Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I'm hanging in there with regards to my eating. I've had many opportunities to break my "no cheat" pledge but I've been successful so far. I didn't eat my BAS (big-ass salad) today because I left work early. Instead my late lunch consisted of some pan-broiled pork with asparagus and some sauerkraut. The sauerkraut was wasn't home made but it was imported from Germany and the label listed two ingredients: cabbage and salt (maybe they have a sauerkraut purity law similar to the one for beer). It was quite tasty. I still had some left on my plate when I finished the pork, so I had a piece of bratwurst left over from yesterday. A perfect match!!!

Turkish Get-Ups and More

I got a little walking in today. I strolled around the base at lunchtime for about 45 minutes, and then I did another 30 minutes on the treadmill at the gym this evening. Easy pace to be sure but keeping on the move is a good thing! I meant to bring my kettlebell with me to the gym (they don't have any despite the manager saying at one time they were going to order some)but I forgot. So I did some TGUs with a 35lb dumbbell--four on each side alternating left and right. Then I did a hierarchal set on the Body Masters 1600 abdominal machine:

15 @ 55lbs
8 @ 70lbs
4 @ 85lbs

Finished off with knee-to-chest work on one of those dipping/leg raise stations.

Neal can't make it for racquetball tomorrow. I'm going to see if Ron can play but if he can't then I think I'll do some rowing intervals. Time for some hard work!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thrusters - A "Two-fer" Special

Once in a while I find myself trying to fit in a workout in a compressed time window. Today was a good example. I can normally come in to work early or stay late so that I can take a long lunch. I always do this, for example, on days when I play racquetball. But there are days, like today, where I have to be back in the office for a meeting so the time available is finite. That's a good situation to throw in Thrusters. It basically a squat/push-press combination so I can work a bunch of muslce groups in one exercise. Now in my case, it's far from an equal distribution of work because my legs are SO FAR ahead of my upper body. I'm going to have to do some squats separately to really work the lower body. But I still like Thrusters!!

Warm Up

The "Movement Preparation" set from Athlete's Performance
(I'm going to detail this in another post)



Pull Ups (Gravitron at 50lbs)

3 sets (7, 6, 5)

Dips (Same as above)

Row (see Notes)


Notes: I decided to go with Devany's hierarchal set for the Thrusters. As noted above, I'm limited in the weight I can use for these by my upper body. This was a good starting weight. I dropped the weight down on the Gravitron again. I started using 100 pounds of assitance so this is showing some progress. I'll probably continue to alternate do more reps with a little more help with doing less reps and less weight. Looking forward to that glorious day when I do ONE LEGIT PULL UP! :-) The row was done on one of those machines where you get in a prone position with your chest on a pad, and pull on a plate-loaded lever. The weights quoted are the plates only--I have no idea how much the bar contributes. All-in-all a good, short workout.

Monday Racquetball

I was caught up in my self analysis yesterday which resulted in my No Cheat post, but I actually did get some work in. I played Ron and had an interesting match. I took my normal waxing the first two games, but I put together a good streak in the third game and took an 11-3 lead. I had visions of one of my very rare victories being in store, but alas it was not to be. I lost 15-12. But at least I made him sweat for it! :-) I took my grandson to the gym in the evening and I took an easy walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes. I walked around trying to convince myself to do more but I think recovery was the best thing for me at that point.

Ninety Days - No Cheat

In my last Tale of the Scale post, I lamented that I "am eating right" and expressed surprise that I wasn't losing weight to my satisfaction. Then I read a comment on Art Devany's blog that served as a wake up call of sorts. Yes, I eat right most of the time; however, more and more lately I have had these little excursions back into the land of excess carbs. I've been sloughing them off as "no big deal" but the facts don't support that. Here's what I know is true. During the first three months of my fitness journey, I did not "cheat!" I didn't take a single Hershey's Kiss from the jar on the secretary's desk, or a scoop of ice cream, or anything else that didn't fall in Mark Sisson's "Primal Nutrition" plan. The results were pretty dramatic--30 pounds lost in three months. Then I had a double whammy. An injury curbed my exercise, and I started giving in to an indulgence here and there. The injury is pretty much healed but I've fallen into this cycle where I do great during the week, but tend to take a hard fall off the wagon on weekends.

Many years ago I was a sysop on the old GEnie service as well as a frequent poster on the Prodigy cycling boards. My sig then included the phrase "In the field of human performance, we are each an experiment of one." I've seen similar wording used concerning nutrition, health, etc. The last few months have convinced me that the process described by Taubes whereby excess carbs are converted to fat, definitely applies in my case. If I want to remain a fat-burning machine, I have to stop the carb binging.

The Plan

Since I did so well those first ninety days, I am going to repeat them. I'm going to do these next 90 days like I did those. The only thing I will eat to placate the sweet tooth is a piece of fruit. I'm not going to buy anymore of the sugar-free popsicles because they only serve to fuel my desire for sweet deserts. I'm going to do a couple of kick-ass kettlebell workouts a week in addition to a couple of racquetball matches, and some easy recovery walks. I'm still going to get some work in at the gym--pull ups, thrusters, some ab work--but I'm not going to worry about those as much for now. I know the formula that worked before--I'm going to see if it will work again.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Tale of the Scale

Early Friday morning, while wearing my birthday suit, it said:


A small drop but headed in the right direction. Danger ahead: A swim meet this weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Intense Racquetball

I can't remember the last time I exerted as much effort as I did on the court today. I took the first game 15-11, and then had a bit of a let down and got beat something like 15-7 in the second (my memory fades a bit when I lose). The third game was unbelievable. We exchanged the lead several times and I found myself down 14-11. I scored my 12th point on a rally that seemed to last an eternity. I had to sprint several times to keep the rally alive before finally winning that point. I was really wasted at that point and was still breathing quite rapidly while trying to serve the next point. But I managed to win two more points and served for the win before skipping a back hand for a side out. Neal got the point on his serve to win the match 2-1. I NEVER like losing but that was one hell of a workout. It's like participating in an hour-long interval session.

My wife "unfired" me and I took our grandson to the gym this evening. I really didn't feel like doing a damn thing but I ended up doing 5 set of pull ups - 5 reps each with the Gravitron set to 60lbs. I also did 3 x 15 crunches on an incline bench.

Tomorrow is Tale of the Scale day and to paraphrase Rhett Butler: "Frankly, I don't give a damn." I'm working out hard and eating right. Sooner or later my body will respond and I'll get off this damn plateau I've been on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fiesty and Fit at 63

As I mentioned in my last post, my wife had decided to take over for me as personal trainer for my grandson. It's probably a good move. She's been training herself for almost three decades and is showing very little sign of slowing down despite the fact she is eligible to collect Social Security. As a way of introduction, check out this video:

This was just a quick demo (all done in under two minutes) for the benefit of my camera. That day she had already done 50 push-ups, 60 dips, and 24 pull-ups. She also spends two-three hours on the step mill, teaches 3-5 spinning classes a week (sometimes two a day), and goes for a seven mile run every Saturday morning.

I really don't need to look any further than my own family for inspiration. I just wish I could tap her will power!!

I've Been Fired!

My wife has fired me as my grandson's personal trainer because I'm not working him hard enough. Of course, she trains about 1000 times harder than I do so it's to be expected. But that's ok. I had already decided to worry a little bit less about outright strength training and concentrate a little more on metabolic conditioning. There's plenty I can do at home in the evenings with a kettlebell and a stationary bike, and I can still do two to three workouts at the gym during my lunch hour.

I had a light day--walked about 2.5 miles at lunch, and did around 30 push-ups this evening while folding clothes. I scheduled to play racquetball with Neal tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fee Fi Feaux Fran

I smell the blood of an English--man????

Nope, just a little play on words courtesy of our friends at Crossfit. One of their signature workouts is called "Fran" which is the inspiration for the workout I did tonight at the gym. But it wasn't a "real" Fran--thus the title. So what I did:

15 Barbell Thrusters with 40 pounds
6 Pull Ups (Gravitron at 70lbs)
1 Minute rest
5 Rounds

Notes: This one got my heart going and taxed my upper body for the last couple of rounds. I'm still having some pain issues in my upper back so I've decided to shelve the heavy lifting for awhile until I heal. This was a good workout. I really like doing thrusters--a good overall exercise . I warmed up with a brisk 1.5 mile walk on the track with my grandson.

Monday, April 21, 2008


As I walked from the locker room to the court for my match today, I reminded myself of my two goals when playing Ron:

1. Make sure you get at least one point--don't let him hang a donut on ya!

I lost all three games as expected but I was certainly pleased with my effort. The scores were 15-12, 15-3, and 15-5. I was particularly happy with the first game. Normally in an effort to keep things competitive, Ron will use lob serves rather than trying to go for an ace--it's his way of handicapping the game. But I had him at 10-7 when he switched course and went to the drive serve. I was happy to get a couple more points out of it from that point. I got a little sloppy after that--it's something that fatigue will do to you. But all in all, a good day and a great workout!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Avoiding "A Good Walk Spoiled"

First a brief review for anyone who may stumble upon this post and isn't familiar with what I call "Boogie Golf." I played "serious" golf for six years before going into a two year period where I barely played at all. Now I have started to play again but the main objective is to get in some walking exercise (I carry my clubs) rather than the results of the golf. I try to enjoy the good shots and ignore the bad ones.

The last two times I've played prior to this weekend, I did very well. I played in Abita Springs, LA. with my brother and I used a 31º Snake Eyes utility club off the tee and for any other shot over 145 yards. I hit that club so well that I decided to get a 26º and last week I used it with more great success. So I figured I try one more time and ordered the 20º. I think that I experienced the golf equivalent of the Peter Principle. I took it to the range this past Thursday and had a lot of trouble hitting it well. So I thought what the hell--I'll just play with the 26º. So Friday afternoon I was heading to the course just to practice when my grandson asked if he could come along. Instead of practicing, we went ahead and played the back nine. To sum it up--I stunk. I couldn't hit that 26º to save my life. Towards the end, I started using the 31º and began hitting some decent shots.

Saturday morning I headed to the tee and shanked two balls to start. I finally got one in the fairway, and as I got to the ball, one of the rangers approached and told me that there was a tournament with a shotgun start in one hour! I decided to go grab a bucket and head to the range. I started off hitting some wedges and worked my way up to the 31º which I hit great. I then tried the 26º and was pushing it right. About then, the ranger came up to me and told me that the tournament was canceled and I could play. I decided to keep the 26º in the bag for awhile, and played with the 31º and did very well.

There is a lesson here for me. I think I started forgetting the main goal of Boogie Golf and started worrying about the results. In this mode, when I hit a bad shot, it tends to lead to more bad shots. But if I concentrate instead on the walk, and to "enjoy the good shots" while disregarding the rest, then I thoroughly enjoy the two hours I spend on the course, and I don't have to fear what Mr. Clemens called golf--"a good walk spoiled!"

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Tale of the Scale

Back on track!!


This was a good number to see after some scary looking numbers the last couple of weeks. I have proven to myself that I will definitely pay the price for carb binging. I have another swim meet next weekend. I am not going to let that derail me again!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday Racquetball

A kick-ass workout!! Three tight, hard fought games. I won all three but by the slimmest of margins (15-12, 15-13, 15-14). It was a nice turnaround from losing two out of three last week. I was doing some serious huffing and puffing today. And now as I sit here typing, I'm enjoying that pleasant kind of exhaustion--the one that come from hard effort. Now I just have to keep moving so the old muscles don't tighten up on me, and chase my afternoon salad with a big Motrin!! :-)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Some Rowing and Resistance Work

My playing partner couldn't make it for our racquetball match today; however, we've rescheduled for tomorrow. I wanted to get some work in tonight but without leaving myself wasted tomorrow. So nothing too intense but some work nonetheless:

Warm up 10 minutes

4000 meters in 20 minutes (fairly slow but steady pace)

Seated Rows
15 x 50lbs
12 x 70lbs
12 x 90lbs

Machine Crunches
15 x 70
5 x 75

Notes: Speaking of notes, I can't find the ones I made at the gym but I think I've recalled everything correctly. The crunches were on a cable machine. The seated rows were on one of those machines where you have to load plates and each side acts independently. The weight cited doesn't include the starting weight with no plates. I was planning on linking to a website showing the machine, but I can't recall the name (it was on my missing notes). At any rate, a nice workout that wont hurt my tomorrow on the racquetball court.

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

I found myself embroiled in a discussion over on Mark's Daily Apple with a commenter who opined that Mark's low-carb advice should be ignored by anyone wanting to build lean muscle. I don't know what his goals are for building muscle but mine are pretty simple. I want to be able to do everyday tasks and enjoy sporting activities well into my old age. I think Mark's prescription fits perfectly. This pretty much sums it up:



Let me be clear--I'm not knocking body builders or heavy-weight lifters. It's just not what I want for me. I will probably never look anything like Mr. Sisson, but I'm gonna try!!

Taking It Easy

I needed some recovery after Monday's effort so Tuesday was an easy day. At lunch I grabbed a club from the trunk of my car and walked over to the golf course and hit a bucket of balls at the range. It's probably about a one mile walk each way. When I got home yesterday evening, I walked another couple of miles with my grandson, and then did another couple miles of easy pedaling. I'm feeling good this morning--no aches. I'm tentatively scheduled to play another racquetball match but there's a chance my opponent won't be able to make it. It will be interesting to see how my body handles two matches in three days. Six months ago I was playing three times a week regularly; however, ever since I strained a hip flexor, I've had issues with soreness after playing. I felt ok Monday afternoon--hopefully I'm approaching full strength. We'll see. Meanwhile my eating is back on track. I may not get back to 203lbs by Friday but I will be in green numbers again!

The Hex Bar Deadlift

I would have put this in my comment reply to Stephan but I don't know if that's possible. At any rate, here's what it looks like.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Press and Squat

It's been awhile since I did my heavy lifting, so when I got to the gym I wasn't sure what weight I had used last time. So here's what I went with:


3 x 5 @ 85lbs (but only did 4 reps on the last set)


3 x 5 @ 185

Notes: I struggled to get that 4th press up in the last set so I didn't even try to do the fifth. I'll use the same weight next time. The squat went better so I'm ready to move up--I'll probably go to 195. I rounded off the evening by doing some incline and decline presses on the Hammer Strength machines, and some hamstring curls on another machine.

Monday Racquetball

I decided to jump start the week by playing a Monday racquetball match. I played Ron which meant I was in all likelihood headed for a beat down and he didn't disappoint. I lost 15-1, 15-9 and 15-1. Ouch!! But I worked hard--especially in that second game. When I played last week, I came back and sat at my desk for an hour, and then I could barely walk when I got up. I'm going to make a point of moving about quite a bit this afternoon. I'm scheduled to play again Wednesday--hopefully that won't prove to be too much.

The Lost Weekend

Note to self: Time to get a grip!! After blogging about "strengthening my resolve" after last Friday's weigh in, I had a weekend that showed anything but resolve. I had to officiate a swim meet and and it was put on by a team that normally provides a really nice variety of food in their hospitality room. But this meet was a little different than normal in that it was a smaller invitational with not that many swimmers. So they didn't go all out and what they did provide was a collection of sugar bombs. I really should have made this an opportunity to practice some intermittant fasting but I was damn hungry so I gave in. It didn't help that one of the items was a favorite of mine--chess cake (a cream cheese and sugar concoction). So here I am heading in totally the wrong direction. I am going to apply a lesson from golf. I can't worry about what just went wrong (like the tee shot that went in the water)--I have to be in the present and move on. I realize that I am at a critical juncture. I can back pedal like I have in the past and lose the hard earned gains, or get back on track and move forward. Like the folks at Nike say: JUST DO IT!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Tale of the Scale

For the first time I have to dip into the red ink well:


I'm both disappointed and puzzled at this. After back to back weigh-in at 203, I was hoping to come close to cracking the 200lb mark. I did eat some rather large meals last weekend but I've been doing real well the rest of the week on both my diet and exercise. Hopefully this is an anomoly that will correct by next week. Perhaps a good dose of ExLax is all I need! :-) Oh well, I can either say and go have a bowl of ice cream, or stay the course and strengthen my resolve. I think I'll choose the latter.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Catching Up Again

I've been busy at work the last couple of days, and it's interfering with my blogging!! :-)

Yesterday I played a racquetball match with Neal and had a great workout. I lost two out of three (after sweeping all three the last time we played), but feces occurs. I don't like losing but I did get in some good work. I was very sloppy with a lot of unforced errors. There's always next week.
The bad news is that an hour after playing I was really sore--damn hip flexors again. I made the mistake of sitting at my desk for 40 minutes or so when I got back. I just can't do that. It was pretty obvious to people at the office--I kept getting asked if I was having back trouble. So I just popped an 800mg Motrin and did some stretching, and felt better later. I went to the gym Wednesday evening with Dominic but all I did was a couple sets of pull ups and a lot of stretching.

Today I tried something a little different. Dominic and I walked to the high school gym about a mile away, and once there ran sprints up a short but steep hill. I was originally thinking of going out to the bay front where there is a longer, more gradual hill so that I could run some downhill sprints as well. I was advised to try that to help the tightness in my hips when I try to sprint. "Try" is the keyword in that last sentence. What I can do now can't really be called sprinting. I was never fast (5:55 was my best ever mile) but now I'm pitiful.

I also realized when I sat down that I didn't write up Sunday's round of Boogie Golf. I'll just say that I had a great day and played from the fairway almost the whole way. I used my new 26º Snake Eyes utility club and it worked very well. I pushed my first shot with it just a little right of the cart path, but after that I could do no wrong. I loved it so much that I ordered the 20º. If I hit that one as well as the 26º, it will become my new "driver." I'm actually getting to the point where I might go ahead and keep a legit score although my short game needs a lot of work.

So that catches me up. Tale of the Scale tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Burpees & Pull Ups

Lunch time workout:

Burpees and Pull Ups

2 x 20 Burpees
10 Pull-ups (Gravitron at 70)

Notes: I changed my mind several times while thinking of what I was going to do today. At first I was going to do the burpees as a Tabata interval workout, but I decided on doing sets of 15 with a 30 second rest. I went in thinking I would do three sets and then pull ups but I was gassed after doing two. I did the burpees with 5lb dumbbells in my hand and I jumped up as part of each rep. Short but taxing workout.

Bonus work: I brought my grandson to workout in the evening. I walked a couple miles on the track with him, and then I did a hierarchal set of crunches on the HammerStrength machine (50, 60, 70 lbs.).

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Press, Squat, and Suitcase DL

I worked out yesterday (Saturday) morning around 10 a.m. but didn't get a chance to write it up. I've decided to dump the hex bar deadlift and replace it with squats and suitcase deadlifts done with dumbbells.

Press, Squat, and Suitcase DL

5 reps x 3 sets @ 80lbs.

5 reps x 3 sets @ 185lbs.

Suitcase DLs
5 reps x 3 sets @ 80lbs. (one side at a time)

Notes: I tried starting the squat at 205 and immediately knew I had bitten off more than I could chew. 185 was taxing enough--my quads are a little sore today. I'm going to bump the press five more pounds but that may put me at a point where I will really struggle with the last set. I'll see. I'm going to bump the suitcase dl's 10 pounds--I may have to go to straps pretty soon.

Good workout!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Catching Up

I semi-planned on getting in some kind of workout while I was out of town this past week but it didn't happen. I did play a round of golf with my brother in Louisiana but we took a cart so that doesn't count. The Sunday before I left, I did manage to get to the gym but didn't record my workout. Here it is:

Hex & Press

Overhead Press
3 sets of 5 at 75lbs

Hex-bar Deadlifts
3 sets of 5 at 200lbs

Pullups (with Gravitron at 70)

That represented a 5lb increase for the press and 10lbs for the hex dl. I plan on going today so I'll try another 5 pound bump in the press; however, I think I'm going to go back to squats instead of the lifting the hex bar.

Tale of the Scale


Another pleasant surprise. After a week of NO exercise, and indulging in some of my old favorites while home in New Orleans, I'm more than happy to come in at the same weight (to the tenth) as last week. I did eat some big meals while gone, but I also went some long periods without eating at all--it was truly intermittant fasting without planning for it. The first thing I ate upon arriving was a big roast beef po-boy. It was the first bread I've eaten in several months but it's a MUST when I get back home. You just can't get New Orleans style french bread anywhere else. But there is no fear on my part of continuing to eat bread. Once I've had a genuine New Awlins poboy, I wouldn't think of walking into a Subway for a year (and that's how I felt before I embraced a low-carb life style).