#TheHardWay

#TheHardWay

So what is “12 weeks the hard way”?
The title of my first 3 months at CNN? No, there are challenges, but I am loving the new team and opportunity.

I write for Men’s Health mag occasionally because it motivates me to keep at my wellness and to try and keep getting better in different ways and fight the aging process.

The m.o is for me to be a test dummy of different fads and techniques so you, the reasonably fit, looking for a better or new way to approach training, can go to school on my efforts.

“12 weeks” is about how much lean muscle we can build without risk or gimmicks. More to follow, but first, the idea was born from an unexpectedly easy cut down in fat for me. Just before Xmas I cut out dairy and bad sugar and cut back booze, then added green drinks to diet and started doing more crossfit. In less than two months I went from an ok 218, to a pretty lean 200-ish. And my body fat plummeted to 12% as muscle increased.

The results were actually atypically large which was an indication of my own sensitivity to dairy as an inflammatory agent and how lousy my diet was. So, I didn’t see much value in writing that one up. Instead my buddy and coach at EVF performance, Eric Von Froelich (you know you got skilz when you put your name on the place) suggested that cutting down is actually easier than building up for someone my age who is already in decent shape.

He provoked a common dilemma: Many want to build more lean muscle but say: I have job and a life, time is limited as is desire to do anything extreme, and I don’t want to take risky supplements. As a result we may stagnate. So, can you build any/10lbs or more muscle in 12 weeks while doing it in a way that is reasonable?

Eric and I and Men’s Health say: MAYBE. The challenge is to design a program and nutrition that ups strength, and adds bulk without it being just water or bad weight. And no extremes. No more than 4 workouts a week, no steroids or dicey supps and no extreme stress on the body like super heavy lifting or gorging calories. Basically, a way you could integrate this goal into your regular life.

My life will throw some curve balls. Rest and recovery is an issue as is consistency because of my job and busy family life with 3 kiddies. But life is about adapting, right?

The main ingredient that you have to bring to this is commitment to stay with the program because it will involve an evolution, a progression in resistance work that will be hard if you skip too often.

So, leaning on Eric’s many years of excellence and some consultancy with nutrition experts, we came up with “12 weeks the hard way” and are currently testing it out on me…your willing lab rat. After a couple weeks refining what we need to do, our early process is basically a mix of sprint work and heavy emphasis on crossfit, such as progressive increases in traditional lifts. We also added a 4th meal a day and a couple extra protein shakes and probiotics. Stretching and meditation as regenerative and focus tools are also important because they allow physical and mental preparation for training – and life. So, that’s why I am training after skiing at altitude…which is definitely the hard way. By the way, thanks for the New Day love and offers for a lift from the nice people in Jackson, Wy who saw me running hills.

The goal is growth and efficiency as well as some insight into what a 40+ reasonably fit person can do without going to extremes. We will see what works and what does not and where I stay with and where I do not. We will start blogging on the Men’s Health site next week, showing food and workout tips and progress.

My last point is what may matter most. So far, this has not been easy. But that is okay. This desire to get things the easy way yields only one long term result: disappointment. Nothing in life that’s worthwhile is easy, right. At least with your body you can have a measure of control of the outcome. As we all know, what you can control becomes more precious as life goes on.
The word diet means “daily” so then idea of a sprint to skinny without staying the course will only set you up for a rebound. We all know this but we often avoid the reality in our habits.

I am not afraid of hard work. I pride myself on it. In fact, I feel I am obligated to work hard because of the blessings and opportunities I have. I am so lucky that I feel I have to make the most of my life to justify what I was gifted from above.

So I will do “12 weeks the hard way”. No shortcuts. No cheating. And we will see what we can achieve. We will let you in on the process and then write it up for Men’s Health.

I don’t know if you will see any of this on NewDay. I think that a show that speaks intelligently on what matters should include wellness, beyond the latest health scares. But that is an ongoing debate. There is a lot of new to cover as it is and we have to make choices.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences along the way. My hope is that we discover a system you can use to boost your body and overall wellness

Wish us luck !

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda Knox

Tonight at 10pm and TOMORROW MORNING ON NEW DAY, CNN has Amanda Knox’s reaction to the new theories of why she is guilty of murder according to the Italian judge who just released his decision. He says she is the one who delivered the fatal cut to the neck of Meredith Kercher; that Knox let Rudy Guede, the convicted killer of Kercher, into the apartment that night and that the death arose from a fight between Kercher and Knox over stolen money. All of this is new or goes further than past judgments. Knox is pressed to respond to each and does so.

I will let you value her responses. She knows the case very well – that is not unusual. She is forced to make the case for her innocence and that is unusual, and it is difficult. That said, the latest decision makes some bold suggestions that test the bounds of known fact and forensic support to say the least. Knox will seize on this.

CNN also provides something you have bit had before: comments on the case from the judge who acquitted her. He actually went a step further exercising a ruling we do not have in the US: finding her and her co-defendant acquitted with grounds for innocence. It is u usual for a judge to speak about a case, let alone the handling of the same case by another judge. But you will hear what he thinks about the new ruling and prospects for Knox going forward.

As for Knox, her demeanor is different a year later. She is more mature but still stunted by the anxiety and the apparent trauma involved. I suspect people will struggle with “how she comes across”. There is something different about her, to be sure. But could that distinction be a process of trauma and years of being under fire? Or just a heritage of being emotionally guarded? To be sure Italian authorities had a harsh first impression that has stained their judgment ever since.
However, as much as the answers to the charges, her descriptions about spending her 20’s embroiled in a murder case are fascinating to me. Remember, this happened in 2007, when Knox was 20. Her life has been mainly this fight with little else that can distract from her legal battles.

Some were surprised to hear Knox was giving her only interview to CNN. I interviewed Knox about a year ago and tested her story against the prosecution’s theory at the time, which was all in large part about her alleged sexual perversion. (Interestingly the prosecutor just dropped that rationale in this latest round and picked up a new one – that Knox and Kercher had a bad relationship and wound up fighting). Many thought the last interview was too severe. The truth is Knox asked to be tested with all of the harshest and most damning suggestions, specifically. I agreed that was necessary at the time and questioned her accordingly. Her decision to interview with me again should speak to whether she felt the interview was unduly harsh or unfair the last time.

Much of the case is shrouded in the unknown, for good and bad reason. We often say, the US justice system is the worst, until you compare it to any other. This case was arguably poorly handled by Italian authorities and the prosecution has received criticism. While the story offered by Knox and Sollecito, her co-defendant, is imperfect in several ways, the evidence and case against them has always seemed deficient to many legal experts. It is not uncommon for experts here to suspect there would have been no trial for Knox, let alone a conviction in the US under similar circumstances.

Her story may be unsatisfying but the prosecution needs more than that…much more: it needs a story that makes more sense than anything else. The current judge says he has arrived at that story.

Many lives were changed forever. If this decision stands (and there is likely only one final appeal allowed) Sollecito will be in prison for 20+yrs. Knox will face possible extradition if she loses the next appeal and a life with the cloud of being a killer over her head at the least. And of course, Meredith is gone forever and her family will never be the same. No winners here and judging by the varied and bizarre nature of the decisions…perhaps no justice either.

Your attention and thoughts are welcome…as always.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! 
I am getting a lot of messages about what Easter is AND a lot of messages about how it is a farce. Now, ordinarily I offer that there is no right and wrong when it comes to religious belief, only the choice of whether or not to have faith. 
However, when it comes to this time of year, there is no reason to dismiss Easter as a “mere” religious construct. There are plenty of secularrationales for accepting the same mandate Christianity offers. In other words, no reason to fight.
Easter is of course a derivative occasion. The word comes from a pagan goddess of fertility. And the theme of “rebirth and renewal” is consistent with nature’s reintroduction to what we see in flowers and trees all around us.
The message of Christ is distinct from this, of course, but also suggestive of the same premise: there is a chance to be better and do better and to begin again in the belief to do so.
That is certainly benign and should be acceptable to the believer, agnostic and atheist alike.

So, if u believe in Jesus Christ or if you believe in being good for goodness sake, you are in the same place today of personal responsibility for accepting a mandate of positive change. How we get there may differ, but the destination this time is the same

So enjoy the possibilities suggested by the passing of the gloom of winter. Take progress where you find it as they say.

I hope you enjoy the day, regardless of why you choose to do so 

As for me, I am off to try and make good memories with my wife and kids, remind and be reminded that we are lucky, and maybe blessed, to have all the opportunity this life affords us. And that’s enough for me.

Enjoy!

Addiction– Philip Seymour Hoffman

I’m not looking for a “here’s what I think of Dennis Rodman” session here but The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman for me is about respect for his family and their loss, of course, but also, and equally important, is to flesh out the disease of addiction and its effects on anybody that encounters. My interest in bringing out the issue of addiction is a disease is a big part of why I wanted to interview Dennis Rodman again. I know there’s controversy surrounding him and basically everything about his life including trips to North Korea. But it is his battle with addiction that I believed could bring us some fruitful discussion and a cautionary message to all those looking on
Addiction is a disease just like cancer. It is not simply about choice and behavior and being responsible. Maybe in the beginning, addiction is about choices that we make in dealing with different types of stresses. However once any drug takes hold, the idea of the behavior being volitional is naïve to the point of being foolish. The data suggests otherwise, the experts know otherwise, and we should be smart enough by now to get out of the delusion that addiction is just behavior and not illness.
So I look for any opportunity to tell stories that_the insidious nature of addiction, the damage it can do to individuals and families by extension, and the ways that it can be treated, just like any other disease. But make no mistake, addiction is an illness, not merely a weakness, and it can be fatal. This last part… This reality… We’ve seen all too often. My respect to Phillip. Seymour Hoffman’s family. May he rest in peace

On Gov. Chris Christie

On Gov. Chris Christie… I think there is a legitimate question about the people he chose to have close to him, and the type of management style he used and tactics that he explicitly or implicitly condoned with respect to those same people. In this way, there is a basis for criticism, that needs no further proof beyond what we know already. They were playing a dirty version of the game there, even for politics. And if the Gov wants to move to the next level, you must trust whom he puts around him in power.
However, of all the allegations we’ve heard, the one involving his AG taking an indictment away from local prosecutors is most troubling. There are credible people complaining and a record that demands explanation. Look for yourself. You dont hear as much about it because it is a little complicated, but it goes to the heart of the integrity of government, raising concerns about allowing politics to corrupt justice.
The other political allegations about the bridge and sandy funds are as yet not proven to any significant degree. You certainly need more proof to make the more serious connection between the governor and the architecture of this dirty game.
Many of you say, “come on, Chris, you know that he had to know”. I don’t know that, and neither do you. It’s an assumption. So we have to wait and see what else, if anything, comes out. And the stakes are too high now to play the assumption game as if it were just the typical politics of deception.

This takes me to my next point. I keep getting asked how cable is different from my experience at ABC News and 20/20, etc. There are many differences. The biggest is that I now know that there is a cable game afoot. For example, there is a network dedicated to the business of pushing the Christie investigation as aggressively as possible. There is another cable network that is in the business of distracting from the Christie investigation as aggressively as possible. Here’s my greater concern: many of you are buying into one side or the other and taking on the seriousness of the presenters feeding you their take. Know this: this tension is now part of the business model for them; it is how they get ratings. For you, it is not business; it is personal. This is your government. Your future. Your job, etc.
Now, I am not saying the people on the cables don’t believe what they say… or that there is some type of disingenuousness. That’s not my point. There are a lot of good people working very hard at the proxy cables (as in proxies for the left and the right), just like at CNN. However, the fight between left and right has become a franchise and they are both in the business of exploiting it whenever they can.
But, again, my concern is that many get caught up in the game and lose sight of what is spin and what is fact. Again the problem with this is that it isn’t a business or a game…these fights and issues matter beyond the blame game; they demand action from our leaders…action that is hard to come by in part because of the success of luring you all into the game so you get more into who is winning than the fact that the longer and more intensely the game is played, the more you lose through the continued division and inaction.
The game ain’t going away…and maybe it shouldn’t to a certain extent, but there is a real need for a REFEREE just like with any game (or cage fight – may be a better metaphor).
I find myself in that role more and more often.
As many of you know I worked at ABC for many years. I also worked at Fox News. I loved the people in both places, though ABC was my home for much longer and those folks are family to me still.
I was also raised a Cuomo, as in Mario and Andrew, the democrat governors (though my mom, Matilda and my 3 sisters are the real stars in the family). This upbringing didn’t inculcate me with political positions as much as it gave me a disposition: I know the game from the inside. I know it well. Better than most. And I don’t like it.
A big reason or my dislike is that I was raised to respect public service…to see it as a privilege … And that is one reason the toxicity of the current state of play is so wrong in my eyes. It bothers me that more of you see value in a comedian mocking politics than in the process itself.
We need these politicians working for us and doing better and we need it now. Making fun has its place but it is not the ultimate value.
I want to help make politicians do their jobs better lby exposing the game and forcing both sides to play fairly and saying when one side is wrong but also when they are right. Ask yourself how often you hear the other side regarded with anything other than contempt on the cables. We have to do better. That’s the challenge that makes me enjoy the job I am doing in particular.

Chris Cuomo is co-anchor of NEW DAY, CNN’s flagship morning news program When not anchoring NEW DAY, he covers stories the world over, including breaking news as it happens Catch Chris on CNN’s NEW DAY weekdays 6AM to 9AM EST