Follow by Email

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stop with the excuses!

Hello everyone it's been a while since my last post. This post is going to be somewhat of a rant so if you are easily offended or don't want a gut check I encourage you to stop reading now.

For those that know me you know that I've become passionate about being healthy.  I try to eat well, exercise and support those that are trying.   Here is where the rant begins.

A friend of mine recently posted that she was becoming a Beachbody coach.  I have been one for a while now and i will tell you this.  The goal of this role is to help and support others no matter what their goals.   This group of people "work" for a company called Beachbody which is the same group that created P90X.   Offering support and information is the ultimate goal!. A person asked if they had to workout 6 days a week and sited a website that stated workout out 6 days a week would be over training!  This is what got me fired up!

Lets take P90X as an example the website sited used cross fit as an example as well.  the workouts for P90X  are roughly one hour.  Have we become so lazy that 60 minutes of physical activity justifies over training.  I think not!   Why is it that people find so many excuses to do the wrong thing but in turn try and chastise that are trying to do the right thing.   Over training can be an issue no doubt but quoting a website stating that working out for 60 minutes a day 6 days a week is over training is just crazy!

Stop making excuses and really look at yourself.   Who are you?  Have you thought about being healthy and can't figure out why you aren't?  Do you really not know?  My guess is you do know and you have done nothing about it!   You know you eat out to much, you know you don't excercise, you eat candy, soda, fast food, etc!

My challenge is really think about what you don't do!  Why is it we find so many reasons to justify not being healthy!!!   Don't get me wrong I was one of those people I was extremely overweight, I ate like crap, I made excuses about everything!   I don't have time, it's genetic, I work to much..blah blah blah!

The picture to the right is a sad truth about our society...we have become a society of people who over indulge and make excuses.  I dare you to walk down the street, through the mall, or a public place in general and find more healthy people than not!   Odds are you can't!

Working 6 day weeks for 12 hours a day is OK. Eating out all of the time is OK. Sitting on the couch and watching TV for hours on end, or letting your kids play video games for hours each day is also OK but working out 6 days a week is over training   BULL!!!!!!

That kind of thought process has led our society to the picture to the above!   Because our society has become lazy we have given birth to the  "I want results now" and have accepted this kind of mindset.   We look for a magic pill, a quick surgery, or fad diets rather than learning how to eat, how to become physically active and use the so called easy way out vs teaching ourselves to be better!

It's time to grow up! It's time for a gut check! There isn't an excuse you have that can't be overcome.   Your excuse is your mental crutch!  it's your way of talking yourself out of what every you want to get done so you can tell your friends and family you failed and not feel bad about it.

Instead of spending time looking up articles as to why not to do some physical activity why don't we find time to research how horrible our food choices are, find out how 60 minutes of exercise every day is good for you, find out how losing 10-20lbs will help stress, blood pressure, and overall health.

No one is telling you have to be an Olympic athlete, a professional body builder or a personal trainer.   I do challenge you to set an example for others especially youth!   Your excuses are your example to your children and the youth as a whole!   Exercise and living a healthy lifestyle is nothing more than a mental change.   You have to want to do it you have to make it a priority in your life.   If you don't that's fine but don't go bringing down those that are trying to help themselves or others!

We need to take responsibility as a society and get past this type of mindset.   This isn't an overnight or quick fix solution!

- Joe

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Supplements an Body Beast Part II

I will start this post by saying two things.  First is i am not a trainer, a certified anything or a doctor.  Second is that supplements are just that.   They are not a replacement or a specialized product that will magically turn you from a unfit unhealthy person to a ripped healthy machine.   Believe it or not the only thing on the market that can do that is you.  

That being said this is my review of the supplements and my thoughts on the Body Beast combo system that they put in place for this program.   These are very generic overviews but should get the rough point across.  the guide that comes with the program has detailed information about each that explains them more in depth.

I know people have strong opinions on supplements and whether or not they should or should not take them but I am a believer that in order to be successful you need both.  It is extremely difficult to get all you need from food alone especially when you are on a very taxing workout regime.  First and foremost though you need to learn how to eat, how your body reacts to food, how many nutrients you need and how to get them.   Once you have done that you can determine what supplements you can or should use to supplement your workouts, caloric needs, and day to day activity.  

This post will be specific around the Body Beast recommended supplements but I encourage you to research on your own for what may work best for you.  Also remember that not all supplements are created equal if you are buying supplements at Walmart and don't seem to know why things aren't working I would tell you that Walmart or stores like it are not the ideal place to by things like this.   Supplements aren't more expensive just because, they are that way based on ingredients and formulas.

lets start with the Base Shake.   The base shake is designed to be a protein powder supplement for your workouts.   It combines slow and fast digestive proteins.  Although it doesn't say specifically that generally means a combination of Whey and Casein Protein.   Whey Protein is a fast digesting protein that is great for after workouts and fuel for you muscles.  Casein protein is a slow digestive protein that not only help with muscle fuel but also because it is slow digesting it keeps your metabolism up and running at full speed.   The shake is only 120 Calories which is not enough to constitute a meal or food so again this is a supplement to mix with other food such as nuts, berries, oatmeal, eggs, or sprouts.   it is designed to help add to what you are eating.   The program talks a lot about different recipes for this .  It doesn't have a flavor like chocolate or vanilla which is a good thing in my opinion.  This means it doesn't use fillers or excess sugars to make it taste better.   It is again designed to be a addition to something you can eat.   there are recipes for pancakes, shakes, and other foods that this can be mixed with.

Fuel shot can be used for a variety of applications.  it can be a pre-worout, post workout or during workout supplement.  One of the largest things your muscles request during workouts is glycogen.  depending on what you are attempting to do this can seem odd as sugar is said to be bad.   Sugar is quickly converted to fuel when exercising so immediately following workouts have a supplement that has a high Glycemic index can help your muscle recovery or provide pre-workout energy depending on time of day and how you use it.    It also contains a mix of ingredients designed to help digest and deliver fuel to your muscles after the fact for faster absorption.  This can be extremly beneficial in that your muscle get what they need immediatly for recovery and growth.

Creatine is the most known supplement in my opionion.  Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in the human body.  It helps with muscle growth and muscle repair.  If you workout you know that you fatigue and then if you rest again you are able to crank out a few more.   This is because you are replenishing oxygen levels in your muscles.  When you workout your muscles produce ATP which is essentially Fuel (see the body beast guide for more details).   If you don't generate enough ATP you become Oxygen Poor and you fatigue.  By taking the M.A.X Creating you are able to keep ATP levels high and fatigue less.  

The M.A.X creatine is a mono-hydrate meaning aborption levels are higher.   The up and down side to this is that it will cause your muscle to hold more water making them look builder but if you cycle off of it you could see some shrinking as the water levels will go down.  Either way it is a definite add in getting bigger and recommended as a post workout drink.   make sure when you use creatine you are drinking enough water.  If you don't hydrate properly creatine can cause dehydration.  

Last but not lease is Super Suma.  This supplement is made from Suma root or Brazilian ginseng.   this is one of the most debated supplements out there.  If you research Suma root you will find many articles promoting and condemning this product. it's overall design is to aid in the production of testosterone naturally without an actual Testosterone supplement.  This product also helps as you will see in the description with protein synthesis.  Now this all sounds scientific but essentially protein synthesis helps you use the crazy amount of protein you are putting into your body.  Suma root is designed to help overall muscle growth.

I again encourage you to do research and check with doctors prior to any workouts.   I am not ashamed to say I have seen a doctor multiple times to make sure that my body was ok.   don't be the guy that finds out your allergic to something without knowing it or goes to the gym and workouts out and doesn't realize you have a medical condition.  

Hope this helps with those considering doing this program.   Again thanks for reading especially two in one day!!!  

Stay healthy
- Joe

Joe's Review of Body Beast!

For anyone that's read my blog you know I've tried a lot of things!  I've done triathlons, Mud Runs, Interval training and P90X.   My latest workout routine was Body Beast.   Body Beast is another program designed by the folks at Beachbody (the same folks who make P90X, Insanity, P90X2, etc).   As of 09/22/2012 I finished round one of this program and this is my review.

To begin this program is a weight lifting program.  It's design is to add muscle to your body and in most cases it is designed to make you gain weight.   That's right gain weight, not lose weight.   If you are scale person and looking to lose be prepared for a mentally challenging program as it will be rare for you to do this program and lose weight.  It's a 90 Day program with 6 days a week working out and one rest day per week.  There are two version lean beast and huge beast.   Huge beast is designed to put on as much muscle as possible while lean beast is designed to put on muscle but also help you lose some fat at the same time.

I've always struggled with weight lifting routines online. It's hard to determine who made them, whether they were successful and is the person certified. Everyone has an opionion as to what you should do.  High weight low reps, low weight high reps, etc. The reason I gravitated toward this program was that they had run test groups and had some proven statistics showing it's success.   Same type of groups and stats seen in P90X and other Beachbody programs.

The program comes with 7 discs, a diet guide, and a workout calendar showing you which workouts to do and when.  The trainer in the program is Sagi Kalev who's been a body builder for a large portion of his life.  No question the guy is huge and also a good motivator if you're doing the workout at home.   The program is based on what is called Dynamic Set training with multiple phases.  The three phases are labeled the build phase, bulk phase, and beast phase.  

Dynamic Set training is a methodology that combines the old school method of the 70's for body building with some of the new methodology from the current time.   It's designed to help increase muscle mass through the amount of tension that is put on the muscle at any given time for a certain period of time.  The workouts are also designed to be between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the routine to maximize the use of fast and slow twitch muscles.  It is also designed to maximize the production of testosterone.  The guide it comes with has an insane more amount of information regarding this methodology so I am going to leave it at that.

I personally did the Lean Program which consisted of three weeks of the Build phase with a schedule that consisted of 5 days of lifting and one day of cardio.  The bulk phase is similar with different workouts but lasts for 5 weeks. then the beast phase which lasts 4 weeks and combines workouts from both the build and bulk phases.   The programs diet guide shows you what to eat and how much for each phase including calorie intakes, food prep options and overall nutrient needs.  The program also has a recommended suppliment program that is important.  Idid use these but I will be writing a different blog post on those.

One of the things that some find challenging (i know I did) is that there's equipment involved.   Dumbbells, EZ Curl bar, incline bench or stability ball, and a pull up bar.   I choose not to purchase this equipment and instead I use my local gym to do these workouts.   With the price of my gym which was 10 bucks a month I couldn't justify the price of the equipment when I had it all at my fingertips for so cheap less than a mile from my house.   This turned out to be a great decision as you get strong fast and can potentially outgrow your weights for certain exercises pretty fast.

To use the Gym for the workouts I watched each disc and took notes in an excel sheet.  The excel sheet had  what the workout was, how long each move is supposed to take, and how to do the move.   I then printed out each workout sheet for each day and took my excel notes to the gym and completed them there.  This worked really well for me and I loved being at the gym as it got me out of the house and got me motivated!

One downfall I found to the program which I am not sure you can call it that is it tailors a lot to the little guys.  If you have always been small and want to get big this program is amazing.   If you were once a big guy like me and losing weight and want to get rid of more fat this program isn't tailored as well for us.   Although it can be with a few alterations the folks at beachbody specifically said that it is a muscle gaining program and that was it's design so the diet guide is tailored for that.   I'm not saying don't follow the diet guide but I altered it some to try and maximize fat loss while I did the program.   (i'm not saying don't follow the diet guide!) After two years of becoming a healthier person I'm saying that I made some adjustments based on a lot of research and information from others to try and maximize the program for me. I was never looking to get huge!!   I wanted to put some muscle on my frame and lean out some to increase my physique and the diet guide isn't tailored for that!

If you are looking to get lean this may not be a good program I would suggest something along the lines of P90X, or insanity to do that.   If however you do want some muscle like I do and then lean out even more later then this program should be awesome for you.

This post could go on forever but here is my overall summary.   The program was awesome!!  I loved every aspect of it, it got me some good results.   90 days is a good start but I will be doing another round starting October 1st.  I have a long way to go and will continue to push myself but overall this program has helped me a ton!   I gained muscle, lost fat, and increased some definition. I would highly recommend this program to anyone, women included.   Women this program can be great for you two!   you don't have to turn into a body builder with this program but it will definetly add some muscle to your frame and we all know the more muscle you have the more fat you burn.   Below are my numbers and some pictures.

As you will see I am not a body builder and look nothing like one.  I am a normal guy with a lot of the same issues as others getting in shape.  I have tire I am trying to get rid of.   I have some skin that needs to be tightened, I need to work hard eat well and keep pushing play.  If I can go the next 90 days and lose another 4% body fat I will be a happy guy.  This is a slow process and 90 days isn't going to change most of us as fast as we like.   We have to keep going and you have to keep trying.

My beginning and end numbers are as follows

Begining                                                           Final Numbers
Weight - 224                                                   Weight - 226 +2lbs
Body Fat - 25%                                               Body Fat - 21% -4%
Chest - 44.5"                                                   Chest - 45" +.5"
Right Arm - 15"                                               Right Arm - 15"
Left Arm 14.75"                                              Left Arm  - 15"
Waist measured at belly button  38.75"                         Waist - 37.5  -1.25"
Thigh - 26.5                                                     Thigh - 25.75 -.75"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How and Where to Start!

It has been two years of being healthy and working out and the two most common question I get today are "Joe how did you do it?" and "How do you keep going?" and my answers is always the same.   I take it one day at a time!

This prompted a very interesting conversation while at Tough Mudder last weekend (another blog post soon on that one).   The conversation started while talking about how to lose weight, how to be healthy, and the habits that people form in doing so.  

We started to talk about how people succeed, fail, and the goals each person sets.   Goals are extremely important and should be set!   How do you set them?  How do you measure success?   What is the definition of a goal?  All of these things are topics to think about before you start your journey as well as something to think about after you've been doing it for a while.  So this goes back to my statement earlier "I take it one day at a time".   This phrase holds more power than most people realize.   It is the catalyst to everything after it.

When starting out this to me was the reason for my success.   If you set your goals to far out than you are setting yourself up for major failure.   You cannot expect to plan 3 months out and hit a goal.  Some people might and it's a very small percentage but most of us will fail.   So where do you begin?   The day you decide to begin is your first goal and that goal is to get through that day!  Concentrate on not drinking the extra soda, eating the treats at work, waking up early for your first workout, etc.   This day should be all of your focus and energy!   After your first day your next goal is to get through the next day and the day after that.   After a while you can increase your goals and start worrying about each week, then each month, then 6 months until you get to the point where you can set a goals 90-180 days out and know that your are in the right mindset to accomplish that goal.

It doesn't have to be a drastic change either.   You are not going to go from unhealthy to healthy overnight.  Why put yourself in the mindset that you are going to change overnight and all of a sudden be a health machine?   Set the goals for each day.   This could be as simple as you are going to track what you eat for breakfast and not eat sweets.    These two things are big accomplishments and are worthy of success.   The next day maybe it is the same goal but now you are going to track breakfast, lunch and not eat sweets.   You can see where I am going but all of these small changes will create instant gratification which will then create habits for long term success.

All in all the key is a day at at time!   Don't set unrealistic goals for yourself.  Find what works for you and take it one day at a time until you're where you want to be.    Right now I am "coaching" a handful of people to keep them motivated.   On in particular has been doing this exact thing.   we started off with a day and we are up to three weeks at at time for both work outs and eating.   She has been tracking her food and it is becoming second nature to her.    It has taken 5-6 weeks so far to really start to see changes but the short term goals and planning have helped her drop 15lbs so far.   Now that these goals are there and she is taking it a day at time the habit has been formed.  Working out and realizing what she eats is isn't task it's part of the daily routine.   This isn't a massive secret but a lot of people just don't know where to start.  You sometimes just need a little nudge in the right directions to get you going.

Here are some other tips to help with success and keeping you on the right track.

1. Take pictures before you start and keep taking pictures either weekly, monthly or what ever interval you want.   This can be a great check to see how you are doing and what you want to change.

2. Track everything you eat for a while.   This will truly show you what you are putting into your body and for most people this is a huge eye opener!

3. The scale isn't your your end all!  It's a tool and it isn't the end all of tools.   Use things like doctors visits for blood pressure, cholesterol etc.   How do your pants fit, how do your clothes fit, can you start to see your abs, maybe you think your arms are getting bigger.   all of these thing are indication of change not just a number between your feet.

4.  Drink tons of water!   Your body is made up of it so make sure you are putting it in there.   It is also a great way to flush your system of your cravings from sugar and caffeine.

5.  Keep a journal or a blog.   that way you can look back and see how you've done

6.  Tell your story.  People like to here how you did it.   Inspiring others can be a huge motivator and it is for me.

7.  Don't diet or take short cuts.  losing weight isn't something you do overnight.  healthy weight loss for long term success isn't a quick program it is a slow, steady and some times frustrating process.   Stick to it and you will look back and be happy.

8.  Find a food and learn about one food a day.  Maybe it is the difference of a complex carbs vs. simple carbs, different protein types, how vitamins and supplements help or hurt you.   These things can help you understand what you need to make your body work and perform the way you want it too!

Again thank you for reading and good luck.  Feel free to contact me if you like.

email -
follow me on twitter @mrjag79
Facebook - Joe Grady

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Road Less Traveled

High Cliff Half Ironman June 16, 2012
I hated High School was never good at books, never good at studying much but I had an English teacher that made us memorize "The Road Less Traveled" by Robert Frost.  Although I can't remember all of it anymore it seems parts of it are somewhat fitting as I look back at my last two years.    For those of you who may not know the poem it talks about a persons journey down a path.  That person contemplates the hard and easy way of do things.   The two roads are both available to this person as all people do this person has a choice of a well traveled path and one path less traveled on.  It symbolizes where the majority of people choose to travel.   It shows how they follow the crowd.   It also symbolizes how some people will take the path less traveled and yes it may be harder but makes you question if it is worth the work.

I currently celebrating two years of health.   It was today two years ago I decided to change my life.   My beginings were humble and small.   Small changes were in order, food, exercise, and mental processes.   I started by going on very short runs 8/10s of a mile and worked my way up.   Did some work out programs that were discussed in earlier blogs, changed my food habits, and looked to inspire people.

Two years later I look at where I started and where I came and think of all I have accomplished.    almost 70lbs lost, multiple running races most notable for me was my recent Half Ironman, bike races, and overall fitness!  I feel as though people respect me more and that I have earned it!   I have made it such a habit that my life isn't going back.  

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
I continue to look down the road less traveled to more races, increased challenges and other ways to inspire and be health. I truly believe I took the road less traveled and I can honestly say it has made all the difference 

Thanks for checking in and sorry for the long delay in my posts!

- Joe

Saturday, February 18, 2012



This is the video I made to look back on what I have accomplished.    If you want to see it in a higher quality please check it out on youtube at   Thanks again everyone

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 New Years Resolution!

My new years resolution is to lose weight!    My news years resolution is to be healthier!  My guess is many of us know people that are making these types of resolutions.  Maybe you are one of them.  

Lets think about these type of resolutions.  Are they realistic?   Are you or they destine to fail?  Maybe but maybe not so lets break down the average persons thought process (FYI I have been there so most of this comes from personal experience).

It is the end of December and the holidays are over.    You have spent the last month and half at family/friend  gatherings eating an insane amounts of food, drinking, indulging in anything and everything because of the holidays.    At the end of it all you step on the scale or look in the mirror and think "I need to lose this holiday weight".

Another scenario is you have been unhappy with how you look or have a bad image of yourself so you determine that the new year is a great time to start as the new year is a new slate and is a great marker for your progress!  

No matter what the scenario the gyms are now up on memberships and diet companies have seen and influx of new clients.   And here is why I think most people fail.

1.  Going to the gym and walking on a tredmill or using an eliptical isn't going to do much for you.    You have to understand your heart rate, your calories burned and muscles used.  you may see some short term results but nothing long term  

2. People go to the gym and then go home and think that they can eat what ever they want.   I just went to the gym so i can have a couple of cookies, I can eat at burger king.

3. Lack of patience!   guess what it didn't take one day for you to get the way you are.    it isn'mt going to change over night and to make matters worse it is going to be harder to make yourself look the way you want.   It sucks but you have to have patience!    working out for a week isn't going to magically shed whatever weight.

4.  We find reasons not to do things.   We find excuses.   This is the worst but an excuses to me at this point is a lack of committment both mentally and physcially.   I have kids, i'm to busy, work was crazy so I need to relax, and so on.    THIS IS THE BIGGEST REASON FOR FAILURE!  stop giving yourself excuses and do it!   get it done and stop eating things you shouldn't be.   

I am not saying that you shouldn't go to the gym and walk on a tredmill or use an eliptical machine.    I am however saying that you need to understand how your body works if you really want to succeed.    That type of information isn't as hard to find as you may think as the internet has been a huge tool for finding information.   Ask anyone if they feel guilty if they worked out and then ask the same person if they feel guilty for missing a workout. 

If you want to succeed you need to understand what you eat in  day.    Find a website that works for you and track everything you eat in a day.   My guess is you will be suprised as to how much junk you are putting into your body.    your sugar intakes, simple carbs, lack of proteins, vegatables and healthy food.    This will allow you determine what you should and shouldn't eat.   combine this with your excercise and it is amazing what can happen

Once you have figured out your diet and by diet I don't mean starving yourself i mean figuring out what your body needs to be healthy.    you can than determine how much food you require for both your day to day living as well as the fuel for your workouts.    This will not only help speed up your metabolism to help you burn more fat but also regulate your blood sugar, keep you more awake, and give you more energy to work and to exercise.  

All in all I wish all people the best in their resolutions.    I hope everyone the best but I encourage you to look at yourself and determine if what you are doing is actually working.   Don't fall into your same routines.   you need to mentally commit in order to physically change.  your will power has by far the largest portion of your success.   Your will power gets you to the gym, off of the couch, stops you from eating the food you shouldn't be and gets you on track.  

 Good luck to you all and stay committed!!!!!  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Back on the Band Wagon

I have not posted in a while and for the few people that read I apologize.   I know the riveting thoughts and experiences I have keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for a new blog post from the yours truly.    And I know you are all wondering if the guy in the picture is me.   No it isn't he only wishes he were me....LOL

I haven't been on a great routine lately and it showed.   I gained a little weight but not much so I was ok. I had been lifting more in the last couple of months so I think that some of my weight came from that.  On the flip side I could tell my pants were getting a little tighter as well.  So I am back on the so called band wagon.   I don't know that I ever truly fell off but I wasn't is a strict routine and I wasn't eating the way I knew I should have been.    It's funny cause I look back and think about the nights I ate crap food, went out with friends, or told myself that it's just one time or i've been good for so long that I can cheat..

Getting fit, losing weight, or becoming healthy whatever you want to call it is great.  I'll tell you what it is no easy task to keeping it up in fact its down right hard!   It is frustrating as all hell to know that I've lost almost 70lbs and in that time frame I can put 10 of it back in in roughly 4-6 weeks but it took me over a year to get to a loss of 70!  Look at this guy in the picture below.   I read the story about how he was always in shape and decided to see what it was like to become overweight and unhealthy and learn the struggle that a lot of us have when it comes to weight loss or fitness.  This guy is crazy but what pisses me off is that I can go back to the old me (which my office coworkers refere to as "Fat Joe") without even trying.  This guy is nuts but I do think he is to be commended on understanding the struggle a lot of us face!

That being said I have a new realization.   For me (again finding what works for you is important) routine and a regular workout plan works best.  Ad hoc gym runs and no real routing did nothing for me other than give me the mental satisfaction that I had worked out.    I had been using twitter a lot and I ran into a local guy that does the beach body coaching.   His name is Jeff and his site is  He had asked me if I wanted to do a P90X challenge group.  I had already been contemplating starting P90X again.  The first time I did it worked really well for me so I thought what the hell.    I joined a group of 5 people doing the routine and I started about two weeks ago.   Now that I am back in a routine I feel so much better and a program like that works for me.   I'm not saying it will for you but for me having the different workouts laid out and ready works great for me.   I don't mind working out at home and I don't mind taking my nights to do that.    So after about two weeks I already am starting to feel so much better.   My pants fit better again, I can feel my stomach getting a little smaller, and I am back on the bandwagon.   Good luck to all of you and thanks again for reading

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Do you have a buddy?

Do you have a buddy?  I don't just mean someone you hang out with and drink beer, or go to movies with, but a workout buddy.    I was recently at the gym and had another thought that has helped me in my success so far.   

The more I thought about this the more I realized that having someone to talk about doing whatever your doing with helps.    Like my first post my whole weight loss journey started because of friends.   What different now is I have found a huge group of people to talk to about what I am doing and what they are doing.   The other thing I relized is that everyone I look at from the ameture to the proffesional has had someone there with them helping them along.  In some of the cases it is their trainers, coaches, nutrionists.  In others it has been family, friends, online buddies and co-workers.  

All of this came to be because a friend of mine has been doing more to get into shape.   He and I now frequent the gym as often as possible and we both realized that because we make a commitment to be at the gym together we feel we can't let the other one down by not showing up!  Instead of making and excuse to stay home and do something other than workout we meet and help each other push through our workouts.  When thinking of a buddy don't just think of someone you work out think of people you can talk to about it.  For example I have people I bike with that are different that I lift with that are different than those I run with.   I meet one of my sisters co-workers via email because he had some question my sister thought I could help with.   To this day we have never meet but share stories and help each other out via email   The great part is that the people I work out with don't see me at all or they don't see me all the time (which for them is probably a good thing for them) but the other thing is you get to have new conversations, listen to new stories, see how they have changed their routines.  

After all of those conversation are done I always seem to have something new to try.   That something could be a new food idea, a new workout type, or just motivation for a new personal best!     The co-worker I bike with made a comment about lifting that made a lot of sense so I have now started a lifting regiment that has change from my previous year!   

All and all I would argue that if you workout or are thinking about it find people that will support you!  Remember if someone has been working on it for a while don't feel like you can't talk to them think again.    I have been going for over a year and I love nothing more than trying to help those are getting started and talking to people who have been doing it much longer than I.   It's fun long term to share your successes and your failures.   It helps you learn and helps you get better.   

Good luck to all of you that are starting and hope this again is some insight to me.   If you are looking for support there is a huge online group to help so start there but I guarantee that if you look around your schools, offices, and community even a random person at the gym you will find someone that shares your story or struggle.  Find that person and I bet things will be more successful for you!  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mental Discipline

You weigh X your brain weighs Y.    What sucks is that Y is dramatically less then X but has so much power over what we can and can't do.   Your at home and need to workout or need to leave to go to the gym but your you talk yourself out of it, eat something you shouldn't, or do something that is easier.

Here is an example of where I have a mental issue.    I can do a triathlon and I am even considering and most likely signing up for a half ironman.  I have no desire, or feel i don't have the ability to run a marathon.    I know this is a mental thing but I can't get through the mental anguish of running 26 miles.    Don't get me wrong I don't mind running in fact in 3-5 mile distances I love it but you get me much past a half marathon and mentally I shut down.   I don't think I can do it which then translates into I don't want to do it.  I know use this as an excuse but I also know that it is just a mental thing.       

So what does this mean to me and maybe  you.   Long term we have to challenge ourselves.    There is going to be a point where you want something to change the first time or push yourself to the next level.   How to do that doesn't come down to if you can do it, it comes down to your mental status.   Can you push yourself through the mental roadblock that you put up for yourself.  

In my case I am not ready to push through the mental block of running a full marathon.   I am however ready to do a Half Ironman.   I know that sounds weird but I know we have to find it within ourselves to push through those barriers.   Will I at some point do a marathon?   I think so but for me I have to get through the other things I am ready to accomplish first.    

So ask yourself what are your mental blocks?   What does your mind stop you from doing?   Maybe it's going to the gym, maybe its a physical pain you think will stop you, excercising, or eating that one bad thing that you know you shouldn't but do it anyway.   No matter what we all have it within us to push through that mental block!   Try and think of it this way...your body is dramatically larger your brain and yes your brain controls our bodies but imagine pushing the other way.   making your body tell your brain that I can do one more mile, push through one more rep or put down that thing I wasn't supposed to eat is an awesome accomplishment.    

It sucks sometimes and you will want to quite but if you can push yourself through it once you can do it again and there is no better feeling!!!    

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brick Training

I have decided to begin brick training.   This is generally done for triathalons but I suppose you could figure out a way to do it for lots of different things.  The question I was asked was what is Brick training? and why are you starting it?   Brick training from what I am doing helps train and improve endurance and overall speed in a Duathlon and or Triathlons.   It is the way you teach your body to transition from one major endurance function to another.   both physically and from changing shoes, etc. 
Next June I have decided to do the High Cliff Half Ironman.   Like I said in my previous post I am now addicted to putting those stickers on the back of my car.   I crave the 70.3 sticker which is the half iron man.   for some reason the thought of running 26 miles still does nothing for me which would seem easy compared to what will be roughly an 6 hour event!   

So I decided to do brick training and I did my first one last night.   I started by doing a 23 mile bike ride which is short but that is what I had time for.   I then came home and followed it with a two mile run.   This reiterated my point in doing this training.   

The issue with a bike to run transition is the way your legs have operated for the last hour or more you have been on your bike.   You put on your shoes and you would think that you would be mush, you couldn't do anything when the exact opposite is true.    I get off of my bike and take off like a bat out of hell.   The problem is now I am not sure I can keep that pace up.    

Here is a better example.   Go to a standard doorway in your house.  Stand in the door way with your wrists at waist level.   Keeping your wrists in their natural position move them outward till they are touching the door jam.  Now push outward on that door as if you were trying to widen that door for one solid minute as hard as you can.   NO CHEATING!  when that minute is up walk out of the doorway and watch what happens to your arms.       

This is the same affect you have from your legs.   When I get off of my bike my legs are so used to that motion that running is easy,  at least for a little while.    The purpose I now have with brick training is to teach my legs and heart that transition so come Iron man time I am not exhausting my muscles with a long distance left in the race.    

last night went really well and I had no issue with my two miles after my bike.   I will be curious to see what happens when I am done with a 50 or 60 mile ride and see how I feel then.   Wish me luck and will post more soon

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dieting Vs. Change (The long term success plan)

This post will be a slight continuation on my food post from a little while back.    Again please remember I am not a food expert, I don't do this for a living, and I am not the expert.  

I was at a bar (yes ironic for this particular post) but there I was and the conversation of dieting came up.    The person I was talking to is a friend and someone who explained to me that she had dieted or yo yo dieted since she was 12.

This got me to thinking.   How did we as a society come to this idea of dieting.    The word diet itself has nothing to do with starving yourself, it isn't a decision to go and by weight loss pills, by microwavable entrees that are better for you.  It refers to how we eat.   What do you or I consume to make ourselves work.   I find it ironic that we have a better understanding of how to take care of our cars, electronics, guns, etc.  yet so many of us (me included) understand so little about how our bodies work and what it needs to run.  

So here are my two cents.  As a kid we are given what are parents feed us.   We don't know any better.   they put food on the table and we ate it (or they hoped we did).   As we grow up some we start to make our own decisions in high school, college and into our young adult lives as to what we eat, how much, and where it comes from.  

At this point we are now in a habit of what we eat.   We eat what is convenient, what is accessible and what is easy.     We know we shouldn't eat it but we do (I am one of the most guilty people I know regarding this).  We have now become over weight or don't feel good about what we look like, we play video games, watch TV, drink beer, go out to eat, eat to much, etc.   In steps dieting.   we find our trigger and we move on to this new diet.   That could be an all protein, meal replacements, fad diets, weigh in diets, etc.   It is crazy the industry for this is huge!!   Multiple billions of dollars every year to help us lose weight and feel better about ourselves.   But ultimately things go back to the way they were.   you end up the way you looked before or worse.   We struggle with yo yo dieting getting ready for that next event we want to look good for.   It is so easy to do and I have done it, lots of people do it and people are doing it now. 

So how do you change?   First and foremost for me it was a mental decision.   I wanted to!  I was sick of the way I looked.  Until your mentally there you aren't ready and  it isn't worth trying cause everything above will start over again.  I started to learn about food, how much I was eating, what I was eating, and where I was getting it from.   I made a conscience decision that dieting wasn't an answer.   Do i take meal replacement shakes?  Yes.  Do I use supplements? Yes.  I use them with food not to replace it.  I learned that some foods i thought were healthy weren't.   Sandwich meat for example.  People think it isn't bad for you but you look at the packaging and the preservatives in that stuff is crazy!  Understanding that food alone wasn't the only change I also learned about excercise.   There has to be some physical activity you have to do as well.   that doesn't mean you have to jump head first into triathlons, bike races, or p90x.   but you can't just eat, not do anything and expect everything to change.   but it also means that you need to sometimes get out of your comfort zone when you excercise.   I felt embaressed as hell when i started running.   Here was a 274lbs guy running down the street looking like he was an idiot and I felt like one until I had this thought.   I was doing it and someone else wasn't.   I was running and working out and there were a lot of people watching going I could never do that.    So push yourself a little bit.  Run, bike, do some push ups even if it is one or two.   measure what you are doing and do more next time.   CHANGE!!!!   There will be a lot of people that will admire your commitment so set and example and show others it's possible.  Learn how food fuels your body to allow you to do the things you want such as play with your kids, exercise, garden, etc.   

I now go back to my original reason for the post Dieting vs. Change.   you have to want to change your diet not start dieting.   you have to want to learn what your body needs to run, how it works, and reacts to food based on the types of food you put in it.   once you do that and take the time (it isn't a short period of time and it can be frustrating) it will pay off in great results and long term success.   I am now one year in and I can go to a bar and have some beers, eat some ice cream, eat out every now and then.   This change will allow you to do that more than dieting will.    Your body will learn to process what you put into it.  

When you go and drink and you drink to much you may wake up with a hangover.    Putting processed food, junk food and to much food in your body on a regular basis is the same thing but the affects aren't as immediate as a hangover.   you will feel tired, unmotivated, maybe even euphoric depending on the person but long term it does more harm.   

Again try and Change what you eat, how you eat, and where you get your food from.   Change what you are doing, change your lifestyle, change how you think about food and things will improve.  It did for me.   It is a ongoing learning process but I am happier than I have ever been in my life. 

Thanks for reading this insanly long post.  



Race the Lake 2011

August 21, 2011 was a Sunday morning.    Race the Lake is a 90 Mile bike race around lake Winnebago.   It is a competitive race, enthusiast event, and a leisurely event all in one.  It starts in Fon Du Lac WI which is on the southern tip of the lake.  It then proceeds around the west side to the north side and into High Cliff State Park and then down the east side and back to where you started.

I never thought I would actually do this race.   I bought a Trek road bike from Wheel and Sprocket in Appleton last may because of my Triathlon.  I didn't even know about it but I went back one day to get an air pump and he said I got a free entry into the race because I had purchased a bike.   I hesitated for a while thinking that 90 miles is a long way.  There is no way I would do it but I sent in my entry form either way.  I figured it was free so why not register and make the decision later.   Turns out someone I work with Jake had been riding bike a while as a kid and wanted to get back into it so he signed up too.   It is so much easier to do events when you have someone to do them with!!!!!!

 So August 21st came and we had actually only really trained for about 6 weeks.   the longest we had ever rode our bikes during that training was roughly 50 miles!  The race started at 5:50am yes that is am so we were up at the crack of dawn to do this thing.   We both signed up for heat 8 which is roughly the average of 18mph category.   Our goal was to finish this thing in 5 hours or so.  I was up at 3am I was so excited!   Jake picked me up at 4:15 in the morning to get to fon du lac which is roughly a 40 minute drive that would give us plenty of time to get ready.   It was crazy the number of bikers.   All in all there wher 1500 people doing this race.   We had never ridden in packs like that, never done 90 miles and trained no more than 50.   adrenaline was pumping and we were stoked!!!

So Jake and I started riding and Jake looks down at his computer that is telling us how fast we are going and next thing we know we are riding at an average speed of about 23 miles per our.   We looked at each other and started to worry.   Where we pushing ourselves to hard?  Are we going to burn out?  Why are we going so fast?   Should we fall back and see what happens?   These were all questions we asked but a little bit of the competitive side kicked in and we said screw it and pushed on the picture to the right shows Jake and I at the front of about 25 people.   When you ride in a pack like that the guys in front work a lot harder as they have to take the wind.  but for a while we rode in the pack and when you do that you don't have to work as hard to keep your momementum.   It is like you are being sucked along. This continued on through High Cliff state park.   We lead our group not the thing for roughly 45 miles.  We averaged 22+ mph the entire first half and we felt awesome!

So here came the problem!   At the beginning in the morning we tried and tried and tried to make sure that the bathroom wasn't going to be an issue.  Mile 5 I had to go....WTF!!!  I had gone 4 times that morning so I guess I was hydrated but for the goodness sakes I had to go again!   There was no way in hell I was stopping.   I had a long way to go and I figured I wouldn't have to go if I held it long enough.   we got to mile 45 which was half way and I thought about going the problem was there was no bathroom.   So now I have decided to go as fast as I can.  The pain is starting to build you know the kind where you don't want to stop when you are driving cause you just want to get there.   I made it to mile 55 yes I made it an additional 55 miles before the pain was bad enough I had to stop.   The really crappy part was it was  10 minute stop as this was obviously not a one person issue!1!  Jake caught up to me and probably should have just kept going.   getting off of a bike after 55 miles is not really the smartest move for your legs.   This ended up causing Jake to cramp a little bit and his muscles got tight.   I was fortunate enough to finish get back on the bike and make up some time.

During the race I had an app on my phone called realtime GPS tracker.   I turned it on at the start of the race and I was able to give a user name and password to friends and family to watch where I was in the race.   Jen was then able to track us and go and see us in multiple spots to take pictures.  It was also cool cause my mom and others who wanted to watch no longer had to sit and wait to see me for 5 seconds you could see exactly where I was.   By clicking on the icon of me the tracker would give you real time information such as speed, direction, GPS position, and elevation.   At one point when I did stop to go to the bathroom my Mom called my wife and asked if I was OK.   My tracker showed me drop to 0 mph and she didn't have a map to show that I was at an aid station. 

In the end I did make up some time and finished well ahead of where I wanted.  Jake and I both did.   the last 20 miles was a lot of hills which we both fared well.   Jake after he stopped cramped up a little but all in all it was an amazing day.    We have already started looking at next year and trying to compete in the 22-23mph category.  Something to train for and something to compete for us.    Below is Jake and I at the finish line.   We wanted to finish in 5 hours we both finished in about four and half hours I finished in 4 hours and 22 minutes and jake just a little later (due to cramping) which I still give him crap about.   It was an awesome day and a great time!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tough Mudder!

July 23rd, 2011 was a hot day in Mirmac WI.    After signing up for so many events this was going to be the pinnacle of my years worth of work.    Tough Mudder for those of you that don't know is a 10 mile obstacle course involving intense hill runs and military style obstacle such as crawling through mud, swiming, go across narrow platforms that are suspended off of the ground and running through a live wire obstacel that can shock you with up to 10,000 volts of electricity.  

At first no one wanted to do this but eventually one of my co-workers again called and asked about it.   We had a convesation around the fact that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.   Can you get across the finish line.   It was not about speed but teamwork.    In the end we had 11 people sign up on our team and our goal was to make sure everyone finished.  

So Saturday the 23rd came and I could barely sleep which sucked cause we had to be up early to drive down to Devils Head Resort.    We left around 6am and I picked up three of my teamates.    We got about 2 miles away and traffice came to a dead stop.  after about and hour to go to miles we were parked, registered, and ready to go for our 11am start time.   At the begining of the race you take an oath, sing the national anthem and understand that you are doing this as a team.

 Overall the experience was incredible!!  My year worth of work felt like it paid off I was running and completing the obstacles at the head of the pack.  I kept that up for about 8 miles and still did great at the end but felt myself slow a bit as the cramping and fatigue started to set it!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Green Bay Triathlon

June 5th 2011 came fast.   I had joined a gym a this point becuase I needed a pool to train in.   Anyway I did my training and found swimming to be quite challenging.  I am an excellent swimmer but it's a different type of cardio workout but incredible good for you!  

I could barely sleep the night before I was so excited.   I didn't think my coworker that convinced me to do this was actually going to but he signed up two days prior to the event.   So this was a little different than most I was doing my first Triathlon and normally people will start with a sprint triathlon.   That consists of a .5 mile swim, 13 mile bike, and 3.2 mile run.   That didn't seem like a large enough challenge as I wanted to push myself so I decided to do an Olympic distance.   That is normally a 1 mile swim, 29 mile bike, and 6 mile run.  there isn't really a good lake in the area for this event to the swim had been shortened to a half a mile.  

Swimming was odd it was a big circle you swam in so by the time enough people got in the water it created a giant toilet bowl effect and became dificult to swim.   I got through that and on to the bike!!! 

So the bike was 29 miles but man that was fun.   riding with that many people is a ton of fun.  Mid way through I found a group that was at my pace and we talked for about 5 miles.    I did my bike ride in just under 1 hour and 29 minutes.  The worst part but also very lucky was when i made my last turn into the park to tranistion into the run my back tire blew.   I was able to get it to the transition area thankfully without damaging it but I still was bummed.   Overall  I was extremly happy but now came the hard part.   6 miles after swimming and biking was what I new was going to be a challenge.   I needed to get my legs to go numb and push through. 

 So after practing the runs the hard part for me was slowing down my legs.   When you have been on your bike for that distance your legs are now in memory mode.   they had no issue moving but they were moving way to fast.   I concetrated hard on slowing them down so I wouldn't burn myself out.  

It took me 2 miles before I got into a running grove.  My legs wanted to move faster but I knew if I pushed it I wouldn't make it.   Once I got past mile two I was in a groove.   As the miles moved on I started to get more and more tired.  Not issue it was only 6 miles!  I did get there but I had help.  

One of the coolest things about doing events like this is the support group that comes with.   I had my wife and kids, mother and father in-law, brother and sister and law, and a good friend all cheering me on.   It isn't like they get to see you for long either.  You ride, run, or pass by for a second and you are gone.   But knowing so many people had come to watch and support me I wasn't going to give up.   I was going to push until i collapsed (I didn't obviously).   I got about 400 yards from the finish line and my brother in law was waiting.  he started running next to me and talked me through my last little bit while running side by side.   It was an awesome feeling to have so many people.   It is a seriously addictive feeling!   either way I had finished and I was stoked.   I had completed a triathlon which is something I never thought I could or would do!