Monday, December 29, 2008

Comcast CableCARD, First Try

I am trying to get CableCARDs installed in my TiVo and Comcast has failed at the first attempt. A CableCARD allows me to receive digital cable without using a cable box. Frankly, I don't have room for another piece of equipment and using the TiVo with CableCARDs lets me free up that space otherwise occupied by a Comcast box.

Now, all I know about installing these CableCARDs is that the Comcast guy plugs them into my TiVo, reads some numbers over the phone to headquarters to activate the cards, and we're good to go. However, even this simple act proves too much.

They are coming back tomorrow to try again. Round 2. If I wasn't off work all week, I'd be pissed off. Let's see what happens tomorrow....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

BSG Webisodes

Battlestar Galactica has just released a third series of webisodes to tide over hungry fans, like me, till the last season launches. Your humble servant has embedded the video for your convenience.

Basically, what this proves is that BSG packs more interesting things into three minutes than most shows do in thirty. Man, I can't wait till the new season!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I hate you, ABC

Apparently, you have decided that one of the most original shows on your network no longer deserves to be picked up for a full season. Why would you cancel this show?

Once again, the works of Bryan Fuller are under appreciated by the execs of Hollywood. Does no one remember Dead Like Me? I think that Pushing Daises was viewed in the same way: a dark comedy with a sweet and sincere chewy center.

So long, Pushing Daises....

Now, ABC, we have to talk: the only thing keeping me around on your crappy station is LOST. So help me, God, if you screw with me on this, I will burn your Dancing with the Stars studio down.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Be Nice to the Cashier

So, I had to stop by the grocery store on the way home to get one or two things. As I was waiting in line to check out, there was a guy ahead of me giving the cashier a hard time over how to use the credit card swipe machine. He said "I'm going to ask you one more time, what do I do now?" The jerk was friends with the manager cause he was all buddy-buddy to him and as he walked away, after successfully handling the complex time machine, told the manager you have to "keep their heads on straight."

What I wanted to say to this asshole was to give the KID a break. He gets shit from customers all the time and doesn't need some guy giving him shit because he can't work a machine that's functioned the same for years. If you want to be a dick, go home to your wife.

I used to be a grocery store cashier in high school and was always getting treated the same way, so I know what it's like. All I'm trying to say is be nice to the cashier if they are nice to you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Combined days

Recently, I made some changes to my workout routine. For the past two weeks, I have combined the days that I workout and run intervals. This allows me to have a couple more "off" days, which I like. In fact, this is the way that the TT workouts are structured. Do your supersets and after a small rest move immediately into your intervals. On your "off" days, try to get some exercise in. I try to use this time to do a dedicated abs routine that takes me no more than 10-15 minutes. I haven't been as consistent as I want to be with that, but I'll do what I can.

Also, I have now set a new personal best on my bench press: 210 lbs. It's hard to gauge how accurate that is because I'm using the machine at my apartment's gym. But, I am lifting the entire rack of plates, so that's something right?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 26

This week was a good week for fat loss. I went from 176.2 last week to 173.4 this week. Strangely enough, my waist size pretty much stayed the same, so it must have come off in other places. That's fine with me, really. I have been pushing myself with the weight machine and I can already tell it's improving other areas. The one area I really want to lose in though, is my lower belly or waist. I can't seem to get that going just yet.

In other news, I'll be headed to the beach this weekend and won't be back till after the 4th of July. It'll be a good test to see how well I can eat while on vacation and what kind of workouts I can get in. There's not a gym where I'm going, so I'll be doing bodyweight exercises. Should be fun!

Weight: 173.4
Waist: 34.25"

Friday, June 20, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 25

It looks like I have made up for last week's set back. Strangely enough, I'm at the same exact point I was two weeks ago. I was able to increase the speed of my intervals to 10 mph, so that was a personal best. I'm not sure how fast that treadmill goes, but I have to be approaching its upper limits.

As for my workouts, I decided to start using the weight machine at my apartment complex. I felt like I needed to be using more weight and some of the bodyweight exercises weren't cutting it anymore. I'll try it for the rest of the month to see how I like it, but I think it will be a good substitute.

Weight: 176.2
Waist: 34.25"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Console Curse

In the course of one week, both of my video game consoles have died. My Wii was killed earlier this week and just now, my Xbox 360 flashed the Red Ring of Death. This is not the first time that I've seen the red rings and would make the third time a 360 has broken on me. I'm pretty bummed out.

UPDATE: So, I took my Wii over to a friend's house and used his power supply to see if it was the either the console itself or the power supply that died. Success! The Wii works!! Now I just need to find out if Nintendo will replace the power supply or not.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 24

My diet has been pure shit this week. Too much eating out for old friends in town, birthdays, new job celebration dinners, and late night drinking. Not to mention that I haven't been able to do my intervals with any consistency. I'm pretty fucking disappointed in myself, honestly. Really, there's nothing more I can say about this week and I don't want to say anymore.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 23

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. I've been working on getting a new job and earlier this week it was offered to me! I'm the new Web Developer for the Office of Web Communications here on-campus. I can't wait to start--my first day is June 23rd. Today I'm going to their staff retreat to meet everyone in the department, which should be interesting since I'm technically not working there yet.

Anyways, onto the fat loss. I'm pretty proud of myself this week. Last weekend I went on a rafting trip and had to skip my Friday workout and Saturday HIIT. I did what I could while there, but it wasn't the same and I was kinda bummed about it. I still got a decent workout going down the river and trying to stay in the boat. Nonetheless, I continued the workout schedule on Monday and will just have to leave that last workout alone.

So far, I'd say Turbulence Training has been a success. I've lost a total of 4 lbs and nearly 1" off my waist since starting four weeks ago. I'm more impressed with the waist size because for about three weeks I hovered at the same waist size of 35.25".

Next month, I start a new TT regiment, so I hope to see more results.

Weight: 176.2
Waist: 34.25"

Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 22

Today's weigh-in brings me firmly into the sub-180 category. I cannot even remember the last time I was in this spot and while I would like to be happy about it, I'm a little reticent about it all. Maybe it's just because I'm having a stressful week, but I just don't feel good about the way my body looks right now. I still have more body fat than I want (about 17.8%) and it all collects in the one place hardest to target, the mid-section.

Still, I have to convince myself that this is only the 22nd week that I have been doing this. There are two more weeks until I will have reached the 6 month mark. Perhaps the tide will have turned by then.

Weight: 178.2
Waist: 34.875"

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 21

Okay, body, you need to figure out what's going on here. First you're up, then you're down. Whatever was going on, I seem to be back down to where I was a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps attributable to my recent HIIT efforts. Either way, I'm getting closer to my goal because my waist is responding in turn. Not quite a huge drop, but enough to let me know that it is coming down.

I have reached the halfway mark with my introduction into Turbulence Training and the workouts are intense enough to where I can get a good workout but not so long that I don't get burned out.

Weight: 180 lbs
Waist: 34.875"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Intense Intervals

This week I have pushed myself during my interval workouts, even more so than what I have been doing in the past. Even though it is really tough, it is satisfying to finish strong. Plus, I am doing 10 minutes less work than before.

My new interval workout is 20 minutes long with 60 second intervals. There is a 3 minute warm-up and a 4 minute cool-down. I pushed my hard intervals to 9.4 mph and my resting intervals stay the same at 3.5 mph. I have done the 20 minute session before at a slower speed (8.5 mph) and never felt completely worked at the end. Previously, I had to increase the time to 30 minutes to feel the same way after my interval training that I do now with 20 minutes.

I'm pretty excited about this because I think it'll take me one step closer towards burning more fat. Perhaps I've been stuck in a rut lately and this gets me out of it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Physical Results

The University of Alabama has some awesome benefits and one new program they started is something called WellBama. It is basically for helping employees learn about their current health level, as well as steps to improve their health through small changes.

After having some blood work done, I went in for a physical (all of this was free, by the way). I went over everything with the doctor and I'm in great shape. I finally have my results here. The WellBama program grades you certain points per category and puts you into either the Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Crimson Club.

Here are the results:
Height - 6"
Weight - 181
Waist - 35.50"

BMI (Body Mass Index) - 24.5
Systolic Blood Pressure - 116
Diastolic Blood Pressure - 67
LDL Cholesterol - 75
Total Cholesterol - 122
Total HDL Cholesterol - 36
Triglycerides - 59
Glucose (blood sugar) - 82
Cardio Exercise days per week - 5+
Tobacco Use(w/in 12 months) - Never used or have quit for 12 mos.

All of my results put me into the Crimson Club! I was told that I am one out of ten people on-campus in that group. I'm in the Top 10!

We also made goals for ourselves and they would follow-up with us in a few years (or months, depending on how healthy you were). My main goal is to get down to a body fat percentage of 12 - 15% as well as losing 5% of my weight (172 lbs) over the next year. I'm not really sure if I can get down to 172, but I feel confident of reaching 12 - 15% of my body fat, especially since I signed up for Turbulence Training where so many have had fantastic results.

Update: Here is the grading scale for those curious what it takes to be in the Crimson Club.
BMI (Body Mass Index) - <= 24.9
Systolic Blood Pressure - < 120
Diastolic Blood Pressure - < 80
LDL Cholesterol - combined w/ total
Total Cholesterol - <= 160 mg
Total HDL Cholesterol - combined w/ total
Triglycerides - <= 149
Glucose (blood sugar) - <= 100
Cardio Exercise days per week - 5+
Tobacco Use(w/in 12 months) - Never used or have quit for 12 mos.

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 20

Okay, first the bad news. After 20 weeks of losing weight, I finally had my first gain. It all started last week and I've been dealing with it all week. Getting it down to 181.6 was a small victory this morning, because I was coming in around 182.4 all week. Part of me wants to attribute this new gain to muscle, and I really hope that's the case. If so, I don't have a problem with it.

Now, onto the good news. After three weeks of stalling out with the same waist size, I was able to drop it just a bit to 35". So, maybe that weight gain was muscle after all? Like I mentioned earlier this week, waist is going to better determine my success than weight.

Weight: 181.6
Waist: 35"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Visual Goal in Mind

I have read before that it is good to put up a poster or picture of what kind of body you are working towards. It gives you a visual reminder of where you need to go. Well, I give you my goal: Josh Holloway, otherwise known as Sawyer from LOST.

I have been holding onto this issue for two years and now I'm just getting started. My main reason for wanting my body to look like his is because it's just very natural. He looks like a regular guy who is in shape but not hugely cut. I guess that's how I want to be. This issue sits on my coffee table and I look at it every day, just to keep me grounded. Hopefully I'll keep chipping away at the fat to get down there one day.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weight vs. Waist

Recently, I went to the doctor to get my first physical in a long, long time. We got to talking about my weight loss and I asked him about losing too much weight. What he said here grabbed my attention. Basically, he said that he could really stop weighing people when they came into the doctor's office and just start measuring their waist.

In addition to tracking my weight in pounds, I measure my waist. However, now that I'm getting to that point where weight is going to level out, my waist could be a greater indication of positive results. Just hearing the doctor say this made me realize that I was on the right track.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 19

This week shows that I'm getting to the point where losing those last few pounds and bit of fat is getting toughest of all. Although I lost a pound, my waist size stayed idle. I'm going to have to get really serious if I want that to drop any more.

In fact, just to show how serious I am, I signed up for Turbulence Training. This program is designed by Craig Ballantyne, the same person who is over the Men's Health Belly Off program. There are tons of workouts. I'll be starting on these next week. I guess that means that this is my last week for the Bodyweight exercises.

Weight: 180.2
Waist: 35 1/4"

Friday, May 02, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 18

I've been pretty busy at work this week and today, so this will have to be a short report. I'm pretty close to breaking the 180 barrier and that just seems like an odd place to be. Some people I work have asked me if I'm still losing weight and all I can say is yes. I mean, I'm not under eating or anything drastic. I'm simply eating what I'm supposed to and exercising every day. I can't help it if pounds of fat keep falling off. As far as I'm concerned, as long as I keep working out, the weight that I'm losing is just fat and not muscle.

Weight: 181.4
Waist: 35 1/4"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How the 5k Went

I ran in the UAB Dollars for Scholars 5k/10k this past Friday and the good news is that I finished. The official results are in and my final time was 31:34.8 with a pace of 10:11/mile. This is pretty much spot on with what I have been practicing with for the past couple of months.

If there are anymore races that come up, I'll be sure to give them a try because it was kinda fun to get out there in a competitive environment and see what I could do. My goal wasn't to win the race, but I'll go off of what someone said to me after I completed:
Finishing is winning.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Say Goodbye to Size 36

I had to go pick up some new clothes this weekend because everything is falling off of me. The most shocking surprise was what size pants I needed to buy. I have been buying size 36 for a long time and going down to a 34 is just a huge shock. At least one pair of shorts was too big at 34, so I had to get a 33.

I know! I was so surprised, I couldn't believe it.

I plan on gathering all of the over sized clothes and selling them on Ebay. I figure this way I don't have any excuse for getting big again because I won't have the huge clothes to go back to.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 17

Another week, another success. Now that I've reached my first weight loss goal, I'm not setting a deadline to get to my next goal. I figure it will come off as it has been these past 17 weeks.

I have my 5k run today. Truthfully, I'm kinda anxious about it. I'm most nervous about keeping a steady pace and not tiring myself out too early. But, I guess this is all for fun anyways so as long as I finish, what does it matter?

Weight: 183.0
Waist: 35 1/4"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

AIM no more

Ok, I'm done with AIM forever. I only really talk to one person on AIM anymore and it's not worth trying to find a stable program to do that anymore. I have gone the extra mile and I can't do it anymore. It's not that I don't want to talk, but I just can't take these crappy programs anymore.

I have tried multiple solutions and none of them are really the best solutions. Trillian is nice but you can't combine your AIM and Google Talk accounts into the program unless you pay for the premium version. I refuse to pay for a chat program. I tried using Digsby but the program is so buggy and full of memory leaks, it ends up self destructing. It's a shame, really, because it is a nice program that did exactly what I wanted it to do.

I still have Gmail's AIM interoperability, but that's just for home use. The Google Talk client is much better, especially when you have a lot of people on your buddy list. Anyways, if you want to chat with me, I suggest downloading Google Talk.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bodyweight 200x2

Ok, so last week I tried the Bodyweight 200 workout. This week, I pushed myself even further than what I thought I could do. I did the Bodyweight 200x2 which is similar to the Bodyweight 100x2, but more reps and more exercises.

I repeated the following workouts with a 5 minute rest between circuits:
30 Prisoner Squats
30 Pushups
10 Jumps
10 Stability Ball Leg Curls
10 Stability Ball Jackknifes
20 Step-Ups
5 Pullups
30 Forward Lunges
20 Close-Grip Pushups
15 Inverted Rows
15 Squats
5 Chinups

Now, I wasn't able to complete it 100% but I figure 90% is a great start. Needless to say, I am beat!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 16

I did it! The final week of my weight loss deadline has brought about the result I was looking for. I am exactly 185 lbs this morning. All I can say is that it has taken a lot of hard work and dedication to get this far and I have no plans to stop.

Where do I go from here?
I am setting my next loss goal at 175 lbs. I believe these are gonna be some tough pounds to lose, but if I keep up with my nutrition and working out I know it'll come off.

My reward?
Pasta. I have managed to avoid one of my favorite foods this entire time and it's killing me inside. I really, really, want to have some Italian food and I think I'm going to have to convince my dad to make his homemade pasta sauce and meatballs. Or, my mom's chicken tetrazzini. Damn, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Weight: 185.0
Waist: 35 1/2"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Inverted Rows

Last weekend, I went out and bought a second pull-up bar. I already have one that is cantilevered, but this one screws into the door frame. I wanted to be able to do Inverted Rows at home without a Smith Machine (also known as a squat rack). Up until now I have been doing Elbow-Out Dumbbell Rows, but they aren't nearly as hard as the row.

I set the pull-up bar at hip height, lie underneath and pull myself up using my back muscles. You can make them easier by bending your knees, but I don't workout like that. I choose to do what I can and then work on improving each week.

Man, do I love, LOVE, these Inverted Rows. It's just an outstanding exercise using only your bodyweight and a killer upper back workout, a huge muscle group. I would love to work on lower back extensions on a swiss ball, but I don't have anything sturdy enough to hold my ankles. Until I do, it'll just have to be the Inverted Rows which I highly recommend.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 15

Coming up on the final week of my deadline and I'm about 1.5 pounds away. It's a little hard to believe that I've been at this for a solid 15 weeks. I can't remember how long I ran that summer of 2004, but it feels like I'm right at that mark where I quit before. I have no plans to stop this time.

I still have a lot of body fat to get rid of but I keep saying to myself that I didn't get this way in 15 weeks and it's going to take more than 15 weeks to get where I want to be. And, where do I want to be? I don't want to have a belly anymore. A lofty goal at this point, but I'm focused on what I want to accomplish and maybe I'll get there sooner than I think.

Weight: 186.6
Waist: 35 7/8"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The strike didn't help

My Name is Earl, The Office, and 30 Rock are some of the funniest shows on TV and they all come on back-to-back. Tonight held the first new, post-strike written episodes and I have to say...I was pretty disappointed. A few choice moments stood out, but they were barely noticeable.

The Office was perhaps the most solid of the three, storytelling-wise, but without it actually taking place in the office, it felt out of place for the first epi back.

30 Rock was too predictable, and that's saying a lot considering the show.

Earl is following the lines of The Soprano's season with Tony in a coma (perhaps the weakest season). Anytime you take the main character out of focus, regardless of "visions" while in the coma, the show suffers.

I seriously hope they have some better episodes coming up because the only stellar comebacks this year have been Lost and Battlestar Galactica.

Daily Diet

I've been asked a few times what I typically eat throughout the day. I've gone over before about Clean Eating, but I guess it wasn't specific enough. Below I will outline a typical day.

Breakfast (7:30 am)
-1 scrambled egg
-1 whole wheat Eggo waffle or 1 slice whole wheat toast
-1 1/2 cups of Kashi Autumn Wheat shredded wheat cereal
-2 or 3 large tablespoons of sliced strawberries
-1 1/2 cups of 2% or fat free milk

Mid-morning snack (10:00 am)
-1 apple
-2 sticks of low-fat string cheese

Lunch (12:00 pm)
-Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, hold the mayo, any kind of toppings you want
-Salad with fat free dressing or vinaigrette

Mid-afternoon snack (3:00 pm)
-1 apple

Dinner (6:30 pm)
-Grilled chicken breast (8 oz)
-1/2 package of frozen veggies or salad

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bodyweight 200

Not to be confused with the Bodyweight 100x2, this week's challenge brought in new exercises as well as more reps. Here's what I did:
30 Prisoner Squats
30 Pushups
10 Jumps
10 Stability Ball Leg Curls
10 Stability Ball Jackknifes
20 Step-Ups
5 Pullups
30 Forward Lunges
20 Close-Grip Pushups
15 Inverted Rows
15 Squats
5 Chinups

The chinups and pullups are still a challenge, but you know what? I found out that the number of pullups an average guy can do is 1 pullup. The fact that my max is four at once is a good thing.

I may start trying to finish off this Belly Off program and move into something new. But, that would require me to complete the Bodyweight 500.... Intimidating, to say the least.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 14

So, here it is. I'm two weeks away from my goal deadline and just 3 pounds away from my weight goal. This week also hit another milestone: this is the first time that I can remember in a long, long time that I've been under 190. Even when I was losing weight those many years ago, I never got below that mark (probably because I just decided to quit running).

I lost a little bit on my waist this week to come down to 36". I calculated my Body Fat Percentage and it was 21.04% which is Acceptable. I would love to be able to get to the Fitness level (14-17% of body fat) and perhaps after I reach my first weight loss goal, that will be my next challenge.

Monday, March 31, 2008

My First 5k

Well, I've gone and done it now. I signed up to run my first marathon ever, The UAB Dollars for Scholars 5k/10k. The above picture is of the route. It may be hard to see, but the majority of it is along University Blvd. next to St. Vincent's Hospital. I decided to run the 5k because I don't think I would be able to survive a 10k.

I tested a certain pace out on the treadmill last week and after the first mile I wanted to stop, but kept going. It took me about 31 minutes to go a little over 3 miles. I'm not used to distance running, so this should be an interesting test. Hey, I'm not ashamed to walk either. I just want to finish. That, in an of itself, should be an accomplishment.

Speaking of running, Forrest Gump has some new running shoes. Just to give you some idea of how badly I needed some new ones, I took this photo to prove it.

I had been running on those ratty shoes for far too long. My feet never did hurt afterwards, but I knew the old ones had served their purpose. Perhaps one day I will give them a proper burial, but until then they serve as a memorial.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bodyweight 100x2

For my weekly bodyweight workout today I felt like I could move into more than what I have been doing, so I tried the Bodyweight 100x2. I decided to start the day a little bit different by adding more fuel to my breakfast. No doubt that it was burned off because my arms felt like Jell-O and my legs were on fire.

Here's what I did today:
20 Prisoner Squats
20 Push-ups
20 Jumps
5 Chin-ups
20 Forward Lunges
15 Close-Grip Pushups

You are supposed to repeat that twice with no rest between circuits and finish in 15 minutes or less. Not resting in between the circuits is brutal and really pushes your cardiovascular system to supply blood to your muscles. Again, I had trouble with the chin-ups, but after a lot of push-ups, who wouldn't?

I found the trick was the break them up into smaller chunks. I was reading in Men's Health that it was better to fire off a couple of reps, do another exercise, and then come back to the chin-ups to do some more reps. Keep repeating that until you have finished the set. It said that you would get more reps in than if you were doing them all at once. I didn't follow this exact method, but I did break them up, especially on the second time through the Bodyweight 100.

It felt really good to advance onto the next level and I hope to keep it up.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 13

I'll just come right out and say it: I'm lucky to have a loss this week. Remember me saying that I had to survive the grandparents' good food again? Well, I barely did. I survived the day and, just barely, the week. I was sent home with a lot of leftovers. Most of it was food I only want to eat rarely such as mashed potatoes and gravy, ham, angel food cake (more like devil food cake), hash brown casserole, and you get the idea.

Someone at work said it best that it was like falling off the wagon. That's pretty much how it felt this week. I just need to get back on track.
And why do we fall, Bruce? So, we can learn to pick ourselves back up.

All of this has resulted in my worst loss yet. Even more telling is that I didn't lose anything from my waist. My goal of hitting 185 by week 16 is looking like less of a possibility now and I can't help but feel guilty and disappointed in myself for letting this happen.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 12

Weight is 191.2.
Waist is 36.25"

The biggest jump for me this week is the waist size where I lost one inch. I can tell that it is getting harder to lose the weight because there is less fat, which means I just have to work that much more. With Easter at the grandparents coming up, it looks like I'll have to survive the good food again.

Yesterday I was finally able to complete one of the advanced exercises called the Stability Ball Jackknife with Rotation. Well, at least one full set. That and the Spiderman Push-up are the two hardest exercises that I have yet to fully complete both sets. But, after reviewing my previous results, I am slowly increasing the number of reps I do.

Maybe next week I'll finally get to 190.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Spring is Broken

I've been on Spring Break this week and it's really hard to get motivated to workout. I do it because I have to, but since my day is spent relaxing it feels weird to get started. Coming home from work, where I've been active all day, and then working out is an easy transition. I usually get home, immediately change into gym clothes and either head to the treadmill or begin my bodyweight regime. It's a routine that works.

Speaking of routine, I'm going to be breaking from my weekly weigh-in schedule this week because of other spring break activities coming up. I won't have access to my scale on Friday morning because I'll be on a little camping trip. So, I'm going to use Thursday morning as my "official" weigh-in day for this week. Also, I'll be saving the report until Monday morning when I'm back in the office and have access to the spreadsheet.

UPDATE: So much for the camping trip. Something came up with Jason and Emily so it had to be pushed back to Friday. Jason forgot that I was going to B'ham that day, so I'm out. Friday is still the official weigh-in day.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 11

This week was such a weird week, I almost want to declare it a Mulligan. Not only did we have the time change where I stayed out way too late, but I ate my grandparents' good food, went to a concert (where I stayed out late again), and got drunk at the police academy. With all of that and me still trying to catch up on sleep, I was shocked when I weighed in this morning. If it goes up next week, I won't be surprised. It has been so hard working out this week because I've just been so tired.

Anyways, the results are there and I'm getting closer to my goal. Waist size this week is 37.25" down from 37.75" last week.

I would have been arrested

Last night, I went through one of the coolest experiences I have ever been through. Jason and I went to the police academy to get drunk. That's right, the cops gave us alcohol.

It was all part of this sobriety test for the new recruits on how to identify intoxicated people. I played my part, for sure.

Here's how the night went. When we arrived, they tested our blood-alcohol percentage (which was 0.00%) and asked us what we wanted to drink. We had several options to choose from such as bourbon, rum, gin, and any kind of mixer we wanted. I ended up with rum and diet coke.

From this point on, we were free to drink as much or as little as we wanted to. I want to say that we started drinking around 6:30. They had the Alabama v. Florida game on a few TVs plus lots of cards to keep us busy. Other than the fact that we were in a police academy, it felt like just a normal night out with friends. After a few hours of eating snack mix and having the cops bartend for us, they cut us off. It was about 9:00 at this point. Everyone started to line up at the Breathalyzer to get our BAC tested. Jason and I were at the end of the line. After a couple of minutes, we were told that we were not drunk enough. I mean, how do you respond to that? If you're like us, then it's a challenge. Who better to take a dare from cops about getting more drunk.

Most of the volunteers decided to leave instead of continue further. If you drove yourself, you had to wait until you blew a 0.00% before they would let you leave. If you had a designated driver, then you had to wait until you blew a 0.08% before letting you leave. Otherwise, they could have arrested you for drunk and disorderly. Beforehand, we kept joking that if that happened we were going to show the cop our Breathalyzer print-out to prove it was for science!

So, we kept drinking for a couple more hours until we were good and ready. They tested our BAC but hid the results from us until after we had completed the sobriety tests. Waiting for us downstairs were about 30 recruits eager to test their knowledge on the freshly liquored up volunteers. Even though I was several drinks in, I took this part as seriously as I could have--like I was in trouble for real. Since a lot of people left earlier, we had to be tested four times by four different cops. They asked me to "follow the pen", "walk the line", and "balance on one foot."

I was so convinced that I had passed these tests with flying colors! In my mind, I performed perfectly. Unfortunately, most of the recruits didn't see the same perfection. We went back into the "bar" where they had each name on a white board with several columns of how much we had to drink, what our blood alcohol content was, each test they gave us, and whether or not they would have arrested us.

After drinking 13oz of rum and blowing a .09%, three out of the four cops would have arrested me. Jason had 14oz of bourbon and blew a .10% with all cops arresting him. It was really interesting to see the people who were under the legal limit and yet some of the cops would have arrested them. The recruits who marked the legal-limit drinkers as arrested were told to write down what they did and later they would go over how to correct their errors. Needless to say, we were ready to go home and finally made it out of there around midnight.

You can kinda see Jason and I in the video above. We are the ones walking in at the very end with me in the gray shirt, Jason in the green.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blind Melon

Last night I went to see Blind Melon with my brother and his girlfriend. I was unsure of how it was going to be, considering that the original lead singer has been dead for a long time. Forget all of that. The new guy is like the spiritual successor to Shannon. He sounds just like Shannon.

I've had Blind Melon's self-titled album since it came out and I have watched them live on pay-per-view at the 25th Woodstock Anniversary where Shannon was wearing a dress for some reason. None of this mattered last night because it was like the old band was back together. They must have looked a long time for this guy...the similarities are just uncanny.

The only thing I was disappointed about was that they didn't play one song I was looking to hear: I Wonder. The show was still great and high with energy thanks to the new front man.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Bodyweight 100: Redux

So, a few weeks ago I posted about my progress with the Bodyweight 100 exercises. I'm still having trouble completing the chin-ups, but I'm nearly there. I have added negatives over the past two weeks to help improve my performance.

I consider today's workout a win since I stayed out waaaaaaay too late last night/this morning. No matter. I had my reasons...and it was worth it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 10

I have reached another milestone this week. To date, I have lost a total of 20 pounds. Although my weight has been fluctuating throughout the week (194.4, 193.6, etc), the scale finally settled on 195.0 for the "official" weigh-in day. I forgot to measure my waist this morning, so I'll post an update tomorrow.

In order to hit my goal of 185, I need to lose an average of 1.6 lbs per week for the next six weeks. If previous results have been any indication, that shouldn't be a problem, but you never know. I'm starting to get down to that point where I stalled out last time. If I can break the 190 mark, then I know I can get down to 185. From there, if it looks like I can afford to lose more weight, then I'll do it.

Anyways, this week produced excellent results and I can't wait to get over that 20 lb hump.

UPDATE: Waist size this week is 37.75" down from 38" last week.

Monday, March 03, 2008

LOST reaction

I know I'm late on the update for this, but I wanted to post this quote from AICN's Moriarty that I sent to a few Losties last week.
Up until now, watching LOST has been like driving up a hill. And it's a great hill. It's really interesting, and some remarkable stuff happens while you're driving, but the entire time, you're aware that you're going up. Up. Up. And there's a tension building. And in a way... it's kind of unbearable. And tonight, watching LOST felt like cresting that hill. It felt like getting a glimpse of the bottom on the other side. And finally knowing it's there.

I don't think we've quite started back down the hill yet. I don't think we've picked up that momentum yet. I'm betting that's next season. But if this season is about reaching the top of the hill and finally seeing the way down... then consider me satisfied and pleased and feeling vindicated as a fan.

I couldn't agree more.

Clean Eating & Exercise Plan

I have been asked what my "plan" is and as boring as it may sound, the best way to say it is that I just eat right and exercise. For those that need a little more direction, I have created a PDF of the general ideas to follow (download below).

I came across the Clean Eating information several years ago when I was losing weight and such. Even though I got away from it and gained my weight back, coming back to it these many years later makes me realize just how effective it is. The reason it is so effective is simple: it just makes sense. There are no complicated points system to follow (Weight Watchers), a giant list of things you can't eat (Atkins), or unreasonable requests to change your habits.

I kind of made this my own and cleaned it up a bit, but the core information is still there.

Download the Clean Eating & Exercise Plan.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Gaming the weight off with Wii Fit

Last year, Nintendo announced an add-on for the Wii called Wii Fit. It has already been released in Japan and is making its way over here in May.

However, that hasn't stopped a couple of people to document their experiences with the device. The most complete follows 4cr's Vinnk in something called The Great Experiment: Wii Fit. The next is Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft giving his opinion on the device.

It seems the most intriguing part of Wii Fit are the yoga exercises, because after all, it is essentially a balance board. While I don't see this as a sure fire way to lose weight, it is interesting to see exercise turned into a game of sorts. Perhaps this is a way to get kids excited about staying active. You know, in case the kid's treadmill doesn't work out.

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 9

This week I am down to 196.6 from 198.4 for a total of 1.8 lbs. I have only recently started measuring my waist, but this week is 38" which is down half an inch from last week.

All in all, I'm pleased with this week's results.

I am going to the beach this summer with my mom and brother, so I have more motivation: to look good on the beach. We are planning to leave on June 28th. As soon as I hit my weight goal I need to start working towards that date.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

High Intensity Interval Training

Like I have mentioned before, I have started High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The best way to explain it is that I'm "working harder, working faster." Last night was the perfect time to try it out, too.

I went to the Alabama basketball game where we defeated Arkansas 59-56. However, I knew that I wouldn't have much time to exercise, shower, eat, and leave on time to meet everyone at the Coliseum. Having done the slower speed (30 minutes) HIIT before, I figured it was the perfect time to try out the short workout but at a quicker pace(13 minutes).

The following is from an Interval plan from the Bellyoff workouts, which I used yesterday.

The trick with HIIT is that no matter how fast you run in the "Hard" interval, you must slow down to a walk on the "Easy" interval. I'll let the creator of Turbulence Training and The Belly Off Program, Craig Ballantyne, explain it better.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Healthy Fast Food?

There are some days where I just don't feel like making my lunch for the day. When that happens, I often struggle with finding something healthy and quick for lunch.

This is where Men's Health Eat This Not That comes into play.

A fantastic guide on fast food and restaurant chains, I have used this on a number of occasions, even today. I ate Chick-fil-A today and this is what I had:

Chick-fil-A Nuggets (8-pack) with Barbecue Sauce
Calories 305
Fat 13 g
Sat. Fat 2.5 g
Sodium 1,020 mg
Salad with Fat Free Honey Mustard
Calories 60
Fat 0g
Sat. Fat 0g
Sodium 200mg

The only downside I messed up on was that the dressing had HFCS, but that's because I rushed and didn't read it. One thing to keep in mind about the dressing is that they give you two servings when one will do. Other than that, a very filling lunch under 500 calories and $5.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bodyweight 100

Today was another Bodyweight exercise day. Since I have basically been doing nothing up until I started in January, it has been an effort to rebuild muscle. I don't mind because I can see improvements in my weekly workouts, but the end-of-the-week Bodyweight exercises are still challenging.

If you follow the Men's Health plan exactly, I should be on week 8. However, considering that I have to rebuild everything from scratch, I am still on week 1. In other words, still doing the Bodyweight 100 instead of the Bodyweight 500.

I have set a goal for myself in that I don't want to move on until I can complete the entire 100. Each week the chin-ups are proving to be the road block.

No matter. I will keep repeating the Bodyweight 100 until I can do every rep.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Weight loss milestone

Since the beginning of the year, I have taken it upon myself to eat clean and exercise more. The goal: to get back down to 185 lbs. Friday is my "official" weigh-in date and today marked the day I came in under 200 lbs. I consider it a milestone because it has been at least 3-4 years since I have been here.

I am no stranger to eating clean and exercising because I performed similarly back in the summer of 2004 by running and dieting. When I was in college, I lifted weights. The only difference between then and now is that, in addition to cardio (running), I have incorporated bodyweight exercises to replace fat with muscle mass. The combination of the two should produce the best results.

This past week I decided to start HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) on my cardio days. Let me tell you, this is some hardcore exercising! Best of all, it is most effective in burning fat, even after you finish exercising. The treadmill that I use has some pre-programmed runs that vary the inclines and such. Up until now, I have used the "Weight Loss" program, and even tried the HIIT on that program. What a mistake! Kicked my ass, for sure. Today I'll just set a certain incline and then try to complete the intervals.