31 January 2010

Just Some Notes

Standard spinach quiche with with cubed sausage links (easier to brown) this morning. Repeat of previously made, but again turned out pretty good.

Been reading several posts on barefoot running. Seems it has been in the news a lot lately. So for ha-has, I did some interval sprints with the vibrams for a change. I guess I have to do some more reading since I'm a dedicated heel-striker. Not exactly easy to change your running stride to strike further forward toward the ball of the foot. In reality it is probably the reverse that is true; that one may naturally land on the ball of the foot, but by wearing cushioning shoes, etc, it has taken years to develop and shift toward a heel-strike landing.

Anyway, been a pretty good month paleo wise. I'd say 2 days of 31 where I drifted off the reservation during customer meetings. Other than than, been thinking more about keeping the fruit and nut intake on the low side.

Biggest Gainer weigh in after baseline for tomorrow, so I'll post results after I collect all of them.

27 January 2010

Don't confuse activity with achievement

A) First off, I'll get the food porn pic off: honey glazed pork loin with leftover veggies. Pork turned out fantastic. Cooked with the fat on top to auto-marinate the meat, 325F for about 2 hours til thermo said 160F. Needless to say, this didn't last long in the house.

B) Next, Zach (who is the 5th biggest gainer entry) sent me this LINK regarding barefoot running. Basically, the cushioned shoed runners strike the heel more and have greater incidents of repetative injuries. Go Vibrams!
C) More good abuse at the gym today. Did a 24 hour IF and pressed on at the gym after not making it due to work reasons:
- 155 on scale this morning
- 10 x 9.5mph intervals
- squats, up to 165
- calf raises up to 90
- DB lunges w/35lb
- triceps pulldowns 150
- super set dips and leg rasises.
D) I thought I heard on sports talk radio that Bill Belichick had told his players "Don't confuse activity with achievement." (actually I think John Wooden had originally said this). Regardless, it is a powerful statement that I am continually reminded of at the gym. It's January and of course that means an influx at the gym. But look around and how many are doing some honest work. Lot of people carrying water around in gallon containers or talking on the cell phone - or both.
Does not matter to me too much except to provide extra motivation to really make the gym time a quality workout. Only time it gets to me is when people are lounging around on equipment. Two recent cases come to mind where one guy was chatting away on his cell phone for a solid 30 minutes without doing anything other than precluding anyone from doing any seated rows. Another pair over the weekend was relaxing and having a spirited conversation while occupying the squat rack for 20+ minutes. Of that pair, one of them did 1 set of squats and 1 set of shoulder raises then he went out the door. Does that even count toward going to the gym?
Anyway, next Biggest Gainer weigh in: 2/1

24 January 2010

Signs of Improvement?

It's easy to say that the world is going right to hell, given today's society with lack of personal responsibility or accountability, the decay of the moral fiber of society, etc. And obviously there is the food angle with GMO products, HFCS-laden offerings, the decline of the true family farm and rise of the CAFO monopoly.

Then there's the quick-fix / instant gratification attitude that seems quite prevalent. Like the statin commercials "when diet and exercise are not enough" while emphasizing that statins are the only salvation to lower your cholesterol. When people can't lose weight, it's not their fault, just make an appointment with a bariatric surgeon! I must see at least three ads in the Sunday paper for weight loss specialists; but read the ad closer and it is really an ad for the surgery.

However, I've noticed a few things in the past few months that tend to give me hope that possibly there is a slight course correction for society.

a) I read this article in the Sunday paper regarding antibiotics and livestock. Since more and more antibiotics are pumped into our meat every year, the bacteria are becoming more resisitant (shocking!). There is some discussion about eliminating the antibiotics or limiting the uses to treat only sick animals. And this should be no surprise that the major CAFO overlords are in opposition to this (translation: fear of profit reduction).

b) I see more people at my gym doing some sort of high-intensity training. While 80% of the people are mindlessly doing either i) elliptical, ii) bench press, or iii) curls, I see an occassional interval sprinter. More encouragement by clean & jerks, dumbell snatches and more cross-fit type exercises.

c) I've had more people have honest-to-god discussions with mre regarding nutrition, exercise, etc. I know it's January and a lot of resolutions are still fresh, but either my salesmanship is getting better (unlikely) or there is a real increased interest in eating better and leading a healthier life.

d) About four months ago, my friend Zach hooked me up with a local farmer who raises his steer humanely and on grass. When I first ordered meat from this guy, there was zero back log. Second order (about 8 weeks ago) and the back log was a month. I picked up my purchase and he says his backlog is pushing out in to late spring! So obviously there is a market for his services and he had no problem getting up to full capacity.

e) I notice more people taking an interst in movies like Food, Inc., King Corn, etc. And as a result of movies like that I see more outrage / disbelief that our tax dollars are funneled toward a crop that serves as the basis for HFCS which is directly encouraging the obesity epidemic. Meanwhile, there is pressure to shut down the family farm (like Polyface Farm). What's wrong with that picture? Shouldn't the government be encouraging, celebrating, (and subsidizing!) an operation like Polyface Farm and shouldn't they try to change the HFCS / CAFO construct?

Anyway, a few meal pics that were on the camera. Turkey cutlets grilled with broc:

Clam marinara (sp) with spaghetti squash (S made this)

22 January 2010

Mixed Pyramids

Hooked up with one of my co-workers Mike this morning and had a mixed-pyramid workout as follows:

deadlifts: 95 to 185
squats: 95 to 205
db lunges: 30
calf raises: 45-90

Also showed Mike a few sets of renegade rows and introduced him to the pleasure of Burpees. Did set of 10/10/8

weight at 155 this morning, but not sure it's all LMM

18 January 2010

Just gym time

Sunday off watching SD poop the bed against the NYJ. Back to the gym Monday including
- 5x9mph intervals
- squats 155 x 5 to 205x5, knee felt much better
- leg curls
- lunges 25-35 x 5
- tricep extensions
- dips

Gym was very busy mid-afternoon.

16 January 2010


Don't know what it is today, but had a great workout this morning and still rev'd up and ready to roll.

Started off with 10 interval sprints, 2min walk at 4.0mph, 1min run at 9.0mph. Plan on slowly increasing the run speed until I max out the treadmill, but haven't done intervals regularly in a while so working back into it.

Then did some 5x5 protocol exercises (re-baselining a log of weights, so they may be a bit light) including:
- deadlifts, 155
- seated rows, 130
- renegade rows, 25, 35
- BB curls, 65
- DB curls, 35
did a few pull ups also, close grip

Regarding diet, I've been on the see-food diet and have added taking a protein shake (nitro-tech from muscle tech) . That's like an extra 40g of protein a day. woooo-hoooo.

Scale up a bit at 156 this morning, but bf% via tanita scale is saying 10.6%. hmmm.

14 January 2010

How I Roll / Getting Started

I often discuss nutrition and exercise with people, friends, co-workers, strangers, etc. and though I enjoy it, I often find my self saying the same things. I remembered a year ago I had summarized how my wife and I got started and recommended advice. That is FOUND HERE and also HERE.

After digesting that info, there are plenty of links on side written by people who are both more informed and articulate (and also have more time) than me. Browse through them and tune your own program to one that meets your goals. Plenty of food ideas HERE and you'll begin to get the drift: meat, poultry, fish, veggies. It's real simple. Protein and healthy fats plus complex carbs via veggies. Nothing out of a box, no refined carbs, sugars or sweets.

Personally, I think I have the nutrition part down. As I look back on the exercise side, there have been some good periods, but it is a bit status-quo (IMHO). I had played with a bunch of protocols discussed HERE and am possibly still searching for the one that suits my needs the best. But it is my opinion that weight loss/maintenance is 80% diet/20% exercise. Like they say "you can't exercise away a bad diet"

In other news, we got a pineapple cutter from Rosle. I had learned to cut a pineapple a while ago, but this thing makes it easy. It probably gets about 85% of the good stuff and leaves the core and skin intact. Used it tonite to make a fruit salad for a party my wife was having at work.

Hope everyone has a healthy 2010!

12 January 2010

Biggest Gainer Baseline

Ok, the contestants are set and they are (in alphabetical order...drumroll):
- Andy / 148 / 11.3 / 131.6
- Decarlo / 174 / 7.8 / 160.4
- Jeff / 187 / 11.9 / 164.7
- Manny: 145 / 11.6 / 128.2

For reference, I'm 5'10", Decarlo and Jeff are both about 6'1", and Manny is a little shorter than me.

That mofo Decarlo (who had the idea for this contest) is coming in at a amazing <8% body fat. The rest of us are over their desired percentage, but whatever. I'm hoping to add muscle mass AND lower that percentage of body fat by employing the see-food diet, interval sprints, and using the 5x5 stronglifts protocol for a while (to move heavier weights).

I'm thinking about a check every two weeks or so, so next update will be around 2/1.

11 January 2010

Chowing for Biggest Gainer

Looks like four contestants for the Biggest Gainer. Just waiting for stats from my bro Jeff. Will post all starting weights after that.

Meanwhile a few meals. Filet mignon with brussel sprouts and the mandatory shrooms and onions. All veggies sauteed in ghee.
Chicken tenders breaded with almond meal and coconut flour mix, fried in coconut oil with ghee sauteed squash:
Thinking about using 5x5 workouts for Biggest Gainer as it tend to use heavier weights.

08 January 2010

Biggest Gainer Baseline

As of this morning my baseline stats for body fat measurements and weight:
body fat measurements (3 measurement average):
ab: 18.3 mm
chest: 8.0 mm
thigh: 6.7 mm
body fat%: 11.3
gross weight: 148.4
lean weight: 131.6

Let the eating begin!

07 January 2010

Biggest Loser? How about Biggest Gainer

The Biggest Loser Rant
Yes we launch into another season of The Biggest Loser. And the contestants get larger time. One guy starting off at 526lb. Ideal weight if one was about 10'6" tall, but he's only 6'3". The sad part is that the guy is only 30 years old. Personally, I try to get calibrated by finding contestants about my height (5'10"). There are two this year: a) Daris, 25 years old/350lb and b) Darrell, 46 years old/420lb. It is getting like The Running Man and I don't think NBC will be happy until someone strokes out.

The Biggest Gainer Proposal
Anyway, I wasn't real pleased with my latest body fat measurement (post holidays) and did a 24 hour IF for 3 of 4 days this week akin to the Warrior Diet. My buddy Decarlo who's been trying to put on weight suggested a contest to try to gain the highest percentage of lean muscle mass. So, I'm game, he's in, his roommate Manny is in, and my bro Jeff said he'd give it a go for The Biggest Gainer. Any other of the few readers want in, just let me know.

The Biggest Gainer Criterion
Simple. At least over the period of time that the Biggest Loser is on the air this round (approx 16 weeks), we're going to see who ends up with the highest gain in lean muscle mass. It would be easy to gain weight by gorging on donuts and ice cream which is why body fat percentage is important. Personally, I don't care if people want to take HGH, or protein shakes, or andro to get there. Actually, it would be interesting to see what works for the 'hard gainers'.

So tomorrow morning, I'll take my weight and body fat measurements (I suggest calipers and this site) to determine percentage body fat and my lean muscle mass. Anyone interested who I don't talk to via text, email, or phone, just post weight and body fat % in the comments section. I'll post the guinea pigs results on Monday and away we go.

Periodic Updates
Usually I take my body fat measurement at the beginning of the month and weight daily. For now I suggest that this would be a good period, but I can do it more often if so inclined.

Can't say I'm thinking about any kind of meaningful prize other than may be a jar of almond butter, ghee or FAGE, but I am open to suggestions.

Anyway, good way to pass the time over these cold New England winters. Let the games begin!

05 January 2010

Back to the Gym Everyone!

Ah yes. The New Years resolutions are still strong which means that the gym is still packed to the gills. Got caught up in a meeting that ran late and didn't make it to the gym until late afternoon. Big mistake. Literally 3 of 30 pieces of cardio equipment not in use and people milling all over the place. Saw about a handful of regulars otherwise a bunch of newcomers with more people signing up at the front desk.

Got me thinking about my favorite gym stories as I saw a few morons about. Some of the milder ones I've seen lately:

a) just today walking across the parking lot to the gym entrance, I hear a truck with glass-packs roaring across the parking lot. It's some jacked up (and beat up) F-150 doing about 40 mph. So naturally he doesn't want his baby scratched, so he parks it sideways in the crowded lot taking up about 3 spots. Grown man with a mohawk gets out and guess where he's heading. yup to my gym! Lucky day! I see him in the locker room and he puts his flannel shirt in a locker and then heads out to the gym with construction boots on. Does the 40 minutes of mandatory bench press and curls, then leaves.

b) saw another guy doing seated rows. The machine is positioned near a wall on one side. Spent the entire time doing rows and watching himself in the mirror.

c) about a month ago there was a guy with a tank-top doing mostly curls to develop his guns. Somehow we ended our workout around the same time. So I go into the locker room and there he is in front of the mirror with this shirt off posing and flexing. I almost laughed out loud since in addition to looking ridiculous, he had this enormous beer gut that wasn't as obvious with the shirt on.

But several of my all time favorites are:

d) From Manny and Keith (two different gyms, but identical scenarios): person doing a set on some type of cybex/nautilis machine WHILE EATING A CINNABON! Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. And even more remarkable that two unrelated people in two different states saw the same thing at two different gyms!

e) From Decarlo and Manny: some dudes bring a video camera to show the world how diesel they are and film their bench presses. Even more impressive is that they bring a piece of plywood to put on their sternums. Guess they brought some smelling salts to get crazy and slapped each other around - getting amped up for the big lift.

f) From Zach: you know those air blowers that are sometimes found around a sink to dry one's hands? Well my friend Zach says he saw a guy at the YMCA buck naked in front of the sink with one foot on the counter flexing while using the air blower to dry his crotch off. I'm serious, this is too bizarre to make up.

In other news, I did back-to-back IF days on Monday and Tuesday and been doing the 3 mile run every other day. Been focusing on spending roughly an hour at the gym and trying a different routine out. More on that to follow, as well as other goals for 2010.

03 January 2010

2010 Start and Lame Turducken

Starting the year off with the Primal Pancakes (made with almond meal, eggs, heavy cream, blueberries) and apple sausages. My wife made these and they turned out real well. Wonder if coconut flour would be a good addition. I imagine it would.
Now we come to the Turducken, which is supposed to be a boneless duck stuffed inside a boneless chicken stuffed inside a turkey. I was searching all week for one at butcher stores, etc., but failed to find one. The local Stop n Shop had a pre-packaged one for $30 (5lb), so thought I'd give is a go.

This thing was completely boneless which was nice. Placed in a ceramic dish with about 1/2" of white wine in the bottom. Salted and peppered the top, added some butter on top. Covered with aluminum foil, added meat thermometer and placed in 300F oven. Pulled out when thermo said 165F. A little pink here and there, but I think most of that was duck bleed-through to the other meat. Regardless a few more minutes in the oven uncovered to brown it.

Well the good news is that the duck and turkey were tasty. The andouille sausage stuffing imparted a nice spicey flavor to the birds. Bad news is that there was about a pound of stuffing and they seemed to forget about the chicken (literally zero chicken to be found). The duck portion was about 3 oz. Kind of lame for a turducken and didn't live up to the billing. However, we have plenty of turkey to eat for the next few days.

Anyway, got on the scale and it said 154 this morning. Body fat measurements as:
Ab: 19.0 mm
Chest: 7.7 mm
Thigh: 7.3 mm
= 11.6% BF.

All on the higher end of things. So I'm assuming that between the holiday fare and the accident-induced reduced activity, things are reflected in the above numbers. On that note, I'm going to brave the gym today and fight the crowds before the Patriots game starts.