Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thank goodness the holidays are almost over

Today's Weigh-In: 217.2 lbs.
5-day average: 217.7 lbs.

Okay, so this past week did not go so well. Lots of candy, fudge, and chips. Very little exercise. I got 2 workouts in last week, on Monday and Tuesday, but all the Christmas stuff prevented me from going later in the week.

Thankfully that's all over. I ate great yesterday and did a good Olympic lifting workout. My muscles felt amazing afterward. They just crave activity now. Also, I find that when I eat crap food I get really stiff in my muscles and joints, and my flexibility (which is usually decent) goes to hell. If I eat right and take my fish oil (10 caps a day, now) I don't have any issues. Just something I noticed.

The year is coming to an end, and I'm glad. I know it's cliche but the new year does provide a fresh start, at least mentally, and that's what a lot of us need right now. A fresh start, and a kick in the pants.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Better than expected

Today's Weigh-In: 218.2 lbs.
5-Day Average: 217.4 lbs.

After all the fuss I made yesterday, it looks like my back is starting to get better quicker than I expected. I guess it was just the muscles getting used to my spine being straight again. It's a little sore today, but nowhere near the level of pain I was in yesterday. I went for a short run to test it out, and also did some squats, push-ups, and stretches to see how it felt. It felt pretty good, so I'm really happy that I won't be out of commission much longer. My lower back fatigued pretty quickly during my run, but that's most likely due to the fact that I haven't been running much in the past few weeks and I did heavy deadlifts twice this week.

I have a Christmas dinner to attend tonight, but I'm going to stick to mainly meat and vegetables. I really want to get under 215 within the next 2 weeks.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Screwed up back

Ugh. Just when I start to get some motivation behind me something bad happens. Somehow I screwed up my upper back. It wasn't from lifting, because it was bothering me on Monday during the day (and I hadn't worked out since Saturday). I was sitting at my desk, and my neck felt tight, so I moved it around to try to crack it and loosen it up. What happened instead was it locked up, and I couldn't turn my head to the left. I figured "okay, that sucks, but it'll go away." Well the neck pain did go away, but I could feel my upper back and left arm getting really tight and sore. I've had issues in the past where my back being out of alignment has caused pain down my left arm, so I pretty much knew nothing was actually wrong with my arm (but it hurt like a son of a gun). I went to the chiropractor yesterday, and he re-aligned my spine. This has caused the pain in my arm to disappear, and my neck feels fine as well. But my upper back is crazy sore today, and I can feel that it's the muscles and not the spine. So I'm thinking that it's caused by my spine being so out of alignment for so long that the muscles sort of got used to the bad configuration. But it's got me sidelined from exercise, because I really can't do much of anything without excruciating pain. Right now I'm rocking NSAIDs, and when I get home I'm going to use my foam roller and jacuzzi to help loosen it up. I'll probably go back to the chiro early next week for a follow-up, but I'm hoping it doesn't last that long.

I guess there's a lesson in this: if you don't take all aspects of exercise recovery seriously you can jack yourself up. I'm usually pretty good about my recovery, but I know I should be visiting the chiropractor every few weeks at least, and I haven't been. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New PRs and a change of direction

I know, I know, it's been a long time since I posted a blog entry on here. Looking back at my last post, it was right before my last Crossfit Total. I ended up getting 870 (325 back squat, 170 shoulder press, and 375 deadlift) which surpassed my goal. Yesterday I did the Total again, and this time got a score of 905 (335 back squat, 170 press, 400 deadlift(!)). I finally reached one of my oldest goals, which was a 400 pound deadlift. I went for 405 as well but it just didn't go up. I just looked back at my first CFT score (from this post) which was 670. It feels great to know objectively how much stronger I am now than I was then.

Now for some bad news. I pretty much weigh the same as I did in January 2008, when I did my first Total. This morning I weighed in at 217.4 lbs., the highest I've been in a while. 2 months ago I weighed in at 207, so I've gained 10 pounds since then. It's time for me to buckle down and start using this blog (once again) as a resource to help me along on my journey.

I'm going to be changing the format of my blog posts a little bit, to reflect the changes that have occurred both mentally and physically since I've started this quest. Most of the posts on here are focused solely on weight, and, while that is important, I've come to believe that things such as athletic performance, quality of rest, and quality of food are just as important to me. Let's face it, I could have 6 pack abs and be completely unhealthy, but that's not what I want. I want to be strong, powerful, quick, agile. I want to have good indicators on all my bloodwork. So what if I never get "ripped." This is really about so much more than that. So my posts will reflect that mentality, with a focus on performance and food quality as a means toward health and fitness, and not just some arbitrary number on the scale.

That being said, I do need to lose some fat. My body fat percentage is higher than I would like, and it's hindering me in some aspects of my athleticism (mainly bodyweight stuff). There are only 2 weeks left in the year, so I'm not going to go for some drastic cut to meet an arbitrary deadline right now, but I want to be consistently under 215 by the new year. That's easily doable, and it gives me that bit of momentum that I'll need to see this through. I'll try to post a couple of times a week as well, to keep myself on track.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Food and fitness

Today's Weigh-In: 207.4 lbs.

The weight is still trending downwards at a nice clip, so that makes me happy. I got another personal record yesterday (I cut over a minute off my Fran time), which is awesome. I still need to work on my pull-ups, but I figure as I get lighter they'll get easier by default. I made buffalo wings at home last night, and they were really good. I heated up Frank's Red-Hot sauce (1/2 cup) with butter (2 tbsp) and chopped garlic (1 clove) in a saucepan until everything melted together, then I brushed the sauce onto chicken wing pieces (and a chicken breast) and baked at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. The wings were delicious, and the breast came out so juicy and flavorful I couldn't believe it. So I'm definitely adding that to my list of easy, delicious recipes.

I'm taking today off from working out so I can be ready for the Crossfit Total tomorrow. The CFT consists of max effort lifts (1 rep max) for back squat, deadlift, and shoulder press, and it can be really draining on the body. You add up the weights for each lift, and add them together for your score. You get 3 attempts to get a max on each lift. Last time I got 750, but tomorrow I'm hoping to get at least 850, since I've added quite a bit of weight to my back squat and deadlift since the last CFT. I'm also hoping to break 400 lbs. for my deadlift. I got 395 a few weeks ago, so it's definitely a possibility. I'm going to have to adjust my strength goals on here to account for my new strength levels. Yay!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weight loss on a weekend? Yep.

Weigh-In: 209.4 lbs.

I had a good weekend. I stayed totally paleo and was rewarded with a 1 pound loss this morning. I'm now down 7 pounds this month. I did heavy squats yesterday for my workout, and I've got a date with Fran tonight. I'm hoping for a new personal record, since I haven't hit one on this workout in well over a year. Overall everything seems to be going according to plan. I did have some major carb cravings this weekend, but they passed and now I feel fine.

I've been trying all kinds of new vegetables lately. Last week I tried yellow squash, and yesterday I made some brussels sprouts. I roasted them in the oven with fresh garlic and onion, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. They were really good! I ate them with scrambled eggs and some sunflower seeds. I know that sounds like a bizarre meal (it was lunch, too) but it was delicious. It's definitely worth it to take the time to try out new things, you might find something you really like.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2 months already?

Weigh-In: 210.2 lbs.

Whoa, has it really been 2 months since my last post? Sorry about that, folks. I haven't been slacking of on the fitness front, but I guess I haven't really felt the desire to write about it lately. But I'll try to recap and bring you all up to speed with where I am.

I did let the diet slip a little bit for a few weeks, and got up to 216 lbs. But some of that weight was muscle, and I've been hitting personal records like crazy. I got my deadlift up to 395, my shoulder press to 165, and my push press to 215. I've been working on my grip strength so that I can start getting better numbers on pull-ups. And I've still been hitting the high intensity workouts hard, so my conditioning is still improving.

As of October 1st I decided to do a 30-day Paleo diet challenge. Many of the Crossfit sites and affiliates have been doing this, with great results, and so I figured I would give it a shot. The diet excludes all grains (including corn) and grain products, all sugar (except for what's found in fruit), all dairy (although I do allow butter), legumes, any artificial ingredients (including sweeteners), and alcohol. So what does that leave? Meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, and oils. There's actually a lot you can do with that list, and I've been trying to include as many new recipes and foods into my diet as I can. As of today I've lost 6 pounds in 7 days, while still eating enough food to keep me quite full. I expect the loss to slow down considerably soon, as much of it is water weight, but I do feel lighter and less bloated. My hope is that I'll get close to 200 lbs. by the end of the month, and use that momentum to blast through into the 190s.

Crossfit + Paleo = fitness and fat loss. I feel better than I have in months. My sleep is so much better (with vivid dreams), I wake up at 7:30 every morning without issue, I'm getting stronger and leaner, and mentally I'm much more focused. I know that part of that has to do with the "no alcohol" part of the Paleo diet, but I've done alcohol-free months before and haven't felt the same way, so I know it has something to do with eating quality food and staying away from the stuff that would serve to damage my body. I urge anyone who really desires to get lean and fit to check out Crossfit and look into the Paleo diet. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New personal record

So yesterday in the gym I set another new personal record! One of my goals for last year that I did not reach was to squat 300 pounds. Well, it's 8 months late, but yesterday I squatted 310 pounds for one rep with perfect form! My one-rep max on the squat was stuck at 260 for over a year, but in the past 2 months I've added 50 pounds to it. Not sure what to attribute it to, whether it be the 2 weeks of rest I took after my injury, dialing in my form, or just increasing my strength through neurological adaptation, but it feels great to finally squat 1.5x my body weight. According to my body fat tester I'm at 22% body fat, which means that I've put on about 4 pounds of muscle in the last 2 months while staying at the same body weight. I'm stoked to see where my deadlift numbers are at now, so hopefully a max effort DL workout will show up in the near future. I really want to get an 850 on the Crossfit Total (1 rep max of back squat, deadlift, and shoulder press). I'm at 310 squat and 160 press, so I would need a 380 lb. deadlift to reach that goal. Last time I maxed I got 345, but that was only about a week into my current training regimen. We'll see how it goes. Getting stronger rules :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back to work

Today's Weigh-In: 206.8 lbs.

Yesterday was my first Crossfit workout since being admitted to the hospital. I took it pretty easy, not a whole lot of volume for my first day back. I've definitely lost some cardiovascular endurance, but I know that will come back quickly as long as I stay consistent. I didn't have any trouble completing the workout, and my abs and hip flexors seem to be working just as well as they did before, so I'm glad. I was worried that I would lose a lot of strength or capacity in the damaged muscles. I'll be keeping the volume pretty low this week just to give my body a chance to adapt and to risk reinjuring myself, and then start increasing my intensity as I see fit.

As far as diet goes I've got one good day in the bag so far. I need to build some momentum in this area, so I think I'll forgo any cheat meals this week, and keep my alcohol intake to a minimum. It's just so much easier to stick to a good eating plan when you've got a week or two of good days behind you and you start seeing some real progress. I haven't really felt that momentum for a while so I'm hoping I can get some steam behind this thing and get back under 200 pounds.

I'm going to try to be posting more often now that I'm healthy, so stay tuned for more.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Still alive

Hey there, everyone. It's been a while since I last posted, so I'll use this post to bring you up to speed on where I've been and where I'm at.

Since my last post I have been working out consistently 4-5 times a week (except the past week, which I will explain below). My performance in the gym has been great, and I've been setting new personal records on a consistent basis.

That is, until last week. Last Wednesday I did a workout which consisted of 150 situps and 125 back-extensions using a Glute-Ham Developer (see this image if you're not familiar with it). I finished in just under 20 minutes, but I could feel that I would be hurting later. My hips and back were tight, and I had trouble finishing the last couple of sets. I tried to do a few 400m sprints afterward, but my back started to seize up, and I called it a day.

Fast forward to Friday, and I'm hurting. Bad. My abdominal muscles and hip flexors are killing me. I feel run down. I go to pick up my girlfriend for dinner on Friday night, and when we get back to my house I go to the bathroom to go pee. My pee is brown. Maple syrup brown. I know what this means: rhabdomyolysis.

Rhabdomyolysis (or rhabdo, for short) is caused by the breakdown of muscle cells which release their contents into the blood. Potassium and myoglobin build up in the bloodstream, and put a strain on the kidneys, which can then fail, followed by death. It's nasty business, usually seen in crush and burn victims. But it is possible to exercise yourself into such a state, as I did. The test they perform for rhabdo is a blood test which determines the levels of a certain enzyme (creatine phosphokinase). The normal count of this enzyme is around 200. Mine peaked at 125,000.

Long story short, I spent 6 days in the hospital, receiving fluids to flush my kidneys, electrolytes to balance my blood chemistry, and morphine to dull the pain. As of my release from the hospital my CPK levels are down to 1,400, and my pain is almost gone. There is, however, damage to the muscles, so I will now have to spend time regaining strength in some parts of my body. It's not permanent damage, thankfully, and I should be able to rebuild the lost muscle tissue over time.

So that's where I'm at right now. If you ever decide to do a workout with a high level of intensity, make sure to listen to your body, and stay hydrated, especially if it's hot. These are things that can contribute to rhabdo, and trust me, you don't want to go through this experience first hand.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

June wrap-up

Today's Weigh-In: 207.6 lbs.

So, I didn't make my weight goal this month. But I did lose fat. If you recall, I took measurements at the beginning of June, and I also took measurements this past weekend. I lost 1 inch off my waist, 3/4 of an inch off each thigh, and 3/4 of an inch off my hips. I maintained my other measurements, which is good, because that means I've kept every ounce of muscle on my body.

So why no drop in weight? Could be a number of things, but it's most likely a combination of increased water retention due to exercise, and increased muscle mass. The same thing happened in the very first month of my journey. I lost zero pounds but got stronger, leaner, and fitter. My body type and previous training make it easy to gain a small amount of muscle very quickly after a long layoff. I doubt I will continue to gain any muscle, but now my weight should start to drop again.

My level of fitness has increased tremendously over the past month. When I began training I wanted to puke or die from every single workout I had to do. Compare that with yesterday, when I did a workout which consisted of 2.5 miles of running, 150 kettlebell swings (with 36 pounds), 30 pull-ups, and 120 jumping pull-ups. And I didn't feel like puking once. It took forever, granted, but I was fully able to accomplish it. I also pulled a personal record in the back squat, and tied my PR for the deadlift.

My new goal is a sub-200 weigh-in by the end of July. I know, I've been chasing 200 for a while now, but I think that now I'm actually in the position to realistically achieve it. As long as I don't get hurt or sick this month I should be able to hit it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good weekend

Today's Weigh-In: 206.4 lbs.
5-Day Average: 207.1 lbs.

This weekend was really good on the diet front. I had my one cheat meal on Friday, and I made sure not to go crazy and to just eat a reasonable amount. I also made sure that I didn't eat as much prior to it, to help with keeping the total number of calories down. Saturday and Sunday were both great, with 100% home-made meals both days.

I only ended up getting 2 workouts last week. I worked out on Thursday, but my shoulder was still bothering me, and I didn't hit the intensity that I normally would. My brother and I had planned to go sprinting on Saturday morning, but when I woke up it was raining outside, so we had to skip that as well.

My shoulder is not 100%, but I've been massaging it and trying to do some exercises to maximize flexibility and recovery. I will be working out today, as the workout planned doesn't involve any yanking on my shoulder girdle, so I should be alright.

It doesn't really look like I'm going to hit my goal of 200 pounds by the end of the month, which is disappointing. I've been working hard, and to not see much change on the scale is disheartening. Hopefully my body measurements will have changed for the positive. At least then I'll know that I'm doing something right. 9 days to go.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Minor setback

Today's Weigh-In: 206.6 lbs.
5-Day Average: 206.3 lbs.

I'm getting used to the idea that my weigh-ins are worst right after the weekend, and they slowly creep down throughout the week, and Friday is usually my lowest. Last Friday I hit 204.2 lbs. on the scale, but yesterday I weighed in at 208. The weekend was another not-bad-not-great experience. Friday night my girlfriend and I went out to dinner, and I ate entirely too much. I ate so much, in fact, that my stomach was hurting and kept me awake until 4AM. As a result I was too tired to get up at 7:30 on Saturday to make it to the Crossfit gym for the Saturday morning workout. Poor food decisions can have larger ramifications than I thought. Saturday and Sunday were fine diet-wise, but the lack of exercise definitely didn't help me.

Of course now I'm fully back on the wagon, and I'm aiming to make sure that I don't go overboard on my cheat meal this week. It's just not worth it.

Over the weekend my little brother came home from college, and I spent Saturday night hanging out with him. Of course, as brothers do (even adult ones), we ended up wrestling each other. Unfortunately for me my brother studies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and knows about 100 ways to submit me, and while we were messing around I kinda hurt my shoulder. It was bothering me even before that, to be honest (I've had problems with it in the past), but roughhousing really aggravated it. Then yesterday's workout included a lot of shoulder dominant exercises, such as assisted muscle-ups on rings, burpees, hang power-cleans, and body rows on rings. When the adrenaline from the workout wore off I was in a massive amount of pain, and I spent the night icing my shoulder and taking Naprocyn. It feels alright this morning, but I know that if I don't rest it I'm just going to keep aggravating it and it won't heal. So I'm skipping Crossfit tonight, and I plan on just going to the park and running. It's been a while since I've had a good run anyways, so it can't hurt. I'll spend some more time icing, massaging, and otherwise rehabbing my shoulder as well. Hopefully it's nothing more than a minor pull, but we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New record!

Today's Weigh-In: 206.0 lbs.
5-Day Average: 207.55 lbs.

I'm happy with today's weigh-in. It seems like I'm getting more consistently in the 206s, so I think that means the added water weight from my creatine loading has stabilized and I'm actually losing some fat.

I did one-rep max back squats yesterday, and got a new personal record: 285 pounds. My previous record was 260, and that was over a year ago. I've been stuck on this lift for so long I thought I would never get to 300, but now I'm only 15 pounds away. Last week I did a one-rep max deadlift as well and matched my PR from a year ago, so it looks like I haven't lost any strength (and have actually gained a bit) in the time I've been unfocused. I don't know whether it's the clean diet, good sleep, lack of alcohol, or a mixture of everything, but I'm feeling stronger and better than I ever have.

I've got 19 days to lose 6 pounds. It's going to be hard, but I really want it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mid-week update

Today's Weigh-In: 206.4 lbs.
5-Day Average: 207.6 lbs.

Hello everyone. Sorry about the lack of posting this week. I've been pretty busy with work and personal life and just haven't had the time. Let me recap the past few days.

Friday I got my 4th workout of last week in, and then I had my cheat meal right afterward. Saturday was really good as far as eating goes. No workout, but stayed plenty active and walked a lot. Sunday I went to an amusement park (Six Flags Magic Mountain), so my activity level was very high. My food intake, however, was not very good. I helped myself to quite a few Doritos, some candy, and a non-diet soda. All the walking probably balanced it out, but I shouldn't have let that happen. Monday I was back on the diet train, and hit another workout. I started having a lot of stomach pain and nausea yesterday, so I actually ended up under-eating, and I didn't get to work out either. My stomach still hurts a little bit today but not nearly as bad as it did yesterday, so I'm hoping I'll feel well enough to get a workout in today.

The weight isn't dropping as quickly as I would have liked, unfortunately. I've been pretty darn good about my calorie intake and exercise, so I would have expected it to drop at least a bit by now. I've just gotta remember that it's all about seeing loss on a long-term scale, not necessarily having a great weigh-in every day. Eventually I'll start seeing 205s and 204s, and my average will start to drop. I've been there before, and I need to just remember that if I'm consistent there's nothing my body can do except drop the fat.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

4 days in

Today's Weigh-In: 208.0 lbs.
4-Day Average: 207.4 lbs.

My weigh-ins are up a bit since Tuesday, but I'm not worried because I know I've been 100% spot-on with nutrition, exercise, supplementation, and sleep this week. I've consumed right around 2000 calories each day, I've gotten 3 workouts in so far, I've taken my vitamins, fiber, and fish oil religiously, and I've gotten at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Along with my fish oil and fiber supplementation I've added creatine back into the fold. I'm guessing that a combination of retained water from the creatine supplementation and some stomach contents are what are keeping the weight a bit higher than I'd expect.

Warning: poop talk ahead. You've been warned.

As I commented on Billy's blog yesterday I noted that the first day of clean eating I purged my bowels 3 times, which is probably why I got down to 205 on Tuesday. But even though I've been supplementing with fiber and eating quite a bit of fruit and vegetables I haven't very regular since then. I know it will take a bit of time for my body to optimally process the new kinds of food that I'm giving it, so I'm not worried, but it's something to note. It probably also has to do with the fact that I'm simply eating less food, so there's not as much waste being created. I'll just keep my fiber intake high and wait it out.

End poop talk

My workouts have been really good this week. I already feel my body adapting positively to the high intensity workouts. I'm sore like crazy, but I haven't felt like I'm going to puke or pass out during the workouts. I'm taking a rest day today and I will be back into it tomorrow.

I ordered some Vibram Five Fingers and I received them yesterday. I got the black KSO model. They look funny, and it's weird to have to fit each toe individually into its own compartment, but they're really cool and quite comfortable. I plan on using them for barefoot running (mainly on sand and grass, concrete is a bit too hard for the normal human foot), gymnastics work, weight lifting, and any other activity where I can get away with wearing them. One of the main reasons I bought them is that I've always had a bit of pain in my heels caused by the way I walk (incorrectly). It's bothered me so much that I started wearing heel and arch support insoles in my normal shoes a few years ago. But I've been researching information about how humans naturally walk without shoes, and I think that if I can train myself to walk correctly (without the hard heel strike that we all tend to do when wearing shoes) I can rid myself of this pain and strengthen my feet and legs. I'll keep you posted on whether or not it works.

That's it for me, hope everyone else is doing well this week.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Starting day 2

Today's Weigh-In: 205.6 lbs.

My weight is back down where I expected it to be this morning, which made me breathe a sigh of relief. I really didn't want to have to try to lose 9 pounds in a month instead of 6. So far I've started out my day with a healthy breakfast, and I've got my lunch and snack packed and ready to go. I'll be doing another workout tonight, then I'll be visiting my girlfriend. Not sure what we'll be doing for dinner but I'll make sure that it's something that fits into my dietary requirements (probably El Pollo Loco chicken).

I've been getting up much earlier than normal to make sure I have time to get into the gym after work, and I actually feel pretty good about it. I went to bed at 10:30 last night and woke up at 7:30 today. I slept great, probably due to the lack of alcohol in my system. I'm looking forward to more positive changes like these in my life this month. I don't have my measurements with me (I'm at work) but I'll try to post them either tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, June 1, 2009

First day: done

Today's Weigh-In: 209.8 lbs.

So today was the first day of my hard routine, and I've gotta say I've done perfectly so far. I ate exactly 16 blocks of food, but I chose higher fat protein sources to make sure I don't get under 2000 calories. If I do that then I end up not recovering from my workouts and start feeling run-down. Between 2000 and 2200 calories per day is the perfect range for me to lose weight and still perform well. My meals consisted of bacon, eggs, and an English muffin for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch, protein powder and an orange for snack #1, crackers and kippered herring for snack 2, and steak with onions and mushrooms for dinner, with some watermelon for dessert. I'm still a bit hungry, but it's that good hungry feeling that makes me know that I'm doing something effective.

I did a gnarly workout at Crossfit 714 which included lots of cleans and pull-ups. I'm writing this 2.5 hours after I finished and I still can't stop sweating, and it's not particularly hot here. I didn't think I was going to be able to finish, but I found that second wind that I remember so fondly but had forgotten as of late and finished as strong as I could.

Haven't touched a drop of alcohol today. This is the first day in 4 months that I haven't had any (since my fast in January), and I thought it would be harder. I actually feel great right now. My drive is very strong today, and I can only hope that I can keep it up.

My weigh-in today was taken this evening, after dinner, since I forgot to do it this morning, so it's a bit higher than it would be in the morning. Also, as promised, current pictures, taken yesterday:




So there you are. I also took measurements, but I'll post them later because this post is long enough as it is.

UPDATE: Here are my measurements, as of 5/31/09, for posterity's sake.

Biceps: 14.5"
Waist (flexed): 38"
Waist (relaxed): 40.25"
Chest (flexed): 44.25"
Chest (relaxed): 42"
Thighs: 25.25"
Calved: 15.75"
Neck: 16.5"
Hips: 38"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Hard Routine

Beginning June 1st I will be attempting something called a Hard Routine. What this means is that I have a certain list of goals and restrictions that I will follow for the entire month with no cheating. It's basically a "trial by fire" experience designed to strengthen one's willpower and to get them used to doing things that they are not currently doing (or to break some bad habits). I think this is something that I really need to get the fire going again in my fitness life, as right now it's just a pile of smoldering embers. If I can get back in the routine of consistently getting into the gym, eating clean, and blogging then I know I can get back on track and keep that momentum for a while. So here are my goals for the month of June:

  • No Alcohol - This one is very important, because I know I consume a lot of empty calories in alcohol.
  • At least 4 workouts per week - This is the optimal amount of training for me to allow for weight-loss and recovery. If I can manage an additional workout it will probably be something I come up with that's both fun and challenging.
  • Weigh-in every day and record - Just to get back in the habit.
  • Take body measurements before and after - To have an objective measurement of progress.
  • Record all workouts on beyondthewhiteboard.com - So I can compare my results when I repeat them in the future as another empirical measurement.
  • Get under 200 pounds - Totally doable with this plan.
  • Take weekly progress pictures each Sunday - It's been a while since I've done this, and I want some visual evidence to help keep me motivated.
  • Strict Zone diet @ 16 blocks - This has worked well for me in the past, and it's not terribly difficult. It just takes a few extra seconds of weighing and measuring everything I put in my mouth.
  • Practice pull-ups daily - Goal is to get 5 dead-hangs by the end of the month (currently at around 3).
  • 1 cheat meal per week - This allows a little bit of something to look forward to each week so I don't completely burn out mentally. This has also worked well for me in the past.
So there it is. At the end of the month I will look at my progress and decide how to adjust for the next month. The goal is not to do one month and then go back to doing whatever I want, but it's to gradually reduce negative habits while (re-)introducing positive ones, with measurable progress at each interval. My girlfriend will be joining me on the no-alcohol goal, and she's coming up with some other goals of her own as well, so we'll be keeping each other accountable. I'll post my initial pictures and measurements on Monday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back from vacation

No weigh-in today, but I weighed in at 204.9 on Tuesday and 204.2 yesterday, so I'm finally headed in the right direction again. I've been pretty good with tracking my food and not mindlessly snacking like I am wont to do at night. Even healthy snacks can put you over on your daily calorie needs.

My fishing trip was a lot of fun. I only caught one fish, but it was great to get away from civilization with all the congestion, pollution, and stress that it brings. The weather was amazing, in the low 80s every day with a nice breeze, extremely blue skies, and it was nice and dry so it didn't even feel as hot as it was. The creek water was about 45 degrees, and I was using some thin hip-waders, so that kept me nice and cool.

My dad loves to cook, so he cooked all the food we had during those 4 days. We actually ate very healthy, except for the many, many beers consumed. They were light beers, though, and we were extremely active, so we burned those off pretty easily. All in all it was a good time.

I found a new Crossfit gym which is pretty close to my work and my girlfriend's house, and their prices are very reasonable (with a couples discount to boot) so I'm going to go check them out next week and see if it's a good fit for us. The globo-gym scene is really starting to bother both of us, so it will be nice to start working out in a real CF gym again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm still alive!

5-day average: 207.1 lbs.

Hey everyone! I know it's been a while since my last post, so I'll try to bring you up to date on where I am.

The new routine has been a bit spotty so far. I've been getting 2-3 workouts in a week, but my girlfriend got sick for almost 2 weeks so she hasn't been in the gym since then. I've been playing with my gymnastics rings quite a bit, and they're really fun. Just doing simple things like skin-the-cats and attempting back levers really works the shoulders and core muscles, and my abs are killing me today from working out with them on Saturday.

My eating has been pretty crappy. It's the whole weekend thing, still. I eat fine Monday through Thursday and then blow it Friday through Sunday, even though I'm home more and could just take the time to cook. I think there are a couple of reason why I choose the easy route of convenience foods. First, I'm usually running low on food in my fridge and cupboards by about Friday or Saturday, since I usually go shopping on the weekend. Second, I'm tired by the end of the week and just want to relax. Third, my focus on eating well tends to wane when I'm not on a fixed schedule like I am throughout the week.

I can fix the first issue by going shopping in the middle of the week to restock essentials so I don't run out of anything. I can also try to prepare some food in bulk in the middle of the week as well so I will already have something healthy pre-made for when I don't feel like cooking. The third issue is not an easy one to overcome, so I'll have to think of some tricks for motivating myself a bit better.

My weight is fluctuating between 204 and 208 right now. I want to stabilize it on the lower end of this range and work towards getting under 200 again, so I'm weighing in every day again and keeping the 5-day running average. I'm also doing some intermittent fasting again to help give me a bit of a metabolic advantage (and to keep calories lower).

I am going camping and fishing this Thursday and will be gone all weekend. I plan on bringing my rings with me and creating some fun outdoor workouts. I foresee lots of burpees, ring pull-ups, and lifting of logs in my future :) I'm going shopping for the trip with my dad, so I will try to make sure that we don't get a bunch of garbage food. My dad has been focused on eating healthier lately, and cutting out a lot of bad carbs, so this shouldn't be too much of a problem. And, if we catch anything, we'll have some delicious rainbow trout to feast on. I'm definitely looking forward to that.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New routine update

Today's Weigh-In: 207.2 lbs.

I'm not really sure why my weight went up so high today. I ate super cleanly yesterday and didn't go crazy over the weekend. I have been lifting a lot of weights and eating a lot of protein, so maybe there's a bit of muscle added and some water retention going on.

So far the new routine is working out pretty well for me. I've been in the gym consistently at least 3 times a week, getting good workouts and feeling strong. My body is looking a bit leaner and more muscular as well, especially in my upper body. I was having a bit of tightness in my left hip last week so I brought the weights down on the squat from 195 to 175 and I'm just working on making sure I do each lift with perfect form. It's feeling better now, so I'll start upping the weights again the next time I squat.

I got my Iron Woody assistance bands in the mail, which I will be using to help my girlfriend work on pull-ups and dips. I also ordered some gymnastics rings from ringtraining.com. I absolutely love doing ring work, and now that I have my own rings I'll be able to work more gymnastics moves into my repertoire. I still really want to work towards getting a muscle up on the rings (I've done a few muscle-ups on a pull-up bar before, but it's a bit easier than on the rings) so I'll be working some progressions to get me there. I think the biggest issue getting in the way of doing the muscle-up is my bodyweight. I just don't have the strength to heave 200+ pounds from a dead hang up and over the top of the rings. So I've really gotta focus on getting the weight down.

I've begun counting my calories again, which is absolutely vital for me to lose weight. Yesterday I came in at around 2200, with less than 100 grams of carbs. Eggs and ham for breakfast, salami and turkey sandwich and strawberries for lunch, and almond-meal crusted salmon with broccoli for dinner. Today I've had a protein shake made with milk, protein powder, coconut milk, strawberries, and splenda, and I have some teriyaki chicken and salad packed for lunch. So far this week is looking good, and I still have 2 weeks to get down to my goal of 200 lbs. by May 1st. As long as this little spike in weight doesn't last I think I can do it. Just gotta put my nose to the grindstone and get it done.

Monday, April 6, 2009

New week

Today's Weigh-In: 204.9 lbs.

It seems I haven't lost any weight since last week, which is a bummer, but I might be retaining some water from having a bit too much sodium yesterday (beef jerky, a few french fries, etc.). I got in 3 workouts last week, so I'm building up a bit of momentum. It's nice to get under the barbell again, and it doesn't look like I've lost any strength. As I mentioned in my last post I am now training with my girlfriend, which is working out pretty well. It's a challenge to me because I've never trained anyone else before, but it's rewarding to see her get her form down and teaching her new movements. She's doing very well, especially for someone who has never done barbell training before. We're both very sore, but not so much that we can't get back in the gym today. So far I've taught her back squats, shoulder press, and deadlift, and today we're going to work on bench press.

I found out that the gym we're working out at has 35 pound barbells, which are great for her because the 45 pounder is a bit much right now. They also have some really small, extremely light barbells that I've been using to teach her shoulder dislocates and overhead squats. I'll be using those to teach her how to power clean as well. I'm ordering some assistance bands today so I can teach her dips and pull-ups without having to use the gravitron machine.

My diet last week was pretty good. I took a few too many cheats this weekend, though, so I'll have to make sure to tighten by belt this weekend and focus on getting good nutrition even if it's less convenient. I've got a bunch of homemade carnitas in the fridge which will probably last me through the end of the week, and I'll be cooking up another big pot of something tonight (not sure what yet). The more convenient I make healthy food the easier it is to stick to eating clean. It just takes a bit more preparation beforehand.

That's it for me. Here's to a new week of increased fitness and health.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A change in routine

No weigh in today

Sorry for the long gap in posting. I've been pretty busy with work and home stuff, but that's not really an excuse. I just haven't had much to say in regards to fitness or diet lately. I guess my mind's just been elsewhere. That's not to say I've been phoning in my diet; quite the contrary, actually. I've been eating a lot more whole foods and increasing my fresh vegetable intake. I've been preparing almost all of my meals at home with less cheats (I think I've had 2 cheat meals in the past week and a half). So far, so good.

Exercise has been an issue, though. I've basically been gym-free since I finished moving. But that's changing. My girlfriend got a gym membership, and we'll now working out together 3-4 times a week. She was a competitive swimmer in high school, so she has been athletic in the past, but she's never done any form of weight training. She is eager to learn, though, so I'm teaching her all the fundamental movements: barbell squats, deadlift, bench and shoulder press. We did squats on Sunday, and she really enjoyed the experience, so I'm hopeful that we can make some good progress. Having a partner and an actual workout schedule should help me to be consistent with my workouts, as that is my weakest area. Our routine for now is solely strength based, with skill work added before and after. After a few weeks I will start introducing high-intensity workouts (Crossfit style, of course) when I feel that we are both ready to do so. Then we will split our gym sessions into 2 strength, 2 metcon per week. I'm hoping that by the time summer comes we will both be leaner, stronger, and fitter than ever.

I weighed in at 204 yesterday, so I've kept of the 3 pounds that I lost 2 weeks ago. I'm hoping to be back under 200 by the end of April, and as long as I'm consistent in the gym and in the kitchen I know I can get there.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Moving is not fun

No weigh in today

My scale is still packed away and I haven't weighed myself since Thursday, so no useful information there. This weekend was killer. We spent 12 straight hours moving on Saturday, then another 6 hours cleaning the old apartment, returning the moving truck, etc, on Sunday. I'm incredibly sore today, mainly in my calves, biceps, and forearms (from carrying heavy stuff up and down stairs). It was a lot of hard work, and a bit of frustration.

Diet this weekend was terrible. Pizza, tacos, McDonald's breakfast. Just awful. I'll be unpacking all my pots, pans, and spices tonight so I can get back to cooking again. I can't handle any more fast food.

Other than that everything is great. I'm really enjoying the new place. It's a good deal bigger than my old apartment, and we're about 2 miles from the beach now. And the kitchen has more counter space, which makes cooking a lot easier for me. Now I've gotta get back into a good routine after shaking things up so much.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mid-week update

Today's Weigh-In: 203.4 lbs.
3-Day average: 205.3 lbs.

Well I've dropped 4 pounds since Monday somehow. I guess I must have been pretty bloated from my recent over-consumption of processed carbs. The last few days have been excellent diet-wise. I've been consistently keeping my calories under 2200, and have mostly been eating unprocessed foods. I did eat some leftover lasagna last night, but since we're moving my fridge is looking pretty bare, and it still fit in with my calorie goal.

No workout on Tuesday due to packing, but I did manage to get a pretty intense workout at home last night. I went out on my balcony, grabbed the kettlebell, and did this:

3 rounds of:
30 KB swings (1 pood KB, 35 pounds)
15 push-ups
25 squats

I didn't time myself since I left my stopwatch in my truck, but I went as fast as I could. Kettlebell swings get my heart rate up so fast it's unbelievable. After I was done I ended up laying on my floor for 15 minutes just trying to slow my heart down and catch my breath. It was really good.

So that's where I'm at. I probably won't get another real workout in this week because of the move, but I'll be getting plenty of exercise actually doing the move, so I don't feel too bad about that. My eating is going to be more of an issue, since we don't have a lot of food left in the house, and we'll be packing up the cookware tonight. If I have to eat fast food I'll make sure to stick with high protein/low carb items such as El Pollo Loco chicken. I should be okay.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good start

Today's Weigh-In: 207.2 lbs.

I wanted to thank you all for the comments on yesterday's post. I've always known that many of us have had issues with maintaining or regaining weight, and I just never thought it would happen to me, especially so quickly. All I can do is keep moving forward and build up some momentum.

I did get to the gym yesterday, which is good. I did squats and deadlifts, and then did some sprint intervals on the track. I'm finally getting some use out of my interval stopwatch that I bought a year ago :)

Food choices yesterday were really good, no cheating at all. I had eggs and bacon for breakfast (my standard morning meal), some taco meat and veggies for lunch, and salmon and spinach for dinner. Overall my calorie intake was around 2300, which is right where it needs to be. I had forgotten that small pang of hunger that comes with calorie restriction, and it kind of sucks, but not enough to give in to eating garbage.

One day on the books, now to make it a streak.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I'm back. Has it really been 2 weeks since I last posted? For shame.

I'm not going to lie and say that I've been doing well, either. I've been doing pretty crap as far as weight-loss and fitness go. My manager changed my work schedule so that I can't make any of the classes at the Crossfit gym, so I haven't been there in almost 2 weeks. Unfortunately I haven't been to the globo-gym either, so there's been a dearth of exercise in my world. I haven't been tracking my calories either, and we all know what happens when we forget to do that. All in all, it's caused a net gain of a few pounds. I'm fully over 200 again (probably around 206-208) and that's bad times. I'm having to use the 2nd notch on my belt instead of the 3rd as a result, and that just feels bad.

This is very disheartening for me, because I always felt that once I got my crap together that it would just flow for me easily the rest of my life. But now I find how easy it is to start back down that slippery slope of laziness and fast food.

I've got to get back under 200. Have to. There's no real excuse for going over. I just haven't made myself do the work that I need to do.

I've started counting my calories again today. I'm aiming for 2200-2400, which is what I was eating when I was losing weight before. Getting into the gym is going to be a bigger challenge, because this weekend I am moving to a new apartment, and I have to take care of all the crap that comes along with that, including packing, which limits my free time quite a bit. I'm hoping to get out of work early enough to get to the gym tonight and just do something. I don't have a good plan right now, which is making it hard to get motivated, but I know that if I just get in there I'll come up with something that'll get my heart racing, and I'll feel better when I'm done. I need to learn to make better use of the things I have at home as well (such as a kettlebell and pull-up bar) instead of making excuses. I'll try to keep a consistent posting schedule to at least keep myself accountable. No better time to start than today.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rainy Monday morning musings

Ugh. While most people have today off, I'm in the office working. And it's raining. This is not a good start to my week. However, I still got up this morning and got in a good workout, and I feel a lot better for it. I'm finally starting to get used to waking up early, so it's not as much of an issue as is has been. The cold weather in the morning is still annoying, but that's just something I can't do much about. I'm also starting to get my fitness level back up to the point where I'm not nauseous after workouts any more. Puking sucks, a lot. I did a full workout this morning with near max intensity and didn't feel like throwing up at all. The other guys at the gym really pushed me, to the point where I didn't think I could keep going, but I did. That's the best feeling, when you just break down that mental wall that tells you "stop, you'll die if you keep going." You won't die. Your heart won't explode, and your lungs won't fail you. You'll feel like crap for a few minutes, but your fitness will increase by leaps and bounds. This is something that I have to re-learn, and it's hard, but the benefits far outweigh the difficulties.

No weigh-in today, but I'm probably about the same. I had a fun weekend, but me and my lady ate out quite a bit. I stayed really active on Saturday with cleaning my apartment, but was too sore from Friday's workout to do anything more than that. Right now I'm really focused on staying healthy, keeping my energy levels up, and getting my strength and cardio back up to the levels they were at a few months ago. To facilitate that I've been eating a bit more than I need to lose weight, but the extra calories help my recovery so it's a fair trade for the time being. I think by the beginning of March I'll be able to start honing the diet without sacrificing the ability to get in a good workout. We'll see.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates this week. Been really busy with work and just haven't found the time. I didn't get a chance to weigh in before I ate this morning, so no numbers for today. I've been tracking my caloric intake and have been doing pretty well at keeping them under 2500 for the last few days or so. The weekend was definitely not good, though, with hot wings, french fries, and beer. So I'm making up for that a bit this week. I've gotta get better at limiting my cheats to one meal per week and not stretch it out over a few days. I used to be really good at this but it's hard to get back into that routine, especially when you're around other people who aren't as concerned with what they eat.

I got in a really good workout this morning, and I'll be doing some heavy deadlifting tomorrow, so that should be fun. I'm still having a hard time with getting up in the morning, but it's something that I have to do or else I won't reach any of my goals. Just gotta suck it up and go.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hooray for tabatas

Today's Weigh-In: 198 lbs.
5-Day Average: 199.36 lbs.

It looks like my weight is starting to come down, slowly but surely. I've been monitoring my calories all this week and I've been within my limits every day. I'm having a bit of a hard time getting enough protein, so I've resorted to adding a 2-scoop protein shake at night to make up for any deficiencies.

I didn't work out on Tuesday or Wednesday due to overwhelming muscle fatigue, but I did get a workout today. 5x5 back squats, woohoo! I also added a 4-round tabata on the Concept 2 rower at the end of the workout. For those not familiar with the Tabata protocol it basically involves doing 20 seconds of work at maximum intensity, then 10 seconds of rest. Repeat as necessary. The standard protocol is 8 rounds (for a total of 4 minutes) but we cut it in half due to my current lack of conditioning. I went balls out, and ended up puking again. It's really hard to try to catch your breath while projectile vomiting into a trash can :-) I think the nausea was mainly due to drinking a cup of coffee on an empty stomach before the workout, so I won't do that again.

Since I've been back in the gym I've noticed that I'm being more conscientious in other aspects of my life. I used to neglect a lot of chores around the house and would basically let everything go to crap before taking the initiative to clean up, but lately I've been much more proactive about doing things such as emptying the litter box, taking out the trash, putting away my laundry, and cleaning the kitchen immediately after cooking. I have more energy and feel less lethargic throughout the day as well. Just goes to show that striving for fitness improves more than just your physical health.

Monday, February 2, 2009

27 pounds

Today's Weigh-In: 202.0 lbs.
3-day Average: 200.4 lbs.

Yesterday I weighed in at 198.8 pounds, but Superbowl munchies put me back up over 200 this morning. Oh well, it'll be gone soon.

I had the chance on Saturday to get my body fat measured via hydrostatic weighing. My Crossfit affiliate rented one of the trucks for 3 hours and most everyone got tested. It was a good experience, and it's nice to know my true body fat percentage. The bad news is the result: 22.4%. Not very happy with that, since I was down to under 18% 6 months ago (at the same body weight). So that means I've lost muscle and gained fat, which makes me sad. But it's also very motivating, in that now I know exactly how much fat I have to lose if I want to get to my goal of 10% body fat. I need to weigh 173 pounds. So I've gotta lose 27 pounds from where I'm at now. Last year I lost 35 pounds in about 7 months, so using that as a baseline I should be at my goal by the end of July. Seems like a long time, but there's not a whole lot that can be done. I just need to work hard and tighten my belt a bit, so to speak.

I worked out on Friday morning, but didn't make it all the way through the workout because of my current deconditioned state. I ended up puking (dry-heaving, really, since I didn't have anything in my stomach) so that put a quick end to the workout. It's a bit disappointing because I was hoping I hadn't lost that much athletic ability, but now I know I have to slow down a bit and take about a month to ramp up the intensity. I hit another workout this morning without any gastrointestinal issues, and I plan on hitting the gym again tomorrow. My current workout schedule is going to be Mon-Tues-Thurs-Fri, as that allows me enough time to rest but also enough workload to get back into fighting shape, so to speak.

My motivation is definitely back, which is the best news. When I'm motivated it's so much easier to just do the work that I know is necessary, and when the pounds start coming off I know that I'll just be that much more motivated. Good times.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Today's Weigh-In: 200 lbs.

I finally got a chance to work out today. I attempted to get a run in on Sunday, but I started coughing really bad and had to give up. It was very disheartening. But by yesterday I've been feeling better and I decided that no matter what I was going to wake up early and do the Crossfit workout at my affiliate. I haven't been there since late September, so it's been quite a while. It was really nice to go there and be around people who care more about their fitness than their looks, where dropping weights from overhead is no problem, and where everyone encourages each other. I had forgotten how much I love being there compared to the regular gym (which I loathe).

Today's workout was the following:


All that means is you have 7 rounds of 1 rep and you try to get the maximum amount of weight up. I started at 95 pounds and worked my way up to 155, which was pretty heavy but definitely not my max. I wanted to take it easy on my first day back to avoid the possibility of injury due to muscle atrophy and reduced flexibility. All in all I felt great (except that I got a bit nauseous during the warm-up due to my crappy cardiovascular shape) and I plan to be there again tomorrow morning.

Lately I've been having a really hard time with getting out of bed and having low energy throughout the day, but after I forced myself to go workout this morning I feel amazing, even though I didn't get as much sleep as I normally do. I'm hoping that if I can stay consistent with the workouts I can overcome these issues.

My diet was pretty crap on Monday and Tuesday, but yesterday and today have been much better. I ate less than 2000 calories yesterday, all of which was good stuff, and I'm shooting for 2200 calories today. If I can keep it up through the weekend I might just see some weight loss come Monday. w00t!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quick update

Hey everybody. Thought I'd pop in and post something. I'm still not 100% better from my flu, but I'm getting there. The only lingering issue is that I'm coughing up a lot of phlegm from my lungs which makes it impossible to exert myself without going into a coughing fit. I'm giving myself a few more days, but I'm itching to get back in the gym. I'm hoping by Friday that I'll be good enough to at least get a light workout in, just to gauge where I'm at cardiovascularly. If that goes okay then on Monday I'll be back doing the Crossfit workouts.

Forgot to weigh-in today, and diet has been so-so. Some days I eat perfectly, while others I just get lazy and eat whatever's available, which is a big no no. It averages out to no weight gain, but I'm not going to be able to lose anything if I don't tighten the diet up a bit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Today's Weigh-In: 202.8 lbs.

I was supposed to be back in the gym yesterday, but guess what happened: I got sick. It's pretty bad, so I'll be benched for at least the rest of the week. I'm hopped up on a ton of decongestants just so I can sit up straight and try to get my work done. I'll post when I'm feeling better. Adios.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Time for some solid nutrition info

Today's Weigh-in: 198.2 lbs.

Phew! I thought I was going to be over 200 after this past weekend, but I'm still under, which is great. I ate pretty well yesterday, coming in at about 2200 calories. I've pretty much gotten rid of all the junk food that was in my house, so it's not there to tempt me when I get a craving, and I went shopping last night so my fridge is full of the good stuff. Now all I gotta do is not eat too much of it and I'll be dropping pounds in no time.

I know that there are many of you out there who are just starting on this journey, and I wanted to take a moment to share some resources and information that I have found invaluable. Today I'm going to focus on diet, and will elucidate information on exercise in a later post.

When I first started trying to get in shape I believed everything you hear on TV and in the media: fat is bad, grains and starches are fine (or even good). As I progressed and researched I learned that all of these "facts" are untrue. Fat is the body's preferred fuel, and processed carbohydrates are what's keeping us fat. Insulin resistance is what is causing the national (and global, it seems) epidemic of obesity, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels (called "the deadly quartet"). Insulin resistance is in turn caused by consumption of high levels of high-GI (glycemic index) carbohydrates (which includes any processed carbohydrates, sugar, and most grain products). This high level of consumption only really started in the 20th century in the Western world. There's a reason these diseases are called "diseases of civilization"; they only happen in "civilized" nations. Primitive and agrarian societies have very low levels of cancer, heart disease, or anything in the top 10 list of causes of death in this country. Myocardial infarction (heart attack) was almost unheard of even in the US until the beginning of the 20th century, even though people ate large amounts of butter, lard, raw whole milk, and meat, all of which are high in the "bad" saturated fats that, we are told, contribute to heart disease.

So what gives? If you really dig into the research that's out there (that isn't funded by special interest groups such as the corn lobby) you find that humans thrive on high fat, high cholesterol diets, provided they refrain from consuming processed carbs. So taking that into account, it seems that the correct diet for the human body is one high in fruits and vegetables (which, although containing carbs, are quite low on the glycemic index, and also contain fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients that our bodies need), high in animal products (which provide protein and fats), and low in grain-based products and sugars (remember that corn is a grain, not a vegetable). Add to that the healthful benefits of nuts, seeds, and good oils (such as olive, palm, and coconut) and you've got yourself a recipe for health. The secret is keeping the levels of insulin released in your body to a minimum, which allows your body to burn fat instead of store it throughout the day.

Don't believe me? Check out these resources:

Free CrossFit article on Glycemic Index
Weston A. Price Foundation's Fats page
The Zone by Barry Sears (although his prescription of 40% carbs is a bit high for my taste, the book has a ton of good information)
Articles on high-fat, low-carb diets by Vihjalmur Stefansson, one of the first Westerners to live with the Eskimos and eat their traditional diet
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

There are numerous other resources, so if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Plans for 2009

I know everyone is doing a new year's blog, so I thought I'd join the party. I do have plans for this year, and now is as good a time as any to lay them out for you all.

I stopped drinking alcohol on January 1st, and I will continue abstaining for at least this month, but possibly longer depending on my results.

Starting on Monday (January 5th) I will be working on resetting my sleep schedule so that I will be waking up at 8:00AM every day. This is actually one of the harder things I will have to do (due to the effects of my medication) but it is absolutely necessary if I want to get back into my Crossfit workouts. I will not be doing any workouts in the mornings next week, but I just want to get my sleeping back on a tight schedule.

I will also be focusing, starting next week, on getting my diet shaped up. I know what to eat to lose weight, but lately I've been succumbing to more and more processed and high-carb foods. This weekend I will go shopping for meats, veggies, and fruits, and get rid of the crackers, chips, candy, and other junk from my cabinets and fridge.

After next week, once I can wake up at 8 without having to drag myself out of bed, I will be back in the gym in the mornings. I haven't really worked out for almost 2 months now, so it will definitely be hard and painful. But it will also be exceptionally rewarding. I miss the feeling of soreness in my muscles, and the rush of endorphins when I would beat a personal record. I miss the discipline it takes to get up and get into the gym every morning, and I miss the energy it would give me throughout the day. So I'm looking forward to getting into it and hitting it hard.

My weight right now is about 200 pounds, and my goal for this month is to finish at 195 pounds. I'm not too sure if that's feasible, but it's something to shoot for.

Happy new year, and good luck to everyone out there.