Tuesday, January 31, 2012

There are no shortcuts in life.

Everything has a fixed cost, but only some of the cost is financial.

There are no actions without consequences.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fitness update

It's been a while, but I was out of town for the holidays.  As you can see from the charts below, I've made excellent progress lately and actually lost quite a bit of chunk of the end of the year holidays.  I ate a lot of desserts at my parents', but tried to eat well other than that.  Heh.

I'm really happy that my waist is shrinking along with the other numbers.  I'm almost back to where I was two years ago, but I think I'm much stronger now.

I'd like to be 180lbs with 17% body fat which means I need to lose another 12lbs of body fat.  That goal is definitely ambitious, but I don't believe in easy goals.  If I don't get there, I'll see how close I can get.

I did the second of my new strength training workouts and I'm definitely seeing some improvement.  I'm debating whether I should add glute-ham raises to balance out the squats, but my kinesiology book says squats work both sides of the leg.  My workouts take about 50 minutes right now and another exercise would probably add another 10 minutes.  Hmmm... I am doing three upper body workouts to just one for the legs.

Any thoughts from my readers?

I'll start taking monthly pictures to capture my progress next month since I have the P90X final pictures from last weekend.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Strength training

Today was the first day of my new strength training regimen and it's going to be tough for sure since I'm doing four challenges at once.  I think I'll knock out the squats without too much trouble, but the pushups and dips are going to be hell.  I doubt I'll ever get to 50 consecutive pullups, but it's certainly worth a shot.

My legs were pretty sore this morning, but rallied later in the day.  I did my finger work in my rice bucket and my hands are a little sore, but I suppose that feeling will go away quickly.

I'm pretty sure I'll be able to stick with it so I'll make good progress.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bowling update

I bowled pretty well tonight with a 126, a 144 and a 145 for a nightly average of 138.  My seasonal average creeps up to just under 126.  I had some rough spots in there, but rallied.

I just need to work on being more consistent.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New exercise regimen

P90X is done, but the work to get ripped never ceases.  For my next round, I'm going to focus on what I like to call the "challenges":
Long time readers know I already knocked out two hundred crunches last year.

These challenges are ambitious to say the least, but I like to set lofty goals.

I have a Door Gym which has done right by me for the past six or seven years, but it's not quite tall enough so I shelled out for an adjustable stand alone pull up bar:
Most exercises involve gripping something and my friend recommended finger exercises in a pail of rice.  You jam in your closed fist and then open your fingers as widely as you can.  Here is my bucket of rice:
I tested it out and it's pretty tough which is a good thing.  I jam my fingers every basketball season so I'm hoping I can buck the trend this year.

I did the initial tests this morning to find out where I am and where I need to start in each program:
  • 2.75 pull ups though my chin didn't quite clear the bar -- I need to start with the prep program.
  • 14 push ups using my Perfect Pushup bars -- I'm good to go.
  • 36 squats -- I'm good to go.
  • 6 dips using my dip station -- I'm good to go.
I thought I could do more push ups, but I compensated with more squats than anticipated.

I think this challenge program will go well and that I'll knock out all, but maybe the pull ups since fifty is a crazy number. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another milestone

After about a year, I just finished Level 1 of Rosetta Stone German.  I'd say my reading and listening comprehension is good, but my speaking needs quite a bit of work.  I'm not quite able to hold a real conversation which is one drawback of learning a language online.  In any case, it doesn't really matter since there is no burning need to learn German; I figured it would be something cool to do.

I'm also doing my Rosetta Stone Spanish, but I'm still learning in Level 1.  After I finish Level 1, I'll need to decide if I can afford more levels.

Done with P90X

Today marks Day 90 of P90X.  Of course, it took me an extra six weeks or so because of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve and maybe a little exercise fatigue in the middle.

The good:
Tony is good at exhorting you to "do your best and forget the rest" which makes it easier to power through some of the long workouts.  The program is based on fundamental exercises like pushups, pullups and squats so it's scientifically sound.  There are also some other good exercises that I learned and will incorporate going forward.

Tony also says some funny stuff which you can find quoted online.

The most effective workouts: legs and back, plyometrics X and ab ripper X.

The bad:
Each workout is about an hour and there seems to be too much repetition.  Once I break down my muscles with the first couple of sets, there are diminishing returns with the third, fourth and fifth set.

You also start to get sick of the program and Tony's pet names pretty quickly.  He also pushes the stupid recovery drinks and add-ons heavily, but I learned to tune him out at times.

Some workouts start with stretching before warming up and I believe you should never stretch cold muscles.

The nutrition plan is also garbage so don't follow it either.

The ugly:
Dreya Webber.  Seriously, she is one of the most annoying people I've never met.  She's certainly fit, but is mannish and her Groucho walk is annoyingly bad.  Tony usually fawns all over her, but calls her out on it.

The verdict:
I recommend the program if you've got the extra scratch, but I think you can build your own program which could be just as effective.  I needed a kick in the butt and P90X provided it so I don't regret doing it and I might go through it again in the future.

I also gave up wheat about halfway through and started playing basketball a couple of weeks ago so the results may be slightly confounded.

The numbers:
Weight: Initial - 195.2 lbs Final - 183.0 lbs Delta - -12.2 lbs
Body fat percentage: Initial 28.1% Final - 23.6% Delta - -4.5 percentage points
Body fat: Initial -  54.9 lbs Final - 43.2 lbs Delta - -11.7lbs
Chest: Initial - 38.75" Final - 38.75" Delta - 0"
Waist: Initial - 36.5" Final - 35" Delta - -1.5"
Hips: Initial - 40" Final - 40" Delta - 0"
Right thigh: Initial - 22" Final - 23" Delta - 1"
Left thigh: Initial - 23" Final - 23" Delta - 0"
Left arm: Initial - 14.5" Final - 14" Delta - -0.5"
Right arm: Initial - 14.5" Final - 14" Delta - -0.5"
Resting heart rate: Initial - 62 bpm Final - 66 bpm Delta - 4bpm
Pullups: Initial - 1.75 Final - 2.5 Delta - 0.75
Vertical leap: Initial - 10" Final - 12" Delta - 2"
Pushups: Initial - 20 Final - 21 Delta - 1
Toe touch: Initial - -2" Final - -2" Delta - 0"
Wall squat: Initial - 70s Final - 107s Delta - 47s
Bicep curls: Initial - 11 Final - 13 Delta - 2
In and outs: Initial - 27 Final - 40 Delta - 13
Heart rate maximizer 0 min: Initial - 146 bpm Final - 145 bpm Delta - -1 bpm
Heart rate maximizer 1 min: Initial - 100 bpm Final - 95 bpm Delta - -5 bpm
Heart rate maximizer 2 min: Initial - 94 bpm Final - 93 bpm Delta - -1 bpm
Heart rate maximizer 3 min: Initial - 84 bpm Final - 89 bpm Delta - 4 bpm
Heart rate maximizer 4 min: Initial - 87 bpm Final - 88 bpm Delta - 1 bpm

I know the formatting sucks here, but I don't feel like prettying it up.  You can see that I got a heckuva lot leaner since I lost 12 lbs, nearly all of which was fat.  I shaved 1.5" off my waist (the spare tire), but I didn't get all that much stronger.  I did the Never Gymless program before starting P90X so I would claim I was already sort of strong.  Is P90X solely responsible for my leanness?  I did give up wheat so it's hard to say.  Let's just say that P90X didn't hurt.

The pictures:
I think these show how much leaner I got better than the numbers.  I've got some weird posture going on in some of the pictures and I'm missing the Day 54 ones (couldn't find anyone to take them), but I think my spare tire has deflated quite a bit and that I have much more definition in the torso.  The moobs are definitely smaller.

What's next:
I think I'm going to start up some "challenges" - 100 pushups, 150 dips, 200 squats and 50 pullups.  I'll play basketball once a week and I'd like to start up some boxing lessons.  Keep an eye out for updates.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Son of a gun!

It snowed about an inch and a half here so I got out my snowblower to try out for the first time.  I followed the instructions for the manual start and it sputtered to life.  I blew maybe ten linear feet before it stopped.  I went to restart it and the starter cord broke.  Gah.

In the 45s of use I realized I want one with electric start and a much bigger engine than this 5HP.  My plumber told me 5HP wouldn't be enough, but I didn't listen.

I ended up shoveling the driveway the good old fashioned way so I got some more exercise this afternoon.

It isn't supposed to snow for another week or so which is good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I started off really well tonight with a 160, but then my form fell apart and I bowled a 107 for the second game and a 120 for the third game.  My nightly average was 129 which is above my seasonal average so it wasn't completely bad, but I'm still having trouble picking up easy spares.  I did bump my seasonal average up to an even 125 which is respectable though I think I can be a 140 bowler.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Coconut water

Is coconut water the latest and greatest health craze?  I saw three or four displays of it at the grocery store today so I got a couple to try out.  I'll probably negate the health benefit by mixing it with rum, but who cares?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bowling update

I actually bowled pretty well tonight even though I wasn't exactly in the mood.  I opened with a 129, had a great second game with a 167 which ties me season high and then I finished off with a 138 for a nightly average of nearly 145.  My season average creeps up to 125.  Sweet.

I just need to work on being more consistent so that 9 --> strikes.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Paleo cooking

Last night I made biscuits and gravy from a recipe from my Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook.  I think the sausage gravy turned out well, but the biscuits were a little weird.  My biggest problem with gluten-free living is that GF baked goods don't taste as expected.  They aren't bad per se, but are lacking something.  If I mention the word "biscuit" you probably think of something light and creamy.  These were made from almond meal and amaranth flour and so were fairly dense, almost like muffins.

Einkorn wheat is ancient wheat and may not have many of the bad properties of modern wheat, but it still has gluten in it so I'm a bit torn on it.  I think my current plan is to allow myself to make one dish, which could fuel many meals, with einkorn wheat flour or pasta per month.  I think it would end up being three or four meals which is less than 5%.  I don't think I'm allergic to gluten so it should be ok and it should help satisfy my craving for pancakes, cornbread, rolls, etc.  I guess I'll have to see how it goes.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fitness update

I hadn't done P90X in roughly 2.5 weeks until this morning thanks to the long break.  I did do 30 pushups every other day in Portland, but that's just small potatoes.

I weighed myself this morning and my body fat percentage is as low as it's been in two years which is great.  I feel strong and definitely think my gluten-free diet is working so I recommend folks out there give it a shot as well.  Don't replace wheat with gluten-free baked goods because they likely contain starches with nearly as high of a glycemic index.  Eat more vegetables and nuts instead.

I struggled to complete my P90X workout this morning because it's been a while.  I've lost the ability to do even a few pullups which is pretty depressing because I have a goal of doing 50 by September.  I'll do my best and will accept the results.

Happy belated New Year, motherfuckers

Heh.  The end of 2011 brought the end of my swear jar challenge.  I just tallied up the damage and I found $16.50 in my change bank.  At 25 cents a swear word, I swore only 66 times last year.  Not too shabby considering roughly half of those were in the first month.

I think the swear jar was effective since I no longer reflexively swear, but can now use it for added emphasis which is much more effective.  Those who swear constantly come across as knuckleheads.

I had planned on donating the damage to the local animal shelter, but $16.50 is kind of puny so I'll give $66.

Another challenge knocked out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sports update

Despite a big game from my NO dudes, I came in second this week in fantasy football.  It was the last week in the regular season so the last week in our league.  I had to pay my brother $2, but my dad had to pay him even more so I came in second moneywise.  Weak sauce.

I bowled for the first time tonight in two weeks and I was rusty.  I opened with a 107, improved to a 127 and finished up with a 119 which gives me a nightly average of ~118 which drops my seasonal average to 123.  I need to focus on being consistent with my approach.

Tonight marks my twentieth time bowling since I started my challenge so I finished up another item.  Sweet.