Fall 2011 52DC Finish Line


The Fall 2011 52 Day Challenge ended yesterday.  Today is the day that the Challengers post their final numbers: The goals they set versus the numbers they made. 

I could not exercise the last three days of the Challenge and two of those days were BIG eating days.  In my case, too big to be counted as a Plan E re-feed.  Still, on a scale of 1-10 pig out – it was maybe a 5 – so I still maintained a modicum of control.  Ah well.  Here are my Final Numbers:

CE: 102/104/96 (106.25%) Thumbs-Up
RT: 21/20 (105%) Thumbs-Up
CT: 20/20 (100%) Thumbs-Up

PG1: (40-4-40): 41/40 (102.5%) Thumbs-Up

PG2: 3600 Challenge: 5040/3600 (140%) Thumbs-Up

(Swiss Ball Crunches): 1060/500 (212%) Thumbs-Up
(Push-ups): 1060/500 (212%) Thumbs-Up
(Chin-ups): 550/500 (110%) Thumbs-Up
(Dumbbell Swings): 680/600 (113.33%) Thumbs-Up
(Hanging Leg Raises): 570/500 (114%) Thumbs-Up
(Dips): 570/500 (114%) Thumbs-Up
(Cuban Press): 550/500 (110%) Thumbs-Up

I hit all my goals, including more than 96 Clean Eats.  My medal – Platinum. 

I made it back to the gym this morning.  Had a decent workout.  I will do one last run of my DIY Phase 4 and then re-jigger the program.  I want to focus on Core Stability, Single Leg, Arms and Total Body exercises.  That may require some modifications to my 3600 circuit as well.  Especially if I switch to weighted Dips. 

Gonna be interesting.

Not with a bang but a whimper.

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This is the way the Challenge ends
This is the way the Challenge ends
This is the way the Challenge ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.  With apologies to T. S. Eliot

Got in my final CT this morning.  I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes doing my 3600 circuit.  Not going to tell you it was the most taxing workout or even a strenuous one.  I just did it – got it done.  Had I wanted to, I could have called it quits at the end of the treadmill session, since I had hit my 40-4-40 goal, instead I continued.  When the second-hand hit the 40 minute mark, I did another short set of chin-ups and left the gym.  That was my final workout for this Challenge.  I have no ability to workout for the rest of this week.  I planned for it.  Still…….

When I post my numbers tomorrow, they will be my final numbers.  Did OK.

My gym has a phony contest to win a 30 minute session with a PT.  I put my name in.  While I was away, Joe – one of the PTs called.  My secretary’s message was: “You won the raffle and are entitled to 1/2 hr of training time with him.  So what are you going to show him? LOL ”  I checked the board – yup – he is the lowest level newbie who has not yet achieved any certification.  I’ll see if he calls again.

I will be back at the gym over this weekend, to get in my 4th and final week on this routine.  I need to do some re-designing.  Have some ideas that will also impact on the 3600 – so I have to plan this out.  The time spent in planning – is better than watching TV.

The next couple of days are big eating days – need to be super careful – choices – choices – choices – just have to make the right ones.

ETA: My numbers for Tuesday, September 27, 2011 – Day 49 (94.23%)
Tueday was my final workout for this Challenge! The only number still in play – CE’s.

CE: 98/98/96 (102.08%)
RT: 21/20 (105%)
CT: 20/20 (100%)

PG1: (40-4-40): 41/40 (102.5%)

PG2: 3600 Challenge: 5040/3600 (140%)

(Swiss Ball Crunches): 1060/500 (212%)
(Push-ups): 1060/500 (212%)
(Chin-ups): 550/500 (110%)
(Dumbbell Swings): 680/600 (113.33%)
(Hanging Leg Raises): 570/500 (114%)
(Dips): 570/500 (114%)
(Cuban Press): 550/500 (110%)

Burn Out


I hosted the 52DC yesterday.  My Quote of the Day was:

You are too smart to be the only thing standing in your way. Jennifer J. Freeman

I worked out early Thursday morning before we packed up and came back from vacation.  Our flight was delayed due to rain up and down the eastern seaboard.  Just as we got on the road to head home, we got the call.  Our adult son was taken to the hospital with unexplained pains in his abdomen, so we headed directly to the hospital.  I was with him in the ER until they decided to check him in.  Got home at 11:30 and in bed by midnight. 

The next morning, Friday is my early morning business meeting.  Got up earlier than usual – 5:30 – and ran an errand for my son.  After the meeting, we went to work and spent time either on the phone with him or at the hospital.  I posted the Daily Thread at about 8:30pm and did a couple of replies.

Saturday was an early morning LT training session for BNI.  Got back at 1:30 and did my host of the day replies.  My wife covered numerous errands including those for my son.  She went to the hospital and then headed out to Costco.  I picked up a change of clothing at his house and played with the grandkids – they are having a tough time.  Then I went to the hospital, dropped off his clothing, picked up his dirty clothes and met my wife at Costco to finish the shopping.  Got home, caught our breath, threw his clothing in the wash and headed to friends for dinner and a couple of glasses of wine – medicinal. 

Today, I got in another early morning 40 minute workout to polish off my next to the last CT.  Spent the rest of the day getting the house ready for a big family dinner Wednesday evening.  Hopefully he will be out of the hospital and at the table, otherwise it will be really depressing.

Now we are heading into the City to see Stomp.  I could blow this off, but my wife wants to get out.  On the way home, we will stop at the hospital and drop off his freshly washed clothing.

Yeah – I am burned out.  Lousy workout this morning.  But – I got it done.

ETA: Got in the car and headed for the City.  Phone call came in from my son.  The Powers That Be have decided that his difficulty is more than they can handle and are shipping him to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.  We swung off the highway and headed for his house.  Met his wife – who cut her shopping trip with the kids short.  We stayed with the kids – she went to the hospital to spend time with him, since we have no idea when transport will take him there.  The hospital is a 40 minute trip, a bridge toll and a parking lot fee.  Been there and done that all too many times.

Fun time with the grandkids.  Chased the 6 yo up and down the street as he rode his bike.  I should get an extra CT for that.  It was a good time.

Our DIL got back and we headed home.  My wife is cooking for Wednesday night – but who knows.  My son is insistent that the dinner goes on so his kids can be part of it.  We are not so sure.  Time will tell.

I have learned one important lesson over the years – the normal routine and structure must continue – for everyone’s sake.  I will go to the gym tomorrow morning and get in an RT.  Gotta do it to remain sane.

Vacation Eating and Working Out

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It is nice to be able to go some where warm, quiet, less demanding – just away from the demands of the normal day.  Vacations fall into different catagories.  This one was Low Key.  No Touring.  No Partying.  Just Being.  We are lucky that we have a place to go in south Florida.  Our own Kitchen.  Our own space.  A common Pool long enough to do laps.  All of the modern conveniences without the pressure.  Add a gym that I can buy into a week at a time that has most all of the equipment that I use – and you get our own little paradise.

This time around we did not hit the restaurants.  Today was supposed to be THE Day for that.  We met friends for breakfast at The Original Pancake House.  We ordered a Dutch Baby with fresh strawberries and an Apple Baby.  Split them – half for each of us – my wife and I.  Our friends had baked omelets. 

This evening we were due to go out to dinner with another set of friends.  The plan fell apart – she was not felling up to snuff.  They picked up food and steaks to grill.  A bottle of wine and good friends – what more do you need.

The food was not low carb – but – today was my re-feed day.  I had planned for it and it is part of my Plan E TNT program.  Still guilt abounds – will it ever not?

My birthday is coming up – all to quick.  They presented me with a card.  On the front was a sexy lady in a bikini eating a banana.  On the inside it said: “If all you’re thinking about is how much potassium she’s getting, you’re older than I thought.”  I guess these are the cards you get once you are “mature.”

Tomorrow morning, I will hit the gym early for my last required RT – 52DC goal – complete.  I will have two CTs left and only 10 repetitions of the Cuban Press to hit my 3600 goal. 

Then we start packing.  The one thing about not staying at a hotel – there is no maid to clean up after you.  We have to clean the place, wash the sheets and towels, take out the garbage, and get it ready for the next visit – hopefully in early November.

I should complete the 52DC goals by Wednesday if not earlier.  Have no choice.  The end of the week is just not available for exercise.  So many things happening – including a birthday cake.  😉

One other thing:  I have spent some time re-reading Adam Campbell’s MH BBOE – in particular – the workout template that I have based my DIY workout on.  Picked up some pointers to sharpen the focus.  So much to learn.

ETA: Just got back from doing Workout B of DIY Phase 4.  Had to substitute Dumbbell Squats for Trap Bar – No Problem.  52DC RT Goal completed.  Threw in one set of 10 Cuban Presses to complete my 3600 Goal.  Two more 40 minute CTs to wrap up this Challenge.  Today is a travel day.  Saturday morning is a training day for a position I take over on October 1st.  So my next workout is Sunday.  This coming week is a short workout week – but I planned for it – so I should be OK.

Trap Bar & Weight Belt – Take 2


I had put out a question on the Men’s Health Weight Training forum about the use of a Belt while weight lifting.  The comments were heavily divided.  Opinions not only varied but were defended with vigor.

The October 2011 issue of Men’s Health, which arrived after I posted my question, has an article on this topic.  Check it out on page 31.

It cited a German study which concluded that power lifters “who reported wearing belts had higher injury rates than those who didn’t.”  The blame is on the possibility that the belt masks an underlying core weakness. 

Of course, I could be cynical and say that they are trying to support the sale of their new Personal Trainer program, “24-Hour Abs!”  See page 112.  I can sum up the article.  Don’t do crunches – do planks.

In the same issue was a quick article about the Trap Bar which I have started to use.   See page 41.  The bar shown has hand grips.  Mine doesn’t.  You grab the cross bars directly.  This allows for a deeper squat.

Here they cited a UK study that says that using the Trap Bar for Dead Lifts will allow you to lift more.  The reason – the bar “distributes the weight more evenly across the muscles of you hips and lower back.” 

I have continually found Men’s Health to be a good read.  Yes – it is marketing many of their more profitable programs – so what?

Serena Williams


Yeah – I know – that is one strange Blog title – especially for a guy that not only does not play tennis but also does not follow it or watch it on TV.   So what’s up.

This past Friday, we headed down to Florida.   I am always a bit crazy getting to the airport and making sure we actually make our flights.  This trip was no different.

We flew JetBlue and paid for “extra room” seats because they were the only ones left that my wife and I could both have aisle seats across from each other.  The two seats next to me remained empty until almost the last moment.  Then two women sat down.  One was rather tall the other short and slight.  They both carried bags as if they were 10-year-old girls, including fluffy muppet dolls sticking out of the carry ons which came out and were on their person the whole trip.  We settled in. 

My wife leans across the aisle and whispers – “The guy next to me says that the tall woman is Serena Williams.”  Now I have to look and figure this out without being totally obvious.  YEP – its her.  She is sitting next to the window.  I’m on the aisle.  Eventually the girl next to me leans forward and there is a Tennis Association something or other printed on the back of her jacket.  Confirmed.

Some observations:

  • There was no entourage and she put her heavier carry on in the overhead compartment without help.
  • She watched or at least had Sponge Bob  on the TV the whole trip.
  • The book she didn’t really read was “Deadly Angel.”
  • She dozed more than she was awake.
  • For those of you with a salacious mind – there was no obvious “partners” relationship going on with her travelling companion.
  • At one point, she slid past me to head for the toilet.  Her legs and glutes – yeah the whole kit and caboodle was one mass of taut muscle.  I was so jealous.
  • There was no one meeting her to help with luggage.  She got her’s off the conveyor belt by herself. 

I wondered if I should have any interaction – ask for an autograph or just let her be.  I respected her privacy and let her be.  What would you have done?

As we drove to our vacation digs, we stopped at the Power House gym so I could buy a week’s membership.  $30.00 well spent.  I have had two workouts already.  Can’t let my 52DC schedule fall behind.

Going Through the Motions


The alarm went off waking and bringing me only to a level of confusion.  Usually, I am up before the alarm.  I stumbled into the bathroom and just stood there in the dark.  The voices in my head argued.  “Go back to sleep you will be on vacation next week and can double up on your workouts.” – “No – get it done today and allow yourself to enjoy your vacation.”  I stood there – holding onto the back of a chair until the voices quieted down and I decided to go to the gym.  What did it matter if it was not the best workout or if all I did was to go through the motions.  Another 40 minute RT would have been chalked up.

I might as well have been walking backwards – but I got my coffee/protein/yogurt down my throat and headed for the car.  Should I have even been driving?  I got to the gym a solid 10 minutes or more later than usual.  Started my warm up of crunches and push-ups followed by roll-outs.  By the time I finished the warm-up, the coffee had kicked in.

Today was Workout B of DIY Phase 4 – 25 rep max per exercise and 10 rep max per set.   The first exercise – the decline bench press.  Started with 35s and did 12 reps.  Moved up to 50s knowing that I may have to back down.  I got them up and did 10 reps.  Walked around for almost 2 minutes and went for another set with the 50s – surprise – got them up again and squeaked out another 10 reps. 

Moved onto Squats using the trap bar instead of dumbbells.  I am able to do more weight like this.  Happy that the BBOE gave me an alternative.  Starting to get the hang of loading this bar – not the easiest to handle.  Did a set of 5 with 140 pounds – then two sets of 10 with 90 on the bar.  I need to approach this with a little more caution.

All in all it was a pretty good work out for just going through the motions.

Tomorrow is my normal day off from working out.  It is also a travel day down to Florida.  My plan – on the way to our vacation digs – stop and buy a week’s membership at the local gym.  Important things first. 

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