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1000 lbs!

Friday, September 27, 2013

1,000's a big number....half a ton....1/4 the weight of my car.....more than 5x what I weigh.

Can I lift it?

Now why, you may ask, would I even contemplate such a question? What's the point, what's the use? (Or maybe you're really wondering why I stained my Spark reputation by putting a picture of Justine Bieber in this blog)

Hmmmm....I really don't know the answer to either question....but it's a pretty cool goal.

Here's the deal, the gym at work is pretty freaking great! Tons of great equipment, it's clean, it's well laid out (lockers are a little small, but I'm really looking hard to find something bad here)

And there's a wall.....a wall I walk by every single day.....a wall full of of guys that have lifted 1000 lbs.

I want my picture to be on that wall!!

Every single one of those dudes (There's a separate wall for women who have done 500lbs) is 30 & under.....maybe one guy is in his 40s.

Me.....I'm 53.....and I'll be 54 this Dec

So how cool would it be to be the oldest guy on that cool would it be if they made a separate board for 50 and over and I was the ONLY guy on it!

Sure it's vanity, but I would remind you that vanity in the defense of a healthy goal is no vice!

If I had to go all out today, I could probably do;

335 lb deadlift
235 lb bench press
295 lb squat

That's 865lbs....about 135 lbs shy of what I'd need....more like 150 lbs to get in a safe buffer.

So, what do I do?

Well, I'm giving myself a year to get there....I'm in no rush, I'm a firm believer in slow, steady, disciplined progress. The really cool thing would be to do this and not gain much weight. I'll need to get stronger (what a great SP name huh!), and so will have to add muscle, but man if I can do that and lose fat, I'll be one happy camper.

In the end, goals drive me. When I quit smoking in 2007, it wasn't enough just to be able to run around the track....I had to run a marathon. So 9 months after quitting smoking and 20 years of being a couch potato, I ran my first marathon.

After some major surgery, my running days were over so I switched to cycling and strength training with a trainer.

Now that I'm working out on my own, I need another big goal....and lifting 1000 lbs seems like just the thing!

More to follow....have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADLYINLOVE 10/1/2013 10:38PM

    I SO SO SO want you to make that wall, too!! You got it!

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    An accomplishment to achieve for sure! You will do it :) It's a great goal to have.

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LISAINMS 9/29/2013 3:19PM

    Totally doable!

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JULIAMOONCHILD 9/29/2013 11:39AM

    OMG! OK, I love your blog ... blah, blah, blah .... just like I love all of em (the ones I get time to read), but this one is super special. Nah, not because of your goal to lift 1000 pounds - (of course you will reach that goal)- (show-off!), but because you wrote what is the most awesome thing I have ever read here at SP - the most awesome truth that most of us will not admit to since "it" is supposed to be something to overcome (which is hog wash!), which I would have liked to have written myself, but didn't (actually, I think you stole it from my mind and are now taking credit for it)-(so like you to do that) .... and you wrote -

"Sure it's vanity, but I would remind you that vanity in the defense of a healthy goal is no vice!"

HALLELUJAH!!! (dang, just fogged up my mirror!)
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PAMATX 9/28/2013 3:23PM

    I love the way you think. You'll do it, of course.

Very cool goal.

Posting the Bieber, on the other hand.... But I forgive you because you made me laugh.

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BEATLETOT 9/28/2013 10:20AM

    Yeah, I questioned the Bieber pic more than your goal. I have no doubt you will do it.

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FANGFACEKITTY 9/28/2013 3:33AM

    Now that is a pretty cool goal! Even more if you can get your own wall (although if "they" find out about the Bieber pic you will likely be banned from the gym!)

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PROT358 9/27/2013 11:17PM

    I'd place my bets on you well before "Justine"!! LOL Just don't injure yourself! ;)

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WOUBBIE 9/27/2013 11:16PM

    Now THIS will be interesting! I have full faith and confidence that you will get this done!

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CLAIREINPARIS 9/27/2013 10:08PM

    You are a pretty amazing guy! I just can't wait to read how you'll reach your goal... because I don't have a single doubt you will!!! Way to go!

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    I LOVE it!!! I love love love big goals!! I think you should absolutely positively GO FOR IT! You can totally do this.. it's definitely within your reach... YES YES YES!


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JUNEAU2010 9/27/2013 9:26PM

    emoticon I think it would be fantastic to see your name on that wall! Go for it!

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Strength Training, LinkedIn, and Suits!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hello Sparkbuds! Life's been busy, as usual. It's been a big summer with a move from Florida to DC, new house, new job....and, most importantly, a new workout routine!

Somedays I think I'm the luckiest guy in the world....I love my job, it's meaningful work, family's in good shape, and I get to work out almost every day!

As I've evolved from working out with a personal trainer 3x/week these past 3 years to working out on my own, I've noticed that I'm incredibly comfortable navigating my own path to building a healthy body. The best part is that I know what "right" feels like in the gym....that balance between hard exertion and stupid gym tricks.

These past 5 weeks have been great....I finally got back to my "pre-move to DC" weights, so I just made another adjustment to my routine. (see previous blog;

I've been reading up about a routine called 5/3/1. Like many good ST routines, it focuses on 4 core, multi-joint lifts; Squats, Overhead Press, Deadlifts, and Bench Press. The routine is a 4-week cycle of doing these lifts in a structured manner that 1) prevents injury and overuse, 2) builds strength and muscle, and 3) slow, but steady progress over time (a year), instead of quick gains that could hurt you in the long run. Philosophically, I like this very much, it focuses on the discipline and art of becoming stronger, not the aesthetic of ego. Here's a primer on 5/3/1....the book is available on Amazon too

I now do ST 4 days a week (with 15-20 minutes of fast cardio as a warmup) and 2 days of dedicated cardio (45-60 minutes) with some assistance exercises (pull-ups, sit-ups etc.....pull-ups are my Achilles heel.....I am determined to get good at them this next year....goal is to do 10 good ones in a row by summer 2014!)

As an added bonus, here are some real good "age-adjusted" strength charts I found on the web. Wouldn't you know, I'm in the Advanced category for every lift except for pull-ups where I'm....a Novice!!

I have also "re-discovered" the ab wheel;

I had used one at home off and on, but when I read what a valuable assistance exercise it is for this 5/3/1 program, I gave it a whirl last Wednesday and did 10 sets of 10 in between pull-ups and chin-ups.... abs are still killing me!!

In other news, I have become a LinkedIn junkie!

SWMBO and I have been talking about what to do in the next phase of our lives.....I'll probably do the job I'm in another 2 years, then think about transitioning to another industry. For years people have been telling me to get on LinkedIn, and I've avoided it....SP is about the only social media I can handle. But it's actually pretty cool! Within 2 weeks I've connected up to about 300 people and been contacted by 2 different recruiters. One of them told me I really needed to start a Twitter account as well....Good God, what's next, Facebook?!?!?!

Lastly, I finally had to cave and go to a tailor to get most of my suits, coats, & pants taken in. While my weight hasn't changed much this past year, I've lost some inches in my waist and grown some in shoulders. I tried out two different shops... a standard alterations shop and a bespoke tailor I found on LinkedIn. I figure I'll try them both out on some older jackets & pants to see who does a better job for the money, then give the winner the whole lot to fix up.

And it was actually very nice to see an athletic "V-Shape" silhouette in the tailor's wall-size mirror after all these years!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JULIAMOONCHILD 10/20/2013 11:43AM

    Dang! You leave me breathless!

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    WOW! That link was invaluable! So nice to compare myself to other women my age rather than the 20 and 30 somethings at the gym.. unlike you I can't compete! HA

You are doin' awesome!! LinkedIn?? Twitter?? Dang! You're down right hip. LOL


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LJCANNON 9/22/2013 10:47AM

    emoticon Sounds like you are Blooming Well where you are Planted, LOL! Congratulations on all of your Progress since the move!
emoticon Thanks for the Link to 5/3/1. I will check it out.

emoticon The Ab Wheel is a Lovely Little Torture Device!! It looks all Sweet & Innocent sitting there, and then it Attacks You when you go to use it!!

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 9/22/2013 10:25AM


I'm on LinkedIn as well:) Love all the info on the site.

So glad to read everything is going very well for you!
Enjoy your Sunday!

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GIANTMICROBE 9/22/2013 8:53AM

    My CrossFit does Wendler 5/3/1, although I haven't been participating due to my recent injuries. The physical therapist has advised me against heavy lifting until I strengthen my core enough to support my spine during heavy lifts. Anyway, everyone seems to love 5/3/1 and it really works!

LOL, suits, LinkedIn, industry. You're like... a grownup. Eeew! emoticon

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PMRUNNER 9/22/2013 6:05AM

    Glad that you are settled and back on track after your move! I moved this summer too which was disruptive and, at times, stressful, but it is good to be on track. Great news about the suits and tailoring too.

Also, love the picture!

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FANGFACEKITTY 9/22/2013 3:29AM

    God save us from Facebook! Although LinkedIn is the professional's version and can sometimes be just as bad (some people just don't quite get the purpose of LinkedIn but fortunately these are getting fewer). What reason did the recruiter give for having a Twitter account?

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BEATLETOT 9/21/2013 7:13PM

    You are awesome! You wear V-shaped suits! You have a very structured work-out plan! And a great job! Really nice! =)

Sorry for the exclamation point overload...

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Stasi guy lives on!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

So I've been at my new workout routine for about 4 weeks now. This, after about a 6-7 week break from my hardcore routine during our move from Florida to Virginia.

To recap, here's my new schedule;

Monday - Back (Deadlifts, seated rows, pull-ups, chin-ups)
Tuesday - Chest (Bench press, incline press, flyes)
Wed - Shoulders (Overhead press, lateral raises, shrugs, rear delt rows)
Thurs - Legs (Squats, leg extensions, hamstring curls, thigh adductor & abductors)
Friday - Arms (Dips, triceps ext, triceps pushdown, bicep curls, hammer curls, reverse curls)

Basically, every day has one major compound lift, followed by assistance moves. Plan is to do one week with 3-5 sets of heavy weights at low reps (5-8), then the following week, de-load to 70-80% of that weight and shoot for 12-15 reps. I try to get in 15-20 minutes of fairly intense cardio each day as well (I've gravitated to the Concept 2 Rower as my preferred cardio....or I jump in and do 20 or so minutes of a spin class, then bolt for the weight room). Workout takes about an hour and a few minutes.

Today I can say I'm pretty much about where I was at the end of June when I had my last workout with Stasi guy. I'm at pretty much 90-95% of the weights we were doing on both heavy & medium days.

But today was the true with the iron....doing what I dread the most...

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

I started out with about 10 minutes on the rowing machine (I am really starting to dig the Concept 2....wasn't too enthused about them before, but it gets me warmed up in no time), then made a bee-line for the squat rack.

This gym at work is pretty cool....4 squat racks.....all in front of a mirror....tons of benches, lots of plates, and plenty of bars....I've rarely ever had to wait.

I did 7 sets of squats.....4 warmups and 3 work sets....15 reps at 180 lbs....God I hate hi-rep squat days!!

But, in the midst of my angst, when all I wanted to do was to rack the bar, fall to the floor, and curl up into a ball....I imagined.....

Stasi guy! There he was, my arch nemesis, the brute of the Ukraine (or Chechnya, or Serbia, or Russia....I was never really sure of his nationality...he was a chameleon) sitting idly by, forearms on his knees, silently judging, and egging me on towards more and more pain.

So there I was, on the 7th rep of my 2d work set, with 8 more squats to do and 180 lbs on my back....and I wanted to stop....I just wanted it all to stop....the pain in my legs, the heavy breathing, the soreness in my back....all of it.

And then I heard a voice....a grating, guttural, slavic screech that grated on my every nerve;

"Vut iz ta mader? Ar u kiddink me? Juzd zeven skvotz dooday?" (What is the matter? Are you kidding me? Just seven squats today?)

So I went back to my old skills....just do one more, then do another....don't think about the next 8 squats, just the next one....get to the top, breathe, breathe again, then go back down.

My heart rate was way up there. Each set took less than 90 seconds....but in my brain, the sun had revolved once around the whole galaxy!

In the end, I keep having to remind myself that the amount of weight lifted is not the important part (although I am very much a numbers and stats guy), that the level of exertion for each workout is the most important part.....the pain is always the same.....we can do more because we just get strongrrr!

Have a great night Spark friends!

PS - old time Spark friends may have noticed that, after 3 years, I finally changed my avatar....I gave my bike away when we moved....I may have to buy a mountain bike in the future....but that's another blog!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You should find a new trainer that will live up to your old guy's ways. Kudos for keeping it up on your own!

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HANSBRINK 9/6/2013 12:29PM

  Toward the middle of this post, some pics about leg day.

Saw the pics and they reminded me of your comments about leg day.

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WOUBBIE 9/6/2013 12:12PM

    Stasi guy - gone but certainly not forgotten.

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PROT358 9/5/2013 8:58PM

    I love that trainer's voice in your head. It must be pretty compelling, because I can tune my inner voice out and talk myself out of it! Congrats on a great workout!

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    Lust for the EFFORT!!! Amen brother! You are doing awesome. I do that same mental game.. don't think of it all.. just the next ONE!!!

So glad things are going so well...


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Day #2 new workout schedule - Chest Day!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 2 in the new job....and it's going great! It's a totally different pace than my last job. And, while I'm not necessarily "in charge" like I was in Florida, it's a whole different level of responsibility.

And I get to be pretty I logged over 10K steps! So far the job's required a lot of reading to get up to speed on the ins and outs what our division does...but I long ago kept up my college speed reading skills, so I've been able to zip through the tomes nice and quick.....and so I've had time to hit the company gym!

It's a magnificent beast! Lots of free weights, tons of cardio, tons of benches, 3 squat racks, spin classes, and a decent locker room with plenty of showers...and it's clean! So today was chest day. I was all ready to go, ducked out of the ofice and speed walked over to the gym to maximize my time there....then realized I had left my sneakers in the office!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Speed walk back across the building, trot up the 5 sets of stairs, grab sneakers, down the stairs, and back across the building.....that added 25 minutes to my clock!!

Today was heavy chest day; bench press, incline press, and flyes. I had gotten in 3 sets of 4 at 225 lbs with Stasi guy last time we worked chest....but how the hell was I supposed to do this on my own without crushing my guts out if the bar fell?!?!?!

Well one thing being 53-years old does for you is to remove most any inhibitions or shyness. I eyeballed the biggest dude I saw within 10 feet who looked like he knew what he was doing and said, "Hey, can you spot me for a minute....I'm shooting for 4 reps"

"Sure, no problem!"


First set was tough....rep #4 was shakey. On the second set, I could only knock out 3. My spotter looked down at me and said, "You could have knocked out a 4th rep you had it in you"

OUCH! That hurt! "Okay, I'll shoot for 4 on the next set, thanks"

So I got in 4 on the last set....but it wasn't easy. He spotted me and provided the barest minimum of assistance as I pushed upwards with all I had on those last 2 reps.

I think he's related to Stasi guy!

Actually, I think that's the weight training culture....success is measured by effort, not by the weight on the bar. The goal of each workout is to push the muscles to fatigue and failure. The challenge is to work through the fatigue, to keep pushing till the muscle really does fail. The trick is in recognizing the not stop just because you're tired & "fatigued"

And having a spotter does help.

Hmmmm....maybe I need to find me a workout buddy. I'm kind of a lone wolf....I like doing my own thing.....but I might need to explore the idea of lifting with someone who can push me past what i can do on my own.....that's what I liked about Stasi guy....he was a sadistic bastard, but he knew my limits better than I did.

More to follow

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 8/19/2013 7:24AM

    Yeah, I can push and torment myself at the gym at time...but at others it is nice to have someone else be responsible for kicking my a$$.

Workout buddies and sadistic trainers are nice for that reason.

☆) .☆)
(☆ (.♥`..☆
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
┊┊┊ Keep Spreading the Spark

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FANGFACEKITTY 8/16/2013 7:41AM

    Nice! Next year when the new HQ opens up we will have a fitness center in the building; I can hardly wait!

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HANSBRINK 8/14/2013 12:21PM

  Actually, you're probably related to the Stasi guy too.

Nothing like having a good workout buddy to push the limits. Not exactly being complacent without one; but having one sure make me push my limits.

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PLMITCH 8/14/2013 9:58AM

    That is GREAT that your new work has a gym -- and you have gotten right into it!


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IRISHBEANERGAL 8/13/2013 11:50PM

    LOVE that you have a great gym - and people who are willing to step in.

Hope you can find a workout partner - at least for once in awhile? Or a new trainer (hopefully related to Stasi guy)


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JIACOLO 8/13/2013 9:04PM

    I do like having a workout partner to help me stay on task and not let me give up when I would normally by myself. Good luck!

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No Elevators! No Escalators! Stairs Only From Now On!

Monday, August 12, 2013

I have to admit, I much prefer having a predictable routine for working out than having to "wing it" all the time.

Our lives have been in constant churn since the end of June when we packed up our house and moved to Virginia. Today was the start of my first full week in the new job....and I love it!

It's very different than the job I had in's in a very large office building and the key to getting stuff done is to walk around a I do!

I logged 15,000 steps on my trusted Bodymedia CORE armband today. And I made a resolution; I will not use elevators or escalators while in this job.....stairs only for me people! My office is on the 5th floor, so it's totally doable. There's a gym in the basement, on the exact opposite of the building from my office, so even more opportunity for walking.

I did my new ST routine today (see blog
). I was in a little bit of a rush, so I focused exclusively on deadlifts. I did 10 sets, slowly increasing the weight till I couldn't go any higher. Then I did a quick (10 minute) Hi Intensity Interval session on a spin bike, then showered, and got back to the office in a little over an hour.

My routine still needs a lot of refining, but I think I can make it work with just a few tweaks. So far so good.

And I like having predictable meals, Being on the road these past 2 months, then being up at my mom's, I've made too many exceptions to eating clean, and so I'm up about 6 lbs. Back to packing my own lunches (salad & chicken breasts). SWMBO is glad to have the kitchen all set up in our new place too. It's nice and big...but it does get warmer when she's cooking than our place in Florida did....go figure. In any case she's whipping up some good meals for all of us....she even concocted this weird looking, yet wonderful tasting, mash of cauliflower, spinach, lemon juice, a little garlic and voila! A very cool little side dish that makes everything from chicken to pork to veggies taste incredible!

We went through 3 heads of cauliflower over the weekend!

And I'm back to tracking my food in the tracker again as well. I made the excuse that it had become tedious and superfluous while we were traveling. Tedious, maybe, superfluous, quite possibly true....but I have empirically proven, time and time again, that when I stop tracking food, I start to gain back to tracking we go!

It's nice to be back in my Spark routine!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEOMALLEY 8/13/2013 1:38PM

    So glad to hear from you! Sounds like you had a bit of transitional confusion that is resolving. The job sound great, your plans sound fabulous and thins appear to be movig smoothly for you. REAT! Keep up the good work!

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LJCANNON 8/13/2013 1:20PM

    emoticon I do enjoy Routine! Makes Life a bit easier, I think!
LOVE your Resolution to get in the Steps at Work!!

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HANSBRINK 8/13/2013 12:36PM

  A lot to be said about routines and being able to eat healthy!

Sounds like the ST is settling back in. Congrats.

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BEATLETOT 8/13/2013 12:28PM

    Sounds wonderful! I'm glad you're enjoying your new job! Congrats on all the walking!

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FANGFACEKITTY 8/13/2013 6:54AM

    I like routines, and rules. Or, at least I like knowing what they are so I can choose to break them. Enjoy the stairs! 5 flights is perfect,just enough to feel some work,not enough to tire out your legs.

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GREENGENES 8/13/2013 12:28AM

    Great start!

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    Welcome back to the routine of a healthy life... (sounds so much better that way, doesn't it?)

Glad you are finding your rhythm...


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WOUBBIE 8/12/2013 7:33PM

    Ah, routine! The best way to get from Point A to Point Beautiful!

Recipe, please!

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UMUCGRAD 8/12/2013 7:32PM

    Welcome back. So glad you're loving your new job.

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