Most annoying “fitness trend” that won’t die

Using the word “spicy” to describe a workout.

That is all. I was over it 6 months ago and it still persists.

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Someone stop Planet “Fitness”, please

I am far from perfect when it comes to my diet. From the time I started this blog several years ago when I was pretty damn strict Paleo and doing Whole 30’s to now when nothing is really off limits as long as it fits my macro goals my diet has been rangy at best. I’m not a lean mean fighting machine. Not to toot my own horn but I have a six pack that is visible when I wake up in the morning and after a hard workout there is definitely definition…but there is also a lot of loose skin still present from weighing close to or over 300 pounds for most of my adult life. I’m far from perfect looking and my diet is a large part of that.

With that all being said, this makes me sick:

ugh

This was taken from Facebook and the name and identity is hopefully hidden well enough. This isn’t even a friend of mine so this makes me feel a bit like some sort of freaky and gross stalker that takes pictures of people in public and posts them, but the point isn’t the person in the picture, it’s what is represented.

Along with this picture was some text that basically said something like, and I paraphrase just a bit “I worked out for 90 minutes and my gym was giving out free pizza so, why not??”

Your GYM WAS GIVING OUT FREE PIZZA?!?!

WHAT.

THE.

FUCK!?

I have heard that Planet Fitness does shit like this, but I haven’t seen it up close and – like 3 friends removed on Facebook – personal. I have seen the memes for Planet Fitness that jokes that they do not allow deadlifts or people to “intimidate” other members by looking healthy, but I figured they were jokes. It’s no joke, is it?

This poor soul went and probably burned somewhere in the realm of 300-400 calories. Maybe. If she really busted her hump she might have hit 500 calories. But that is 90 minutes of pretty intense activity. That isn’t a small piece of pizza and I’m guessing it represents at least 300 calories. You do the math.

I would feel dirty if I wore a Planet “Fitness” t-shirt in public. It would be like wearing a Donald Trump t-shirt to a political conference.

Sunday Funday?

I have blogged about this a few times, but am rehashing because the CrossFit gym I go to is doing a “healthy eating challenge” (is there a gym that isn’t?). Instead of filling up Facebook I figured I could write more here, include some pictures and post the link.

Here is my story (I hear the old Law and Order voice in my head…).

I have tried it all. I started losing weight about four, maybe five years ago. I am guessing 4.5 years. Since fall 2011.I started losing weight so I could run with my son when he got older and started playing sports. Didn’t want to be that fat dad sitting on the sidelines. I started to lose weight by running and going to Weight Watchers (my highest KNOWN weight is about 280, but I am guessing, as you will see in a picture below, I weighed well over 300 pounds for a good chunk of my life). I lost about 50 pounds doing that and then I plateaued. That’s about when I found CrossFit in 2012 and in 2013 I started eating Paleo. The combination helped me drop another 30’ish pounds.

I have gained about 20 pounds since my lowest recorded weight (201 and now I weigh in close to 220). However, I think that is mostly muscle. When I started CrossFit my best deadlift was 185 and now it is 385. I couldn’t snatch a bar and now my all time best snatch is 190. When I started I couldn’t press more than 130 pounds or so, now I can strict press over 200. I have definitely gotten stronger. My metcon times have also dropped – a lot. When I started CrossFit I couldn’t do Fran in less than 10 minutes and that was scaled. Now my Fran time is under 4 minutes. I don’t run nearly as much, but I ran the Turkey Trot this past Thanksgiving in really cold and snowy weather in less time than I ran it about 3 years ago in much better weather.

I put in the work in the gym. Just look at my logs on this site and you will see I rarely miss a day. But I think the quickest way to lose weight and make a change in your appearance comes in the kitchen. Work your ass off all you want in the gym and if you go home to crap food and beer you won’t see much change, if any.

So, that is my story and why I think I can help anyone who would like help. I have lost 80+ pounds and kept it off. If I catch myself just right after a workout, in the right light, with a unicorn behind me, I can see a six pack. After 30 years of being over weight and 18 or so of those being flat out obese, I still have some work to do and that is where my experimenting with diets has come into play.

Picture evidence. Continue reading

Nutrition change – again

In early August I visited the dunk tank and got my body fat tested. The first time I have had someone test my body fat since I was probably in middle school and they did the caliper test on my calf and my side – no idea what that said.

After trying to guess my body fat a few times with measurements, I decided to take the plunge, literally. I was definitely nervous, but really wanted to know my resting metabolic rate which is something this test provides. I wish I wasn’t such a cheap ass because I would have long ago paid for a dietitian to help me cross the proverbial finish line.

In August I was pleasantly surprised when the results showed that I was just over 13% body fat. In my age range that placed me just on the high edge of being “athletic” – better than “healthy”. Shocked to say the least. I was a bit skeptical simply because I had hiked Gray’s and Torrey’s peak that morning and when I do something long and aerobic like that I tend to weigh at least a few pounds less than normal. For this test I weighed 207.

I found out my resting metabolic rate was just barely over 2,300 calories. This means if I woke up and laid in bed all day I would still need 2,300 calories to maintain weight. Well, up until that point I had been eating close to 2,300 calories a day. On some day’s I was eating well under 2,300 calories a day.

I also saw an Instagram post from Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet that said she eats close to 200 grams of protein a day. I wasn’t getting close to that either (I wasn’t tracking macros as this point, but I went back and looked at a few days and realized I was getting closer to 100 grams per day). I decided for the next few months I would eat a lot more and make sure to get enough protein. I set My Fitness Pal to 35% protein, 35% fat and 30% carbs with a minimum of 2,300 calories a day. I would track all of my activity (guess my CrossFit…) with Map My Run and those added calories would add to my 2,300 calories and I would eat that, too. This resulted in most days around 3,000 calories, give or take a few hundred. Unfortunately this was all a guess, too, since I wasn’t tracking my heart rate, but it was better than before.

It had been three months since my last check and I wanted to get checked again. I wanted to get checked before the holidays and possibly adjust my nutrition based on the results – and I plan on getting tested again just before my birthday at the end of January. I am definitely heavier, but how much fatter am I? I know I weigh closer to 213-215 now, but how much of that is muscle or fat? Has my new diet (more calories and a lot more protein) helped?

The results were positive! I did weigh more (215) and my body fat went up just over 1% to about 14.3% (if I recall correctly), but I did gain 4.5 pounds of lean mass. While I don’t want to get fat, I do want to deadlift 400 pounds, squat over 300 regularly (would LOVE to get 3 plates on the bar for a squat) and also snatch 200. I don’t think those will come without feeding myself.

So, here enters my nutrition change. I have started eating more carbs recently and less fat as I try to meet my 35/35/30 goals. I hadn’t realized how much fat I ate before – it was a lot. Think grass fed beef with guacamole added, for example. Or eggs with bacon and guacamole. I didn’t know that a meal like that is almost all fat, no carbs and some protein. Eating a lot of fat isn’t bad, I know the benefits of getting into Ketosis, but I have read a lot more recently that eating carbs benefits CrossFitters who need to be able to perform at high output levels.

Enter Instagram again. This time a post by Margaux Alvarez where she outlines how she tries to eat a lot more carbs than protein.

I had been suspicious that CrossFit athletes eat more carbs than protein based on a few other things I have read, but everyone wants to charge for any information like this. (Not saying that is bad, people have to make a living, but, like I said, I’m a cheap ass…). This was enough evidence that I need to eat more carbs.

Within the comments on Alvarez’s post was a link to a blog that would outline how and why she eats the way she does. Within this is the suggestion that you should eat 18-20 calories per pound you hope to weigh. The first sort of calculation I have ever read suggesting how much someone should eat. It also talks about eating the same amount of calories everyday, regardless of activity or lack thereof. For Alvarez she eats 20 calories per pound desired, but she is super active – much more so than I. I would like to weight 190 someday so 190 x 18 = 3,400 calories per day.

For the next three months I am going to attempt to eat 3,400 calories per day with 40% of the calories coming from carbs, and splitting the remaining 60% between fat and protein. This still gets me well over 200 grams of protein per day, but will definitely add more carbs to my diet – a lot more.

This will be difficult over the holidays, but I am going to give it a shot. After I am tested again at the end of January I will adjust, if needed. Maybe at the end of January I add another 4 pounds of lean mass and reduce my body fat by a percentage point or two?

I have been tracking my workout progress for a few years and that has helped me make improvements. Now it is time to do the same with nutrition. Test, change and retest and see how it effects my body and my performance in the gym.

11 Best Exercises to get Toned Arms – umm…no

This article is supposed to show you on how to get strong and toned arms. The title says these are the 11 best exercises and then when you click it says 11 best that don’t require a gym.

The first exercise is a “roll the ball” push up which apparently is some sort of plyo push up. My guess is that the majority of the people reading this can’t even do a good push up, much less need anything more advanced. (This requires a medicine ball of sorts which can be found at…a gym!)

The second one is called “Pilates boxing”, but I think that is just a fancy term for shadow boxing. I like to think of this is “how to look silly in your living room”.

The third movement is some sort of body contorting move. Looks like it is fairly complicated and I am sure the two pictures do it justice. And I am sure some older lady will pull an oblique doing it. (Another photo where a weight is included – I thought a gym was not required?!)

Hip Heist Push Up – uhhh…what? Look! It’s Jillian Michael’s doing something unnecessarily complicated! Again, just do push ups and do them right. Or throw your back out trying to do this one.

Biceps and arm circles – another exercise that would be more beneficial with weights. If you have all of this at your house, great. If you do, I assume you don’t need this silly article.

Tricep swing, that as pictured, will actually work your lats, not your triceps. What happened to good old skull crushers? If you are going to add weight (in which this article indicated you wouldn’t) you might as well go a bit heavier…

Kickbacks. I can’t complain about these. Not only will you need weights, but you better find a beach.

Kettlebell plank of sorts. First, the article wants you to modify the side plank so you can add weight. Why not just do a side plank from your feet? If you have that mastered, then add weight.

The ninth exercise looks to be a complicated jumping lunge with a twist at the top. Again, looks to be something that should be progressed to so someone doesn’t throw out their back. Med ball needed.

Another ab exercise in an article to help your arms. Women can’t workout without working out their abs. This is what I am learning. Of course, I always like to say “you won’t find your abs in the gym. You’ll find them in the kitchen.”

More lunges – see the ninth exercise. And more curls – see the fifth exercise. But it’s different here. They promise.

So, what I learned:

Most of these movements require weights or some other item typically found in a gym….in an article describing how to get toned arms outside of the gym. Of course, these are in no way the best exercise for toned arms. The best involve lifting heavy loads, but girls don’t want to hear that, right? They hear “heavy” and they think they will immediately look like Arnold Schwarzenegger from the mid-80’s.

Did anyone else notice that very few of the girls ACTUALLY HAD TONED ARMS in those pictures?? Most were just plain skinny with little to no definition of any kind. Is that “toned”? I would say that it isn’t. Toned should have some muscle definition. I don’t think toned has to look like this (Miranda on the left – not saying she doesn’t look good, she looks great! Just an example). While that is definitely toned, toned should at least look like this.

THIS is NOT healthy and it is NOT toned.

I’m such a sucker for listicles….