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.