Archive for the ‘life’ Category

In addition to a good workout I also had the personal trainers run my body-fat and blood pressure numbers.  The BP numbers turned out so good I am sure the machine was broken.  I was so sure they couldn’t be true that I insisted on three measurements (2 from the right arm and 1 from the left).  The end result averaged out to 95/65 with a resting pulse of 67 beats per minute.  The body fat measurements were a bit on the high-end.  I had my BF measure with body electronic calipers and the handheld machine.  The electronic calipers gave a reading of 28.95% (60.5 lbs of fat on my frame) and the handheld gave a reading of 22.1% (46 pounds of fat on my frame).  Either way I have plenty of fat to shed during my fitness journey.

I had a good early morning walk (which I started doing last week) and a decent reintroduction to Tabata Training.  I say decent because I ended up not being able to do the full 10/10 program, but I did make it halfway through.  I will have to focus on rebuilding some of my basic strength before I venture back into Tabata training. Maybe next month I will try again?

A picture says a 1,000 words (or in this case 40+ extra pounds).  Other than my obvious state of half-sleep (the picture was taken at 7 a.m.) my well-rounded cheeks and less-than-subtle second chin aren’t camera-shy.  It appears much of what used to be known as “my chin” is now lost in a round, full face.   A face that sits upon a neck that sits upon a slow, lethargic, weak body.  Wow, this sounds even worse typed out than it sounded as part of my internal monologue.  So as far as changing this less than flattering look it is important to begin with an adequate assessment of my current (not-so-)well-being.   Let’s just say that most categories leave plenty of room for improvement.  Some will be updated on Wednesday with more accurate numbers, but this is what I’ve got thus far. (more…)

I am restructuring my life to accomplish my fitness (NOT weight loss) goals.   Sure, I will probably shed some pounds along the way but this plan is not centered on the goal of weight loss.  Such plans usually end up being self-defeating and scale-focused to the point of unhealthy compulsion.  My goal, with each passing month is to: have a better heart rate and lower BP, to run farther, to punch the heavy bag harder, to flip the tire more times in a single minute, (to acquire) and flip a heavier tire, to lift heavier weights, to feel more energized each morning, to push my body to the limit as often as I can and come back better for it.  It won’t be easy–it never was.   The first few weeks back are about as fun as working as circus janitor; it stinks, there aren’t many rewards, and you have to drag yourself through each work(day/out).

So how will I do it?  What is my plan?   (more…)

…that we had a president who did more than cardio or basic pickup-basketball games?  When was the last time you saw a picture of President Obama bench pressing or President Bush doing sledgehammer training?  Never.   Presidents can find plenty of time for bike riding, basketball, and (the most useless of sports) golf.   Yet when was the last time the leader of the free world went all Rocky montage and pulled a sled, slammed a barrel, or punched a heavy bag?   You know they have to be frustrated, worried, angry, upset, etc.   Bike riding might be quiet, golf may be a nice slow paced “sport,” but NOTHING is as liberating as a high intensity session of sledgehammer training or pulling a 70lb sled.

A golfer needs to calm his mind to play his best game.  Well, when you are flipping a 250+ lb tire it is hard to think about anything else in the world.  Not only do you find relief from the trouble of the day (and who needs that more than the president), you come out on the other side with a whole new view of life.  High intensity workouts are responsible for more epiphanies than falling off toilets (flux capacitor), sitting on the toilet (so claims at least one Facebook group), near death experiences, and that way you always remember something important just as it becomes completely inaccessible or useless.

So I say that the next election cycle we take into consideration more than politics and personality.  We should consider a candidate’s fitness regimen.  Some bold reporter should ask each candidate “How often do you train?  What kind of techniques do you use to blow off steam in and out of the gym?  How much does the tractor tire in your backyard weigh and how many times can you flip it before your heart almost beats through your chest?  Sir or Ma’am, can you pull a sled loaded with a 100 pounds?  Push a car 400 meters?  Pull a car 100 meters?  Do 3 sets of 12 Turkish get-ups (on each side)?  Slam a stack of pringles?”  Okay, maybe not the last one, but definitely the others.

This especially applies to the presidential candidates in 2012.  (more…)

Garbage in, Garbage Out….

My computer died a horrible death today thanks to a computer virus/spyware that I most likely picked up from Facebook game applications.  That sucks!  Not just because I lost my computer, but because I lost my computer due to meaningless, pointless, point-and-click Facebook game drudgery.  The virtual equivalent of computer junk food for my brain (and PC)– e-crap.  And just like when I shovel my body full of crappy food and spend a lot of time idle, my computer suffered.  It’s performance declined considerably until it died.  Not a pleasant thought.

Odd part though.  How did I react to this stress.  By that I mean the stress of losing my computer on the first day of classes and I am teaching an ONLINE class!!!  Well I responded by downing about half a dozen sugar cookies my wife and daughter baked last night; cookies I wouldn’t have eaten if I wasn’t stressed out beyond belief today.  I also skipped lunch and my afternoon protein shake and downed a pretty unhealthy dinner as well.  But to be fair, I hadn’t fully digested the lesson of this whole situation until an hour or so ago.  That was when, much like Doc from Back to the Future, I banged my head on the desk while installing the new computer.  Instead of coming up with the idea for a flux capacitor, I suddenly realized the important lesson I laid out for you above.  Garbage in, Garbage out, isn’t just for computer geeks.  It is a good policy for all of us as well when it comes to our health.

Now all of this is kind of silly since, of course, I knew this before.  But after the hit to my wallet and pride, the lesson has been burned even deeper into my psyche.  I won’t soon forget it.  I also won’t be playing any Facebook games anytime soon.  So many lessons learned.

I must be the world’s worst blogger.  Nary a peep out of me for months on end.  But the truth is, the last several months weren’t so great health wise.  Stuck with terribly painful wisdom teeth, attempting to come in sideways into the teeth in front of them, I was in misery.  A horrible distracting misery.  Without dental coverage and the funds to pay for that kind of thing, I suffered in silence (although I did complain to my wife).  But working out was the furthest thing from my mind, and when I tried to work out I found myself distracted by the pain.  I let everything go to heck: I stopped exercising,  I stopped eating healthy.  Worse than that, some days I ate like a glutton.

The result of my months of sloth and gluttony?  My waist is back up to 39 inches and I weigh 192 pounds.  I am so out of shape I get winded running up the driveway.  My belly jiggles when I brush my teeth.  This is SO uncool!

I am taking some big steps to get back on track.

Nutrition

  1. Back to protein shakes between meals.
  2. Back to eating 6 meals a day (about 2-3 hours between meals and snacks).
  3. A return to reasonable portion sizes (no second helpings- or third helpings)
  4. More veggies, meats, and fruit, and less processed grains and junk food
  5. Almost ZERO dining out.

Exercise (more…)

Well it was bound to happen, I got frustrated with my scale.  So I decided to just pitch it  and ignore the scale for the next 30-days. Really, I would have loved to do to my scale what Peter and the guys from Office Space did to that obnoxious printer/fax machine, but my wife would be angry since we paid for the scale and she likes to use it- so I am stuck with metaphorical retaliation.  No more weigh-ins until May 20th.  I am stuck at around 194 or so lbs.  Where will I be in  30 days?  No clue.  Hopefully nowhere near 194 lbs since that weight is most definitely an unhealthy weight for my body- plus at that weight only 20% of my pants fit 😦

It is a beautiful day for a new beginning.  Sure, yesterday was supposed to be my first day but I blew it before it even began thanks to a box of Oreo cookies; I hate those delicious cookies and their clever marketing campaign.  As a result of that poor judgment I postponed the start of my reboot until today.  Consequently, my weight is also now around 194.4lbs and my waist is at a terrifying 39 inches (few of my pants fit anymore!)

Today will be a difficult day since we have to spend several hours on the road (picking up our foster daughter from her social worker) and we will be meeting them at a McDonald’s.  My plan is to buy a grilled honey mustard chicken wrap and leave it at that;m but we all know what happens to plans when temptations (and tasty salted deep-fried French fries) rear their ugly heads.

Despite the pain in my shoulder I was able to get through my stretching routine just fine this morning.  Although my neck is still a bit stiff and my shoulder isn’t 100%, I hope to be able to do a H.I.T. workout either tonight or tomorrow.  I will try to work around my shoulder and do some low-weight/stress exercises to strengthen my shoulder before I go back to sandbag presses and sledgehammer training.

Over the last several months I’ve lost focus and struggled to stay on top of various issues in my life.  I thought that given the circumstances this would be a good time to return the accountability of regular (or at least semi-consistent) blogging.  A couple things you might read about on this blog over the next month or two:

(1) Getting back to a routine of disciplined exercise and nutrition.  Various injuries have frustrated me and caused me to ignore training; and when I ignore training it usually also ignore any semblance of healthy eating (I’m talking about you cookies and Pringles).

(2) Getting back in Ninja Warrior shape.  I was pretty close to my goal a year ago, but such is no longer the case.    My waist line has ballooned back up to 38.5 inches and my weight is around 192 (OUCH!).  My energy has flat-lined and my neck and shoulder are still hurting from a snow shoveling injury from February.  But over the last few weeks (and with the help of muscle relaxers) the pain is finally beginning to decline.

(3)  Getting back to eating healthy will be difficult as my budget is now tighter than it was before.  With a budget of $65/week for groceries I can’t afford as many Myoplex shakes and protein bars as I used to.  I will have to be more creative and plan my meals better.

I will start getting back on track when my feet hit the floor tomorrow.  Taking this day-by-day, week-by-week, I hope to get back to where I was a year ago…if not even further.

1) Cutting Back on Wal-mart. While there are great savings to be had at Wal-mart, there is also a great potential for abusing your wallet.  We used to visit Wal-mart three or more times a week, and it seemed like every time we visited Wally Mart my wallet vomited money (not a pretty picture..but just be glad I didn’t go with the diarrhea analogy).    So many cheap things that only cost $1 here or $3 dollars there, add it all up and it amounted to spending anywhere from $45 to $225 per trip.   Between implementing shopping lists and recognizing that I am the impulsive buyer in the family (and taking steps to address that weakness) we have significantly lowered what we spend at Wal-mart each month.

  • Previous Spending = $600
  • New Spending = $275
  • Savings = $325 ($3900 annual savings)

2) Cutting the Cable Cord.  Between Hulu.com and Netflix, there is no reason to hang on to cable anymore.

  • Previous Spending – $26
  • New Spending = $0
  • Savings = $26 ($312 annual savings)

3) Eating IN.  We were spending so much money on eating out it was ridiculous.  Even the local pizza place cost $22 for three people to eat a large pizza, three sodas, and a small side of garlic knots.  Some months our dining out habit cost us $200/month.  But usually we spend about $125 between local pizza places, McDonald’s, etc.

  • Previous Spending = $125
  • New Spending = $20
  • Savings = $105 ($1260 annual savings)

4) No More Phone Bills.  Well we do get phone bills, but we cut our long distance service on our land line and we only use MagicJack for long distance calls.

  • Previous Spending = $49
  • New Spending = $21
  • Savings = $28 ($336 annual savings)

5) Staying at the Pump. One of the biggest surprises in reviewing our spending habits was discovering how much money we wasted at gas station convenience stores.   Buying a pack a soda and a small package of beef jerky might only cost $3.50 each time, but added up over a month it totals about $30.   So pay by credit card, stay at the pump, pack your travel snacks- and store a few non-perishable extras in the glove compartment for when you forget to pack a snack one day.

  • Previous Spending = $30
  • New Spending = $0
  • Savings = $30 ($360 annual savings)

…The Results…

  • Wal-mart   $325
  • TV                 $  26
  • Eating In    $105
  • Phone         $28
  • Convenience Store Spending  $30
  • TOTAL SAVINGS/MONTH = $514 ($6,168 annual savings)

Some of these budget cuts won’t work for you, and that is fine.  We each have different spending habits and our budgets hemorrhage cash depending on our own impulses, weaknesses, tastes, etc.   When you review you spending habits (write down EVERYTHING you spend even a penny on for a month and review your bank statements from the past) you will see the areas where you’re spending beyond your means or wasting funds.  It’s not as hard as you might think and making these changes isn’t all that painful either.  Please feel free to post additional ideas on cutting budget or your own success stories when it comes to budget cutting in the comments section.