Shape Up: Total System Failure

Hey what’s good everybody? I’m sorry for the long delay since the last

edition of Shape Up, but my computer had a pretty devastating virus that put me

out of commission for a while. But have no fear; your AllHipHop Fitness

Specialist is back to help you all keep pushing toward your goals!

Ironically, the advice that the

computer tech gave as she performed “cyber-CPR” on my hard drive served as the

inspiration for this first article back since my return from the matrix.

Despite being composed of flesh

and bones instead of circuits and motherboards, the four tips that she shared

can also help prevent our bodies from crashing for months at a time as



Rest and reboot your system

Rest is extremely important for

maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If

you’re a workaholic like I am, it’s not always easy to find time to squeeze in

the recommended eight hours of sleep per night. Eventually however, those weeks of going to bed late and waking up early

will begin to take its toll on your body. 

You’ll begin to feel sluggish and

run down. Your memory and motor skills will not respond as efficiently. How then will you be able to get the most out

of your workouts at the gym? How well will that report turn out that you’re

trying to write through droopy eyelids? What type of quality time can you truly

spend with your family if you keep nodding off during your niece’s softball


Aside from feeling mentally and

physically drained, sleep deprivation can cause emotional distress as well. Despite

the analogy, we’re not robots who can function for 24 hours straight. Our bodies need downtime to grow and

recharge. This is why babies cry and adults get grumpy when they’re tired. This

is also why we begin to develop “raccoon eyes” when we aren’t getting enough

rest; it’s a basic requirement of being human.

Rest doesn’t only refer to the

time spent on your bed and pillow either. If you’ve been constantly grinding

for months, it may be time to cash in some of those vacation days. Escaping

from your daily routine and hustle will allow you to return with a fresh

perspective and restored energy.

Of course, with gas prices and

money being tight, heading off to St. Thomas might not be in your budget right

now, however there are probably places nearby that you haven’t taken the time

to check out yet. You can also partake in the growing trend of the “backyard

vacation.” Take out the grill, throw on

some music and chill at home.

You don’t necessarily have to go

somewhere physically; you just need to avoid the temptation of working. Even if it’s just for a weekend, just try to

find a time and place where you can let your mind go and completely relax for a


2. Be careful not to

download corrupted data onto your Hard Drive

Sodium, cholesterol, sugars and

non-essential fats – these are just a few of the potential threats that can

corrupt your system. In moderation, the effects of these elements will remain

minimal, however when consumed in large quantities, the effects of these items

can literally be deadly.

For this reason alone, it’s

important that you begin to start reading the nutritional content listed on the

packaging of most foods that you purchase. 

Be careful to pay extra attention to the serving portion size however,

because many slick companies will list the nutritional content for a portion

much smaller than you’re likely to consume. While at first glance that can of

soup may seem harmless, upon further inspection you may notice that the entire

can really contains 2.5 times the amount of sodium listed in bold print!

Also beware of creative packaging

and marketing boasts. Just because a label says that the product is “healthy”

doesn’t mean that it actually is. Typically it’s just “healthier” than the

original version of the product, but still lacks nutritional value and often

contains nearly the same amount of harmful additives and chemicals. This is

especially true with “light cigarettes” and “light beer.” At the end of the

day, it’s still nicotine and alcohol so you’re not much better off in the long


Fortunately, many restaurants are

beginning to list their ingredients so that you can know what you’re eating on

the go as well. If not, there are various websites and books that contain the

nutritional value of popular meals at various restaurant chains.

If you don’t want to take the time

to research all of that however, than simply try to limit the amount of fried

foods that you consume. Just try not to get in the habit of turning a healthy

choice into junk food. For example, if you ad 40 slabs of bacon and 20 cold

cuts to your salad then drown it in a gallon of heavy dressing, you might as

well have just ordered a double cheeseburger since the effects will be just as


Also remember that you can’t

necessarily erase the effects of a junk food item by chasing it with a healthy

item. So for all of you washing down those Twinkies and Doritos with a Diet

Coke or a protein shake, while I applaud your effort… it’s not going to help


In general, try to stick to foods

that are naturally found on the Earth since they’re the easiest for your body

to process. If you know that you love certain types of junk foods, seek out

healthy alternatives. Try using other spices instead of immediately reaching

for the saltshaker before you’ve even tasted your food.

As I stated in the Nutrition

column, you can do almost anything in moderation so you can allow for the

occasional cheat day, however for a healthier lifestyle you have to make informed

choices to prevent potential complications to your system.

3. Always use a

quality virus protection program

While Norton, CA and McAfee may

rule the world of “cyber-protection”, vitamins, minerals, fibers, grains and

water should rule your Earthly existence. These elements will help keep your

body functioning properly and will help ward off potential diseases.

Aside from reading the nutritional

content found on labels for negatives, be sure to also check out how many

vitamins or minerals may be found in the foods that you eat. In general, by

primarily sticking to foods that are naturally found on the Earth and not

man-made, you’ll typically find an abundance of life sustaining nutrients. Once

again however, just be careful how you doctor up these items. If you insist on

deep-frying your broccoli and then smothering it in half a stick of butter, you

may be missing the point.

While it’s always best to get most

of your nutrients from the foods that you eat, multivitamins are another great

way to ensure that you’re getting the proper amount each day. This may be

especially important to women who often have calcium or iron deficiencies. Multivitamins

can help keep your system functioning smoothly on a day-to-day basis.

By protection however, I’m not

just talking about multivitamins. We all sat through that awkward day in gym

class sliding condoms on bananas and looking at charts of diseases that

resembled the creatures in Predator,

so if you’re sexually active, you should already know better than to be doing

so unprotected.

Don’t worry, I’m not getting

preachy here, however with all of the children in foster homes and HIV patients

in hospitals, I think we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to make

informed and responsible decisions.

4. Scan your system

for errors and seek professional help if you can’t resolve the issue on your


Start taking the time to mentally

ask yourself “How am I doing?” If

something has been bothering you for months, maybe it’s about time that you get

that checked out. I know that many men in particular avoid the doctor like the

black plague, however ignorance isn’t always bliss. Just because you don’t know

what’s wrong with you doesn’t mean that it won’t get worse.

The sooner you can get diagnosed,

the sooner you can do something about it. The longer that you wait to get

checked out, the harder it will to recover. With that said, try your best to

check your ego then go and get a check-up. 

Sure we’ve all run into some bad

doctors along life’s journey so ask a friend for a recommendation or do your

research to find someone who you believe in. Self-medication and home remedies

may not always be enough so there’s no shame in seeking out professional help

mentally or physically.


your computer crash can be a traumatic and extremely frustrating experience,

however there’s no reset button on the human body. Hopefully these four tips

will help you to prolong your own lifespan and avoid a failure to your system

as well.

As for

my computer, I too have learned my lesson. 

Momma told me not to go on those


In the next edition of Shape Up

we’re heading back to the gym with some workout tips and training routine

ideas. As always, your feedback and comments are always welcome. Questions will be answered in future editions

of this column.

Until next time be good…or be good at it.


Here is the MP3 soundtrack to go along with this edition’s


“Doowutchyalike" – Digital Underground

“Ayo Technology” – 50 Cent f/ Justin Timberlake

“Computer Games” – George Clinton

Darrell W. Butler is a

certified personal trainer and strength coach with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). He is the founder of Industrial Strength & Performance (I.S.P Fitness) and has trained at

facilities throughout the nation. You can find out more about his work at