Half a Century

There is a running joke going through my mind.

I thought getting old would take longer.

There is more truth to that than I would like to admit. I am not ready for getting old and although I don’t necessarily feel old my cardiologist and physician beg to differ. I am, from the outside, quite a specimen for my age. I have many things to be thankful for among them the ability to function normally and to excel at the things I enjoy at the gym. But I can’t move like I used to. My notion of being able to get back into bodyweight work to do handstands and cartwheels seems like nothing more than a pipe dream at this point. If I am honest, putting on my shoes in the morning is becoming “a thing” and I have usually been awake for a couple of  hours before I can even think about being active in any meaningful way. But I suppose I should expect this. There is nothing wrong with aging, if you do it gracefully. It takes some time to get used to the slowing of the body and mind however slowing doesn’t mean quitting. With my health challenges of late I have been more cautious in the gym however adding some cardio to my workouts and lowering my weights sometimes doesn’t seem so bad. But at other times it is torture. I have a bad habit of comparing my self to others in the gym and I shouldn’t especially when the people I pick are half my age or less. But I am learning to accept what I have and what I am and be as happy as I can because in the end your happiness is what you accept as truth in your life and I think by this point I deserve some happiness. I have spent the last couple of years being angry about things I can’t change and I think along with some others around me I am finally getting to the point where I am going to let things go and accept that I am just a person trying to live my best life. My doctors all keep telling me that I need to reduce the stress in my life and so it is with great delight and medical supervision that I am going to stop worrying about the things I can’t control.

As for the gym, I am going to continue on with my cardio and my lighter weights but I am also going to start beck into my compound lifting again because it makes me feel generally more competent with my health. Lifting at the gym is great but I do tend to get into a rut and in the past the way out has always been some HIIT type crossfit work to break the monotony. My kids are back to doing torturous HIIT workouts so why shouldn’t I? After all, you are only as old as you feel right?👍

On Being An Adult

I posted this on Facebook this morning but I can’t resist putting it here too. The last 2 in the list are my own personal addition.

You never really feel like an adult inside. I am still fumbling through life and making the best of it like I was at 15.

No matter how well you are prepared you never seem to have enough money, time, patience, sleep or emotional strength. You’ll fall short and that’s ok because you’re human.

There is no such thing as happily ever after. There is always something to overcome.

High school never ends for some people; there will always be cliques and groups.

There are adult bullies and they are everywhere.

You will get ridiculously excited for a house cleaning product like a new kitchen sponge. I tell everyone when I get a new sponge.

It is hard to make new friends. High school and college friends move away. Neighbours aren’t often as neighbourly as in the past.

Everyone says how can I help? But hardly anyone actually helps.

You will have your heart broken over and over by lovers, your kids, your friends whom you trusted, your employer, but it still keep on ticking.

Learn to live within your means. Just because your paycheck says you can afford something doesn’t mean you can actually afford it.

Time does not have to pass you by. We don’t have to get through the day just to pay the bills. Our lives are ours and we may spend our time as we choose.

Just because you can eat whatever you want whenever you want, ice cream still doesn’t make a good breakfast.

Your body and brain eventually fall out of alignment. Brain: what a fabulous idea! Body: I don’t think so buddy.

You need to take time to enjoy the little things. Sometimes they are all you get and they go by quickly.

Life is not like a TV sitcom or a big screen movie. Once the fun parts are over you have to cook, clean and go to work.

Your brain doesn’t age past 18-25 even though the rest of you does.  You still think like a young adult when you are in your 60s.

When you get to adulthood you will come across people with different opinions than you and however stupid they are they will honestly believe they are correct.

Don’t expect life to just sort itself out.  There isn’t’ a perfect point where everything is solved, you will be struggling with life to the very end.

There are people out there who want you to fail. These people may be the closest ones to you or possibly a co-worker but they will gladly do anything to see you fail.

There is no summer vacation in adult life.

Nothing can prepare you for the daily urge not to get out of bed.

You won’t have all the answers and sometimes as an adult you will be scared, if not terrified of life.

Find a job that makes you happy not a job that makes you rich.

There is nothing that can prepare you for the first time your baby poops in the tub.

Eventually you reach your peak and you have to watch the next generation come along and shine.

Some people will always act like relationships are disposable.

Not all people in decision making roles should be there. Learn to judge the quality of other people’s decisions.

The people who are supposed to love you can be the same ones who let you down.

Most times there is nobody there to take care of you when you are sick.

You will never ever want to drive as much as when you are 16. Once you become an adult it becomes a chore and being a passenger is bliss.

Nobody gives a damn about your degree or AP grades when it’s time to pay the rent or the car bill

Learn to fix things that break, spending $200 for a plumber to replace a washer is a waste of money.

It’s OK to ask for advice even when you’re 40.

Just because you are a good person doesn’t mean good things will happen to you.

If you always wait for the right time you will waste your life away.

Life isn’t fair. Expecting it to be is naïve and dangerous. You can make it fair but play by the rules.

It doesn’t matter if nobody will find out, your behaviour defines you and how much you respect yourself. Never do anything that goes against your own code of ethics.

I’m Coming Back… To Keto.

I have decided after watching a very interesting 21 day keto experiment (shout out to Jason Wittrock) on YouTube that I will return to pure keto from targeted keto and see how it goes. I did do pure keto for a very long time but I have a feeling that I was going way too high on my protein intake and kind of spoiling my keto effect. So I will go with much higher fat percentages this time and not worry so much about my protein intake. I will probably not be able to start the journey until April 1 although with my stunning revelation that avocado is actually a really tasty vegetable / fruit / berry I may start as soon as we get back from Costco tomorrow.

The problem I am having is energy levels, no matter what I do I seem to be short on energy during the day and from most accounts of people who have gone LCHF they do report significant changes in their energy levels. It also seems to be true that you can overfeed (probably only slightly) on LCHF without too much concern so that kind of works with my penchant for overstating my needs…

Just thought I would give a heads up that I am back and I will probably try to do some video updates also as part of the journey. I am toying with the idea of a 1 month challenge, and since I am far closer to being a regular person, and also old, this may have a broader appeal than a Bodybuilding.com sponsored athlete does since the belief is that people like that are just alien or built from silicone and silly putty.

Summer Wind Down (my rest month)

restIts the time of year where I take a bit of time to heal, to let my heavy lifting of the summer get behind me and take some time to do some ancillary work and cardio. I tend to lift pretty heavily during the summer, and almost exclusively certain exercises that eventually leads me to lacking in other areas. I don’t really do it on purpose but I can’t remember the last time I did my calves or forearms… or for that matter did any time on my abs or the StairMaster.

So for the next month or so I am going to be taking 15 minutes out of my 45 min workout to do cardio and I am going to build in some ancillary work. Specifically I need to do some lower back work on the GHD and some hamstring work. I tend to do less hamstrings when I squat and leg press and I feel like that’s a problem. The last time I was at the doctor he commented on my marginally elevated blood pressure so I am hoping that some cardio (and some kettlebell HIIT) will help to bring that BP down. Speaking of KB work I think I am going to get back into doing some of that. I think that since I coach on 3 weekdays and have no time for workouts on those days that a light KB workout when I get home or even in the morning before we go to work would do wonders. I only need about 15 minutes to get some swings in and get my heart going so it’s not a big ask really. It will also help with my abs which have had ZERO work all summer with the exception of the twisting rows that I do for my back. I have been particularly tired the last week or so and I think my body is crying out for a break. It may also be time to think about moving towards mobility and gymnastics skills for the winter rather than heavy lifts. A couple of years ago I pushed really hard towards Christmas to get some of my heaviest lifts in years, but I think I would be just as proud of a 10 second handstand as I was of my 415lb bench.

So for the time being it’s increase the cardio, reduce the weights and find some variety in my workouts to give myself a break.

I would say get more sleep too but I think we all know that’s not going to happen…

It’s Fall, time for a change.

coconut-superfruitI am very predictable in that every fall I need to change what I am doing. Maybe it’s because I have usually spent the summer grinding against my weight and going to the gym but whatever it is I am getting that same old feeling again.

Before I go on, I have attached an image relating to my favourite fat, coconut oil. I use coconut oil for many things, every day with my eggs is the most obvious but also healing my cracked hands and using it on my head after a shave are unexpected benefits. the infographic (who doesn’t love a good infographic?) is from www.superfoodsliving.com so credit where credit is due.

So on to change. I am feeling like I will need to add some cardio and mobility back to my workouts, this summer has been all about gym lifting and very little in the way of compound movements or mobility / cardio. I am not sure if I really want to dive straight back into a WOD system I am thinking I can incorporate some of my compound lifts at the gym such as cleans or snatches. That said, I know I will have to be at the gym for cardio so I am thinking that moving my workouts back home isn’t the best way to go about this.

I am formulating a plan in my head for now, something to increase my cardio to about 3x a week and probably starting to work on my mobility during conditioning at gymnastics since I am there 4 days a week now.

My last post outlined my progress for the summer, I lost a bit of fat but I am still sitting around 230 and 19% which is a bit too high. I have managed to stay here for around 2 years now and I think it’s about time that I did a long term push to get to around 18%. I also want to note that the back strain that I had in the last post took around 6 weeks to clear which was not enjoyable, I think what I actually did was have a slight impingement in my back while at the same time straining one of the muscles with a slight pull. Whatever it was, it hurt like hell.

In other news the gymnastics club has had an influx of new kids, my group has expanded from 4 to 8 with some great high level athletes coming in. It’s been a challenge adapting to the new bodies and the dynamics since they all came from the same gym but all in all I think it’s been a good experience so far. It’s floor routine season and the new coach that came over with the kids is going to be doing the floor and beam routines this year, so this will be interesting.

I will update with my new program as soon as I am ready and for the time being here is the program I have been on for the summer:

  1. Chest – Bench, incline, laying pullovers, machine flys
  2. Back – Machine rows, pulldowns and assisted chinups, chinups, straight arm cable pulldowns
  3. Legs – Incline press, occasional squat (light), leg extension, hamstring curl, machine butt thing
  4. Shoulders and traps – OHP, front and side raise, machine raise, rear delt machine, shrug machine, occasional upright rows
  5. Arms – Dip machine, free dips, pushdowns or close grip bench, machine curls, DB curls, BB curls.

 

Update – 3 weeks on cut (with pictures)

So it was 3 weeks or so ago that I was going to take the 2 week challenge and try to get some weight off before coaching started again and I did OK.

I have gone from 244 @ 22% and this morning I was 235 @ 19.1% and while the % numbers may not be accurate it is a reasonable reflection of my almost 3% fat loss. I am currently suffering with a back strain that happened as I was attacked on the couch by a rambunctious 6 year old so I am having to take things really slowly and since I coach 4 days a week it is looking like no workouts this week. That’s OK because I did 23 days in a row without a rest day while trying to drop some weight. It’s funny but as usual nothing really seemed to happen for the first 2 weeks and then the last 10 days or so I have started to see some changes. I just hope that my inactivity doesn’t derail my efforts.

So here you are, without any further ado… what you can do in 3 weeks. First pictures are July 26, second are August 15. I will post more at the end of August if it’s still working 🙂 Please forgive the underwear and bathroom shots…

July26 2016-1 July26 2016-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August15 2016-1August15 2016-2

Half Way Done

stay the courseI had to laugh when I re-read my last post, my optimism about my weight was so cute… When I decided I needed to cut a bit again it was because at work I had weighed in for the Biggest Loser contest at a whopping 248lbs. Being that close to 250 was a real wake up call for me and although I had clothes on when I got home and weighed myself the next day I discovered I was up at 244lbs almost 18lbs up from my lowest last year. Granted I am a bit bigger than I was back then muscle-wise but it was not something that I am proud of. This is how messed up my head is… I didn’t want to post the actual weight that I was nor the %BF which was 22% because I didn’t want to fail. I was actually nervous that this time it may not work and I would be embarrassed at my failing. I have been doing this a long time and by now I should know that if you follow the process, then it works.

The Process:

Decide – Force yourself to be ready. Decide you are going to do what it takes, no excuses, and accept the voice in your head is a liar.
Plan – Be confident and aggressive, use your initial enthusiasm to help kick start your effort
Execute – Step by step execution. Sleep is your friend, you can’t eat when you are asleep 🙂

I was lucky in that this time off from coaching coincided with some time off work which meant that I could be active during the day, installing microwaves and waterproofing the deck etc. Since the cards were dealt in my favour I went for it. That was about a week ago. I have worked out every day, using rest days to do some cardio to give my muscles a rest. I benched 375 at the gym for the first time in a while this week so something is going right. Part of my commitment was to use my Fitbit app to track my calories and even for someone with my experience it is absolutely critical to track what I eat if I am going to succeed.

So how am I doing so far?

Yesterday I weighed in at 236 but that was after the gym, this morning I was back up to 237.8 which is almost 7lbs down in a week. My BF% has fallen from the 22% 2 weeks ago to approximately 20.5% and although the impedance scale is not necessarily a great or accurate measure, the trend is definitely in the right direction. I have taken a couple of pictures during the process but I will wait until the 2 weeks are done to post anything. The difference in how I feel is amazing though, I am starting to get that “light on my feet” feeling back again which may be due to the cardio I have been doing but may also be due to what I am seeing in the mirror.

Which brings me to another point.

I have body dysmorphia. It’s something that isn’t recognized as a disease like anorexia and I don’t think it should be so please don’t get me wrong. But it exists in a large percentage of the population who regularly go to the gym and is rampant among males who lift weights. It’s like looking at yourself through a Snapchat filter that makes you smaller. No matter what you see, you will always think that you are smaller than you are. I was looking at a guy in the gym the other day thinking that he was a pretty big guy and how I wished I was that size when it occurred to me to make a direct comparison. So I wandered over looking all casual and spent a few minutes in the same area making comparisons.

I was bigger than him in almost every way.

But still the sting of envy coursed through my veins. It’s a very odd feeling knowing that you are not seeing reality but it’s something that I have had to deal with all my life. My method of getting around my neuroses is to use the hard facts. Numbers like weight, BF% and measurements are my friend and of course pictures where you can make a direct comparison to other pictures also help. It’s a struggle to try to see things as they are but it’s something I am working on.

 

Hold On. This Isn’t Going To Be Pretty. But You Need To Hear This.

enough-of-your-bullshitSometimes I feel like this. It’s no big secret that I think today’s adults are just whiny petulant children who need a good slap to set them straight. From adult colouring books to the obesity epidemic their lives are about narcissistic instant self gratification. They blame everyone else for their problems and refuse to take any responsibility for their actions. They blame their parents for the state of the world and whine about how the value of the dollar means they can’t have what their parents had. Of course I am not talking about everyone but there is a certain type of adult for whom their life is someone else’s fault and nothing they can ever do will change anything. Their children are special little snowflakes who can do no wrong and they believe the world owes them a big house a nice car and a perfect body.
Grow the hell up.
There are certain things they won’t tolerate though… Don’t tell them to sacrifice time away from their family. Don’t tell them they have to work hard to earn a living. Don’t tell them that their self worth is their own responsibility and don’t dare tell them that they need to count calories to lose weight…
Of course, being a fitness blog I am referencing this through the filter of weight control and health. Sure, the economic outlook isn’t as rosy as it once was and some people are working very long hours for very little reward but there are certain things that anyone can change and make a huge turnaround in their life. But it takes work.
I am talking about the one thing that almost all of these petulant kidults complain about the most, and that is weight loss.
There are some very simple rules about weight loss, some are true, some are discredited but still true and some are just so hard to follow that they must be false. But they are still true. So here goes. I am not going to post links and articles because I don’t need validation for what I am saying. I don’t care if you think what is written here is true or not, your opinion is irrelevant to the facts. These are the facts and if you are sitting there sweating just reading this then this is for you.
How to lose weight from hardest to easiest…

1. Exercise to health

You have great drive, you can exercise because you love it and you’re burning the calories to eat anything right? If you’re a teenager maybe, and even then you’re setting yourself up for a future of obesity. This is not the way to do things, if you are putting in this kind of effort, then respect yourself enough to understand that hard work without attention to detail is just spinning your wheels, sure you’re going 100mph but you’re standing still. If this is you, give your head a shake.

2. Calories in vs. Calories out

You’re too good to give up any food so you think calories are the answer. The law of thermodynamics is your battle cry and you cling to that donut with your sticky pudgy fingers like it’s your first born. This approach is tedious and difficult and will work for everyone to a certain extent. The problem is that it’s like treating a fever with an ice bath. Sure the fever will abate but the underlying infection will bring it right back once you stop. Sound familiar? The reason this method works, regardless of it’s too basic tenet is that when most people start to count, they also start to pay attention to the quality of their food. It works but it’s mostly due to better choices than the actual fact of TDEE + BURN = Calories required.
Why do elite bodybuilders use this method? Because at that level this method is critical, they know what to eat, they know what they cannot eat and once everything else is in check, calorie counting is critical. You’re not there yet, believe me. As a personal aside I used this method very successfully last year to get to my lowest ever BF% but that’s because I know exactly what I can and cannot eat.

3. Low Carb / South Beach / Paleo

This is slowly becoming recognised as the standard way to healthy eating. The food industry giants of the corn and wheat sectors have been in control of the North American diet for years and look what it’s done for you. 60% or higher obesity rates and the fattest people on the planet.
There is a ton of research now available to tell you that this is the way to go. My mantra is always to eat one ingredient at a time and never eat anything from a package. The problem here is that portion sizes matter and unless you understand that you can’t eat unlimited amounts of steak and cheese this won’t work for you.

You’re fat, you need to eat less, that is a fact that you cannot escape.

However, eating more healthy food in the right proportions is infinitely easier than trying to track why a diet of soda and bread at 1500 calories doesn’t work. The reason why this method works so well is that it forces you to pay attention to what you are eating and what it is doing to you. Getting rid of grains and sugar will transform your life and your body. If that’s too hard to do then maybe you just enjoy being fat too much. If I told you I would give you $100,000 dollars a week not to eat grains I bet you’d find a way.

4. Low Carb High Fat / Keto

For me (and your mileage may vary) this is what works. My diet is occasionally upwards of 60% fat from healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado and nuts. My carb intake is extremely low and restricted to the hour after I work out in order to make the most of my Non Insulin Mediated Glucose Uptake window. I don’t eat lean beef or turkey because it’s too dry, I love pork, dark chicken meat and occasionally beef. I do eat dairy, and while this may not agree with some people my tolerance is OK. This method works because it turns off your desire for food. Have you always hated those people who say “I forgot to eat today”? Well that can be you if you increase your fat intake and cut your grains and sugars out completely. If you can keep your carb intake below 50g a day you will find a special place where food doesn’t matter and your mind is clear. It may take a couple of weeks to adjust while your body goes from a carb burning machine to a fat burning machine but after that you are actually using all that stored energy under  your skin to fuel your activity. A little sweet potato or oatmeal after your workout should be your only carb intake and pay attention to lots and lots of water. With lots and lots of water comes important attention to electrolytes. Salt your food and if you can drink bone broth which is filled with sodium and potassium and magnesium that you need while drinking enough water.

The one thing that is inescapable in your attempt to lose weight is knowledge. You have to know exactly what you are eating in order to make this work. To a degree that amounts will vary but you can get fat eating a keto diet if you are consuming too much food. Yeah, that calories in vs calories out thing really is important to know but it has to be paired with the proper nutritional knowledge. There are some others that are less critical too. Don’t drink alcohol. Never touch corn. Artificial sweeteners will make you fatter. Remember to count the cream in your coffee and quit taking sugar. Pop is poison. Walk 10,000 steps a day and exercise 5 days a week. Don’t have time? Bullshit.

You have excuses. No, they are not reasons, they are excuses. I know, I have been there and done that more times than I can remember but until I got serious with myself and understood that my pathetic whining wasn’t helping matters it was never going to work.

Take responsibility for yourself. If you are a parent don’t use your kids as an excuse. Take 30 minutes away from them now so that you can be a better parent in the long run and so they are not standing over a casket in 10-15 years asking why you didn’t take better care of yourself. Believe me when I tell you that telling them that losing weight is hard just won’t be a good enough reason to them. And it shouldn’t be to you.

This is hard, and it’s a long process, you didn’t get fat in a month and you won’t get thin in a month. The good news is that looking at pictures from 10 years ago when you were thin doesn’t mean it’s 10 years away to get back there, you can easily drop 50-60lbs in 6 months. That’s 60lbs lighter by Christmas. How about that for a Christmas gift?

Don’t even get me started on this body positivity shit either. Love yourself when you deserve it not because you’re too fucking lazy to do something worthwhile.

Good luck. Suck it up and get to work. You should be sick of your bullshit too by now.

I’m Not Good At Coasting

norestThe last time I took 2 days completely off was May 2014.

I am not sure what that says about what I have been doing or what it implies about how much rest I probably need but it’s pretty amazing. It’s also pretty frustrating.

Does it point to my “coast” to the end of the year is going in a dangerous direction? If I add that to the 10lbs I have gained then maybe? Am I being too hard on myself? Should I be concerned that the first time I got to 216 I couldn’t maintain it? Or am I being paranoid and falling into the old trap of more is better not just more? I am not sure, what I do know is that I am cutting back on the calories a bit to stabilize my gains since the muscle I have gained is enough for now. I am fully aware that this coasting I am doing is a poor excuse for working without a plan and I should know from my past experience that working without a plan isn’t working at all and in fact is a recipe for failure. So what to do? I think the 2 days off was an OK thing since I squatted for the first time in a long time last week and I was really quite sore in multiple places. The extra calorie intake isn’t OK, but it’s only down to not paying attention to how much I am grazing on nuts and stuff. An easy fix but I was 216 in October and now it’s only 2 months later and it has gone in the blink of an eye. It’s amazing that it seemed to take forever to get the last few pounds off but feels like a few days and I am back up 10lbs. So sad that it works that way, but it just shows you can’t stop paying attention, not for a day not for a week and certainly not for a month if you want to stay where you are. That said, this coast was probably badly planned. I should have planned to take 2 weeks off with a concrete return to strict calorie counting and food awareness right after since the habit hadn’t quite formed fully yet.

So what now? I am 3 weeks out from year end, what do I need to do to ensure that I am not another 10 lbs heavier in that 3 weeks? Well, I think a return to my fitbit calorie mapping is a good idea, run at maintenance so I am not taxing myself but also not worrying myself. Keep lifting heavy at the gym and when I have to take a forced break for Christmas (where I will probably be doing some sprint / cardio work outside) I can use that time to take a break from the heavy stuff. Then when the new year comes, it will be time to get back into some compound lifting at home to add to the heavy lifts at the gym and to get my body back into the habit of full body workouts rather than the split days that I have been doing. It may be time for me to do another WOD30 or so to try to get back some of the functional fitness type of work and to prevent me from falling into the static gym work that I have been enjoying.