Monday, January 28, 2008

Pre-Challenge Gorging

A lot of people do it. I'm tempted and I can understand why. You want to have the worse before photo possible so you can show a really dramatic change at the end of the challenge. And...after all, you are going to be eating correctly for the next three months, so may as well cram it all in while you can.

There are a few fallacies with this line of thinking though.

The main one is, that by gorging a couple of weeks prior to your official start date of the challenge, you will pile on a lot of fat that will just take that much longer to get off again. So you really don't get an advantage. Sure, your before photo looks like hell...but your final photo won't look that great either...or at least not near as good as what it could have been if you didn't waste the first month or two getting rid of that couple of weeks of binge eating.

A second one is habit. The body for lifestyle is really pretty simple. It's just a matter of habit. It's much better to develop those good habits before you get down and dirty with a challenge rather than trying to wing it along the way. Believe me...I speak here from experience. Things go much smoother if exercise is part of your daily routine. Eating healthy is a no-brainer if you develop a taste for good foods. Staying on track is easy if that is a lifestyle rather than a diet.

And that's really the whole point. The challenge is just something we do, to set goals and track progress. Eating well, exercising, making healthy choices...that's a lifestyle that we should be interested in keeping for life, not for 12 weeks, not for a contest, not for money, not even so we can look great naked.

It's all about taking care of yourself so you can enjoy yourself and the people around that care about you.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I get knocked down

Much less pain today. The high repetitions with itty bitty weights seem to be doing the trick in toughening up the muscles in my shoulder and rib cage. I am bitterly disappointed that I'm knocked out of schedule for the challenge but I'm looking forward to starting with my friends over at Body for Lifestyle on February 11th.

Join us. You won't find a more supportive and inspiring group of people.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


You know how it is that you can never really escape your past? Well.. back in my youth I was in an incident that banged me around pretty good and, among other things, I cracked a rib along with some good thumping along my arm and shoulder. It took a while to heal but heal I did, and pretty much had forgotten about the whole painful ordeal.

Trouble was....I never really healed. I didn't build back up the muscles supporting all those abused bones. I had been content to let them slowly atrophy and replace them with some flab. Now here I am trying to get fit again by exercising and I was presented with a very poignant reminder of that long ago injury. BFL exercise for a week or two. Slow, low weight, high repetition lifts to rebuild that portion of my body.

Sucks, but I'm still sticking with the eating plan and planning on getting totally back on the challenge by February 11th. I'm not giving up... just taking a detour.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day 9

I'm not really all that bubbly first thing in the morning. In fact, it's usually wise to avoid being around me before I've had my first cup of coffee. I don't mean to be grouchy and I take care not to snap at anybody...but until I've had a dose of caffeine, I ain't exactly a ray of sunshine. People who know and love me understand this and tolerate my morning moodiness. The last few days, I've felt even more like a tyrannosaurus getting out of bed. Exercise has stiffened up my arms so that I have to kind of clutch them to my I wander around the house in the mornings looking somewhat like the toothy fellow above.

With a good case of bed head to boot.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 8

Well now.....after my first week on the challenge, I'm down to 218 lbs. Three and a half pounds. Not bad. Actually, a bit surprising since I'm eating more than usual. Of course I'm eating better food and exercising every day; but still, a pleasant surprise. I am having difficulty eating according to plan and I think I've figured out why.

I'm not hungry when it comes time for a meal.

Think about that for a minute..."not hungry". For years I've been eating for the reasons most people eat, cuz I was hongray. When I did eat I didn't stop until I was no longer hungry. Pretty simple diet plan but one that didn't work out too well for me in the long run. The main problem is that my mouth can go about twice as fast as my brain; so when my brain says "you've had enough", I've already polished off my third helping.

The new paradigm (hot damn, finally got to use that word) in my lifestyle is that food is fuel. Now that doesn't mean I can't enjoy eating, just that I need to be more efficient in what I shovel down my throat every day. With six small balanced meals a day I keep my brain and stomach in sync. I don't get hungry. In a strange way I now enjoy my food even more.

But I still have to remember to eat on time or it will all collapse into an gobble orgy of whatever I can find.

s'cus me while I go make myself a Myoplex shake.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 5

One problem I'm noticing is that, several times a day, I get an overwhelming desire to eat something. Not really hungry. Just get the munchies...usually for something crunchy, salty, and loaded with fat and empty calories.

It's probably boredom. I primarily use my brain at work (I know, I'm overpaid) and I think that the rest of my body gets bored and wants to do some stuff too. So it sends a signal up saying "hey, howzabout a snack?".

When this happens I've found that getting up and walking around tends to make the urge go away fairly quickly. I don't have that much will power but I can distract myself pretty easily.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 4

Well hell....Another snowstorm right on cardio morning. A bit more risk than I want to take driving to the gym and I need to start off for work early in hopes that snowplows have been out last night.

So I fell back on my boot camp memories and did a little P.T. this morning. Push ups, sit ups, double time in place, just general calisthenics. Not the best cardio but better than sitting around complaining that everything is not going perfect for the challenge.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day 2

ohboy...It was so hard to take my before photos yesterday. This has got to be the worst shape I have ever been in my life. Looking at the video I put on YouTube made me want to run to bed, crawl under the blanket, and hide. You see...I don't really have any mirrors in my house other than a couple that show me from the chest up. With that, it's pretty easy to squint a bit and ignore the vast gut I'm lugging around.

But the camera doesn't squint...and numbers don't lie, so here are some starting statistics.

Weight -- 221.5 lbs. This is not the most I have ever weighed, but it's damn close. Trouble is, I'm only about 5'9" and fairly scrawny in most respects. This weight does not look good at all on my small frame. I would like to get down to 180 lbs.

Body Fat Percentage -- 39.0%. That means that almost two-fifths of my body is fat, 86 pounds of it. I read a lot of what a good percentage should be and most recommend somewhere in the low least.

Neck -- 17 inches.

Forearm -- 12 inches

Biceps -- 15 inches

Chest -- 46 inches

Waist -- 51 inches. This is four and a quarter friggin feet of gut! This is what I'm talking about when I say that, though I've weighed more, I've never been in this shape before.

Hips -- 45 inches

Thighs -- 20 inches

Calves -- 16 inches

As you can tell by these measurements, I'm shaped like a potato with toothpicks for arms and legs. My goal is to lose 40 lbs in 12 weeks. That comes out to around 3 or 4 pounds a week. That's not impossible, especially during the first couple of weeks. I know it will get harder to take it off the more fat I lose and the more muscle I add on. That just means I will have to continually step up my game.

Monday, January 14, 2008

BFL Challenge Day 1

I'm starting off this challenge with 221.5 lbs

My Gawd.

Two hundred twenty one and a half freakin pounds!

I've got a lot of work to do.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Don't Wanna

One particular difficulty that I've had with exercising is in consistency.'s easy to start off gangbusters. When the motivation is strong at the beginning, there is no problem in putting all the needed time and effort into going to the gym for a good workout. Just look inside gyms at the first of the year when everybody is pumped with their New Year's resolutions. Standing room only.

After a couple of weeks though, the gym population starts to thin out a bit.

That's when people start waking up with the I don't wannas. Laying in a nice warm bed groggily awakened by an alarm in the early darkness...the thought of getting up, getting dressed, going someplace to sweat; my immediate thought is "I don't wanna". Well, actually, my thoughts are generally sprinkled with a few vulgarities; but you get my drift.

Here's the thing. There are a lot of activities I do every morning that I don't really want to do. I shave. I hate shaving. It's a pain in the rear, but I do it every morning because having a beard is even more trouble. I shower. I brush my teeth. I put on clean clothing (which means I wash them too). I prepare breakfast. I clean up the house a bit. In short, I do many things every morning not because I have fun doing them but because it's just what I have to do. If I skipped any of these chores, my day would be pretty crappy and....if I skipped doing them long enough, my life would quickly start to deteriorate.

So I do these things for me, for my quality of living. Exercise should be in the same category. It needs to be something I do regardless of whether I feel like doing it or not because the results are beneficial. I'm trying to develop the mindset that when I wake up in the morning and tell myself "I don't wanna"; I will also tell myself "so what, do it anyway".

I'm starting to believe that the hardest muscle to develop is the one inside my skull.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Prep Work I realize that I've been pretty lousy about keeping this blog up to date. You know how it is; things come up, stuff needs to be done, other priorities require attention, and the days pass by faster than you think.

Anyway, most of what I've been doing these last few days has been thinking and preparing for the next challenge. I want it to be a good one. I want my meals and exercises planned out to the letter. I want to devise a way of monitoring progress (or lack of) that doesn't allow for any fudge factor. I'm trying to get my damn computer to work with my camera and software in order to put up some YouTube videos.

I'm TRYING to get over this vicious cold!

I'm wanting to go hard-core for this challenge. By the book and by the numbers.

I'm planning on starting on the 14th.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Revolution's 2008. It doesn't look much different than 2007. After all, it's only a date. Arbitrary. Not really meaning anything other than I have to use another calender and I'll probably be writing the wrong year on my checks for the next month or two. Still, it's as good a benchmark as any for most people to make little promises to themselves about what they will do for the next year. Resolutions.

Many people make resolutions about what they are not going to do. "I'm going to quit smoking, I'm going to quit drinking, I'm going to stop eating so much, I'm going to quit surfing for internet porn on my boss's computer"...whatever. I, however, have more ambitious ideas. I'm not going to vow to quit this or do that; I'm aiming for a revolution in my lifestyle that will carry on for however many more years I might have left in this ragged old body of mine.

I've been told that, at the mellow age of fifty, there are certain aspects of one's body that must be accepted as a given of nature. A sagging gut. Drooping shoulders. Flabby arms. Man boobs. All of which I reject as an inevitable process of aging. I can accept some things; gray hair, wrinkles, ear hair, and so on...but I believe that increased flab and decreased muscle is just a result of inattention. At my age, the metabolism slows and what my body use to be able to handle at 25 no longer works at 50. If I eat poorly, it shows. If I don't exercise, it shows. It's somewhat like this old crappy computer I am using right now. When it was new, it was fast and worked great. Now it's a bit slower, full of junk, and if I don't start taking care of it..will crash into a pile of junk.

Actually, it may be too late for my computer but I can buy another. I can't buy another body so I have to believe that I can salvage it from years of neglect and abuse.

You say you want a revolution? Well...ya know...we all want to change.

I'm doing it.