Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Airplanes are one of the greatest inventions ever. They get us places near and far in very little time. I must say though, I have quite the love-hate relationship with airplane travel. True, they are fast, but a plethora of annoyances come along with them. Allow me to rant.

1. First class. Oh those damn first class passangers. You wait, wait, wait, then finally board the plane. Strolling through, at least 50% of them are doing something with their smart phones. In the other hand is a drink that I know I'll have to wait another 45 minutes to get.

Occassionally I get seated near the front of the plane. I lean over to peer into first class and what happens? *swish!* Curtains closed! Apparently the sight of us meer coach travellers is too much to bear for the first class passengers. It's not even as if the curtain blocks out sounds or anything! Want to use the bathroom in first class? Don't even think about it!

2. The Drink Cart. As nice as it is to get a free coke on the plane, the drink cart causes a myriad of problems. Ever gone to the bathroom and come out to see they are serving drinks? There's no way you're getting to you seat anytime soon. Conveniently the drink cart is just wide enough to COMPLETELY block traffic.

On the last flight I took, I was feeling really parched after boarding, but fell asleep for about half hour. I woke up and noticed the drink cart had just passed me. Damn! I had a window seat so I wasn't in a position to flag anyone down. I suppose I could have used the call button, but I have never pressed that thing in my life. Somehow, I feel like that button should just be used for emergencies.

If I'm in the aisle seat however, even if I'm asleep, I never miss the drink cart. Why? Well I have long legs, so sometimes the edge of my knee sticks into the aisle a little bit. The drink cart comes by...WHAM! Insantly awake by the all to familliar throbbing knee!

3. The fatty. Possibley the worst person you can have sitting next to you is a Fatty McFatterson. When I'm sitting in a plane before my row is filled, I always watch the people walking by to there seats, secretly hoping certain people won't sit next to me. You know what I mean.

The fatty neighbor basically ruins the whole flight! If you are unlucky enough to have forgotten to lower the arm rest separator, then you're totlally're only getting half of your seat for the flight. Hell even if you do lower the arm rest, the fat has a way of spilling over and invading your territory.

4. The baby. I love kids and baby's but God help me I secretly lose it when they start crying uncontrollably on airplanes. Seriously, inside I'm exploding with frustration! Advice to parents, if your baby has any remote chance of starting up on the plane, don't go on the trip! Even then, you should have about five contigiency plans to get the baby to stop once on-board.

5. The bathroom. Lets just say taking a piss while there's turbulance should be a sport. It combines balance, aim, and determination. And I don't know who in their right mind would ever even consider sitting on that thing!

6. Luggage. Am I the only one who has this anxiety when waiting for my luggage of "Oh man I hope it made it!" The longer you wait, the more you are convinced that it's lost until it finally shows up (unless it really is lost which has happened to me).

6. Other issues...the pillow (seriously what is this? Its a piece of fabric stuffed with an ounce of cotton candy), the meal (which now costs EXTRA and its not cheap. As if the ticket doesn't cost enought!), the talker (sometimes on the plane, I just wanna sleep and this guy/girl can't shut up!), skymall magazine (I must admit I'm a little entertained but when the hell am I gonna need a nosehair trimmer that plays mp3's, a laser pointer that doubles as a bottle opener, or a robot patio sweeper!?), the headphone jacks that don't work right with normal headphones, so when you plug yours in, you get a blast of sound from only one ear, and finally Loud Music Guy who blasting the music in his ears that only is he going to go deaf, but I can't sleep with putting my earphones on and blasting my music just to drown his out!

Ironically, I love to travel.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Break Salsa

Most people that know me, know I love to dance. No I don't mean the professionally, froofy (yes I said it) type, but I do have rhythm and like to get down. I wish I had the skills of some of those crazy new-school break dancers who flip on their heads and spin like pinwheels, but my attempts are more like self-breaking than break-dancing. I have been known to do a mean worm though...

I do like participating in most types of dancing though (except for some of that "interperetive dance" crap. Seriously, what the hell is that? It's not dancing, its more like "slowly controlled spasms!" Calling that dancing is like calling bowling a sport.) When I was a kid, I was a huge Michael Jackson fan, and as a result would practice busting his moves.

In fact, during my Senior year in high school, I did a lip-synch performance of "Billie Jean" on stage in front of about a thousand people. The excessive crotch grabbing and intense moonwalking made the crowd go wild!

So anyways, last night, five of us decide to head to Cafe Sevilla in the Gaslamp for Salsa dancing! This scared me for three reasons.

1. Aaron and Vanessa tell me that the instructor is a "slave driver"
2. I haven't done any salsaing in two years, and even that was the only lesson I ever took.
3. I don't particularly want to embarass myself on the dancefloor.

Despite these reservations, I was still excited. In the lesson, we switched partners a lot which was cool unless you ended up with someone completely rhythmless. There was this one girl who not only had no rhythm, but was also drunk. Our "dancing" consisted of me holding her up and moving her around to no beat in particular. Twirling? Out of the question. That would have been a disaster.

The lesson finished and I had a new twirl under my belt (along with like two I knew from before). The free dance started, and honestly, I was a little nervous to get out there and dance! (I know...not like me) I finally made it out there with a few girls and had a blast!

There were a bunch of latin guys around that were just ridiculously good! I mean CRAZY good. So me not wanting to be shown up, started inventing new twirls and maneuvers on the fly! Yes, I was twirling girls all over the place. When I would start a move or twirl, I really didn't know how it was going to end up at all, but just executed and hoped for the best.

Towards the end I started incorporrating some of my "old school" break dancing moves into my salsa. I would do "the wave" into a girl, then transition that into a twirl!

Yes, I have invented a new dance form. I call it, Break Salsa. Its Latin America meets Brooklyn. A fusion of salsa moves, break dancing, and uninhibited improv!

Act now and I'll give you the special "first customer ever" discount for a private lesson.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Charm your way to Success

The dreaded interview: Your palms are sweaty, your throat is dry, heart is racing, and you begin stuttering at the first question that makes you think.

Stick a fork in you.

The interview is where the selector gets to see what you're really made of. How do you react to a difficult question? Are you likeable? Do you deserve the prize you are interviewing for (be it a job, scholarship, admission to a University etc.)?

In an interview, you are vying for a spot that tens, possibly hundreds of people are are also going for. Any sign of awkwardness or discomfort will many times stick out in the interviewer's mind and consequently, they will conscioulsy or unconsciously disqualify you.

I am convinced that having good communication and creating positive interactions is the key to personal and professional success. Why? Creating a social and personal connection not only paints you in a positive light for the interviewer, but also makes him/her look past any shortcomings in your qualifications. Ladies and gents, it's true..."It's not the size of the wave, but motion of the ocean that counts."

By nature, I tend to interview well. I'm definitely not shy and love talking to anybody and everybody. In grade school, I used to routinely get in trouble for chatting with people around me. My teacher would then move me (thinking he was separating me from my friends) and I'd start all over again with whomever was around me.

But just because I'm social, what makes me think that I am qualified to help others perform better in interviews? Allow me to share my personal experience.

The first interview I ever did was for a college scholarship in high school. I knew nothing about interview techniques and just went in trying to be as enthusiastic and passionate as possible. Out of thousands of applicants, I was chosen to receive the lucrative prize. After the interview, the interviewer asked me, "How many of these have you done?" My response? "Actually this is my first one." Then jokingly added, "I believe in quality not quantity!" She laughed, and as I left, I knew I had a good shot because, beyond whatever I submitted on paper that qualified me for the scholarship, she genuinely liked me.

My second job ever was the first job interview I ever had. It was for a customer service/racquet technician position at the Tennis Warehouse. Unlike my other interviews, both previous and future, I was superiorly qualified for the position so I only had to have a mariginal interview to get the job. What did help was establishing a savy relationship with the managers as well as other employees. As a result I was promoted to a supervisory role of over 60 people, many of whom had worked at TW longer than I had.

Finally, as my undergraduate career was coming to an end last year, I was honestly VERY concerned that I would graduate jobless! I was submitting my resume everywhere and attending career fairs and getting only a few bites.

The reason? My resume was (the first hurdle in getting a job) was not particularly helpful for my engineering degree. I had a slightly above average GPA, and NO engineering internships or experience.

So how did I land a job?

My biggest weapon was the career fairs. I made sure to learn something about every company I was interested so that when I spoke to the rep, it would appear that I was passionate about working for their SPECIFIC company! Little did they know that I was "passionate" about working for whoever would hire me!

I attended every career fair during my last year, and by the last one, many of the reps knew me and I had a shoe in for an interview. Now it was time to turn the charm up a notch. Once I had gotten the interview, I was supremely confident that I could get the job.

In the end, I had six serious, on-site interviews, four of which made some sort of job offer. Of the two that didn't make an offer, one decided to hire an experienced professional instead of a new grad, one had company restructering and thus the position was longer existing. In essence the jobs that I didn't get was not because of the interview.

I know what you're thinking. "So what in the heck does all this mean Arun?!? It sounds to me like you're just bragging about your interview skills!" Not in the least (Ok well maybe just a little :)

For all of the positions that I interviewed for, I would bet that MOST of the people interviewed were MORE qualified for the position on paper. I won the prize because I established a connection with the interviewer that made him/her want to hire me for me and my personality over hardcore knowledge.

The tips that I am going to share work in a myriad of social interactions, from job interviews to sellers and buyers to even women! These are general tips that are effective in nearly ALL SOCIAL SITUATIONS!!! So here we go.

1. Confidence. By FAR the most important quality! You will get no where without being and projecting confidence. Speaking clearly, slowly, and as if you believe what you are saying is key. Look the person in the eye when you are talking. If you are asked something you don't know, think briefly, and answer as best you can. If you don't know, then be confident enough to admit it!

2. Enthusiasm. People LOVE enthusiastic people. Enthusiasm is infectious in any social interaction and after leaving, peole will think "For some reason, and I can't pin point it, I really like that guy." Showing enthusiasm really makes you likeable.

3. Passion. Again, showing a passion for something demonstrates that you have motivation and ambition. Showing a passion for something lets the other person know that you have the potential to love whatever they are bringing to the table.

4. Humour. Being funny is ALWAYS good! Girls, guys, everyone loves someone who is humourous. When I'm chatting with someone (an interviewer, a girl etc) and can get them to laugh, I know we've established a connection. This is the quickest way to hook someone. What if you're not funny? Well even a quirky attempt at a bad joke (as long as its in good taste) is endearing. Just don't overdo it if they're not laughing!

5. Mirroring. This is the act of mirroring the energy of who you are talking. When I interviewed with my current manager, I came in with all this energy only to be dampered by his extremely subdued demeanor. So what did do? I mirrored his energy but I kept myself always one notch above him. I calmed down to the point where he was comfortable, but made sure he knew that I had energy. In doing so, the environment was comfortable and we able to establish a rapport.

6. Body Language. Smile! Smiling is a great way to project positive vibes in a room. Again, smiling makes you very likeable. Also, mirroring body language helps in making the other person comfortable. Don't be too shifty as that shows discomfort and nervousness. All movements should be purposeful! No thumb twiddling or tapping!

Also, in a nonprofessional setting, kinaesthetics (the science of touching) establishes a connection. A light (nonsexual!) touch on the shoulder or back when interacting immediately establishes a connection.

So that's the basics! Enhancing your abilites in a social environment can work wonders! Remember the saying, "It's not what you know, but WHO you know!" Well successful communication with the right people will get you far.

And as I said before, "It's not the size of the wave, but the motion of ocean" is so true in so many avenues....though to be honest with you, my "wave" is quite large :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Best is Yet to Come

Pretty lofty statement eh? I know in a previous post I addressed my New Years Goals but those were all somewhat long term. I've got some things I'm working on that should materialize in the next few months.

I debated posting this blog because I knew there would be additional pressure to come through. So why did I post? Because there would be additional pressure to come through! Nothing like putting a little pressure on myself to make sure I actually get my projects done. So without further adu, here's whats on the horizon!

1. Operation Happy Hour - One of the things I want to do is expand my current social circle. I've only lived in San Diego for about six months, and I've done decent, but not great. Things are going to change! I've got a couple of tricks up my sleeve, but part of the plan is setting up a possible once or twice a month gathering a my house for Friday Happy hour before going out. More on this soon...

2. The Ultimate Fitness Plan - Ever since I wrote my article From Chubby to Studdly I've had quite a few people say that they felt inspired and/or motivated to get in shape. This got me super excited! So what's my plan? I'm going to become an athletic machine! That's right. I'm going on a 3 month super health plan to transform from moderately fit to superhuman!

I'm definitely going to have to cut out a few guilty pleasures and curb my drinking, but I figure if people are going to follow my plan, I should up it a notch for myself. I'll keep you updated on the progress.

3. Operation Money Maker - This is already solidly in progress. How? Well for starters I have committed to putting away 20 % of my income. This is going to be invested in the stock market within 3 months. Additionally, within six months I'm going to have a solid plan for my first real estate investment. And speaking of income, this blog contributes minimally to that, however I am going to double my current rate of blog income within three months. My primary plan here is to increase my traffic to 1000 unique visitors in a week. Last week I smashed my own record and had 461 unique visitors! This was just a spike because I published a couple of my articles, but it's a start!

4. Return of the Music Man - That's right. I've got a couple of songs that I'm working on and I am going to record them within the next 4 months. I'll put a link up once they're finished.

So there you have it. I've committed to these tasks within the next few months. I've got some other schemes brewing but I'm saving those for the summertime. Basically these are all baby steps on the path to becoming rich and famous!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Stage-2 Clinger

I think we'd all agree that male-female relationships and interactions are pretty interesting. In almost all cases, men and women take common roles in these relationships. Man talks to woman, woman accepts, man eventually calls woman, man takes woman out...the average progression of a relationship. In most cases, the relationship fizzes out at some point. Why? Either the man or woman loses interest. And what does he or she do when they lose interest? They stop calling/returning phone calls.

Ocassionally we encounter what is referred to as the "clinger." Who is the clinger? The clinger is the person who refuses to let go of a relationship, despite what the other half may think or do. They can be men or women, but either way, no one wants one in a relationship.

Well friends, I have on my hands a stage-2 clinger.

What is a stage-2 clinger you ask? Let me define stages 1 & 3 of this syndrome first, then I will get to my little situation. Before I go on, let me put in a little disclaimer that this is obviously from a male's point of view, and I know good and well that there are plenty of male clingers out there (probably more than female), so don't get up in arms at my critisism.

The Stage-1 Clinger: The stage-1 clinger is generally not that bad, and can sometimes be a little cute at first. This is the girl who doesn't really want to let you go when you first meet her. If she's going to get a drink, she'll pull you along. Looking at another girl? She'll pull you back before you can even get a once over. She'll follow you around, and if you don't ask for her number, she'll ask for yours.

The Stage-3 Clinger: This is big trouble and calls for swift ejection! This is generally the girl who you've gone out with a couple of times and thinks she's in love with you! She gets mad that you haven't changed your myspace status to "in a relationship." She calls to find out where you are and why you haven't called her. Keep in mind this is generally in the first week or two of dating! Stage-3 is unreformable and calls for a clean break.

Now on to my little stage-2 clinger. For identity protection, we'll call her "Jessica." I met this girl last week at Belo(yes the same night as my little kidnapping adventure). She's this cute Latina girl who's, I think, 21.

Things are going well, we're dancing, chatting, and *cough* possibly making out a little *cough*. She was a little "stage-1" that night but nothing I couldn't handle. As the night begins coming to a close, I realize that I'm not going to be persuing anything more for a couple of reasons:

Strike 1: She lives in San Ysidro. For those of you who don't know, San Ysidro is basically the U.S.'s version of Tijuana. Its right on the border, and if you don't know spanish, you'd have a hard time living there.

Strike 2: She lives with her Mom, Dad, and Sister. Not something I really want to deal with.

So anyways, I can't get her number (which btw, I was doing just as a formality becuase I knew she'd be upset if I didn't) because my phone is dead so I give her mine. Big mistake.

This week I've gotten 1 text message, 1 voice mail, and 3 missed calls none of which I have returned! This is the stage-2 clinger.

Stage-2 Clinger: After the first meeting, she calls you as if you are already in a relationship. An unreturned voicemail just means to call again.

Honestly, I feel pretty bad about this because there's nothing fundamentally wrong with her. She was nice enough, and she was cute, but she just has some things I don't want to do deal with. In fact, I was thinking about calling her back and going out with her once just for HER sake, then I realized how silly of an idea this was.

I know girls do this all the time, but I honestly feel bad whenever I blow off a girl. It is though, the easiest way to end something with minimal feelings being hurt. If I took her out once, THEN never called her, she'd feel even worse!

So the multiple calls was strike 3 and she's out. Stage-2 status carries a high probability of stage-3 escalation which I really don't want to deal with. I pray she doesn't find my myspace profile and click on the link to this page because I would HATE for her to read this article.

So boys and girls, please try not to be clingers, and if you experience any of the symptoms described above, slap yourself across the face and tell yourself "I am not this needy!!!" And for those of you who encounter clingers, be careful. Its a tough problem to fix, and getting out without hurting anyone's feelings can be tough.

Maybe this is something I should learn to deal with though...afterall, it is me, and who wouldn't want to cling to ME?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Stranded, Penniless...and kidnapped?

So Saturday night seemed like it would be like any other fun night. Little did I know it would be anything but normal.

The night started out pretty low key. A bunch of us headed down to the Yardhouse for some beer, then Darren, Brooke, and I split and went over to a club called Belo. In case you couldn't tell by the name, it's underground which means cell phones only work only 25% of the time.

So anyways, Brooke decideds to leave early which leaves just Darren and I. We separate each meeting different girls. So I am in one room dancing my little hiney off and I have no idea where Darren is.

1:45 rolls around and I take a look at my phone and I have 3 missed calls from Aaron (who was downtown but not at Belo). I also notice Darren texted me an hour ago saying he was ready to leave. I figure he'll wait until after 2:00 (he drove us) when the club closes and they kick people out, then we'll meet up.

So I'm hangin out with this girl waiting for the lights to come on and the bouncers to herd us towards the exit. I'm not paying attention to the time because I figure the lights turning on will be my cue.

Well the next time I look at my watch, its 2:35! Apparently they now only stop serving alcohol at 2:00 but the DJ keeps spinning until 4:00. So I whip out my phone to "number close" and then call Darren.

Dead. Doesn't turn on...nothing. Great. I look around the half empty club. No Darren. I go outside. No Darren.

I have a feeling Darren thinks I left with someone because my phone is off and he hasn't seen me for hours. I run over the parking's gone. Just great. I'm stranded downtown, it's freezing cold, I have NO cash whatsoever, and my cell phone is dead. Wonderful.

I wander the streets looking for an atm to get a cab. I'm pissed because I know the bastard, crooked cab drivers in San Diego will charge me like fourty or fifty bucks to take me home.

I finally find an atm and there's a mexican guy, late 30's in front of me. He sees me struggling with my phone, and after some conversation offers, "hey homie, I can give you a ride. I gotta go in that direction sorta."

At this point I'm debating whether riding with this sketchy guy is a good idea. I half heartedly agree when I see he is with another girl and we walk like 10 blocks in the cold to wherever the hell he parked his car. The whole walk I'm analyzing everything he's saying trying to get a read on if this guy is legit or not. Everytime he glances away, I checking his belt for knives or guns or anything. So far, he seems safe enough.

As we leave downtown, he starts telling me about an after-party he's going to thats not even close to my house, and he thinks I should go. I politely decline but wonder how my house is "on the way" to this party across the county. To make matters sketchier, he starts taking all the back streets to "avoid cops." Avoid cops? Why the hell do we need to avoid cops!?!

Now I'm thinking "what the hell have I gotten myself into!" and start eyeing him down for any bulges in his jacket. I then think, "well if I make it outa this, it will be good blog material!" After sometime he finally decides its safe to get on the freeway, only he wants to take one that goes nowhere near my house! I'm not having any of it. After sometime I finally convince him to take a decent route.

Maybe we should have stuck to the back roads. He starts driving 110mph on the freeway at 3:30 am!!! I'm clutching the "oh shit" bar watching at least two separate pulled over vehicles on the shoulder wiz by, and praying that I make it out of this alive.

I had heard stories about people in mexico getting kidnapped and forced to withdraw money from atms. Thats all that was running through my mind. This man is going to take me on a tour of San Diego and take all of my money. Then we're probably gonna end up in some high speed hot persuit that ends in me being held hostage or something.

I convince him to drop me off at a friends house because A) Its right off the freeway and B) I don't particularly want him to know where I live.

To my relief we finally arrive near my friends house and tell him I can walk the rest. I tried to pay him the twenty bucks I took from the atm, but he refuses! "Nah essay! I'm not like that yo! Besides, friendship is more important!" Wow. This guy goes on to talk about how we should go hang out and pickup "tha biiitches" and stuff.

So I made it back, and though at one point I thought I might have been kidnapped, the guy turned out to be pretty damn decent (as well as a little crazy). SO what's the lesson? Trust your instinct when a random sketchy guy offers you a ride just might save a couple bucks!

Friday, January 12, 2007

From Chubby to Studdly Part 3

If you haven't read parts 1 or 2 of this artcle, please check them out before reading on.

Here's Part 1

Here's Part 2

Ok so here we are, the moment you've all been waiting solution to physical fitness! So without further ado...

In order to get fit in the healthiest, fastest way possible, you need to focus on three elements: Diet, Cardiovascular training, and Weight Training. Yes I know, this is no revelation so far but bear with me! So lets break it down.


This may possibly be the most important of the three! So what's the first step. Well, eat MORE!

I know what you're thinking. "Don't toy with me Arun! Is this some kind of sick joke where I follow you're advise, then a few months from now after I've gained 30lbs, you say 'just kidding?!"

I wouldn't do that to you. I don't know about you, but I like to eat, and eat a lot! Nobody likes to be hungry, so the key is eating throughout the day to make sure that you don't get to hungry. Now I'm not saying eat whatever you want, but if you pick your foods right, you'll be full and healthy.

Which do you think would satisfy your hunger more, a snickers bar, or an apple, pear, AND orange. They pack the same amount of calories but the latter choice would STUFF me! Not only that, but the fiber in fruit would curb my appetite for much longer afterwards as well.

When I'm grocery shopping, I always look for things that give me the biggest "bang for my buck." Basically what I'm saying is that I look for the most filling, best tasting foods that don't cost a lot of fat and calories. I choose the giant plate of chicken-breast with wild rice and veggies over the single slice of combo pizza. Same amount of calories, only one is way more filling AND healty.

I love making soup for a few reasons. I make it healthy by LOADING it with veggies and chicken breast. You can eat a TON because a huge portion of it is water. And, it's low fat, low calorie, low carb, highly nutritious, and super filling! How's that for a winning combo?

Also, I make it a point to make a little too much vegetable when I eat. Then, I force myself to eat it ALL before I get to whatever my main course is. Now I'm full, and I generally take longer to eat whatever is in front of me. Frequently I save the rest for a "second sitting" of dinner later on. Since it's usually some kind of meat, it's not as bad to consume it before going to bed (as opposed to high carbohydrate foods).

So if you eat like this most of the time, you'll be golden. Always look for getting the biggest bang for your buck with food. The old cliche "you are what you eat" is so true! I used to eat chocolate, fried chicken, pizza, and everything else unhealthy for you all the time! What was I? I was a blob.

I know, I know. We can't eat like this all the time! In fact, I would encourage you NOT to eat like this all the time!

It would be ridiculous for me to recommend making this type of eating a lifestyle change. "No pizza or fried chicken for the rest of your life!" That's no fun, and nobody would follow my advice. I eat like this most of the time but I do cheat on average, one day a week.

Now I don't have a set day of the week where I say "Ok today I'm going to eat whatever I want!" But if I'm doing something like going out, or if I'm really really craving something fatty, I'll cave. Its good because mentally you give yourself a break from this "healthy" mentality which can be hard to maintain. Also metabolically, its good for your body to get lots of calories every now and then.

So let me summarize my diet tips:

1. Eat more food more throughout the day: This revs up your metabolism and keeps you feeling full. The key here is making good choices and getting the best "bang for your buck."

2. Avoid drinking your calories. I know a lot of people who constantly drink soda. Soda is TERRIBLE for you! If I'm going to drink soda, I drink diet. When I drink coffee, I use splenda. I love eating and I'm not going to waste calories on drinks! Switching to diet might be painful at first but you'll get used to it!

There's that old joke about the guy eating a snickers bar and drinking a diet coke...well I'm that guy! When I go to the movies, I load up on candy and bring a diet coke. Any calorie savings are good savings.

Also, watch out for juice. Even though it's "all natural" or whatever, when you juice a fruit, you lose the MOST IMPORTANT fibers and vitamins. What your left with is a drink that's high in sugar. I never buy juice (except for Carrot juice on occassion), but eat TONS of fruit.

3. Allow yourself a cheat day. Its a good mental break from the "healthyness", and it will make following a 90% healthy diet easier.

4. Take some time to research a food before accepting that it's healthy. Read food labels. Know the serving size! I see people get a "healthy salad" all the time, and then coat it with ranch dressing and have a tall glass of OJ on the side. No bueno.

Most people think they know which foods are healthy, but in reality, are TOTALLY deceived. Take responsibility for what you are putting inside of you! Even if I'm going to eat something that is totally unhealthy, I make it a point to know EXACTLY how unhealthy it is for me. Then, I know exactly how hard I have to bust my ass to work it off.

5. Try incorporating some "substitutes." I love dessert, so in my freezer I have "Healthy Choice Fudge Bars." Would I prefer a Double Size Super Fudge Sunday? Damn right I would! But, really all I need is a little sweet fix to be satisfied. The healthy choice fudge bar accomplishes this with FAR less damage.


The key here is finding a physical activity you like to do and doing it a lot! Most people don't like running or getting on the stairclimber. I don't either.

When I slimmed down, my primary physical activities were basketball and tennis because I love both sports. Hell, even golf (provided you don't use a cart) is great exercise! Find something you love to do and do it a lot!

Now I did mention I run and do cardio of other sorts as well, but that's not essential. Why do I do it? Because I'm ultra competitive. Being in better shape gives me an edge in basketball, tennis, racketball, golf, and running. I really don't enjoy being on that damn stairmaster, but the whole time I'm busting my ass, I'm thinking "Noone else will mentally put up with this punishment!" so that makes me both physically and mentally stronger.

Also, I really envision the fat melting off and my heart becoming more efficient with every pump. The feeling of accomplishment, energy, and clarity that accompanies the finishing of a great workout is unmatched!

Try to incorporate your fun cardio vascular activity 4-5 times a week and you'll be golden! Also, the higher you get your heart rate up, the more calories you'll burn HOURS after working out. For example, if you have to choose between 20 minutes of interval sprinting or an hour long distance run, you're better off sprintng for less time because you'll burn far more calories after working out.

20 minutes of intense cardio 4-5 times a week is a minimal time commitment, especially if you're doing something you like!

Weight Training
This is the most often overlooked area in fitness, especially among women! "I don't wanna bulk up! I just want to be lean and toned!"

Well I've got good news for you ladies. Unless you're taking some crazy supplements, you will never "bulk up." Hormonally its impossible! Sure you'll add some muscle, but that muscle will make you look toned!

The reason weight training is so important is that, pound for pound, muscle burns more calories than fat. If you have more muscle, you'll be burning more calories throughout the day, even if you're just sitting around. Having more muscle revs up your metabolism beyond belief! You know those bastardly people who eat whatever they want and don't gain a pound? Well you'll be very much like them! You're cheat meals will get burndt up by the muscular furnas burning inside of you! (ok I know I'm getting carried away but you get the point).

Some Tips:

1. Try to use freeweights as much as possible. They activate more muscles that machines, but are more difficult to use, and more dangerous. If you do use freeweights, make sure someone shows you proper form so you don't hurt yourself.

2. USE PROPER FORM!!! I can't tell you how many people I see around the gym throwing around massive amounts of weight while using terrible form. These people will likely gain less muscle and get hurt.

3. Give at least two days of rest between working the same muscle group. Your muscles grow when you're resting! I recommend lifting between 3-5 times a week.

4. Have fun! I challenge myself to do better than my last workout everytime! Also, if you can get a good training partner, you can motivate each other, and the workout becomes more fun.

So that's about it kids! I couldn't cover every little detail, but I hope what I have covered can help you become healthy. These tips can work for everyone, and these healthy habits are now ingrained in my lifestyle.

Honestly, I feel a great deal of guilt if I miss a workout. Why? Part of it is a fear of going back to chubby and part of it is missing the great postworkout feeling of accomplishment. Being healthy is part of who I am, just as much as being clever, witty and devilishly handsome are..... :)

If you are committed, then I can GAURANTEE that you will go from Chubby to Studdly and your ENTIRE LIFE will change for the better!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

From Chubby to Studdly Part Deux

If you haven't read part 1 of this article click here before reading further.

So throughout my adolescence I was always pretty chubby. I was semi-athletic and half heartedly (ok....maybe only one-eighth heartedly) watched my diet. But, I had no will-power whatsoever.

Ice-cream Bar? "Hand it over."
Pizza? "How many slices?"
Lemonade? "Needs more sugar."

You get the point. Towards the later end of my highschool career I realized that not only am I large, but I am also weak. I was 270 lbs with the strength of someone 100lbs less than me. So I resolved to start some light strength training. The only problem was, I didn't know what the hell I was doing.

I remember when I first started, I would flex my bicep, yet my arm would look exactly the same. What little muscle there was, was covered by a nice soft layer of adipose.

I've got some work to do.

Free weights scared me so I started with machines which are less difficult to screw up (even though I still managed to use terrible form). As I became stronger, slowly I became more interested in weight training. As my interest grew, I started emersing myself in strength training and body building literature.

In fact at one point, I actually sent pro bodybuilders (and VERY famous among their sport) Flex Wheeler and Ronnie Coleman sappy emails telling them how inspirational they were and asking a couple of training questions. This was before bodybuilding is as popular as it is today. I was so happy when I got personal replies for BOTH of them! I still have those emails to this day.

Anyways, by the time I was headed to college I had dropped a few pounds just from weight training and starting to play more basketball and tennis. I was still large, but at least there was some decent muscle hiding underneath. This is where everything changed, and ordinary Arun became Super Arun!

When I got to college I was so dead set at avoiding the "freshman 15." I had a little motivation since I had already lost a few pounds and I knew what happens to most people when they spend a year eating calorie loaded yet mariginally tasting campus dining. I tried to eat as somewhat healthy as possible. There also happened to be a basketball court right behind my dorm, so every night me and my buddies would play.

Meanwhile I continued lifting weights but I was completely oblivious to any change going on in my body. I never weighed myself and really didn't notice much in the mirror. Christmas time rolled around and I went back home. This is when reality hit me.

I vividly remember stepping on the scale, totally scared that I had gained a couple of pounds. If I had actually managed to lose a couple of pounds, I would've been ecstatic! 225 lbs.

"What!??" Is this thing working right?" Apparently it was, because people noticed. Now I was really fired up! I came back to school totally determined to become fit. I was so determind that I became a workout machine and trained everyday single day (which by the way was overtraining).

In addition to basketball and weights, I began running everyday. At first I couldn't run one mile without stopping. I'd run 3 laps on the track then walk 1, and continue for 3 miles. By the end of the year I was running 7 continuous miles seven days a week!

School was out, and I headed home feeling good, looking good (damn good if I must say :), and having a whole new mentality. So how did my mentality change?

Well I now know the importance of health, and having been on both sides, I know how much better it feels to be physically fit. Being physically healthy also benefits your mental and emotional states as well.

OK OK. I know I promised that I would outline a simple way to get healthy. What I'm going to share are not only the details of things you need to focus on, but also easy ways to integrate them into your lives forever! As you can see from my story, I did a lot of exercise, and watched what I ate, but what I do now, is much less extreme, and I can still lose weight when I want.

Unfortunately this post is long enough, so everything you'll ever want to know about how to get healthy will be in part 3 coming VERY soon!


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

From Chubby to Studdly Part 1

One of my main interests is understanding how the body works. How do our daily activities and intake affect our health, wellness, and appearance? As we all know, obesity is a prevalent and growing problem in America.

Do a search on the internet and you will find myriad of websites advertising their magic weight loss strategy.

"Lose 10 pounds in two days!"
"Sculpt your abs in just 6 weeks!"

Sorry to break it to you, but the likelyhood of these working as advertised, is about as good as the possibility of Georgie W. ever learning to pronounce the word "nuclear" properly (don't get me started!).

So why don't these miracle strategies work? Firstly, they are all temporary solutions. You can take a pill for two months that curbs your appetite, but what's going to happen when you get off the pill? You go back to eating and gain the weight back!

Similarly, I've seen the commercial on TV for a drink that claims to shed 10 pounds of bodyweight in two days. Are they telling the truth? Actually the answer is yes. The problem is, the weight you're losing is not fat. Its muscle and water!!! Instead of being just large and roley-poley you've now become large, weak, DEHYDRATED....and roley poley! And doesn't two days on a liquid diet sound like fun? Genius.

And lets be honest. How many of us would really be able to live our whole lives having a 12 oz "shake for breakfast, shake for lunch, and a sensible dinner" for the rest of our lives? I don't know about you, but I like actually eating the majority of my meals and having a sweet something afterwards. (On a related note, I once new someone who bought the SlimFast shakes and drank them as a beverage WITH each meal! Suffice to say, this person wasn't exactly the next Maxim cover model).

The truth is, to really become healthy and fit, one has to make a LIFESTYLE CHANGE! Honestly I can't emphasize enough how important it is to really commit to a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. What I mean is, you can't just exercise and eat well until you become moderately healthy, then go back to your old ways.

I used to fantasize that one day, when I manage to drop all this weight, I'll just be able to eat whatever I want! "Since I'm no longer fat, I'll have ice-cream, chocolate! YES!" THIS is why most people who lose weight, end up putting it all back on. The make a TEMPORARY change instead of a LIFESTYLE change.

The key is making a change that you can follow for the rest of your life! Sounds hard eh? Well I've got a suprise for you. Its really not! Now I'm not going to to sugar coat it (especially since sugar is not going to help you get healthy!) and tell you it's easy...but making a lifestyle change is not as hard as it sounds. If you are committed, it can be simple.

The problem I have with popular diets like Atkins, Sugar busters, or whatever else there is out there, is that most of these place severe diet restrictions which can be hard to follow, and may be unhealthy.

Atkins for example places a total restriction on carbohydrate intake. Most people who follow the Atkins diet do lose weight, however the protein-carbohydrate imbalance is hard on the kidneys in the long run. Also, your muscles NEED carbohydrates to grow and maintain. Ultimately your going to lose weight, but you will lose BOTH fat and muscle and won't be as toned as you want.

Also, I love things like cereal, oatmeal, fruit, and sandwiches, all of which are restricted on Atkins. It may work in the short term, but its hard to make this diet a lifetime commitment.

In fact, I drink on the weekends, snack throughout the day, and eat dessert after dinner. Now I'm not exactly a Men's Health cover model, but I am fit. To be like that would mean I'd have to get extra serious about this stuff which I'm not ready to do. Luckily, my devilish good looks make up for any abdominal definition I lack :)

I know what you're thinking. "Arun, get serious! You can't drink and eat desserts and spend all this time blogging and be fit! I'm gonna read this whole post and you're gonna tell me you got your stomach stapled or something!"

As pleasent as that sounds, no stapling was involved.

So what's the secret? Well, its actually not much of a secret. Most of you know how to lose weight and/or get fitter. The trick is making it easy! Well there's definitely some hard work involved, but I'm thoroughly convinced that I will never go back to Chubby since my new, healthier habits are so ingrained in my lifestyle. Besides, chisled, handsome Arun (and modest) is much cooler than round Arun!

So here I am harping about all these stupid diets and gimmiks that don't work, and you're probably wondering when the hell I'm going to give the almighty solution. How did I get and stay in shape? And how can you do it too for that matter? Stay tuned for part 2 coming very soon...

Click here for Part 2!

Monday, January 8, 2007

The Perfect Year Plan

Every year, milllions of people around the world make New Years resolutions. I would be willing to bet that at least 70 % of these resolutions fail every year! Why does this happen? Well one big reason is that people set the bar entirely too high. Realism is important in making resolutions. Also, most people lack the will power to actually follow through with their resolutions.

Go to the gym this week. If you're a regular gym-goer, you'll notice its unusually crowded and there's a lot of new people. I'd be willing to bet a good chunk-o-change that the most common New Year's resolution is to drop weight. By next month though, 90% of these new gym members will be gone.

Next year, they'll make the same resolution.

One more buddy, D. His resolution? To drink less alcohol. So how does he ring in the new year? By getting completely obliterrated! What did we do last weekend? mmm...Patron (Sorry D)!

In the past, I have been guilty of this (as is everybody at some point in their lives) but I've gotten better about at least partially fullfilling my yearly ambtitions. So how did I do with my goals for last year? Lets find out in order of importance.

1. Find a Decent job: I'd say I nailed this one pretty well. I have a great job that is pretty low stress and makes the best of my stupid technical degree. I'm lucky to have an office and the internet priviledges to finish writing this post tomorrow!

2. Build a Kick-Ass Senior Project: I think I did well here too. I built an artificial intelligence robot that won second place (and $500) in the Roborodentia competition. Although my goal was to win, I was still really happy to do as well as I did.

3. Learn to Play the Piano: I'd say I did below average. I took a class and did well, but I don't practice nearly enough and I'm not very good.

4. Write more Music: This was pretty much a failure. I did actually finish one song on piano, but that is nothing over the course of a year. I've done one in a day before. I haven't even recorded it yet so this was a dissappointment.

5. Get fitter: This is pretty much a yearly staple for my New Years Goals. I did OK here. I'm pretty fit now, but there is definitely room for improvement.

So onto this year! I've got some lofty goals but I think all are realistic if I dedicate myself enough.

1. Become Real Estate and Investment Savy: I've been devouring personal finance books recently and I'm moving now into investment. Why? I want to build a nest of passive income that allows me to live comfortably, charitably, and affords me more time to work on things like New Years resolutions! By the end of the year I want to be in a position to buy property and begin serious stock trading.

2. Progress in Internet Marketing: This blog is basically my novice venture into internet marketing. I actually get paid when people click on my ads but legally I cannot encourage people to do so on my page. I love writing and I get really excited when I find out people read my blog. In fact I check my page viewership everyday. My goal is to market this blog more effectively to increase my audience and hopefully also increase my advertising income.

3. Become a better musician: I've started this already as I spent a considerable time on my Piano and guitar this weekend and began writing a new song. I really want to make time for this and actually improve much more than I did last year.

4. Learn more about Social Interactions: By nature I'm incredibly social. I hardly spend any time at home and, almost subconciously, try to surround myself with people. One of the things I find incredibly fascinating in the subconcious and psychology behind social interactions among people. I've learned the basics about Kinaesthetics and Neuro Linguistic Programming, but I definitely want to be more of a pseudo expert.

5. Become healthier: I consider myself pretty healthy. I exercise a lot (almost too much) and am moderately careful about what I eat. When it comes to exercise, I have a lot of will power, but with diet, not so much. I have a sweet tooth which sometimes gets the better of me. So, this year I'm going to get better about resisting temptation.

So thats it! I've already begun on five goals. I think everyone should write down their New Years Goals. At the end of the year when you evaluate yourself, you'll be even more motivated for next year! I am actually curious as to what other people's resolutions are, so feel free the share with me!

Good Luck...

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Sweet Home Alaska

As soon as I stepped onto the jetway from the airplane, that all too familiar feeling struck me...frigid cold. Welcome to Alaska.

I hadn't been back for a year and spending all this time in California has made me a weather wimp. I used to be adept at walking around in the winter, sometimes without a coat. Now I can't even make through the parkinglot without bundling up. Instead of boring you with all of the exciting time I spent puttering around and hangin out with my parents, let me share the highlights.

Snow is definitely fun stuff and it snowed a ton the 10 days I was in Anchorage. Driving in the stuff brings a funny combination of fear and fun. Slippin and sliding all around the neighborhood and fishtailing turns is exhilirating, but when the antilock brakes engage at every other traffic light, you kind of realize the danger you're really in.

On another note, people not from Alaska always seem to think that the population is so small that I there's a good possibility I'll know Joe Schmoe they met one time who was from Alaska. Despite Anchorage having a population of 300,000 though, it seems like I see at least one person I know whenver I go out and about.

It all started on the plane ride. I had to stop in Vegas on the way to Anchorage and there happened to be a guy on my flight whom I hadn't seen since highschool. He's one of those "what ever happened to ___?" kind of guys. Turns out he's now writes R&B songs for various artists. In fact, he's got some songs now that artists like Neyo, Joe, and Jojo may pickup.

Seeing famiilar faces continued throughout the week at everywhere from Nordstrom to Costco to the Airport again when I was leaving. Yes, someone else I knew was on my Pheonix bound flight.

The highlight of the week though was last Sunday which went like this:

9:00 - Arun wakes up very tired to watch the Chiefs play the Jaguars in the regular season finale.

10:45 - Arun hurts shoulder doing excessive fist pump after seeing the first successful flee flicker ever pulled by the Chiefs.

12:00 - Arun proceeds to do "Will Farrel Old School Robot Air punches" after Chiefs beat the Jags.

12:17 - Arun's heart skips about 10 beats when he realizes the Patriots beat the Titans and the Steelers luck out and beat the Bengals in overtime! The Chiefs have a shot at the playoffs!

1:20 - Arun jumps up and down when the Broncos throw an interception for a TD. Meanwhile my Mom downstairs thinks there's somekind of an earthquake going on.

3:03 - Arun barries head into Sofa after Broncos win the coin flip in OT.

3:21 - Arun has a mini depression as the Broncos are driving. Arun then does an air "Judo Chop" as the Broncos are stopped!

3:30 - Arun does happy dance all over the house as the 49ers win and send the Chiefs go to the playoffs.

3:36 - Arun goes outside to move the car and totally eats it on the icey driveway from still doing the happy dance.

Merry Christmas to ME!