle the workouts and stay active. But, when it comes to food and drink choices, the doctor exits like famous Game of Thrones actors. Enter Hyde to the scene, scary yet intriguing riding in like the Dragon queen – I know it is better to run but I don’t. Hyde brings goolosh to the table. It is easy to take Bojangles sweet tea. Yea, I live to eat more times than I eat to live.
Forget the tea, what about a Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sounds decent – nice carb and protein blend, right ?! Nah , Hyde says add 2 Oreos. Lovely oreos opened and placed between the fresh slices of white bread . Double stuffed works too, especially if you want to pregame and game in one sandwich! Oh, how easy it is to get off track.
My man Rev motivates in the gym with “Winter is coming” and then he does one more set. He’s preparing. Staying on track. I’m self-talking Dr. Jekyll to stay with me for that last set.
So, here’s to more Jekyll and chicken-vege wraps and less Oreo powered goolosh. What are your favorite Jekyll and Hyde treats?
I have always been motivated to help others. There was a time when this consistently came at the expense of my own well-being. I would sacrifice sleep for workouts, coaching, and writing. I was hardly home. I burdened my wife with taking care of the kids and dragging them to basketball games where I was coaching. When I was home, I was often tired, distracted, or working. With all that, we were still a “happy” family… perhaps satisfied by knowing it could be worse. No love was lost. We made it work. We adjusted. We seemed normal. I was very fortunate. I always knew I was going to stop coaching high school basketball so that I could coach both of my sons’ teams. I had no idea at the time, but that was the game changer for my family. Before that, I didn’t know anything other than constant exhaustion. Exhaustion from giving myself to things I cared about outside my household. Once coaching high school basketball was out of the equation, I became more available to my family. It took almost a year get adjusted but over time I realized the redistribution of my time was not only better for me, it was better for my family. I know a year seems like a long time to adjust, but lots of dynamics had to change. My wife had to get used to entertaining my opinions and ideas about home life. I had to understand I couldn’t come in and take control of everything. I had to learn not to take dislike for my suggestions personally. Our boys had to get used to both mom & dad being around and all that came with that. There were lots of rough patches but I learned from the experiences. I now understand that I have a responsibility to myself and my family to stay attuned to how I deplete my time and energy. I also realize that rest to recharge has to become a higher priority as I mature. I am not completely cured, but do have a better understanding of what it takes to thrive in all my life pursuits.
Our insignificance is most significant. That is not intended to be received in a cold way. It’s meant to spark a desire to reevaluate how we are spending our time with an understanding that our absence will not stop others from living their lives. It’s intended to alleviate the fear of letting others down by adjusting how we prioritize our time and energy. It’s okay to leave work at work. It’s okay to set hard boundaries on evenings out with friends. It’s okay to miss a friend’s event because you have set that time aside for your family. It’s also okay to attend the event and shift the family time. Just don’t skip the family time, unless you see your friend’s event as a higher priority. Please notice what’s important here. Whatever you decide, let it be based on your priorities and NOT how anyone is going to feel about what you decide. That’s where it begins. Once you are able to start challenging your choices, then you will begin to understand that even greater things are possible. As you move into different challenges, circles, and experiences, you will likely find that others will want to follow your lead. Your life becomes an example of what can be accomplished by setting priorities and applying them to the precious minutes of our lives. -jp
We’re in the middle of the 2nd quarter of 2017 and this year has had its challenges but what year hasn’t? For me this year has brought unexpected changes. Some good. Some not so good. How do you stay focused during a year of ups and downs? Maybe it’s an unexpected injury. Maybe you learned you can’t run or workout like you did a few years ago. Maybe your body won’t let you grind the same way you have in years past. Maybe your caring for an elderly parent unexpectedly. How do you stay on target with your fitness goals while it seems the target is moving?
Here are two things I am working on this year. Maybe they will help you just as they are helping me.
- Do one thing each day that brings you joy. Laughing and smiling are underrated and a good laugh can change your day. It can provide prospective while it can brightens a cloudy day. It can also create memories that stay with you for years. Engage in something that exercises your heart in a positive way. I remember JP doing a step workout session years ago. Dude was using 3 steps when he stumbled to the floor. The funniest part was that he was still teaching while on the ground next to his scattered stack of aerobic steps! I laughed. He laughed. Everyone in the room laughed. I did have to pause after laughing for a bit though. I was using 2 steps and thinking if he fell on 3, I am going down to 1! That is one of those fitness moments that go down in history because it was with a group of people who were investing in each other’s total well being. For me doing anything with my 4 sons usually leads to something funny happening! The 5 of us together is the perfect recipe for lots of laughs and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Do one thing each day that will better your health. During my changes and challenges I have stayed in the gym. We all have moments we don’t feel like working out but we definitely want the results. Well the results don’t happen without the work. Summer bodies are not sown in May, they are sown in December and January. At times we expect trees in our fitness journey and in life in without planting seeds. Plant seeds to a healthier you, seeds that you and others can enjoy the fruit. Sign up for the next fitness challenge. Meet some cool people and enjoys some laughs. Plant seeds of friendship and love. -Rev