Friday, April 09, 2010
Two days ago, my wife suggested I pick one of my suits for my best friend's upcoming wedding.
Ever the dutiful husband, I go into the closet and sort through my gear. Try the 44. Nope, I'm drowning in it. Reach for the 42S, what wait!?!?!? Who grew my suit coat?!?!
Marvin Martian - usual suspect
No way I can pull this off, it'll look like I borrowed my big brother's clothes. I figure maybe a 40S will work, but I'll have to requisition it.
For amusement, I try on a pair of 36 Brooks Brothers pants that an old co-worker had from one of her relatives that still had the tags on it, but were too small when she initially gave them to me for free. Fits like a glove. Huh.
So yesterday I go to a local equivalent of Goodwill called Red, White and Blue and find a Claiborne 40R suit coat. I put it on and look for a full length mirror, as I pass another shopper, she says, "Hey, that fits well on you, there's a mirror over across those shelves."
Score! Cost. US$4.95, plus dry cleaning.
I found it interesting that others have noted that sometimes, your weight will plateau but your stuff will tighten up and your clothes will start fitting differently. As I read that, I heard it in the abstract, but found it interesting when I could observe it myself.
I wonder if I'll have to get another size down, since the wedding is next month. Interesting.
Hope all of you are being pleasantly surprised, as time goes on and you see the fruits of your labor! Have a nice weekend!
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
I was thinking about this today, what aspect of this drastic health/life paradigm change is the most interesting? What question is it that I'm seeking the answer to?
Is it the mechanics, the mapping, the nitty gritty of how to get where I want to go/be? No. I have a plan that I feel I can implement, stick to, and achieve the results I want in the time I've allotted.
Is it the maintenance? The idea of when I get to my goal, how do I insure that my work isn't devalued and I don't let myself get back to where I was. Again, no. I haven't developed a maintenance plan, yet. It seems like an exercise in hubris to plan what I'm going to do when I haven't gotten there, yet.
What I've been turning over in my head, like a well polished river stone rounded after eons of water wear, is the idea of why. Why did it get this bad and how did I permit this to happen?
At this point, I really don't have an answer, and I think it's important that I really dig deep and sift through everything to understand the rationale behind it, so that I can prevent it from happening again.
Navel gazing - good for your vitamin C
What about you? Do you know the underlying reasons why you went down the path of, for lack of a better term, unhealthiness?
Bis vincit qui se vincit in victoria - He conquers twice who in the hour of conquest conquers himself. (Syrus)
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Yesterday was my first singletrack of the season (yeah, I'm fully aware it's April. I'm a poor excuse for a XC mountain biker). Du suggested that since it was my first ride, I should take the requisite precautions and hold back (i.e. not get injured) and I tend to think that was good advice.
Frick Park - Iron Grate trail when it's further on in the season (not me pictured) www.pennsylvaniadirt.com/2009/11/fri
I prepped the night before in anticipation. Camelbak clone bladder was filled with water. Tires deflated from 65psi to 32psi. Helmet, shoes, full finger gloves ready and waiting to go.
I left after we put the boys down for their nap, at around 3PM. The temp was just right, the ambient light was perfect (sunny and clear), and I rode to the trail entrance feeling out how the ride would go, visualizing me cleaning obstacles and having a confident run.
The light filtered through trees without leaves, too early for lush greenery this early in the season. I looked down and saw another rider doing a "hike a bike" up to the trail head. As I began my run, he called out to me as I approached.
"Trail is clear, all the way down!"
I replied to the trail greeting as I picked up speed, "Trail clear? Thanks, buddy!" as I felt the tack of my grips, the firm support of my frame beneath me, the way my tires bit into the bone dry hardpack and flipped up twigs and pebbles in my wake.
I felt a difference, the last time I rode Iron Grate, I was 20 lbs heavier, and with this run, the decreased ballast showed.
I smelled the fine dust and inhaled the scent of the woods, relished the sensation of the coolness of the trees as I passed them.
I passed the go around on a 3 foot wooden feature where I previously got injured attempting to huck off it (cellulitis on my shin, ER, a four day hospital stay, and an irritated spouse who noted "If you're going to make the attempt, make sure not to fail.")
Accelerated over the wooden plank bridge, up the hill where numerous times in the past I've had to dab, but this time I cleaned beautifully.
Entered the berm high, exited low, shooting past the tree root ball where I once previously had an up close and personal experience with carelessness, getting ejected out of my clips, doing a Superman, nosediving into the firm, but thankfully forgiving rotting dirt and leaves of the forest and earning myself a tacoed front rim.
Hitting the switchbacks cleanly, and strangely enough, running into 2 other XC guys at the exit chute.
There's something to be said for muscle memory, I felt as though on some parts, I just knew where my line was, and that if I was off, I would clip a tree with my handle bar. I didn't feel the flow or like I was in the zone, but it felt solid, not too rusty.
Instead of my usual loop, since part of the fireroad trail I typically practice climbing on was closed and had heavy machinery on it, I remembered I had looked at another rider's Google map of his loop and decided to cross over to the slag heaps and just explore down there.
I rode around next to Nine Mile Run, a stream that comes out of the park, and noted that I could portage across to what looked like a possible switchback up the slag heap.
General area I was (stock photo)
There was no one around, so I forded the stream, and carried my rig up to where it looked like I could enter the neighborhood at the top of the slag heap. I saw a jogger coming down and he told me it did connect.
Climbed the rest of the way, and made it back to the car. Only 5.77 total miles, but I felt way worse than when I've done 30 road miles.
Felt like I had accomplished something, and gave me something to look forward to when I hit my goal.
I had a nice day, yesterday, on a nature walk with the fam. I always like watching our little dudes legs pumping when they're out hiking. Such small steps, so a tiny hike for us is like a death march for them. We brought magnifying glasses so they could explore. They got to ride bikes with all the neighborhood kids, too. Way cool.
Put on 2 lbs yesterday, have to be vigilant and see if it's trending weird. I got nervous with all the cycling I've been doing that I wasn't getting enough cals to fuel, so I kicked up intake a bit, perhaps overzealously. Probably overcompensating because of concern that I'll lose strength/power and have negative performance. Will need to see if I've overdone it and go back to reevaluate.
Mass will be nice, tomorrow. Kids will have the opportunity to do the Easter egg hunt.
Eyes are crossing, now. Pushed through with the circuit training today even though I had some mental resistance. Know I need to work on getting enough and quality sleep.
I'll sign off in the way we used to sign off our correspondence while abroad.
Yours in struggle,
Hope you're having a nice and motivated weekend!
Thursday, April 01, 2010
I was debating, today, what I would tell a 17 year old me.
1) Smoking is stupid and inane. Btw, no one is looking at you and you don't look cool. You just stink and get out of breath easily.
2) Man, you aren't going to live forever, at least on this world. All the garbage you're doing now is going to take you anywhere from 5 to 10 times the time and effort to rectify.
3) Check this out, there's going to be this type of music called "emo", think along the lines of Goth on Splenda. Siouxsie and the Banshees minus the emotional seriousness. It'll be hilarious.
4) One day, each of those pizzas you ate are going to end up as saddlebags and a muffin top on you, see if you still think it's funny when you look in the mirror every morning and yell "Arrrrgh! There's an Asian-American Louis Anderson in my mirror!"
5) Take care of your body, mind, and spirit, or I'll kick your ass. (This isn't an idle threat, 35 year old me could take 17 year old me, no problem.
Perhaps I'm engaging in excessive navel gazing thinking about what I should have done, but I think there is some utility in looking back at how one has acted in the past.
No less than noted self-help guru, Stewart Smalley notes "You're should-ing all over yourself."
He has a point, in that after thinking about what one should have done, we need to get to the heavy lifting of figuring out what needs to be done to address the failures of the past. The health stuff, not the fashion faux pas of the '80s.
There is probably other stuff I would tell a 17 year old me, but that all has to do with the stock market and would probably cause a time paradox and we'd all end up being either Morlocks or Eloi, so I'll refrain from describing them here.
-The virtuous spiral and gratefulness exercises:
In a previous blog, I noted that it's a good habit to practice gratefulness exercises to put things in perspective. I think it's a good habit to also tell others what they should be grateful for. For example, today I asked my wife at the dinner table if she pinched herself every morning when she thought about what an intelligent, dashingly handsome, sexy, and charming man she ended up marrying. You have to be careful with this gratefulness exercise that the intended target you're working with isn't in the process of drinking a beverage, especially if it's hot, otherwise you may have to clean off a wall or go to the ER. Hey, she laughed, mission accomplished, but I know that what her laughter meant, really, was, "Oh, he's so right." At least, that's what my inner voice says, one of them, anyway.
As they say, laughter is the best medicine.
I hope this finds you well on this April Fool's Day and that you can laugh at yourself while being diligent and dedicated to pursuing your goals.
Edit: It was weird, today I had to pull out some shorts I couldn't fit in last year and I was drowning in my 38s with the belt cinched way tight. I was thinking, "Man, it would be so weird to be able to get back to my high school waist size. I kept thinking to myself, "Man, did one of us bake my clothes too high in the dryer, or something so that the waistband got messed up?"
Monday, March 29, 2010
I was going to title this post, "The making of sausage: behind the scenes" but the idea I was trying to get across was that sometimes we see the end product (someone who has achieved or is making considerable progress towards their health goals) but either don't want to know or are ambivalent to knowing about the process of achieving our own goals.
Sometimes, I think it's useful to take an audit, as boring as they sometimes may be, just to have an idea of what we have achieved and how we got there. I think it gives one a good sense of what needs to happen in the future to get where you want to be.
For example, I've been a member of SparkPeople since February 24, 2010, or so my page tells me. Today is March 29, 2010 and in that time, I've lost approximately 10 lbs. SparkPeople says that I've logged 2205 minutes.
I weigh myself every morning. Once a day. That's it.
Mon/Wed/Fri is strength training. My equipment consists of dumbbells (around 28lbs per dumbbell), a Swiss ball, and the Iron Gym Extreme. Strength training for me consists of anywhere from 60-75 minutes of dumbbell and core work. I started out using the Men's Health 15 minute workout videos, doing segments in this order:
1 (A Better Burn - offset training)
-A) Squat to curl to press - 15 reps
-B) Swiss ball benchpress - 15 reps
-C) Stationary lunge and row - 30 total, 15 per side
-D) 60 second break
-E) switch weight side, then perform second circuit
My own added section
-A) Dumbbell curl - 10 per side (yeah, I know, vanity isolation exercise, I figure I can indulge myself here)
-B) Dumbbell curl - 8 per side
-C) Tripceps extension on the Swiss ball - 8 reps x2 sets
-D) Dumbbell forearms curls - 10 reps
-E) shrugs - 10 reps x2 sets
-F) goblet squat - 10 reps
-G) sumo squat - 10 reps
2 (Ground Force)
-A) Dumbbell Romanian deadlift - 10 reps, 60 sec rest, 10 reps, 60 second rest
-B) 45 degree lunges - 16 total, 8 per side, 60 second rest, 16 total, 60 second rest
-C) Single -leg Bulgarian Split Squats - 8 reps per side, 16 total, 60 sec rest, 16 total
-D) Calf-raise farmer's walk - 60 seconds walking, 60 seconds rest, 60 sec walking, 60 sec rest.
4 (Build Inner Strength).
-A) Knee up - 15 reps, 30 sec rest
-B) Situp - 15 reps, 30 sec rest
-C) knee to wrist sit-up - 15 reps per side, 30 total, 60 sec rest
I'll then use the Iron Gym Extreme and try to do a couple of underhand chin-ups, then bring it down and do some assisted push ups and if I still have a little more in the tank, some dips with my feet raised. Maybe some plyometric side planks tossed in there. I then drink a protein shake, currently I'm using Solgar's whey powder.
Tues/Thurs/Sat are cardio days. Cardio equipment consists of my wife's bike up on the stationary magnetic trainer in the basement on bad weather/time constraint days and either my 2006 K2 Zed 3.0 mountain bike or my 2009 Novara Buzz V commuter for field riding. When it was colder, I would borrow the Carmichael Training Systems Train Right Mountain Bike Intervals dvd from the library. That's a full hour of suffering, well worth it if you're on the trainer inside & have an mp3 player to keep your drive motivated. If I needed to do an "abridged cardio workout", I would do 40 minutes (30 actual minutes minus the 10 of warm up and cool down) of pyramid intervals 1 and 2 minute intervals.
I plan to put up my "headache bag" in the basement next to the trainer so I can get in some sparring/muay thai time in.
Sunday is a built in recovery day, and the schedule has enough flexibility that if the riding weather is awesome, I'll blow off strength training and get it in another day of the week.
Food/fuel has been prepared at home and is set up to follow general principles. Around 2000 cal/day, more on ride days. I generally just eyeball approximate cal values for meals because since my wife and I are the one's preparing it, we know what's going into it. I wouldn't trust my eyeballing cal values if we ate out, not at all.
Day starts with green tea, maybe 2 mugs (or oolong, if I'm in the mood).
I supplement. 1 multivitamin, either CVS Mega Multi or Rainbow Light Men's Multi with probiotics. 3 grams of fish oil. 1 garlic tab. St. John's Wort.
High protein breakfast, typically eggs with as much veg I can get in there. Sometimes it's a 3 egg garden frittata, or today, it was a breakfast sandwich (fried egg, slice of ham, red lettuce, tomato, onion, black kalamata olives, guacamole, on whole wheat muffin).
Lunch varies, today it was my wife's homemade tabouli with feta in a tortilla and a Quorn cutlet. Sometimes kimchi.
Dinner varies, but we work on getting a good mix of veg. and watch the sodium.
Snacks, I'll maybe have 2 tsps of peanut butter or a handful of almonds.
Post dinner snack may be something like greek yogurt with blueberries and walnuts, or a high fiber cereal with added blueberries, walnuts, ground flax seed, and cinnamon.
We're working on eating clean, I made the decision to give up pepperoni. For me, that's kinda a big deal. Food still has to taste good, but I have to see and weigh the costs/benefits of what it will do for me. If I think to myself, "I'm going to have to suffer for 3 days to work it off" then it becomes easier to say, "Man, I've worked too hard to get here, still have a ways to go to get where I want to be, it's not worth the 5 seconds of gratification."
I don't think you can plan failure into your program, adjustments to deal with setbacks, yes, but you can't plan for failure.
Consider the work you've put in to get where you are, think about how valuable your time is, and visualize your end point. You will win, you will get there, and it is worth it.
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