Saturday, August 30, 2008

rest day

It's the first of a three-day weekend. Weekends tend to be my "one-step back" time to complete the cliche. Most notably because I'm fairly sedentary on the weekends, preferring to hang out with some friends around a table, playing whatever. I also tend to eat poorly on the weekends, telling myself that it's okay because I bust my hump during the week and deserve a cheat day(s).

I'm thinking that today I don't cheat. Instead of the General Tso's Chicken (friend chicken in a heavy sauce on fried rice) I'll be getting the Steamed Mixed Vegetables.

I'm 321.1. Almost out of the 320s and into the teens. Yay! So motivated!

Friday, August 29, 2008

I didn't puke!

Today, as is every Friday, was leg day. After a quick bit on the elliptical, I hit the hack squat rack. Pounded that out, then followed it up with the leg curl machine. I felt by the third set that I'd really hit my max, as grinding out the 10th rep was strenuous. My workout partner pulled both his hamstrings earlier in the spring playing softball (old man!), so he took it easy here as he was a bit nervous. Fair enough. Next we did the some damnable doom machine. It's a step-up deal, and you grab a handle with either hand, which is connected via a pulley to some weights. Then you step up onto a small platform, then step down. Repeat, then switch which leg leads, and do it again. That's a set. Not too bad, but last time I did these, they crushed me. I was kinda going after it, and in my second set a wave of nausea came over me. I held it in, but dang... so I really wanted to revisit the exercise and make sure I was doing better. Turns out I'm fine. Yay. But I did really have to focus to not lose my equilibrium and trip up or stumble. I like the extra focus this machine makes me put into my efforts, and I was soaking wet as a result.

I'm 322.4 today, bringing me to a total of 6.2 pounds lost this week. Yay. I'm sure that number will diminish in the weeks and months ahead, but I'm absolutely thrilled with my progress this week. This is what I was hoping for.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

the hardest part

The hardest part of these little blog posts isn't writing it, because I can ramble just to hear myself speak with the best of them. No, it's coming up with a title. Technically I should probably write the post, edit it a bit to make it tight and have a consistent thought/theme, then title the thing based on that, but that seems like the professional way to do it and I like having a bit of a ragged edge to myself. So I guess I won't.

Guess what?

Down another pound today. 323.5 is where I'm at now. Daily scale slut.

On Monday I picked up what weight lifters/fitness professionals call 'supplements', but my Mom calls vitamins. Tempted though I was by some deliciously chewable Flintstones, I opted to pop into the local GNC when I was getting my lunch salad from the grocery store to see what else was available. I told the dude jockeying the register my elevator-pitch situation, and asked him for a recommendation. He pointed me to Mega Men Sport. I'm supposed to take two of these freaking horse pills every morning.

I did some reading online about them, and there were, as with any product, mixed reviews. Naturally I'd already bought them prior to reading about them, but such is my nature. Anyway, they seem to have outrageous amounts of these vitamins in them. 500% of my daily Vitamin C? Uh... okay. But a bit more research showed me that the RDA's recommendation 'serving size' of Vitamin C is how much one needs to... ready for this? Prevent scurvy. Scurvy? What the hell is scurvy? Sounds like some straight-up pirate shit, that. Turns out that scurvy is a disease marked by swollen and bleeding gums, livid spots on the skin, prostration, etc., due to a diet lacking in vitamin C. So one thought is that while 100% of the RDA will prevent scurvy, that's not how much C your body can actually take in and use. Don't know what that number is.

One super-sweet side effect of these vitamins is that when you get more Vitamin B than your body can use... your urine becomes a sweet neon yellow color. Like, the color of road construction crew bibs. Obnoxious. The pessimist in me has lead me to believe that I might be literally pissing away like $25 in vitamins, while the emerging optimist would argue that while I might not need as much hot vitamin action as I'm getting in these pills, I'm certainly getting more than I ever did before.

Either way, I got this scurvy prevention shit on lock-down. And now that I'm at the end I should really retitle this post to be about vitamins/supplements. But I'm not going to. I'm sweet!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


There are a couple guys I know within a larger circle of friends and the four of us call ourselves the FGC, short for fat guy contingent. It's not an incredibly positive name, though Tenant One of the FGC is to get the fuck out of the FGC, so... I guess it's sort of like Fight Club, except exactly the opposite.

Anyway, recently I've become addicted to Facebook. I noticed a very interesting thing... none of the four of us FGC'ers had profile pictures, though we all have profiles. Karate Kid, ninja, a panoramic of what I believe is an ocean and... default. Nice. One of my friends from the past called me on it when she visited my profile and I thought about it... I don't have *any* pictures of me. I don't own a camera. I tend to avoid those who do. I don't and haven't wanted a record of my existence for some time now.

Self-loathing is a terrible thing. I'm glad I'm coming out of it, it's been too long.

this shit is happening.

Last night I had 5 or 6 beers after work, along with a bite of some sort of chicken/cheese nacho thing and a small square of appetizer pizza. I woke up with a bit of a hangover because apparently 32 is old. But I hit the gym, did my 20 minutes of lvl4 (my heartrate sometimes borders on 180+ and I want to stay in the 170s for now, so I'm not going to level up), then did bench, incline bench and cable crossovers. I like working the larger muscle groups of chest/back/legs vs my shoulders and arms, just because I feel like I'm lifting more and doing more. Also, my traps are very sore from the shrugs the other day and my shoulder caps are sore from the front/lateral raises. Apart from the immediate doing of an exercise, it's never the day of the exercise that I feel it, it's always the next day. Which means that my back will be singing to me later today.

Oh, today I'm 325.8. My goal for next week is still within sight. Sweet.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Not much to report here. Hit the gym today, did shoulders. Tomorrow they should be burning as we added a front/side raise to change things up and I was dying on the third set. I also ordered some weight grips as holding the two 95lb dumbbells for shoulder shrugs really tears up your hands.

I'd like more progress. I'm way fat, so this shit should be falling off right now, but it's going slow.

I'll keep repping it out.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Back from my trip

No, I didn't quit.

So for the last week I've been out in Seattle on business. The big fear was that I was going to have a terrible setback to my program, and that I'd be losing out on both the week I was gone as well as progress I'd made up to this point.

Turns out that didn't happen.

Well okay, I lost out on the week, that's true, BUT - Seattle has sushi on like every streetcorner. That means that half or more of my meals were rice and fish! Yay! Also, every morning at the seminar they had breakfast stuff. Nothing big - bagels and juice - but I ate a regular breakfast all week. I felt great.

I decided that going forward, I'm going to be adding the improved food nutrition component to the diet. That, in conjunction with the cardio and weights, should have the pounds melting away very quickly.

I'm excited!

And I'm 328.8.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hey, another met goal

This morning I was officially 329.8, and that's me getting out of the 330s and crossing another goal off the list. Next one, be under 320. I'd like to be there in three weeks, though I'm out of town all next week for work, so I'm not sure how 6 days of restaurant food is going to wreck the plan. I'll do my best to be on top of things, but sometimes the situation is just out of my hands.

Anyway, yay!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another day

This morning I weighed 1.1 pounds less. And as much as I do believe what I wrote in my last post about alternative metrics, I was so happy. 331.6. I need to drop 1.7 pounds to get into the 320s!

For breakfast I had a protein shake - 120 calories.
A banana - 120 calories

For lunch I had a strawberry-chicken-walnut salad - 400 calories
A fiber-rich yogurt - 80 calories

I haven't had dinner yet, though I grabbed a Mt. Dew at the pop machine in my building, for 220. That still leaves around 1000 calories for dinner if I want to be at 2k, but I don't. I need to get into a caloric deficit to encourage weight loss. I'm thinking around 17/1800 calories should do it.

I also rocked the elliptical for all 20 minutes at level 4 this morning, then had a good chest workout. My benchpress is at 165lbs for 10 reps in the 3rd set, though the 10th press was tough to manage. Didn't I once press well over 200? I think so, but I can't recall. High school sports is literally a lifetime away at this point.

But hey, 20 minutes on lvl 4 and 1.1 pounds - yay me!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A New Look at Metrics

Today's blog post is about metrics, but before I continue, I want to make sure that you and I are on the same page, so I'm looking at a metric as a (ie, any) unit of measurement. Typically in the context of weight loss, the pound is the only metric that holds any merit, both to describe how many pounds one has lost, and how many pounds one still has to lose, as well as how many pounds one currently weighs. And it's a pretty damn effective metric for measuring and communicating the productivity of a weight loss plan. But it's not the only one.

Today I got on the scale before heading off to the gym for my morning workout (on week 4, no sign of dropoff, btw), and the results left me frowny-faced. 332.7 pounds. What the shit? Didn't I weigh that seven days ago? Shouldn't I be under the 330s and scratching my next small goal off my progress-o-meter?

Depressing, especially when one considers that last week I pushed hard and completed my elipitcal on Level 3 every day. I mean, I'm leaving my late-night fun-zone early Thursday nights, getting up at effing 6:30 am and busting my hump (and getting quite sore in the process) every day. Seems kind of like a waste, and not of the waist. More like of my lifestyle.


But as I stewed, then stepped off the scale, took a show, then stepped on the scale again (same result, much to my chagrin), I began to change my viewpoint in the context of other metrics.

Last Friday, I went to the preseason Vikings game. When I put my pants on as I got ready, I pulled my belt across my waist and... lost a notch on my belt. Hmm. My pants didn't droop down over the top of my ass, and the hem of my pants didn't go under my shoes, collecting dirt and grime as I walked. Not bad. Not noticable yet, but definately an improvement, and an important metric - inches of a waistline.

Also, I've started keeping a weight journal to mark progress and note needed improvements when lifting weights. Yesterday's shoulder exercise went better, and today's back exercise was harder as I made the adjustment and did a heavier weight. It's still using a pound as the metric, but not in the context of gaining or losing fat - rather in the improvement of muscule strength.

All last week I kicked up my elliptical from Level 2 to 3, and sustained it for the whole 20 minutes. I'm not sure how the machine's computer calculates the difference, but it's a strong metric to demonstrate improved production on the machine. Today I set it for Level 4, though after 10 minutes I had to downgrade it to Level 3 as my heartrate crept into the 180s (I try to keep it in the 170s) and I didn't want to go into cardiac arrest. I don't think my workout partner would be prepared to deal with it at that time of day.), and being able to kick it up a level is a definate measurable metric.

Another measurable metric is time. When I first started (my preseason if you will), I could bust out a mile in a not-too-quick 19 minutes. Last week I was pumped to get it down to 16, then 15 minutes. Today I finished a mile at 14 minutes on the elliptical. No doubt much is due to the faster speed of Lvl 4, and that's what I'm looking for - pushing it harder and getting more distance/better time. Soon I'll be down to 10 minute miles and getting 2 full miles in during my morning walk/hustle/jog/run/thing/don't judge me.

When I put my work pants on today, they were in my hamper as I'd just done laundry the night previous. My cotton pants typically are a bit tight when first going on in the morning, both in the leg and the waist. In fact, I often rewear the pants because they get a little looser after a wearing and feel better than 'fresh' pants. There was no tightness in my pants this morning. I'm really wishing that I'd taken measurements of my thighs when I committed to this change in lifestyle 4ish weeks ago, because I believe that my body is slowly shrinking. I'm actually thinking of pulling an older shirt out of the closet, trying it on and taking a photo of fat me in it, then working to put it on again some months in the future and show the improvements. Thoughts?

Have any of you readers found that even though the scale isn't necessarily showing improvement in the 'important' metric, things are changing for you? Is this something that's common as a weight lifting newbie starts putting on muscle? I know muscle weighs more than fat, but how much more? Could I be losing fat and gaining muscle at the same rate? That seems unlikely, but I'm not an expert. Google might be though, I'll bust out some search-fu as I ruminate on this.

In the meantime, what alternative metric are you measuring your productivity by?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Today at the gym, Dan asked me if I had goals. "Yeah," I replied, "I guess so." He pushed me, wanting to know what weight I was going for by Thanksgiving or Christmas. I paused and said, "You know, I don't know."

And I don't.

My goals, up to this point anyway, were based around just attending. I'd had a Bally's Fitness account for going on five or six years, paying $25 a month and never going (quick math break - that's like, $1800 - idiot me). I'd sorta kinda think about maybe one day going or whatever... but I never did, save for that first year when I went a bit, and the third year when I had a workout buddy for awhile. But I digress...

My goals early on were attendance, followed quickly by losing enough weight to show up on my scale. Both goals met! I'm now through the middle of week 3, and it's going great. I did my elliptical again on lvl 3, and while I sweat, I wasn't looking like I'd been starring in a Slip'N'Slide commercial. And that's good, because it's translating to not sweating while walking up stairs, which had *ahem* become a bit of an issue.

Based on the big weird graphic thing at the top of this blog, I guess my overall goal is to lose 150lbs, but that's just not really reasonable to think about. That's so much! So instead, I'm focusing on small, attainable goals. Babysteps, if you will. Babysteps that let me know I'm on the right path, without overwhelming myself with triple-digit thoughts.

So my current goal? Weigh under 330 pounds. My goal after that? Weigh under 325 pounds. And once we've got that number behind us?

I'll let you know what I decide then. :)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

quick update

I'm back on the scale, showing up at 332.7. At this point, with 4 more days of exercise, I shouldn't be Err'ing that scale anymore. So for now I'm not going to jump back on it - I'm getting the small results that I need to keep the momentum going. I'll check back later tonight/this week for more updates.

Monday, August 04, 2008

After work workout

Today I went to work out after my workday, meeting my workout buddy Dan at the gym at 6:30 (he doesn't have daycare for his kids for the next 3 days, so we're going once his wife gets home). Two things about working out later on - one, after a long day of mental workouts, I'm physically beat. I was able to do lvl3 on the elliptical for the full 20 minutes, but I was back to huffing and puffing and sweating - and that's fine with me. Afterward, we did shoulders and man, I'm still fried. The third set of the shoulder presses @ 140lbs saw me give up/out after 7 reps. It sucks because Dan got through all 10, and last week I did better at shoulders than he did. But he stayed home while I was getting beat up at work, so pffft. Also, I just found myself taking a bit longer get to doing my sets, maybe wasting some time. Something to work on.

Thing number two - there's a lot more activity at 7pm then there is at 7am. People doing cardio. People doing classes. People on my machines. People lifting weights. People swimming. People having conversations. And one dude who was looking like Mr. Universe (quick quote I overheard from him while I was failing to get rep 8 up on my shoulder press, "yeah, I'm 185 now, and I bench 425). Wha? That's some for real steel to be pushing around. Facinating, but not helping me with my workout.

I'll be glad when I'm back to am workouts.

Food diary -
Breakfast - Mountain Dew bottle - 210. Goddammn, I gotta fix this bullshit. Get the metabolism working early!
Lunch - strawberry salad and water for lunch, 410 calories. Nice!
Dinner - McChicken (360), Big Mac (560), medium fries (380), medium Diet Coke (1). = 1301
Late Snack - Montain Dew bottle - 210 (late edit in)

Total - 1921 (now 2141)

I'm actually quite happy with the end total today, but it's how I got there that's weaksauce. I need a good breakfast, and a less-bad dinner. I'm not looking for a starvation 1500 calorie deal, but I can't be eating Big Macs on the regular either.

I'm an ongoing project.

Friday, August 01, 2008

End of the week

Well, the end of my second week is here. I guess I actually started on a Wednesday, so it's more like 2.5 weeks, but that's nonsense - we'll call that first chunk 'preseason'. Now that that business is out of the way, let's have a quick week in review.

Monday - 20 minutes, elliptical, lvl 2; weight lifting for shoulders
Tuesday - 20 minutes stationary bike, lvl 1; weight lifting for back
Wednesday - 20 minutes, elliptical, lvl 2; weight lifting for chest
Thursday - 20 minutes, elliptical, lvl 3; weight lifting for arms
Friday - 20 minutes, elliptical, lvl 2; weight lifting for legs

So the odd duck here is the lvl 3 of elliptical on Thursday, followed by lvl2 today. It's a bit of a mislabel, as Thursday I actually backed off 3 and went to 2 for the last 7 minutes or so of the exercise. But today, I really didn't struggle with the cardio at all. Oh sure, I worked up a bit of a sweat, but not nearly to the degree that I did when I started my preseason on lvl 1. Now that was brutal. So quick note, next week we do lvl 3 all week on the elliptical.

There was a small breakthrough on Thursday morning - when I got back home from the morning workout I showered off, then hopped on the scale. It thought about giving me the dreaded Err, but instead, came back with 333.1. Didn't know it could do that weight, and that's still incredibly fat, but holy shit, I registered! Tragically it didn't last, as this morning I Err'd again, but it's okay. I'm close, and by next Wednesday I shouldn't have any more Err issues. That's the plan, man.

Some other quick notes - I'm pretty sweet with my shoulders. I'm really sweet with my legs (years of jumping and kicking in tae kwon do helped here no doubt). I'm *terrible* with my arms, biceps especially. Which means I really need to focus on that, maybe get an extra set or exercise in there. Problem is, I have time for 3 different exercises per body part per day before I gotta split. However on arm day, I'm already kicking it up to 4 so I can do two for biceps and two for triceps. The time just isn't there for a 5th, which means that I must either split bicep/tricep into two days (maybe add Saturday to the workout schedule?) or sacrifice elsewhere. Perhaps on chest, since the tricep is the secondary muscle in so many exercises, I just toss it there, and don't do pec-deck type things, focusing on variations of the bench press (incline, standard, decline), then do one set of tricep pushdowns on top of that. Though chest is the slowest day, so I don't know about that. Hmm.

Well, more to think about. I'm also looking to do a better job of counting calories, especially early on. I need to dial her down to 2k daily, and I've been running up between 3 and 4k. That's like 2-3 pounds a week right there if I can just tame my portion size and fried food binges.

Where I've Been and Where I'm Going