New toys, training like a Viking and the beginning of my 2nd coaching session

June 18, 2011

My first session of distance coaching with Sandy Sommer has some to an end. I’d definitely call it a success. I dropped a few lbs, deadlifted 250 pounds (never done that before, EVER) and my clothes are fitting better.

The program was simple. It was a mix of kettlebells, freeweights a little bit of my chinup bar and my jumprope. 4 times a week. None of the workouts were more than 30 minutes, except for the last few swing/jumprope supersets. Simple isn’t always easy, however. They were challenging to say the least.

I’m starting round 2 with him. There is going to be an emphasis on conditioning while maintaining my strength. Also I’ll be paying more attention to joint mobility. So important once you round 4o. I’d say if you pay more attention to it while you’re in your 20′s and 30′s, you won’t have to concentrate so much on it while you hit the big four-oh. Said another way, mobility, and fitness, is easier to keep and maintain than it is to get back.

That’s where the new toys come in. To improve my conditioning, I’ll be spending more time on the mVO2 protocol outlined in Viking Warrior Conditioning. I did that in round 1, but only once a week. My first week has 3 sessions. YIPE. This is where the first of my toys come in to play. I’ve recently bought a Polar heart rate monitor to see just how hard I’m working and how hard the mVO2 protocol will be working me. I actually got the idea from one of the kettlebell guys I follow on facebook, Faizal Enu. He owns Bayshore Kettlebells. I liked his thoughts on them, so since I’m about to test the upper limits of my CV system, I figured it would be fun to track. Check his blog out, he’s the real deal.

Toy #2 – this one is a simple one. Lacrosse balls. Sandy turned me on to a great mobility site, Mobility WOD. Kelly Starett, DPT runs this site and has excellent ways to keep loose and “supple like a leopard”. His words, not mine :) Anyhoo….. back to the lacrosse balls. Both gentlemen recommended them for trigger point release, or, in a simpler terms, to get to those deep knots that we all have living in our backs and necks, and who knows where. They’re cheap and easy to use. I have some shoulder mobility issues. The first day using the balls, I found a NASTY knot that I believe will help solve some of the problems in my left shoulder. It may not totally fix it, but I can already feel an improvement. I’ve been using a foam roller to help with those spots, but the lacrosse balls really target those tough spots.

One last thing, I’ve got my semiannual doctors visit on Tuesday. Bloodwork was drawn last week. I’ll be interested to see how my cholesterol and other important numbers are looking.


Cycling, good for the body and mind

January 4, 2011

I finally got back on my bike again today, 8 miles in about 38 minutes. It was nice, therapetic, and none to soon since I’ve got a 5k run and 10 or 30 mile ride in 5 weeks…

I rode in the Hotter N Hell 100 in Aug of 2009. I don’t know if I got burned out training so much for it, or since my baby girl was born less than a month later, but I stopped riding almost completely. I did a 20 mile ride and 5k run last year, the same one I’m getting ready for now.

The nice thing about it was, it wasn’t near as painful as I thought it would be. I’m thinking that my Kettlebell training has given me a decent fitness base. I really love those things….  I’m still trying to figure out my training for 2011. I guess I need to write down my fitness goals and construct a program from there.

Here are my fitness goals for now

1. Do 5 strict pullups – from last year. However, I had hernia surgery in late july and didn’t pullup any until recently

2. Run a 5k nonstop – didn’t do that last year, was close, but never did it.

3. Deadlift my bodyweight. Currently 199lbs. Or it was when I weighed 12/30. I’m sure this will be adjusted as my I continue to train with the weight set Santa brought me for Christmas. Currently I can do 135 for sets of 10. I want to groove this and move up slowly. I’ve never had a good deadlift.

4. Get to and under 185lbs. I’m more concerned with body comp, but I think this would be a good weight for me. I got close just after my surgery, 190, but slacked off and hit a few lbs above 200. I think I’ve reversed the trend.

5. Last but not least. Be VERY conscious of what I eat. I just picked up The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. I doubt I’ll go complete paleo, but I plan to incorporate some of the principles. What I’ve taken from the book so far is

     a. Eat lean protein

     b. Cut the carbs down as much as possible

     c. Eat more veggies and fruits – thanks mom!

     d. Some fats, in moderation, are good

     e. If it comes in a box, don’t eat it

     f. MOVE, MOVE, MOVE

If I can do the above 5 things 80% of the time, I believe I’ll hit my fitness goals. After an epic fail last night involving a GIANT piece of bundt cake, I need to print out a-f and staple them to my forehead….

All I know is I need to incorporate cycling and running back into my training regimen. It’s just too good not to do. Like I said, it’s good for the body and mind. Cheap therapy, well it can be depending on what you ride.

2011 is almost here, time to regroup

December 28, 2010

Wow, I haven’t made a post since May. Not good. Not that I’m some great fitness guru or anyting with anything new to say, or a great writer; but one thing I’ve learned over the years, and this is from Brian Tracy. “You become what you think about most of the time.”

My fitness has slipped a bit the last few months and I’ll point the finger right to that four letter word we all hate – DIET. How about I call it what it should be, the way I eat. I did have hernia surgery at the end of July, and obviously it effected my workouts, but I’ll hang my slip on what it was, how I ate.

“Focus Grasshopper” as Caine was told often by his Sensei. It’s what I need for 2011 and beyond and not just on my fintess.

I’ve learned a lot during 2010, seen some different ideas on fitness as well and it’s time to put them into practice. I just picked up a book on a different style of eating, “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf. I”m about 40% through it and it makes sense. Will I be able to go complete Paleo? Probably not. Will I be able to take the principles I’ve learned and will learn in it and improve myself physically? I certainly think so.

Take yesterday for example. Now, I’m not finished with the book, but I think I ate well yesterday and here’s what I’ve taken from it so far. Again, nothing new or earthshattering.

  • Eat lean protein
  • Fat (certain types in moderation) is ok
  • Keep the carb intake low
  • Eat your fruits and veggies – Thanks mom!
  • Refined sugar is really bad
  • If it comes out of a box, don’t eat it

Again, I’m sure there is more to it and I’ll learn it as I move through the book. Anyway, I had eggs and sausage for breakfast. snacked on some chocolate covered almonds and jerky throughout the day. Think I had a protein shake for lunch, more jerky then dinner. I cooked up some Talapia and broccolli. What I noticed the most was, as Robb said in the book, was I felt satisfied, but not overly full or bloated or lethargic. Now, after dinner I decided to have a little sweet snack. I got into the small peppermint patties that I got in my stocking. They were small and I had 1 serving, 150 calories. It didn’t make feel like complete crap, but I did notice a bit of a bloated feeling after I ate them. Based on the size of the serving that I had, it shouldn’t have. Maybe there is something to what Robb is on to….

I’ll finish this by saying I will use this blog for what I originally started it for. To keep track of my progress in my fitness and to help me stay focused on my fitness.

Here’s to a great 2011!

Resolution #14 DONE, well half done

March 28, 2010

#14 DONE

Resolution #14 be under 200lbs by 2/28/10 and 185 by 12/31/10.

I finally cracked the 200lb mark for the first time since the Mid 90s. Sad, but true. Achieving a goal is GREAT. Goals are important, managable goals. Good for the psyche, good to be able to check off small victories as we go along.

I seemed to plateau a bit at the holidays. Last year, I held serve, as I did this year, for the most part. I put on a pound or two, but didn’t beat myself up too badly over it. January came out a bit flat with my workouts. I was running some, but I seemed to lack a bit of structure with my fitness. Last year, I went old school in tracking my workouts. I used a pocket calendar. It worked, I could record interesting workouts. Keep track of what I’ve done. Simple.

I didn’t have one to start the new year out, so I went along  just doing this and that. It wasn’t working. Finally I decided to get serious again. I found a training manager on It’s simple, and I’m probably not using it to its fullest potential, but I’m keeping track of my workouts. That was mid February, and I’m still 206 and have 2 weeks to hit my first resolution.

Well, I didn’t make it, but the last week in February, I decided to take my Kettlebell workouts up another notch. I bought a Dragondoor 20kg (44lb) bell. It’s definitely different, but I started swinging it, dusted off my Enter the Kettlebell DVD and proceeded to amp my kettlebell workouts up.

A few thoughts from this

  1. Plan your workouts – Be deliberate in them
  2. Keep track of them
  3. Workout hard and don’t be afraid to lift heavier
  4. Keep the intensity high.
  5. Be conscious of what you eat

That’s the only thing that changed from January to Mid Feb. I started keeping track of my workouts and I upped the intensity of them. And man, I  LOVE that new Kettlebell

I’m going to also be more deliberate with this. Not to brag on myself or solicit comments, though any comments or ideas on how to improve, I’d love to hear. But more of a journal and a centralized place to post some neat workouts that I may come up with.


How go the New Years Resolutions?

January 9, 2010

I’m writing this from my bedroom while I”m watching the Cowboys vs the Eagles playoff game (got outvoted on the big tv).  1st quarter is almost over, it’s 0-0, but let me apologize in advance for any expletives that may slip into this 😉

It’s a new year, full of hope, dreams and resolutions. I’ve made a few, or thought about them at least. One of them is definitley fitness. Don’t want to let the work of the past two years go to waste.

Weather you made a resolution to start an exercise program, improve yours, share your message with others, improve, or be more conscious of your eating (one of mine for sure). It’s important to remember one thing. Don’t beat yourself up if and when you slip up. We’re not perfect, and we won’t be on track 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We can only strive to be. Just like your eating, especially during this time of the year, if you falter, don’t beat yourself up too badly, get back on that horse and RIDE. If you’ve slacked for a few days or weeks, you can’t go back and change it. What you can change is what happens from now forward. Make that change, move forward and succeed!

They say fitness cant really be a “resolution” it’s a lifestyle we need to develop. Goals to set on how many times you’ll work out each week. Things you will or won’t eat every day. Some philosophies say that you have to put yourself first when your health and or fitness is involved. I agree with that, to a point. Fitness needs to be a priority in your daily routine, but sometimes you need to put yourself first, at another time or in a different way.

I’ll give an example. We went to my parents house to celebrate Christmas the week before Christmas actually happened. I’ve been training for a 5k run in February, so I’ve been trying to run on a bit of a schedule. We all know that traveling can wreak havoc on a fitness program (I defer to the above paragraph on missing days). I got in a nice run Thursday, hit the road Friday and tried to get in a workout Saturday. No dice, well I got in a quick one before dinner; burpees, decline pushups and bodyweight squats. Better than nothing, I’d say.  Sunday rolls around and I’m raring to go get a run in. It’s not looking good at all, running was becoming less and less of an option. I’m playing in the back yard with my 4 year old son and suddenly something something caught my eye. It was an old frame for a swing that they have. The swing died, but the frame was still strong.  I swung under one of the ends and was able to get in a nice set of rows. Hmmm, not bad. After that, I got up, did a set of jump squats. Ok, this is working and again, definitely better than nothing. I kept repeating those sets until I’d had enough. I got in two workouts, totally outside of what I had planned, but got them in at least.

Here is the awesome thing about that workout. My son Kenny started doing it with me. Squatting, climbing on the frame as best he can. Hopefully I’m helping him develop good fitness habits early. So I killed two birds with one stone. Got in a good workout and had some great quality time with by boy. Success! The point is, relax, get creative with your workouts when you have to. You never know who will be watching you.

Here is to a healthy and happy 2010!!!

p.s. for more information on the 5k training program I’m rollowing go to it’s great with downloads on iTunes. More on that in a later post.

p.p.s the 2nd quarter is almost over and it’s looking good for the Boys!!! 24-7 Dallas 🙂

Starting a workout program

December 5, 2009

It’s not easy beginning an exercise program. Whether you’re getting back in the saddle or starting from scratch, where to begin can be overwhelming.

Let’s back up 21 months and 45 pounds ago. I’m 250 lbs and STRUGGLING. My eating was completely trashed and I hadn’t exercised consistently in years. I had gotten a grim look into my future the past year and a half with some health problems my Dad developed. I was heading down a slippery slope and had to make changes. Changing your eating habits takes discipline and time, so does developing the habit of exercise. I didn’t get where I was overnight and I wasn’t going to get back overnight either. That is the most important thing to remember. So, I made some small changes. Eat a little less, start making better food choices, and slowly start exercising.

 I picked up a copy of Combat Conditioning™, by Matt Furey. Matt is a HUGE proponent of bodyweight exercises. The big 3 of what is does is the “Royal Court” and involves Hindu (fast paced bodyweight) Squats, Hindu (divebomber) Pushups and a Wrestling Back Bridge. I started a morning routine of the squats, pushups and stretching. Sometimes I’d do the bridge, sometimes I’d use a stability ball for a nice back stretch. Now, I’ll say this, the bridge is tough and should be attempted with caution. For how to do these, you can google them and get good form examples. I’ll say this also, doing the bridge correctly will stretch you from your head to your tailbone.

 Here is the breakdown –

               Squats 15-20

               Divebomber pushups 10

               Stability ball stretch or bridge 1min

Repeat 2-3 times, for a total of 3-4 sets, resting a minute or two between sets

That circuit can be done in less than 15 minutes. It was a start to consistent exercise and I slowly worked up to sets of 30 squats and 20 divebomber pushups. I started seeing results and I wasn’t killing myself to do it. The main reason why exercise programs fail is people expect too much, too soon, try to do too much too quickly and either get too sore or too frustrated, or both. Start slowly and let your body adjust to the new workload.

 That was definitely a beginner’s circuit. It can be taken a bit further.

                20 bodyweight squats

               20 pushups

               30 second plank

               10 jumps

               10 incline pushups

Repeat the circuit, resting as necessary, as many times as you can in 20 minutes. It’s great if you’re traveling and don’t have access to any equipment, or if you just don’t have much time to get to the gym.

One of the main concepts of this blog is to help busy people get the most out of their workout time. A workout like this will use a lot of your large muscle groups with each movement, better known as multi-joint exercises. This means that you can stimulate a lot of your muscle fibers in a short amount of time. An advantage of these types of exercises is that the movements are more applicable in real life as compared to the isolation exercises that most people do in a gym. Oh yeah, they are also more effective at increasing muscle size and strength. Ladies, don’t worry about getting too bulky. With your genetic makeup, most of you will really have to work at getting bulky. Adding a bit of musculature has another nice benefit. It increases your metabolism, so you burn more calories even when not exercising. Check this link from ask Men, multi joint exercises and see what you think.

Back to time, we only have so much of it each day. Think you don’t have the time to go workout, even at home? I would suggest this – Yes, 30-45 minutes of exercise each day is great and necessary. If you don’t have 30  or 40 minutes and can break it up into two 15-20 minute sessions you’ll make some headway, especially if you’re just starting out. Plus, its way better than not working out at all and you can do it like this. Do a circuit like what is outlined above for 10, 12, 15 minutes first thing in the morning, if that’s all the time you have. If you can find another 10 or 15 minutes at the end of the day, then BAM, you’ve got 20 or 30 minutes of exercise time. Plus, if you know you’re only going for 10 or 15 minutes, then you can up the intensity on each session which will take us to another post on High Intensity Intervals and Kettlebells at another time. In short, high intensity training can take your workouts to a different level and mixed into a normal routine can spice it up and keep your workouts fresh.

If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll give the ideas a try and see how it works for you. As always, I appreciate any comments and thoughts you have.

The WHY of why I’m doing this

November 14, 2009

Why am I doing this? Several reasons, really. Most importantly, accountability. Accountability to myself. I’ve spent the last 21 months getting fit (I’ve lost 45 pounds and gone from size 40 jeans to size 34’s) and improving my health. I’m not done yet, but I’m heading in the right direction. It’s a fact that you become what you spend the most time thinking about, so it’s important that my fitness is towards the top of the list of things I think about a lot. Otherwise, I’ll backslide and get back into the shape that I was in at the beginning of 2008. I know, it’s happened before. I cannot let that happen. I won’t do that to my family or myself. I’m also writing this for people like me. New parents, people who travel a lot, or people who want to improve their fitness and don’t have hours to spend in a gym to do it. I’ve learned a lot about fitness over the last 21 months from different sources and I’ll point you towards them and share as many tips and insights that I can to help out. Where I’m going with this is- You don’t have to spend hours in a gym to get the results that you’re looking for. My hope for this blog is that two way traffic happens on it. I’m looking for encouragement and fitness tips. Please feel free to post them and I hope you find them here as well.

Pick a study. Experts say anywhere from 20 -60 minutes a day, 3-7 days a week is essential. That’s a pretty wide range if you look at it. My take on it is do something physical as often as you can. 20 minutes a day 3 days a week is better than nothing. 30 minutes a day 5 days a week is better than 20 minutes/3days a week and so on. You get the picture. The better you plan your workouts, the more likely you will be to have success and reach your fitness goals.

As a Husband to a fantastic wife and Father of 2 wonderful kids, one of them brand new, I don’t have time to drive 20 minutes to the gym, workout for an hour, then drive 20 minutes home. Throw in 10 minutes to get into the gym and 10 minutes to leave the gym and that’s 2 hours. That’s why I turned to working out at home. It’s a 40 minute savings right there, just in drive time. I’ve also changed the way I workout, doing exercises that involve multiple muscle groups, upping the intensity of how I’m training and mostly trying to be more efficient in my workout time. The goal is to get more out of every second that I spend training. I’ve found ways to get in a great workout in less time than it would take me to drive to the gym in Longview and back. I’ll outline a few here and come back to them in other posts.

  1. Kettlebell training – nothing will give you a better workout that builds muscle and skyrockets your heart rate at the same time like kettlebells. They’re awesome – ‘nuff said.
  2. Interval Training – Cardio schmardio. Doing intervals with a your cardio work can produce better results in less time. I learned this from one of the people I get a lot of tips from, Craig Ballantyne. He’s the author of Turbulence Training. It’s an awesome way to work out and get the most out of your time. Click on the above link. You can get some great tips.
  3. Superset training involving large muscle groups. Again, you can incorporate a lot of your muscle groups at one time in your workouts. This can really rev up your metabolism and get you the results you’re looking for.
  4. Endurance events – It’s good to have goals. I’ve rediscovered cycling and rode in several distance events this year. I don’t plan on stopping. Cycling really clears my head. It’s very therapeutic. I’ve also started running. Didn’t ever think I’d say that willingly. I’m doing a 5k in February and another one in May of 2010.

What I’ll start out with is MOST important. It’s also one of my weaknesses, but I’m not alone in this. It’s that four letter word we all fear – DIET. Most people view diet as a verb, an action, something that we go on when we need to drop a few pounds. I think it should be thought of as a description, a way of fueling ourselves, how we eat. I think that can give us more control over what we eat, rather than having our food control us.

I’ll put this post. It’s a you tube video from Craig Ballantyne. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, but it a stunning picture of just how important diet can be. It shows how you cannot out train a bad diet. Click on this link – Diet vs Exercise Please take a look at it, it’s shocking how just a few seconds of bad eating can derail weeks of training.

Fixing your diet isn’t that complicated. It takes practice and discipline. It’s a matter of what you eat and how much you eat. Both are important. We all know, if you consume more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight and the reverse is also true. Creating that calorie deficit is important, it’s how you lose weight. What I’ve found works well is planning and setting yourself up for success. I don’t plan my meals like I should, but I do try and keep a lot of fruit and healthy snacks around the house. If they’re visible and easily available, then they’ll most likely be what you grab when a bit of hunger strikes. Also, it may not look sheik, but taking my lunch with me to work has been great. Outside of the financial savings (about 8 bucks a day) It’s easier to pack a healthy lunch, than to stop somewhere and see what you end up with.

Eating is a struggle for me at times. I’ve had a bad month with my diet. I don’t think I’ve given up much ground the last few weeks, but I don’t think I’ve made any progress either. The most important thing to remember is don’t beat yourself up too badly if you stumble. Have a bad day, week, month with your diet or workouts? Get past it and get back on track. You can’t do anything about what you did yesterday, but you can do something about what you do from this moment forward. Get back upon that horse and ride! We can make our food choices work for us, or we can let them work against us. If your diet isn’t what is should be, make the changes. Start with small changes. If you eat a lot of fried food, burgers and junk, making an overnight switch to salads and fruit will be difficult. Make a gradual transition to better, cleaner, healthier food and less of it. Over time the better choices will become the norm and easier to choose with regularity. The goals of change will be easier to achieve if they’re manageable.