Sunday, December 03, 2006


I only had a few minutes, but I wanted to get a workout in. I went downstairs to the apartment gym, which was already somewhat full. I staked out the decline bench -- the one where your head is below your feet -- and grabbed a couple of 25 pound dumbbells. The next few minutes proceeded quickly and intensely:

  • 12 reps of dumbbell presses; no rest before next set
  • 12 reps of dumbbell flyes; no rest
  • 12 reps of dumbbell presses; no rest
  • 12 situps
Rest 30 seconds
  • 12 reps of standing alternating dumbbell curls; no rest
  • 12 reps of dumbbell shoulder presses
I saw a girl looking at me. Probably noticing that I was hardly resting at all, just going in there like a tornado, busting the place up, and getting the hell out of there. I put the dumbbells back, grabbed a cup of water, and left the gym. I was positively giddy! I wanted to laugh, or shout, or jump for joy. It was a great little workout, a great boost of energy, and I could just feel that it was doing my body good.

I think that's what I need. More mini-workouts to keep my heart pumping and my muscles growing. In just a few minutes, I had hit my pecs, abs, biceps and shoulders. Take note.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Maybe T-giving week isn't a good week to start a diet program

Today was not a good diet day. I got a Burger King combo for lunch and then met my friends for dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. Tomorrow will be no better -- with a flight to Michigan and a turkey buffet, there is no way I am getting any exercise or a healthy diet. I will just have to start back up on the weekend, I suppose.

I did stop by Target tonight and pick up a few diet-related things: South Beach meal replacement bars that look very tasty; Kashi meal replacement bars that look equally tasty; and Xenadrine EFX. I used Xenadrine back before ephedrine was banned, and it really gave me a lot of energy. The energy is very useful in getting you motivated at the gym -- you're literally bounding with energy, and you feel almost compelled to work it off at the gym. I'm looking forward to trying the ephedrine-free version. (Though, fwiw, I didn't have any real jitters with the ephedrine formula, and I think it's a shame the FDA banned it.)

Oh! I also found a very tasty protein drink: WorldWide Pure Protein vanilla shakes with 35 grams of protein per serving. It comes in a can, so I don't have to deal with messy, inconvenient powders; it's only 160 calories (and almost no carbs or sugar); and it's actually quite palatable! I wouldn't go so far as to call it "delicious," but it's definitely much better than the vomit-inducing concoction one makes from those giant jugs of protein powder. (More expensive too, at $2 per serving vs. about 30 cents per serving, but what point is cheap protein if it's too disgusting and/or inconvenient to drink it?) So I plan to order a shipment from the Web and include a can or two in my daily diet regimen...

Will keep you posted.


ADDENDUM: Perhaps it's a sign of my general exhaustion that I completely forgot I had already discussed the Pure Protein drink in my last post. Please accept my apologies. :-) (But it really is good -- you should try it!)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I have been exhausted all day -- a side effect of intense workouts -- so, surprise surprise, I didn't make it to the gym this morning. I will do all I can to get my cardio in today.

Diet so far:

  • Starbucks eggs florentine muffin, grande iced chai tea latte (20 g?)

  • Worldwide Pure Protein shake, Kellogg's Special-K bar (36 g)
For the record, I am starving. I think my breakfast didn't have enough whole grains or fiber or something, because it definitely didn't fill me up at all. On the plus side, the Pure Protein shake is quite palatable, and, coming from a can, is a really easy way to get enough protein during the day! I will definitely order a shipment. It's about $2 a can, which is way more expensive than actually making a shake myself from powder, but it is much tastier and easier to take with me to work, which means I will actually drink it. (My track record on protein powders is horrible -- I'll buy a 6 pound jug of chocolate whey protein powder from GNC, put it on top of the fridge, and 12 months later I've hardly touched it!)


ADDENDUM: I was completely starving for the rest of the day. I have no idea why, other than possibly not enough fiber in the morning, or some weird gastronomic gurgle that kept me feeling famished all day. I don't remember what I ate after the protein shake, but late at night I stopped off at 7-11 and had three taquitos, a 20 oz. root beer, and some Slim Jims. Yeah, I know, but I was seriously starving.

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So far so good

Made it to the gym this morning for a difficult upper-body workout (UBWO). Realized that there is a reason people don't work their shoulders before their chest; the shoulders tired out more quickly than the chest, because they are smaller -- which means I couldn't dumbbell press nearly as much as usual! Oh well.

  • Spicy tuna breast on a whole wheat pita (36 g protein)
  • South Beach bar and Lipton green tea w/ citrus (12 g)
  • Cosi Sesame Ginger Chicken sandwich and carrots (38 g)
  • Barq's root beer (0 g)
  • Tofu with rice and vegetables (20 g?)
Assuming my tofu calculation is on (I'm not normally a tofu person so it's tricky), that gives me about 106 g of protein for today. A little lower than I'd like, but I'd rather accept a slightly low protein number than down a protein shake right now at the cost of 300 extra calories.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Getting up early to do cardio sucks, but it sucks less than being 30 pounds overweight

Title pretty much says it all. I actually made it down to the gym this morning by 7:30 a.m. and slogged my way through a 20 minute HIIT session on the recumbent bike. It was NOT EASY and NOT FUN. I haven't done cardio in weeks, and I haven't done early morning cardio in MONTHS, if not years. (I honestly can't remember the last time I did morning exercise). They say cardio first thing on an empty stomach burns more calories and revvs you up for the rest of the day; all I know is that it was a bitch and I am doing it again tomorrow. I also know that the only other two people in the downstairs gym so early this morning were thin. As thin as you'd expect from people who get up at 7 on a Sunday morning to kill themselves at the gym.

Diet today was pretty good, at least until I decided to finish off the remaining pieces of pizza I ordered two nights ago. Hey, it's a miracle the pizza lasted me three days! It's like a new Hanukkah story. :-) And it is told that the extra-large pizza, which would normally be devoured in the span of one day, did last that two hundred and ten pound Jew for three days, praise the Lord!

I think I'll take a hint from 2003-Matt (see archives, right), and include a table denoting what I ate today.

Until tomorrow...!
  • Starbucks: Reduced fat turkey-bacon, egg and cheese muffin; iced nonfat chai tea latte

  • Salad with can o' chicken breast

  • Sushi, steamed chicken dumplings and edamame

  • Three pieces of meaty pizza and a little mint chocolate chip ice cream

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Long Term Trend is NOT GOOD and must be changed

Okay, so I read back through my fitness journal at Primal Eloquence, and it turns out I noted my weight five times over the course of a few years. I was able to put together a graph of my average weight gain since early 2003. The results are NOT GOOD:

It is truly shocking to realize that I am trending upward at about 8 pounds a year. That would make me about 220 pounds one year from now. Of course, it is also telling to note that between Jan. 2003 and May 2004, I only gained three pounds. Why did my weight stay so constant? Regular exercise. (And as I was working out relatively consistently from Jan-Aug of '03, half of that gain was likely muscle.)

Why did I jump up 10 pounds from May to Dec. '04? I can think of several reasons: From late April to early July, I was in a relationship, and I probably felt little pressure to keep the weight down. In late June, I was hit with mono, and it took a while for my energy to return. In August, I was accepted for transfer to Georgetown, and exercising fell by the waysides as I abruptly moved to DC and got acclimated. In my first semester at G'town, i.e. Sept-Dec '04, I focused on study instead of exercise. By the time I knew it, I was at 200.

At that point, I did take note, and exercise enough to slow the upward trend. Over the past two years, I have only gained 6 pounds a year (0.5 pounds a month). But, of course, that adds up...

I don't like where the trend is going!!! I have to make a major adjustment in my priorities, and soon. Looking over my logs for the past few years, I find that every few months, I tend to go on an exercise kick, which ALWAYS sputters out after 2-3 weeks. It is so consistent, you could set your watch by it. I'll make all these big plans, and hit the gym hard for 2 weeks, and then I usually get sick and that derails me, or else I'll just lose interest. I've been exercising and eating healthy for three weeks, I think; now it's time to relax for a few days. The problem is, relaxation has a tendency to get away from you.

Any ideas?

ADDENDUM * * * I decided to graph my weight since 1997, and the trend holds: Other than two periods of weight loss, my weight has consistently gone up, on average, 1/2 pound a month. Unless I want to end up a 300-pounder vying for a spot on The Biggest Loser, it is definitely time for a change.

30? Meet 40.

Fresh off the heels of 50-pound dumbbell presses a couple weeks ago (that's 50 pounds in each hand, mind you), I achieved a new high today, this time bicep-related: A year ago I pushed through the 25-pound dumbbell curl plateau to reach the then-unheard of weight of 30-pound dumbbell curls. Today, after having done 10 curls at 30 pounds, I decided to push higher. 35? Nah. What the hell, let's go for 40. Was I able to do 10? No way. Was I able to do 3? Yes! Was my form perfect? No way. Did my form at all resemble an actual curl? Absolutely!

Forty pound curls, even if only a few of them, were literally completely impossible for me several years ago. I couldn't even do one.

Today, on a whim, I did three in each hand.


Monday, October 30, 2006


  • Bowl of Kashi GoLean Crunch with 1/2 cup of milk; orange juice
  • Sobe Adrenaline Rush (sugar free)
  • Piece of carrot cake with icing
  • Cup of lentil soup
Will probably have something later. I've been eating like crap all last week, and not exercising. In my defense, everyone around me is getting sick and I am conserving my energy. I don't want to worok out so hard that my body gets tired, run down and then sick...

But I'll start again soon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

First Findings

  • Kashi GoLean Crunch! is really good. Seriously, truly tasty. It's got a real "crunch!" to it, as the name makes clear -- but after the initial crunch, it's got this understated sweetness about it, a mixture of cinnamon and maybe a little honey. Mmmm. A bowl is very filling, and here's the amazing part: it actually KEEPS me full. For hours. Yesterday I had a bowl with milk in the morning, two South Beach bars over the course of the day, and a bottle of Lipton Green Tea with Citrus. That was enough to keep me satiated until late at night!
  • My SuperPanda General Tso's Combo (w/ soup and an egg roll) tastes very good in moderation, but if I actually try to eat the whole thing, I feel like SHIT for the rest of the day.
  • My standard meals have turned into this: Breakfast - Kashi; Lunch - Sandwich (tuna/turkey); Dinner - Chicken breast with rice, olive oil and some form of hot sauce (currently I love Uncle Brutha's Fire Sauce No. 9). Perhaps a yogurt or two. Not bad.
  • Once I'm at the gym, I work my ass off. The problem is getting to the gym. Not physically -- it's right downstairs -- but intellectually. Forcing myself to get off my tired butt and go to the gym. It's a matter of psyching myself up, but on a more practical level, it's a matter of finding a time when a) I am energetic enough to exercise, and b) it is not so late that the exercise will keep me up forever, thus making me very tired tomorrow, sparking these problems anew.

Oh well.... off to the gym!


I did like 4 mins on the bike, couldn't pick up any steam, and then I sneezed and for some reason that made my entire body ache. Like, deep down in my muscles, almost like a weird cramp. So I got off and laid on this massage table thing for a while. Like 10-15 minutes. And I watched the rest of the news on TV. And then after a while I decided, ah well i should probably push myself for a while. I mean I'm down here in my shorts and everything. So I got back on the bike and still couldn't get going -- UNTIL I put on my iPod. FatBoy Slim. Praise You. That's all it took. Twenty-five minutes later, I was drenched. And then I followed that with several dozen crunches.

Actually, after I left the gym and started walking toward the elevator, it turns out I was relaxed and rested AND i had tons of energy. I almost wanted to go back in there and workout some more. Instead, I jogged up and down the apartment hallways a few times to burn off the excess energy!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Baby Steps to a Healthy Weight

I visited Michigan last weekend, and saw that my mother -- who has been going to the gym a few times a week and eating healthy -- has lost a ton of weight. I'd say it's 30 pounds in the past 6 months. She is starting to get her girlish figure back. It is so fantastic! But in seeing her success, I became ever more aware of my weight loss woes. Since I shaved the beard off, I can't hide it anymore, and the 210 pounds I'm carrying around really do not look good.

So I'm trying to lose weight again. I'm not a big fan of Body for Life style challenges, because -- as successful as I once was -- they are incredibly hard to stick to. Six meals a day, six times a week at the gym, busting your ass every single time... it's a nice plan in theory, but in reality you're exhausted all the time for at least a month. I can't handle such exhaustion. So I'm going to try to tone the plan down a bit -- maybe only exercise 4-5 times a week as opposed to 6 times, and maybe not *kill* myself as much as the plan calls for.

Why? Because I have only once been able to stick to the plan. In the summer of 2001, that was the number one most important thing in my life, and I lost a bunch of weight and felt great. But right now I have some other pressing things to take care of -- school, work, the bar, finding a legal job, etc. I can't make fitness THE most important thing. But it is still important.

I'm just going to try to make conscious efforts to eat right and work out on a regular basis. Yesterday I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of healthy-yet-tasty food. Last night instead of ordering a pizza or something, I had a couple very tasty chicken breasts, an Activia yogurt (the kind with all the good bacteria), and some carrots and hummus. This morning for breakfast I had Kashi GoLean Crunch!, which I've never had before and is actually quite delicious and very healthy (lots of protein, lots of fiber). Now I'm going to get on the recumbent bike and do some cardio for a while.

The goal here is to get from my current 210 pounds and an unhealthy 27.7 Body Mass Index (BMI) to 180 pounds and a healthy 23.7 BMI. Not only will I look better at 180, but I will have a lot more energy and generally be a happier person.

Check back here for the Continuing Saga of my weight loss efforts. Until I post again, please feel free to occupy yourself with this nifty graph of my weight loss over the last week. :-)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Two days in a row

  • Tuesday, 10/3: CARDIO -- 15 minutes on the recumbent bike
  • Wednesday, 10/4: WEIGHTS -- 50 minute upper body workout
Today I am a little sore but I feel good. I was planning on doing cardio before work today, but surprise surprise, my body preferred as much sleep as it could get. I will do a half hour after work today.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Starting the day with Energy

I have been very sluggish for the past week or two. History has shown that this happens whenever I ignore exercise for several weeks. History has also shown that my fatigue is easily curable. So this morning I rolled out of bed and forced myself to head downstairs to the apartment gym, and I did 15 minutes on the recumbent bike. I didn't push myself too hard, but just enough to break a sweat. And ya know what? I arrived at the office refreshed and energetic. True, the energy is starting to wear off now, but it lasted for almost 4 hours and this was due to just ONE moderately intense (probably a 7 intensity out of 10) 15-minute session on the bike!

I'm tired of people pointing out that I have a tummy now. I'm tired of feeling tired. And I don't much like the fact that my MOTHER is now working out far more than I am! (Of course I'm ecstatic that she has finally chosen to follow my advice and get to the gym, and I am so proud of her. But still, I'm ashamed of my own lackluster efforts.) All it takes is a simple change in habits -- roll out of bed and stumble downstairs to the gym. Get on the bike and watch the morning news for a half hour. Feel energized for the rest of the day. Bonus: the pounds will start to melt off.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

For the first time

For the first time in I-don't-know-how-many-months, I actually "feel fat." This hasn't happened in a while -- maybe having a loving girlfriend tends to make me forget that, wait a second, there's something amiss with my body. I've also been looking at my old B&A picture, realizing how absolutely toned I was, and really wishing I could be that way again.

It will have to wait until after finals. But starting May 17...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Pizza is great. Zebra Cakes are delicious. Chinese food is delectable. But at times there is absolutely nothing better than a tall glass of water. I'm serious -- that amazing, refreshing feeling of liquid pouring into a parched body -- it's sustaining. I love it.