#100plus100plus1: The wrap-up

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

I've just wrapped up my (own) #100plus100plus1 fitness challenge. There were several purposes here, but mainly they were getting stronger, kick-starting my stalled weight loss, and sticking to a routine. Most goals are arbitrary anyway, so I set these for October: each day, do 100 pushups and 100 situps, and run a mile.

Here's the round-up:

Weight lost: 6.0 pounds
Pushups done: 3,100, plus a few dozen here and there
Situps done: 3,100, and not a single one more
Distance run: 51.07 miles
Time spent running: 8.32 hours
Other exercises: Mostly recovery; some very light lat pull-downs (typically in the 70-pound range, where I would normally be in the 120-pound range), kettle bell swings, that sort of thing.

Pushups

What I expected: I love pushups, mostly because you can just drop and do them anywhere; it really doesn't even matter what you're wearing for clothes because the range of motion isn't anything different from what you need standing up in most cases. I expected by the end of the month I'd be rattling out sets of 50 or more.

The reality: Every day turned out to be too much of a good thing. I definitely got stronger (you can see my second two-minute for max pushups yielded more than my first), but the fatigue was so bad in the last week that I had to do sets of 10 and 15 for a couple of days. At the end, I was still able to do sets of 35, but with a day's rest thrown in every 10 days or so, I probably would have made some actual advances. We'll see as my workouts progress.

Situps

What I expected: I hate situps. I expected to continue to hate them. Mostly I know that in real life you'd never isolate your abs like you do with situps, but supposedly it's a basic exercise, so I should be able to do them.

The reality: Yep, still hate them. But I went from struggling to do 10 to 15 of them at a time to not really struggling until I was doing 25 and 30. I was actually worried early on that I wasn't going to be able to handle the situps when my back was closer to that bad injured sore than to that well-worked muscle sore, but I never quite let it get that bad.

Running

What I expected: Big suckage. I play sprint sports like tennis, racquetball and softball. I pretty much never have to run more than 120 feet at a time, and what's that take, six or eight seconds? I did try a compressed couch to 5K program over the summer and was able to run 2.25 miles and it was all painful, even with the intervals. So I expected that I'd run about 1.02 miles every day except maybe a run to failure on the last day for perhaps 33 miles on the month.

The reality: I'm fatigued at the end of the month, but I wound up running a smidge over 51 miles, with the only two-steps-past-a-mile day on the last day, and that was about a minute faster than I was running at the beginning of the month. I did 5K distance twice, and I actually enjoyed it most days. Some days I didn't even get into it until I was two-thirds of a mile in – which I guess is dangerous because it means a lot of bargaining at the beginning, instead of striving at the end, but it made a mile a much less daunting distance.

The rest

Would you do it again? I would do a run streak again. Holy endorphins, Batman, and let's be honest, my pre-workout includes a dopamine modulator, so I'm just a happy guy after a while. But one weight-bearing (even body weight) exercise every day is too much. I will definitely balance my workouts better as I move forward, even if I include something like pushups three or four times a week.

Were you happy with the weight loss? Yeah. I ate like crap most of the month, so the fact that I could still lose almost a pound and a half a week means that if I make up my mind to eat better, the weight will just fall off. I've lost 18 pounds since early July of this year; I'm hoping another 20 will get me to a good show-offy body composition for the wedding next July, and even if I slow down to 4 pounds a month, that gives me plenty of time; the trick is to continue to lose fat and not muscle, which is what happens to a lot of people when they lose weight quickly.

Your turn

I know some of you tried it with me much of the month (one person dropped out so he could run a marathon and this would have derailed him; totally a reasonable excuse), and some of you were thinking about it. Stop thinking. Just get off the couch and give it a try.

TwitterFacebookTumblrLinkedInRedditStumbleUponFriendFeedPinterestShare/Bookmark

Come join my FIT-traxx class!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Beginning next week, I'll be coaching a great program called FIT-traxx.

The gym brought the program in at the beginning of the year, and after taking a class, I liked it so much I wanted to coach it. So I am.

I'm leading a demo class tonight at 5pm at the Dewitt Gold's Gym. You don't need to be a member to participate. Show up a few minutes early to sign a waiver and stretch. My class will be Tuesday and Thursday mornings before work (5:45am).

For the price, you really can't beat this program. You get four weeks of trainer-assisted workouts, nutrition advice, and homework for the days when you're not in the class. You also get my email address so we can chat about what you're eating and your workouts and how things are going and any other advice you might want.

I can't talk about price here; you can email me (that's my work email) for some details, but the demo comes with a coupon, and we'll talk about costs there. The two- and three-times-per-week programs come with a money back guarantee, and people who take the program three times a week are losing four inches in the month.

You also get full use of the gym for five weeks (it's a four-week program with a week for make-up classes).

There's also a demo at 8am Saturday, which will be led by Austin, who heads the program here.

Let me know if you have questions. I'd love to see some people I know from the community in my class! [I'll also take music suggestions to heart, and there won't be any John Denver!]

How I’m going to reach my 2012 weight loss goal

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The first time I weighed in during 2011 I weighed 170.8 pounds. The first time I weighed in during 2012 (which was around 5:30 in the morning on New Year's Day), I weighed 160.4 pounds. OK, I get it, 10 pounds in a year is good. But I'm not happy with that, especially since I did a weight loss program in the beginning of the year and dropped almost 30 pounds. I understand that maybe that was a little quick, and it explains why I gained 2/3 of it back.

This year I set a goal of getting to 145 pounds by March 1. That's 15.4 pounds in 60 days, or just under 2 pounds per week.

That's sustainable, and while I could probably drop that 15 pounds more quickly, I want to be able to maintain this year, and still be under 150 at year's end.

Here are some things I'm going to do (other than checking in on the blog occasionally):

Lose fat, not muscle. This means resistance training mixed with some heavy lifting and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). I think it would be really easy to do a lot of cardio and burn off the weight, but I feel pretty strong and I want to maintain that, perhaps grow it. In that sense, if I don't hit 145 pounds but I get down to 11-12% body fat, cool (I'm probably around 20-22% now).

Use trackers. I have a DietMinder, and I'm using it. I also love FitDay, which counts my nutrients for me.

Live a little. Repeat after me: Diets. Don't. Work. You can get on a diet for a little while, but the second you feel like you're "cheating" or you hit your goal, all the results you achieved go out the window. I could pretty easily lose those 15 pounds in 2-3 weeks using a strict low-carb (under 15g or so a day) and high water consumption diet. But you know what? With a goal of 2 pounds a week, I'm going to be able to drink wine (dry red), eat chocolate (moderate amounts of dark), and enjoy the heck out of a Super Bowl party (unless it's a Giants-Broncos thing, then I can't enjoy it at all).

Try new exercises in my workouts. Know what kicked my butt during my first workout of the year? One-legged deadlifts with a 20-pound dumbbell. I've never incorporated them before, and 10 each leg – done immediately following some one-legged jumping rope (hopping rope?), which was also a first for me – had my quads burning like they haven't in a long time.

Have people I can check in with. Someone actually asked me yesterday if I could check in with him, call him "fatty" and be mean about it until he gets his act in gear. Done. And Ben, even if I don't comment on every entry, I'm watching you, pal. And there will be a dinner party at some point.

OK, I showed you mine. Show me yours.

How to be a hero

Friday, October 28th, 2011

There's only so long I can let things sit in a folder without cleaning it out. I'm glad I had an extra half-hour yesterday, because I took it to get started on Nate Green's "The Hero Handbook."

Go to his blog and download the PDF. It's 136 pages, and it's free.

And it's awesome.

I already do a lot of this stuff. I get up early. I get enough sleep. I eat primarily real food. I'm well hydrated, usually knocking off about 50 ounces of water before I leave the house. My workouts are intense and are actually work. I try to indulge once in a while, and I do my best to enjoy life.

But there are definitely other areas of my life I can use a kick in the butt in. And this book is a how-to guide for a lot of your life.

Again, it's free. Go read it now.

American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Yesterday, a few of us from Civic Engagement volunteered at the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure. Diabetes isn't one of my primary causes, but my employer is a national sponsor, so I had easy access to the organizers.

This is a really great event. Rather than a "simple" run or walk or ride, it's five rides – a 100-miler, a 62.5-miler, a 40-miler, a 25-miler and a 15-miler. It requires volunteers at many stages and a whole lot of planning.

From our perspective, it went as smoothly as we could imagine. We got bad directions to the rest stop we were supposed to run, but got there and set up before the first riders came in. We were missing some supplies, but our radio operator (yes, they have someone operating short-wave radios at each stop, in trail vehicles and at the home base) managed to get in touch with home base to get us the stuff we needed in time.

I didn't look up the numbers (the amount raised or the number of people involved), but it was impressive. If you're looking for a way to get involved, I highly recommend the event.

Getting Josh Fit

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

I'm ready to introduce a new blog, Getting Josh Fit. Those of you who know me personally know I've dropped about 30 pounds this year, including six inches off my waist. It took a lot of work and a I did a fair bit of research, and I'm continuing both the work and the research.

Don't expect a blog post every day; more likely it will be 2-3 times a week, despite the pre-population run-up I did (I'm not launching with one post, so if you go there now, there will be plenty to read).

My goal with the blog is to open source my experience. I figure if I can do it, so can you. So get reading, contribute in comments (comments are open), and I'd love to make it a conversation. Check it out here.

Doing some training, losing some weight

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Apparently I've been really lucky with the training I'm getting. I started light with a once-a-week personal training regimen and then moved on to a more intense, competitive weight loss program.

I more or less maintained my weight during the personal training, but in the first three weeks of what the gym calls the Weight Loss Challenge, I've dumped 15 pounds (I don't know what the body fat percentage loss is like – we'll check that after six weeks of the program), and, at 8.8% of my starting weight (170.4 pounds), that's good enough for second in the program.

That video up top? I never want to slice my trainer open. He lost 30 pounds in 12 weeks on his own, trains a few times a week with his adult son, and is a genuinely nice guy. I came into the program with a goal to lose exactly that number (30 pounds over the 12-week program), and I'm on track to beat that. I'm probably a couple of weeks away from my lowest weight since the late 1990s, and a couple of months away from my best shape (not lowest weight; I was a skinny tennis player) since high school.

For perspective, I graduated high school in 1994 at 115 pounds. By the turn of the century, I had hit 160. When I moved to Syracuse in 2003, I had hit 215. I did the first 45 pounds on my own (and in only a couple of years), but I'd stabilized in the 160s (my initial weigh-in for the program might have been slightly inflated by a breakfast of 4 chocolate chip pancakes with butter and maple syrup, a ham steak and a protein bar in the hour before I climbed on the scale).

By the end of next week, I'll have rendered useless my second belt of the Challenge.

Here is a sample workout – it's roughly one we do Thursdays (we also do team workouts on Tuesday and Saturday, I play racquetball three times a week, tennis at least once a week, and get short – 30-45 minutes – workouts in once or twice in addition to all that). And food's a big part of the program. I decided to not count calories in favor of eating good foods, and this is what's working for me.

A note about food: I can't say enough about Omaha Steaks. They're not the cheapest meat out there, but they portion their meats in the right sizes, the food is really tasty, and I'm expecting my second shipment. If you do one of the value packs, you can get 25 pounds of meat for about $6 a pound, and you can avoid the fatty stuff (like potatoes au gratin) in favor of lean burgers.

[ stability ] + [ passion ]

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I'm not one for resolutions. Well, I was last year and year before, but it turns out I didn't look back on them at all, make the goals and track them. So I'm looking at this young calendar year, and figuring out what it's going to be.

2010 was a year of upheaval – and let's make it clear that upheaval isn't all bad. I have found a life partner with whom I share a mutual love, support and respect I've never known. For the first time in my life, I've landed in a job I love at a company whose product I am 100% behind. And for the first time since I moved from my parents' house, I'm in a residence I'm not likely to be leaving anytime soon. So 2011 is going to be a year of stability.

It's also going to be a year of passions renewed.

Baseball memorabilia

Roger Clemens rookie cardMy dad and I were voracious baseball memorabilia collectors when I was a kid. We would go to card shows at least monthly, I would trade cards with the neighborhood kids, and we were involved in a Strat-O-Matic league.

My parents have started their transition to retirement (it'll be a several-year process, likely), and that includes leaving behind my childhood home. I'm inheriting the collection of cards and publications, and I've started doing some inventory. The publications start in the 1950s (with a couple sporadically before then) and continue into the 2000s; while I haven't seen all the cards yet, they appear to end right around 1990, which is when I entered high school.

So I'm figuring out what's what, and I'm picking that collection back up. I'll fill any holes in the sets, and start looking at what's up in the community these days (I see Donruss has been bought and Fleer is out of business, but that was a quick couple of minutes of not-quite-research).

Reading

I've always been a reader, but here it is January 5, and I've started my third book of the year. I've finished Kaaron Warren's Slights and read Elmore Leonard's Riding the Rap, and I've started Harry Harrison's Make Room! Make Room!

I think there will be some re-reading this year, too – Carlos Ruis Zafon's Shadow of the Wind is on my read-again-soon list, and since I'm already reading a dystopic novel (the Harrison), I'm likely to want to re-read any or all of Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.

Exercise

I know exercise, fitness and weight loss are on a lot of people's lists. But I'm working at a gym (which means I really have no excuse not to go), I'm already in the midst of some personal training, and on Saturday, I start an intensive weight loss competition.

I'll still be playing tennis and, as spring and summer approach, softball; I'm just hoping to be in better shape.

I'm also planning to do more volunteer work, more fundraising, and continue to be active in the community. By the way, in case you were wondering, these are the organizations I supported in 2010, in case you're looking for causes this year:

Central New York Community Foundation
WRVO
40 Below
Syracuse First
Alchemical Nursery
St. Baldrick's
St. Jude

Photo Credits:
• 1985 Topps Roger Clemens baseball card by Tommy Duchniki on Flickr
• Books by Phing on Flickr
• Weights by rick on Flickr

Personal Training

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

About six weeks ago, I said I'd be starting a personal training journey. I've done five workouts now with my personal trainer, Roger, and I'm losing about a pound a week (which, during the holiday season can't be too bad) – a little short of my loss goal, but my conditioning is much improved – and I start a 12-week intensive weight loss competition during the second week in January.

To catch you up a little bit, I'm blogging about it here.

The biggest challenge exercise for me is a super-set combination of a chest press combined with slow-tempo push-ups. For this exercise, we use 50 pounds of weight on a seated chest press, doing a quick 12 reps. We then do 12 push-ups, going down on a slow three count and holding for two beats at the bottom. It's called a super-set because both exercises use the same muscle groups.

I run a lap, catch my breath, then do a second super-set.

I managed to complete the super-set once, in Week 4. In Week 5, I wound up doing the last four of my 24 push-ups on my knees (which is still better than weeks 1-3). I think we move to three sets of 10 next week. I'm excited for a new challenge.

My new favorite exercise, though, is a bicep super-set. I do curls at about 30-35 pounds (standing, usually with a cable machine), then pick up some lighter (10 or 12.5 pound) dumbbells, and do slow (3-count) curls standing on one leg. It takes concentration and balance, and I think it's working on my ankle strength.

Day 2: Food log, plus workout

Friday, November 5th, 2010

I'll take a break from blogging this here after this post (maybe I'll move to once a week or something), but I had a day yesterday after doing my first prescribed workout. Everything hurt afterward except my abs, which only didn't hurt because everything else was too fatigued to work them well.

Which makes today an abs day, I guess.

Incidentally, I supplement my daily intake with 2,050 mg of ginseng and a multivitamin (Centrum, if it matters to you). I also drink a lot of water, probably in the 100-120 oz range.

Fitness
- 2 miles walking over 8.5 hour standing shift
- 45 minutes racquetball, fast pace
- Free motion biceps: 30 pounds, 3 sets of 15 reps
- Bicep curl: 30#, 3x12
- Tri pull, slanted handles: 70#, 3x13
- Tri pull, rope, thigh split: 50#, 3x12
- Seated bench press: 70#, 3x12
- Lat pull: 90#, 3x15
- Deltoids: 10# 3x15
- Leg extension: 90# 3x15
- Leg curl: 80# 3x13
- Back extension: 30#, 3x15

Food
- 1 c Special K with 1/2 c 1% milk
- 1/2 c 1% cottage cheese
- 1 med. banana
- 20 oz black coffee
- 1 c nonfat peach yogurt
- 4 fresh dates
- 1.5 tbsp reduced fat peanut butter with 2 tsp honey on 1 multigrain sandwich thin
- 6oz baked chicken
- 1 med. apple
- 1/8 c shredded cheddar cheese (clearly my indulgence for the day)