Fuller Center General

"Intervals" a dirty word that works

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.   Have you ever found yourself in this cycle?  We are creatures of habit and creatures who seek comfort.  Both lend themselves to a path of routine. 

My exercise routine had become just that, a routine.  Lately, I haven’t been getting the results I had hoped for.  I’ve been working really hard but the weight isn’t coming off.  After talking to a few experts in exercise, I decided it was time to change up the routine.  I’ve had good results but it was time to move on to something a little different, something a little outside my comfort zone….something exhausting.  I can’t expect the same results I received early on by doing the same thing over and over.

INTERVALS ... it’s a dirty word to me.  But it is working.  After dropping 4 pounds in three days, I think I’ve escaped exercise insanity, at least until my body adjusts and I’ll have to shock it with a new routine.  But I’ll be watching out for that.

Combination punches

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

When injury and illness call, you better answer.  I was blessed to have them both conference call me at the same time.  Injury called in first shortly behind illness.  My back had been sore and tired for a couple weeks but I kept pushing, taking no rest days except Sunday.

Going medieval

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

Medieval times certainly had their torture devices, but the 21st century isn't to be outdone.  I present to you the spinner.  Sure, it looks somewhat harmless but so did the rack.  But upon closer examination, the spinner reveals a very dark, dark secret.  One hour on the spinner, and the object of its torture is begging to be released.

Training is a blessing

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

I know I’ve talked a lot about how difficult getting ready for the Bike Adventure has been, and in many ways, it has been difficult. But I can’t stress enough the blessing it has been and the change I have seen in me, both physically and spiritually. Now you might look at me today and think to yourself; “You know, Aaron doesn’t really look much different. When is this weight gonna start falling off of him?

Believe me, I keep asking myself that question every day. But it isn’t just about the weight, it can’t be. I’m of that certain age (yes, mid-40s) where it is VERY difficult to lose that belly fat. It doesn’t fall off like it did 10 years ago. But I’ve noticed something when I’m doing my workouts … they’re getting less painful.

For example, last night, I did an hour and twenty minutes of cardio; 40 minutes on the dreadmill, I mean treadmill; 20 minutes on the bike and 20 minutes on the stairclimber. I then did weights and crunches. And here’s the miracle. THEY DIDN’T CARRY ME OUT ON A STRETCHER. ... I may not ever see my abs again but running 5 miles doesn’t scare me I’m starting to believe I’ll be able to ride a bike 80 miles a day.

Getting in shape is no piece of cake

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

Preparing for the Bike Adventure is really threefold for me — cardio at least 5 times a week, weights at least 3 times a week and eating healthier.

Cardio is my favorite.  I love the dreadmill … I mean treadmill.  I think my mind reverts back to my cross-country running days and muscle memory kicks in.  Honestly, 40 minutes of cardio and I feel great.  Weights don’t bother me either … well, not too much.  I’ve done weights most of my life and I love the immediate impact.  I can already see a difference from a regular weightlifting routine.

But take away my carbs, and I’m a VERY unhappy cyclist.  From my coffee creamer (hazelnut by Coffeemate is my fav) to toast with my eggs and even fresh fruit, I LOVE MY CARBS.  But they are hindering my weight loss and keeping that annoying belly fat right where it’s been for the past several years … on my belly.  I know, I know, we need carbs — healthy carbs, that is — but when you’re trying to drop about 40 pounds and most of it is in your belly, carbs are the enemy.

This plank isn't for walking ... aargh!

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

Dear inventor of the Plank: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Did mankind hurt you in some horrible way?  Is it your life mission to destroy humanity?  I remember the instructor saying something along the lines “ok, now it’s time to plank.”  My first thought was, cool, pirates!  Walking the plank doesn’t sound so bad ... I mean, they can’t actually hurt us in here, can they?

YES THEY CAN!!!!

Let me be the first to warn you: If you’ve never planked before (if that’s even a term), your instructor is a sadist and you’ll never stand up straight again.

Adventure is shaping up

By Aaron Carmichael,
Chief Development Officer

Do you want to help change the world? Most of us want to be a positive force in this world. We are passionate about our causes; we spend our free time doing the things that make us feel alive.

After I bike 297 miles in one week of this summer's Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, hopefully I'll still feel alive! I'll definitely be changing the world.

I want you to be a part of this journey — without all the aches and pains it's going to take for this old boy to tackle a new challenge. I'll explain how you can do that, but first let me explain why I'm going to whip myself into shape — as opposed to a shape — before summer comes.

My faith is my motivator. Philippians 3:13, 14, "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

What does this passage mean to you? I used to only look at scripture through the prism of my own selfish salvation. What this passage said to me was I need to get to heaven and not let anything cause me to stumble along the way. But that is not entirely what this passage is saying.

WEEK IN REVIEW: You'll love Louisville

By Chris Johnson,
Director of Communications

Last April I visited Louisville, Kentucky, for the very first time. My knowledge of the place was limited to having watching the great Louisville basketball team, a few Kentucky Derbies and swinging a Louisville Slugger baseball bat or two.

And while I was there, I saw where the Louisville football and basketball teams play, saw Churchill Downs and even the Louisville Slugger museum — although I didn't actually go into any of these. But other than those well-trodden sites, I expected it to be just another city.

But it most definitely is not. You can see it in the faces of strangers on the street, you can see it throughout the Shawnee neighborhood which The Fuller Center of Louisville has resurrected and you can see it from the top officials to the homeless on the street. Folks in Louisville care.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has been on a mission since Day 1 on the job to make Louisville the “Most Compassionate City in America” and I believe he might already have achieved that goal. That compassionate attitude has spread throughout the city and led to scores of improvements, including in the area of housing.

But, there is no perfect city, and Louisville still has its problems, including in the area of housing. Fortunately, The Fuller Center for Housing is leading the way in addressing those problems and has great support from people throughout the city and from city officials.

You have a chance to be a part of this great atmosphere and to help Louisville address these problems at the 2014 Millard Fuller Legacy Build April 6-11. I'll be there, and probably 200 other volunteers will be there, too. And thanks to a $220,000 grant from Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, volunteers are sure to have everything they need to make this build a huge success.

WEEK IN REVIEW: Everybody can help

By Chris Johnson,
Director of Communications

One of the things I've always appreciated is companies who strive to employ disabled persons. Not only does it directly impact the person that's employed by giving them a chance to contribute, but it also shows me that a company has heart.

I'm sure some of it stems from growing up with a grandfather who'd lost both his legs in World War II when they were machine-gunned off by Germans in Tunisia in 1943 while he was a member of what would come to be known as Darby's Rangers.

He lived nearly 40 more years, much of it with a scowl. He was not a happy man in a world that back then was not nearly so wheelchair-accessible (not that it's a breeze now). To be quite frank, he was a grouch and pretty much liked no adults in a world that he felt had turned its back on him. Fortunately, he loved children — we thought his wheelchair was cool as he rode us around the house, doing wheelies until he ran out of breath or needed to fire up another Camel, two things that were obviously related.

More than 30 years after he passed away, I've gotten to know another fella in a wheelchair pretty well — Thad Harris. Thad's a Fuller Center homeowner and volunteers and came by my office today to chat with Director of U.S. Field Operations Kirk Lyman-Barner about utilizing so-called disabled folks in our mission. I captured the conversation on video.

WEEK IN REVIEW: Persistence pays off

By Chris Johnson,
Director of Communications

Hundreds of nonprofits in the state of Georgia were very busy Wednesday, which was Georgia Gives Day here. One of our covenant partners, The Fuller Center of Macon, had an exceptionally good experience, raising more than $6,700 in 24 hours.

They did it mostly with a daylong, hour-by-hour social media campaign led by intern Gillian Ford, a Mercer University student who knows a thing or two about Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and all that stuff. They set a great example for everyone.

The example was that you can't just sign up to be among the Georgia Gives Day partners — you actually have to keep pushing folks to give. You can't have a “build it, and they will come” attitude.