Archive for August, 2011

Getting a trainer

Sometimes I need motivation.

What I’ve noticed is that running and exercising with someone else tends to make the workout more bearable while also inviting more intensity. It might be a friendly rivalry; or it might be a sort of cooperation. We compete against ourselves; maybe against each other; or pushing each other to work as hard as possible.

The other day when I went to White Plains middle school I saw a trainer with a fairly athletic man in his 50s. The trainer clearly followed a strict fitness routine. The trainer was working hard to restore the client’s athleticism with a variety of challenging compound exercises.

More trainers are doing functional, high intensity, body weight exercises. My previous trainer, who I had in 2003, had me do a variety: running (I did an 18 minute mile, I think), air squats, some strength training. But we didn’t bench press the full range of motion, and he didn’t emphasize nutrition. I got stronger, but I didn’t lose weight.

But I think I’m ready to try a trainer for a brief time again, to keep me going strong and focused.

Categories: Uncategorized


August 29, 2011 1 comment

I’ve been responsible. I’ve had a workout every day this week.

Three times I ran, with one day doing 8 x 100m sprints. At the gym I hit a personal five rep record for the bench press at 195, which means that a one rep max of 225 is within my reach. And since I did four sets of heavy before reaching that, I suspect I’m even within reach of 275.

Yesterday I convinced two friends, after the hurricane, to do a prisoner’s ladder together. That’s doing burpees in descending order. Once one person finished, the next person would begin doing ten, and another person would finish the round. The intervals gave people enough rest, but we kept up the speed up until the very end.

We finished within ten minutes, but even with just that short exercise, one of my collaborators noticed, “I really feel my thighs!” The other just laid on his back, to ensure he wouldn’t vomit.

I told them next time we’ll do 300 pushups and 150 squat jumps for time.

New record: Back Squat #265 ](including 2 at 245), a PR. I think I’m close to 190 for the one rep max. I stopped because I was already 20lbs above my previous max, instead completing a set of three at 225.

I also did a one rep max press at 135, which I did strong.

But I also had different shoes than my vibrams, and I wonder if that made a difference.

I’ve established two new goals. My power clean goal is #215; my snatch to #165.

And now a 25 minute jog to finish out the day.

Categories: Log, Running, Uncategorized

The evidence

August 25, 2011 1 comment

It’s clear to me now. I shouldn’t eat gluten. That’s the evidence. Pasta and bread begone.

I’ve been good about eating limited qualntities over the last year. I consume it about once a week, usually at a Tapas bar, dipping some rich bread into some gambas al ajillo, or to carry some mushrooms and cheese. But in the last two weeks I’ve been eating more sandwiches, ziti and cake.

I even ate a chocolate chip cookie. Not an awesome one by Tates, but one of these industrial ones made from Nabisco.

I thought I should pat myself on the back: I had only one, after all. But it was still an unsatisfying cookie if taste was the requirement.

But at my 10th anniversary, I drank more beer, cake and pasta in one setting than I’d had in a few weeks. I took the keg home and felt the obligation to finish it.

And I felt like sh!#.

I can’t promise a completely new leaf. I’m convinced flour and sugar and enemies, especially after reading Waistland, a semi-academic book by Professor Dierdre Barrett. The challenge for me is a variation: beer and rice. I bet that if I gave up the two completely, the weight would drop off. She makes it sound easy – Just take a bag of spinach and put tuna on it. And it’s like she’s telling me to turn my back on my Indian heritage: stay away from anything that stimulates the palate.

However, what I could do is restrict my beer intake. I’ve done this before when I was losing. Using the theory of smaller portions, I would order half-pints vs pints and drink water while also drinking alcohol. It worked before, but I didn’t make it a regular habit. I could move from white rice to brown rice. Although the evidence is sketchy about the benefits of brown rice, it satiates me more quickly.

My current report.

At my last gym workout did a combination of Christian Finn’s 5×5 doing Mark Rippentoe and Crossfit’s basic total.

Bench Press: 5×135, 5×165, 5×175, 5×185, 5×195PR, 5×155
Press: 5xbar, 5×65, 5×75, 5×85, 5×95, 5×105, 5×95
Squat: 5×135, 5×165, 5×185, 5×205, 2×215, 5×165
Deadlift: 5×135, 5×155, 5×185, 5×205, 5×225, 2×245, 5×185

I finished with a few bicep curls, pull ups, chin ups, back extensions, and leg extensions at lighter weights.

Today I ran for 1/2 hour and for the first time in recent memory I ran for six minutes straight. It was slow, but consistent.

Categories: Uncategorized

At the high school

I have a friend I met from a wine club who invites me to do crossfit type exercises at the high school.

The exercise was supposed to be this one.

Instead the coordinator, a charming teacher I knew from salsa, thought it was four rounds. We adjusted it because we didn’t have machines or a cycle. So it was:

2 sets of 10s sprints
2 sets of hill sprints
2 sets of 20s bear crawl
2 sets of 12s backward sprints
10 jumpsquats
50 yards lunges
20 pushups

The assigned workout was supposed to be one set of… choose four.
We planned to do four rounds of… everything.

After two, we started wondering, “how could he have finished these in 20minutes?”

I did three sets of most, but only 75 yards of lunges and only 2 sets of hill sprints.

I wanted to puke.

Categories: Uncategorized


August 3, 2011 2 comments

Yesterday I went dancing. A fellow dancer and I started talking. He’d just gotten married. He was looking fit, but he was always a pretty healthy guy. He said, “you look a lot thinner.”

The interesting thing is that I’m still heavy. But yes, much of it is muscle now. Few people would guess my weight accurately. I still have a paunch, which is directly related to my beer intake.

I did measure my belly the other day however, and found some old notes. I was once 155lbs with a 40 inch waist. I’m now 178 with a 44 inch waist. My healthy waist would be about 37.5, which is about 5 lbs per inch, so a healthy weight loss would be about 33lbs. In some way this is necessary for my heart. It seems so daunting at this point.

But it was encouraging that he noticed. I do look better, and feel better than I did six years ago, when I was only ten pounds heavier and a lot weaker. I have an old passport photo that I barely recognize.

I went heavy the other day, but still lighter than where I was six weeks ago. I wanted to get out quickly, so I did some super sets. It looked like this:

Backsquats + Plyo pushups
Did two sets of three reps at 185, and then one at 205. Finished with a set of eight at 155. After each set five powerful push ups, trying to go as high as I could as fast as I could.

Deadlifts + Dumbbell presses
One set of eight at 135, and then two sets of five at 185. I then did three singles until I reached 225, before going back down to a set of 8 at 155. In between I did five sets of five thirty pound dumbbells.

I did two sets of one pull up and one set of one chin up in between these supersets.

It’s less than what I was doing before I left. They were “easy” but I didn’t want to hurt myself. I don’t have a partner, which makes me a little more wary.

But I won’t be taking any vacations for a while. I’m hoping that with slow five percent increases I may be able to get to my goals within six months.

Categories: Uncategorized


August 1, 2011 2 comments

So I’ve been running more, with my vibrams.

Mel, a colleague, has been training for the marathon so I went with her on her long run. She is faster, but I did go for about 6.1 miles, which has been my longest run since 2007.

My first 3.1 was 39 minutes, which cut off about 8 minutes from my previous 3.1, in part because I had an buddy; but also because I’m using a Garmin forerunner to make sure I keep exerting myself. It’s easy for me to just walk and forget I need to run. I can also monitor whether I’m walking fast, at 4.0 MPH or walking leasurly at 2.0, and measure the quickness of my sprints.

But I did 6.1 in about 90 minutes. The next day I felt a little tight, but good.

The next run I even cut my one mile run from 15 minutes to 11.39; my second mile from 30 to 25 minutes by making sure I run when my heart gets to 140, walking when it gets to 168.

But I think its time for me to lay off the cigars for a while. Been smoking a little more frequently than usual.

Categories: Uncategorized