Monday, February 24, 2003

Challenge 2, Week 3, Day 1
"Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. You have only to persevere to save yourselves." -Sir Winston Churchill

It's easy to get thrown off track. Last week's injury deflated my spirits. I wasn't able to move without pain, to get out of bed without all sorts of complicated maneuvers to ensure the least possible use of my lower back muscles. So know what I did? I compensated for my pain by eating whatever the hell I felt like. I think I took at least 2 free days last week, and didn't exercise at all past Monday.

Today, I can move again. I don't know how long that ability will last, so I plan to take it easy tonight. I will still work my upper body, but do so with weight machines as opposed to free weights; free weights require too many stabilizer muscles, and I may reinjure my back.

Today's Meals
  • Handful of raisins (100 calories)
  • Pepper turkey sandwich (300 cal, 20g protein), Mt. Dew (330 - bad Matt)
  • Pepper turkey sandwich (300, 20g)
  • Two chicken breasts, sourdough bread (500, 60g)
  • Cottage cheese, protein drink (400, 50g)
  • Total: 1930 calories, 150g

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Challenge 2, Week 2, Day 3
"We no other pains endure
Than those that we ourselves procure." -Spencer Dryden

On Monday night, during my lower body workout, I pulled a muscle in my lower back. It wasn't during a set itself, but between sets. I had just finished 12 reps of 210 lbs. on the leg press (relatively light for me), and as I twisted my torso left and down to pick up my log, I felt an excruciating spasm in my lower back. I was able to walk it off and continue with my workout, and on Tuesday I had no problems -- until I was about to go to sleep. As I was getting ready for bed, the pain returned, and it was worse than it had been -- so bad, that I couldn't even move without stabbing pain radiating from the muscle I no doubt pulled.

I was unable to go to work today, and unable to workout. Thus, this week does not look so good for me, BFL-wise. However, I do look thinner -- many people have commented on it -- and I am keeping to a healthy diet. Proper nutrition is, after all, half the battle.

Hopefully I will be well enough to do some cardio and maybe light weights in the next couple of days, but until further notice, I plan to postpone working out HARD until Monday. And I will, accordingly, make next week the new Week 2.

yes, I can do that.


Sunday, February 16, 2003

Challenge 2, Week 1, Day 7

Okay, I'm trying to keep to the diet today, but it will require a trip or two to Subway... as for exercise, I realized that I didn't bring my shorts or t-shirt with me, and exercising in boxers at a friend's place just isn't cool. So, alas, I think I'll have to forego the cardio today, unless I can do it tonight when I get back to Southfield. We'll see.

Addendum: Decided to go see Daredevil instead of getting home early enough to exercise. Great movie! Critics know nothing! Oh, and I didn't get any popcorn... but did have a couple Mountain Dews to stay awake. :-) It's okay, I still have a calorie deficit for the day, though pretty low protein (~65g... Must make up for it tomorrow.

Today's Meals
  • Scrambled eggs, toast
  • 6" Turkey sub
  • Mint mocha w/ skim milk
  • 6" Turkey sub
  • 40 oz of Mountain Dew
  • Late-night munching (turkey breast, a buffalo wing)

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Challenge 2, Week 1, Day 6 (FREE DAY)
"No TV and no beer make Homer something something." -Homer Simpson

Conscious of the fact that I have been invited to a couple parties tonight in A2, I decided to make today, rather than tomorrow, my free day for this week. That basically means I can eat whatever the hell I want, and not exercise. Today I have eaten a chicken fajita, bag o' Fritos, a couple Mountain Dews, a big piece of meat-lover pizza... and tonight I'll be drinking lots and lots of "refreshments." :-)

So tomorrow I have to get back on it. Cardio... of course, since I'm spending most of the day in A2, I'll have to get it done here somehow... and it's too cold to run outside without sweats (which I don't have)... I really don't want to do jumping jacks for 20 minutes but if worse comes to worst I just might have to...

Friday, February 14, 2003

Challenge 2, Week 1, Day 5
"Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing." -Thomas A. Edison

I got back late from Ann Arbor last night, and didn't have a chance to make my meals for today. This morning I overslept and didn't have a chance to go to the gym. Now I have to decide between going to the gym tonight, or driving back to Ann Arbor to see Daredevil.

Well, I definitely don't want to screw up in my first week... we shall see.

Update: Elizabeth made me take her to Bangkok Express for lunch... meaning I had a bit of Thai food... I asked for my Pad Thai with light oil, but who know what goes on back there. Anyway, there wasn't dripping cheese or cream or anything so it can't be that bad for me. It did have a portion of protein and one of carbs, though... probably two of carbs.

Here's something that may be of note: After the waiter brought the Pad Thai and I had a couple of bites, a slight wave of nausea hit me. It wasn't too bad, and it subsided in a minute or two, but I'm inclined to think it's the oil/grease in the Pad Thai that brought it on. Maybe my body is realizing that oil and grease isn't as appetizing as it used to be? I remember at the end of my first Challenge, I couldn't stand even the thought of greasy food. The thought of a big greasy hamburger would make me sick. Maybe today's nausea was the beginning of that state of mind's return...

Or maybe the oil was just rancid.

It's now 6:30 p.m. and I'm trying to find the energy to go to the gym. I didn't have a lot of sleep last night, and my energy is all off due to not eating enough today. Plus, it's Valentine's Day and I am once again left home alone. I can see how that fact would increase my motivation to go to the gym -- somewhat questionable rationale: if I get really studly, no more Valentine's Days at home -- but frankly all it makes me want to do is lay on the couch with a box of donuts.

Today's Meals
  • A few Combos
  • Chicken, noodles, rice
  • Mountain Dew
  • Chicken, noodles (Thai leftovers), grapes
  • Protein drink (2 servings), cinnamon apple sauce

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Challenge 2, Week 1, Day 4
"The world that we are preparing is a world of victory after victory, triumph after triumph: an endless pressing, pressing, pressing upon the nerve of power.” --George Orwell, 1984

I got in my 20 minutes of stationary bike this morning before work. Now it's out of the way and I can enjoy my day with no impending sense of deadlines! Well, at least no fitness-related deadlines (work is another story). I don't like doing my exercise at night. It means I can't relax at home; I'm always watching the clock to see when I have to get to the gym. At night the gym interrupts my day, and keeps me up late; in the morning the gym jump starts my day and gives me energy.

I don't think there's a question here.

Before pic is up (left column, scroll down). I'm pleased to see that I don't look nearly as bad as I did in the 2001 Before pic. I look much closer to the after pic -- and, comparing it to my 2001 interim photos, I most resemble week 7 or 8. :-) So I don't have to do too much to get back to where I was. (This reminds me of high school. Over summer break you forget everything, and then spend a couple of months in the fall reviewing.)

Today's Meals
  • Protein drink, bagel, little bit o' cream cheese
  • Turkey sandwich
  • Protein drink, red grapes
  • Turkey sandwich with spinach
  • Steak burrito from Panchero's ("Cheese?" "Un poquito!")

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Challenge 2, Week 1, Day 3
"God bless the snooze button, that tiny wonder of modern technology, allowing dreams to continue longer than deserved." -Unknown

I slept for 9 hours last night. As such I didn't get to the gym this morning. I will after work though... today is lower body day! I hate lower body day!

By the way, my upper body soreness is finally hitting me. I never realized how many things my pectorals are used for. Taking off my jacket is the worst! So is putting on my seatbeIt. Triceps are also sore -- I like the feeling of stretching out my arms and locking my elbows -- it makes my triceps let out a victory cry. Oh, and my biceps are sore for the first time in months and months, meaning I finally worked them hard enough. I'm not surprised -- at the end of my UPWO (upper body workout), 10 lb. hammer curls were almost impossible! Ten pounds! (That is very light, meaning my muscles were basically failing -- that is a good thing, because it means they'll grow back stronger.)

I also have to take my before pictures tonight.

Today's Meals
  • Protein drink, red grapes
  • Turkey sandwich
  • A few peanuts, Mountain Dew (got to give these up...)
  • Turkey sandwich with spinach
  • Grilled chicken, baked potato, BBQ sauce
  • Double protein drink (60g protein, 400 calories)

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Challenge 2, Week 1, Day 2
"Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength."
-August Wilson

I never knew how soundly I could sleep until my alarm pierced my unconsciousness at 7 a.m. I immediately realized how tired I had been, and how heavy my body felt. I was not ready to get up. I snoozed until after 8, and was still able to get in a good cardio workout at the gym. It wasn't as long as I had planned -- slightly less than 15 minutes -- but it did get pretty intense. I would have gone longer, but it appears I pushed myself just a bit too hard on Saturday (Day 0) during my pre-Challenge run. After a couple minutes at 7 mph this morning, my legs simply did not want to run anymore. And since I am not too keen on the idea of overtraining this early in the Challenge, I cut my losses and hit the showers.

I'm sore, and I know I'll be even more sore once tomorrow rolls around. Soreness is good, though. And since I exercised in the morning, I have all evening to relax. :-)

Today's Meals
  • Bagel
  • Turkey sandwich on whole wheat
  • Turkey sandwich on whole wheat
  • Apple, a few peanuts
  • Grilled chicken with wild rice
  • Turkey sandwich on crackers

Monday, February 10, 2003

Challenge 2, Week 1, Day 1
"Let me embrace thee, sour adversity,
For wise men say it is the wisest course." -Shakespeare

A comfortable bed complete with heated mattress pad foiled my plans to exercise at the crack of dawn. Got to work at 9:30, where I have been zonked all day. That's what happens when I sleep in on Sunday, I suppose.

My meals have been pretty healthy today, my only indulgence being a Mountain Dew to try to combat the effects of sleep deprivation. It hasn't worked. That's what happens when I drink Mountain Dew every day, thereby developing an immunity to caffeine, I suppose...

The plan is: Go to the gym at 6, and hit it hard. I'm tired now, but I have found that during a hard workout, it doesn't matter if I've slept 3 hours or 9 hours; I become fully awake. Unfortunately, 6 p.m. on Monday is about the busiest time of the week. A 50 minute workout will probably take me 1:15 or so. Get home by 8. Have a nice dinner. Relax, make my meals for tomorrow. In bed by 10? Ideally. Then a full night of rest, and start the process again -- this time with enough sleep to exercise in the morning.

To possibilities!

* * *

Addendum: I made it to the gym and REALLY pushed myself hard for an hour. When I hit my dumbbell presses after doing all those flyes... Wow. A perfect 10. Now I am completely beat. Grabbin' the shake and flax oil, gulping down some water and then enjoying a night of deep sleep. I'll get my workout logs up here soon.

Today's Meals
  • Cup of low-fat cottage cheese, apple
  • Turkey sandwich on whole wheat
  • Tuna sandwich on whole wheat, Mountain Dew
  • Cup of low-fat cottage cheese
  • Turkey burger cut up in whole wheat pasta, with tomato sauce, carrots on the side (this meal was delicious!)
  • Protein shake, tablespoon of flaxseed oil

Sunday, February 09, 2003

All aboard!

We are in a rebuilding phase. The sickness threw me, I'll admit it. But I'm preparing to get back on the train and start chugging along. I was playing around with the video camera earlier this week, and I realized, much to my chagrin, that I am putting the pounds back on. The scale says I'm around 188, and the double chin is just a little more pronounced now. It's obvious. I think that's the magic number: At 188 lbs, I start to look "beefy." (That's the word I'm using. Not husky. Never husky!)

Upon realizing that truth, I ran to the store (well, okay, drove) and bought a bunch of healthy food. My diet was perfect BFL for about the next DAY, and then I started slacking AGAIN. What is it with me? Why was I able to succeed so well the first time I tried the challenge, but now I keep getting knocked off course within just a few days? The answer, I believe, is work. Or, more generally, time. I lack time now. I lack the unending hours of summer, when I was taking only 6 credits and therefore able to devote hours a day to getting in shape. I mean, what else had I to do? Homework took an hour a day, maybe. I was in class for two hours a day, on average. That leaves 13 more waking hours, in which using 1-2 for getting in shape and making healthy meals is a snap!

Now, I don't have 13 free hours a day. I sleep for 8 hours. Am at work for 9 hours. That leaves 7 hours. Take away driving time and I'm down to 6.5 hours. Now, time for getting up in the morning and I'm down to 5.5 hours.

The question now becomes, how do I want to USE those hours? By far the biggest unintentional drain on my time comes from AIM. I sit down to chat and the next thing you know 2 hours have passed. It's just the nature of the medium -- what would be a 20 minute phone call takes 2 hours online. So what happens is I get home from work, lay down on the couch for a bit and watch the news, have some dinner, go online... and the next thing I know it's 10 p.m. and I have squandered most of the evening.

But is rest and relaxation tantamount to squandering? I enjoy my evenings. *Sigh*... but I knew I would enjoy them more if I had more energy. The efficient thing to do would be to wake up around 7, go right to the gym, get ready there, be at work by 9 and then BE ABLE to use my time after work for whatever I please. I could still bum around from 6-11 if I like.

Okay, I have to do this. I know I have to. I want to be in shape by the time I go to law school, but moreso than that, I want to surprise Katherine when she returns from London. :-) So here's the slightly updated plan:

Day 0: Feb 9 - 188 lbs, 16% body fat
Day 7: Feb 16 - 186
Day 14: Feb 23 - 184
Day 21: Mar 2 - 182
Day 28: Mar 9 - 180
Day 35: Mar 16 - 178
Day 42: Mar 23 - 176 lbs, 10% body fat
Day 49: Mar 30 - 175
Day 56: April 6 - 174
Day 62: April 13 - 173
Day 69: April 20 - 173
Day 77: April 27 - 172
Day 84: May 4 - 172 lbs, 8% body fat

So, that's the plan. Again, looking at the raw numbers, it pleasantly surprises me that within two months -- just 8 weeks from now -- I can be a very trim 175. I haven't been that low since freshman year in college. :-) Then the third month will be a breeze. The first month is always the hardest. I just have to remind myself that it's worth it. Eat healthy. You have your one free day a week where you can eat ANYTHING you want! But it's just for that day. The whole rest of the week, you *must* eat healthy -- which, remember, isn't that bad and can actually be quite tasty. Grilled chicken with barbecue sauce cut up and mixed with pasta! Tasty tuna sandwiches! Chicken and salsa! George Foreman grilled burgers! The key is to make sure I have all the ingredients available, and have the meals ready to go.

Oh, and one more thing: I'm going to post a lot more pictures up here. And no more faking it. No more headshots taken from above, with an angle that conveniently negates my double chin. No more pictures taken in obscuring shadows. It's got to be the real deal. So here's a headshot from tonight, taken from straight on, full flash. My face will get slimmer and slimmer over the weeks. It will be a fun little project. :-)

Today, I buy food for the week. And tomorrow I begin. Onward!