But I just looked around … and he’s gone.

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My grandfather—my “Big Dad”—taught me things that would have equipped me for his world, his generation. But didn’t really help me much for the one I would be in. Much of what he taught me disappeared in polite society along him:

• Hats worn with suits,
• Walking on the outside, closest to the street, when with a lady,
• Hand-written thank you notes,
• Opening doors for ladies,
• Standing when a lady enters the room,
• Taking off your hat when speaking to a lady or someone older,
• Taking off your sunglasses when speaking to a lady or someone older,
• Giving up your seat on a train or bus for a lady or an adult,
• Asking permission to leave the Table,
• Saying “may I have,” not “I want,”
• Addressing all men and women with “sir” and “ma’am,”
• Addressing older men and women as “Mr. Smith” or “Mrs. Jones.”

How do we measure others today? How do we measure a man? A woman?

Wasn’t it character?

Isn’t it character?

Shouldn’t it be character?

In 9th grade, I started keeping a notebook of the quotes of great people in history. After I filled it, I carried it with me all over the world. It was lost in a box that never made it from Japan back to Memphis in 1998. I imagine that box fell off the cargo ship in the Pacific and washed up on Tom Hanks’ little island.

The quotes of great people inspire and inform us, don’t they?

Martin Luther King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Plato said, “The measure of a man is what he does with power.”

J.C. Watts said, “The measure of a man is not how great his faith is, but how great his love is.”

Plutarch said, “The measure of a man is the way he bears up under misfortune.”

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can’t help him.”

One way to measure a man, or a woman, is by what kinds of things irritate them.

Or moves them.

Or breaks them.

I nostalgically hold on to the things my Big Dad taught me. When he came to visit us from Little Rock, he slept with me in my room. In the darkness I asked him questions I was too afraid to ask my parents or even my teachers. “When will I be a grown man?” “Do you ever get scared?” “What is death?” “How can I be brave?” “What do I do when my heart is broken?”

He taught me to look for greatness in others and to try to use their example to shape my own life.

In the darkness of my bedroom on the night of April 4, 1968, I asked my Big Dad, a man of noble character, why the negro man was killed in Memphis. There was a long pause from my grandfather, V.W. Lancaster. A pause so long that I thought perhaps he’d fallen asleep.

And then he sighed.

I thought at first the sigh was an indication that I’d finally asked him too many questions. That he was tired of the nightly inquisition. That I’d exasperated him to the point of fatigue and irritation.

He had never tired of my questions before. Had never shown any sign of agitation from them. But now I seem to have asked one too many of them. I imagined his patience had run out and that I’d asked an inappropriate question.

And then, he cleared his throat.

I expected him to chastise me and tell me he was tired.

But in a broken voice, almost a whisper, he said, “Son, there is greatness and goodness in the world.” And then another long pause, a pause I didn’t understand for many years. And then he said, “And son … there is also hatred and evil.”

It wasn’t until I had children of my own, when I had to dispel the myth and take away their innocence by explaining to them that there was greatness and goodness in the world, but there is also hatred and evil. It’s the moment every parent dreads the most. To tell their child something that will take the twinkle from their eyes and will tarnish the joy in their hearts.

But then we encourage our children to love. Just like my grandfather did for me. To be a light in a dark world where hate and anger and evil try to destroy us. We must be better and to do good in the world.

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Hate can’t drive out hate. Only love can do that. Thank you, Dr. King.

— 30 —



In honor of my friend, Tom Farrar, who passed away at the tender age of 54. Tom was my accountant and a great guy, but he did NOT take care of himself.

Ever since Tom’s death, a death I believe was preventable, I’ve designated April as the “TOM FARRAR MEMORIAL BRING A FRIEND TO BOOT CAMP MONTH.”

• You can bring a friend for a week for free!

• No strings attached, no pressure to join!

• I won’t gather their contact info, and I won’t do anything but make them feel welcome!

• Absolutely no sales pitch, no guilt, and no veiled attempt to sign them up.

In fact, if they decide to continue after their free week with us, they’ll have to initiate that!

Let them come and enjoy a week on the Quarterdeck at no charge!

If you no longer live in Memphis, but your friends and family are still here, send them to me for a FREE WEEK!

If you’re injured and unable to exercise with your friend, go ahead and send them to me. You don’t have to be with them. Your referral will be enough.

And if you need to get back on the Quarterdeck yourself, c’mon!

I promise NOT to guilt you or give you a hard time! I don’t care if you’ve gained weight or you’re out of shape. Don’t be embarrassed! I’m not going to shame you or make you feel bad. I’m always so happy to see you! You’ll be met with a hug or a hearty handshake and a “welcome home” reception!

Since I don’t advertise, you guys are my sales staff, so please share this post and tag your friends in the comments.


by Sergeant Major Ashley Holloway, MS, RD, LDN

(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one-year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

Have a Snack Attack

Is snacking throughout the day bad or good for you? Some people believe that it is better to eat three square meals a day without snacks in between. Others believe that snacking is not healthy because when they think of the word “snack” they think of typical vending machine fare such as candy bars, chips, or regular soda. If you do find yourself craving sweets or other not so healthy treats, it could just be that you let yourself get too hungry.

The good news is that proper snacking is healthy for you and is an important part of anyone’s diet. Eating often, every three to four hours, helps to maintain your blood sugar levels, your carbohydrate stores, and keeps your body fueled for the next activity. Snacking often also helps prevent uncontrollable hunger, which can lead to an unhealthy snack attack where you eat large quantities of food or you make unhealthy snack choices that you wouldn’t have made if you were not so hungry.

The best way to snack is to consider it as more of a mini-meal than a snack. Focus on choosing items that you would have for a regular meal but on a smaller scale. To optimize nutrition, be sure to select items from several different food groups. To make sure that do not skip these all-important snacks, pack your desk at work or your gym bag with healthy items such as dried fruit, nuts, instant oatmeal packets, granola or sport bars, peanut butter, pop top cans of tuna, and whole grain crackers. If you are on the go a lot, take along a small cooler stocked with healthy snacks. Some great healthy snacks to try include:

· – a slice of veggie topped pizza
· – string cheese and a piece of fruit
· – sliced apples spread with peanut butter or almond butter
· – trail mix with nuts and dried fruit with a glass of milk
· – Greek yogurt sprinkled with mixed berries
· – instant oatmeal made with milk topped with almonds
· – whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter and banana
· – baby carrots dipped in hummus
· – 100 calorie bag of microwavable popcorn with 1cup low-fat chocolate milk
· – Triscuit Thins with Laughing Cow or Baybel cheese
· – Whole grain pretzels dipped into peanut butter





What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.


It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!




Through the years—almost 19 now—folks have been super supportive of USMC Fitness Boot Camp and all that I do through it.

Weekly, I hear from former boot campers who’ve moved away. They write saying how significant the program was to them, how much they miss it, and how much they enjoy getting the newsletters and Facebook updates.

Sometimes, those who’ve moved away send money because they want to be helpful and to support the program. This happened just a few days ago. Sometimes these folks know that at any point in time, there are about half a dozen boot campers coming for free because they lost their job, or there’s been some other detrimental change in their finances and they’d have to drop out boot camp.

We’re the only fitness company in Memphis that allows members to continue to participate for free if they lose their jobs or their finances take a horrible hit. And when they’re back on their feet, they just start paying from that point forward. The months they came for free never have to be paid back.

I consider what I do to be more ministry than business, and don’t kick anyone out because of money problems.

Like you, I support different causes and organizations in Memphis just because I believe in what they do and want to help them keep doing it. Monthly, I support 8 different local entities, including WKNO and Literacy Mid-South.

Additionally, last year I started supporting two different people on a site called Patreon. It’s a way to support artists, musicians, writers, instructors, and others who produce content or provide services of a broad nature but might not be able to continue doing so without financial support from patrons … like how educators, artists, musicians, and others were supported by patrons back in the day.

I’ve been encouraged to join Patreon myself, giving folks an opportunity to support the program in small automatic monthly amounts.

Check out the page and if you feel led to support the work I do, even if it’s $1 a month, the number of patrons will be an encouragement to me and others!


Thank you so much!



We should be!


You should totally do that!


Q. How can I get up in the morning on a consistent basis?

A. Contrary to what many think, I am NOT a morning person. I have to be “dynamited” out of the bed! Here are some tips to help you get going in the morning:

1. Use two alarm clocks. I have a snooze alarm that starts going off several minutes before I intend to get up. Then I have a “Last Call” alarm clock that is located across the room. This alarm clock is set to go off when I MUST get up.

2. Once the last call alarm goes off, the bed becomes OFF LIMITS! Get moving!

3. Get out of bed, turn off the alarm clock, and start turning on lights all through the house. Turn the TV on!

4. Lay out your clothes the night before. Don’t go wandering around the house in the morning trying to find your left shoe and your favorite shorts. So, have things ready the night before.


What would you do if money was not an issue, fear was not a factor, and failure was not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Text: 901-644-0145

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