R11D29-30 – One Third Done!

pizzathirdsToday was not a great workout but over the last few weeks I have been reticent to do workout with the kids at gym because frankly I am not sure I could keep up. Then again, there is no motivation better than leading any kind of fitness routine. So Monday we grabbed the dumbbells and did a 25 minute full body workout including some isometrics, some eccentrics and even a little abs. It was OK, and it reminded me that I really should be pushing them by pushing myself. It was far from the bootcamps of old but I think for the sake of everyone we should be getting back to the grind of full 30 minute workouts to get them used to what level of work is expected from them.

Tuesday was another “in the wild” workout as I spent another 25 minutes shovelling and breaking ice from the driveway in preparation for the snow that is supposed to be coming tomorrow.

This is a milestone because in the world of at home workouts usually 90 days is the length and again usually they are divided into 3 sections. T25 and P90X3 are no exception, T25 having Alpha Beta and Gamma and P90X3 being divided predictably into 3 months that contain different workouts. This time P90X3 only contains one workout for the third month that has not already been performed but since I have never divided up the workouts like that before, maybe the other DVD sets are the same. Anyway, here I am at the end of 30 days and although I am not actually following a program I am still committed to doing 90 days of the workouts. This 1/3 mark is usually where things start to get harder, the assumption is that after 30 days of their workouts you should already be getting into shape. So how am I doing? 30 days ago when I started I was in pretty rough shape, I had just come off a bout of pneumonia and a trip to England, I had been sick for quite some time and to be honest I was a mess. My weight at work was over 250 but that only means that I was right around the 250lb mark at home. I know my weight went up by 8lbs as I started to work out again which I expected but now, a few days into February I am right around 254 which means I am down about 4lbs or so. I know it’s not much but I really had not been keeping my diet as strict as I would like, and now I have Fitday on my side I estimate a loss of at least 3lbs a week. It is pretty frightening that I am 20lbs away from my ideal weight of around 230lbs but then again, having back surgery will do that to you, the important thing is that I am back on track and heading back to the top. The funny thing is that the only rule I was breaking for my diet was the 100g of carbs, and once I have that under control I am sure good things will follow. It’s easy to get away from that without really noticing or eating anything “bad” but starch after a workout and too much fruit will tip your balance easily. If you don’t think that veg and fruit are able to put weight on you, take a peek at the latest instalment of the “5000 calories a day” guy. He is on a vegan diet and gaining weight all the way.

I had earmarked Feb 1st as a goal for having my Olympic lifts back up to 135lbs which I have achieved, I also wanted to be able to run 1500m in a reasonable time without stopping but I have been staying away from the treadmill in favour of T25 workouts. I wonder how I would fare at a 1500m run right now.

Below is my Fitday from Monday and Tuesday for your enjoyment.


fitday feb 3 2014


fitday feb 4 2014

R11D9 – Best Laid Plans

osmin diet The return of the ice war.

This time it was the driveway, a double wide strip of 5 inch thick ice just waiting to be carved apart with the ice breaker and hauled BY HAND out of the way. The ice pieces were too heavy to lift with my snow shovel so as I broke apart the sheets I had to carry or throw the massive chunks off to the side. It took about 50 minutes and each time I checked my heart rate (since I knew it was going to be a workout) I was up above 140. It is strange that I am happy to prove myself in the real world now, whereas during my gym days I would only consider actual weight lifting as exercise and everything else was just a waste of time. Oh how my life has changed since then. One phrase that always goes through my head is hearing Osmin Hernandez shouting THE WORLD IS YOUR GYM and although he is a little crazy at times I completely agree with his philosophy. Anyone who says they can’t work out because they can’t get to the gym needs a good smack to the forehead. Yesterday’s workout equipment was an ice breaking blade and a snow shovel. It takes a lot to get out of the gym mindset and even more difficult than getting out of the gym is the notion that you can actually get fit at home with or without a DVD set to motivate you. Coming from a gym rat mindset makes you think that you need “proper” equipment to work out with and the idea that you can get a great full body workout without ANY equipment is insane. Truth is that you don’t need anything to get in shape except a positive attitude and a little creativity. Every neighbourhood in Canada now has access to 2 or 3 parks with monkey bars, climbing frames etc all of which are great for workouts. Just make sure you are alone or people will get the wrong idea.

osmin friend

The other problem is a very common one among people who already have the right attitude, they have the knowledge and they may even have some kettlebells, bumper plates and an Olympic bar at home but their problem is that they can’t train themselves. It’s the toughest thing in the world to be your own trainer and for the most part it is not possible. However, there is a way to overcome this and that is to write your plan for yourself as if you were writing it for a client or friend and then follow it to the letter. Make it up during your off hours when you can think clearly about body part rotation, time allotment, rest etc. and that way you don’t end up standing in your basement at workout time thinking “hmm… what should I do today…”.

I know this because I have coached many sports, from rugby to gymnastics and I have been a certified personal trainer for 20 years now, since before everyone thought they could do it and I am smart enough and humble enough to know that I cannot coach myself. That is part of the reason that I keep this blog, not only to record my progress but also to give me the chance to think about where I am and what I need to do next. I won’t go home at the end of the day not knowing what I SHOULD do. The only thing that will derail my achieving what I have planned is if there is something else there to take it’s place like last night. There is also a rest day window that I have. Once I have worked out 4 days straight the window is open and if I get into a situation where I can’t get a workout in due to time constraints or other reasons then I can take a day without guilt and move the planned workout to the next day. I have things in place that mean whatever happens I am able to adapt and make the day a success. That is what it takes to at least have some degree of success in coaching yourself, but believe me, it’s not a walk in the park. The biggest problem is that you will always let yourself off with doing less than you would if you were training someone else. You have to learn to drive yourself as hard as you can while you are in pain and that’s the problem, it takes almost superhuman dedication not to quit when you are hurting but believe me, the one thing that the truly successful people will do is ignore the voice in their head and get the work done.

Mud Hero 2013

mudheroslide2013It was always my goal, right since I learned of my surgery in April to do the Mud Hero on August 24. I figured it would be a measure of my recovery and a test of my mettle.

I didn’t realize how much of a challenge actually deciding to go would be since I had thought that I would be almost fully recovered and ready for anything. That was hardly the case. The week before the race I was sore every day, my back was actually feeling very delicate up to the day of the race and even on the way there, I was still debating in my head whether to cheer my girls or suck it up and run. Since there is only really ever one answer to that dilemma I put on my big boy pants and headed for the start.

I was actually really surprised by how easy the course was this year solely due to the fact we knew what to expect. I remember last year not knowing how far or how hard to run and that lack of knowledge really sapped my energy. This year, knowing exactly where we were going and what to expect made it all the more easy. That’s not to say that I didn’t find it hard, it was terribly difficult given my lack of mobility for certain movements especially when it came to ducking under things, such as the first mud pool under the logs. There was not much running done by any of us, my loyal and wonderful athletes and co-workers stayed with me, and despite obviously being able to do much more than I kept up with the encouragement and added so much to the enjoyment of the day.

The course was very similar to last year, however they had bolted the car boot and bonnets closed so no surprises there and the water slide which almost made a lady out of one of our male competitors last year instead of letting out into a small forest went straight into a deep mud pool. They had added another mud pool with tubes up which you had to climb which was a little challenging given my girth but I am proud to say that I did not skip any of the obstacles and only finished about 15 minutes behind last year’s time.

It was an amazing feat for me, I am so happy I decided to run, I am certain I would have regretted not going if I had stayed off the course. I must also say a huge thank you to my wonderful wife who, instead of running the course, took the time to hang out with our daughter to watch her daddy make a mess of himself.

All in all, a huge success, and I guess the next few days will tell just how close to a full recovery I am but for now I can say that I made my pre surgery goal of competing in the Mud Hero only 4 months after back surgery… and I am old too!!

BSRD12 – The Swing Of Things

Changing-prioriteis-198x300So I guess I am into a kind of routine, walking during the day, mostly earlier in the day so I can eat after I am done. If not, then later in the day so I can have dinner right after. I am finding that I am not eating much at all, which is to be expected since I am not doing very much and my weight is relatively stable. Here’s an update on how the rest of the things are going and an insight into my next week.

Sticking with paleo obviously, trying to add more fruit and veg where possible, drinking coconut water where I can instead of coffee. I have smoked more ribs this week, the pork ones turned out spectacular but the beef ribs were a bitter disappointment. Also, the eye of round didn’t come out well either, but if I had some Au Jus it would have been acceptable on a bun.

Walking is going OK, I took it easy last Saturday and took Sunday off, that meant that my hips have been much better the last couple of days. I find that when I walk I still get the shin pain in my right leg and I am still unable to heel walk on my right leg. However I am able to walk 2,5km like I did today at a decent pace. I still take my cane just in case but it’s a bit redundant so far. As far as other working out, I am restricted to limited bench, I haven’t even tried doing any pushups yet. I will be trying to expand my workout a little to get some shoulder work done and some bands work for my back, very limited since that it the biggest concern post surgery. I am also going to drop in some air squats so that I can work a little on my leg range of motion and strength to start getting back up to speed.

The surgery site is still very tender and the steri strips have not come off yet. I have very limited movement forward and that is when it’s most painful. My hips are better than they were, but they may go back to being very painful again after a couple of days walking we will have to see. The shins are much better, in fact no pain in my left leg at all but still some pain about 2 minutes in on my right leg. The pain seems to go away after a while, in fact once I have been walking for a while the hip pain also disappears but that it replaced by a feeling of fatigue that so far is preventing me from walking any further than about 30 minutes. I do still spend an inordinate amount of time laying down however, it’s a pain to stand for too long and too stressful on my back to sit. I am hoping that sitting will become easier so that I can return to a more normal life of standing and sitting, and saving the laying down for bedtime.
EDIT – I also wanted to comment on the hip and upper shin pain on my left leg which should  be unrelated to the back surgery. I get a quite sharp and intense pain in the very top part of my shin almost at my knee on the exterior side. It’s a real discomfort and I can initiate the pain severely if I lay on my back and stretch my left leg straight above my body stressing the hamstring and pulling the whole anterior chain into effect. For some reason that gives me excruciating pain in my shin, and I realize that it’s probably a ITB thing tying into the low back which hasn’t been stretched and is antagonizing the hamstring and thereby pulling on the knee but when it happens, it really doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.

Nicole’s truck cost $1000 to fix but drives like new. It still could use another $2000 in various repairs and I think for that reason it’s about time we parted ways. With the limited kms on her schedule a lease would be much more sensible and would enable her to be covered under warranty 100% of the time. Nowadays places even throw in oil change schedules as well.
Lightning is much better, although still not exactly a frisky feline. We spent a week giving him fluids under his skin twice a day and it seems to have worked to some degree. He is going for more blood tests Thursday so we will know exactly just how well it worked then.
The weather has been just great for being outside, the mid to high 20s during the day so at least that’s one plus. People ask me all the time how I am doing, and I guess the appropriate response is that I am doing better and I think that is the truth. Each day brings it’s own challenges and pains but I think in the general scheme that I am on the upswing, and that’s the best I can expect at the moment. I do have to admit that it’s been better than I imagined, only because of the nightmare that happened last time. Still, it’s not something I would recommend as a fun time…








Biggest Loser – About To Commit Crimes Against Children??

It’ s all over the news about The Biggest Loser having kids between 11 and 17 on the show this season and while I am sure (at least I hope) that the approach will be radically different than that of the adults I still think that this is a very dangerous ratings grab. Much of my feeling is echoed by the following article but my overwhelming feeling is that these kids are going to be taught, purposefully or not, that exercise is something that takes work, dedication, pain and long term suffering. That’s simply not the message we should be sending. Although I agree that if these kids are obese and sedentary, they should be shown that there is a price to pay for their lifestyle, I am just not so sure that Ms. Michaels is the one to tell them. I am afraid that from a coaching perspective and someone who has coached kids 11-17 for many years that this could be TV’s next great trainwreck. Let’s hope for the kids’ sake it isn’t and that rather than using the treadmills and weights that these kids are out playing in the outdoors and having fun while learning that movement is preferable to watching TV. I would hate for the first exposure to exercise for a child would be a treadmill and a body bug.


10.83 – Mud Hero Toronto 2012

The morning arrived with an ominous forecast of 31 degrees with a humidex of 36+, but at least I was vindicated in my decision to make sure we were in the second earliest group to go. The setup was pretty easy, the parking was close to the event so no buses this year like last time at Warrior Dash (You can read about the Warrior Dash HERE and HERE)We were pretty early but since I was paranoid about my shins I spent about 45 minutes warming them up and asking them to please behave during the hell that was to come. The overall event was much smaller than Warrior Dash but I think was more suitable for us especially given those who were participating, I am not sure even I would have been up for running up ski hills again this year, I wanted more obstacles and less running where possible. In fact, the course delivered exactly that, there was plenty of running up through woods and small hills and over streams mixed in with the “official” obstacles. Even the first part from the start to the first obstacle which I was dreading due to my lack of running practice wasn’t so bad. Probably the adrenaline and the crowds helped though. Speaking of running, I really wish I had practiced at least a couple of times. What made me slow was not the fact that I can’t run, I already know I am not the greatest runner but that due to my lack of practice in my vibrams with actual running my mechanics were terrible. That meant I was working probably twice as hard as I needed to in order to produce the lava like speed with which I was running. Had I practiced and got my mechanical stride in shape, I am sure I would have had a much easier time of it. Not only that, you would think after last time I would have learned to wear shorter, less absorbent shorts, by the time we were past 3 or 4 obstacles my shorts were filled with mud and it was like carrying a backpack strapped to my butt. I did however remember not to let my knees touch the ground in the mud pits because just as I had recalled the bottom of the mud pit is in fact littered with sharp stones and rocks which can really tear up your knees.

The obstacles themselves were far more entertaining than last year, probably because I was not as tired when I got to them, several walls, hay bales, parked cars, cargo nets and so on made it very similar in difficulty and enjoyment. The haunted house was a fun addition and the fact that they had put out actual water slides and not just a tarp over a rock bed made that part far better for me. The people we went with all did great, I have to admit, probably better than I did which was a little disappointing but I know what my issues were and I won’t let them happen again. Fact is that we all managed to stay together pretty much to the end which made the whole experience that much better.

This was about half way through, as you can see my choice of shorts was ill advised. Bruce, one of our participants wore a GoPro camera on his head, the footage of which I can’t wait to see. My favourite part? I am not sure, getting sprayed with water as you are dying from the heat was great, and for sure the hardest part for me was the horizontal cargo net ( I should have walked over not bear walked) but I think my favourite part was the hay bales, being able to throw yourself around on them was a blast, that and the vertical cargo net, for some reason I just love to climb those things.

In all it probably took just over an hour to finish with 19 obstacles covering 6km. The fastest time was around 25 minutes I think but that is just insane.

I am really happy we did it, I am disappointed that all my girls didn’t decide to do it but I have to tip my hat to my one athlete who chose to run with us, her determination, drive and willingness to push through her obvious pains was a real inspiration.

All in all, a really successful day and I hope inspiration to others to come out and join us next year!!


And no, no Usain Bolt poses!

R9D77/8 – RKC at Work And Rollerblading … Yup, You Read That Right!

I guess you could say that I am drifting away from P90X2 as a schedule, I mean I have not hidden my disappointment with the PAP series of workouts  and since that is almost the entirety of the final phase I guess you could say I am over it. I think I will try to get a couple more of them in before I officially call it quits on P90X2 just to say I gave it more than a couple of chances. That said, the summer is really here now and activities outside should start to take the forefront. This past weekend I did something I haven’t done in probably 10 years, I went rollerblading. I was expecting to be pathetic, a frightened old man trying to regain the vigor of his youth but no, I was happy, capable and without any road rash for my efforts. In fact, I felt like I was 25 again when I used to rollerblade around Western for hours at a time wasting the early summer days between aerobics classes and weightlifting. The best thing was that my workouts are obviously good enough and thorough enough that I wasn’t sore in any unusual places nor was I tired once I returned despite my hear rate being pretty high for the entire 30 minutes. It’s a small thing I know, but it made me happy to know that I am still capable of doing things that some would consider activities of the younger generation. The sad thing is that people were looking at me like I had 3 heads, I guess rollerblades are less in favour now than they once were, but they are still viable, no? I mean as long as these idiot kids are on their stupid skateboards, I think people on rollerblades are still one rung above them on the ladder.

In other news I was thinking about the place dairy has in the Paleo diet, I have at times in the past given up dairy and felt some benefits in doing so, but this weekend when a relative told us she was giving up dairy and sugar it got me to thinking if dairy was really so bad. To cut a long story short, the thinking is that milk is not the greatest thing, especially farmed skim milk which is sadly what I drink. Cheese and other milk products fall into the same category but are better by virtue of having the good saturated fats still in place. At the top of the list is ghee or clarified butter which everyone should use to cook with instead of processed vegetable oils. I have included a couple of short articles below to inform you on these points and to help anyone wondering if dairy is really a part of the Paleo lifestyle. For me, I guess we could try to find milk from grass fed sows but I am not sure the price would make the switch viable. It would probably be best just to quit.

The place of dairy on the paleo diet.

Stop Eating Dairy

Paleo and Dairy

One of the common threads here is that bovine dairy is inferior to goat and sheep dairy, maybe the answer then at least for me would be to switch back to eating goat feta instead of the fake plastic marble cheese I love. Yes I have a long way to go to Paleo nirvana and I am thinking that modifying my dairy is a step in the right direction.