Monthly Archives: June 2016

No Good Deed…

Come at me, Karma!

Come at me, karma!

I stopped at the tanning place this morning following 3 hours at the gym, of course, and saw my fiancée (y’know, I should really find out her name, what with being engaged and all). Heh. The good news is, she found the rightful owner of the lost engagement ring and returned it accordingly; evidently, the owner was both mortified and grateful. It’s a satisfying feeling to do a good deed and be a stand-up guy; there aren’t many of us (and are you paying attention, Karma?). Ironically, this is the second engagement bling I’ve found – a couple of years ago, I found an engagement ring and wedding band on the WSB; however, judging how they were perched on top of a post, I don’t think they were lost, but rather left deliberately. Nonetheless, I posted on CL in the lost & found section for about a year, and never got a response. I guess I should re-post; you never know, whoever left them there may have had a change of heart by now.

Following a crushing workout this morning, something new. For no particular reason, I decided to free run around Renaissance Park. It was actually pretty awesome; the sun just coming up, not too hot. I may make this a part of my daily regimen.

My Go-To Diet Gear

As my babbling here has gotten legs and picked up in popularity, I’ve received a number of questions about my specific diet/supplement choices, especially while I’m doing keto. There’s tons of keto info online, so I won’t rehash all of that, but basically, it’s eggs, cheese, meat – anything that’s zero (or ultra low) carb. Calories are secondary; minding macronutrients are where it’s at (macros being fat, carbs and protein). Read up on it, and log everything – that’s the only way it works. Drink loads of water. No Oreos.

dymatizeSo, a typical day starts with a protein shake, which I drink on the way to the gym. Dymatize ISO-100 (chocolate; but they have many flavors) is by far the best I’ve had. Not only does it mix great in water (tastes like a YooHoo, in fact), it only has 2g carbs (offset by 1g fiber, for 1 net carb) and only 1g sugar. Most protein powders are loaded with carbs and sugar; anywhere from 5g/each and upward. ISO-100 is high-quality hydrolyzed whey protein, far superior to the kinds of protein powders you get at the grocery store. Of course, it’s not cheap – a 5 pound can runs about $80 on Amazon, and that lasts me about 3 weeks. After the gym, I have another one, but I mix in about 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. On keto, getting loads of fat is important (and I know that sounds counterintuitive, but trust me on this), and the cream helps with that. Also on the way to the gym, a coffee with half-and-half, to get a caffeine boost so the metabolism kicks in prior to the workout. And at least 20 ounces of water during the workout, flavored with any of Mio’s caffeine-infused varieties.

mission

Along with protein shake #2, a Mission1 protein bar. Like protein powders, I’ve tried them all, and most are just glorified candy bars. Mission1 bars, however, are awesome, especially the cookies and cream flavor. Yeah, the carbs are a little high, at 22g, but that’s partially offset by 17g fiber. On keto, fiber is very, very hard to get, and you need a good 30g – 40g a day (specifically, women need about 25g, men about 38g). So, the net is 5g carbs – not great, but the 21g protein, 17g fiber and only 1g sugar make it well worth it.

miraclenoodleMy new favorite thing, which I do for lunch or dinner (or both) is Miracle Noodles. These are shirataki noodles, while are a gelatinous noodle made from konjac yam root. They have basically no taste, but also have no carbs, no sugar, no nothing, really. They are just filling, to keep your appetite down. There are loads of recipes for them, and I’ve come up with my own – I generally stir in some salmon, tuna, chicken or something like that, along with cheese (more fat, and no carbs). These really are a great addition to my menu; I love them. Recipes are endless, and they’re quite filling with no carb/sugar/calorie penalties.

Those are my main go-to items, every day. Basically, 2 or 3 protein shakes, a couple of protein bars, and something with shirataki comes out to less than 20 net carbs and around 5g sugar, which is exactly where I need to be (by comparison, a 20 ounce Mountain Dew – of which I used to drink at least 5 or 6 a day – has 77g sugar and 77g carbs; no wonder I was a fat ass). And, as I mentioned, I also have lots of eggs, bacon, chicken, hamburger steak, cheese and that kind of thing – all of which are zero carb, zero sugar, and generally high in fat. And it works – the proof is in my jeans. It’s just a matter of how bad you want it.

instantknockoutI just ordered Instant Knockout, which is a fat burning supplement I’m anxious to try. I’ve gotten to the point where my body fat is so low (15%) that dropping down to my ideal 10% – 12% is going to be pretty hard. This particular supplement has great reviews, so I’m willing to give it a shot. It’s all-natural; basically just a combination of caffeine, glucomannan (for appetite control), green tea and green coffee extract, cayenne (for thermogenics) and vitamins B6 & B12. These are all things I’ve been taking anyway, so having them all in one pill should be more convenient that my old-person pill case. We’ll see; hopefully, they’ll show up by the end of the week. Most supplements are just snake oil, especially the ones that have a bunch of made-up sounding ingredients or are advertised on TV in the middle of the night; I have high hopes for this, though, based on the reviews from different fitness outlets. With so little fat left to lose, I don’t know if I’ll see results or not, but there’s only one way to find out.

So, questions?

With this ring…

So, I got engaged. Yeah, I’ll let that soak in for a minute.

I know you’re thinking, “Who’d have you?”, and you’d be right. What happened was I was at the tanning place on Friday, and found someone’s engagement ring they had evidently removed before baking, then walked off and forgot (can you imagine??). Really nice – a solitaire, at least a carat. Anyway, I took it to the girl at the front desk, and I guess it took her a minute to register what was going on. Yeah, when you see the likes of me coming at you with an engagement ring – no matter how big the rock – your first reaction should be that of abject horror. It was actually kinda funny – I’m sure those girls get hit on all the time, what with guys being pigs and all, but I guess that was the first “proposal”, and now it’s the running gag. I’m pretty sure they found the rightful owner – their computer system shows who was in each room, and they were looking it up when I left. Hopefully, it turned out OK – and hey, Mister Karma, are you paying attention? How about showing me a little love over here? Anyway, breathe easy – I’m still tragically single. OK, this is the part where you roll your eyes.

oakleyAnd on the subject of eyes, following that adventure, a visit to the optometrist – I had a little accident Thursday night, and broke my spectacles, because of course I did. No biggie, I had been needing new ones, anyway. Two new pairs inbound – one similar to what I have now, and one kinda heavily-framed but weirdly cool pair that will be more suited to working in the yard and that kind of thing. Kitschy clear and translucent blue Panama Jack’s frames, with Transitions lens – like something you’d see Samuel L. Jackson wearing (right before he calls you a “mother*ucker” and kicks your ass). You’ll probably never see me in them, unless you’re working in the yard with me or possibly at the gym, so, yeah, you’ll probably never see them. I’m thinking about splurging on a pair of prescription Oakley sunglasses, as well – stupid expensive, but oh, so cool, and ideal for my go-go-go lifestyle.

ckThen, a little retail therapy. I didn’t really get to go out and celebrate my weight loss goal achievement, because reasons, but I thought a little shopping might properly commemorate the event, as it does all events. Wrong, I was. Retail establishments cater to the common denominator, and size 29/33 is by far not the common denominator. I found these awesome Calvin Kleins in a 30/32, and…they were too big. Now, that’s crazy awesome, at least from a physiological standpoint. A 29/32 would work, but I’d prefer a slightly longer 33 – of which there is no such thing. And a 28? Forget it. CK doesn’t make a 28, and like most manufacturers, they don’t make odd lengths. So, I found a 29/32 on Amazon (boot cut, natch), but I’m on the fence – If I’m gonna spend $70 on jeans, they are bloody well gonna fit the way I want them to. I have a pair of 30/32 CKs now, and they are awesome – just slightly large in the waist, and slightly tight in the thighs (thanks, leg extension machine!). Ah, the downside of getting physical. But, y’know, I’ll take it over the alternative, which would be a *gasp* 38/32. Been there already.

Speaking of getting physical, I absolutely crushed it at the gym this weekend. Couldn’t sleep, of course, so I went pretty early, and got in a good couple of hours each day. The combination of massive amounts of protein and lifting very heavy is really showing results. I’m actually surprised at the amount of weight I’ve built up to – I wish I had focused more on this in the early days, instead of just cardio. It’s a learning experience, I guess. No 5K runs over the weekend, but I did do quite a bit of free running. So much yard work and other chores to do, I didn’t want to wreck my legs running then have 12 hours of mowing, chainsawing and so on to deal with. But between hard work at the gym and equally hard work in the yard, barn, trails, etc, I’m taking care of business. Tomorrow, back to it – although I’ll be working an all-nighter tonight, as the hardware firewall on the server has to be replaced, so the hosting provider in Texas will be dealing with that, and I’ll be testing following the upgrade. Yay. It’s always something over here. No wonder the engagement fell through.

My No Longer Huge Fat Ass.

Well, this has been a day. One for the books. I have finally processed everything, at least as much as I can until the shock wears off.

The new personal best 5K run was a pretty big deal. Shaving 7:51 off my 5K time in 5 days is huge – certainly more than I thought I’d be capable of. What I’m learning is that I haven’t yet found my limits; I’m sure they exist, but I haven’t found them. Each day, I push a little hard, dig a little deeper. Run farther, run faster, lift heavier, paddle more – whatever it is. I set a personal best, and I shatter it. And it’s awesome. The next thing I’m going to do is enter an actual 5K, on the street, with other people running. I did the Tap-n-Run 4K a couple of years ago, but I’m not sure that counts, because drinking. A 5K, though – good start. And maybe a half-marathon. We’ll see – that’s up to my stems.

maxEqually big, a new personal best on the Bowflex. 15 minutes, which is one minute longer than the recommended workout. As I mentioned, that doesn’t seem like a huge amount of time, but it is a crushing workout. Amazingly so. I generally don’t go in for products I see on TV (I’ve never laid awake at night wondering, “Do I own a knife that will cut through a shoe?”), but when it comes to the Bowflex, it was no BS. Even for me, at my level of fitness, it’s a flippin’ challenge. Challenge accepted, Bowflex. Bring that sh*t. Granted, one thousand seven hundred of my American dollars is a hell of a lot for a piece of gym equipment, but can you really put a price on being healthy? I suspect as I work up to more resistance and longer workouts, I’m going to like the thing that much more – but even if I stick with the prescribed 14 minutes, it’s awesome. In fact, being able to knock out such a satisfying workout in such a short amount of time is pretty cool.

I love you, bitch.

I love you, bitch.

Now, the (skinny) elephant in the room. Goal achieved! I hit my Super-Duper Dream Goal™. Finally. I could tell that Aria was going to treat me right this morning, but I did not expect to hit my goal (actually, I passed it, at 174.7 lbs). I was speechless. I was without speech. I’ve been doing this for 3 years, and really working doublehard at it for about 2, but I had never really contemplated the wave of emotion that would come when I hit it. I’m not sure if that was because I didn’t think I would, or it just never really crossed my mind. Nonetheless, when I got on the scale, and saw the number, I really did get choked up. Still am. I re-weighed 3 times, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Better, on top of this new, all-time low weight, my body fat percentage is at 15%; also a new low. Speechless.

So, where to from here? I’m officially done trying to lose weight. 175 pounds is ideal – actually, it’s far more than ideal (really, just look around you the next time you’re at the Wal-Mart). But fitness never ends. You never brush your hands off, and proclaim, “DONE!”. You have to keep working at it. Watching the numbers. Reading labels. But no longer chasing a number I thought was, frankly, unattainable feels pretty darn good. I’ll still watch the carbs, I’ll still hit the gym. I’ll run, I’ll lift, I’ll paddle, I’ll pedal. I guess the answer to “What Next?” will be a celebratory cheat meal (within reason) tomorrow night, then Friday, back to it. Body fat percentage is next. I would love to get it down to about 12%, and continuing keto and working really hard at the gym should do that. I’ve dropped 10 percentage points from my body weight, but that took 2 years. 3 more points will probably take months, especially since I have so little fat left to lose. But I love challenging myself. And, as I always say, I’ve got this.

Oh, and I think I’m gonna order a sportsball jersey, to commemorate. The custom ones are pricey, but you only lose 75 pounds once. Hopefully.

jersey

Run, Forrest, Run!

5k-newrecordOK, Fat Ass Nation, you will recall that mere days ago, I said this, in reference to my 5K time: “I should be able to shave my time down to under 28 minutes. I’m not sure if it’s realistic to shoot for less than that – maybe in time, after I build up to running.” Well, as you can see, I didn’t get under 28 minutes, I got under 27 minutes. Suck on that, causality! And, unlike my previous-best 29:07 time, this was a superset 5K – that is, pausing the treadmill every 6 minutes to lift massive amounts of weight. That makes for a considerably harder run; my run the other day was just that: running. But today was a full body workout, and because supersets allow no rest between sets, it was essentially a 60 or 70 minute soul-crushing workout. Additionally, because I paused the machine every 6 minutes, the “pause” slow down and “resume” speed up added probably 30 – 45 seconds to my total time, so had I just run with no supersets, I probably would have been in the 26-minute flat range. That will be next. So, average speed: 6.92 MPH, clearly better than my 6.3 MPH average of my previous best. Yeah, I’m pretty awesome.

I’ll hit the Bowflex in a little bit, then see what the scale has to say about it all. You better be good to me, bitch. After that, I have a date with a dead tree. Ugh.

Addendum

Me: 1, Tree: 0

Astonishingly, the tree came down without incident – and I didn’t even have to start the chainsaw. Basically, I used my homemade monkey’s fist (made with a baseball, duct tape and string) to get a rope around it about halfway up (it was about 50′ tall), and pulled it down. Literally. By hand. A 50′ tall, 18″ diameter dead tree, and I pulled it down by sheer force. Either it was really, really dead, or I’m really, really strong. Probably a little from column A, and a little from column B. So, I guess you’re stuck with me for now.

Of course, now I have to clean up the debris. It's always something.

Of course, now I have to clean up the debris. It’s always something.

The Pudding, Where the Proof Is.

Sadly, the scale is still being kinda a bitch to me. However, I can’t really blame Aria (that’s her name). While I’ve been super-good on the carbs and the diet, and killing my macronutrients every day, I’m also pushing harder than ever before with the weights. This morning, I stacked every weight collar I could find on the butterfly (AKA, the pec fly), up to 330 pounds, and did probably 100 reps in total on that machine alone. It physically cannot hold any more weight. Same with all the other machines – I’ve added at least 20 lbs more on each, and am doing 50 pound dumbbells. Crushing it, and it shows. Now, how this relates to the number on the scale is this:

fat

Yes, I gained 1.8 pounds since Saturday. However, as you can see, my body fat percentage actually dropped by 1.5%. I’m sure if I mathed better, I could extrapolate exactly what these numbers mean, but essentially, it means weight up, fat down, good on me. Body fat percentage is far more important than the number on the scale – I wouldn’t care if I went back up to 200 lbs if my body fat was under 10%. So, while I have a psychological need to hit the magical 175, I’m still under the Ultimate Goal™, and my body fat is dropping rapidly. I can live with that.

danger“Caution: Amputation danger!” That’s exactly what I like to see on my tools – in this case, on the pressure washer I picked up this morning. And I believe it – the thing has crazy water pressure, and it could easily slice something right off, toot sweet. But it works great – I’ve already got half the front deck done (and it’s big – about 40′ X 16′). It’s going to look really nice when I paint it. I’m also going to refinish the pergola that’s at the front of it, and clean the 4 lanterns that hang from it. Should look really great, especially since I’ve been working on the adjacent pond on other landscaping, as well. Then I’ll move on to the deck on my bedroom – it’s also big, about 28′ X 12′. I intend to paint it in complimentary colors, so everything ties together. I wish I had more time to work in the yard – I could be out there from sunup to sundown, 7 days a week, and still not get everything done. Tomorrow, dread: I have a big, wildly crooked dead tree that needs to come down. It’s near the garage, and the contractor that’s going to repair it from the last Tree Incident intends to start Fridayish, so I want to get this dead one down first. No point in fixing the garage, just to have another tree land on it. But it’s going to be dangerous, because it’s dead. Dead trees fall in unpredictable ways. I am not looking forward to that little adventure. If I never post again, you’ll know something went horribly wrong.

Oh, and a new personal best on the Bowflex. The target is a 14-minute workout, and I hit that today for the first time. What? Fourteen minutes? Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Trust me, those 14 minutes were drastically harder that my normal 60 minutes on the treadmill. It’s an amazing, hard workout, and hopefully, that means it’s working. I’ll tell you this: by the time I was done, I was sweating like Lindsay Lohan at a DUI checkpoint. Next, I’ll start upping the resistance, and experimenting with the various pre-programmed workouts.

Assuming I don’t get impaled by a giant dead tree, that is.

Happy Trails.

I spent Sunday cutting new MTB trails through the yard, so I have a place to ride when I don’t feel like saddling everything up. Nothing extremely technical; in fact, I made a point of clearing downed logs and debris, so I can also use it as a running trail. So far, I’ve only cut maybe 3/4 of mile, but hopefully this weekend, I can start cutting in the way, way back – that should add about 2 miles to the planned loop.

bridge

…but cutting into the way, way back isn’t going to be easy. It’s pretty rugged back there (which is why I hardly ever go back there in the first place); however, what’s the point of having a bunch of land if you don’t use it for something? So, in the very back corner, which is probably a good half mile or more away, I’m going to cut a whole clearing, maybe put in a picnic table and a fire pit so I can have a little staycation when I get my tree tent. It’s gonna be a chore, though – it’s pretty much virgin territory.

trail

Following the trail cutting, I finally built the ramp for the barn. It’s nice to know how to do stuff; how to build stuff – to design, engineer and construct something from scratch (and FYI, I also built the bridge above, which goes over a small creek – when there’s rain, that is). And the ramp turned out perfectly – I made it strong enough to hold the weight of the motorbike along with my huge fat ass, and only had to modify the barn doors slightly to get it to all come together as planned. I’ll be painting it with anti-slip textured paint (the same thing I’m going to use on my decks), but the wood needs to “weather” for a month or so first, so the paint will take.

ramp

Speaking of painting the decks, I ordered a professional gas powered pressure washer (so I’m sure you want me now) in order to clean everything first. Have to go to Lowes after the gym tomorrow to pick it up, then I guess I’ll get cracking on that.

No Bowflex tonight – too tired, and I still have work. But I crushed it at the gym this morning, and my macros are perfect. The scale hasn’t shown me any love today, but I expect we’ll be back on speaking terms tomorrow, because I’ve been on my good behavior. We shall see.

Screw it – I’m getting on the Bowflex.

That’s a Paddlin’, Part the Second

Click for Movescount map and data

Click for Movescount map and data

As previously mentioned, I had an adventure planned today, and it did not disappoint. Following my victorious 29:07 5K run at the gym in the Wee Small Hours, I got the boat in the water for a paddle/hike to Williams Island. A little over 7 miles paddling, and 5.5 miles exploring the island proper. This time, I was prepared – hiking shoes and socks, my new Eagle’s Nest Outfitters DoubleNest hammock and straps (which is just as awesome as it sounds), and my Bear Grylls Parang Machete (also awesome). The last time I visited Williams Island, I just didn’t feel comfortable trekking through the brush in water shoes with no protection of any sort, because wolves and snakes. This time, good to go – and exploring the island was fantastic. The island is very interesting, and generally deserted, except for the aforementioned wolves (of which I saw none), and…cows. Yes, there are many cows on the island, and about a half-dozen of them followed me around while I was exploring, which was a little unnerving. It was like a Stephen King book – I think those cows may have known of my love of tasty, tasty chee’burgers. Sorry, cows.

Because cows. Moooo!

Because cows. Moooo!

Anyway, after the exploration, I think I’m ready to plan a camping trip. First, I’m going to order a Tentsile Tree Tent, which is exactly what it sounds like; a tent that is suspended off the ground in the trees. $650 is a hell of a lot for a tent, but it looks awesome – and no point in being on the ground with the varmints. So, in the next month or so, I shall return to Williams Island – hopefully, the thousands of blackberries I saw will still be there, ready to picked and enjoyed. (Addendum: After doing some research, I found out that the berries and other fruits & veggies grown on the island are tended to by the local outdoor group, who then harvest them and take them to the farmer’s market to help fund their work – therefore, please don’t pick the berries!)

The entire trek - click for larger

The entire trek – click for larger

2-1-177As if the 5K, the paddle and the hike weren’t enough to make this a Very Good Day, I dropped 2.2 pounds in the course of my activities today, after seeing a 2 lbs drop following the 5K. I expected to drop a little bit from all this go-go-going, but that was a very pleasant surprise – basically, 4.2 pounds gone in one day. So, that puts me a very negligible 2/10ths of a pound from my all-time lowest weight, and a mere 2.1 pounds away from my Super-Duper Dream Goal™ weight. That’s about 6 lbs lost since re-starting keto at the beginning of the month. I’m thrilled – I can see 175 coming, and it feels fantastic. Really, if you’re serious about dropping the pounds, look into keto, or ask me. It works. No snake oil, no magic beans – just diet and discipline.

Tonight, I shall sleep. But in about 8 hours, I’ll be back at the gym. I’m doing it. You can, as well. Don’t quit. Dig, and then dig deeper. Then dig a little more.

Unless you puke, faint or die, don’t quit…

5k-record…and I thought I was going to do all three this morning, and not necessarily in that order. You’ll recall that yesterday, I decided to change things up by doing a 5K on the treadmill, versus just doing the max time. And that, after coming in just under 35 minutes, I was going to challenge myself to work up to a time of under 30 minutes.

Well, that challenge didn’t last long. This morning, 29:07 – fully 5 minutes and 40 seconds better than yesterday, and an average of 6.3 miles per hour (although towards the end, I was at 7.5 MPH, to compensate for the 4.5 MPH warm-up). No pauses for supersets, and running almost the whole time, with the exception of 3 or 4 minutes at the beginning to warm up. While a 5K in 29 minutes is a pretty “average” time, for someone who doesn’t really run, and has two wonky stems, it’s pretty flippin’ impressive. It never ceases to amaze me what I’m capable of when I put my mind to it. Next time – probably not tomorrow – I’ll warm up for a good 10 minutes or so, so I can start the 5K running. I should be able to shave my time down to under 28 minutes. I’m not sure if it’s realistic to shoot for less than that – maybe in time, after I build up to running. Regardless, I’m super-pleased.

And there are other benefits, as well! Dropped 2 pounds, so I’m only 4 pounds away from the Super-Duper Dream Goal™, and I’m now back under what was, all along, my Ultimate Goal™.

Yeah, I’m feeling pretty awesome today. Of course, there’s still plenty of time for things to go south.