Miscellaneous Ramblings Nutrition/Weight Loss

Still Alive!

I was out at a party the other night when a relative came up to me and asked if I still had my blog. I assume he was talking about this one. It occurred to me that I haven’t posted to this or my other blogs in quite some time. That’s sad – I like writing. I just abhor the thought of writing as a way simply to draw clicks/revenue. Let’s face it folks – low-carb and just about any other type of diet out there can be summarized in a post or two. Anything beyond that is simply a shell game or relatively insignificant nuance. But enough of that…

How Have I Fared Since My Last Post?

I last posted over 3 years ago. That’s astonishing to me that time has passed so quickly. In a nutshell –

  1. Shortly after my last post, I started eating a lot more carbohydrate, for a number of reasons.
  2. I saw initial success – I was increasing my carb intake but also increasing my workouts. This worked for a month or so…
  3. Then I, very slowly, gained weight over the past couple of years (about 10 pounds).
  4. This past December, I felt bloated, had lost all muscle tone, and just was not happy with my body. I realized that I had slipped into the slow, insidious weight gain that naturally comes when overeating carbs along with age. I believe Mark Sisson wrote about this – it’s why most runners, even though they burn a shit ton of calories running daily, still slowly gain weight as they age.
  5. I decided enough was enough and began actively watching my diet. I focused on a 40/30/30 macro breakdown, figuring the increased carbs would be fine given my workouts. I tracked every calorie/macro using either MyFitnessPal or LoseIt! apps for months. My weight fluctuated but didn’t budge much. December through the end of February I actively tracked everything and was pretty diligent at staying under 2000 calories per day and yet I still did not lose weight, and was hungry all the time.

Back to Low(er) Carb

So in late February I decided that I had done my due diligence – I definitively proved to myself, with the daily tracking data and net results, that carbohydrate reduction was the best approach for me. I focused on keeping my carbs low, under 30g per day, especially on my non-weightlifting days. I immediately started losing weight. And my weightlifting has been going very well (that deserves a separate post). I’m now back to a pretty good weight, having dropped 8 of that 10 pounds I set out to lose. I will cut carbs hard the next 2 weeks because I have a 1 week vacation coming up in June where I’ll invariably gain a few pounds back due to drinking and eating (parties every night…).

One thing that has hindered my life greatly since my last post: about a year ago I switched squash shoes and aggravated my knee. Ever since I have been battling knee soreness to varying degrees. I need to stop playing squash for a couple of months (or three even) but I love it too much. We’ll see.

That’s all I got for now. No one reads this anymore, which is probably for the best – I contradict myself constantly in this blog : ) But heck, it’s an honest blog that is not making money off of peddling a ‘keto’ or any other type of diet. That’s a rare thing these days…

Crossfit Daily Update Fitness Miscellaneous Ramblings Nutrition/Weight Loss Starting Strength

Still Alive…and Thriving

I’ve been meaning to write up a new post for so long, not because I feel the need to express myself on the topic of low-carb, LCHF, Paleo, or fitness anymore, but because I just went to update this site and saw that my last posts were mainly negative in terms of progress, and I didn’t want to give readers the impression that I had given up or that this wacky diet of mine doesn’t work : )

As you may have seen over the past year or so, there has been more and more research supporting lowered carbohydrate intake for health and weight loss. It seems that the message is finally out. When I started this “journey” five years ago, and particularly when I started writing this blog, I made a couple of mistakes. One of which was the tone I used in the writing. One reader wrote me to tell me to “quit mansplaining!” When I saw that I was quite ashamed and embarrassed, as I did not intend to come off as a know-it-all. But I did, so forgive my tone in many of the early posts. But, in my defense, think back just a few years ago and we were still faced with the following myths being considered conventional wisdom:

  • Butter is bad for you
  • Salt is bad for you
  • You have to drink 8+ glasses of water per day
  • Low carb diets or too much protein cause liver problems

Since that time, saturated fat has been the topic of hot debate as to whether it is healthy or not, with the research being pretty clear that it is health, or at least not unhealthy. The vegans/vegetarians are slowly losing their grip on the diet and fitness policies (yes, even fitness – they have successfully boondoggled most of America into thinking that slowly jogging around a track for X minutes a day is the ideal fitness routine….why? Because it requires no protein.). Anyways, you know where I stand on it.

Over these five years I spent the first two or three arguing with people who would, as I felt at the time, “have the gall” to question my diet when I clearly was losing weight and getting into the best health and shape of my life. Couldn’t they see/feel what I did? Hence my tone in those posts. After the first few years I stopped debating with people about diet completely. Not worth the time or frustration. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that debating diet and fitness with currently obese and/or unfit individuals is like debating the importance of going clean to a drug addict. They’ll argue you tooth and nail over it. With regards to diet and fitness, I’ve specifically found that overweight men over the age of 30 will insist they know what they’re talking about when it comes to diet and fitness. They will argue until they run out of breath (and they often do) that their approach is the best. Of course, they’re not actually following “their” approach but they apparently think about it. Nowadays, I simply avoid the subject. If I am really annoyed and don’t care for the person, then I’ll just look them up and down slowly and then reply, “How’s that diet working out for you?” Enough said.

My Current Status

Simply, I’m doing really well. I struggled for a long time with fitness – trying to dial in the right fitness program for me has been a constant and evolving struggle and will continue to be tweaked, but over the past year or so I’ve found what works and what doesn’t for me. More importantly, my weight is just about perfect. I am at 189lbs, which sounds a bit high to a lanky jogger type but I was blessed with a muscular, athletic build (large thighs, v-shaped upper body). Hypertrophy training (i.e., “bodybuilding”) is now my primary “workout” though I do sports as well, such as squash a couple of times per week, some basketball, and soon some soccer. I’m in the best shape of my life. And guess what? I eat a lot of carbs these days. My typical routine is to eat < 100g of carbs during the weekdays. Often less than that. One night per week, although I don’t plan on it, if I feel I need more carbs to fuel a more intensive workout, then I’ll indulge in something sweet or starchy. The weekends? I eat very low-carb during the day and pretty much whatever I want at night. Keep in mind that I don’t ever want bread or pasta, though I would give it a go if I desired it. But I enjoy beer and fried foods often on weekends. I’m able to do this now because I feel my body is working properly, and the weightlifting and squash really allow for this.

I’ll be turning 44 in a week. I started this way of eating back when I was 39. I somehow have been able to not only keep the ~80lbs off but continue to get in better shape. Not sure how I’ve accomplished it but I have. And I have learned a number of things through continual self-experimentation. Some quick thoughts:

  • Hypertrophy training is best for me. The “lift heavy” thing didn’t result in worthwhile change to me. What does “worthwhile” mean to me? Not adding more plates to the bar. It’s like when I talked about my now disdain for crossfit in an earlier post – I didn’t join a CrossFit box to increase my “Fran” time. I did it to lose weight and get in better shape. Neither happened as a result. So while I certainly do not regret doing CrossFit for 6 months, or my 2 years doing a heavy lifting (i.e., Starting Strength and/or StrongLifts) type routine, the bottom line is that after doing those protocols for long enough they did not result in worthwhile, positive change for me. Going to a 8-12 rep, higher-volume weight routine, coupled with some HIIT (in the form of squash primarily) has been the key for me.
  • I no longer buy into the bullshit that carbs are completely unnecessary. This is simply not the case for me. When I was obese and needed to lose weight, cutting out all carbs from non-vegetable sources was absolutely the best way to go. But once I lost the bulk of the excess weight and turned my attention to fitness goals, I unfortunately found out the hard way that our bodies were simply not meant to lift heavy things or run around at fast paces for extended periods of time without the extra fuel that carbohydrates provide. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT LOW CARB IS BAD. What I am saying is that, for me, low carb is the ideal weight loss approach. It is not the ideal diet for an athlete. If you are overweight, then I suggest you ditch your athletic goals and go on a very low carb diet until you lose the excess weight, then scale up your carb intake to fuel your athletic goals. There I go mansplaining again : ( …. but really, that’s what’s worked for me. And I learned this stuff the hard way. Believe me, I spent a year trying to do heavy lifting on low carb. Didn’t work.

So that’s it for now and probably for a while. I just wanted to give a quick update on my status. I’m alive, well, and thriving. I wish you all the same.

Daily Update Inspiration Miscellaneous Ramblings

I’m Fat Again, But At Least the Achilles is Healed

I’ve been dreading writing this post. But after a 45 minute walk at my local track, where my usual “I’ve got life by the balls!” feeling was trumped by a pity party, it’s time I step up and admit it.

I’ve let junk food kick my ass. I went from feeling lean and muscular to sloppy fat, seemingly overnight.

Not sure if this post will come across as tongue-in-cheek but I assure you I’m not feeling very witty or funny. I’m downright sad and angry at myself.

A Slow, Downward Slide

To recap (for the hundredth time, but for those of you new to my story…) – I started eating a low-carb, loose Primal diet about 2.5 years ago. A year later, I’m down ~65lbs. In total, I’m down about 71lbs. From ~260lbs down to a steady 189lbs. It was great. I never felt better. My energy level went through the roof, and mostly remains that way to do this day in spite of recent mistakes. Of course, any of you who have read my prior posts know I’ve done everything in my power to screw it up. Like beating myself to a pulp doing that stupid ass CrossFit, or overdoing the stretching to the point of ripping a hole in my achilles tendon, in hopes that I could finally someday achieve a proper depth back squat, etc.

But in spite of my idiotic and obsessive compulsion towards achieving some serious level of fitness, things have been mostly good. Still a struggle to keep eating ‘clean’ while surrounded by continuous temptation and flat out scorn/disgust by those around me it seems. Allison over at PaleoNonPaleo said it perfectly in her latest post:

“I know your family thinks you’re crazy. I know you feel completely alone. I know you feel like it’s never, ever going to work.”

I never let that other people’s attitudes about this stuff bother me before. Well, it did. But I ignored it. For a while, I was right out front telling everyone and anyone about how to lose weight and feel great through Paleo/Primal, and particularly the low carb version of it. Over the past 6 months or so I’ve given up on that. People don’t want to hear it. And it’s always the obese guys who will want to debate with me about it, so I tend to keep quiet now when people ask me about diet. Some people just don’t want to hear it.

I also started questioning things about my approach to diet. Honestly, I’m really annoyed/sickened by the money grab that is Paleo these days. So many bloggers, podcasters, presenters, etc. coming out of the woodwork and Paleo is just so commercialized now. I guess that’s a good thing but I think it will ultimately lead to its demise as another ‘fad’. Someone will come up with a new name for the same way of eating and it will be over. It’s inevitable. But, back to my downfall: So thinking I had my body hacked and this thing called diet by the balls, late last year, sometime before Thanksgiving, I started ‘treating’ myself to a weekly splurge dessert. Often a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. And as I type this, I’m thinking the same thing. As I’ve done for a long time now, I would try some new foods and then see how it impacted my weight. And, surprisingly, the weekly splurge treat didn’t have any effect. Then the holidays come around and a series of corporate happy hours/parties full of beer, then family parties full of beer and what-not, then the holiday dinners and the pressure there, because God forbid I say “no thank you” to some in-law’s shitty food and not receive a look of scorn…

Too Much of This Crap
Too Much of This Crap…and it didn’t even taste good.

All the while, I started indulging more and more. My occasional treats turned into twice a week, then more. About a month ago I even started partaking in the occasional grains, cornbread at a local BBQ place to be exact, for the first time in a long time.  All the while, I would check the scale and I wasn’t gaining weight. And I didn’t feel or look like I was getting fatter. And my waist size was no bigger and in fact, over time, was still shrinking (I’m now down to a 34). So I think I’ve got life good: I’m able to eat whatever I want, so long as I mostly avoid the grains. Mind you, I was still eating clean for breakfast (eggs, sausage, bacon) and lunch (salad). But because of the achilles issues I stopped lifting weights. And the cardio training took it’s place…..

About 6 weeks ago I got the go-ahead from my physical therapist to start running, in order to build up my legs for an eventual 5k race that I needed to run with my daughter. That race was this past Sunday and we did well. All the while during the training leading up to this race, I fell back into the mistaken mindset of, “I’m burning all these calories with all this long-distance running, so I can eat more junk!” And for a while it seemed I could. And then a couple of weeks ago I woke up one morning and went to brush my teeth and looked in the mirror and it’s man-boob city. And a gut that seemingly popped up out of nowhere. I felt fat again for the first time in a long time. And then my newly purchased Summer wardrobe of shorts and shirts in a size that was just right before, were now a bit tight.

After the 5k
After the 5k

I finished the 5k and am glad I did it. But I now know that Mark Sisson and so many others were right when they talk of how useless cardio training is when it comes to fitness and/or weight loss/maintenance. It has robbed me of the muscle tone I had, seemingly overnight. The cardio thing is complete bullshit. Will I ever run another 5k? Yeah, absolutely. I will probably start running them pretty often as a ‘fun time’. But will you ever catch me jogging distance at the track or training FOR a 5k by jogging? Hell no. And the sad part is that I knew better…

Starting now, I have to go strict on a 30 day challenge. It will be difficult. But I don’t have a choice. I’ve got to nip this thing in the bud. I’m seriously thinking about a Whole30. And back to the weight training, but this time I’m going to take it slow and focus just as much on mobility. Oh, and in case you still think I’m not completely nuts, I got a doozy for you: I recently bought a 1 month unlimited pass to a local Hot Yoga studio. LOL. I plan on going there for the first time this week and will surely blog about it. : )

The Achilles Is Healed!

On to a happy update…the achilles is healed! The physical therapy, specifically Active Release Therapy (ART), was what did the trick. Doing eccentric calf raises helped too I’m sure, but not until I found a physical therapist that understood that those like myself with insertional achilles tendonosis need to *alleviate* the stretched tendon and not stretch it out worse. A combination of some rest followed by heel inserts, along with the ART is what worked for me. But I’m not completely out of the woods – my other achilles has been sore recently, from the distance running. So I have started doing the calf raises and will be doing some serious mobility work to ward off messing that tendon up too.

Inspiration Miscellaneous Ramblings Nutrition/Weight Loss

Low Carb and Paleo Stigma Still Alive and Well

Saw this article pop up on, which is one of the handful of sites I check most days. Always a good tip or something of interest on there:

While this guy does everything he can to avoid saying it, what his formerly-Vegan ass realized is that it’s all about the carbs, and that eating meat is pretty much necessary for optimal health. Why won’t he just admit it? Cus there’s a stigma about eating low carb. We can thank big agriculture, government, and the animal activists/vegans/vegetarians for that. Oh, and the countless personal trainers, dietitians, and doctors who continue to misguide so many people with the whole ‘Healthy Whole Grains!’ bullshit.

Even in spite of the research proving that cutting carbohydrates is the best ways to lose weight, there is still a stigma about admitting one’s success on it. This started, I believe, back in the initial Atkins era. While I myself have bashed the Atkins plan on numerous occasions, I also am quick to recognize that he seems to have been the first to ‘re-discover’ what our grandparents and descendants already knew – that bread, pasta, sugar, and starches were fattening, and that exercising just made you work up an appetite.

The problem I have with the Atkins approach is that it is strictly about the carbs. Eat all the Splenda and other processed stuff you want. Eat those slimy processed pepperoni slices they sell in the plastic container at the grocery store – as much as you want – even though that shit will last a century without spoiling. And guess what? He was right. Most people WILL lose weight without hunger that way. I know I did. I ate all that shit for a while and dropped 65 pounds painlessly and felt great doing it. But what I found was, when I really started to succeed, I *really* focused on what I was eating. And that’s when I limited all of the chemicals and processed food out of my diet. I don’t know if it made a difference, but logic says it would. I’ve continued to hone my diet, almost without thought, to the point no where I’m pretty darned strict Paleo with the exception of dairy in the form of grass-fed butter, heavy cream, and occasionally cheese. That said, I still do a ‘cheat’ once a week that is quite extravagant – either an ice cream with the family, or a dessert of some sort out, or, if none of that happens, I will go and grab a pint of the most delectable ice cream on the planet: the Ben & Jerry’s “Everything But The…”. I get away with that because of the CrossFit, or at least I tell myself I do.

Regardless, I figured I’d post the above article. An interesting, yet somewhat annoying reminder of the depths to which folks will not just come out and say it: cut the carbs, lose the weight.


Miscellaneous Ramblings Nutrition/Weight Loss

Lap Band Requires a Post-Surgery Low Carb Diet?

Let me be clear up-front: I am a proponent of the idea of gastric bypass for morbidly obese people with hundreds of pounds of fat to lose. While I was able to lose my excess weight (and enjoy the process), there is a huge difference between losing 70 pounds and losing three or four times that.

That said, after reading “Father, Son lose 260 Pounds After Weight Loss Surgery”, which is basically just an ad about a father and son who had the “Lap Band” installed, it makes me wonder why they bothered. I take that back – I know why they did it. But it just seems so unnecessary. Because it is predicated on the simplistic and very flawed theory of calories-in/calories-out as a form of weight loss. The purpose of this Lap Band thingy is to “make you feel fuller sooner”.

I think they would have done just as well, but perhaps not as quickly, by just making the changes to their diet that they were forced to make to comply with the discomfort that the Lap Band requires, post-surgery.

The most interesting quote from one of them:

“Carbohydrates are pretty much off-limits as well, Matt says.”

It is not uncommon for people to lose hundreds of pounds on a proper diet (i.e., one that is low in carbohydrate). I would bet that they would have successfully lost the weight (though it looks, based on the pics, that they still have a ways to go) much easier and certainly more safely had they just eaten right to begin with. With the Lap Band screwing up what they can eat (they say fibrous vegetables are tough to eat now!), I think they may have had an easier time just avoiding the surgery completely and going on a low carb diet.

What do you think about these surgeries?

Fitness Miscellaneous Ramblings Suggested Sites

Article About the Lack of Evidence Correlating Exercise with Weight Loss

Just wanted to post a link to an article that discusses the lack of evidence to support exercise as a cause of weight loss. My own n=1 testing/experience confirmed this for me. That said, as I’ve repeatedly said, exercise is good for you and you should do it unless you are obese and trying to lose weight and it causes you to eat more, as it does many of us.

With my weight at a point where I’m happy with it, I exercise every day, or at least try to. I just know that it won’t help me lose more weight and, in terms of pure pounds, it actually increases weight for me as I gain muscle. An excerpt from the article:

Thin people exercise a lot compared to overweight people, and assume that they’re slim because of all the exercise. Meanwhile, overweight people tend exercise much less, and we all assume that explains their bigger waistlines.

The truth, very likely due to genetics, is that the body composition of both groups explains the exercise habits, not the other way around. 

Fitness Miscellaneous Ramblings

Making the Transition to Minimalist Shoes

So, probably like a lot of you, I was pretty skeptical about the whole minimalist shoes thing. Apparently a lot of people think Vibram Five Fingers are “gross”, “disgusting”, or “give me the skeevies when I see people wearing those!” I don’t get that at all, but I’ve heard it a number of times. Not in regards to my own shoes – I don’t have a pair. I kinda wish I did but I doubt they’d fit my wide feet right and, even if they did, I’m a ‘one pair of primary shoes’ guy – I like to have one pair that I put on in the morning and don’t take off all day, which includes work, exercise, play, hanging out, etc. I typically work from home or out of the local Starbucks, but most days I do go into the company’s office to attend an in-person meeting or two. And walking in there with Vibram Five Fingers would probably not be a good idea. It’s a fairly progressive culture (though seemingly quickly regressing lately…), but not that progressive. I’d quickly become “that goofball with the toe shoes.”

The Compromise

About six weeks ago, after wanting something Vibram-like for quite some time, I was determined to just get a pair. I looked online but with my wide feet, typically requiring a 2E width, choices are slim and trying them on wouldn’t be an option. I narrowed the choices down to:

1. Merrell Men’s Trail Glove Barefoot Running Shoes

 2. New Balance MR10 Running Shoe

I wound up purchasing the New Balance ones because they were in stock at my local mall’s New Balance shop, and they were on sale. As is usually the case, they didn’t have my size. Why is it so hard to find size 10.5 or 11 2E? I wound up going with the 11.5 size they did have. They are too long, but fit pretty darn good.

The Transition

I have to admit…the first couple of weeks these shoes weren’t all that comfortable. I would put them on in the morning, just to walk around and wear them during the work day (my work day does not include doing anything physically demanding aside from sitting in a chair and typing on a laptop). By the end of the day my feet would ache a bit and, if I left them on all day I found that my feet felt ‘sprained’ for lack of a better description. Not good. Not horrible though – not so much that I wanted to ditch them. But not as comfy as the Brooks running shoes I was wearing for the last year or two, which are as anti-minimalist as you can get, with a big ass heel height. They’re like stilettos for runners.

I’d been thinking it was time to ditch the shoes and just admit that minimalist shoes weren’t for me, when I had to run to a CrossFit session and forgot to change to my Brooks before leaving the house. I wasn’t concerned because that day’s WOD was the bench press so I figured not much on my feet. I was wrong – the warm-up started with an 800m jog. Fortunately for me, it truly was a jog – the rest of the athletes didn’t bust out and sprint it like they usually do and, in fact, for the first half I led the pace which was cool. And halfway through it hit me – I’m running easier and more comfortable than I ever have. It felt good. My feet felt great. Must be the shoes! : )

Truth be told, I did notice that my feet were getting used to the minimalist design the week of that workout, and since then my feet have been feeling stronger, and the shoes are now downright comfy. I’m not going to bother putting on the Brooks anymore and will continue to use these.

Would I buy them again? No. As much as I really am starting to love the feel of minimalist shoes, I don’t particularly like the looks of these New Balance ones. The heel is abnormally fat in the center, which is in keeping with the minimalist design but looks a little like those goofy ass Skechers ‘Shape Ups’. I will however definitely stick with minimalist shoes going forward. So I’m going to keep going with these for another month and then, if all continues to go well, order some new ones with an even thinner heel. Who knows, by then I may throw caution to the wind and go with the Vibram Five Fingers!

I have NOT run long distances with these shoes yet. I plan on trying that within the next few days, but I am a horrible runner and 800m is actually a pretty far distance for me without stopping, so I am confident that these shoes will work for longer distances without causing any issues.

If you are new to the minimalist shoe hype, then here’s some more for you – check out the commercial video below. It’s a bit on the cheesy side but it’s worth a watch. As I said in the beginning of this post – I was kind of skeptical about the minimalist shoe hype, but I’m quickly becoming a fan.

Fitness Miscellaneous Ramblings

Glad I Ditched My Gym Membership

This post is a jumbled mess, stream-of-consciousness thing. With so many new subscribers and emails from folks (even a guy at work stopped me today and said he’d heard the podcast!), I feel obligated to write today so here it is….

Glad I Quit My Old-Fashioned Gym

So a few months ago I was in a weird place in terms of fitness. I wasn’t doing anything consistently to stay fit. With my primary goal being to get fit this year, I was not actively making progress towards that goal and was bummed. I had a gym membership with a good gym, but it was a little on the pricey side (as far as your typical GloBo gyms go). So I switched to another that was much cheaper, but after a few visits I realized I just didn’t want to workout in a traditional gym anymore. Knowing that I would gain more benefit from something like Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Fitness approach, I ditched my membership and decided to do playground workouts, etc. It was a great decision, as I don’t miss my gym membership at all. In fact, once I canceled my membership was when I stopped being passive about reaching my fitness goals and became actionable.

The Usual Suspects on the Treadmill

I knew I needed to seek out a real program and commit myself to it, versus doing what the majority of GloBo gym members do: show up and get on a cardio machine for 30 to 45 minutes and maybe do some weights using those goofy machines. That wasn’t working for me. It can for some (not the cardio though, as evidenced by 99.99% of the ‘skinny fat’ people on those machines everyday). So I quit the gym and joined a new one – the free one right outside my front door…

Playgrounds, High School Tracks, and My Backyard

I started with the basics of air squats, push-ups, situps, planks, walking, and some strength training. I was proud of myself for leaving the confines of the gym and trying to ‘program’ my own workouts instead of simply following the chronic cardio crew. And that’s when I quickly realized that I just did not have the motivation to push myself consistently to the point I needed to, or the knowledge of HOW to work out effectively. I knew WHAT to do. That’s all available for free on the internet. But doing compound lifts such as back squat, or bent-over barbell rows, by watching a youtube video didn’t work for me because I am extremely inflexible (physically!).

That’s when I knew I needed something more structured, some personal training. I flirted with the idea of doing a one month kettlebell training class. Kettlebells are awesome and someday I’d like to focus on them. Now just wasn’t the time. I also considered doing yoga, as I loved the Saturday morning yoga classes that my now old gym used to offer (even though I was usually the only guy in the class, which was kind of awkward). After thinking about it for a week I realized that I needed to go all in and try CrossFit. I’d been wanting to do it for a while but didn’t have the balls. It takes balls, too. I give anyone who walks into a CrossFit box immediate props for just having the balls to show up. Most people don’t/wouldn’t ever try it. Last week I noticed an overweight married (I assume) couple show up for the free intro session. They looked to be in their late-forties/early-fifties. They looked a bit nervous and I could empathize with them. But I also was quietly rooting them on and hope they stick around. And not just because I’m tired of being the weakest and slowest in the box : )

So far, so good. While my previous posts have outlined the difficulty of sustaining even a measly two CrossFit workouts per week, a lot of that has to do with me pushing myself during non-CrossFit days. My latest enjoyment is going to my local high school running track and doing a combo of walking and sprinting. I quickly find out that wasn’t a good idea when the next day’s WOD is 30 front squats at 85% of my max. It also doesn’t help that I have been helping a relative with a major kitchen/dining room remodel, which included tearing up tile and hardwood floors and then laying down a boat load of laminate flooring. Those bullshit ads that claim anyone can install a laminate floor are bullshit. I must have done 1000 air squats yesterday while installing that floor. My calves were burning by 1pm and, after going another 6 hours straight, my thighs were even worse.

It hit me today that, with the summer months in full swing, I am really glad I ditched my gym membership. For two reasons:

  1. I would have never joined CrossFit. No way I could afford both.
  2. I prefer doing constantly varied movements, and CrossFit, in just a few weeks, has taught me what real workout intensity is. And I could do all of it outdoors, at the local playground, at the local high school track, my yard, etc. It’s all there and free. I would lose the great benefits of being a CrossFit box member, which include personal coaching and the group atmosphere, which I assure you is 100000x better than what you might find at any other gym/fitness center.

If I’m not still doing CrossFit come winter and the cold season, then I’ll certainly be enrolled in some sort of short-term training like kettlebells or yoga, or possibly just buy some winter athletic wear and embrace the cold and go it alone. Either way, I urge everyone to consider ditching the gym and trying something new. Commit to a baseline program such as Primal Blueprint Fitness, and supplement with short-term courses such as Kettlebells, Yoga, MovNat, etc. Or, if you truly don’t need personalized coaching/programming, then go it alone but do it outside. Cus let’s face it, odds are your local neighborhood is an even better ‘gym’. And it’s free.

And besides….those people that get their workouts by simply hanging from the monkey bars at those NYC playgrounds are just badass.


Have you been working out on your own? If so, what do you do, and where do you do it? Leave a comment below!

Miscellaneous Ramblings Nutrition/Weight Loss Primal/Paleo Whole30

Starting Whole30 Today

Two Big Announcements

I’ve been thinking about trying this famous Paleo program for quite some time, and I figure I need to just jump in and do it instead of simply thinking about it.

Starting today I’m going to do a Whole30. 

I'm doing the Whole30If you don’t know what the Whole30 is, clicking on the image above will give you plenty of info, but the summary is that it is super-strict Paleo. Meats, fish, nuts, seeds, some fruits. Nothing processed at all. No dairy. That’s a killer, especially after buying 2 packages of Kerrygold butter last night : )

I’ll be sure to blog about the experience, particularly about the toughest challenges. I’m certain that to be successful I will need to do a lot more cooking than I currently do. A lot of cooking for the week in advance. Wish me luck.

This Website

This site is now getting over 100 unique visitors per day. Unfortunately, I’ve done a lot of things to botch up its success. I started this blog simply as a way to document my struggles with my weight, and I’ve done lots of whining on it. In fact, the site was originally A fabulous domain that still points here. But a number of the first posts were mainly just me spouting off about my success, looking at them now the tone is in quite a cocky manner. I was so excited about my success in dropping weight via a low carb high fat diet that I decided I wanted to teach the world. So I changed to the current domain name, I quickly learned some hard truths:

  1. There isn’t much to say about this stuff unless you want to geek out on the science, which I really don’t enjoy. How many posts about how fitness is not a way to lose weight, how lowering carbs is how you lose fat, and how eating fat doesn’t make you fat can one write?
  2. Outside of the rough basics (i.e., ditching the fear of dietary fat and lowering the carbs), everyone needs to find their own way through self-experimentation. The best diet books stress this. See The Primal Blueprint for a perfect example.

So, I’ve secured a new domain – – and am considering how to incorporate that without ruining the current traction of the site. If anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears. One of the things I want to do is not only blog about how I get along with Paleo, but offer some sort of public service. Not sure what that looks like right now though. I just want to give to the online community as it has me during this transition.

Why No Comments?

Last thing for today…it has become increasingly clear to me, aside from my domain name issues, that although this blog has gained many subscribers (as show by FeedBurner stats), it hit me yesterday that no one ever leaves a comment. I get emails from people time to time asking questions, commenting on the site, etc. But no one leaves comments. Why? Let me know you exist! : )

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Exciting Stuff

Some exciting stuff happening that I wanted to share.

Podcast Appearance

I’ve been asked by Jimmy Moore to be a guest on his Low Carb Conversations podcast! Recording is set for this Saturday, with the tentative air date of June 22nd. I’ll be sure to blog about the experience. I am very excited about it, as these types of podcasts really helped me during my weight loss journey and I still listen to them for tips and to hear of others experiences, what works/doesn’t, etc. Not to mention it will be wonderful to get to meet and chat with the hosts, Jimmy and Mindy. If you don’t currently subscribe to Jimmy’s podcasts (he has a few of them), I highly recommend them.

Site Redesign/Will Work for Food (if it’s low carb!)

First off, as you can see, the site has been re-designed. Still a bit bland for now but getting there. I’ve switched over from a modified stock site theme/design to one built using the latest Headway theme framework for WordPress. So far I like it and I will continue to enhance it.

On that note – in addition to my day job, I used to do quite a bit of part-time freelance web development work, primarily within the Adobe Flash ecosystem (along with some java, python, and straight-up html/js mixed in). Thanks to Steve Jobs (RIP), that ecosystem is dying a slow but certain death. Recently, through word of mouth, some new small website gigs have pulled me back into the fray and I must say – I’ve enjoyed it. My latest web projects still under development include a fledgling social network for artists, and a simple site redesign for a financial planning firm. So, if you’re looking for a cheap web developer, hit me up!