What happened?!?

What happened?!?

I was into working out... what like 7 years ago and eventually dropped down to 183 lbs. I then hovered in the 190s and slowly, subtly, and totally fell away from the gym. I only had the excuse that my life became too busy. Considering everybody has a busy life this simply is a lame excuse. It has been a good solid year since I went to a gym! You can imagine I feel terrible.

Ok enough kicking myself. The good news is I am back and though all those gains (losses) are gone (with my hairline) whining about it will not get them back (nor my hair). It was a humbling first week (just to accept how weak I had become) but a better second week (showed up! and cardio improved) and a decent third week (slowing going up in weights and starting to feel like I belong). There have been other pluses. One I think clearer and two I just feel better. My energy at work is improved and sleep is solid (this is a great blessing as all insomniacs know).

I am not getting too giddy. Like so much of my life it is all a day at a time. I missed last week for my second job was extra busy but the schedule has slackened. I am back at it. I have already planned out my chest workout for tomorrow. I am looking forward to it. A person can not expect more than that reality. No matter how long you have been doing the deal if your motivated to hit it again tomorrow your there!

U S Post Office prohibiting clean eating!

Arrrrrrgggggghhhhh! I am annoyed! I ordered a recipe book that everyone here loves on "Clean Eating". It should of been here quite awhile ago and yet somehow it was last seen in PA on Jan 6. Why are my plans always hampered not by my desire but by the error of others? Ok maybe it is not an error per se just incompetence. All I want is to eat clean it is very important as you all know. Why is the USPS against me?!?! Oh the drama! I have been doing the best I can without but I know my diet can be improved and well I need fresh recipes for I am a very literal person. I can do much better with said book. One day it will get here and then yummy clean eating time. Other then that set back training has been steady. My left shoulder/back/chest area has been sore but seems to be ok once it warms up with lighter weights. This sorta worries me but I just keep thinking it is nothing and hope for the best. On a more positive note the cardio seems to be doing better for me now that me and the workout partner have switched to running on a thread mill (seperate ones). I have been trying to do HIT with it and for the most part have been successful with switching from minute to minute. I believe my high level could be higher but don't want to do too much just yet for I am still getting used to the machine. In a couple weeks I figure I will be blazing. Hopefully faster then the snail mail. Peace.  

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I am sometimes too dense for human kind.

Ok so I have been drinking tea of all sorts as of late, but with the coming of the new year I want to get a lower bodyfat and that calls for the good old green tea. Green tea is an acquired taste to say the least for it has a sweet aftertaste that is different then regular teas. I went for the longest time drinking just plain green tea and forced my self to get used to this oddness. A rather pointless effort for the best tasting green tea is this flavor from Good Earth:
Best green tea It is a decent tasting tea a little citrusy and less weird then most. Supposedly green tea helps burn fat. I do not know if this is true but I believe it is better then drinking other beverages. All things considered it does not seem to be a negative effect on my diet so I drink the heck out of it (or used to and I lost 50 pounds during that era of training). I suppose drinking straight green tea and not opening my mind to maybe trying the flavored kind for it might go down easier would be dense enough to put me down like a rabid dog (it took me about eight months to try a flavored kind) but no I have struck a new level of density. One of the benefits of drinking green tea is is that you can get about 5 steepings out of each bag. I work at a hotel and our coffee pot has a hot water tap that gives you boiling water instantly. I usually have 5 cups ready at the begining of my shift and fill the first steep, fill the second and so on until all five cups are ready to go. This is my green tea ritual that I have done for the last three years. It dawned on me tonight that instead of using 5 cups I could just use a pitcher for the tea and let it steep in it thus saving me quite abit of time and effort. All I can say is I am glad I train with someone for god only knows what odd thing I may of been doing in training that would of been so dense it would of took on a mythical standing. Here's to small miracles.

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I work over night incase you thought I was overtly obsessed!

I work over night at a hotel. It is a good job and works well for a guy who works out hard and guys like me who workout somewhat hard. I suppose it may be baffling to receive many of my comments and msgs for the time on them is the wee dark hours. Well folks fear not I am mostly normal though at times the old Richard Thompson song Shoot Out the Lights reverberates in my head: In the dark, who can see his face? In the dark, who can reach him? He hides like a child. He hides like a child. Keeps his finger on the trigger You know he can't stand the day Shoot out the lights. Shoot out the lights Keep the blind down on the window Ah, keep the pain on the inside Just watching the dark. Just watching the dark Ah he might laugh but you won't see him As he thunders through the night Shoot out the lights. Shoot out the lights In the darkness the shadows move In the darkness the game is real Real as a gun. Real as a gun As he watches the lights of the city And he moves through the night Shoot out the lights. Shoot out the lights Shoot out the lights. Ah, shoot out the lights Well ok just the part about watching the dark kinda boring here. Trust me I don't even own a gun but any chance to spread the lyrics of Richard Thompson to the masses make me happy. Anyway dawn is coming here on this freezing rain filled night. I am grateful for this site for it was so quiet even that song seems cheery to me. Enough will actually post something worthy next time. 

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What to eat with my tea? What do they do in the UK? Healthy cookies?

I am begining to realize that my workouts are consistant and challenging, but my diet is often lacking. I was doing pretty good lately sticking to mostly clean eating (cooking at home) and knocking out carbs and fat. Then a friend got back from a trip from Ireland. He and his wife gave me a few gifts one that was sort of a joke (the tea bags that were in their hotel room). I have had Irish Breakfast tea before but only in loose form and got out of drinking it because of the hassel.  These being bags made the process a bit quicker and add a touch of milk and wa la a nice heavenly brew on a cold winter's night. I went and order some and found the best one to my taste Barry's in this cool box:
200 hundred tea bags I did not know if I needed 200 bags but what the heck it makes my apartment look like a bed and breakfast place. The problem is what to eat with this? Soda bread, cookies, tea biscuits (cookies basically but less sweet) all carb heavy. I suppose fruit spread on my double fiber bread is a option but I thought maybe query here for someone may know of a healthy snacky cake/cookie.  Apprecaite any help.

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Computer program to track fitness?

Hello all how goes the world? I am doing pretty good here with my working out schedules. I have not posted on here for I went through a period of intense fatigue for a couple months. I do not know what caused it except possible training pretty hard and not resting enough. I do not really know but am glad it is over. Currently I have made strength gains accross the board and I suppose am entering a higher phase of training over the next 6 months (I am sure the workout partner will let me know). All this is good and well but I wanted to track past workouts and of course the new ones and just can not cope with this site's workout tracker. My question is what program do you use? I down loaded Evenfit and the trial version of Weightmania Pro. I really do not want to pay the extra for Weightmania Pro but if it is what everyonelse is using well hey I'll follow the heard. The only difference I could see is I could track calorie intake with Weightmania Pro and believe it or not I am not that obsessive (ok maybe I am but I can still be lazy with diet). Anyway I hope someone responds to this and or maybe somebody has already reviewed these products either way point me in the right direction.

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Bicycling with backpack

I am for the most part a broke guy. It is a trade off. I have a lax job which allows me to do the things I want to do with little to no stress (hell I post all these blogs while at work). Chief want right now is to workout like there is no tomorrow. I love it throughly and need it more then want it but I digress. The down side is other wants I have are often kept minimal on my budget. It really is ok most of the time for I keep setting bigger and better goals with the working out and that progress often dwarfs other wants. Ok so everything is just one blissful kumbuyah in my world? I am a sorry to say no, oh dear, dear no. The last few months have been trying. Fact is that necessities are pushing my wants into a smaller and smaller area in my existence. Until all work and no play makes Augie a dull boy. Now I know everyone is going on and on about the price of gasoline and I can add my two cents but what the heck no one enjoys $4.00 a gallon gas which soon will $5.00 before the end of summer. It does for some reason naw more so on me. This is a little unsettling for I am the laid back guy with no compare, but every time I get to the pump it just makes me irate. It finally dawned on me why and it was more then the obvious screwing up my budget reason. It was the feeling of dire helplessness that I was experiancing. A feeling which I lived with daily for 20 odd years until it was vanquished with weightlifting and proper diet. Now just like then I had to make a change though it would have to be with finance or transportation. Long story short I really like my lax job so time to consider the bicycle. I used to bike and really enjoyed it. I even biked across Missouri over a couple weeks on the KATY trail which I recommend. I then made a change for the worse. I moved back to southern Illinois and did not want to die from some hapless motorist slamming into me. People just did not look for bicyclists so I sadly quit and this is when I really gained weight for I kept the high carb diet. I then made a change for the better. I returned to Springfield, Illinois.  I wanted to get back into biking but found several reasons not to including eventually why bother I do cardio at the gym, yet I did miss it and thought it'd be good to do both as to keep the old metabolism running high. This last weekend the car needed some repair and I was in no hurry to work on it for my bike was just sitting there unused. I often wonder why I do not make time for things I know in the past gave me joy. I mean what is not to like? You move at a a reasonable pace, get to see more beauty of the world (even if it is Springfield) for it is moving by slower (smells included), it beats walking, you look impressive on a $300.00 bike compared to your $300.00 car, it is green, you burn calories, you have a clear conscience about not affecting the price of gas, sundress wearing girls dig ya, it relieves stress, and it feels good to go by the gas pumps with no concearn (heavy horses in my legs). Toss on the backpack and I am going to do research, laundry, surf the net, off to work, hit the gym or whatever I decide. I also noticed that I began to care less and less about the price of gas and hey I can still use the car but why drive it everywhere? I just felt a need to post this for maybe you are going through the same thing and felt helpless at the pump. I suggest you use a little of that can do lifting attitude and apply it to life.

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Setting Goals, Body Building, and Dating

The title of this post pretty well surmises my life over the last two years. I had several odd ideas about all three topics. First off I never set goals in any facet of my life. I did accomplish a few things but I pretty much had an inner expectation to do certain things. I wanted to serve in the military, go to college and get a degree, and wanted be happy in living out my life. I can not say it was that the first two were a challenge that were internally set. I do not mean to say that Marine Corps bootcamp was easy. I'd have to say it was the most traumatic physical activity I ever endured. It just happened too fast for me to comprehend that I had anything to do with the accomplishments and I did not have much (correction any) of a choice in the efforts. If they would of seriously asked do you just want to give up and head home I would of said yes... well at least during the begining of the process. College was an amazing experiance after the Marine Corps almost felt like bizzaro world. I could of chose to make some internal goals for myself but I just did the bare minimum to get by with a decent grade point average. I majored in History and this was mainly for the fact that I am able to memorize large amounts of data. It wasn't always easy but it was the easiest path I could of took for my talents. The following 12 years of my life I just got by in all areas of it. I just figured there was not much point in trying. Why? I do not really know. I also do not really know why I went against every fiber in my nature in September 2006 and started setting goals for weight loss. I suppose I finally cut through all the lies I told myself of why I am alone and unhappy. I also felt like for once I could change my physical condition and really I got the idea from reading
The Road Less Traveled. I really only remember one section from the book and it is when the author makes the comment to his neighbor who is working on a car that he just can not work on vehicles. His neighbor looks up at him and says, "You can fix your car it just that you do not want to give it the time." I wanted to change my life for years but I just did not want to give it the effort and the time that was needed. It did take alot of both but to be honest I wasn't doing much. I read up on nutrition and working out. I actually asked questions at the gym that I got a membership at and applied several suggestions to my workout. I also began to set goals, reached them, and set new ones. I was given an Ipod and drowned out the pain/monotony of cardio workouts that needed all the drowning I could muster. I actually thought about food portions and began reading food labels. I bought fresh veggies and considered eating dried flower arrangements to get more fiber in my diet at resturants (which I pretty well quit eating out for nothing is healthy on the menu). I changed my life and it continues to change for the better. I was getting results and I was happy living out my life. Friends that knew me for decades as an overweight slob were baffled and gave alotta that a boys, but as nice as the praise of friends and family there was a much better method to measure success. It was subtle at first but I began to get checked out by the ladies (Ok I did not realize it was even happening but I kept feeling eyes upon me like I was shoplifting... sorry had a sorted youth). This began with the ones that knew me prior in my life and then by just regular ladies who I suppose I struck their fancy as they say (like gramps would say). Then came the dating about a year ago and well the good news was I kept working out though it was nice to have something to do on Saturday night (gym is closed). I am learning this dating thing and well though my mistakes are plentiful and glaring I am grateful for the perks and what a great thing to make mistakes at. It beats sitting at home alone watching tv. I remember someone telling me that life does not have a destination where you finally arrive but instead it is the journey that is life's reward. I flat out did not believe him but now I am coming around to that outlook. I put in more effort into life and have begun setting goals with improving my job, interacting with my loved ones, and getting a hold of my finances. It is a gradual process but we all have to start somewhere.  My body building goals are to get to the point that my physical attractiveness will overwhelm all the bonehead things I do and say on these new fangled dates. It is a lofty goal but trust me it is needed for it should keep working out forever and that will keep me happy.

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So a man walks up to a bar... Pullups.

Bodybuilding is a funny thing to me. What I used to dread with a capital "D" I now look forward to with a maniacal desire with a capital "M". Nothing was more dreadful then when my buddy/trainer/spotter Steve said we need to start doing pullups. "You mean chinups... the other day I was talking chinups read about em in..." "We can do them too but pullups are essentially blah blah blah....." I blocked the old boy out of my mind. Essentially I will look like a nimrod for pullups are hard. When I was 18 in the Marine Corps I could only do 15 and that was after working out everyday of my life for three months now I do not want to even think about it. This conversation came up after a 8 months of working out (mainly cardio) and was begining to get some dignity. I thought those days of being so out of shape that people can not help but notice the struggling guy that is me in all my sweaty glory were over. "Blah blah don't worry I'll assist you." "Couldn't we use the weighted lift pad." "We'll make more progress without it even if I have to lift you for all of the reps." Great 4 sets of ten with a guy pushing me by the feet and then 4 sets of ten chinups with more of the same thanks to being wore out from the pullups. How can I get out of this? Luckily old Steve must of knew what I was thinking. "You'll progress look at dips." Well he had a point there I could do 1 when I began those. No not one set but one as in are you kidding me one?!?!? I then thought I hurt my arm which Steve did not think that was possible with "such small of an effort" (actual quote). He let me slide that day then next week he assisted me lifting my feet for almost every one. It sucked and I simply hated arm day for after working the biceps then came the tricep routine which meant dips and assistance. My arms felt numb and would not work right at the finer things. Writing, scratching my face, turning a doorknob, or even opening the tooth paste tube sorta was impossible first couple hours after Friday workouts. I suppose people thought I was drunk (leg day would be two days before so walking was unique as well). All and all I could care less for most of my efforts were to get me home and to sleep for I was exhausted. All of this info was pointless now for I did improve and it did not seem to take too long (though I would often cheat abit by leaning forward and working the chest or not going far enough down but oh well it was a dip in my book and eventually my form would improve) so ok I'll follow your little workout plan with the pullups and chinups. Thank god for working out. I suppose somethings loom large in my mind but my body is often in better shape then my thinking. It was not easy doing pullups but it was not too bad (see dips) and even Steve needed some assistance. I would be woreout after back day but things did improve rather quickly and at least I was not way out of shape when I began. The shocking thing was chinups were pretty easy and after a very short time I was doing those unassisted. Today things are great with back day. I have to give credit to old buddy Steve for insisting on the inclusion of both chinups and pullups and his method of doing all the sets with out a weighted method (clip to chest harness or knees on pad) to assist. Now I do all sets unassisted and I do my best to tear the fricking bar off the stand aka 'cuse me while I kiss the sky.... play it Jimi!!!! Upon reflection it seems the the harder you push yourself the more you will be rewarded. There will be more and more things that I do not want to do simply because they appear insane but I suppose I am willing today based on past success. Never say never actually means something to me today and for that I am grateful.

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Reflections on turning 40

I was at work the other morning waiting for my relief to come on and the only thing I could think of was the line or two from David Lee Roth before the Van Halen song
Hot for Teacher. You know the part where Eddie is twidling on the main guitar riff and David Lee ab libs, "I don't feel tardy." I suppose that is sorta how I feel about turning 40.
I don't feel forty. A good point is that no I do not listen to Van Halen much but my Ipod is instead loaded with Sublime, The White Stripes, Shiny Toy Guns, Wilco, TV on the Radio and the like. I suppose I believed when I was a kid that forty year olds just listened to Paul Anka and were busy yelling at the neighbor kids to get out of their yard. I suppose it is a blessing to feel more at ease talking to those younger then me then those older, but it is a bigger blessing that I feel I have more in common with the youth. Some of this youthful outlook is great. I love working out. Most folks my age seem to be less fit and as time goes on just give up being healthy. What started as weight loss morphed into weight training and now is taking on new avenues of fitness. I Loved bicycling into work the last few days and flipping off the gas sign on the way. I plan to do this until late fall (gas sign flipage contingent on future gas prices), but who knows we may have a mild winter. The point is that I am in the best physical shape of my life and I plan to improve to a higher excellence as time goes on and that is not the thinking of an old man. The down side was I could of accomplished much more if I was not so immature in other areas of my life. My youth was not filled with sex, drugs, and rock and roll but two out of three ain't bad. I would of took them all but their is no accounting for taste in the fairer sex. It is sorta silly to look back with regret. I mean the first time I benched four sets of 10 I did the bar alone. The next week I improved. We all start somewhere and when we start is different for all of us. Why did I wait until 38 to get healthy? The only thing I can come up with was I was resting from what I thought was an overwhelming life. Now I workout to get more from life. All and all it is a beautiful life. Their is plenty of things to work on but I suppose I feel rested and ready for the challenge. I keep my eyes open for the wonder and never say never. It is like Dylan sang, "Ah, but I was so much older then I'm younger then that now."

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Discovered cure for muscle pain!!!

So I had a great workout on Friday. It was shoulder day which usually causes quite abit of pain on my old bones. Steve my friend that I work out with was back after a week with the flu and I was back after a week off tile grouting and what not as a second job. Long story short it was a light workout, yet as par for shoulder day I was very sore at the end.  One of the gals that works at the gym also is going to the local cosmetology school for massage therapy. I know your thinking big deal you went and got a massage. Your lil shoulder muscles feel better. Thanks for the enlightenment. Well nothing is that easy for a neurotic like myself.  I do want to get massages after my tough workouts but well there are a few problems. Ok first I worry about what people think about me. I have improved weight wise but I feel I need much more muscle developement. The other problem is actually about a thousand some problems called hair. I have alot of hair. It covers my chest, back, arms and well I do not need to go into the hairy details (hehe heh har har). I am working on improving my muscles every week. I know it will take time to be more ripped, bigger and stronger but the hair well it was time to take action. I went to the cosmo school filled out the paper work and waited like 2 minutes. I suppose the lack of a wait was to avoid a person coming to their senses. I mean I did see the
Forty Year Old Virgin. I knew it would be a tad painful but hey I have a tattoo, and come on I lift weights it can't be much worse. The gal introduced herself as Ashley and was a very professionsal aestethic? Ashley took me back and asked me what I wanted done today and after a lil reflection I said chest. This prolonged the wait for she had to get more strips. I was cool with that for hey I was laying down all cozy resting my sore shoulders. When she got back she informed me that she did not get too many chest request well to be honest I was her first. I was begining to worry a little for no one has ever requested this? "Oh did you just start?" I queried. "No, I have been here awhile. Mostly guys get their backs done." The silence that hung in the air was thick as the wax on her hot plate. All I could think was why but before I could say wait stop I felt the warm liquid smeer on the middle of my upper chest. Is this how it starts? Does one stand at the alter with reservations about the impending marriage that will end ever so badly. The vehicle has a strange knock but well you did not have time to check it out before your vacation. You walk into the bar that looks a little rough but you figure how bad could it be. How bad could it be? This was my last thought before the strip was ripped up. Pretty bad of course was the answer. First one indeed!!! I could see that and just when I thought well I get used to it. Rrrrrripppph the next strip closer to my stomach then rrrrrippph the one over my navel yooouuuch!!!! "It is usually pretty tender around the stomach." "I can vouch for that it is very tender." I panted. There was a look of concearn on old Ashley's face and then she said, "I'll be right back." Which as tender as the center of my chest felt it looked much worse. Like some road swatted and burned out of the dense jungle. Is she quitting? Just fed up with the hair and going back to waitressing? Will I have to go around like this waiting for it to fill in? No, Ashley returned with her intructor and got some sage advice on her first chest. I did not know that you pulled with the direction of the hair. Still hurts like a *@&%&*:"!! but it comes up better. I never thought of that. There are many micro hairs that are being pulled up as well and so will be less painful next time. Also it is important to use the hard hotter wax around the tough spots (those would be my nipples). "You know maybe it would be better to say firm wax compared to hard/hotter." "Well I suppose it does sound less threatening." "Yeah firm seems like it maight not be that hot nor hard. This is my skin underneath here." The instructor nodded but she also gave that look. It was the look past girlfriends have shot at me in my moments of suffering and one that I do not have time to explain here. This article is after all taking as long as the waxing which was about an hour. It is three days later and I am glad I had it done for it will help to be able to see what areas I need to work on and any improvements that will eventually occur. I also found the cure for shoulder muscle pain is simply waxing my chest. I couldn't feel my chest for about a day but I did notice the pain in my shoulders was unnoticed by my sensory nervous system. Somewhere in a laboratory a beeker is accidentally spilled and a cure found.

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Barley Salad

I was going through a fine food magazine and came across this recipe. I used to always eat pasta and or rice back when I was majorly over weight. I still try not to eat much refined starch and instead eat brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread. I do not know the numbers on this salad but you know what it tasted pretty good and barley is a whole grain so I figure that is a good carb. All the other items in the salad seem to be good for you as well so here goes.

1 1/4 cup pearled barley

1 cup walnuts

3 tbsp lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove minced

1/2 tea lemon zest

1 cup flat leaf parsley fine chop

4 oz ricotta cheese

First pre heat the oven to 350. Once oven is at 350 take walnuts spread on a baking sheet and toast (be careful not to burn them if your oven heats hot) and set aside, cool, and chop.

Boil say two cups of water add barley reduce heat so barley is boiling but at a controled level. Cook barley for 25 minutes until tender. Drain in a fine colander and rince in cold water until cool and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Add barley, chopped parsley, and walnuts and toss well. Mix in ricotta cheese with a fork so that it is all one big happy meal. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so and enjoy. I will say that as tasty as this stuff is it does not seem to good after a couple days so hey tell your sweety your gonna cook for them. I plan to use it as a side whenever I serve fish. Let me know if you like it.

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How much sleep is enough???

I was wondering in general how much sleep is enough. I was away from my routine for a couple weeks being sick and needing to do a side job with a friend. This week I began lifting as par for the week and noticed two good things. One my strength while lifting did not seem to go down. Secondly, I have been sleeping solid and deep which is a very good thing for prior to that I was getting 5 hours with me waking up in the middle to use the bathroom or just wake up for no good reason. This begs the question how much sleep do you need through your lifting week. When I was sleeping 5 hours during the week I seemed to have enough energy matter of fact it did appear like I had plenty. Is this something that occurs with constant lifting? I should note that I do work overnight at my job from 11 pm to 7 am so maybe that is the real culprit in sleeping only five hours but I'd like to hear from others on this question.

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Finally done with the side job

I needed cash and well when push comes to shoves I get pushing. I have a friend who does tile work and he needed a hand. The first couple days were easy money for me but then we got down to grouting tile. I know your saying what is so hard about that? Well for one it was in the YMCA's sauna room. Two the YMCA in Springfield is an old building and though they have excellent facilities it can be abit humid and hot (we were located between the showers and the whirlpool). Three and most importantly it was all overhead work. So I am sorta sore though not too exhausted. It was in part a good workout. Sorta like doing yoga with mud splattering on your body (if your lucky) and your face (if not). The good news is that though it interrupted my workouts (only so many hours in the day) I did seem to loose some weight. I had a good chest workout today so I suppose I did not miss too much but nonetheless grateful to be back to the routine.

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That horse can kick!

Well I am back at the gym though barely. I was pretty sick in the sense that I just felt weak. I am better now and looking forward to pullups later today as well as cardio. My weight did a ridiculous spike up over the 5 days I was ill. It is back down but will need to keep dropping. This was sorta temporary kick in the teeth but it is all good. I still have not doubled up on my cardio but will do my usual today on the stair machine for 30 minutes. I then gotta do some tile grouting with a buddy for a lil extra cash then off to my overnight job. I plan to borrow my camera that I sold the tile buddy to get a few new pics up tonight. They will not be the best quality but will give me an idea of where I came from and where I am heading aka motivation. I have a sweet gal friend (one of my used women) gonna take some better one's this weekend so hopefully that will keep me on my diet and fleet of foot.

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