Author Archive

Navy SEAL BUD/S Physical Screening Test (PST) Reqs

Friday, June 10th, 2016

500 Yard Swim
minimum standard: 12:30
competitive standard: 8 Minutes
(combat swimmer stroke, side stroke or breast stroke)

Rest 10 mins

Pushups – 2 minute limit
minimum standard: 50
competitive standard: 80-100

Rest 2 mins

Sit-ups – 2 minute limit
minimum standard: 50
competitive standard: 80-100

Rest 2 mins

Pull-ups – strict from dead hang; no time limit; can’t touch ground or let go of the bar
minimum standard: 8
competitive standard: 15-20

1.5 Mile Timed Run (with boots and long pants)
minimum standard: 10:30
competitive standard: 9-10 mins

Goal Setting – Ten Week Challenge

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Notes from the goal setting seminar by Ed Tseng at Crossfit Mercer, March 13, 2016 –

Everyone is here for the goal setting seminar. If you’re here for the procrastination seminar, Ed doesn’t do them anymore. (Would have been funnier if he had said, he’s putting that off for now).

From hanging out with the most successful people in the world, such as world champions on the Yankees, olympic gold medalists, to billionaires, he’s learned a different twist on goal setting.

Ed has a different twist on goal setting. Many people are anxious about crushing goals – but take minimal notes. He’ll tell us when to write things down (oops) but during the talk just try to be present.

Like in sports, you can’t think and hit at the same time. I think Ed said this was Mickey Mantle: “A full mind is an empty bat”. But when I looked it up, it was said by Branch Rickey. Use this for anything in life. The more you try to write down everything, the less you are in the moment and the less you will benefit. Listen as if you are listening to music, for something new. Listen for something different.

To Ed, the purpose of goal setting is to get more excited and fired up about life. Most people are so excited about their goals, they are like race horses with blinders on. They see nothing but the goal. Good news: you’ll reach your goal. But you may lose sight of everything else.

Mats Wilander from Sweden spent his whole life pursuing a goal to be a tennis champion. He got there, but after the excitement wore off, he told reporters he looked more forward to mowing his lawn than playing tennis. So do you want to spend all your time working towards a goal, thinking you’ll be happy then, or would you rather enjoy the process?

People are so focused on the goal, they think it’s weakness if they change or drop the goals. But if we keep our mind open, we might create better goals, more beneficial goals. Family life, job, even health might suffer by blindly following goals.

Make your goals measurable and specific. But instead of saying you’ll be happy when you achieve my goal, enjoy the process.

The goal should guide you, not govern you.

Goals will give you a direction to head toward. But people won’t know exactly what path that is. Most successful people will tell you they don’t know exactly what path helped them achieve success.

Happiness leads to success more often the success leads to happiness. If you think you’ll be happy when you lose a lot of weight, you might be wrong.

John Lennon story: his mother told him the secret to life is happiness. In school, his assignment was to write down what he wanted to be when he was older. John Lennon wrote “Happy”. The teacher gave the assignment back to John and said “I don’t think you understood the assignment.” John replied, “I don’t think you understand life.”

If you ask anyone about why they set goals, it boils down to happiness. But we can have that happiness now, throughout the process, not just for a short time after we achieve the goal. And then whether we reach our goals or not, we are still going to have happiness.

Happiness from achieving goals will be short-lived. If we achieve them, we’ll need to set new goals to aim for happiness again.

Miss New Jersey explained to Ed that even though she is so successful, she doubts herself every day. If she, or world champions doubt themselves, we are going to have doubt as well. But if we know these doubts are just thoughts, we can work through them. Ed compared thoughts of doubt to dreams. When we wake up, we know it was just a dream and don’t worry about what happened in the dream. Thoughts of doubt are the same.

If thoughts during our dreams shouldn’t affect us, why should our thoughts while we are in the middle of a workout, or during the day, or when we are deciding whether or not to eat a dessert?

Concern yourself less with the doubt and chatter that pops up, and you’ll be more in the moment.

The biggest obstacles in reaching goals are people themselves: the “six inches” between the ears.

We took a minute to think about a specific measurable goal for the next 10 weeks of the challenge, and wrote it down on a worksheet.

The first thing about goals you should know is that there is a superstar athlete, great father, caring mother, successful son, inside of all of us. Did you ever notice the white arrow in the Fedex sign? It’s pointing in the right direction. You may not have noticed it, but it’s been there all along. Same goes with your successful self – it’s already there. There is also a spoon hidden in “Fed”.

We can be successful. We already know what to do.  But when we’re in a low state of mind, we tend to negotiate with ourselves. If you acted on every thought you ever had, you might never get out of bed.

Winners do what losers don’t feel like doing. It’s your behavior that gets results, not your good intentions.

Take action knowing what you know.

Alongside our specific, measurable goal, we wrote down an accountability partner. It must be someone we will check in with daily or weekly. Schedule the time we will report our progress, to be accountable.

The idea or consequence of failing to achieve the goal has to be more painful than the pleasure you’ll get now by doing something that undermines your goal (this was my idea I was telling Augie before the talk, and Ed gave me credit for it. But it’s not mine either — it’s the pain-pleasure principal made popular by Tony Robbins). Tell your accountability partner your plans for the week, and if you don’t make it, you have to do 500 pushups, or take them out to dinner or write them out a $5,000 check… Something painful. It has to be more painful than doing what’s needed to achieve the goal.

Don’t be stressed about your goals. Achieve your goals one at a time, but don’t think about the other 99 things you have to do that day. That will clutter your mind and increase stress. Be present, in the moment. Live in the now. That’s when we do our best. In and out of the gym.

Doubts are self-created. We hold ourselves back. We have all the potential in the world. Ed’s baby daughter didn’t give up on walking because she doubted she could do it. She kept trying and eventually got it.

Thoughts feel real. But they are not. When you wake up from a bad dream, you’re heart races, your body is tight and you are sweating, but you’re just laying in bed. That’s how powerful thoughts are. But doubt your doubts.

Just because you have a doubt doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because you have a lack of confidence or a doubt doesn’t mean it’s real. Thoughts/doubts can be powerful but they are just thoughts.

We thought about what has held us back from achieving your goals, and what might be obstacles for the next 10 weeks.

Example: time to prepare meals for the week. We can’t make more time, but maybe we can re-arrange our schedules. Don’t negotiate with yourself about getting things done. Just do them. You may need to schedule the process of writing out your schedule.

Dolph’s side note on preparing meals: you can’t out-train bad nutrition

Ed also said someone once said: Nothing tastes as good as fit feels.

You want to be able to respond rather than react. If you have to go out to an unexpected business dinner, or head out with friends to an unplanned meal at a restaurant, think about your goals before you order from the menu. Or if you know you’re going out somewhere to a function and will be tempted, each a healthy meal at home beforehand, then just order a healthy salad at the function.

Ed’s area of expertise is the mental side. Losing weight, getting fit, making money — it’s all mental.

One last story: There were twin brothers. One was always positive and the other negative. One day, doctors put the negative boy in a room full of wonderful treats and toys, and they put the positive boy in the dark, dingy basement with a pile of manure in the center.

An hour later, they checked on both of them. The negative boy was not happy, even with all the toys and treats. “I might fall off the rocking horse, or the cake may upset my stomach.”

The positive boy was happy as can be, running in circles. They asked him what was going on. He said, “With all this manure around here, there must be a pony somewhere!

As we go through the next 10 weeks, our feelings will go up and down. But every situation can be seen in a infinite number of ways. A bad cheat meal might make us think we are off track and that we can then continue to eat poorly, or conversely we can think, “I’m more motivated to eat cleaner tomorrow.”

Four Everyday Mobility Exercises

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

This article is from Men’s Health. I don’t know if Navy SEALs really do these four exercises daily, but they look pretty reasonable. I already do couch stretch regularly. Going to incorporate the other three, as I increase my daily pull-up regimen.

Modified Pigeon Stretch

On all fours, place right knee on a pad and shift right heel so it is under your left hip. Bring your left knee forward toward your right calve; pin your leg in place, then shift forward and backward, side to side. Lean forward to your forearms trying to get your chest to the floor. 2.5 mins each leg.

Lat Hang

Elevate your feet on a bench in front of you while hanging from a pull-up bar. Try your best to get your legs parallel to the floor, and keep your torso perpendicular to your legs. Take deep, long breaths, then exhale fully, as if you are filling a balloon. 5 rounds of five breaths each.

One tip to try: Use a balloon. The video below doesn’t show it, but blowing into a balloon forces you to breathe deeper and relax into the stretch, says Kechijian. It should feel like your lower and upper back are “expanding” with air when you inhale every rep.

Belly Lift Walk

This is similar to the inchworm push-up, without the push-up. From a push-up position, with your hands elevated on some plates or a short box and palms flat, walk your feet forward toward your hands without bending the knees. Round your upper back and push your heels into the floor as you step forward. Take 5 deep breaths. 5 rounds.

Couch Stretch

Find some empty space on a wall. While facing away from the wall on all fours, back up to the wall lifting your left foot up behind you so that your shin and knee eventually push up against and touch the wall. Step forward with the other foot. Squeeze your glutes and lift your torso, trying to touch your shoulders to the wall behind you. Contract your hamstring for 2 seconds, trying to pull your heel to your butt. 30 contractions per leg.


Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Do something every day that makes you uncomfortable.

-Living with a SEAL

Funny Karate Winter Training Story

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Yesterday I was reminded of a funny situation I found myself in a few years ago. But first, here is a little background to help put the story in perspective. We have an annual tradition where I do my karate training. Every first full week in January, our JKA school in Trenton/Hamilton meets each morning at 5am for some invigorating training. This year marks the 45th annual training of the school.

I’ve been participating in this week of “Karate Winter Special Training” since I was about 11 years old. I have missed a few years here and there, but I’m currently on a perfect attendance streak of 12 years. I look forward to the training each year, along with its “interesting” rituals. The special classes consist of kihon, kata and kumite (basics, forms and sparring), but there are other traditions we maintain. One of those traditions is an outdoor run, barefoot and shirtless, regardless of the weather. So if it’s snowing or if there is hail coming down, or if the ground is covered in ice, we still run outside barefoot sans gi top. It might sound crazy to some, but it’s simply a custom we do to build spirit and character, and maybe a few blisters on our toes. I must admit, we also do it because we are told to.

These classes are only an hour long so the run is not that far, otherwise it would consume too much of the hour. After all, it’s a karate class, not a running class. We typically run about one mile. If the temperature is closer to zero, we might only do a half-mile. But on some days, Sensei Kisaka keeps us inside for other special activities.

A few years ago during one of our winter trainings I suspected we wouldn’t run during class, for reasons I won’t get into here. However, I wanted to keep the barefoot running tradition (I enjoy running). So each day I arrived extra early and went out to do my barefoot, shirtless run alone. If we ended up running during class too, I just conceded the point that I would run twice. On Thursday that week, it was about 4:30am, snow was falling, and there was already a nice coating on the ground, a couple of inches of cushion — you know the kind where the road actually feels soft to run on and you can hear the snow crunch when your foot lands?

I was running in the street headed south on Olden Ave. Of course there are almost no cars on the road at that time of day. Sometimes just a few vehicles pass by, delivery trucks or sanitation vehicles starting their run, or even a salting truck or snow plow.

There happened to be a Hamilton Police Officer sitting in his cruiser parked alongside the road. It was easy to spot from a distance because the parking lights were on, and I could see the car was running by the stream of fumes escaping from the tailpipe. As I approached, the Officer opened his window and called me over.

When I jogged up to his door, I remember noticing the warm air coming out the window. It was cold and windy. He very bluntly asked: “Are you all right sir?” I didn’t hesitate to respond, blurting out “Yes” in my hardened, macho, cold state of mind.

Then the image of what I was doing suddenly flashed through my mind from the Officer’s perspective. He must have though I’d lost my mind, running barefoot and bare-chested in the snow in what looked like my “pajamas” (white gi-bottom pants). Maybe he suspected I had escaped from a mental institution.

He didn’t look convinced with my one word answer so I repeated, betraying a slight smile, and explained, “Yes, really, I am okay… Doing special karate winter training at the school down the street. We do it every year.”

With a slight smirk on his face he responded “Okay. Carry on,” and rolled the window back up in his warm cruiser.

100 Household Tips

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

FIOS TV Signal Issues

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Chat Subject: FiOS Television (No Picture / Picture Quality)

Your Question: I’ve had no TV since last week. New set-top box arrived. I installed it, and auto-activation failed. Details are: RF Check: MoCA TX RATE (151 Mbps) IS LOW.

A Verizon Service Representative will be with you shortly. Thank you. (19:07:04)

Agent Dig has joined. (19:10:14)

Dig : Chat ID for this session is 03071174364. (19:10:14)

Dig(19:10:29): Thank you for contacting the Verizon FIOS technical chat support. We thank you for your patience in reaching us. In order to pull up your records and assist you better, May I request you to confirm the telephone number , name and address on the account.

F J SCONZO(19:10:54): xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dig(19:11:09): Thank you for the information .

Dig(19:12:09): I see that the box failed to activate , am I correct ?

F J SCONZO(19:12:19): Correct

F J SCONZO(19:12:39): It is currently displaying a picture, but the picture quality is very poor.

Dig(19:12:49): I apologize for the inconvenience caused .

Dig(19:14:19): Let me go ahead and see where the issue is .

F J SCONZO(19:15:55): The last support representative said “I assure you that the set-top box once receive will work as you expect. I am 100% confident about it, you can trust my word on it.” But it is not working.

F J SCONZO(19:16:00): Thanks for looking into the problem.

Dig(19:16:15): I apologize for that .

Dig(19:17:40): So now you have picture on the TV, however the quality is bad ?

F J SCONZO(19:17:50): Correct.

Dig(19:17:55): Okay .

F J SCONZO(19:18:10): The image is very pixellated, and different parts of the screen update at different times.

F J SCONZO(19:18:25): Also, the sound is delayed at times and not in sync with the picture.

Dig(19:18:35): Let me go ahead and run some advanced commands on the box that should fix the issue .

F J SCONZO(19:18:46): Please proceed.

Dig(19:21:41): May I know the serial number of the box that has an issue, it would start with < M > ?

F J SCONZO(19:23:41): It is M00000XXX000

Dig(19:24:36): Thank you .

Dig(19:27:06): I have already send out the commands .

F J SCONZO(19:28:11): The picture still looks bad.

Dig(19:28:31): Well the commands are still in process.

F J SCONZO(19:28:56): okay

F J SCONZO(19:29:41): Okay, the set-top box just shut off again.

F J SCONZO(19:29:56): And is now restarting…

F J SCONZO(19:30:26): The display on the box now shows “–:–” instead of the time or channel.

Dig(19:30:31): Correct .

Dig(19:30:41): Please wait for some time .

F J SCONZO(19:30:51): Okay, now it shows the time.

F J SCONZO(19:31:16): The Verizon menu appeared on the TV, saying “Press MENU to watch FIOS TV”

F J SCONZO(19:32:57): Should I press the MENU button on the remote, or continue to stand by?

Dig(19:33:46): Please wait .

F J SCONZO(19:33:56): Okay. I will wait.

Dig(19:34:06): Thank you .

Dig(19:35:36): Mr Sconzo, may I request you to now check and see .

Dig(19:35:46): I am sure the issue should be now fixed .

F J SCONZO(19:36:01): The set top box display is completely blank.

F J SCONZO(19:36:11): Should I power it on first?

Dig(19:36:26): Please turn it off and turn it back on .

F J SCONZO(19:37:16): It is back on, but the picture and sound problems persist.

Dig(19:37:31): Oh. Okay .

Dig(19:38:01): May I request you to unplug the coaxial cable from the box to the wall jack and replug it back .

F J SCONZO(19:38:16): SURE

Dig(19:38:56): Thank you .

Dig(19:39:16): Just to let you know, in case the chat gets disconnected due to any issue at either end, please re initiate the chat through the same channel or call our FIOS phone support at 1-800-837-4966, whichever is convenient to you.

F J SCONZO(19:40:26): I disconnected and reconnected the cable, again.

F J SCONZO(19:40:31): The picture is looking better now.

Dig(19:40:41): Great!

Dig(19:41:16): I am sure that you should never face the issue again .

F J SCONZO(19:41:31): Thank you.

Dig(19:41:36): I see that your email address is Shall I go ahead and send you some quick troubleshooting tips for your future reference?

F J SCONZO(19:42:01): Sure thing.

Dig(19:42:31): Thank you .

Dig(19:42:46): Is there anything else I may assist you today?

F J SCONZO(19:43:21): No thank you. My family is happy to have their television programs are available again, after a weekend and several days without them.

Dig(19:43:31): Oh. Okay .

Dig(19:43:46): I am really sorry for the delay .

Dig(19:44:17): However you should never face this issue again as Verizon always wants a happy customer .

F J SCONZO(19:44:31): Great. thank you.

F J SCONZO(19:44:41): Have a good day.

Dig(19:45:01): Our goal is for you to be completely satisfied with the service you have received and that you recommend us to your friends and colleagues. I am glad I could help. Additional help on all 3 FIOS services is available on our website You can also make use of the Verizon In Home Agent for your Windows and Mac computers which is available for download .Please navigate to this website and click on the link Get In-Home Agent to download and install it. This software would help you in troubleshooting basic issues that you face with your FIOS services before you contact us. Thank you for choosing Verizon and have a nice day.

Dig(19:45:12): To Save/Print the chat session:

Please click on “End Chat” and scroll down to the bottom to Print/Save.

Please click on “Exit” to end the chat session.

[ At this point my ten year old son Peter began typing in my absence, and the conversation that follows is pretty amusing… ]

Dig(19:48:47): Is there anything else I may assist you today?

F J SCONZO(19:49:22): no

Dig(19:49:37): Thank you for choosing Verizon and have a nice day.

F J SCONZO(19:49:57): you too

Dig(19:50:22): It was pleasure assisting you .

F J SCONZO(19:50:37): thank you

Dig(19:50:57): Take care Mr Sconzo .

F J SCONZO(19:51:57): you too. you helped us a lot. now we can watch American idol

Dig(19:52:02): Great!

F J SCONZO(19:52:12): bye

Dig(19:52:22): You and your family have a great day .

F J SCONZO(19:55:12): i hope you have a nice day too

Dig(19:56:07): Thank you for your complement .

Dig(19:56:37): You made my day .

Dig(19:56:53): You are the most patience and polite person I ever worked with !

#9 Powerfood: Olive Oil

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Olive oil helps lower cholesterol, and boosts the immune system with mono-unsaturated fat and vitamin E.

It helps fight against obesity, cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Some sidekicks include canola oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil. But avoid other vegetable and hydrogenated oils, trans-fatty acids and margarine.

Basically, olive oil helps control food cravings, will help burn fat and keep cholesterol levels in check.

#8 Powerfood: Peanut Butter

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

All-natural, sugar-free peanut butter helps boost testosterone, build muscle and burn fat. It contains protein, mono-unsaturated fat, vitamin E, niacin and magnesium.

It fights against obesity, cardiovascular disease, muscle loss, and wrinkles. Some close relatives include cashew and almond butters. But avoid mass-produced sugary and trans-fatty peanut butters.

Unfortunately, peanut butter has lots of calories and is not on the menu at most restaurants, but it contains mono-unsaturated fats that help increase the body’s production of testosterone.

In one 18-month experiment, people who included peanut butter into their diet maintained weight loss better than those on low-fat plans. Also, a recent study from the University of Illinois showed that those who had mono-unsaturated fats (olive oil) before a meal ate 25 percent fewer calories than those who didn’t.

Peanut butter is also great because it is a quick snack and tastes great. It doesn’t leave you feeling deprived. Spread it on apple slices or add to otherwise boring, bland-tasting smoothies.

Just remember two things: you shouldn’t overeat it because it has a high fat content (limit to 3 tablespoons a day), and use all-natural peanut butter instead of the mass-produced brands that have added sugar.

#7 Powerfood: Lean Meats/Poultry/Fish

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Lean steak, chicken, and fish are good for building muscle and improving the immune system.

These foods include protein, iron, zinc, creatine (beef), omega-3 fatty acids (fish), vitamin B6 (chicken and fish), B12, phosphorous, and potassium, which help fight against obesity, mood disorders, memory loss, and heart disease.

Some sidekicks include: shellfish, canadian bacon, and lean pork loin. Avoid imposters like: sausage, bacon, cured meats, ham, fatty cuts of steak like T-bone and rib eye.

Protein should be the base of any diet plan since it is a muscle-building nutrient. Turkey breast is one of the leanest meats available and it contains nearly one-third of the daily requirement of niacin and vitamin B6. Dark meats contain zinc and iron. Note: avoid self-basting turkeys because they are injected with fat.

Beef is the top food source for creatine, which your body uses when you life weights. However, beef contains saturated fats, so look for rounds or loins which are extra-lean. Sirloins and New York strips are less fatty than prime ribs and T-bones.

If you need to avoid saturated fats, include more tuna and salmon in your diet. The omega-3 fatty acids help lower the leptin hormone in your body, which is associated with storing calories as fat. A research study done at the University of Wisconson found that misc with lower leptin levels had faster metabolisms. A Mayo Clinic study of two African tribes found that leptin levels were nearly five times lower in the tribe that ate fish frequently, than the tribe that primarily ate vegetables.

Researchers in Stockholm found that men who had no fish in their diet had a higher risk (three times) of prostate cancer than those who ate it regularly.