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

2 Weeks Of Change

IMG_1119So I got a new fitbit from Costco. It’s a Charge HR again but the big news is that it now comes with a stopwatch!!

I have also decided that since paying attention to the work I am doing isn’t really keeping me engaged I would try something else and it’s going to be a weightloss of 5lbs in 2 weeks. See I have 2 weeks off from coaching and I would like to go back to the gym afterwards looking like I did at this time last year. Of course that is because right now I don’t. I am around 238lbs right now and 19-20% fat which is too high. I figure if I can burn 5lbs of fat in the next 2 weeks I can get my percentage down to 18-19 which should give me a good shot at hitting 17% this year, something that I haven’t done since University. My lowest last year was 18% which for a guy isn’t that great to be honest.

The picture to the left is me last summer when I was at my lowest BF%. I will try to post a picture tomorrow of what I look like now so that in 2 weeks we can all marvel at the tiny changes 🙂

So for 2 weeks it will be strict Keto, very low dairy and a variable calorie deficit of somewhere between 500-1000 calories a day.

It’s going to be horrible but really it will give me something to aim for, something to focus on and I would be really happy if I went back to gym in 2 weeks and people actually noticed a difference.

But will they? I know I am super critical of myself and that I notice every little thing but will it make a difference to the casual observer, I guess time will tell.

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!!

R5D51 – Medium and Much Anticipated Photo Update

Medium day, the day when I feel like I can use the 70lb KB to do Clean and Press because I took it easy on Light Day. Medium day = sore back the next day. Either way, almost every person who claims to know anything about Kettlebell training says you are supposed to occasionally use a KB that is heavy for you and difficult to do anything with. That in mind, I tried some C&P with the 70 and almost killed myself in the process. However, I was able to do at least 1, 2 and 3 C&P with it during my 5th and final set. I woke up this morning still able to walk so it didn’t kill me!

One of the questions I have had ever since the beginning of my P90X journey is for photo updates, mostly because people’s reluctance to subscribe to the system is that they think it won’t work. If they are willing to give it a shot, it is usually on the back of seeing someone just like them who has succeeded. I know I am the same, the reason I started with P90X was not only because I had tried P90 with my wife during the summer a couple of years ago and pretty much hated it. It was too easy, it reminded me of a bad 80’s aerobic class. I had a hankering for something that would make me feel manly, like I could rip a phone book apart with my bare hands, something that would help me to return to my former fitness glory. I was fat. I had got down to 252 lbs right before the wedding in 2007 but since then had ballooned back up to 292. During the wedding push we had eaten vegan, tried the raw diet, ate a lot of fruits and veg but just couldn’t stick with it. The problem was cravings for carbs since we had inadvertently gone full carb in our diet. It was a train wreck of a diet but as with most things, if you are really fat, but exercising, you will likely lose some weight. I knew as we started our honeymoon cruise that I was never going to be able to maintain that low number. I had forced myself into that weight, given up everything I wanted and been miserable in the process. The photos from the wedding looked great, but I was setting myself up for failure. When we went toEngland in 2008 I was at my all time high (again) and was one Sticky Toffee Pudding away from 300lbs. Fast forward to now, at 245lbs and I feel like I can still go lower without really trying. Weight loss has become simple and a no brainer for me since giving up grains and going paleo.

So what of the photos? Well, during my first round of P90X I didn’t follow the diet plan, in fact, right up until the third week of round 4 I wasn’t really on a diet as such. I always had reasons I didn’t need to, and as a result, I always had a reason not  to take pictures. The reason: I wasn’t losing any of my stored body fat. I was getting fitter, although during round 2 I was also getting heavier, not lighter. It was a struggle at times to keep up and keep going but once I started in with Insanity, things started to improve a little. It was round 3, I had a new baby as motivation and so I dropped  a few pounds, not that you could really notice since losing 10 lbs when you are 270 is like Justin Bieber, largely irrelevant. I would like to say that I did P90X and was transformed but my journey wasn’t that direct. During round 1 I took bodypart pictures because I still wasn’t proud enough to do a full body shot. I am not sure why, I was in OK shape at the time but still weighing in at a whopping 260lbs. That was the last time I was anywhere near confident enough to share my shape. So I thought since I owe so much to this system I have developed that I would put together some pictures to show my progress. Not just my progress in P90X but my overall progress to where I am now which, I am hoping, is only half way to where I will end up.

Here are the pics… You can figure out which is which.

1991 – around 190lbs

The picture that brought it all home. Summer 08

March 2011 – 245lb














So that is where I am and where I came from. I am hoping that from now on I will be able to post more picture updates, it’s good for my confidence, my comfort level and hopefully it will be a good motivator for someone waiting in the wings hoping to step into the game…

Biggest Loser. Bitter Taste Of Unnecessary Victory.

It’s great to see people lose weight. It’s great to see the success, the happiness and the emotional roller coaster. But it is sad to know millions of people let themselves get that way in the first place. If you don’t think it can happen to you, you need to check yourself. If you realize it could happen to you and you are working to make sure it doesn’t, then you are the real hero. It’s all well and good to see these people telling stories about how they can be there for their families, how they will be able to play with their kids now or how they will be there for their spouse. What about the last few years? Where was that commitment? Are we all really so closed minded that we can’t see the issues as they are arising? What person gets to 200, 300 or 400 lbs and doesn’t think about their family? What person can’t fit into their car but doesn’t think that might be a problem? It’s great that less than 1000th of 1% of the people are getting help. How about the next million who are right now stuffing their faces with crap, sitting in front of the TV doing nothing while their kids are out shoplifting because Daddy didn’t play with me or Mommy didn’t love me enough. It’s going to take more than a TV show, it is going to take a societal change in the way we treat our responsibilities.

Your life isn’t about you. It’s about how you respond to your responsibilities to others. It may be your spouse, your kids or your friends but there are people who depend on you, maybe not financially, but they need you there. Think about them next time you finish off half a pizza in one sitting, or a dozen cookies, or half a box of donuts. You may like to watch the Biggest Loser, you may even be motivated by it and that is great. But ask yourself for a second, how did I get to the point where I need a TV show to tell me that my child needs my attention. Why is Gillian or Bob telling me that I need to be healthy so my spouse isn’t left a widow at age 38? Once you figure that out, pass it on.

If I am ever in doubt as to why I work out the way I do or eat the crazy things I do and constantly search for the latest information on health and fitness, I just look at these pictures. It’s just that simple.

Elyse crawl NWedding

R4 D57 – My Name Is Cardio, Max Cardio. My Rant About My 4 Rounds.

The picture that brought it all home

December 2010

That’s the picture that brought it all home…

It seems like forever since I did an actual DVD instead of messing about and mixing bits and pieces. Why not do a Max workout to get back into it then? Actually, the workout was surprisingly easy and enjoyable. I think I remember being pleasantly surprised when I started doing Insanity back in the day as to how much I enjoyed the workout, partly because at the time I wasn’t able to give 100% for the whole workouts so I was better off giving 75% for a longer time. At least that way I felt like I got a better workout. This one was only difficult due to the pain in my shoulder but aside from that it was quite a lot of fun.

I am getting concerned as to what I should be doing after I am done round 4. I don’t think that I can even really call them rounds any more other than it gives me a nice 3 month structure into which I can put my test workouts and see how they work. It’s hard to believe that my first round started in June of 2009, 18 months ago, and since this is round 4 obviously I suck at math. There was a failed attempt at taking P90X into the gym for a while there but the rest must just be poor adherence to the plan. In fact, when I check, this should really be round 5. See here:

Round 1 – P90X Classic Started June 19 2009
Round 2 – G90X Trying to take P90X into the gym Started Oct 19 2009
Round 2 Remix – Forget the gym, mix P90X and Insanity) Started Jan 30 2010 (Apparently I was in horrible shape)
Round 3 – P90x Insanity Hybrid. Started June 9 2010 after the baby was born. This was my decision to really start taking it seriously)
Round 4 – P90X, Insanity and Crossfit. Started Sept 29 2010. Also started eating Paleo Oct 11 2010. Big difference… huge!

I really took the first round seriously but I found that when I got to the end I had no continuance plan in place so I fizzled out with rest week and fell into the most common problem of all, post P90X laziness. My attempt to take P90X into the gym started in October 2009 and I claim to have been around 255lbs. My own records indicate that in fact I had been 252 during my wedding in August of 2007 and then ballooned to 291 almost exactly a year after that in September of 2008. So the fact that I thought I was around 255 in October 2009 was only because I had managed to lose some weight doing P90X. I remember I didn’t follow the diet plan at all and of course I had an excuse for that however I do recall that I lost a little weight during that 90 days. I started around 270 and dropped to about 255 by the end of the program.

Round 2 in both forms saw me get off track and although I was working out, I was apparently eating for two. My documented weight at the start of Round 2 after G90X failed was 272lbs. I had managed to gain an extra 2 lbs over and above my pre-90X weight. My weight didn’t move much and about half way through the round I hurt my back quite badly and was out for a while. I recall that the weeks seemed to slip by very quickly as I struggled with my next move and although my records have gone awol I can tell you from the frequency of my posting here that the time wasted as quickly as my motivation. I did have an injury, I did have a viral infection and I did still have to coach twice a week but add into that waiting for the baby to be born and the stress alone would have been enough to stall me out.

Round 3 and the baby may have saved my life. I went almost 2 months with sporadic and half-hearted workouts but then as the baby suddenly appeared along with her came my renewed sense of adventure and commitment. I built the decks, started my hybrid schedule and started to turn things around. Still no diet plan though. So I was back working out, looking after the wife and the baby, doing construction and enjoying being off work for 3 weeks. That short time really shot me out of the cannon when it came to my fitness. I quit the gym and committed to having all the equipment and motivation I needed at home. Since then it has been tough but consistent. Once my parents left after their visit in September I realized that in fact being fit at 282lbs may be OK for an NFL lineman, but not for a sedentary Network Engineer. So I jumped on the Paleo bandwagon and rode off into the sunset. 20+lbs later and I am still committed to the process and the diet and feeling amazing.

me nov 15 2010

As you can tell, my “concern” about what to do for R5 is causing my mind to race. R4 has been very enjoyable and for the most part I get the biggest kick out of doing the Crossfit type workouts. So I may scale back the cardio to 2 days and let  Crossfit take the other weight days and the responsibility for bench on board for the remaining 4 days. I am only about 10lbs off being my lowest weight ever while involved with P90X and I have to be honest, it is not the workout that is doing it, it is the diet.

For all of you out there who are doing P90X or who are thinking about whether it will get the weight off you or not hear this… A typical P90X workout is 1 hour. You sleep 8 hours. What you put into your face during the other 15 hours is by far the biggest part of your success. Anyone can work out. Anyone! But it takes a smart individual to realize that stuffing themselves with fruits and veg and good cuts of meat will get them where they need to be. Put away the packaged food, eat only things with 5 ingredients or less and OH GOD I AM ON MY SOAP BOX AGAIN!!!

Just don’t try to kid yourself that you can do the workouts without the diet, you can’t possibly be that stubborn / stupid / weak.

By the way… that picture (the one of me at the top), everyone has one, should be on your wall along with your best picture to make sure you understand that the limits on your life are up to you. Only you can determine how far you can fall and how high you can climb.


If you have a big enough WHY, you can endure almost any HOW.

Round 2 Rest Week 1 Ends – Quit the gym, build your own.


I am not claiming to be the best handyman, you won’t see me on the next season of Handyman Superstar Challenge but I was impressed with myself at getting the chin up bar installed in the garage. It is nailed to the rafters and is high enough so that a) my feet can’t touch the ground and b) it is above the garage door when it opens. This also keeps my ego in check and will prevent me from doing workouts in the garage with the door open. Not that I would dream of doing that now… but who knows about the summer. I am also going to build some crossfit boxes that you use to jump up onto in order to increase leg power and in addition, I am thinking of building some dumbell holders that I can then install in the basement to get the dumbells off the floor.

I also quit the gym this weekend. I have put the membership on hold indefinitely so that I can spend the next few months on my DVD based fitness and taking full advantage of the gym I faithfully built in the basement. It will also save us $70 a month which will, I assume, go towards a cloth diaper service and not towards a new exhaust or HID headlights for the Jeep or Tony Horton’s 1 on 1 fitness.

The buildup was pretty simple, I suspended 2×4’s from the ceiling joists using 4 large nails each. I will eventually put a lag bolt through each one but for now they are OK. I had bought a hollow metal bar, 48″ long and drilled a similar sized hole through each 2×4 as you can see. I simply threaded the bar through the holes and as you can see, the last support is a little off in alignment. That was due to the fact that when I drilled the holes, at least one of them was at a slight angle. I am not sure how you would combat this without the use of a drill press but it doesn’t seem to have affected it in any way.

The bar was around $25, the wood I had laying around as spare pieces as I did with the nails. I will have to buy the lag bolts / carriage bolts.

I am around 260lbs right now and the bar I set up in the basement (which I will discuss at a later time) has a very slight bow to it now after some vigorous use. However, that one is across a 36″ door frame. I don’t expect this one will bend at all given the 3 support points.

My plan is not to hang from between the 2x4s since I would bang my head on the central support, but rather to use one hand on the outside of one end support and the other between the two far supports to give my head room to clear the bar.

Area 51 – Bodyparts (Abs, who knew?)

I will put up before pictures but at the moment I can’t stomach them so these will have to do. Just goes to prove that anyone can find some abs, even if it is only one or two! I am having a hard time imagining that I will be significantly different than this at the end but I hope that at the very least my final pictures will be even a slight improvement over today.

Core Synergistics – The wannabe workout.

Core is a weird workout, it’s not difficult enough to be a real challenge which is good for rest week but at the same time you get the feeling that the moves you are doing are just the cast offs that didn’t make the show. They are the red headed stepchild of the other 3 weeks, they are the returning houseguests that didn’t make it in to the house again this season. Although the quality is there and the workout is still a good one, you can’t help but feel a little sorry for the exercises that didn’t quite make it on to the first team.

My weightloss has stalled, I have weighed about the same for 2 weeks running now and although I feel like my body is still changing I would like to see a better reflection on the scale. People say that numbers don’t matter but in fact that only really applies to people who are already at their desired bodyfat level or who are working out with weights for the first time. NOT the first time in a while either, but the first time. Even then, the ability to put on weight as muscle is so incredibly difficult that saying that you are “losing fat and gaining muscle” is completely bogus. In actuality, and any bodybuilder will attest to this, you are always either gaining muscle OR losing fat but to do both at the same time is insanely challenging once you are past the first few months. For this reason I know that my stagnant weight is nothing to do with muscle gain, but is more a reflection of my “alternate” food choices over the last couple of weeks. It may not seem like much to say that I had one bowl of low fat ice cream and fell short on my vegetable intake for 3 or more days but at this level when you are trying to balance your diet carefully those things have a huge impact.

So this is how Rest Week 2 looks on the Classic Program:

YogaX     √Done
Core Synergistics     √Done
X Stretch
Core Synergistics
Rest or X Stretch