guest post -> my uncle tom

by Holly on July 27, 2010

in guest posts

Hey dudes + dudettes! I’ve been busy stuffing my face with food all day (no seriously, I really have), so I’ve enlisted the help of one of my very favoritest people to guest post for y’all today – Uncle Tommie Timbertoes (a.k.a. my Uncle Tom). He is one of the best people I know and is a daily, devoted Everythingtarian reader. For as long as I can remember, he has ALWAYS been dishing out wise advice to me including, “If you workout, everything will work out.” More to come on that below. Honestly, he’s just the best, so I thought it only right you got to share his infinite wisdom. Enjoy!


Ms. Holly has invited me to guest blog, and I can tell you I am honored and will do my best to maintain the high quality journalistic style she has exhibited so far for her readers. Who am I? I am Ms. Holly’s 55-year-old Uncle Tommie Timbertoes. Although I don’t profess to have the interest in food that Ms. Holly has, I do have a Healthy Everythingarian interest in exercise and its benefits.

So I have named the theme of this blog a mantra of mine, “If you workout everything will work out.”

I have been in good shape all my life, and I have been in great shape at least half that time. For most people I know, the hardest part of exercising is integrating it into a constant and consistent part of their lives. Over the years, I have developed some unorthodox strategies that have worked for me and which opinionated people, like Ms. Holly, will challenge. That’s okay cuz my goal isn’t to preach or to convert. If they can help you, that’s great. If they don’t “work out” for you that’s okay too.

They work for me, and I believe in the Ms. Holly theory that following someone else’s plan will only get you started. If you want lasting results you have to tailor everything you do to you.

Part 1: “If you workout…”

Of course I can’t talk about the second half of this quote without the first half, just like I can’t breathe out without breathing in. This is the commitment, the wedding vow “I do”, the admission price, the no-secret secret, the foreplay, the understanding that anything worth having comes from accepting some form of suffering to get it. It’s the toughest step for almost everyone. If you find a way to get this going as a lifestyle, you get a free pass to Part 2 . So how do ya do that? I dunno. I only know what works for me.

Here are a few tips to start with in no particular priority…

(1) Find a form of exercise you like to do or that you hate to do the least and build that into the base of your strategy. For me, it’s a bicycle, road bike or stationary bike. For some reason that I’m still trying to understand, I can push myself to exhaustion on a bike. I can’t do that running, walking, playing tennis, swimming, weightlifting, etc., so I have hitched my wagon to a bike.

(2) Screw the stretching. I’m not an elite athlete pushing my body to extremes. I’m just a Joe Schmoe trying to get an aerobically significant work out in a limited period of time. At best, I may spend the first 5 minutes at an easy pace, but then I drop the hammer. The valuable part of exercise is the exertion, not the preparation for a limbo contest. True story:

a. I was at an airport hotel and had just missed the every 30 minute shuttle to the airport. So I took a seat on the bench. There was a couple around my age all dressed in state-of-the-art running gear. They were already stretching before I arrived and spent the next 10 minutes doing it too. Then, they left and before I could get done twiddling my thumbs, they came back and start de-stretching. As I left on the shuttle, they were still de-stretching. So, of a 45+ minute workout, I’m guessing more than 30 minutes was stretching and 15 minutes was real exercise. For me, that’s like ordering lobster, eating the claws and leaving the tail on the table.

(3) Find a reason. Early in my life, it was about being better than you or beating you. It was only much later that it turned inward into being a better me. Really, it doesn’t matter if you start out with the wrong reason as long as the wrong reason gets the right results. Turning your reasons into “awareness” will inevitably come in the same way a raindrop that falls into a river will eventually find the ocean. My awareness’ have come in layers. Here’s a true story about one of the more memorable ones:

a. I was in my mid-20’s, in college, working part-time, dating my future wife Gayle and living in an apartment in a rough part of  St. Paul, Minn. Gayle worked at a bar a few miles from my apartment. It was Friday evening – no need to study, no work scheduled, so I was gitt’n all testosteroned up to do 2 of 3 of my favorite things – see my “Poopsie” and have a couple brewskis. At the time, I was struggling to motivate myself to exercise, but I did anyway and went on a 5-mile run. That done, I headed to the bar.

Being a poor boy, I had no vehicle so I did a lot of walking. I headed south on Oxford Avenue with nothing but sugar plums dancing in my head. After about a ¼ mile, there was a gang of teens horse-playing on the other side of the street. As I went by, they started with the name calling which I ignored. Then it got quiet but not in a good way. I looked back and saw a half dozen trouble makers briskly walking about 50 yards behind me. Visions of sugar plums turned into thoughts of a severe ass-kick’n a-com’n. But I knew I was running 6 1/2-minute miles, and the likelihood of any of these yo-yo’s having any aerobic capacity after a short sprint was unlikely. So I jumped into my 6 1/2-minute mile mode. I heard them take chase with all kinds of extremely rude and uncalled for assaults on my character. I remember thinking “How can they say such things when they don’t even know me?”  At first they gained a little ground, but one by one, I dropped them and arrived safely at my Poopsie’s bar, out of breath and ready for a beer.

“Why are you so sweaty & yucky & out of breath?” she asks.

“Oh nutt’n really,” I says. “Just couldn’t wait to see you so I ran down here.”

That line eventually got me #3 of 2/3.

So a good night, but the most revealing part of that incident was before this, I was exercising to be better than you. After this incident, I was exercising, because I was aware of a benefit that was hitherto unknown to me. It may seem small, but for me, it reinvigorated the “why” reason I needed to keep committed to a healthy exercise program. I always knew intellectually why exercise was good for me, but now I was “aware” of why exercise IS good for me.

It’s the same kind of awareness some (not all) smokers get when the doctor tells them the x-rays show small lumps in their lungs. That news is enough to get them to stop smoking because before that news they knew smoking could kill them, but after that visit they are “aware” the smoking IS killing them.

Okay, enough said for now, just remember, “If you workout everything will work out.”

What is YOUR favorite way to workout?


Danielle July 27, 2010 at 10:52 pm

I love incorporating working out into every day living like taking the stairs or walking but I can also appreciate a killer kickboxing class and zen yoga class when I get a chance to go to one. And, of course, I have flirted with running many a times.

P.S. Holly :) I just gave you an award:

Allison R. July 27, 2010 at 11:54 pm

I love running and weight lifting classes. If I didn’t go to fun group weight classes, I would never lift! The fun music and atmosphere makes an hour fly by, and then BAM I just worked all my muscles! :)

Kendel @ Eating Abroad July 28, 2010 at 3:37 am

I think it’s fair to say that everyone deserves an Uncle Tommie Timbertoes. Great advice, humorous, and really taking care. So, if we don’t have an Uncle Tom, can we borrow yours?

mammaeverythingtarian July 28, 2010 at 7:27 am

Thats my big brother!!!! Great post tommy timbertoes la la love it- for me i looove to walk and it is usually my treat after i run.

Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) July 28, 2010 at 7:49 am

I love guest posts! :D

My favorite form of working out is running. Everything else—strength training, biking, rest days, etc—is looked at as a way to keep me injury free so that I can run. Otherwise, I don’t think I would ever lift a bicep curl or do a single crunch. ;)

brandi July 28, 2010 at 8:04 am

“For me, that’s like ordering lobster, eating the claws and leaving the tail on the table.” <— cracked me up. I love this post!

Favorite ways to work out:
hiking is my #1. Just wish I could do it more often.
BodyPump, Zumba, classes like that.

Maren July 28, 2010 at 8:55 am

Great Post Uncle Tom! Thanks! Living in the yucky part of St. Paul reminds me of John Sandford books! haha. I love to run!

Angharad July 28, 2010 at 8:57 am

Love this post uncle tommy timbertoes! Such wisdom and wit.
My faves are:
– running
– swimming
– hiking

Autumn @ Good Eats Girl July 28, 2010 at 9:02 am

Great post! My favorite workout is a good run!

Megan (Braise the Roof) July 28, 2010 at 10:26 am

I want to know if that car was actually yours, Uncle Tom. :) My favorite way to kick my butt is plain ol’ running. There’s nothing better than finishing a long run outside by sprinting the last few blocks home!

Little Bookworm July 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Really interesting guest post! :)

Katie July 28, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I love your mantra…I’m going to write that down. Also, my father-in-law’s name is Timbertoes. That’s quite the coincidence, I say.

Also, I love to run. It clears my head and makes me sweat…it works everything out. :-)

Mimi (Damn the Freshman 15) July 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Cute mantra!

I train because I like to feel strong. I like it when I’m more defined and “pumped” looking.

I hate cardio, but I do it because it’s good for me, and I have a desk job.. Still, I can’t WAIT to be back at college when I can just walk everywhere and not have to do as much machine stuff.

Laura July 28, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I really need to get myself a new bike!
A really great approach to exercise and i enjoyed your guest post very much:) xx

Madeline - Greens and Jeans July 28, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Yay Uncle Tom! Great guest post!

sophia July 28, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Aw, I love guest posts from family members. Just another testament to what a great family you come from!

I love to walk with my parents. Go on a hike with them, enjoy the scenery, and talking to them. :)

Susan July 29, 2010 at 10:04 am

Excellent post Mr. Timbertoes!! I love that motto – I will have to remember it and maybe repeat it to a few of my personal training clients ;) Outrunning a bunch of hooligans is one of the best reaons to stay in shape I’ve ever heard!

My favourite way to workout is to put an interesting podcast on my iPod, and throw around some heavy weights for an hour. I’m pretty weak compared to other girls, so weightlifting is one of the few times when I feel strong and confident :)

janetha g. August 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm

i loved this! i can see the knack for writing runs in the family.

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