Monday, June 30, 2008

Winning Racquetball and Turning the Cranks!

I FINALLY won a racquetball match today. I fell behind 0-7 in the first game but then I went on an 11 point run and ended up winning 15-13. I lost the second game but came back strong in the third (I think it was 15-8). I really had my serve working today, and for the most part, I played smart. Playing winning racquetball is similar to practicing good course management in golf. You have to know when to "go for it" and when to just keep things going. I was definitely tired after playing but not anything like last Friday. Dumping that one medication seems to have made the difference.

I made the round trip to work on the bike again. I bought a cheap light at the supermarket so I could take off a little earlier. I just like having that when I come to an intersection--it increases the chances of being seen. I felt pretty wasted after the ride home today since it came three hours after an intense racquetball match so I didn't do a kettlebell workout as I had planned. I will hit the gym for some weight work tomorrow.

Good day of eating. I put everything in Fitday and came in just under 1500 calories. I tried using the broiler in the new range for the first time, and seriously overcooked some steaks. Luckily they were some inexpensive sirloins. I'm going to have to work with this some more, plus I'm shopping for a gas grill.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A quick catch-up post.

I played a rare Friday racquetball match with Neal. I won the first game going away (15-4) but lost the next two in close scores. I felt really tired in the last game and I took a little extra time between points trying to recover. After getting back to the office and sitting for awhile, I stood up and felt very dizzy. I had my blood pressure monitor with me so I took a reading - 95/54! I took it again a few minutes later to make sure it wasn't a fluke reading--it wasn't. So I decided to quit taking the evening pill and just take the morning BP med. I've been taking my BP over the weekend and I would guess my average is around 115/65. I haven't felt any dizziness, but then I haven't done much exertion either.

My weekend was dominated by my granddaughter's 13th birthday. I'll skip the details but it was stressful and I didn't get a whole lot of sleep Saturday night. I finally got some good sleep in but it came at the expense of getting up in time to play golf. So no Boogie Golf this weekend. I was really looking forward to playing Sunday. I did, however, stay on track with my eating except for a little ice cream at my granddaughter's party. Otherwise, my meals were good!

I'm heading to work on the bicycle tomorrow, and I'm scheduled to play Neal again. I also plan on doing some kettlebell work when I get home.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kettlebell and Pedal Power

My first day of cycle commuting went well today. The ride in was comfortable without much traffic to deal with. The ride home was a different story. It was 89 degrees, 88% humidity, and with a 15 mph headwind gusting to 25. I rode a good bit of it on the sidewalk to avoid the auto traffic (made easier with fat tires). The total distance for the round trip is around 13 miles--not a lot of distance but it's still good exercise. When I got home, I did some kettlebell clean and press ladders. I did two ladders of five rungs. I was going to do a third but my wife threw a "honey do" at me that I couldn't put off. I may doing more home exercise and less in the gym. I don't think I need to be doing a lot of heavy weight to meet my needs. I may get another (heavier) kettlebell eventually, and perhaps a bar with a small weight set. We only eat in our dining room twice a year--time to shove the table over and make more room for working out!

My Fit Day Day

I've been playing around with ever since Mark Sisson told me about the site a while back. Today I made the effort to put everything I ate or drank into the program. Here's the results:

Calories Eaten Today

grams cals %total
Total: 1464
Fat: 87 780 54%
Sat: 20 179 12%
Poly: 10 93 6%
Mono: 23 204 14%
Carbs: 70 245 17%
Fiber: 9 0 0%
Protein: 79 317 22%
Alcohol: 14 97 7%

Today was a good representative day of what I eat on a day-to-day basis when I don't fall off the wagon. There have been a number of blog posts lately that point out the importance of making sure the calories aren't too high if you are trying to lose weight. One thing that I did not eat today was a handful (or more) of nuts. I know that has been once source of calories that has been slowing down my fat loss. They will definitely be part of my diet once I get to my target wait, but I'm going to go without for now. I did, however, have one tablespoon of sunflower seed butter with my Fuji today. I measured it, put it on the plate, and put the jar in the frig. I had been eating the stuff by the spoonful!

I'm going to keep posting my eating in Fitday so I can correlate my calorie intake with my fat loss, and see how my macronutrient composition goes. It's a good way to be honest about what I'm eating.

Now I have to decide if 1464 kcal is good for the day, or can I have one more glass of wine! :-)

Back On Two Wheels

During the school year, I need a car. I eat lunch with my grandkids two days out of the week, and pick them up after school. But towards the end of May, with gas prices climbing, I started thinking about cycling to work. I have an extensive background in cycling including racing road and mountain bikes, and serving for two years as the president of the San Angelo Bicycling Association. I cycled a lot when I first moved to Corpus Christi including a 22 mile one-way work commute. But unlike San Angelo, where I always felt comfortable on the road, I always felt like I was living dangerously riding in Corpus. After picking myself up after being forced into a roadside ditch for the second time, I gave up my work commute, and pretty much gave up cycling altogether shortly thereafter.

One problem I was facing with returning to two-wheeled commuting was that my good bike had been stolen, and all I had left was an old Schwinn city-bike that was missing a rear brake and had a broken rear shifter. This is the bike I described in my earlier post on doing cycle sprints around my house. So towards the end of May I ordered a $1.99 friction thumb shifter and a rear brake set from Bike Nashbar. But that stuff sat on the bench for a few weeks because I didn't feel motivated to start the commute. Riding into work is fine but the return trip was not something I looked forward to. That's because at this time of year, the ride home is hot, humid, and normally into a 15mph (or greater) headwind. Plus the roadway is very busy and not very bike friendly. So I just wasn't motivated enough to get started. That all changed yesterday when I got close to the gate of the Naval Air Station and found traffic backed up to the highway. Normally there are three lanes of traffic coming in that narrows to two after getting past the guards. Well for the next month it's going to be two lanes narrowing to one! That's all the incentive I needed. I went home last night and installed the shifter and the rear brake, and this morning I rode to work. The gym is only a couple blocks from my office so I stashed my clothes and work-out gear in my wife's car (she comes in a 3 a.m. to work out and opens the gym at 5), so it really works out well. I got in early enough to get in a quick workout (pull ups and push ups) before showering and heading to the office. It's a great way to start the day!! I'm not particularly looking forward to the ride home, but I don't mind when I consider all the benefits that come with riding

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday Racquetball

It's been eight days since I last played racquetball but you wouldn't have known it by the way I played today. I looked more like someone who hadn't played in eight years. Time and time again, I would get set ups and then skip the ball into the front wall. Very annoying. I think I scored something like 6-7 points over three games. But we played one more game and I finally started making some shots. I had leads of 13-10 and 14-12 before Ron decided enough was enough and finished off the game with three straight aces. But at least I got some satisfaction from some good play in the last game. If I had to quit after the first three games, I would have walked off feeling pretty lousy.
I like to take a couple days off between matches but due to taking Monday off, it looks like that won't happen this week. Neal wants to play Thursday so I'll have to go on one days rest. Should be interesting!!

Stress Test (good) and Squats (bad)

Monday morning I went to the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi clinic for an exercise stress test. The physician I saw in the ER a couple months ago suggested that I have one, and my primary care physician agreed. After losing a little chest hair to a razor and getting wired up, I hopped on a treadmill and started walking. The grade and speed inclined every three minutes until I was running to keep up. I beleive I almost went 12 minutes. I could have gone a little longer but the doctor was already praising my performance up to that point so I called "uncle." They had set up my target heart rate at 165bpm and told me they wanted me to get to 90% of that. I was up to 169bpm when I quit. They then had me sit down while my heart rate recovered. They seemed pretty impressed how quickly my heart rate dropped back below 100bmp. The doctor said everything looked great and that I out-performed a lot of younger, active-duty sailors that they had tested.

I know there are cases of people who have done great on a stress test only to drop dead a couple weeks later, but I feel pretty good about this.


Yesteday I attempted to do one of my press & squat workouts, and once again I felt dizzy after doing one set of squats. This time I can't blame it on taking two kinds of blood pressure medication because I have only taken one kind for several days. I've checked my blood pressure and it's been pretty low--several readings around 100/60. I'm not a doctor and I don't even play one on television, but I suspect I'm over-medicated for blood pressure. I may still need some--just not as high a dose as I'm taking now. This will be one topic of discussion with my doctor on July 3rd.

My absence from the blogosphere was due to a trip I made to my dad's last place of residence before his recent death. We went to visit his wife and to pick up some personal items, or as I later described them, a lifetime of memories spread out on my dining room table. There was a huge gap between the loss of my parents. My mother died when I was only 19 years old, and my father when I was 56. The content of the two boxes I brought back home with me included things like both of my parents' high school diplomas, my dad's elementary school report cards and his college yearbooks, and tons of family pictures. It was a very emotional experience going through all of it. I'm hanging on to a few things of my dad's: his college ring from Tulane University, a Tulane cap, a hole-in-one certificate, and a few pictures. I'm sending the rest to my sister and brothers to divide up as they see fit. I'm going to retire and live out my life in Thailand--it doesn't make much sense to bring a lot of memorabilia with me. I'll scan a lot of the pictures and keep it that way.

As far as my fitness quest goes, the trip was NOT a good thing. It started out fine. Instead of the usual munchies that I would take in the car like Triscuits, or gummy bears and the like, I kept a bowl of baby carrots handy. I also ate pretty good meals while there but I also ate some deserts that definitely not on the plan. I did get in a couple of walks including one that was on rolling terrain around a beautiful lake in northwest Arkansas. I would have loved to have had a mountain bike to do loops on that road. But the bottom line is that I'm too afraid to step on the scale right now. Maybe next week after eating right and getting in some workouts.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Peview Of Coming Attractions

I've got some catching up to do since returning from my trip. So my next entry will be a trip report and then I'll follow that up with a report on my exercise stress test, and subsequent attempt to squat that once again ended up in a dizzy spell. But I'll wait until tomorrow so I can do it on government time, and avoid all that typing on this laptop keyboard! :-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Heading In The Wrong Direction

I meant to write up my racquetball match last evening but I wasn't able to get a round tuit. I thought about it again when I woke up this morning but those thoughts quickly dissapaited after I made an unplanned trip to the bathroom scale. I figured it would be up after a weekend of no exercise, and a fair amount of eating. But I wasn't prepared for the number that appeared on the lcd screen. I let out an audible "omigod!" It amazes me how quickly I can put it back on. The phrase "hard gainer" refers to someone who has difficulty putting on muscle. Well when it comes to the packing of FAT, I'm an "easy gainer." The main-meal type food I ate over the weekend was fine as far as the macro-nutrient make up goes. But I absolutely ate too much. And I broke down several times when walking by the sugar table. So I find myself, once again, climbing back on the wagon. I am happy with what I have achieved overall the last 10 months, but I'm "treading water" at best here lately. And it won't get any easier this week as I'll be on the road starting tomorrow.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Moving Mountains

I got home from another long day on deck, and sat down with the Sunday paper. I eventually got to the copy of Parade magazine and read a little blurb on developing abdominal muscles. It was written my Michael O'Shea and included the oft repeated advice to eat a diet of "low fat protein and good carbs." I'm convinced that the low-fat approach is wrong or at least unnecessary, and I developed that belief from reading several bloggers who espouse a lower carb life style. But in the greater scheme of things, the number of people who read those blogs are a drop in the bucket compared to the probable millions that read Parade magazine. Changing public opinion on this subject is like moving mountains. Or to use an another analogy, we are swimming against the mainstream, my friends, and the current is strong.

Bloggin Live from the Swimmin' Hole

It feels like I've moved into the Corpus Christi Natatorium for the weekend. I'm working a large swim meet which kept me here from 7am to 8pm yesterday. Today won't be quite as bad--we should be out of here by 6:30pm. So for these two days I have been dependent on the offerings in the official's hospitality for my meals. Well, it's been a case of good news and bad news. They had a lot of choices for the meals which allowed me to pick some stuff that fell inline with my "primal blueprint" form of eating. I had quiche with sausage and cheese for breakfast, beef brisket for lunch, salads and fruits for snacks. The bad news is that this meet is put on by the group that brings my favorite dessert item in the whole world. It has appeared in the this blog before--like the last time I worked a meet for BEAT (Bay's Edge Aquatic Team). It's called Chess cake and consist of yellow cake mix, a stick of butter, a bunch of cream cheese and a bunch of sugar. It's rich as hell and delicious. Well, I've eaten a bunch (and there are two more pieces sitting on the table next to me as I type). The woman who makes them makes sure to save me some on the side. So it would just be downright rude not to eat them! :-) Thank goodness I only work two or three meets a year for these people.

I'm afraid to get on the scale at this point. I'm just going to keep it hidden for at least a week while I recover. I'm also headed on the road this week for a trip to Arkansas. So it's going to be a challenge to stick to the plan. It's not the way I want to be spending time six weeks away from my one-year anniversary of the start of my fitness quest. I want to be solidly under 200 pounds by then. I need to get back on the program hard core when I return.

One more session to go and then I get to go home and enjoy my father's day gift: no Sunday "honey-do's!" I'm gonna get in the recliner and watch golf in HD!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Racquetball and Medications

First the bad news. I got my butt kicked on the court today. After three games the aggregate score was Ron-45, Dave-8. We played a fourth game where I scored 9 but Ron was going through the motions at that point. I hit a handful of good shots but a boatload of crappy ones. Oh well--feces occurs.

The good news - I felt good during and after the match. No sign of the dizziness I experienced while trying to workout yesterday. I exchanged some emails about the dizziness with some of the elite of the fitness blogosphere. :-) I think they got me pointed in the right direction when Marc asked if I was on any medications. I do take Zestoretic for high blood pressure although I've been meaning to check with the doctor to see if I can cut back or eliminate it. Before my home BP monitor quit working, I would often get readings of 100/65 or lower. Recently I was put on another medication called Hytrin to help with my (borrowing from the commercials) "male urinary symptoms." The label says to take one before bedtime but I kept forgetting. So for the last couple of days I took it in the morning with the rest of my meds. Well I did a little research and found out that the Hytrin is also prescribed to..........lower blood pressure!! I was taking two BP meds in the morning when I'm not convinced at this point that I need to be taking any at all! So I'm back to taking the Hytrin at night when I remember.

I have a doctor's appointment on July 3rd to discuss all this. I'm also going to see if he can do anything for my forehand kill shot!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Abort! Abort!

I was planning on doing my overhead presses and squats today, along with whatever else came to mind after finishing those. The press went fine (3 x 5 x 75lb), and then I tried doing some inverted rows (not ready for those), and then I moved on to my squats. I did one set of 5, and as I racked the bar I started feeling a little dizzy. I immediately sat down on a bench, but the dizziness just got worse. It took a couple minutes for it to subside enough to where I felt safe standing again. I decided the prudent thing was to call it a day. But now I'm left to try to figure out what happened and I really don't know. Perhaps I wasn't breathing properly during the lifts (holding my breath)?? I only had a small serving of yogurt (full fat Greek style) to eat this morning, but I did the same workout last week on a 16 hour fast and felt great. It's now about an hour since it happened and I still feel a little fuzzy-headed. ??????????

Stay-At-Home Workout

I had planned on getting to the gym during lunch yesterday to do some lifting but I had some other things to take care of so it didn't happen. But I didn't skip my workout altogether:


3 miles at good clip
Music provided by Frank Zappa - Apostrophe/Overnight Sensation

Push Ups

4 sets of 8

I thought about doing some kettlebell Clean & Press ladders. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of benefit from thinking about it! :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Something's Fishy

I got back on track with my eating yesterday after my weekend of carbo excess. I added some chunk light tuna to my late lunch salad. It used to be that the only way I would eat tuna would be to mix it with mayo; however, I now like it just plain in the salad. Works great!

My wife called me with a shopping list before I left work. While I was passing the seafood counter at the supermarket, a nice wild sockeye fillet caught my eye and ended up in my basket. So I had that for supper to complete the fish double header!! My Monday Omega-3's are covered!! :-)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday Racquetball - A Streaky Day

I played Neal today and it was a very strange day. I started out on fire and jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first game, but then Neal ran off 11 straight points. But I scored the next 7 to win the game. Again, in the second game, I scored the first 8, then he scored 14!! I then ran off 6 points to tie it and I had a set up to win it, but I skipped the damn ball and lost the game on the next point. I was pretty exhausted after that game and didn't have a lot left for the third. I lost 15-7. This is the third of fourth time in a row that I've lost 2 out of 3 and it's getting a little old. Yes, it was great exercise and it is definitely helping Dave Get Fit, but I want to win one, dammit! :-) Next week!

Crash and Burn - So Much for 90 Day No Cheat

Well, so much for my 90 day no cheat plan. I made it through 39 days just fine but it came to a screeching halt this past Saturday. I went to my son's house for my daughter-in-law's birthday. It started well. I brought my own chunk of grass-fed beef for him to throw on the grill, and he had some grilled veggies as well. I saw the birthday cake they had and I apologized in advance for not eating any. But a couple glasses of wine later I gave in, and ate a couple of fairly big pieces of cake with a little ice cream on the side. Sunday I repeated the whole process again.

So today I embark on the 52-day no cheat plan! I need to add one more stipulation to increase the chances I'll stick to it to the end; namely, no more than one glass of wine in the evening. There is definitely a pattern where I get a get a bit of a buzz from the wine, and the next thing you know I have the damn munchies (must be left over conditioning from the 70s). So I will limit myself to sharing one small glass with my wife during our late evening porch-sitting session, but no more. And after that, I'm going to go straight into my brushing and flossing routine. That has helped me in the past to cement the idea that the end of the eating day has passed. Once I reach my target weight, I will probably throw in a monthly indulgence day. Mark Sisson even suggested something like that in one of his posts. I'll have a bowl of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla and not worry about it. But for now I really want to stay on track and try to get close to the 190lb mark by the end of July. My rate of loss over the last couple of months says that I wont get there, but I at least want to make good progress towards that goal.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Boogie Golf Times Two

The base course ran a special this weekend - half price for retired military. So I kept my punch card in my wallet, and paid for rounds on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday I played two different games. On the front side, I looked like I knew what I was doing. I had four pars and one double, and that included two putts that did a 90 degree lip out. I was pushing my full swing a little right, but I did very well using my 8-iron around the greens. But once I crossed the four lane street that separates the front from the back, it was another story. I think I had one, maybe two bogeys-everything else was a double or worse. Most of the problem was with my full swing. I don't know what I was doing different but I topped a couple, swung right under the ball in some deep grass, and hit a couple duck hooks. Puzzling!

Today was much more balanced. I had three pars on each side, putted well, and even sunk a chip shot from ten yards off the green. I still hit some stinkers but they were spread out.

The best thing, of course, is that I walked 36 holes and got a lot of great exercise! The bad news is that it might be my last round for a couple weeks. Next weekend I have a very large swim meet to officiate, and the following weekend I'll be traveling.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Metal Day

I was going to title this "Heavy Metal" but I decided it probably wasn't appropriate in my case! :-)


5 x 185lbs
3 sets

Rack Pulls
5 x 185lbs

Overhead Press
5 x 75lbs
2.4 sets


Squats went well but after looking a little closer I don't know if I'm getting past parallel--maybe just a tad. I can certainly squat Asian style (I've had to use "bomb site" plumbing in Thailand) but it's a different story with that weight on my back. I really need to see a qualified trainer one of these days.

I saw a post on rack pulls as an alternative to dead lifts and thought I'd try them. After one set I had a bad feeling about my form. See note above about a qualified trainer.

I used the same weight for the press that I used Tuesday, but this time I failed on the third rep in the last set. Don't know why but I guess it falls under "feces occurs."

I was planning on doing this on an empty stomach today. I wasn't going to do a 20 hour IF like I had earlier in the week but just enough to get the workout in. But just as Grok probably got lucky when a boar accidently came close to his camp in the morning, I stumbled upon some eggs and sausage cooked up by my boss for the crew. Fasting plans aborted! :-)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thursday Racquetball -- I Take a Whuppin'

Played Ron today. I played fairly well in the first game and we were tied at 11 before he closed it out. Then he cranked up his serve a bit, and I played poorly and ended up getting a goose egg. Getting shut out is not fun. I got things going a little bit in the last game and managed to score six points. A lot more unforced errors -- very frustrating. But I just have to focus on my main reason for being out there. This is my "interval" training and I had a great one!!

Yesterday was an easy day. I went to the gym at lunch with the intention of walking on the treadmill for 30-40 minutes but I ended up watching one of the new instructors giving some of the other staff members and introduction to using hard foam rollers. This new guy seems pretty sharp and worked previously at the Cooper clinic. I did manage to do some plank work before going back to work. I did sets of 30 seconds with 10 second rest periods--three each per side/front. Gonna get me some abs!! :-)

I don't think I mentioned earlier that I did a 20 hours Intermittant Fast on Tuesday. I finished my last meal around 7pm Monday and didn't eat again until 3:30 Tuesday. I plan on hitting the weights tomorrow on an empty stomach around 11am but I'll probably eat around 1:30.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lifting at Lunch

Good lunch time workout today!

3 x 5 @ 185lbs

Overhead Press
3 x 5 @ 75lbs

3 each of Front and both Sides
30 secs with 20 sec recovery

Push Ups
5 sets of 5

Squats went well--every one past parallel.

I almost didn't get the last press locked out but I did get it.

The planks are hard!! I read an article which called for doing these in two-minute increments. I was shaking at 30 seconds. I'm going to do these as sets of four so I'll get the two minutes worth of work, but I'll try to gradually reduce the recovery time.

I thought I'd try treating a push up like any other strength exercise. I recovered between 60 and 90 seconds between sets. I failed on the fourth rep of set #5.

Good work!!!

Information Overload

I just counted the health/fitness blogs that reside as subscriptions on my iGoogle home page. The number is sixteen. Plus I hit a few more that are linked from other sites from time to time. In some cases, a lot of the information is repetitious and the respective bloggers are in agreement with each other. In other cases, there are several different views on what is the optimum thing is to eat or exercise to do. I find it all very fascinating and it's also motivational. But on the other hand, it can be very confusing. What does one believe or act upon when the advice is contradictory?
I'm in pretty good shape when it comes to my beliefs in diet. The folks I read are in agreement for the most part. I eat meat, leafy and cruciferous vegetables, some fruit and nuts, and eggs. I don't fear fat. One area where there is some disagreement is over dairy. I fall somewhere in the middle in that I do eat full-fat Greek-style yogurt and also use butter from time to time. So I'm ok on that front--no great struggles. I'm also ok with the general blueprint for exercise. I mix up some high intensity work with low intensity cardio and resistance exercise. The part of that equation where I struggle is the last one. There are so many widely varied opinions on what to do in the weight room that I'm not sure what the best course is for me. Do I do the low reps/heavy weight, or high reps/lower weight, or pyramids, or whatever. I've flip flopped a couple times from doing the hierarchal sets prescribed by Art Devany, and the 3x5 routines of Mark Rippetoe. I finally cried for help by way of a comment on Mike O'Donnell's blog and his answer was: "Do both!" Well, hell--that settles that!! I'm starting from such a low point (especially my upper body) that I guess it really doesn't matter a whole lot at this point. I'm going to make some gains no matter what I do. So I think I finally have a plan which is: be random. I'g going to continue to do 3x5 (or 4x5 or 5x5) and then throw in some Devany-type pyramids in when I feel like it and see where it takes me. I'll lean more towards the lower rep stuff because my reading indicates that is better for achieving the lean, hard look I want (as opposed to "getting big").

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday Racquetball - Unforced Errors

Very frustrating day on the racquetball court. I fell behind 6-1 in the first game (against Neal) but fought back and served for the win at 14-11. I ended up losing the game. Twice I had set-ups for the game winner but each time I hit terrible shots. That spilled over into the second game where I repeatedly made unforced errors such as clipping a side wall when all I needed was a simple passing shot to win. Or when I made the right decision to hit a defensive shot, but then hit it poorly and set up my opponent. Aaargghh! The only silver lining was that I won the last game which is just the opposite of what normally happens. Actually, there's another silver lining--I got a great workout!!

I did well on my "no cheat" program over the weekend. I officitated a swim meet where there were lots of baked goodies for the taking; however, I stuck to the insides of breakfast tacos and some beef and vegetables.