Saturday, March 21, 2015

BBQ with Family and Friends

After my workout I headed to my brothers for a friends & family BBQ.  They have these from time to time and they are always fun. I haven't seen my family in over three weeks (which is a long time since I try and see them every other week) but with the new job and workouts it's been keeping me busy. So I was really looking forward to seeing them today.

When I got there, Lora and the kids were out at a birthday party and it was just Michael with a few of his friends so I helped set up the food before the bulk of the people started coming and soon there were a good 30 to 40 people there.

The weather was great and Michael got a new waterslide for his kids so he asked if I could help set it up. I went to the garage and had to use a dolly to bring out the "wrapped" up slide, it weight a ton. Luckily a few of Michael's friends come over to help out and drag it to the other side of the back yard. It was a monster of a slide but after a good half hour we were finally able to set it and start to fill it up with water. The kids didn't even wait for it to be full they started sliding down and landing in a few inches of water. Once it was full more kids joined in as well as a few adults. And of course me being a big kid, I had to partake in the fun as well. They got some video and some great shots of my flying through the air. It was a lot of fun but extremely trying and I knew I would be sore afterwards.

I always enjoying hanging out with Michael and Lora's friends. I've known quite a few of them for over 10 years. I got to hang with my Dad for a bit when I took a break from the party and took him grocery shopping. I also got to see some cousins that I hadn't seen in a long while. It was nice catching up... I actually stayed quite a bit longer then I usual do when visiting my family.

As predicted I was exhausted when I got home around 9pm, I went to bed shortly after as I have a workout tomorrow at NerdStrong scheduled for 10am.

NerdStrong Gym - 4 Minute Workout, 1 Minute Rest

It's Saturday so that means CON class at NerdStrong Gym and this workout was grueling.

It was your typical warm up, run and crazy stretches.

Andrew D was teaching this class so he went through each of the items that we'd be doing. First was Squat and Plank. Second Lunge and Overhead Hold with a Dumbbell. Third was KettleBell and KettleBell Squeeze. Fourth was V-Up and Bottom of Squat Hold. And finally Tricep Dips and Wall Sits.

We were doing a four minute workout of each set, broken down into a two :60 second round, then two :40 seconds and then two :20 seconds. So for example with the Squat/Plank... we did :60 seconds of Squats and then right into :60 seconds of Planking, then right into :40 seconds of Squats and then right into :40 seconds of Planking and then right into :20 seconds of Squats and finally :20 seconds of Planking.. there was no stopping in between.

When done we would get a one minute rest (which always felt like 10 seconds) and then we'd continue with the next set of workouts for four minutes and then get a one minute rest and so on. And though it was a total of 20 minutes of actually workout it felt like hours, especially towards the end when your arms and legs are numb but you continue to push yourself to finish.

What was great about this workout is there were not rep limits. You had :60, :40 or :20 seconds to do as many of the things as you could. If that meant you just did 5 squats in the :60 seconds then that's all your did. There is never any pressure from the coaches to push you over your limit. They definitely try and encourage you to continue but you never feel pressure... that is of course unless it's self induced pressure, which I tend to do. I want to get everything I can out of the workouts so I will push myself to my limit and just a step beyond.

I have pushed myself a bit to much, especially on these "CON" days and I have been effected by low blood sugar and fell ill for a bit. But this time around I took the advice of coach Andrew who suggested that I eat a good bowl of oatmeal before the workout and that that should sustain me through the constant workout and I'm happy to say it did. I was exhausted and tired but I never felt dizzy or sick.

I'm also realizing that these workouts look daunting on the board but when you finish them you feel great, you've accomplished something that looked impossible before you started and now you just finished it... it's a great feeling.

Thanks to Andrew D and all the coaches at NerdStrong Gym

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fast Food Abstinence & Game Night at NerdStrong

Yesterday marked my fifth day of eating no fast food, or any out food for that matter. If you know me you know this is a HUGE deal as I normally eat "out" three to four times a week. It was a struggle at first as I'd drive home from work I would be tired and it would be so easy to just stop by a fast food joint and pick up some dinner but I resisted. The first few days were tough but on the third I no longer thought about stopping. Instead I'd be thinking about what I was going to make for dinner when I got home. I know it's going to take work and I don't plan on giving up fast food for good but I do intent to cut back to once a week and make it more of a treat for workout so hard and eating properly all week.

Case in point, after work today I did break that fast food fast and went to El Pollo Loco for dinner and grabbed some chicken before heading to NerdStrong Gym.. not to workout but for another Game Night. This is the second NerdStrong Game Night that I have attended, actually third if you include the "Magic"session I went to a few weeks ago.

The last two I attended were a blast and this one was no different. I got there early so I helped Derek set the place after the Yogo class. People soon arrived and within a half hour we had three tables of games going. I was at a table with Lauren, Jamie and Justin. We started the night with Castle Panic, at first we were doing great and felt as though we could win this... well that didn't last long. Soon we were being bombared by trolls and they started knocking down our castle until there was only one wall left... we lost. But we did have fun defending it.

The next game the four of us played was something special, Justin actually created the game. This was a prototype and we got to test it out. The game is called Wu Wei and is very Asian centric. It involves Masters and Apprentices, the four seasons and chi. We played just the "beginner" version of the game. It looked complicated at first and takes awhile to set everything up but really once it was explained on how to play, it was very easy. I lost badly as I just couldn't catch a break but it was still a blast. Justin will be putting up a campaign on Kickstarter soon and I can't wait as I'll definitely help out anyway I can to get this game made.

After Wu Wei our little group split up and I joined a table with Or, Anne and Andrew and we were playing Love Letters. This was a lot like Coup that I played at the last game night. It was really fun but again like with the other games tonight I did horribly but had fun.

Game play ended around Midnight and we helped clean up the gym before calling it night. Another fun and successful Game Night at NerdStrong... can't wait for the next one.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

More Avengers, New Computer & Hitting My Food Goals

Today Marvel released a second TV spot for Avengers: Age of Ultron and I have to say the more I see of this the more excited I get. There are several OMG moments in this new commercial. First one is when Thor hits Captain's Shield into some of the bad guys and then the shot that made me squee a little.. when Captain America flips over his motorcycle handles while driving and then throws his motorcycle at the bad guys, such a comic book moment and it was AWESOME!!! Check out the spot above

Today I got a new computer here at work. I have been using an older laptop but it's very outdated and the processor was slow so I asked my boss if I could use one of the faster MAC desk tops and he gave me his approval.

It's like night and day compared to my tiny laptop. I mean laptops are great for mobility but give me a desktop any day.

Today's food intact is as close to my "goal" that I have gotten since I started a week and a half ago. My goal is to reach 35% Protein, 40% Fat & 25% Carbs. My problem is eating enough Protein and trying to keep my Carbs low. But today I did manage to eat 33% Carbs, which is only 2% away from my goal and that was tough. I didn't quite hit my Fat intake and only got 34 of 40% and as usual I went over with my Carbs intake but not as bad as I have done in the past, 33 of 25%. I know it will never be perfect and I'll have to continue to work on my numbers but I'm pretty happy with today's totals.

I only plan do this configuration of food intake for the five week period and see what kind of results I get. I can't count calories the rest of my life but I do hope by doing this I understand the portions of foods I need to eat to be health.. that is my ultimate goal for this "diet". 

NerdStrong Gym - Looks Can Be Deceiving

Up early and at NerdStrong Gym. Today's workout didn't look like much but man did it kick my butt. We started with warm ups and this involved running and stretching.

Once again it was a small class with just three guys and a coach working out.  We teamed up and I got to team up with my buddy Dereck. We started with Strict Press'. This is using a barball and resting it on your should blades just under your neck and then press straight up with it. You're suppose to use nothing but your arms. We were doing five sets of five so we didn't use a lot of weight. I started with just the bar which is 45lbs, then added 10lbs to each side to make 65lbs and then added another 5lbs to each side making it 75lbs and that was a struggle so I went back down to 65lbs and finished off my sets. So you'd do a set and then your partner would do a set and while they were doing their set you had to go to a L-Sit Hold for fifteen to thirty seconds. Yeah that doesn't sound like a long time but man it was tough. I don't think I made it past 20 seconds and that was a challenge. I was going to try and explain what an L-Sit Hold is but it's difficult.. just the the actual workout.

After this workout we actually moved on to the "real" workout which consisted of 3 rounds of Hammer Curls, Brainz' and Sit Ups. As with most of our workouts this too was timed. We had an option to do Hard (Black), Medium (Blud) and Easy (Green). I opted for Blue and used 20lbs dumbbells. The Hammer Curls were fairly easy, but the Brainz on the other hand weren't so. Brainz are pretty much The Hammer Curls but lying on your back. So you have the weight coming at your face and it's your job to not smash your nose in. Getting the form down was a bit harder and my 20lbs weight was a bit to much for me so I dropped down to 15lbs for those. The Sit Ups are great and I'm happy to say that I finally have to form down perfectly. Of course on my third round all three of these activities were tough but I had Derek next to me encouraging me all the way.

As I said it was a good workout and didn't look like much on the board but looks can be deceiving.. I was exhausted after this workout.. but I'm usually exhausted after most workouts, but luckily I recoup in just a ten to fifteen minutes these days. Thanks Andrew for another amazing workout.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My NerdStrong Gym Adventure Continues...

Today I got an email from my buddy Andrew Seely informing me that the group of friends who pooled their money together and got me my 2 months membership to NerdStrong Gym actually got me three months; February, March and April.

I couldn't believe it, it actually made me tear up. My friends are amazing and have been so supportive in this new endeavor, I couldn't ask for anything more and here they go giving me another month.

If you're a regular reader of my blog you know that I've been enjoying my time at NerdStrong Gym and have been worried about what would happen when this month was up and my membership ended. I was trying to figure out where I could cut stuff in my budget to make room for this "necessary" expense. My first through was to get rid of cable which would free up some money. I also plan on selling a third of my toy collection to free up some funds. But with this additional month pre-paid it gives me a bit more time to figure out what my next move is.

I also got a call from my brother last week who said that he's been reading my blogs about NerdStrong and wants to help, so he and Lora (sister-in-law) would purchase me two more months as a birthday and Christmas present this year. So now it looks like I'm good thru June.

I'm a lucky guy.. I not only have amazing friends but my family is the best. Everyone wants me to succeed and they can see that going to NerdStrong Gym will be part of that success.

Once again I want to thank my amazing group of friends who made this possible.

Thanks to: Aaron Trahan, Robert F. Ludwick,  Dallas Bloom, Erik Nelson, Matthew Kuhns, Thomas Needham, Hayley Smith, Will Gatlin, Adam Levermore, Brett Trusler, Elea Freidman, Jes Reaves, Scott Meisner, Steven Bustamante, Tamar Curry, Jennifer & Matt Luchsinger, and Andrew Seely.  

I also want to Thank my wondering brother Michael and fantastic sister-in-law Lora

Feeling Your Age

I'll be 45 years old this year (September 23rd to be exact) but I've never felt my age. I think being a geek and loving science fiction and fantasy has kept me young at heart. I collect action figures, toys and comic books. I watch alot of genre TV and I'm very active on social media and keep up on all the latest gadgets. I also tend to have friends who are younger then me. So to me age is just a number and I don't really give it much thought... well that was until recently. The past six months or so my health hasn't been 100%. My poor eating and lack of exercise has finally caught up with me and there are times I'm feeling my age.

Most notably are my current NerdStrong workouts. 95% of the workouts are great. I push myself just enough and feel the burn and recover in ten to fifteen minutes.  But then there are those workouts where I push myself a bit to far and suddenly my blood sugar drops and I'm incapacitated for a few minutes and it takes a few hours to recover. It's extremely frustrating as my mind knows I can do the workout but my body isn't allowing me. Now I know that my age is only a factor in this equation and that my weight does play a big part.. and I know in time things will get better as I continue to get healthier but it doesn't stop me from feeling frustrated at myself for failing and feeling my age.

NerdStrong Gym - The McFly

Today is Wednesday that means torture with Blair at NerdStrong Gym... I mean "CON" day, yay!! This workout is titled "Mcfly" it's an oldie but goody. Created by the master himself Andrew, which Blair kept reminding us among our grunts and groans.

I'm getting ahead of myself, we started with one of the most unusual warm ups that I have done so far. We did the typical butt kickers, legs stretches and such but the runs were different. Instead of doing a lap or two Blair had us skip a lap.. yep we skipped 250 meters around the parking lot. He then had us run backwards for 125 meters. Needless to say I was tired before the workout even began.

Now for the workout.. as I mentioned it's called "McFly" which of course is a Back to the Future reference. So everything is associated with 1955 & 1985. We first teamed up with a partner (mine was Jim) and then we started at 1985 meter row. The two of us could break it down how ever wanted as along as our combined meters hit 1985. We decided to do 150 meters at a time. Well towards the end Jim and I just wanted to finish so we tried to do as many as we could but we eventually got to 1985 meters.

Next we had to do 85 Front Squats.. we had many squat options but Jim and I decided on Goblet Squats. So we both grabbed a 15 lbs Kettle bell and got to work. Jim started and did 10 squats and then I did the next ten and so on until we hit 80 and then Jim did 3 and I did the last 2.

Next was the box jumps but both of us were already exhausted so we opted to hold weights and do Step Ups instead. We had to do 19 each and in my head I thought it meant 19 with both legs and got to six before I realized that it was one count per leg so I already did 12 and only had 7 more to do.

We then had to do 85 Push Ups, we opted to do five each and go back and forth until we hit 85. This is where I started to hit the wall. On my 30th or so push up my arms were starting to feel like jelly so I downgraded to "knee" push ups and finished that way.

Next were Pull Ups or Ring Rows. Jim opted for Pull Ups/Legs Ups and I did Ring Rows. We had to do 55 of these. I wound up doing 30 ring rows and Jim did 25 Pull Ups/Legs Ups.

We then had to do 19 Burpees each. Jim started doing his and I started mine and was doing pretty good until I got to about 10 and then I stood and started to feel dizzy. I took a minute, drank some water and rested. Blair was great as he said I could just give him 9 more regular push ups or even just skip the rest. I wanted to finish so after a few minutes I was feeling okay and did 9 more step out Burpees to finish the 19.

The final thing we had to do was complete a 1985 meter run (that's about eight laps around the parking lot). Jim started first and I wasn't feeling so hot so I sat down. Jim came back and I wasn't ready to take my lap so he rested for a few minutes and then did another lap. I went to my car and grabbed a Mandarin Orange and quickly consumed it. The sugar in the orange quickly got into my blood stream and after about five minutes, I was feeling better.. so much so that I did my four laps around the parking lot as Jim finished his two.

This was 50 minutes of straight workout and it was a hard work but we finished it. I can now say that I conquered "The McFly". Thanks to coach Blair for another exhausting workout.. I pushed myself to my limit and survived.... What's next!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shaved Head & St. Patrick's Day

After my NerdStrong workout I decided that I wanted to change things up so I shaved my head and face. I didn't go completely bald but I used a number 1 guard which is almost skin. I like the look, some say that they can see the weight lose starting to show in my face but I still don't see it. I think when I lose my second chin then I'll know that it's working :)

Today is Saint Patrick's Day, I made sure I wore a green (lantern) shirt to work. I don't have any plans to go out as when I get off work I'm normally exhausted and I already celebrated the day on Saturday with a bunch of friends. Though today really got me thinking about Dublin, Ireland with Robert and Thomas last year during Saint Partick's Day. It was a lot fun and I really can't wait until I can get back there to visit or live.

NerdStrong Gym - Medballs, Dumbbells & Rowing.. Oh My!!

Today's workout was a rough one, but I think I say that about all of them as they all have there challenges. There were only 4 people (including me) at the 7am class (which is worrisome because if they do away with this class I'll have to come at 6am which I don't think my body could do... okay I know if can do it but I just don't wanna).

We started with this crazy agility warm up.  They had a twenty or so foot ladder on the ground and we had to do various jumps in and out of the ladder. We started with Bunny Hops, which were a piece of cake but then we started to do In/Out Hops, which was a bit more difficult. We then did Toe Touches on the Right and then Left, which weren't that bad. Then we did High Knees which were pretty easy once you got he rhythm down and then Marla showed us this two feet in, one foot out thing and I just couldn't get it, I felt very uncoordinated. That was until Marla put a beat to the steps and in the last five feet I was able to do the correct hop. Oh and I forgot to mention at the end of every hop we had to run around four cones. So that meant we ran seven times around those cones. It was a very tiring warm up.

Now it was time for the workout, there were four stations, station one was Medball Throw x10 (each side). Station two was 10x Dumbbell Toe Touch and then 7X Push Ups. Station three we had to so 10 - 15x Hang Clean with the sandbags. And finally the fourth station was Rowing.

We were doing each station for two minutes so if you finished the reps at one station you just did them again until the two minutes were up. Two minutes doesn't sound like alot but man when you're tossing a heavy ball against the wall or lifting a 40lbs sandbag you get tired quick.

We did two rounds of each, I started with station two, Dumbells & Push up, then moved on to station three Hang Clean, then station four Rowing (now with rowing you were watching your calories burned and trying to match it on your second row). My last station was one and Medball Throws, which weren't bad the first twenty times but after a while your arms start to tire. Once we were done we did all the stations for a second time. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get the same calorie burns with my rows.. first one I had 27 and the second I had 22. There was actually a second half to this workout planned (you can see it on the board) but we ran out of time  so we couldn't do it... thankfully,

After the workout I think I laid on the gym floor for about ten minutes trying to recoup. But overall I'm very happy with my performance today. I'm looking forward to tomorrows "CON" workout, I know it's going to be a good one.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Jogging, Crazy Smoothie & Good Posture

Today there was no NerdStrong for me so instead I did a few laps around the NoHo park. It was a beautiful day and I was feeling great. I was jogging everyday since October and when I start NerdStrong I'd still jog in the morning and then do the workouts at night but since I got the job that has made it difficult for me to do the night classes so I've moved to the 7am classes which means I'd have to either get up super early 5am and jog before workout or come home after work around 8pm and run the park in the dark. I haven't done neither of those yet. But I do jog on the days that I don't workout so Mondays and Fridays. I enjoy the jogs, maybe not when I first wake up but once I'm out there and listening to my music, all is well.

When I got home I made this crazy smoothie concoction which included broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, almonds, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, fiber powder, protein powder (vanilla) & spinach. It looked alot better then the last one I made which looked like sick green, this one looked more berry and it didn't taste that bad either. The protein powder was a bit over powering. It says it's suppose to taste like vanilla and it kind of did in an artificial kind of way. But I still drank the entire thing and I'm going to try and do one of these every morning after my workouts.Since I'm not a big veggie eater this is the best way for me to get my daily intake of veggies.

Oh and one last thing.. I found an interesting by product of my recent workouts at NerdStrong, my posture. I never really knew how much I hunch my shoulders until I started working out. Coach Andrew is always having to ask me to pull my shoulders back, chest out.  I'm now conscious of when I'm slouching and try and correct it when I can. It's funny when you walk with your shoulders back and chest out it feels like you're walking taller, and I guess I can use all the height I can get :)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

One Year Ago....

I can't believe it's been a year since my trip to Ireland/UK. Today one year ago I was on a plane heading to the Emerald Isle. I would spend the next 34 amazing days exploring not only Ireland and Northern Ireland but also Scotland, England and Wales. I got to meet "online" friends who I had known for years. I got to become part of their families and part of their lives for a short time while staying with them. I saw so many amazing beautiful sites and places. I got to drive for 17 days on the wrong side of the road. Eat foods that I had only heard about on TV Shows and Movies. It truly was my dream vacation.

For the past five years or so I have been wanting to move to England, not permanently but for a year or so. I have nothing really tying me down here, other then my friends and family and that's the reason it would be only for a year. So this trip was not only a chance to see a place that I've dreamt about for years but it was to see if I could actually live there. Well I know I can now and since I visited last year I'm not only thinking about living in the UK but Ireland as well. Both would be amazing and I could have so much fun in either country. Of course this requires money and unless I win the lottery I won't be doing this anytime soon, but never say never, who knows what the future holds.

Thanks again to all the amazing people that supported me through my travels. My traveling buddies in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Thomas and Robert, Friends I got to meet along the way, Daniel and his family, Matt, Erlend, Russel & Em, Markus and his father & Simon and his family. This trip wouldn't have been half the fun without sharing it with you guys.. Thank you

Magic The Gathering at NerdStrong Gym

Back at NerdStrong but not for a workout, NerdStrong Gym have "special" game and movie nights among other events. Today was a Magic The Gathering get together. They were having a their "draft" and then playing some games but they also opened up the event to noobs who had never played Magic but wanted to. I fell into that category. Though I had played a few games of Magic back when it first came out in early 90's, I don't recall any game play.

There were four of us who were the noobs and Jason forfeited his game play so he could teach us... Thanks Jason. We had to choose a color of deck that we wanted to play with. We had a starter deck of only 30 cards. Jason explained the pros and cons of each color and I decided to go with my favorite color Green.

We started our first game and it was a slow process as we were new but eventually Jason was able to leave us and check out other game play and the four of use started to get the hang of it. I won my first game with my green cards and then I won my second game with my green cards, I was really loving my green deck. We switched players so all four of us got to play against each other, some several times. I really liked my green deck but wanted to check out other colors so I played with the blue deck and lost, then I played with the white deck and lost before finally playing with the red deck and barely winning... Green is definitely my color deck.

The Noobs :)
Overall it was a fun day, I was there from 1pm to 6ish and could have stayed longer but was getting hungry. I can see myself playing Magic again. I know we played a "dumbed" down version but once you get the rules down it's a pretty easy game to play. It really is just the luck of the draw and how you play the cards you are dealt.

I want to thank Andrew S & Derick for hosting this event, Jason for teaching me how to play and Andrew D & Marla for letting us use NerdStrong Gym to play in.

Next week is another game night (board games this time) and I'm really looking forward to it as the last one was a blast.

NerdStrong Gym - Defeating the DeathStar

It's Sunday that means Themed workout and today is all about Star Wars.

We were broken up into two teams.. Rebels and Imperials, I was a Rebel. The Rebel's job was to blow up the DeathStar and the Imperials job was to stop us.

We were working in teams of two.. my partner and fellow Rebel was Erin. She's a fellow Ahsoka lover.

Anyways there were six teams of two (3 rebels and 3 imperials). Which ever team finished first would win. So if a Rebels team won we blew up the DeathStar, if an Imperial team won they would have defeated the Rebels and prevented the destruction of the DeathStar.

The workout today was a tough one, we (my partner and I) had to do 200 WallBalls combined. We would switch out every minute. Now the person who was not doing the WallBalls didn't get to rest and wait.. no we had to work with SlamBalls. First was SlamBall Sit Ups, once the WallBall person hit 50 WallBalls we moved on to SlamBall Push Ups. When we hit 100 WallBalls, we moved on to SlamBall Twists until we hit 150 and then we did just regular SlamBalls until we hit 200 WallBalls.

I was a bit confused at first but quickly figured out what was going on. Erin started and did something like 18 WallBalls in a minute, while she was doing those I was doing SlamBalls Sit Ups. After a minute we switched and I continued the WallBalls 19 to 45 while Erin worked on her SlamBalls Sit Ups. Then after a minute we'd switch again and Erin did WallBalls and I did SlamBalls Sit Ups, but when Erin hit 50 she yelled out "50" and I would change from SlamBall Sit Ups to SlamBall Push Ups until one of us hit 100 WallBalls and so on. It was a gruelling workout as there really is never a time to stop and rest. You went from WallBalls to SlamBalls and back again.

The Rebels were in the lead for the majority of the workout but the Imperials sneaked ahead at the end and finished first ensuring that the DeathStar lived to see another day. But us Rebels may have been defeated but we will just re-group and launch an even better attack in the near future.

Though the Imperials won this battle, everyone was given the opportunity to blow up the DeathStar. They set up a large tire as the exhaust port and we had to stand about 20 or so feet back and toss a SlamBall into the tire. It's a lot harder then it sounds and only a few us were successful in getting the SlamBall in the tire.. I was not one of them :(

Overall it was an extremely fun though very hard workout. And just on a side note, Andrew almost had his own rebellion to deal with... when he picked teams he just numbered us 1's and 2's and then said all 1's are Rebels and all 2's are Imperials.. well several folks were not happy with their lot,  so instead we just said Rebels over here and Imperials over there and it just so happen that 6 went to Rebels and 6 went to Imperials. :)