Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bagel Trap

I fell into the bagel trap this morning. What's the bagel trap, you ask? Well, let me tell you...
One of my coworkers will occasionally bring in a bag tasty bagels. I happen to love bagels. I will usually convince myself that one bagel with a little bit of cream cheese is ok to eat. Just this one, right? Well, no. I ate three! (3!) bagels today. I'm afraid of dying from a carb overdose.

Monday, July 5, 2010

One More Purchase

Happy 4th yall!

I went ahead and bought a stability ball this weekend. Between it, the resistance bands, the kettlebell, and the bike, not to mention running outside and access to a gym, I think I'm pretty set on the fitness front. Tonight I did thirty minutes on the stationary bike. I'm discovering that it takes a good 15 minutes to get the legs warmed up. After that, it goes pretty smoothly. Depending on the weather, I'm either going to run outside tomorrow, or go to the gym and do 30 min on the treadmill. I'm hoping to get into a bike/run/bike/run/bike/run pattern with Sundays off. I also sat down and watched the exercise DVD's that came with the bands and stability ball. Everything seemed fairly straight forward. I'm trying to decide how I'm going to split up everything. Thinking of alternating between full body work outs and yoga, since I recently found a few yoga workouts through Netflix's instant function.

On the diet front, I did slack off over the holiday weekend, but I didn't go too overboard. Today I discovered that the local coffeeshop's curry chicken salad is darn near paleo and might tasty. I'm going to try to find a recipe online so I can make it at home for a lot cheaper,

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Ok, so here is what I've been doing lately...

I bought a cheap exercise bike at a fitness resale shop a couple of weeks ago and have ridden it twice so far. It's perfect for days when it's either too rainy or just too hot to go outside and do anything. I think it was $25 and it works perfectly. It's just a little ugly.

Yesterday, I went running outside for the first time in a long time and it went horribly. My legs, lungs, and guts just weren't prepared for it. I hope it goes better Wednesday.

I also purchased some exercise bands this week. I don't have much experience with them, but I figured they would be good for when I want to get a workout in and don't have time to go to the gym. I'm still working on putting together a good training plan for them. I'll post it once I have it.

I rejoined the local rec center. It has a tiny gym and crappy hours but it was only $25 for the year. I won't be able to go a lot, but it will be nice every once in a while. There's a larger rec center up the road with longer hours but it's an extra $35 every 3 months. Still a good deal. It would bring the total cost to $165 for the year. Can't beat that!

Still trying to follow the paleo diet, though it is extremely tough to follow for someone who eats out a lot. Restaurants put cheese and sauce on everything and then serve it on bread with potatoes on the side. I've been eating a lot of salads with either chicken or beef on top.

In addition to finding exercises for the bands, I'm also trying to put together a daily stretching routine. I will post that here as well, as soon as I get it done.

I need to buys some heavier kettlebells. The 25 pounder just ain't cutting it.  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Paleo Diet

So I've been contemplating trying out the Paleo diet to see if it will help me lose weight and also ditch some of the intestinal problems I have. I've been doing some research on the diet, the benefits and possible dangers and so far, I think a modified version of the paleo a.k.a. caveman diet would work out well.

Here is what I like about the diet:
Minimal dairy - I'm lactose intolerant, so this would be no problem.
No grains - This will be the hardest to give up, but I've often wondered if I have a gluten allergy.
Meat - I love meat. The diet discourages processed meats like lunch meat, hot dogs and other sausages.
No beans - Beans are usually a problem for me as well, though not necessarily in the "musical fruit" kind of way.
No refined sugar or added salt - makes sense. We all know they are the devil.
Fluxuating consumption - three meals a day isn't natural, and neither is 5 meals a day. Eat when your hungry. Stop when you're not.

Here is what I dislike-
Too much meat - A lot of the paleo bloggers I've read seem to go way overboard on the meat consumption. Even though paleoithic man was not afraid to eat meat, I doubt they ate it in the same consumption/activity ratio that modern paleo dieters are eating today.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Really? Well, um...sure!

According to the latest issue of Men's Health Magazine, Cincinnati is one of America's thinnest cities. While I'm always happy when my city gets props, to be honest, this accolade is a bit of a head scratcher. Here's how MH said they ranked the cities:

To arrive at our rankings, we calculated the percentage of people who are overweight, the percentage with type 2 diabetes, the percentage who haven't left the couch in a month (CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System); the money spent on junk food (Bureau of Labor Statistics); and finally, the number of people who ate fast food nine or more times in a month (Mediamark Research).
 Seeing that survey data makes up a big chuck of the findings, I'm wondering if Cincinnati should really get the "America's Most Lying City" award.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Another Pig Has Come And Gone

Today was the annual running of Cincinnati's Flying Pig Marathon and where was I? In bed sleeping. Hopefully this will be the last year of that as I have made it my goal to do the half-marathon next year. The fact that it is 364 days away and that I'm on week 2 of the Couch to 5k makes it seem so far away, but I know from past experience that it will be here before you know it.


I've been on the hunt for a good workout that can be done at home with the least amount of equipment possible, and I think I've found it. Welcome to the world of kettlebells.

Kettlebells originated in Russia a loooong time ago (1700's) but only recently gained popularity in the states. The main benefit that they offer that regular dumbbells do not is their ability to be swung. The fact that the center of mass of a kettlebell extends beyond the user's hand means that more muscles are utilized in controlling its movement as compared to the lifting of a dumbbell. 

If you are interested in seeing what kettlebell exercises look like, I recommend checking out Lauren's blog. Lauren is a personal trainer that specializes in kettlebell workouts and has several videos available to view from her site and youtube channel.

I've already started doing her "Quick Fat Burning Kettlebell Workout" and have been pleased with it so far.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stay On Your Toes

After having a discussion with my sister about diet and exercise, I decided to do a post highlighting some of the biggest misconceptions about diet and exercise.

First, lets discuss the whole concept of "dieting". Everybody has a diet, so that means everyone is essentially dieting. Diet is what you eat. When you go on a new diet, you are decidedly changing what you eat to try to cause some sort of change. Some people go on diets to lose weight, others go on diets to gain weight. You can not go on a diet to lose fat nor can you go on a diet to gain muscle. What you eat does not determine how energy is stored or used.

Wait, you say, what do you mean energy? I'm eating food! We all know that food has calories. A calorie is a unit of energy. Humans (and other animals) eat food in order to get the calories it contains. Some food has very little calories, like celery. A cup of diced celery has 19 calories. Some food has a lot of calories, like a chicken burrito from a popular restaurant chain. It has 950 calories. Calories are not bad or good just like watts and volts are not bad or good. Humans tend to prefer those food items with more calories. Unhealthy things often taste good to us because our brain knows it contains a lot of calories. Why? Survival. If cavemen preferred low calorie food, they would not have had enough energy to run from lions and probably would have gotten eaten by them. So now, we still have those preferences, but we are not out running from lions anymore. We are consuming more energy than we need. Not only that, but we are eating processed foods with ingredients that are designed to trick our minds and our bodies. The natural triggers to stop consuming energy are being tampered with. I will go into more depth on that in a later post, first lets just assume that our food is not tricking us.

I am a fairly tall man with a little bit of a belly. According to daily caloric needs calculator, a person my age, height, weight, and exercise level needs to consume an average of 2544 calories a day to maintain my current weight, average 2035 to lose weight gradually, and average 1880 calories for extreme fat loss. First, let me point out a few things about this calculator. One, it's not exact. It asked a few basic questions about me and spit out a number. It is entirely possible that my actual number of calories a day to maintain weight is closer to 2200 or perhaps 2700. Everyone's body operates differently. The only way a person will truly know is by trial and error. For now we'll just assume that its in the right ballpark.  You may have notices that I said "average" in reference to how many calories you take in a day. Humans are experts in adaptation. If you get into a certain eating routine, your body will adapt to it and adjust accordingly. For example, say you decided to try a crash diet and drastically reduce the amount of calories you consume. At first, your body will do what you expect, less calories means less weight so boom, you lose a few pounds and you're really hungry. Then, however, your body starts to make adjustments. It thinks you are starving and that there may be a food shortage, so it slows everything down. The result is that your maintenance number starts to drop and you're still really hungry. So hungry that you cheat on your new crash diet and pig out on a pizza. Guess what? You just ate over your new maintenance amount and now you're on your way to gaining weight again. The best way to avoid having your body adjust a decrease in caloric intake is to vary it up. One day eat 2544, the next eat 10% less, 10% more the next. The idea is to keep your body on your toes.

Not surprisingly, the same goes for exercise. My sister takes an aerobics class three times a week and has been doing so for years now. When she first started, she noticed an immediate difference. She lost some weight and gained some muscle but eventually she hit a wall. Why? Because her body got use to the amount and intensity of exercise she was doing. She thought that switching up her routine would be a good idea, and it generally is, but she switched to a different style of aerobics..at the same intensity. What she probably should have done was either find a harder aerobics class or throw in a different activity like running, biking, or swimming, just as long as is was more intense than the aerobics she was already doing. I suggested that she might start lifting weights and not the 5 pound dumbbells she was using in her aerobics routine. She, like a lot of women I've encountered, was reluctant to give weights a try for fear of bulking up. That's crazy! For one, it is not easy to "bulk up". If it were, every man on earth would look like the Incredible Hulk. Two, women have a natural tendency to not bulk up. Three, many women who bulk up a little after working really hard at it, find that they actually like it. Muscle tends to grow in a way that is very flattering. "But what about those lady bodybuilders? They look weird." Don't worry. You are not going to look like that unless you: work out for at least eight hours a day, five days a week, AND take steroids.

Bottom line: Keep your body on its toes, don't overeat and underwork.

Still At It

For whatever reason, it has been rough getting into a running groove this Spring. Part of the reason is that it's been unseasonable cold and rainy and exceptionally overcast here lately. Not exactly the best environment for getting reacquainted with distance running. I'm going to try to give it another go this evening as part of my workout plan. The muscle-building part of my workout plan comes from this month's Men's Health magazine. It's a 15 minute full body workout. I plan on doing this as a kind of shake-off-the-rust plan until I feel ready to start hitting the weights again.

Couch-to-5k Running Plan Week 2, Day 1:
Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Adding 5 min. cool down, total time = 30min

Cycle through, doing 10 reps of each and repeat for a total of 15min.
Bodyweight squats
Judo Pushup
Sprinter Situp

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Annual Attempt

It finally started to warm up last Saturday and I went for the first run of the season. Because I haven't really done much of anything over the past few months, I decided to take it really slow and do Week 1, Day 1 of the Couch to 5k plan.  Luckily I finished it with no problem and still had gas in the tank after I was done. The only bad part about the run was running into a couple of unfriendly stray dogs. When I came upon them, I immediately stopped, stared at them for a while, and then calmly turned around and walked leisurely in the opposite direction. They followed me for a little bit and then get distracted by another dog that was barking behind a fence. I turned down the next side street just to make sure I lost them.

I decided  to give my legs plenty of rest after the first run and held off going out again until tonight. I will probably stick with the Couch to 5k program for the time being until I think that I can jump ahead a little bit.

Week 1, Day 2
Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes