Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Eat Fried Worms

     If you have never read the book 'How to Eat Fried Worms', I would highly suggest you do. As an adult it should be a fairly quick read. The basic premise is that a boy must eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. Yes, it is a bit disgusting but it is really funny and it also shows you what you can accomplish if you have enough drive. Sadly, this book is one that is often banned for some stupid reason. Now, of course, that will make you really want to read the thing but honestly there is nothing really offensive in the book; nothing lascivious or weird except the 'eating worms' part of it. Why am I talking about this book which many of you may have already read or will never have any intention of reading? Let me get to the point.

     You would think that the real challenge in the book would be eating worms everyday but that's not really it. The true challenge arises when he has to make sure that he eats that worm before midnight because if he doesn't he won't really be eating a worm a day and that messes everything up. I, personally, have found myself empathizing with the main character, Bobby, quite a bit as of late. With my new drive to be the best me I can be (read previous post), I try to squeeze in at least one workout a day. Some days it is very hard to squeeze everything in under the line. If it is a good day, I can squeeze a 20-30 minute weight session in the morning and 20-30 minutes of plyometrics or cardio in the evening or vice versa. During a very busy day I am happy to be able to pull off one of those and get some brisk walking in at work. Now there are days, due to time constraints and early meetings, I can't get the early set in and must pile it all up for an evening set.  The worst days are ones where there are early meetings and late obligations and these days find me trying to pound out as much as I can at around 10 o'clock at night. This is very bad jou jou.

     The rare but undesirable late workout has a very bad effect on me: my metabolism is so revved up that sleep becomes one of those things other people do. The good part? I get to catch up on infomercials. Yay for me. The worst part? After all that working out and not sleeping I have now succeeded in building muscle but have stopped all physical processes that cut fat. Sleep cuts fat. I should say that reasonable sleep cuts fat. Sleep also helps repair damage that happens after exercise. All that running, extending, weight training and box jumping tears muscle fibers. So when you lose sleep the body has less time to clean up the mess and rebuild itself in a stronger fashion.

    Now you think I would buffer this with perhaps a little more sleep in the morning but I have recently acquired the disease of waking with the first light just like my father and my aunts and uncles. I need no alarms, I am just wired that way now. It's fantastic! (where is the sarcasm tag???). So 5:45 or 6AM, I am up and at 'em, reading posts, feeding animals, mixing protein shakes and working out. Don't get me wrong, I like all of those things - mostly.  I will say that the workout is so much harder to get motivated for in the morning after a late workout. Now I could skip but it is the principle of the thing; I made myself the promise to eat the damned worm and I am going to eat it damn it.

    I guess the whole point of this post is that you should eat friend worms and wake up at dawn. Wait...uh no. The whole point is to get your sleep and to stay driven but mostly get your sleep. After a very busy week of running around I got 10 hours of miraculous sleep Sunday morning and the weird thing is that I felt I had just walked out of some fantastic slimming machine. That told me that my metabolism was up from building muscle and that my body had fed off my own fat like it was at an all you can eat buffet. I looked good and I felt good. It pays to let the sandman do his job.

   Next Week: 'Where the Red Fern Grows' and its impact on drop sets and interval training.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Eye of the Tiger

    So it has been a little over a year since I posted last. Life tends to glide by quicker than it should. It has been an eventful year; new job, changes around the house. I am still implementing all the things I learned last year but in a less extreme way. The main reason I hit the brakes a bit? I hated it. I honestly did. There was a point last year where I felt skeletal and out of sorts so I rebelled once winter came around. I went to the other extreme. As much as I hated feeling skeletal and worn out, the other end of the spectrum was now far worse. There had to be a happy medium right?

    Starting about three to four months ago, I reapplied the lessons that I learned last year and worked in a few more.  It has worked out well. "Well John, that is just great! Yawn! Snore! Good for you! Thanks for making me click to get here, I'll never get that finger movement back again, thanks a helluva lot!" Yeah, it's kind of boring. Boy loses lots of weight, boy gains back some weight, boy loses weight. Not exactly what I would call riveting news but something happened today that made me want to blog about all of this stuff again. A challenge! Well sorta, kinda, maybe.

    Today, my friend and I were having lunch at a fantastical place called Chino Bandido's - the perfect melding of Chinese, Jamaican and Mexican cuisine featured on 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives'.  Now my friend, who will remain nameless for reasons that I will explain shortly, was the perfect guide for the place. He has been eating there for perhaps decades and knows all the ins and outs. As we stood in line, he informed me that he had lost 15lbs doing P90X (awesome!). I have to say he looked really healthy since the last time I saw him which, in our terms, had been quite awhile; a month or even more.

    So as we ate our fantastic meal he told me he hadn't really told anyone. He wanted to keep it on the down low because when you tell people certain things they get a bit skeptical (my thoughts not his). Hence, the nameless friend. Now I will say, if he wants to disclose himself in the comments, he is more than welcome to do so. I can understand his feelings on the matter. When you try something that might seem trendy or a bit different you don't want people coming out of the woodwork to scoff or give you a hard time. I personally think P90X and other assorted 90 day challenges are excellent motivators. What I like most about P90X is that it is laid out for you in exacting terms but with some sense to it as well. You are getting great surefire advice and wonderful motivation that you can count on as long as you follow through with it. We talked also about the diet guidelines and they sounded great too.

   "Okay, okay, yeah you ate at a great dive and talked about work out plans and diets, SNOREARAMA!" Well yeah maybe to you but I love this stuff. I love learning and reading about this stuff. Often I have many chances to bore my wife with a new study or two I have read each week. Which reminds me, don't bring up studies about weight loss and diet to your spouse randomly, um-kay? They might get paranoid when all you are actually doing is trying to engage them in conversation. For the record, my wife needs no advice in this regard whatsoever which might explain the bored and puzzled looks she gives me.  It's like an elephant walking up to a cheetah and saying, "You know, if you lengthen your stride just so, you can run a wee bit faster. Oh don't thank me my swift footed friend, my advice is free of charge!'

    So I guess the truly interesting part of this whole post is that we, unnamed friend and I, are going to test our mettle a bit. Aha! Yes, a challenge! So here are the points of what we decided upon:

  • We will endeavor to make ourselves excellent physical specimens.
  • I will use whatever I have in my grab bag of tricks and unnamed friend will use P90X
  • There will be before and after pictures (not my idea but I grudgingly agreed - grudgingly)
  • First pic will be tomorrow morning (Saturday July 7th, 2012) but don't count on me posting it until we are done.
  • September 14th or so is the date of reckoning because, hell people, we have lives.
    Now how are we going to tell who wins? We don't. In the end, we'll both win. That's not to say we aren't going to be ribbing each other a bit or motivating each other on any given day. The one thing we noted is how good we feel when we are relatively healthy; assorted physical indignities just drift away. So really pushing through to September is just going to be the icing on the cake. Not only will we feel good, we'll look great.

    I put the next item here because honestly it is a motivator and probably the song that is played on the most MP3 players during a workout - ever! I am going to beat you Draco (since you must remain nameless and I hate typing unnamed friend over and over and over)! Wait, wrong movie. Well right movie, wrong sequel. I just can't make myself call unnamed friend Clubber Lang. If you have no idea what I am talking about in this paragraph, well, I really don't know what to say then - politely.

UPDATE: I had no idea it was Stallone's birthday when I wrote this today. Ha!