Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Day in the Life of PCP...

Err wait....

We're finished! Fin! Done! Complete!

... in a way.

The hardest part is next: life-long change. When you have a goal or a deadline, it becomes easier to strive towards the achievement of reaching that goal. In this case, 90 days of working out and eating a specific diet. As a dreamer and an idealist, I tend to get lost in my lofty desires, but thanks to the PCP, I've relearned the importance of breaking dreams down into tasks and goals. I know, it seems so obvious, but when you entrap yourself in a lazy mindset, the most obvious, productive methodologies seem to be evasive.

In the past three months, we've learned about the body, how to eat right, how to exercise properly, how to set and attain goals, and so much more. We've both struggled and prevailed, and now it's time to take these lessons on into the rest of our lives. As the PCP will show, I think the answer lies in regular change.

I love change. I love changing up what I'm eating, the exercises I'm doing, the projects I'm working on, the blogs I'm reading, the podcasts I'm listening too. Now I'm going from performing the PCP under the wise tutelage of Patrick, to showing others how to lead a healthy, fit lifestyle. It's a change -- one that keeps me interested in health and fitness.

Our bodies love change as well. Eating a variety of food gives you all the different kinds of nutrients you need. Changing your workout routine keeps your body from becoming accustomed to it, allowing you to further develop muscle. The theme here is change. And yet the hardest change is making the decision to change. We must first admit that we need change, and that in itself is change.

The other day I vented my frustration in sticking to things, in being reliable and committing, and in struggling with constantly wanting to do something new. I think the answer lies in setting a goal so that I can stick with something until completion, while frequently changing up how I approach that goal in order to remain interested. I'm going to try it and I'll let you know how it works for me.

This means that I'm keeping this blog open. Like Sean, I want to continue to update this blog. It is a goal in and of itself: to take the time to write more often. I intend to dive further into the mental aspect of peak conditioning. After all, peak condition is, again, a mindset. I aim to allow this to continue to be a medium in which we can further discuss how peak condition can even affect our every day ailments, like ADD, or what that even is to be honest. I hope to further discover how health and fitness can turn the mind around in addition to our bodies.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, readers, for being an encouragement, for being critical, and for sticking with me. I am a work in progress, and I need a lot more work; but I'm considerably more "complete" than I was 90 days ago. Again, thank you.

Thank you so much, Sean and Corry, for truly being the best teammates that I could ever ask for -- seriously. It is such a joy getting to endure this journey with you. I truly look forward to continuing this life-long journey together, if not in word, at least in spirit. I hope our paths cross some day. We did it! Can you believe it!?

Finally, Patrick:

I am truly indebted to you. I owe you so much thanks for leading me to a dream of mine -- a conditioned body. You've taught me so much. I've gained so much knowledge from your instruction, and most importantly, I've grown spiritually. I have a new mindset thanks to you, one that will be with me for the rest of my life. You have changed my life, Patrick, and there is no way I could ever put a price on that. You have my deepest gratitude. This is an experience that I will truly treasure and speak of for the rest of my days.

This end is only the beginning. Until next time...

Monday, August 11, 2008

"What's a gym? Oh, a gym." -- Homer Simpson

Good ol' Homer Simpson.

So I just got back from the gym. They got a membership out of me, but for two reasons: 1) they have an awesome bar for pull ups and chin ups. 2) Yoga. They have some beginner Yoga classes and are adding more next month. I've been wanting to do it for some time. Now that I have a membership, I have to go to get my moneys worth.

There wasn't a whole lot of people there. The first thing I noticed as I began to work out was how my muscles felt on the machines. I found that I could achieve a burn quicker, but it felt easier to cheat, and the burn didn't last very long. After using resistance bands and doing exercises like push ups, you feel energized, yet you want to collapse from exertion -- in a good way. The machine burn just doesn't go as far. It's no wonder machine muscle doesn't last as near as long.

It was fun using free weights again for a change, but still, not as near as exerting as a resistance band. Those bands make you fear them, that deep burn within. The free weights, well, you get over them pretty quickly.

I really surprised myself on the pull ups. I expected to really struggle to pull myself up, but I cranked through the first three sets no problem. This was probably the most defining moment in my realization of my new found strength. I've noticed it before, but not like this.

I started chatting with the owner and got to mention the PCP briefly. She thought it was pretty interesting, and agreed that fitness, diet, is an everyday choice. And therein lies the rub. As the PCP comes to a close for us tomorrow, will we continue to choose, every day, to be healthy, to be fit? I think this is where encouragement and community comes in.

Just today, I learned that one of my best friends bought some resistance bands and a jump rope. He's totally ready to do this, and I hope that we can be a good influence to each other, keeping each other accountable. That's what I need more than anything at this point -- accountability.

Let's be honest: I'm not a very reliable person. Patrick has had to get on me from the beginning about getting new pics up. Sometimes I honestly forget about things. Sometimes I am unbelievably busy. Most times, I'm really distracted. A lot of times, I'm lazy. I've had this curse for some time where I always want to try something new. I struggle to finish something I've already started.

That has been my absolute biggest flaw for some time, and I don't exactly know what the solution is. I know it involves a change in mindset, but I'm not entirely sure how to get there. I admit that I need to change, but when someone confronts me, I get defensive. How do I extract myself from this pleasure seeking, distraction oriented society? That's an honest question. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know. I need more criticism. I need further refinement. This is a call for help.

The PCP has further revealed in me this need to change. I _am_ a complete jerk face. This is my flaw. I don't expect to be perfect, but I sure as hell expect to improve. I can't keep floating like this. Perhaps I need a PmCP, a "Peak (mental) Condition Project."


It turns out the fitness center I was going to visit wasn't open as late as I had hoped, so I didn't get to it today. I'm going to go later this morning.

I've been dealing with moving situations over the past week. Saturday was our first big day of moving. I gotta say, it was a good test of my new found stamina. I didn't feel winded at all and could've easily gone a few more hours. I've got another day of moving coming up this week. I expect it to be just as easy.

As the PCP comes to a "close" for us tomorrow, I have to admit, even just a year ago I would not have expected to be able to reach the condition that I have on this project. We've all come so far. We've stuck it out. Now for the longest part of the process: making it a part of the rest of our lives.

JUST ONE MORE DAY! Can you believe it!? It really did arrive sooner than I expected.

My schedule for the day: nap, gym, meetings, workout, blog. Talk to you all soon, and thanks for staying with me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gym Day Tomorrow

So tomorrow I get to visit a gym tomorrow to see what all of the fuss is about. This will be a good lesson to take with me as the project comes to a close. I'm pretty addicted to working out without machines at this point. I think it's important to be sensible about what you are doing to your body, whether it be in what you consume, or how you exert yourself. Everything in moderation, right?

It's been a long day of helping people move, so I'm gonna get a good night sleep. I'm actually looking forward to checking out this gym. I have a friend that is trainer there and she's been wanting me to check it out. We'll see.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Another Day Closer

We're another day closer to completing this project successfully. The hard part is, I feel those desires to break my new found habits growing stronger and stronger every day. It's like my body wants to just quit on the last day.

I can't let that happen. I've realized lately how important both encouragement and criticism can be. I think it's important to have others around you that can encourage you. I think it's also easier to adhere to something when you have to teach it.

As this project comes to a close, I'm hoping to find a friend of mine that would be interested in eating super healthy and working out with me every day. That way, when things get tough, we can be a strong encouragement to each other. When we are failing to deliver, we can be constructively critical.

It's amazing to see how far we've come in just three months. I am extremely happy with the progress we all have made. I hope to "pay it forward" by being an example to others. I hope to show what future gains there are in present changes.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Finally, a Chance to Breathe

It's true. I'm a terrible blogger. I've allowed projects to get in the way of a lot of things such as blogging. Now that I've wrapped up some big projects, I finally have a chance to breathe. So what's been on my mind this past week besides work?

Priorities and discipline, actually. I met deadlines and finished projects, but if I would have been more disciplined, I would have been able to spread my workload out, allowing myself time to do other things if not finishing the projects sooner. I've struggled with this for some time, yet I do well under pressure.

I was discussing this with a friend a couple nights ago, and he used a phrase that I thought was perfect: "failing forward". I love it. In exercise we discuss failure. In working towards our goals and dreams we are aware of failure. Yet as much as failure can be frightening, every time I take a step back to look at it, I see that it is a good thing.

It is the catalyst for great change. The ultimate failure is defeat -- to give up and walk away. Progressive failure is to get back up and keep trying. I know we've all heard this stuff before, but it's amazing how much it begins to really click in when you commit to something long term.

The PCP is something that I have committed to long term. I will not fail it, and considering the fact that it ends in about a week, I'm confident I'm going to make that goal. The things I have learned from the PCP, though, have really given me insight into other areas of my life. I've tried to make changes before, but I realize now that I accepted defeat in those areas instead of pressing on. Through the PCP, I now see what long term change can bring.

I talked to a friend of mine that is a trainer, and he said that a lot of people don't make it past six weeks. I think part of this is because they expect too much change too soon. Changing core areas of your life, such as your health and body, are a long term goal. It's a part of you, thus change has to become a part of you. This must take time.

I apologize that I haven't prioritized this blog. It's an incredible outlet for myself, and I appreciate all of your words (yes, Patrick, I am a jerk face :)). Perhaps in time this will be another lesson that I learn, another "fail forward", as I love to write, but I struggle with taking the time to do it.

We're almost there!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Like a Sloth


So I had Mexican food as my indulgence. I have not felt this tired and slow after eating all year. Wow. This really sucks as it's a huge hindrance from my work. It's amazing how much mental clarity comes from physical clarity.

What a great reminder that working out and eating right can do so much for you. I'll keep it short and leave you with one of my new found favorite quotes:

"Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness."

-Edward Stanley

The Final Indulgence

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. Push came to shove with projects and I have had my head tucked down, cranking away at them.

I ended up crashing hard last week when trying to stay up -- I'm not going to even attempt that again. I've been more accepting of my nocturnal state, and so far it's working out well.

Patrick has given us a mission: our 3rd and final indulgence! I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to have. I've had Thai, I've had a mocha, what's next?

I'm thinking something dessert oriented. Perhaps ice cream. Either that or Italian food! Yum!

Thoughts, suggestions?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Toughest Workout Yet?

We'll see...

So I ride my motorcycle to my friend's last night, and a massive storm moves in. I ended up there until 4 AM or so when it finally cleared up -- I haven't slept. It'll be an interesting experiment to see how tough my workout will be on little sleep as I'm planning on staying up all day.

As I'm sure you are aware by now, I constantly struggle with sleep issues. I'm always trying to "reset". I'm starting to think that I'm just kidding myself. I honestly adore getting up early in the morning, but I often crank away on work and other things late into the night. I've been told that we are genetically inclined to either be day birds or night owls. I think I may be a night owl that wants to be a day bird. I should try sticking to a nocturnal sleep schedule to see what happens.

I'll let you know how my workout turns out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I'm at a cafe listening to a man talk to his friend and a financial advisor about his company that is making all natural ice cream filled with protein and a new curl bar that doesn't cock you wrist -- interesting.

Am I full of crap or does protein enhanced ice cream sound like a bad idea? Something like that targets our indulgences. "Here, it's yummy ice cream AND it's good for you!" I feel that when you target human indulgences like that, it teaches them that those indulgences are OK as long as they're "healthy". We don't need to fuel such impulses, we need discipline. We need the discipline to say, "I'll pass on the ice cream. I'll eat the fish/meat/shake."

Mindset -- we need a new mindset. Not gimmicky products that make the bad food "good" for you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A New Perspective

I gotta say, I'm feeling amazing right now. I had a valley this last week where I wasn't prioritizing and pushing myself on the PCP as I should have been, but all valleys lead to a hill. I'm climbing and climbing towards that goal at Day 90, and I am feeling incredible while doing so.

Last night projects swamped me and I only got 4.5 hours of sleep -- not good when you need to do vigorous workouts. Yet time and time again I find that my best workouts are when I am tired, or better yet, "think" I'm too tired. As it turns out, I had a lot of energy and pushed hard through my workouts. I am feeling so good that I didn't "float" through the workout like I am often tempted to. I'm learning to fail more efficiently all the time, and I'm finding myself more and more interested in how to maximize my workouts.

For example: I can do a lot of V-sits, but I don't want to spend all night doing them in order to fail. So I put on my boots at the end. Instant ankle weights, and man, they will really make it tough. I like that, though. I'd rather do a more vigorous workout for a short duration than a light one for longer. I've always preferred short distance sprinting over endurance running. In case of a zombie apocalypse, I'm going to make damn sure that I can out run you short distance ;)

It looks like I'm starting to show an eight-pack which is incredibly exciting. I have never ever been this in shape in my life. I've always wanted to, but I've never had the motivation or discipline until now. As Day 90 inches closer, I find myself reaffirmed that the number one thing that I will walk away from this project with is healthy eating habits. It just so happens that I have made friends and built muscle in the process.

These healthy eating habits I intend to carry with me indefinitely. As I've said before, I used to really struggle with being tired all the time and with mental clarity -- staying focused, compulsions, etc. I can't begin to tell you how much better I am. I've always known that it would be healthy food that would set me free, and I am so grateful to the PCP for this, and most importantly -- you.

Reading and hearing your words of encouragement these past weeks has meant so much to me. We're at the point where we are tempted to say, "I've come a long way. I look good enough. I can take it easy now," but we must push hard this last month to truly be in peak condition. And what is peak condition exactly?

At the beginning of this project I would have told you it would be to look like Brad Pitt or Bruce Lee or . Now I believe it is a mindset. It is to want to eat healthy; it is to want to work out; it is to want to be fit. It is to want to push yourself to improve on all levels, making conscious decisions. We are slaves no more to our instincts and indulgent desires.

The human body is so complex. You really can't say, "I want to look like I'm in peak condition." If you just worked out, you could only get so far. You must begin to eat better. But then you notice that you have more energy. You become more productive. You start thinking more clearly. Your attitude improves, and thus, your relationships as well. I don't mean to make the PCP sound like a cure-all as much as I intend to point at that being "peak" impacts all areas of your life; and while we can't be "perfect," we can be in peak condition in mindset so that all aspects of our life improve.

Thus I leave you with these words: don't see peak condition as having to have a certain amount of mass, losing "x" percentage of body fat, weighing "x" amount, etc. It's good to have goals, but if at onset you wanted 6% body fat, but could only reach 10%, would that really matter? So much of you, the core "you", would have improved along the way. Goals simply allow us to put intangible concepts into tangible terms. You can't define a peak mindset numerically. Thus we break it into numerical goals to give us something tangible to aim for. In time we realize that our perspectives have changed even more than our bodies.

Never tell yourself you "can't", or it's a waste of time. Even the smallest of steps towards improvement will yield great results in time. You can only get better by trying.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


One of the driving reasons for me for this project is confidence. While I'm a fairly confident person, there's just something about looking really fit and strong. I had a friend that was super in shape, and I was aways intimidated around him. It's not that I want to be intimidating, but there's an almost instant level of respect that is given when someone is in great condition. I want that.

The diet has really become an integral part of my life. I don't see myself giving it up after the project ends. I may indulge in a few things here and there, but I have come to adore the food that I am now consuming. I love the way it feels. I love the way it tastes, and I can't imagine going back to eat all the junk I used to. I'm really not very tempted by it anymore.

I'm also appreciating more and more the power of encouragement. It's teaching me that I need to be more encouraging as well. On that note: thank you all so much for you encouragement as we push trough this last month. We've learned so much and we couldn't be here without your support.

New pic up tonight :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Suck at Zazen

Yesterday I tried zazen for the first time. I did this for two reasons: the first is in order to focus and calm myself in hopes of being able to push through the workouts. The second was in order to see if it could aid in overcoming some obsessive-compulsions I have and to see if I could calm my over-active mind. I'm just starting to learn about zazen, so forgive me if I'm doing it for the wrong reason.

I sat for fifteen minutes trying to clear my mind. I could only do it for a few seconds at a time. I really enjoyed it, though, and found that fifteen minutes flys by quite quickly. I'm interested in seeing what I can learn about myself and my mind in the many days to come.

I'm always amazed at how more sensitive my taste buds are becoming. The other day I put too much soy sauce on my rice (watch out for the high amounts of sodium), and hardly enjoyed my rice at all. I used to douse my rice in the stuff -- no more. With the right amount of soy sauce the flavor of both the sauce and the rice are eminent.

One month left. I'm going to try to push harder than I ever have.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Fail: a popular meme on the Internet when someone really messes something up. But this is the new theme for our workouts. We are now required to perform most of our workouts until we experience muscle failure. We're not talking burning on fatigue here, we're talking failure.

Wow. This is exceptionally tough for me. I know that it's mind over matter, that I have to push myself to keep going, but that is so much tougher than it sounds. When I was jumproping today, I began to tell myself all the good things that I now am, and all the bad things that I am now not. It really helped, and it would help even more to have someone screaming at you not to quit; but we're our own drill sergeants here.

Wish me luck. I am really going to need it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My "Dirty" Indulgence

I'm sitting at my favorite café, Aroma, in Champaign, IL. Since I've been on the PCP, I've switched to drinking skim lattes where as I used to consume mochas religiously. So for my indulgence, I figured I'd revisit that old friend, Ms. Mocha.

I'm 3 sips into it, and I want to throw the damn thing away. Now hear me out, I don't mean to turn this into the, "OMG, fresh, natural food is so amazing I automatically despise anything manufactured" sort of spiels that you are used to hearing; but I kid-you-not, this thing tastes different. It used to taste rich, creamy, and chocolaty to me. Now it tastes "chemicular" -- seriously. Overshadowing that tasty barbituate chocolate is something sharp and acidic. I can't exactly describe how it tastes, but it tastes a little bit like a household cleaner smells.

This experience is a bit liberating. With my last indulgence I had Thai food, and I still crave it as it's not bad for you in and of itself aside for the high amounts of salt. This mocha is flat out bad, and the great thing is, I'm not going to miss it. I'm going to happily go back to my lattes, knowing that I'm missing out on nothing.

This is why we are allowed these indulgences. To show us where we are and where we've been. It's a great feeling knowing that where I've been is a place that I never want to go again.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The 4th of July

I celebrated the 4th of July with my relatives, as usual. This time they learned that I don't eat meat as of the beginning of this year, but I happily chomped away at veggies, egg salad, and beans. I did good by not overindulging on anything and stuck to the diet.

My workouts went rather well. I was able to get them done quicker than usual. It's been taking me a really long time to get through my workouts as I have to rest a while between sets on some workouts in order to hit all my reps.

Unfortunately, I had to abort the chest dips. When I went down on the first one, I felt a sharp pain in that pesky shoulder socket I've been complaining about, and I couldn't push myself back up. I figured it was better resting it another day than to risk severely hurting it.

I'm enjoying the timed jumproping as a change, and I'm looking forward to eliminating the last of my damn belly fat.

Shoulder Strain

Hmm, so my shoulder is still hurting this morning. Nothing excruciating, but it definitely hurts when I move it. I hope it clears up today.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pretty High on Life

I'm pretty high on life right now. It's been a good week, and things seem to be getting better.

Today I had an awesome workout. I burned through my 2000 jumpropes, then pushed myself hard on the strength training. While I didn't have any PCP dreams last night, when I was doing chest dips today I noticed that my left shoulder would release air frequently. When I finished a set it would hurt like hell! But it'll pass. My elbows used to click when I started the project and now they don't. I'm actually enjoying my smoothie, believe it or not. I just wish I could put strawberries in it instead of apples.

I've learned that the best way for me to push through a workout is to convince myself that I am a machine. We've all heard the saying, "mind over matter," but when I'm working out, I have a tendency to put the next set off. Now I tell myself that I am a machine, I must act on cue, there is no pain. Believe it or not, it helps.

I'm feeling really good right now, and you gotta love how you look after a good workout with swollen muscles.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Back in the Game!

Today I set a new personal jump rope record of 1176 consecutive jumps! I'm pretty excited about that. In addition I did 34 more chest dips than required. It's rewarding tapping sudden strength like that.

I also seem to have beaten the sleep demons! I've been getting up between 5:45 AM and 7:45 AM the past couple days. I won't get up as early as I hoped tomorrow, but it'll still be before 8 AM. Today I even got up and jogged a bit. I also walked to the grocery store instead of drove as my car is down, and I checked out bicycles at a shop nearby. I actually love how not having a car to rely on has forced me to seek other forms of transportation.

I think the PCP is seeping into my soul. Last night I had a dream that someone was going to eat some white bread, and I began to explain to them why they should choose wheat, and how it's made out of a different kind of grain. I guess this new found knowledge is really setting in.

I'm pretty pumped as I really feel back in the game now. I'll work on getting a pic with better lighting up tomorrow.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hungry Hungry Hippo!

Today is the first day that I've gotten up and have jumped rope before eating anything. It's been about 30 minutes and I am STARVING!

In other news, last night the left side of my abdomen started aching about once a minute. It's not excruciating, but it is annoying, and it's been aching this morning as well. I noticed that this pain so kindly gifted me with its presence after I had some coffee from a coffee shop I rarely visit. It must be my kidneys giving me the finger for cheating on my usual coffee shop.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yo Yo Yoga!

Yesterday I called around for businesses that taught Yoga. One place was way too expensive as they wanted a gym membership fee, and I just wanted the Yoga class. The other two locations didn't pick up the phone.

Well today my friend Hannah hooked me up. She works at a new fitness center in town that has Yoga classes and gave me a free day-pass next week to try out the class. I'm really excited.

Patrick mentioned how Yoga does wonders for your core and flexibility. I consider myself more flexible than most male Americans, but I'd like to increase my flexibility. In addition, my friend Brett has been encouraging me to take Yoga for some time, and Hannah said that one of her coworkers has overcome his back pain through Yoga.

So I'm jumping on the Yoga bandwagon. I'll let you know how it goes.

Food + Software = Cool Idea

I just saw a promotion for this, and I thought it was so cool that I had to share it:

It's called MacGourmet Deluxe. It allows you to do really cool things like plan meals, look up nutrition information, generate grocery lists based on your recipe's ingredients, clip recipes from the web, print custom cookbooks, and more.

No, I'm not endorsed by them in any way, but I've always wanted a really great solution for managing recipes. I like allrecipes.com, but this is more up my alley.

Anyways, I thought that others may find value in this software as well. I'm getting ready to check it out; I'm hoping it'll help me expand my PCP cookbook.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Traveling on the PCP: The Aftermath

In terms of sticking to the PCP, not everything has been fun and games. Here's the worst part.

I leave the reception around 11:30 PM with a friend. A two and a half hour trip awaits us. I'm in a town that I have never been in before, and my iPhone is dead so I can't look up directions. I knew that a southbound Interstate was due East. It sure was, but it took a long time to get to. On top of that, I should have taken the next Interstate as this one took us out of our way. To make a long story short, our two and a half hour trip turned into a four hour trip.

We get home at 3:30 AM exhausted. I didn't get to bed until about 4 AM. I've struggled with consistent sleep schedules for years, finally breaking a bad sleep schedule a week or two ago. Granted my sleep schedule degraded again, but this spun it ever further out of control.

I wake up in the afternoon with no energy. I didn't eat all of my food, and I didn't workout. Waking up late causes me to stay up late again, not only for this day, but for everyday since until last night. Last night I crashed about 9 PM. I was looking forward to getting up at 5 AM, but a phone call woke me up at 1:30 AM. I tried hard to go back to sleep, but I couldn't. I got back up and didn't crash again until 4 AM. I set an alarm for 7 AM, but ended up snoozing all the way into the afternoon. A bad sleep schedule is such a vicious cycle, and it still continues today. Here I am finally blogging at 12:19 AM when I should be asleep right now.

Here's the part that I really don't want to admit to as it shames me, but I'm going to. Not only have I not consumed all of my food since last Thursday, I haven't worked out either. Tonight is going to be the first day that I've worked out since then.

I've failed, and I'm behind. I'm still extremely slim, and I haven't noticed any additional fat, probably due to the fact that I haven't been consuming all of my carbs, but I haven't put on any more muscle either, obviously. I'm so discouraged right now. I've let down Patrick, Chen, my team, and all of my readers, and for that I am truly sorry.

This is not me saying that I'm quitting, though. This is me saying I'm sorry -- this is me coming clean. This is me promising to get back in the game, completing this project successfully. I've come too far to quit. I can't look back. I hate the old me. I love what Chen, Patrick, and my teammates have done for me.

This project has truly been life changing, even in the short time we've been doing it. One of my biggest flaws is in the area of commitment. I am terrible about following through on things. I could blame it on laziness, ADD, or a slew of other things, but in the end it is still an excuse. I can change -- I want to change. When I complete the PCP, it will be the first long-term commitment that I will have followed through in a very long time, and I will be proud to have followed it through to completion.

I knew that of the three team members that I would be the weakest link, but I'm going to change that. I need your help. I really need your encouragement right now. More importantly, I need your forgiveness.

The PCP is not easy. Sometimes I allow my pride to get in the way, hiding the hard truth behind some of my struggles with the PCP. It's like I want to show that I've got it under control like it's no sweat, but I don't have it under control.

Chen, Patrick, Corry, Sean, readers: please forgive me. Allow me to make this up to you, and to catch up to you, in the weeks to come.

Thanks for listening,

Traveling on the PCP: A Hectic Schedule

Packing for the PCP diet is the easy part. Fitting it into a busy schedule is the hard part -- especially since I was at the mercy of someone else.

I rode up to the wedding with my friend Jason, the groom. Since I did not drive myself, I was at his mercy. This makes sticking to the PCP rather hard. Fortunately Thursday was a breeze. Jason and I had a lot of time to relax and get work done. I stuck to the diet and did my workouts in the evening. Jason even did some jump roping! How cool is that? He was going to do about 700, but I encouraged him to do 1000 -- he did just fine. He expressed interest in doing the PCP, but said that he struggles to have the time. I'm working on him.

It turns out that Jill's father used to jump rope a lot too. It's always exciting to find others that share a common interest. Jump roping seems so petty, but it's rather exciting once you get into it. We talked shop about bicycles and he further piqued my interest in the sport of cycling.

After the rehearsal we all went out to this restaurant that was country cooking themed. Unfortunately I wasn't able to eat anything on the menu, but to be honest, I probably wouldn't have anyways. I stuck to my smoothie for dinner, which I was proud of. I realized that sticking to something isn't about aversion -- it's about confrontation. I was able to look at the temptation and turn away.

Friday: things get tough. We get up and immediately have to start getting ready. No time to eat consistently. No time to work out -- this sucked. I ate some of my breakfast and morning snack. I pretty much missed everything else.

The food at the reception helped make up for it, however. I had some of the best salmon that I have ever had, and it came with asparagus and this long grain rice to boot! Delicious! I'm not sure what sauce the salmon had on it, but the dish was not salty by any means. Another plus.

The reception was open bar. Oh the temptation! I didn't have a single drink from the bar, but I did drink some champagne and wine due to the occasion. I figured I would work it off in the next day or two. It was all around fun festivities, but I didn't eat all of my PCP food, and I didn't have a chance to workout.

To be continued...

Traveling on the PCP: Packing

Sometimes life calls us elsewhere and we find ourselves out of town for a few days. With myself, I found myself north of my home for a wedding for a few days. I wanted to stay true to the PCP diet, so I began packing my food for a couple days away.

I prepared everything: cut strawberries, chopped bananas, blended smoothies.

Doesn't that smoothie look yummy?

After that, I bagged everything, labeling them by day and meal.

Behold! The mighty cooler in which my food shall be contained! (That's for you DnD fans, and I don't even play DnD).

Ice, ice, baby! (Forgive the cheesy references. I'm having too much fun with this.)

Eggs, bananas, honey, all sorts of food, packed away in the cooler. The Tupperware containers are the smoothies. All you need is a spoon.

All packed up and ready to go. Could it get any easier? Yes: teleportation could exist.

I'm going to break this into separate posts to make it easier to follow. Up next, fitting the PCP into a hectic schedule.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Feel The Burn!

This week I've started doing floor jumps. These consist of clasping your hands behind your back, squatting low, and leaping forward like a frog. I look like a complete idiot doing them, but I love them. They burn my quads so bad, but in a good way.

Saturday was ridiculously tempting for me. I went out with friends for another bachelor party in which we played paintball. I ended up leaving with a nice gash on my wrist from being shot close distance -- painful, but fun.

Later on, we all went to this amazing pizza joint in town to eat. I ate a good amount before I went in order to stay on the diet, but I was so tempted by this establishment's amazing pizza...

I ordered a salad with fat-free dressing.

You get used to it. You get used to telling yourself that you're in this for the long-haul, that you've made a commitment. You get used to visualizing the "new you" and your hero in your head. You realize that for every bad food you eat you have to work hard to work it off, or risk falling behind. This is extremely motivating.

Sometimes it's hard for me to identify bad food, though. I've been avoiding all cheese except cottage cheese. Yesterday I had a tiny bit of goat cheese. Is goat cheese bad?
Also, is 5g of sugar, 2g of fat with .5g of that sat. fat, per 1/2 cup bad? I always go for fat-free products when available, but I'd rather not eat noodles plain unless I have to. Also, is there any butter (or substitute) that is healthy? I've been avoiding butter as well.

I'm looking for ways to cook more dishes without sacrificing healthy qualities. Comments, suggestions, and criticisms much appreciated!

Friday, June 13, 2008

V-sits, Oh How I Love You

I have such a love-hate relationship with v-sits. On one hand, they are really rough. On the other hand, I love the way they make me feel.

My workout yesterday was a lot harder than previously. I started failing during the second set of my push-ups, and I had to pause more often when doing the v-sits, but I felt really really good after my workout.

As for my "indulgence,"

Thai Yellow Curry Tofu
Doesn't that look amazing!? It is. It was scrum-diddly-umscious! I could eat this stuff every day. The problem is that it turns out it's high in salt (kudos to Patrick for the tip). My solution?

Salt free curry!

How awesome is that? I'm going to learn how to make this delectable dish. I'll let you know how it goes.

Body Changes
I have lost a lot of "tub" around the midsection between today and yesterday. I'm almost too the point to where I can curl up my belly, push it out as far as it can go, and not be able to grab any fat! I'm so excited to see these changes. I can't wait for more during "Magic Week."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Own Personal Drill Sergeant

I was really hard on myself tonight during my workout. It's not that I wanted to quit, it's that I wanted to push myself harder. When it came to the jump rope, I told myself that I couldn't pause for a drink of water until I completed X amount of jumps.

When I wanted to break, I told myself that I had to do X amount more, and I kept pushing myself to do more and more before pausing. Finally towards the end I did 100 more than was required, and when I got down to the last five, I messed up, got mad, and made myself do 60 more.

I didn't get the endorphin rush that I was going for, but I got a huge sense of satisfaction in pushing myself. Like Patrick has said, there are some days when you have to take it easy; thus it's best to really push yourself on the days when you really can.

All-in-all, I did well over 1600 jumps ropes today. I'm also really glad that I wasn't in a gym because I kept talking to myself out loud. Clearly drill sergeants work or the military wouldn't use them. Sometimes it really helps to be your own personal drill sergeant.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


My workout was not as easy tonight as it was yesterday, but I actually enjoyed it more. Patrick reminded me to make working out fun. I had become so absorbed with seeing how many jumps I could do on the jump rope consecutively that I neglected to experiment.

Trying double jumps, crossing arms, and single foot jumps took a lot longer as I messed up a lot, but it was considerably more fun, and thus, worth it. I love change and it really helps to change up your exercise routine, even if it's only in little ways.

After my workouts, I've become extremely hungry lately. This has lead to consuming additional amounts of fat free cottage cheese. I don't think a little additional cottage cheese will hurt, but I don't want to get in the habit of over eating.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Muscle Man

It felt really good doing my workouts last night. I've definitely noticed new strength in my arms as push-ups are getting easier and easier. I've also noticed big changes in my physique. Scrawny David is quickly going away to be replaced by a more muscular version.

More and more of my friends are finding out about this conditioning project, adding more pressure to stick with it. I have a very bad habit of starting things but never finishing them, but with all the added pressure, plus this great opportunity and team, I am more driven than ever to complete this project successfully. Looking in the mirror and seeing the beginnings of a whole new me has given me a whole new wave of motivation.

Patrick told us this week that we can "indulge" in a food that is not on the diet. I've chosen Thai food, more specifically curry, which I will partaking in Wednesday. Looking at the ingredients: rice, curry, tofu, and carrots, it doesn't seem too bad; but I have no idea how good or bad curry is for you. Perhaps all the seasoning makes the entree unhealthy. I would love feedback on this if someone knows.

New pic coming today. I promise.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Confession

I have a confession to make: I didn't do my workouts yesterday.

Part of me feels really bad for this, but part of me thinks that it was better for me to take it easy. Wednesday I pushed myself really really hard to finish my workout. Yesterday, I started physically feeling a bit up and down. Patrick has warned us to listen to our bodies as over exerting ourselves can make us ill. I decided it would be better to skip my workout than to risk getting sick.

In retrospect, I probably should have done something, but I'm back at it today with an updated workout program thanks to Patrick.

Here goes!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Struggling But Hanging In There

I'm in the middle of my workout right now. It's hard -- really really hard. My arms are wanting to give out during push-ups, and I've only completed one set!

But I'm going to stick with it and take it easy until I finish.

On one hand I'm discouraged that I'm having such a hard time, that I feel like I've plateaued; on the other hand, I feel great for exerting myself so much.

As for the diet, I've been eating lots of fat free cottage cheese. Like Patrick, I adore the stuff, and like he said, it's high in protein.


Monday, June 2, 2008

I Hate Energy Drinks

This is an excellent video that humorously parodies modern day marketing and products: Brawndo!

Sorry to sound a bit preachy here, but I really hate energy drinks. I've never gotten into them, but my roommate drank them religiously for a while.

He would drink one while working at FedEx as a loader/unloader, but finally stopped when his joints started hurting. He removed the energy drink from his "diet," and the aching went away.
I've told him time and time again that those things are death in a can, but it took a hard lesson for him to learn that. Sometime we just have to learn the hard way.

I adore my roommate, but for some time he has complained of an inability to sleep through the night, and he is always tired. Last week I said to him, "You're not going to like what I have to say: you may consider changing your diet." He finally listened and said that I may be right.

It's easy to consider ourselves "healthy" when we're not in the ER or on meds, but healthy has become such a relative term. Prior to starting the PCP I struggled with being tired all the time. Being that my passions are creative and technical, this was detrimental to my present and my future. I knew I needed a change.

I can't stress enough how much diet and exercise has literally changed my life. I used to struggle with severe ADD, but now I feel much more centered, and I can concentrate for considerably longer periods of time.

The PCP is not for everyone -- even Patrick will tell you that; but eating healthy and exercising is. It'll change your life.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Farewell Late Nights

As I've stated prior, I love getting up early in the morning. Unfortunately, as a geek I sometimes really get into my work and stay up way too late.

Last night was one of those nights. Now my whole day is thrown off, and I'm eating meals way later than I should.

As Patrick stated in a recent post, the only person responsible is myself. I need to know when to pack it away for the night. I'm more productive in the mornings anyways.

Farewell late nights.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What Doesn't Kill You... Well It Sure As Hell Won't Make You Stronger Either

We've all heard the phrase, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," but think of that in terms of food for a minute.

One could argue that eating unhealthy food is "killing" us in a way; but if you were to take a more literal perspective, you would see that while the unhealthy food is not literally killing us, it's not exactly helping us either.

Today was the first day that I really felt the full effect of eating the way we have been. I have struggled for years to fight off a consistently tired state. The first wind came when I went Pescetarian this year, the second when I started working out more regularly, and the third -- now.

I can't believe the energy that I've had today let alone the fact that I'm seeing muscle come in that I've never had before. This is my second wind, my new motivation. It's going to get tougher, so your encouragements to us are necessary and much appreciated!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Um, Ouch?

Saturday I sprained/pulled the top of my foot. I have no idea how it happened as I didn't notice it until Sunday, but I've been doing my jump ropes with my weight on one foot for the time being.

Yesterday I was only able to do 15 push ups! I've completed all sets in the days prior, but yesterday my arms kept giving out from fatigue. I'm hoping that I'll be able to get through them today.

I like being sore, though. Not too sore, but the soreness in my arms tells me that I have exerted them well, and new and improved strength is on the way.

Patrick says that this is about the time where people start to break down and want to cheat and quit. But whenever I see who I was, and who I want to become (Tyler Durden), I'm reinvigorated. It is a choice to work out, to change eating habits, to get in shape; but at the same time, as Patrick so well put, removing that choice of quitting makes it easier to stick with it.

I don't have a choice in this anymore. I'm doing it. Not only do I not want to let myself down -- I don't want to let our team, Patrick, Chen, my friends, and our readers down.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Helpful Sites

Here are some sites that I have found to aid in determining the nutrients of food:




These seem to be good sources for such information. Any other recommendations?

Build That Muscle!

I just finished my exercises for the day.

Jump ropes become fun yet challenging very quickly; there's an increasing desire to do more consecutive jumps. Strength training, on the other hand, takes some time to really develop a love for. It truly is mental. You dread having to do it, but once you finish, you love it.

I feel pretty amazing right now. Isn't it interesting how you can wake up a little groggy, but once you exercise you feel that you can take on the world?

That's how I feel right now, so watch out world!

Friday, May 23, 2008

So Close

I almost fulfilled my diet today.

I'm out of eggs and bananas and won't be able to have my late P. M. Snack. I also only consumed 115 of my target 200 grams of protein for lunch.

It's tough coming up with that much protein, but I'm going to figure it out.

Any suggestions for foods that are high in protein?

New image coming tomorrow.


Yesterday we began our new diets:

100 grams carbs
100 grams fruit (no bananas)
150 grams vegetable
1 whole egg (not cooked with oil)

A.M. Snack (around 10:30am)
100 grams fruit (no banana)
1 egg white

200 grams carbs
250 grams vegetables
200 grams protein (Seafood)

P.M. Snack (around 3:30pm)
100 grams fruit

2 egg whites, 1 apple and 1 banana, combined with 150 ml milk in a smoothie.

P.M. Snack
1 egg white, 1 banana.

I totally failed this yesterday. It's not that I ate things that I wasn't supposed to, it's that I can't recall ever eating this much food in one day!

I'm going to figure this out. I'm going to try again until I get it. I can't get it right the first time every time, right? But I can and will try again and again until I succeed.

Thank you all for your support.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cutting it Back

I used to drink lots of tea, but over the years I've become quite the sucker for coffee -- especially a good mocha.

In town there is a coffee shop called Aroma. It has the best coffee in town by far. But now that I'm on the PCP, I have to be considerably more mindful of what I eat. For me this means cutting out mochas. I started by getting mediums and smalls instead of larges. I have now switched to skim lattes, and I am working on moving to drinking coffee black with a little bit of skim milk.

I always find that making such a change is not that hard in the long run as long as you do two things:

1) Make moderate steps towards your goal. Quitting something hard can be very discouraging as difficult changes can be hard to keep up.

2) Have a greater goal in mind. I remind myself that I am working towards something greater, something I've always wanted. This makes my immediate sacrifice so much more worth it.

The next time you feel that craving to go back to your old ways, visualize who you want to be, then turn and walk away from that old habit.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's a Choice

Working out and eating right is a choice

I prefer to get up early in the mornings. Some of my friends think I'm crazy for this, but I feel more energetic and productive when I'm up before the sun. These are the moments when I am most motivated to exercise. This doesn't always happen, however. Sometimes projects and deadlines loom, forcing me to work late into the night.

After a running errands and working yesterday, I was a bit beat. My body yearned to relax, to blow off exercise, but there was no way I was going to even remotely consider blowing off the first day of PCP! So I grabbed my gym bag with my workout clothes and jump rope, and off to the studio I went.

I had an incredible workout. For one, I was able to do 200 consecutive jumps with the jump rope. That's a new personal record for me. Squats ended up making me walk like a robot, but I felt great.

I realized it's a choice.

It's so easy to be directed by how we feel. Modern day marketing plays of this so well. Monolithic billboards of big, juicy burgers beckon our stomachs to indulge; but what makes us obey these urges? Our emotions -- how we feel.

We feel like consuming these things. We feel like watching TV. We don't feel like working out. Emotions are a great at fueling our creativity and passions, but they are horrible at logically dictating our needs. In fact, they only get in the way. I've realized that I have to start choosing.

I will choose to exercise. I will choose to watch what I eat. I will choose to achieve peak condition. When we choose, we are in control. When we choose to choose, we can make the "right" choices even in our weakest of moments.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Journey Begins

First and foremost, thank you for your support.

My entire life I have been the skinny, scrawny, geeky guy, while my brother has been the fit jock. While I have been blessed to have been introduced to computers at a very young age, this has led to a rather sedentary lifestyle that has become consumed with work.

That was the old me.

From here on a new journey begins; better yet, a new lifestyle begins. I have always desired to be fit and slender-muscular, taking advantage of the body I have been gifted with. My hero: Tyler Durden of Fight Club, played by Brad Pitt.

Why Tyler Durden?

Tyler is a summation of many elements that I have lacked in the past: fitness, strength, energy, confidence, perseverance, discipline. Determined to no longer be the old me, the PCP is a prime opportunity for me to reach out and achieve the level of fitness and personal evolution that I have always dreamed of.

The great thing is, I'm not alone. We are a team. Patrick, Chen, Corry, Sean, myself -- we run in stride together towards our goals through encouragement and accountability. Where one stumbles, may we all pick them up in order that they may continue to run alongside us.

The journey begins. Thank you for being a part of it.