Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Training with Jose

Had a good low key workout with Jose yesterday. I've been worried about my form for the squats and deadlift, especially since I'd like to go with higher weights for both, and form is of utmost importance.

With the squats, I need to focus more on a sitting down motion, and keeping my knees behind the plane of my toes. Apparently, you monumentally increase the stress on your knees when you let them go past your toes. I've noticed my knees audibly popping lately during squats, and I think this is it.

For the deadlifts, I tend to go with a lightly bent leg. My form is fine, but he said that if I really want to target those hams, I'll go with a straighter leg.

Learned a couple new lifts today... the overhead squat, and the Power Clean, although he showed me with an added press, to get the bar over your head. Either way, it will take a lot of balance that I currently lack. He also suggested jump squats with weight and squat lunges to build some explosive power.

Oh yeah, guess who is sore from Sunday? Hahahaha!

Don't be lazy!

Ok, so with my off time, I'm phenomenally lazy... sometimes. For example... I totally mean to write a whole mess of recipes and post them here. Yet, when it comes time to do it, I always have something else to do - make a new dish, work out, watch Gordon "Hot Pan" Ramsey, Top Gear, or other such non-sense. (Although I just found out that the 6 Nations championship will be on BBCa, so I WILL be watching that...)

So, I have to put together a small to do list, and putting it up here will help me keep it straight.
  • Put up recipes that have corresponding pictures sitting in my camera
  • Take above mentioned pictures out of camera and make web ready
  • Work out a weekly update schedule, maybe Tues., Thurs.?
  • Get the word out about my ramblings
  • Start reviewing restaurants, with a focus on my local ones first
  • Track my workouts online, maybe get some pictures up showing me at the start, and on through to the final goal
  • Define "final goal"
  • Buy more Southern Tier Imperial Chokolat Stout
So there it is, not so daunting! (Except for the 8 or 9 recipes I can put up...)

In other news, not having much luck finding a place for snowshoeing up here. It doesn't help that there has been nothing but 35+ degree days, and rain for close to a week now. I'm not desperate enough to put the snowshoes on and go tromping through mud.

My working out is doing phenomenally, even with eating poorly while Carla was gone, I'm still holding at 239#, and I can tell I've got a lot more endurance. The 50's are becoming my warm up prior to the workout, and can easily be used as just a basic cornerstone of my daily routine. It's taking all of about 10 minutes now, although I admit I'm a bit tired at the end. The pushups are still by far the worst.

Today's workout
  • 70 pushups
  • 50 squats
  • 50 bicycle crunches

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Workout victory, or death!

To celebrate Carla being back, and needing a good workout, we hit the gym for a couple hours today. Ultimate goal: for Carla to be sore for at least 3 days. (I didn't tell her that though!)

We've been workout partners for a while, and having her there really helps me keep my shit in line. Oh em gee, I might as well just say it, she's a great support system. She knows I've got a few wackadoo goals, that while she might not agree with (I will one day wrestle a bear and a shark at the same time) she is behind. Mostly. hahaha.

Ok, so the workout!
Warm up
- The 50s. (50 Pushups, 50 Squats, 50 Bicycle Crunches) A little note I'd like to make, if someone is not strong enough to do a full push up, you can do a modified pushup, that consists of keeping your knees on the floor, and then doing the push up movement -as you can see here. (Fast forward to 00:50, the lead up to the push up is worthless.)
- 40 leglifts
- Stationary Bike for 25 minutes (9 miles)

The Workout
  • DEADLIFT!!! 5 reps @ 60#, 2 sets of 10 reps @ 90#, 10 reps @ 140#, 10 @ 190#, 5 reps @ 200# (During this deadlift storm, I showed Carla how do do this, as well as front and back squats, she was doing the squats while I busted these out.)
  • Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps @ 25#, 5 reps @ 30# (Carla was using 15# and 20#)
  • DB Shoulder Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 30#, 10 reps @ 35# (I think Carla was using 15# and 20#)
  • DB Shrugs: 2 sets of 25 reps at 30#, 25 reps at 45#
I'd say this is a good endurance workout. Or the beginnings of a good endurance workout. I'm still refining my deadlift form. Also, the deadlift at 200# was tough for two reasons... grip strength, and keeping my shoulders back. It's hard to keep those shoulders back for that load, and the grip, well, yeah... hands lack muscles of any consequence, so it's time to build those forearms!

Current weight: 239.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Workout with Santana!

So I worked out today with a good friend from Blue Fang, Dave Santana. Looks like the gym is having a pretty good sale, and are giving guest passes that are good until Feb. 19th. (Score!)

It was a pretty light, relaxing workout... but reminded me the importance of eating before hitting the gym.

Warm up
-Not notated

Work out-
  • Close handed Lat Rows: 2 sets of 20 reps @ 100#, 3 reps @ 160#, 1 rep @ 190#
  • Dumbbell Chest Press: 2 sets of 20 reps @ 40#, 10 reps @ 40#
  • Dumbbell Bent over Row: 10 reps @ 35#
  • Negative Bicep Curls: 15 reps @ 25# for 8 seconds each
  • Skullcrushers: 30 reps @ 45#
Pretty nice and light. Followed that up with some Assassin's Creed 2. Dave has some good taste in games.

The boy dun killed me.

My trainer, Jose is out to kill me I think. He put me through a hell I've not experienced in a long time. A single workout that had me walking funny for three days what was this beast?

Warm up-
A few minutes of sword cuts with a 12lb bar
The 50's. (50 pushups, 50 squats, 50 bicycle crunches.)

The work out-
  • 50 regular squats without weight
  • 50 back squats with a 12 lb. bar
  • 25 squats without weight
  • 25 front squats with a 12lb. bar
  • Balance on a bosu ball for 4 minutes ( I was trying to hold the 12lb bar off the ground to increase difficulty)
  • 50 regular squats without weight
  • 25 front squats with the 12lb bar
  • 25 jump squats
  • 50 back squats with the 12lb bar
I was walking funny when I left, my quads didn't want to work right. Couldn't do stairs well for a couple days. Brutal as hell. He did tell me though, that the rest of his clients usually die from that one, and don't do it with the added weight.

Kick ass. I think I ate a year's worth of painkillers though.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The 50s

I've recently started working out with a great trainer, a Mr. Jose Rivera from Professional Fitness at the Gold's Gym in Somerville. This guy kills me, literally... takes me to the point where I just want to die, then pushes me along it and shows me that the body is stronger than the mind. We've set a few great goals for me, since I'd like to get into shape for Rugby in a few months.

He devised a great wake up and go routine for me, as "conditioning maintenance". He calls it, the 50s. It's a pretty simple concept that on paper sounds easy...
Simple, right? Well, after years behind a desk, I can assure you that it is in fact KILLER (For me at least). The crunches and squats are fine, yeah, tiring, but pretty quickly banged out. It's those pushups. I'm at the point where I can do the first 25, then I quickly break down. The last 5 or so of the 5 are sometimes in groups of 1-2 at a time.

Do this 4-5 times a week, and you'll start getting results, in at least squatting, crunches, and pushups. I guarantee it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cook for your life!

So, in the last few weeks we've really taken to cooking creatively. Eating healthy isn't a matter of cutting out meat, and eating tofu until you give up on life and begin wearing patchouli. It's a matter of just moderating, experimenting, and using good ingredients.

What have we been making?
Christmas Eve Dinner
  • Amuse Bouche - Seared Scallops on a potato pancake with a champagne cream sauce
  • Main Event - Cioppino with shrimp, crab, scallops, and littleneck clams, served with some toast points
  • Dessert - Don't remember one, doubt we had one
Christmas Dinner
  • Red Perch en papillote with asparagus tips
Random Dinners
  • Roast Chicken in a vermouth demi-glace and balsamic vinegar over ricotta gnocchi with arugula in brown butter sauce
  • Shepherd's Pie with beef
  • Curried Garbanzos with rice and coriander
Well, not every night is a culinary tour de force, but if you take the time to cook at home, you cut out a lot of the crap from restaurants, save money, and have fun. I think pictures are a must, and I'll put up recipes, mostly to keep me from forgetting how to make them all!

Some things I've picked up from my personal research, and from my nutrionist... fat is needed in food, it tells us we're full sooner. However, a balance can be cut between good and bad fats (fruit/ vegetal fats are generally preferable to animal based fats), as well as quantity. Also, a non-stick pan works wonders in reducing needed oil for cooking. We just got one (my first) and it's great!

Also, if you "have" to over eat, load up on the vegetables, use meat as an accompaniment, not as a focus, which is much different from how I was raised. Greens like mustard greens, or red chard are filling, and flavorful when properly cooked. (Properly cooked : Sautee in olive oil, and steam in a little chicken broth with salt and pepper.)

All these foods are potentially rich, and "diet" destroyers. How am I eating them in good conscience? Moderation, focusing on eating vegetables first, doubling the amount of time it takes to eat (due to good conversation), not going back for seconds, and using smaller bowls and smaller portions.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Swish, Swish, Thump

Ever hear of Winter Trails Day? Me either until about two weeks ago. It seems some amazing people came up with the idea that learning to cross country ski isn't just fun, but should be accessible for people to learn. Not just accessible, but free.

Seems that on January 9th each year, at some places it is free to learn to cross country ski, rentals and resort fees are included gratis as well! So, Carla and I went over to Northfield Mountain in Every, MA. I set us up to take a class on cross country at 3:30pm... it was a great experience. I haven't been on skis for about 14 years.

Everything started coming back to me after a few minutes, even if I wasn't wholly stable. The best part though is that Carla was taking to it well. She took a small spill, which was no biggy, but the best part. She went down a small, steep hill, took it like a champ and came up smiles. First time on skis, and she falls for the thrill of the speed!

Northfield is a neat little place, a little far from Somerville though, about 80 miles one way. The ski place had about 30km of trails that were open, for cross country and snowshoeing. We'll have to try that again, maybe I can get her into the cross country, and then on into downhill.

Could be neat. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lowell First Run 5k!

Part of getting my act together health wise is getting out and doing stuff. The first step, is to find some organized events, register, and be frickin' accountable! With that in mind, I signed up for the Lowell First Run, that took place on January first, at 11am.

The race comes in two flavors, the 10k and 5k. I'm no athlete (yet), so I opted for the 5k. In fact, when I signed Carla and I up for this thing... I was pretty proud of myself. Hey, let's do a race... back in October, it didn't dawn on me for some reason that a race on January first would be cold, and icy.

Cold, check. 30 degrees at the start. Icy? Naw, not bad actually. In fact, it was much better than I expected. The race was run on the roads of Lowell, MA and they were clean. We even had the local PD to keep us safe from the cars.

The start was a neat experience, everyone lined up, and with the tracking tags we were using, each runner got to run with exact time starting when you cross that start, and ending when you cross the finish, as opposed to straight clock time.

So the race itself was pretty neat. The first mile was the worst. It started with a couple good hills that were unlike what I've been doing in practice. Blew out my shins about a half mile in. I got pissed off over that actually, and it pushed me even harder. I had to walk for a minute or two a couple times during the race, but I kept truckin'.

After the first mile, things leveled out, and it was 2.1 miles of steady running. I was getting passed a lot, but I wasn't there to try for a top 3 slot. Although, I will say, at about mile 1.5 or so I got passed by the guy that won the 10k race. His entire back was covered in splattered mud.

Towards the end, I was really surprised that with about a quarter mile left I still had a bit left in me, so I stepped up the pace and started passing a few people. That felt real good.

I clocked in a time of 41:48.9... ok, fine... 41:49. Which works out to a pace of about 13:30 a mile. To put that into perspective, I was killing myself to run a mile in 16:45 back in March, and I was completely done after that single mile.

The after race was great, food, a place to sit, some water, and some music. People were buzzing, many of the 10k finishers were wearing nary but lycra and mud. Next year, I might try the 10k!

It was a great way to start the year, and an effective way to get rid of that little hangover I woke up with. ;) We rounded out the day with Sherlock Holmes, and some pho over in Chinatown. Awesome start of the year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hoppy New Year!

I've held off a bit on making some posts, because frankly, I didn't have something to talk about that wasn't game industry centric. Nothing wrong with being game industry centric, but there is more to life than thinking about work.

As far as work goes... I'm the lead interactive producer/ project manager at Ghost Rabbit Entertainment, working remotely as they are based in Dublin, CA. There, I covered work. Huzzah.

It's a new year, and a time to start over, right? RIGHT! I started working on my new year's resolutions in mid-August. They were rather simple:
  • Eat Better
  • Be Healthier
  • Get Outside
All in all, they are pretty simple resolutions, and when working together... effective. How effective? I've since shed 24 pounds, several inches from different body parts, and hardened up from the various activities I'm beginning to love. It's a bit of a snowball effect actually.

What the hell does that mean anyway? Well first off, stop eating crap! At the start of August, crazy work hours and really bad eating habits got me up to 265. The first thing to change, obviously, was the bad eating habits. The first step was to stop eating out so much. Of all people, I should know better, I've cooked professionally, I know how liberal restaurants are with the lipids.

One kitchen I worked in used a 2oz. ladle of oil to start every entree. That's 495 calories, right off the bat. (As per: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/) Granted, this was 13 years ago. Are restaurants and cooks more cognizant of healthy eating? Go to your local Cheesecake Factory and let me know. :)

Healthy eating doesn't have to be boring though, as long as you apply some basic rules:
  • Eat real food, not too much (Truth from Michael Pollan)
  • Simpler dishes taste better
  • Talk while eating
  • No seconds
  • Red meat once a week or less
  • Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner
How has this worked out? I am having the most challenge with eating breakfast, but it helps. you overeat at lunch and dinner when you've gone a long time without eating something, so snacks are important as well. As for the food, I've never cooked so creatively in a decade. I'll be posting pictures of course.

That's not all of it though. You can eat decently and still be in poor shape. I feel being successful requires goals, and I set a couple good ones:
Get in shape for Rugby in the spring
Learn mountaineering (?!?)
Since getting back from seeing my family in October, I joined a gym, and started consistently running. Nothing like working hard, right? I have also started working out with a personal trainer for the first time. Talk about getting your butt kicked. Up until christmas I was averaging about 3-5 hours a week at the gym. I've slowed down a touch since then, what with the holidays and all.

Time to put it all together though, right? Today I ran the first 5k of my life, Lowell's First Run. It was great, and I ran my fastest 3.1 time. Best part, everyone was so supportive, and the camraderie was high. What's next though? Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing, hiking, and summiting Mt. Washington in the summer.

Gotta keep it up for new years. What are you doing?