Sunday, March 30, 2008

Boggie Golf - Finding the Groove

I played another round of Boogie golf yesterday morning. For the first few holes, I was NOT meeting the objective which is to do a lot of walking with brief interruptions to actually hit the ball. Unfortunately I couldn't do anything with my normally dependable 7-wood. I hit two good consecutive shots on the par 5 third hole that got me close to the green; however, my other 7-wood shots resulted in three lost balls and three drowned balls over six holes. When you are constantly teeing up new balls, you're not walking. And even though I say the level of my play isn't important to me now, I was getting frustrated and upset. Again, NOT what this is supposed to be all about. So on the seventh hole I decided to keep the 7-wood in the bag and used my 31 degree utility club off the tee. Now this is a club that I can hit from 145 to 165 yards depending on how well I strike it so I decided to just take a smooth swing and try to stay in the fairway. Boy did it work!! I hit ball after ball right down the middle, all close to 150 yards. The amazing thing is that on the back nine, which includes two par 5s, I shot one shot less than bogey golf (two pars & one double). I really enjoyed it! So I think I'll banish the 7-wood to the garage for now although I do have a 26 degree utility club on order that may become my new choice off the tee.

Time: 2hrs, 15 min
Good shots: 22

Notes: I had to wait a few minutes on #11 for a grounds keeper to finish raking the bunkers. My good shots were double last week although it almost feels like cheating to count all those strokes with the utility club--I love that thing!

I'm leaving tomorrow to meet up with family in New Orleans and then head to Mobile for my dad's funeral service. My brother and I are going to play golf Tuesday. It may sound strange but we feel it's a very appropriate way to honor his memory.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Tale of the Scale

Lookin' good! :-)


I'm rather surprised considering that I did some carb binging early in the week thanks to the Easter Bunny (the perils of being surrounded by grand kids). This is definitely the lightest I have been since retiring from the Air Force. Sub-200 is getting near!!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hex & Press

It turns out I won't be headed to meet up with my brothers and sister until Monday so life goes on. Sitting around the house wasn't cutting it so I headed to the gym for a workout.

Hex & Press

Overhead Press
3 sets of 5 at 70lbs

Hex-bar Deadlifts
3 sets of 5 at 190lbs

Notes: I decided to go with the same protocol for both lifts rather than do the hierarchal sets in one case and not the other. I was surprised to handle both these weights without much problem. I will definitely bump them up next time even though it may be more than a week before I get a chance to do so. I'll be on the road next week so I'll be relying on push ups and other body weight exercises to keep the work level up. Maybe I'll throw the kettlebell in the trunk as well.


This will be my last entry for awhile. I found out last night that my father passed away after almost 79 years on this earth. He was a great man who raised three generations of kids, including being legal guardian to two of his grandchildren long after the age where he should have had to worry about such things. I spent part of last night looking at video footage of the best round of golf I ever played. My dad, my two brothers, and I were part of a foursome to celebrate his 75th birthday.

I'll close this out by bringing up something related to the purpose of this blog. The official cause of death will say it was caused by "cardiac infarction" but make no mistake. The cause of my father's death was losing a lifelong battle with Type II diabetes. I have been like him in some ways to include the yo-yoing weight loss and gain. But this just serves to strengthen my resolve to stay on the course I have chosen. I want to be around to play golf with my grandchildren, and to shoot my age when I'm 90!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Competition Is A Good Thing

I just got back from playing two intense games of racquetball--I am tired. But you know what--it's a "feel good" tired. It the kind of tired that comes when you put out the effort required to reach a goal and you achieve it. In this case, the goal was to win. Yes, I play the game for it's value as a fitness exercise, but I've been a competitor of sorts all my life and I want to win. I try to push myself hard when I'm doing other exercise--especially something like doing a Tabata workout on the bike or the rowing machine. But nothing serves as an incentive to put out effort like trying to win. I had several points today where I had to go cross court several times to keep a rally going. After one point in particular, my opponent said "you really wanted that one." As I stood there gasping for air so I could serve the next point, I thought to myself "yep, I wanted that point, and everyone before it, and everyone that will come after it." I didn't win them all, but I tried to. And that's what makes this such a great exercise.

I played varsity basketball at a Catholic high school. I remember before a game, one of the priest came to say a prayer and give us a little talk. He used that old quote about how it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game. After the priest left, coach turned to us and said "if it doesn't matter if we win our lose, then why are we keeping score? Let's go out their and kick their ass!"


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Nice Idea But....

I work out in a facility located on the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. It is a really well equipped gym (they refer to it as FX - short for Fitness Express). There are gobs and gobs of machines but they also have a great collection of free weights. This includes lots of benches and racks, a huge row of brand new one-piece dumbbells, and several olympic-sized bars with lots of plates. They even have chalk!! Today they installed a new rack. It the one pictured in this PDF. It's the one on the left side of the first page to include the platform. It's really a nice looking piece of equipment but installing it created a problem. It takes up so much space that they eliminated another lifting area to make room. The extended platform is great for deadlifts, but you can't do it while someone else is doing squats. Before you could have two people doing each lift side-by-side. I sure hope they rethink their setup and bring back the other rack.

Upper Body Work

My legs were a bit sore from yesterday's workout so I decided to concentrate on upper body:

Overhead Press
5 x 55lbs
1 set
5 x 65lbs
3 sets

Iso-Lateral Press
5 x 150
3 sets

Pull-up (Gravitron to 80lbs)
3 sets:
10 reps
8 reps
8 reps

Notes: I was having so much trouble do the hierarchal sets with the press that I decided to try a different approach. I'm going to go with the three sets of five protocol ala Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength. I wasn't really sure where to start so after doing one set at 55, I jumped to 65. I'll start at 70 next time. The next exercise was on one of the Hammer Strength Iso-lateral machines. I think I was on the decline press although it may have been the machine that simulates a bench press. Not really sure. (Update: yes, it was the decline press) Finally finished it up with some pull-ups on the Gravitron. Good workout! Racquetball scheduled for tomorrow.

Torquemada Would Be Proud

Around 25 years ago, two brothers set up shop in Vermont to make an indoor rowing machine from bicycle parts. Today that has evolved into the Concept2 Rower which is one of the best tools available for those on a quest to achieve fitness. Rowing is kind of like cross-country skiing in the way that it works so many parts of your body. It's perfect for doing a series of intervals, or a sustained effort. They come with a computer that has severl workouts pre-programmed or you can devise your own. If you don't believe rowing is taxing, watch the competitors at the end of a race during this summer's olympics. It is truly the path for discovering what the Gym Jones guys call "The Art of Suffering." I once wrote on a cycling forum many years ago that I was convinced that indoor cycling was actually invented by Torquemada for use during the Spanish Inquisition. Well, no cycling machine will hold up to the C2 as a torture device!!

The C2 folks have a lot of information on their website including a place online to record your training. A few years ago, I wrote them an email asking if they had any literature on rowing form. I told them in that email that I didn't own one of their machines but used one at a gym. They sent me an instruction video tape and to this day I still get their magazine that has training articles and results of rowing competitions. If I were equiping a home gym, this would be the first thing I'd buy.

Try it!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Little Of Dis...A Little Of Dat

I really didn't feel like doing anything this evening. I didn't sleep well last night, and I worked pretty hard at lunch. So I did some stretching, a bit of an ab workout, a little vanity work (biceps and triceps), and finished off doing some stretching in the sauna. If nothing else, I was away from the refrigerator!! :-)

Swing & Row

I finished off the kettlebell workout I started yesterday with some changes:

30 Swings
1 minute row
6 cycles

Notes: The differences were that I didn't bring my kettlebell with me so I had to do them with a dumbell instead. I grabbed one end and did two-handed swings. My impression was that this was a little more difficult than swinging the kettlebell--I sure felt taxed getting to 30 on the last couple of cycles. The other difference was that I hopped on the C2 rower between swings instead of the bike. The row was more for recovery than workout--the computer showed I did about 200 meters on each of the row reps.

I'll probably head back to the gym this evening with my grandson, and I'm not sure what I'll do at this point. Time to go surf Gym Jones and Crossfit for some ideas!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Kettlebell Workout

Clean & Press Ladders

5-rung ladders
16kg bell
3 ladders

Notes: First of all, this is not the full workout I had planned. After the ladders, I was going to do some man-makers consisting of swings and cycling. But while doing the last ladder, my wife informed me we were heading to my son's house for an Easter egg hunt for the grandkids. So I plan on doing those at lunch tomorrow. That said, this was still a good effort. I had started my initial kettlebell training last summer and had worked up from 3x3 ladders to 5x5, but I hadn't done much in the last few months. My efforts in the barbell press show how lifting anything overhead is a challenge, so I was feeling these during the last ladder--especially with the left hand. So all-in-all, I'm happy I got something in on a day that could have easily been used solely for watching golf and basketball on the tube!

Sock(eye) It To Me

This has become a Sunday staple for me -- a half pound of wild-caught Alaskan Sockeye salmon. There is a large supermarket nearby that normally has this (as well as grass-fed beef) in stock. I also get some canned salmon of the same variety to use in a mid-week meal. So with my salmon intake, the DHA enhanced eggs I eat every day, and my daily fish oil supplement, I feel I'm making a good effort to balance my omega-3 intake with the omega-6. No fat phobia here!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday Golf

I got in a round of Boogie golf this morning. There was enough light to tee-off around 7:10 so I was able to beat the morning gaggle. It was a very enjoyable round due to a number of factors. First, the setting was very nice considering that my home course is a bit of a goat track. There were birds singing on many holes, ducks flying in and out of a couple ponds, and a really nice sunrise. The other thing was that the greens were in the best shape I've seen in a while. Now my golf wasn't any better than the last time out--as a matter of fact, it was probably worse overall. But I did spread my good shots over the entire course. As I sat at the clubhouse after the round, I replayed each hole and tried to remember the good shots. By "good" I mean that the result of the shot was reasonable close to what I was expecting to do before hitting the ball. It doesn't have to be perfect, just reasonably close to what I was trying to pull off. As an example, on one hole I was 145 yards out which is a flag I can reach with a 7-iron. In this instance I didn't hit it pure and it only went 135; however, it was straight and ended up in front of the green for an easy chip. Other good shots were a 210 yard 7-wood that landed pin-high and rolled to the back of the green; a 12-foot par putt, and a 30 yard pitch to two feet. All in all, I counted a total of 11 good shots. That means I hit A LOT of crappy shots. But as the saying goes, its the good shots that bring you back. So although walking the course and getting some exercise is still my primary purpose for being out there, I think I'll keep track of those good moments. So the stats for today:

Time on course: 1:52
Good Shots: 11

Friday, March 21, 2008

Boogie Golf

I've made a couple of references to this in past posts so here's the "rest of the story." From around March of 2000 through the summer of '06, I was what you would call an "avid" golfer. I played every Sunday morning and rarely missed. But towards the end of that time fame, the foursome I had played with started losing members due to transfers, moves, and an unfortunate death. That really took a lot of the fun out of the game for me. Also, I had become a swimming official and was spending a lot of my weekends on deck instead of on the course. I've played probably less than 10 times in the last two years, and my game has deteriorated accordingly.

Since I've been trying to adhere to Mark Sisson's "Primal Blueprint" philosophy, I've included long weekend walks as part of my exercise regimen. I got tired of walking around the neighborhood so I came up with the idea of "boogie" golf. I figured I'd rather spend a couple hours walking on a golf course than on concrete sidewalks. So I loaded five clubs in a cheap stand bag, grabbed a dozen balls out of my shag bag, and headed to the first tee at dawn's early light. I used a 7-wood off the tee because it's a fairly dependable club for me and I have a good chance of keeping the ball in the fairway. And that is an important part of "boogie golf" because the main goal is to keep walking. The formula is hit the ball, quickly pick up the bag and walk fast to the ball, and hit it again. If I do hit one sideways and have trouble finding it, I invoke the 20 second rule. After 20 seconds of looking, I drop another ball and keep going (thus the use of shag bag balls). I played twice and each time I finished just under two hours. I haven't played since the start of daylight savings time because the key to playing this way is to be the first one out in the morning. That's a little hard now that daylight starts so late but it will get easier as the days grow longer. And if nothing else, I can just go out and walk the first hole while it's still a little dark and start on the second. I'm not keeping score so it really doesn't matter. Actually I do keep score. 120 minutes from tee-off to making the putt on 18 is par. I'm -5 for two rounds.

One of these days, I'll get back to playing "real" golf. But for now I'm content with getting some exercise and enjoying those handfull of good shots that surface from time to time.

The Tale of the Scale

And this morning's trip to the corner of my bedroom revealed the following:


Not as big a drop as the last couple weeks but I'll take it. As a matter of fact, I would love nothing more than to see the same drop for the next 15-20 weeks at which point I'll add a few carbs to level off. I'd be back to my 10K racing weight (without running 40-55 miles a week).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Racquetball and a Ride

A day off from lifting steel, pulling or pushing my body weight, or sweating on an indoor machine. I had a good racquetball match at lunch today. I won two out of three games and the one I lost was a 15-14 game. Great workout! This evening I went out for about 35-40 minutes on my bicycle while listening to a little Harry Connick Jr. (I'm from New Awlins so I listen to Dr. John, Professor Longhair, and the Neville Bros as well). I would have ridden longer but my shoulders were sore from yesterday's workout which made riding uncomfortable after a while. I sure miss my recumbent bike.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Here's another of my named workouts in honor of my granddaughter. By the way, her dad named her after this Kiana.


500 meter row for time
Push-ups, Pull-ups, & dips for reps (gravitron @ 80lbs)
3 rounds

1. 2:01...10...8...8
2. 1:58....7...7...4
3. 1:55....6...6...5

Notes: I originally was going to prescribe a set rest interval as part of this but that got blown up right away when there was another couple working on the Gravitron when I was ready to go. So I'll just say that I move quickly from one exercise to the next (but I let the chest heaving slow down after the third row!). Also, I stop once I hit failure on the body weight exercises. It will be interesting to see if I can show some progress on this one over time

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hex & Press

This is my mainstay as far as a strength workout goes for now.

Hex Bar DLs

15 x 140lbs
8 x 180lbs
4 x 220lbs

Overhead Press
(from chest rack)

15 x 55lbs
5 x 65lbs
2 x 70lbs

Notes: My weight selection on the DLs was much more on target this time. One thing that concerns me is the limitation I may face due to grip strength. Just holding on the the bar was damn hard for that last set. I may have to go to wrist straps or something as I progress. Meanwhile, I'm not sure what to do about my press. The way these hierarchal sets are supposed to go is roughly reps of 15, then 8, then 4 WITHOUT going to failure. If I'm going to do that, I may have to give up on the olympic bar for now and use the smaller barbells. Dunno. Maybe I'll start at just the bar next time and do five pound increments from there.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I've been working out on a fairly consistent basis for awhile, albeit in a somewhat random fashion. This actually fits in well with Art Devany's prescription to avoid routine. But I feel like I need to establish a few benchmarks where I can compare results over time and see that I'm making some progress. So I've decided to create a few of my own "girls" routines named after the women in my life. So the first will be "Loy"--named after my wife of 32 years. One of the mainstays of the Crossfit WODs is Fran. This calls for doing 90 pound thrusters followed by pullups in sets of 21, 15, and 9 for time. I can't do an unassisted pull up, and 90 pounds is WAY to heavy for me, so here is Loy:


Thrusters with 30lb barbell
For time

NOTES: I went into this concerned that the 30lbs might be a little light but I was influenced by the hard time I had doing a thruster Tabata workout with two 15 pound dumbbells. I think my concerns were justified--I'm probably going to kick this up to 40lbs next time. What I didn't count on was the burpees KICKING MY BUTT!! I'm just talking some plain ole vanilla burpees - no pushups or jumping up and clapping hands, etc. They may not develop muscle like pullups, but they sure fit the bill for metabolic conditioning. Damn, I was breathing hard! At any rate, I completed this in 7:00. I'm going to do it with 40lbs for the thrusters next time out and keep it there so future comparisons will be valid.

Bonus work:

Pullups 10 x 2 (gravitron at 90)
15 GHD situps.

Three Generation Golf

I didn't crawl out of bed early enough for morning golf but I'm glad I didn't. Instead, I ended up playing nine holes with both my son and my grandson. I did get some exercise out of it because I walked, and carried my own bag in 15-20 mph winds; however, as the old MasterCard commercial says, the experience was priceless. I know there are lots of families in our highly mobile society where people don't see their own children for years on end. I consider myself fortunate that both my sons live in the same city and we get to spend time together. Even so, this one was special!

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I thought about doing some IF today--for about ten seconds! Instead I made an omelet with the following:

Grass-fed round steak
DHA enhanced eggs (3)
Purple Onion

It was all cooked in olive oil and I chased it with a few almonds and a slice of mango.


Saturday Stroll

I went to bed last night thinking that if I woke up early enough, I would go walk 18 holes at sun up. Well, I didn't wake up in time for that so I headed out for a walk and then followed it up with a couple of exercises:

90 Minute walk with some pace

10 push-ups
20 sit-ups
2 rounds


Notes: It was a nice morning for a walk. I had the Zune with me and listened to some Chicago; Blood, Sweat & Tears; and some Beethoven piano sonatas by Horowitz. The first set of push-ups were nice and clean--on rhythm with chest to the ground. For the last few push-ups in the second round I had to get out of my plank position and recover in a pike. The last two were a little sloppy. But still not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning. I may try to get out for some "boogie" golf tomorrow--and possibly do some kettlebell stuff as well.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I may be in line for a commercial endorsement. That Jared guy has made a career out of losing weight supposedly from eating Subway sandwiches. Well I've been on the Blue Bell Sugar Free Bullet diet since August of '07 and have lost 36 pounds. For those of you not in the Bluebell market area, Bullets are their version of a popsicle, and I use them to satisfy my sweet tooth. I tried to go without them for a couple months for a couple of reasons:

1. The are a frozen chemical cocktail on a stick that Grok (our Paleo ancestor) wouldn't recognize. Nothing like a dose of Aspartame and red dye #5 to get you through the day.

2. The rash of blog posts that suggested that even fake sugar might stimulate an insulin response.

But I dropped 30 pounds in three months while eating anywhere from 2 to 5 of the things a day, so I'm not too worried about #2. I'm sure I'd be better off without the chemicals, and maybe at some point I'll get off the things. But for now, I'm not going to worry about it. Plus I consider it the lesser of two evils. I used to consume mass quantities of the item pictured below!!!

The Tale of the Scale

I hopped on this morning, looked down at the scale , and it read: "Not legal for trade." Whoops, wrong place. It said:


I'm approaching a milestone of sorts. The last time I weighed 205 I was still wearing an Air Force uniform!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Different Motivation

I played another racquetball match today but this time it was against Ron. He has been one of the top two or three players on base for several years. Things are a little different when I play with him instead of Neal. When I walk out on the court with Neal, I expect to win the game. History will show my expectations are not met more than 50% of the time that we play--but I have that expectation nonetheless. When I play Ron, my expectations are much different. I've won perhaps five or six times out of the hundreds of games we've played. When I play with Ron, I hope to give him a good game, make him work for his victory, and play as hard as I can. I don't want to get embarrassed! In our three games today, I scored 10, 2, and 5 points respectively. Losing 15-2 is certainly a candidate for the "embarrassing" tag, but I worked hard and there were a lot of side-outs that don't show in the score. The only downer is that I tweaked something in my left hip and it's still hurting IF I move in a particular way. I'll probably play only once next week and wait until Wednesday to do so.

Sad News

My wife found out yesterday that her older sister died. Her name was Tiem and she spent her entire 71 years residing in the small, rural, village outside of Korat, Thailand. It was where my wife was born and spent her first 20+ years before moving away. But her sister Tiem, as well as several other brothers and sisters never left the village. I made three trips there, including the one I made in 1975 for our wedding. My wife's family was great to me--especially Tiem. She was eaisly my favorite sister-in-law. She will definitely be missed.

Below are a couple photographs taken on a trip back in 2001 when my wife and I took our four grandchildren to Thailand. The body of water is a large reservoir used to irrigate crops. It also made for a great swimmin' hole. That's Tiem playing with the kids.

I don't know exactly how this fits in with the theme of this blog except that there are good reasons to take care of yourself. Please do and enjoy your life!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lifting Day

Another reminder of how far I have to go on my upper body!!

HexBar DLs

15 x 120
8 x 140
5 x 160
5 x 180

Overhead Press
15 x 50
50 x 5
60 x 3

Reverse Grip Pullups (Gravitron at 80)
2 x 10

Hammer Strength Crunches
15 x 30
8 x 50
5 x 60

Notes: I had to search on the 'net to even identify the hex bar. The last time I used a straight bar I felt I was losing form and putting my back in jeopardy (besides tearing up my shins). I've noticed this strange looking device and decided to give it a try. As you may be able to figure out from the numbers, I was trying to do a Devany-style hierarchal set, but I started too light and didn't add enough weight as I moved on. I'll have this one dialed in better next time. I still would like to learn how to deadlift properly with a straight bar, but that will have to wait until I can get in the gym with an instructor. This is more like a squat than a deadlift, but it meets my needs for now.

The presses were disappointing. I started five pound heavier than last time but I couldn't come close to hitting 8 reps on the second leg. I need a lot of work in this area.

I need to incorporate some more ab work. Eventually the layer of fat covering those muscles will be gone and they need to be ready for their coming out party!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Easy Day

I decided it would be a good idea to take an easy day after my racquetball match yesterday. It wasn't, however, an easy day for my grandson. :-) He rode his bike along side me for eight repeats of a half-mile loop including a fifty yard sprint in each lap. I stayed just behind him during the sprints so this was just a warm up for me. While my grandson played with his friend, I went inside and did an extensive stretching session including some yoga poses. Later I ran my grandson through a series of exercises using a medicine ball. A good day for both of us!

Tomorrow will be a heavy (for me at least) lifting day.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Return to the Court

I got a pleasant surprise today. My normal Wednesday racquetball partner called this morning looking for a game. I had to run home real quick and get some clothes but it was worth it. I was able to play three full games with no sign of my hip pain returning. I lost two of of three but it was a great workout. It was enough work that I canceled my plans to do intervals on the C2 rower in the evening. There was plenty of high intensity work going on on the court today. I still went to the gym this evening and did the following:

10 x 1 @ 50#s

4 x 4 @ 50#s

Clean and Press
15 x 45
8 x 65
4 x 75

I've been doing the Gravitron assisted pull-ups with a 100 pound assist. I decided today to try cutting that weight in half, and just do singles with a 30-60 second rest between them. Seems like a good idea to me to help me eventually ween myself off the Gravitron.

I was going to do the same thing with dips but I did four sets of four instead. I should have just dropped the weight but I kept doing the dips when I got on and realized I could.

I did what I guess would be considered a "power clean" for the clean portion of the C&Ps. It was a good range-of-motion exercise, and I had to push press the final two presses on the third set. I followed that up with some stability ball crunches and some stretching. Felt like a pretty good workout--especially combined with the racquetball.

Lazy Weekend

I took it easy this weekend partially due to fighting off a mild cold. Sometimes it's hard for me to distinguish between my airborne allergies and a hitchhiking bug, but this definitely felt like the latter. Friday I took Dominic (my grandson) to the racquetball court to hit a few. He's not good enough to actually sustain a rally but he likes hitting the ball and hanging out with g-pa. The best thing coming out of this will probably be good memories of me after I'm long gone.

The only real exercise I got was Saturday when I took my granddaughter and her friend to the mall. I set them loose and then just walked for about an hour listening to the mp3 player. I would have prefered walking 18 holes on the golf course but it was a little colder Saturday morning than I like--at least now. I used to have a partner that would play a round in just about any conditions imaginable, but now that he has moved out of the area, I find it hard to head out in bad conditions. Also, the onset of daylight savings time complicates matters. Now it's harder to get out early before the hoards and play a quick round of "boogie" golf (more on that later),
Saturday night I broke down and took an OTC drug that provides me relief from the cold symptoms, but it makes me groggy and listless--even the next day. So I spent most of Sunday sitting on the couch watching golf on the tube. I did finally make it out in the evening to mow the lawn.

The one thing I did do right this weekend was stick to eating REAL FOOD. My local supermarket is hit or miss on stocking grass fed beef but this weekend they had both round steak (normal) and some NY strip (the first time I've seen that). I try to eat some wild salmon every weekend but they were out, so I treated myself to that strip. I combined it with some asparagus sauteed in butter, garlic powder and almonds. Yummy!!

Friday, March 7, 2008


I’ll admit that I have been a bit like a rudderless ship when it comes to zeroing in on an exercise philosophy lately. Historically I have been a sports participant and have done things to directly help me in those sports (running and cycling in particular). I’ve never had “getting fit” as a goal. I guess that since tracking the process of “getting fit” is the stated purpose of this blog, it would probably be helpful if I figure out what exactly I want to accomplish.

The whole notion of being fit is open to interpretation. There’s an interesting piece in the free edition of The Crossfit Journal where they question a magazine anointing triathlete Mark Allen as the fittest of the fit. It’s because Allen doesn’t fit their definition of fit which they describe as the following:

"There are ten recognized general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power,coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills."

I’ve mentioned elsewhere how I’m impressed by Mark Twight and his “disciples” at Gym Jones. They are very clear about the purpose behind their training (quoting their website):

"The training here is not a sport itself. Timed workouts are used to measure increased or decreased fitness on a given day, within the limitations of the gym. Gym-specific fitness means little. Survival, overcoming genuine hardship, and improved sport performance mean something. Gym Jones only exists to support these outcomes. Increased sport and work capacity results from hard work done by the athletes themselves. Fighters beaten, contests won, missions accomplished, summits reached, and records surpassed result from the specific, technical skill of the protagonists. The role of the gym is supporting."

So what are my fitness goals? What do I hope to accomplish? I’ll start by listing some of the things that are NOT my goals (although some of these were at some time).

1. Qualify for the Boston Marathon
2. Cycle 100 miles in under five hours
3. Squat 500 pounds
4. Break 40 minutes in a 10K
5. Compete in a “World’s Strongest Man” competition
6. Climb any peak higher than Stone Mountain
7. Swim the English Channel

Here’s some of the things I would like to be able to do.

1. Pick up the morning paper without uttering old man noises.
2. Put the box of Christmas decorations on an eye-level shelf in the garage
3. Get out of my recliner without uttering old man noises.
4. Maintain a 90mph club head speed drive with my driver for as long as I can
5. Be able to tee up my golf ball without making old man noises
6. Get my golf ball out of the cup without having to resort to a suction cup on my putter (or making old man noises)
7. Stay competitive with my grandson in mailbox sprints

So I’m not going to climb mountains or fight in a cage like the Gym Jones guys, or set a record for doing “Fran” like the Crossfit folks. I just want to maintain my health, remain active well into old age, and continue to participate in activities I love to do. So I will continue to borrow ideas from Crossfit, Gym Jones, and the like; however, my main prescription will be Mark Sisson’s advice to do a mixture of low-intensity aerobics, mixed with some interval work and resistance training. I think it’s the right path towards achieving a goal not listed above—shooting my age in golf.

The Tale of the Scale

A pleasant surprise:


What prompted my gloomy post yesterday was a reading of 211 when I hopped on the scale yesterday morning. But after a light eating day and (how can I put this discretely) a very productive download of accumulated waste material, the results weren't bad. :-) This just supports the argument I made yesterday that the the scale is a fickle master. The figure I'm looking forward to is the 90 day follow-up on my body fat measurement.

Of course there is another possibility--the Kettlebell may indeed be magic!! :-)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tools of the Trade

"Trade" isn't exactly the right word here but it's what popped in my head when I was thinking of a title. The purpose of this post is to point out a nice tool to use if you are doing timed workouts. There are several interval timers on the market (the Gym Boss comes to mind), but if you're doing a home workout, you can get a great timer for free. Just go to the Speedbag Forum where you can either use their timer online or download it to your computer. I have it on my laptop so it makes it easy to use in my formal dining room which substitutes as a gym. I need to see if I can get it to work on my PC phone so I can use it at the real gym. Here's a screen shot:

Return of the Kettlebell

Our weather was crappy (including a tornado touch down) so I opted for a stay at home workout with the one-piece gym.

Kettlebell swings

:60 second swing, :30 sec rest; 16kg bell
5 rounds

Press Ladders
2x4 rungs

Felt good to get back in the swing of things (pun intended). You can do a lot with a cannon ball with a handle on it! I think I'll start keeping an eye out for abandoned weight sets at garage sales. I could easily do two or three workouts at home a week and save on gas.

The Ugly Sneak Preview

I normally hop on the scale every Friday morning to see how I'm doing in the battle to rid myself of unwanted body fat. Even that frequency may be somewhat misleading because of the ups and downs that can be created by water retention, digestion of recent meals, and other factors but is generally a good barometer of how things are going. I jumped on this morning because I sensed that things were not going well. After feeling good about myself for passing on all the baked goods placed before me at the swimming pool this past weekend, that resolve has not manifested itself the rest of the week. I'm afraid that this week the boys at Archer-Daniels-Midland were the winners as I managed to consume more corn syrup in a few days than I probably have in months. I won't go into the details but suffice it to say, I ate some food that our friend Grok certainly would not recognize. Part of the problem is that there is still too much "crap" sitting in my pantry because they happen to be favorites of my grandkids. But that's no excuse--they were there when I dropped 30 pounds in three months but I resolved not to eat them. I just have to rediscover that resolve.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Mickey Mantle Workout

A quick workout but challenging for my weak upper body:

7 Pull-ups*
7 Dips*
7 Push-ups
15 Sit-ups
2 Rounds

15x3 Wall ball squats with :30sec rest

Seated cable Rows:

The pull-ups and dips were done on a Gravitron set to 100 pounds. I would have done 7 rounds to honor the Mick but I was toast after the second set of push-ups. But they were GOOD push-ups--chest touching the floor on each one.

Wall ball squats - squat holding a 12 pound medicine ball at the chest, then throw it at a spot 10-11 feet up a wall coming out of the squat.

All-in-all a good day although I'm disappointed that my racquetball match was canceled. Hopefully we'll get to play next week.

Gotta Be Flexible!

Today was supposed to be the second installment of my return to regular racquetball but it didn't happen. My partner and I were at the court, ready to begin, when a young sailor approached my partner, I couldn't hear everything she said but it included the word "admiral" so I knew we were done. When the admiral sends someone for you, the game is over! So I headed back to the gym, contemplated just changing clothes and going home, but in the end decided to jump on the Concept2 for a quick round of Tabata!. I really went hard during the work portions of the intervals, and I was looking forward to comparing my times to the last time I did it. But no joy--the damn computer did a data dump and there were no records in the memory. But I know I worked hard and in the end, that's what matters.

I did mention to the manager that there was a problem with the computer. I noticed that while I was doing the work part of the interval, the 20 seconds ticked off at a much slower rate than the 10 seconds during the recovery. They really need to get that fixed! :-)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


What I haven't been mentioning when writing about my workouts is that I am normally accompanied by my grandson. Normally he will spend some time on the treadmill or on the machines while I'm getting in my workout. After I'm done I help him do some weight work, or pushups, or perhaps some thrusters. Last night he decided to copy grandpa so he did the same :30/:30 interval set on the C2! He went at it pretty hard and displayed good form.

When he came home from school today, he said his leg were sore and that he didn't want to go to the gym. So I decided to come up with a "stay-at-home" workout. We started walking around the neighborhood and took turns challenging each other to sprint to a mailbox of some other land mark. It's a real stretch to call what I do "sprinting" but it was a great warm-up. Then I spent a few minutes making up a prop and the circuit training began. I started by asking him help me move some sandbags from near the front of the house to the back yard. Once we got there, I said I changed my mind and told him we had to bring them back. He gave me an evil eye look but he knew the game was on!! Then I let him test out my creation:

What you see is a 15inch tire with two sandbags held in place by duct tape, and an 8-pound medicine ball. What I had him do was take several shots a an 8-foot high basketball goal, and then flip the tire across the yard. We did several repeats of that along with "ball slams." He got a great workout and actually had some fun in the process. Of course, I didn't get a whole lot out of it except for the few pseudo-sprints I did in the warm up, and a couple of sandbag farmer's walks. So I need to start thinking of some devious challenge for myself to take on tomorrow! :-)

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

I had plans for a circuit workout tonight that included hitting the C2 rower at least three times. Sometimes plans just don't work out. Tonight there was a personal trainer there working with some high school girls, and they were rotating on the C2 (with horrible form I might add). So I ended up making up something else on the fly and it came out like this:

Suitcase Deadlifts (dumbbell in each hand)
15@40 (80)
8@50 (100)
5@70 (140)

Press (from front rack position)

8 x :30 with :30 second rest

Decided to try the suitcase lifts instead of the normal deadlift. Gave my shins a break!
My press numbers are pathetic--a real reflection of my total lack of upper body work in the past.
The C2 again kicks ass--what a machine!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Resisting Temptation

It was a long two days on deck this weekend. It was a huge meet numbers wise and I spent many, many hours on my feet. One good thing about that is that I didn't have a lot of free time to hang around the hospitality room and all it's sugar-laden munchies. Here's what I was faced with upon arrival Saturday morning:

The good new is that they did provide a bowl of mixed fruit, and I was able to scrape the bacon and eggs out of a couple of breakfast tacos for a halfway decent morning meal.

We were so busy Saturday that they had to bring food out to us. I was trying to gulp down something between starting 50 yard freestyle races. It wasn't that hard actually because they brought me two sandwiches on huge rolls. I just flipped off the top bun, grabbed the contents from the middle, and inhaled them! Sunday I was able to repeat the same breakfast, but I did have some time off to go back and sit down to eat. They had barbecue sandwiches but the meat was in a warmer so I was able to dish it out in a bowl and eat it. Unfortunately it was in a sauce that I'm sure was full of sugar but it was that or starvation!! Nothing else to choose from except cookies and cakes. So all-in-all I thought I did pretty well considering the circumstances.

Now Saturday night was a different story. My granddaughter and her boyfriend were at the house and they had gone out and each bought a pint of ice cream. My granddaughter only ate about half of hers and she asked me if I wanted to finish it. Now if she had said "Grandpa, do you want the rest of my vanilla ice cream?"--I might have said no.
If she had said "Grandpa, do you want the rest of my chocolate ice cream?"--I might have said no. But when she said "Grandpa, do you want the rest of my Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia?"--that 'twas more temptation than I could overcome. Oh well--it's one of my occasional indulgences! :-)

It going to be interesting to see how my workout goes tomorrow. I ache all over from all the standing. But I have some motivation to help me along. I watched the movie "300" tonight and then watched a couple video clips of the actors training at Gym Jones. I'm psyched and ready to go--bring on the Concept2!!! :-)