Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Your classic two-fer

I realize I've been absolutely terrible about updating the blog with progress, so today everyone gets a double.  Since my last update I've had both the 6 and 9 week check ins and with that...here we go.

March 24th : Week 6 check in

Weighed in at 149lbs.  Down a pound from our first check in.  While the weight was initially concerning, the subsequent measurements made me feel much better about the work I had put in.  After being pinched half a dozen times, my body fat came out at 9.25%, down from 11.23% in week three.  For those keeping score at home that equates to a loss of 3.9lbs of fat and a gain of 2.9lbs of muscle. 

Unfortunately I do not have pictures from week three as they've been misplaced.  However, they didn't differ a great deal from the week three photos. 

April 15th : Week 9 check in

Weighed in at 149lbs again.  Body fat measured at 8.68%, equating to roughly one pound each of fat lost and muscle gained.

The time between the week six and week nine check ins was tough.  I spent one of those weeks on the road, and during the other two my workouts were less focused.  Not making excuses, because while it is challenging to maintain a workout schedule while traveling I'm still responsible for maximizing what is available to me. 

At the end of the day, progress is progress and getting down to 8% in the next three weeks feels very achievable.  I'm taking a little different approach to these last few weeks, focusing my workouts primarily on heavy heavy heavy.  It reflects one final push to add on a couple lbs of lean muscle to really push down my body comp. 

And here I am as of today...if you look back at past pictures you'll see there's not a huge difference.  My measurements indicate this as well, I've gained size in my arms and chest/back and slimmed down more on my waist.  Legs, while stronger remain relatively the same size.

Anywho...three more weeks and then we'll get to see an official before and after comparison.  Then I'll have to think of something else to not write about :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mission accomplished

Last night I crossed the threshold into everlasting warmup glory...at least that's what I tell myself.  I was able to beat the 10 minute mark on my warmup, just barely.  Hit 9:56, and despised every last second of it.  Takes a bit of a load off however as I wasn't sure I'd make it before tomorrow's weigh in. 

The next set of before/after/during pictures to come tomorrow.  What has two thumbs and is anxious and nervous?  This guy. 

Until we meet again...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A nod to the fallen.

Saturday is fast approaching...hard to believe it's been six weeks since this all started.  Some days it feels like it's flown by, other days it seems like it's been forever.  Today is most definitely the latter.  In light of this, I'm lamenting the temporary loss of a good friend.  We've not seen each other in nearly six weeks, but fear not my friend, we shall meet again. 

In other news, I've only a few more days in my quest to meet my sub 10 minute goal for my run.  I've got it down to 10:17 and will take another crack at it tonight.  Wish me luck!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Remember me?

I realize that I've been terrible about updating the blog lately, I'm ashamed really.  With mediocre blogging, comes great responsibility?  I think I read that somewhere...

I'm without a ground breaking announcement at this point unfortunately.  I've been working diligently since my last update, keeping in mind my next weigh in is just over a week away.  The anticipation is certainly palpable and only continues to build the closer I get to the check in.  I know my strength has increased, as has my cardio -- finished the 1.5 miler in 10:26 recently -- though it's hard to gauge the changes in my body because I see myself every day.  Guess I'll know more on the 24th. 

Approaching the half way point in the challenge I'm pleasantly surprised as how easy it has been to adopt the tweaks in my diet.  One of the best things about this challenge has been the push for us to cook more at home.  I really enjoy cooking and we've had some really delicious meals that I wouldn't hesitate to buy in a restaurant.  Simple, yet amazing recipes loaded with fresh veggies and proteins...everything a growing young lad needs!  With me working to put on lean mass I spend a lot of time eating, not the worst thing in the world either.  :)

My goal for the upcoming weigh in is to break the 10 minute mark on my run.  I'm confident I can get it done but it is going to be tough.  Stay tuned for more...


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tonight's the night!

It's leg day at the gym, and I am going to say it right now...

I will knock out my 1.5 mile run in 10:45 or less tonight. 

I've still not cracked the 11 minute mark as I learned the hard way recently that the treadmill won't go any faster than 10mph, as such I was able to finish my last run in 11:02 although I could have run faster had I been allowed.  15 seconds feels like a pretty big drop in time, but dammit...I'm doing it.  This whole warm up run has plagued me from day one, but no mas!

Until next time, cheers!


10:45 on the button!  Thankfully the Pro Club has some better treadmills because I had to jam it out at 11.5mph for the last half lap to get it done.  

On another note, Lin has already met her goals...after just 3 weeks!  She gets to ease off a bit which makes me jealous a bit.  :)  A little extra motivation never hurt!   

Saturday, March 3, 2012

And the results are in!

Well we wrapped the check-in this morning, and here are the results...

3 weeks ago I measured up at 151lbs and 15.32% body fat.  That constitutes my baseline

This morning first things first, I stepped on the scale.  I had a moment of sadness when I saw my weight at 148.  If you recall, my target weight at the end of this challenge is 162lbs.  BUT, I reminded myself that the other aspect of my goal was to lean up as well, so some weight loss was to be expected at a certain point. 

We began taking our measurements, getting pinched over and over again...chest, abdominal, subscapular, the list goes on.  Jairo, Lin's brother, lends his expertise in the matter for which I'm very thankful.  Anywho, once all measurements were taken, three times as a matter of fact, my results were very encouraging. 

148lbs and 11.28% body fat.  That's 6.4lbs of fat lost and 3.4lbs of muscle gained in just three weeks.  I have a ways to go as far as packing on the lean muscle, but if I'm able to gain 3.4lbs every three weeks I'll be in the hunt to hit my target. 

I'm exceptionally pleased with my progress, and very happy with the chosen routines and supplements!  I felt re-energized after seeing the results, and am excited to work hard for our next check-in, three weeks from today.  :)

Somebody needs some sun!

Friday, March 2, 2012

A showdown looms

Tomorrow marks the first milestone in The Challenge...weigh-ins, measurements, and pictures.  Three weeks down, nine to go.  Given the day ahead I would like to set the scene...

The bathroom at Lin's apartment serves as the battleground for this epic face-off.  As I press the door open it moans almost as is if it's not moved since my last visit some three weeks passed.  Although the door's complaints are loud and clear it ultimately gives way, slowly allowing the morning light to creep in, painting the scene of the impending showdown between man and scale.  In the expanding light I can make out the silhouette of my opponent...silently waiting, unwavering in its stance.

My first steps into the devil's playground bring about a faint aroma, one familiar and reminiscent of the good times long since removed by the strain and pressures of The Challenge.  This scent, Dove cucumber and green tea body wash, while normally comforting and kind, does little to ease the tension coursing through my veins. 

I take a step forward, and then another.  The room is eerily still, the silence deafening.  I pause briefly, allowing my eyes to follow a "tumbleweed" of dryer lint as it wistfully dances across the floor in front of me.  The sight serves as a sobering reminder of the emptiness of this place, and yet I continue forward.  A third step, a fourth, fifth...all possible because of relentless preparation, razor sharp focus, and unmatched drive and determination...or is it fear and nerves?  Regardless of the reason, I march ahead.

I reach my destination and face an opponent that, given it's deep rooted presence in my daily thoughts, has become more familiar to me than my closest friends.  I place my right foot squarely on the face of this most unforgiving fiend.  A deep breath.  Left foot.  My knees feel weak and yet I know my stance is solid as a rock.  I've trained hard for this exact moment, and as I look down I see the scale has kicked off what could be its own offensive.  

The wheel jumps, bouncing back and forth bringing with it feelings of torment and rejoice.  Holding steady I await the worst the scale can throw my way, knowing it's simply a matter of time before it shows its true face.  The movement slows and my anticipation swells.  I find that as the wheel is coming to its final resting place my eyes drift upwards.  Nervous yet confident, hopeful yet reserved. 

Slowly my head begins its descent, my eyes focus in on the scale's display sitting motionless, staring back without emotion.  My heartbeat is amplified as I see its final reading.

To be continued...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Going the distance, 1.5 miles at a time

Short and sweet, that's the motto for tonight.  :)

We are basically two weeks into The Challenge...hard to believe at times, it's just flown by!  We're one short week away from our first check in, measurements, pictures, the whole lot.  I'm really anxious to see what progress I've made. 

For those that know me and have spent much time around me have probably heard the words "I hate running" come out of my mouth, at least 27 times.  For those that don't know me...I hate running.  Something about it has always been immensely challenging for me, I've always found it boring and as such, easy to look elsewhere for cardio. 

I can run around for hours playing frisbee or down the side of a mountain, but on a treadmill or on the road I lose interest in a matter of minutes.  That said, you can imagine my heartbreak when our training consultant gave us a 1.5 mile warm up before every workout with a targeted completion time between 9 and 11 minutes.  This is a challenge however and that's exactly what I signed up for.  Tonight I hit my best time of 11:05...soooo close!  I assure you, the next time I step on that damned treadmill, I'll break that 11 minute mark...and if I don't I just won't blog until I do.  ;)

One last note before I close this puppy down for the night.  I've found the prime recipe for my meal shakes.  2 scoops chocolate shake, a few ounces of soy milk, a handful of blueberries, and 4-5 ice cubes.  Blend for a minute or so and the result is a fantastically delicious meal replacement ice cream/pudding.  Honestly...soo good that I'd order it for dessert at a restaurant.  For those also using Isagenix, I strongly suggest you give it a try. 

That's it for tonight...stay tuned and good night.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Back in the game!

I closed out my two day cleanse on Saturday with a highly lauded breakfast of scrambled eggs/egg whites and a hash of red potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, and ground turkey.  While a tasty breakfast on a normal day, given the circumstances this was the most delicious meal that has passed these lips...dare I say, ever?  I guess what I'm getting at is, it was wonderful to wrap up the cleanse!

The results...two days following the cleanse program I had dropped 5 lbs.  My goals aren't really weight loss oriented, but cutting my body comp to 8% requires some weight to be lost.  Luckily, the bulk of my loss was just that, my body comp had dropped roughly two points.  I'll take it!

After breakfast I was chomping at the bit to get back to the gym...good and bad in its own right.  I had a good workout, but found that I quickly burned through all the energy I had got from breakfast.  After the workout we put together a protein rich lunch and my energy shot back through the roof and I felt really really great the rest of the day.

Now I'm back to hitting the gym with renewed vigor.  The only thing is, the gym hits back in its own way.  Today when we went to 24 Hour Fitness in Bellevue I made the mistake of backing into my parking space.  An untimely combination of privacy glass, a dark garage, and a brief lapse of attention on my part led to an unfortunate introduction between my rear window and a low hanging pipe.  The amalgamation of these two parties was short lived, and ultimately did not end well.   

Tomorrow morning, all evidence will be forever removed and the "old" girl will be back in the game!  Tomorrow is leg day at the gym, hitting it real hard in preparation for our check-in on the 3rd.  Cue the quasi-suspenseful music now if you don't mind. 

I've also got a couple meetings set up this week to share some information on the products I've been using throughout this process.  Definitely a busy week, but looking forward to spreading the good word given the experience I've had with them thus far!

I guess one final thought...

For me, finishing the cleanse was a huge win. This entire challenge is all about wellness for me, not only physical but mental as well. I think so much of setting goals and working towards them is overcoming the mental hurdles, maintaining focus, and staying on the path even when it may appear "too hard". I know I mentioned before the importance of establishing a support system when pushing yourself, and without mine I'm not sure I would have completed the cleanse as I did. I know that I pushed myself tremendously over those two days, and laid the groundwork to accomplish the physical goals I have, but more importantly, I feel I pushed my mental aptitude and toughness even farther.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Cleanliness is next to...hungriness

The cleanse is a little more than half over, and while I'm feeling pretty good this morning I'm definitely looking forward to breakfast tomorrow.  Yesterday was full of ups and downs, with the last part of the evening being the hardest.  I did find it was amazing how the little snacks I was allowed throughout the day would instantly give me a boost, both in energy and spirit.  The cleanse schedule is laid out pretty well, providing these snack breaks fairly evenly over the course of the day.  The cleanse liquid itself is pretty tasty, good thing since I have to drink it four times a day.  :)

One thing that has surprised me thus far is the amount of energy I've actually maintained given the limited calories I've consumed thus far.  Granted, I haven't been bouncing off the walls, but there hasn't been any feelings of crashing or debilitating fatigue either.  Set aside the grumbling stomach and it's actually been okay physically. 

I guess with any challenge that one takes on, half the battle, or more, is psychological.  This cleanse process is certainly no exception.  There is always temptation, and having a support system is integral.  I think anyone taking on a challenge like this is wise to establish that support system from the onset, share your goals, create rewards, create accountability.  We are working towards specific goals, and have specific rewards tied to achieving those goals.  I keep those in crystal clear focus at all times.   

I understand and appreciate the importance of building upon a clean slate and just really looking forward to getting back to building process!  We're on a 3 week update schedule, so we'll take our first "during" pictures in a couple weeks...the anticipation is palpable already. 

So everyone not on a cleanse, enjoy your meals today for me!! 


It will be mine.  Oh yes, it will be mine.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pre-spring Cleaning

It's day three of the challenge, I'm starting my days with a supplement that's loaded with natural vitamins and minerals and is intended to, among other things, help battle stress and increase energy throughout the day.  I can honestly say I've had more energy the past two days than any time in recent memory.  We'll see how much of it is related to the initial rush and excitement of the challenge...regardless, I love the extra energy!

I've also been chugging down some meal replacement shakes, though given my goals they're more like between meal shakes.  It's been very easy to incorporate them in the morning, serving as my breakfast.  9 out of 10 doctors say it's the most important meal of the day, the 10th doesn't really count because...well, because I'm trying to make a point.  

I've done my best to amplify my workouts this week, hitting it hard and sticking to the challenges presented to me by our training consultant Bernard.  I shift gears a bit tomorrow as I'll start day one of a two-day cleanse.  I'm excited, and a bit nervous, having never gone through a cleanse before.  Luckily I've been very diligent this year about drinking lots and lots of water, a key to the cleanse process.  Rest assured I'll be updating the blog, if for no other reason to keep myself busy in the time that I'm not eating.  :)

So far so great!  It's early yet, but I feel very confident in my/our ability to knock this challenge out of the park!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

36-24-36...if only I was 5'3"!

Okay, we're just a couple days away from the official start of...The Challenge 2012.  Tell me that isn't the most creative name you've ever heard.  I put a lot of effort into naming it, 2.13 seconds at least. 

We took care of some "administrative" stuff today, initial weigh ins, measurements, and before pictures.  We also met with a trainer to go over some of the workout plans and discussed some goals, this "administrative" discussion turned into a 90 minute workout that knocked me on my butt!  It's always humbling when you take on something different, and while I could write of the countless fitness cliches for the next hour, I'll just go with the tried and true...No Pain, No Gain. 

My measurements were about where I expected them to be, though my weight has fallen off a bit:  152lbs & 14.6% body fat.  I was hoping for a higher weight to push down the comp %, but no dice.  With all the measurements taken, it was time to set goals.  Here they are in bright yellow, so I can't forget them, accidentally of course. 

12 weeks of "fun" = Phil @ 162-165lbs & 8% body fat 

We're headed to Sports Authority to get some more resistance bands and goodies.  I've got a lot of this stuff at home, but we used some cool stuff today that I wouldn't mind having at the ready as well.

With Monday looming there's a part of me that thinks overindulgence is almost required today and tomorrow...we'll see if I can carry through with that one! 


Thursday, February 9, 2012

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Well, here goes nothing!  It's a big day, and an even bigger month in my neck of the woods...first and foremost, here I am writing my very first blog.  Certainly something I haven't really envisioned doing at any point in the past, but going to give it a whirl!  Secondly, and even more exciting, I will be embarking on a 12 week fitness challenge starting Monday.  Also a first for me!

I would consider myself a pretty active person, and one that eats well for the most part.  That said, I've never worked towards any specific end point in the past, rather working out to sort of maintain my general health.  Well that all changed as I watched Rocky IV a couple weeks ago!  I began to wonder what I could accomplish if I set out with clear fitness goals and worked towards them over a period of time.

You can imagine my disappointment upon realizing that moving to a cabin in Russia to cut down trees, climb mountains, and lift rocks for the next 3 months was not overly viable.  I wept, re-grouped, and wept some more but ultimately gathered my thoughts and started to put together a plan of attack. The first step was to con my girlfriend, Lin, into joining me...luckily she didn't put up much of a fight when I threatened a Rocky marathon to spark her interest as well.

Part of the plan for this challenge is to tackle it from the ground up, starting from scratch with a cleanse, revamped workouts, and all new meal plans.  To meet the generic disclaimer, we are consulting with trainers to ensure our workouts are appropriate and to get some dietary suggestions/direction.  We will have our goals, workouts, meal plans, measurements, and before pictures all wrapped up this weekend and then...we're off!

Motivation comes from the strangest places I guess.  Regardless, I couldn't be more excited about the challenge.  Hopefully my enthusiasm will last throughout the infancy stage of the process and carry me to the end.  My plan is to update the blog once a week at least to share my thoughts, frustrations, and accomplishments (fingers crossed on that last one!).  

Hopefully I can be somewhat entertaining, if not let me know and I'll revert to old fashioned bribery as a means to gain viewership!  :)