Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's after P90X... Enter the Kettlebell

Being the lazy blogger that I am, I haven't told you what my exercise life holds for me after P90X. During the last month of P90X I started to wonder what I'd be doing next. There was another round of P90X, P90X+, an upcoming workout called Insanity, or something totally different. I looked around for what others had done after P90X and something in the "totally different" popped up.... kettlebells.

What was a kettlebell and how did you workout with one, I wondered. I had heard of them before and as it turns out had even seen them. They were this weird "cannonball with a handle on it" I had seen old time strong men using as well as lurking in the background when seeing Russian military on TV.

Since kettlebells looked like they could seriously hurt the family jewels, I looked for some expert training. That training came in the form of Zar Horton a RKC Team Leader at Firebellz. So back on May 26 I took my first kettlebell training with Zar. I was amazed at how fast they got my heart going and I could see they would help strengthen my back and hips (something I need due to an old injury), provide overall strength with compound movments, and provide some serious cardio. I had thought I was all bad-ass from P90X but learned there was further I could go.

So during the last month of P90X, I added on some kettlebell workouts - the "Program Minimum" from the kettlebell book "Enter the Kettlebell". After P90X, I started going to a kettlebell bootcamp at Firebellz Tuesday and Thursday and doing the "Rite of Passage" workouts from "Enter the Kettlebell". Most of my workouts are 45 min to an hour and burn around 500 to 900 calories (one weekend 2hr workout burned 1500+).

I'm having a good time and planning on going to some kettlebell teacher training - the new HKC from Dragon Door. Soon I'll post my training log and explain some of my workouts.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Have Walked 1000 Miles

Today I have office walked 1000 miles between 10/13/2008 and 8/14/2009! The last 200 miles or so have been on my new Vibram Five Fingers. I now walk between 1.5-2.0 miles an hour at an incline of 1 (almost) all day at work (my desk is over a treadmill, see post linked earlier).

Here is my walking log.

(The Proclaimers - I'm Going To Be (500 Miles)) * 2

Friday, July 31, 2009

P90X Finished 7/15: Day 90 Results

Again with being late, I finished P90X on 7/15 on only now posting. The last couple of weeks I started doing "Enter the Kettlebell" Program Minimum and now that P9X is complete I've transitioned to the Rite of Passage and a Kettlebell Bootcamp - more on this later.

Just photos for now, I'll update with stats this weekend. Realized I forgot to take the final fitness exam. I shouldn't have lost any fitness since P90X completeion (maybe even gained with my kettlebell workouts) so I'll do that this weekend too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

P90X Day 60 Progress

Well I've been bad reporting my progress. I haven't missed a day of P90X and my diet has been good, but my blogging isn't reliable. So without further delay here is my progress so far:

MeasurementP90 Start 1/26/09P90X Start 4/11/09P90X Day 30 5/11/09P90X Day 60 6/10/09
Body Fat (scale/navy method)23%/22.9%17%/14.4%16%/10.7%15%/8.5%
Right Mid-Thigh24"21.5"21.5"21.5"
Left Mid-Thigh24"21.5"21.5"21.5"
Right Upper-Arm14"14"14.25"14.25"
Left Upper Arm14"14"14.25"14.25"
Cholesterol128 (1/24/2009; was 162 5/10/2008 and 147 9/27/2008)Waiting until donation at end of P90X
Blood Pressure112/6498/62
Resting Heart Rate66686662

Saturday, April 25, 2009

P90X Week 2 Complete

I finished my second week of P90X with no missed days. I'm doing much better balancing my diet to the proscribed micro-nutrient balances. My scale says I lost .5 lbs (172 even) and 2% body fat (16%); not sure I believe the scale but we shall see in 30 days. Here is my weekly eating summary:


The workouts went well this week. I was able to push harder as I knew what was coming. Even the lack of a pull up bar didn't stop me as I have bands to use in a pinch. My lack of pull up bar was solved today as I assembled my new tower - this time is has a straight bar that goes all the way across - we will see how it works out tomorrow for Chest and Back. I'll keep the bands poised as they will help me work the muscles to exhaustion.

I love the whole program and really feel like my muscles are getting a great workout. I now have a continuous heart monitor to make sure I push hard on the cardio workouts. Yoga X remains my favorite day - a good streatch along with a great workout. I can't imagine why people hate or skip yoga. The streach helps you heal overworked muscles, yoga helps realign you body to heal and reduce chances at injury, and it is a serious workout. Some of the most impressive (balanced with strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance) physiques I've seen have been on people that practice yoga.

During the week I've tried a few protein bars and some new recipes:
  • Cottage Cheese Pancake - I mixed equal parts of cottage cheese and egg whites with some whey protein to make something to eat before going to bed. Needed some protein that takes a while to digest overnight.
  • Chocolate Gold Standard 100% Casein - Another overnight slow acting protein experiment. Not much fat or carbs. Tastes ok, but has a strange flavor in there.
  • Chocolate Syntha-6 - A mixed protien powder that was recommended to me. Has fiber and tastes good but maybe a bit too much in the way of carbohydrates.
  • Detour Lean Muscle - Tasty and a good mix of protein, carbohydrates, low sugar, the right kind of fat, and fiber. It is quite had to find a bar that meets this profile - they all seem to have too much sugar, no fiber, too much fat, etc. I'd love Zone bars if they weren't mostly sugar.
  • Detour Oatmeal Bar - More carbohydrates than it's lean bother, but should make a good after workout meal instead of oatmeal in a pinch.
  • ZeroImpact Meal Replacement Bar - A bit dry (keep a glass of water handy) but tasty and has an awesome protein, fiber, carbohydrate, fat, and fiber profile. The most impressive thing about the bar was that the ingredient list didn't look like a chemistry exam and they claim a zero glycemic impact. I'm considereing giving their whole line a try sometime - they seem to be putting together a diet program but the site has some dead pages. Wonder how they would work with P90X.
  • Mixed a frozen bananna and skim milk in with my chococolate Shakeology and it was good. Shakeology is my pre-workout breakfast before doing chores. It isn't exactly pure chocolate goodness a bit of a greens shake flavor that is pretty strong. I'll give the greenberry flavor a try next month.
The reason for this shopping is that I'm taking a trip to New Jersey for work from Monday - Wednesday night next week. Somehow I need to keep up my right eating while on the road. Doing the workouts should work as I have a set of bands, use my computer to play the DVDs, and plan to do my workouts in the morning.

The protien powders are a bit of a stop-gap measure to help me keep up the protien requirements without adding much fat. I'm looking at recipies and making more chicken breast to reduce the dependency. I'd like to go mostly natural whole foods if I can... doing some nutritional reading and planning some meals. Not that it would work out on the road though.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

P90X Day 7: X Stretch and Week 1 Wrapup

Yesterday was the final workout of the week, X Stretch, and it was a welcome feeling for sore muscles. Over the course of 62 minutes I got all the kinks out of my muscles - some of the soreness I wasn't even aware of. I also have added to the end of every workout some back stretches I saw Tony demo on the Team Beachbody site.

Overall the week went well. I didn't "bring it" as much as I could because I was learning the routines. I've worked out a decent diet, but it has settled down to 1800 - 2400 calories a day with 2000 being comfortable and more making me feel too stuffed. The break down for the week was an average of:


Unfortunately my weight and body fat didn't change. I'm still 172 lbs and 18% bodyfat according to my scale. So I'm either eating just enough, not eating enough (I do walk at least 4 miles a day while programming in addition to P90X), the body fat measurement lies (which I'm sure it does), or this is just a normal plateau. In any case I do feel some improvement.

Today was the first day of the second round. I got rid of my pull-up bar that just wasn't working for me (sold at a small loss to someone training to become a fireman). So I used my bands for the pull-ups until I can find a good replacement. Today I worked out much harder and used push-up stands to increase my range. By the end of the workout I was shaking and really needed the recovery drink and feel a little soreness but good.

I'll update weekly until the routine changes for the rest week or if something interesting comes up.

Friday, April 17, 2009

P90X Day 6: KempoX or Revenge of the Legs

Today was the "last" day in this week's cycle (tomorrow is X Stretch so hopefully nice and healing). KempoX was a good workout with a bunch of kicks and punches and some combinations. The only flaw of this workout was a lack of warm-up as it goes immediately into some dynamic and static stretches. I had to stop and jog in place and do some jumping jacks to get ready early in the morning.

The leg workout from yesterday made it's presence known throughout the entire workout. I could feel the muscles in my legs and butt complaining during the kicks and knees. But is was the good pain of the kinks from yesterday working themselves out. Also walked 4.5 miles while working; my after workout break in a chair really should be cut short.

Still sorting through my diet. I'm hitting the guidelines for the most part 1888 calories 47% protien, 27% carbs, 26% fat. This is still under the recommended 2400 calories but still I feel I'm stuffing myself (sometimes to the point of discomfort) and the percentages are a little off.

The diet would have me keep to 20% fat but I'm not one in the camp that fat is bad and most of my fats are good ones from avacado, olive oil, and flax seeds (sure some from beef but less than 1/4 the fat I take in is saturated and never trans). The carb intake is hard to keep down given the sugars in the recovery drink (which is expected and desired).

Be back tomorrow after my X Stretch and a week recap. My weekly weigh in is first thing in the morning (weighing yourself more often can lead to madness). So far I'm loving the workout. I'm a little tired and sore but no pains (for some reason my back soreness from P90 went away after pylo). The only complaint is the gastrointestinal distress at eating much more than I'm used to anymore.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

P90X Day 5: Legs and Back

Day five is done. It is a great leg and back workout plus the Ab Ripper X that finishes all the strength training days. The back part was mostly pull-ups and it made me realize two things. One, my pull-up tower sucks for this workout. Two I need to do more pull-ups. Maybe I'll use bands for a little while until I can get a better tower with a straight bar all the way across.

Then I rested for a little while and worked on the couch before getting up and walking almost 5 miles on my treadmill workstation. I feel just about every muscle in my core and legs when I move. Nothing is sore without motion but I do feel every time those muscles tense up. I'd say that was a successful workout then. Still, there is room for improvement as I wasn't able to do all the exercises 100% (one legged seated wall squats for example).

Diet wise was only ok. I ate 2031 calories 42% protein, 30% carbohydrates, 28% fat. The meal that killed the day was dinner from Outback - prime rib has much more fat than I thought. Tomorrow I'll definitely stick to less fat. This is the second day I took the recovery drink and it might be helping but it does eat up a good chunk of my carb allotment for the day.

Still feeling stuffed all the time and can't believe I should consume another 400 calories (which is a whole meal the way I've been eating). I'm not "bonking" (running out of energy) during the workout so I'll just go on the belief that I'm eating enough.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

P90X Day 4: YogaX Rocks!

Today I experienced YogaX for the first time. The workout is simply awesome. I love Bikram's Yoga (hatha yoga, 22 poses, performed in a hot and humid room). Someday maybe I'll be able to attend the Bikram teacher training, but time, schedules, and cost (not to mention spending 9 weeks away from family) make that difficult at best. Right now I'd settle for going back to the studio once a week... maybe after the first week of P90X I can start making it to the Sunday morning class.

I didn't sweat as much with YogaX but it did bring a great workout and had some poses I've never done before. I'll give this routine an A++.

Another first today was giving the recovery drink a try. I was a little concerned by the sugars and carbs (4:1 carb to protein ratio) but I didn't get the sickening sugar buzz I dreaded. Instead I felt energized and bounced back - we shall see if that feeling continues and helps in future workouts.

My day started with Shakeology for breakfast, 45 min rest (doing morning chores), then the 90 min yoga workout, a recovery drink, 1.5 hrs of work, and then the peanut butter oatmeal second breakfast. I had enough energy to walk 6 miles while working (at 1.2 mph) and a little energy left over at the end of the day.

Consumed 2248 calories 24% fat, 28% carbohydrates, and 48% protien. Very close to the recommendations. We shall see how this works out for me over the next 30 days. I still feel like I almost have to force myself to eat sometimes and I'm almost never hungry (was getting hungry before second breakfast). I'll trust in the diet for now until at least the first weigh in - after that I'll re-evaluate since I'd rather not feel stuffed any more than starving.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

P90X Day 3 Shoulder and Arms

Today was a good day. The workout this morning hit shoulders, biceps, and triceps in 5 "sets" of 3 exercises with each set repeated twice. I certainly could feel the burn, even with pacing myself and fumbling around with the new workout routine.

I was also able to hit the dietary requirements almost head on. My breakdown of 2019 calories was 51% protein, 26% carbs, and 23% fat. A little short on calories and off on the percentages a tad but I'm pretty stuffed. I'm drinking a ton of protein as well as eating a pile of food - 4 cups of broccoli in one day sets a personal record I'm sure.

Tomorrow I'm going to give the P90X recovery drink a try (it just arrived today). I'm a little concerned about the sugar content in it. The recovery drink plus shakeology in the morning are just about the entire amount of sugars I ingested today. I try very hard to avoid much in the way of sugars; at least the ones in those two drinks are fructose which has a lower glycemic impact than most and are all natural. Maybe I'll move the shakeolgy to lunch and have something else for breakfast. But I suppose putting most of my sugars before and after my workout gets them burnt out as extra energy rather than lurking around in my system.

We shall see how I feel tomorrow. Dying to know what effect this eating is having on my weight but I try hard to only weigh myself once a week so that will wait until Saturday.

I don't plan to blog every day forever. Once my initial week is over, I'll likely only blog at the end of each week and when something interesting comes up. I do plan on reviewing some of the low-carb/all natural products (well at least I understand almost everything on the ingredient list) I've been enjoying from Dixie Diners their brownies were quite the hit at my game table Saturday.

Monday, April 13, 2009

P90X Day 2 Pylometrics

Pylometrics is a killer workout. All that jumping and fast movement really got my heart rate going and worked up a serious sweat. Since I work from home and walk all day on my treadmill, I often wait until the end of the day to shower if the workout wasn't that bad. I couldn't skip the shower after this.

I was a little concerned about my back after hearing the description of the exercises but no problems so far. I took it a little easy today because I'm just getting used to the workout and some of the moves were a little awkward. But still I did work hard and haven't had to pay a price of back pain so you got to love that.

Still working at balancing my diet to take in 2400 calories 50% protien, 30% carbohydrate, and 20% fat. Not that easy to do. I feel like I'm some sort of eating machine and still haven't eaten that much (unless the calculations are off). Getting the proportions right is hard as well. I managed 2124 calories today broken down like this:
Too much fat in some of those meals; I need to switch to chicken and fish instead of turkey sausage and beef (but there were left overs to be used). Whey protein is your friend and I found/came up with two awesome treats:
  • Peanut Butter Oatmeal + Whey Protien - Saw this on youtube (and beachbody's recipe book has it) and it was awesome.
  • Yogurt + Chocolate Whey Protein + Blackberries - I was running low on energy after pylo and walking 3 miles and also low on protien. So I combined 1/2 cup blackberries, 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt, and 1 scoop chocolate protien powder. Tasted more like chocolate blackberry pudding than I expected.
Tomorrow I think I'll have my Shakeology drink 30 min before the workout with a frozen bananna mixed in and after the workout have some Almond Butter Oatmeal.

Eating like this seems almost indecent after the depravation of my previous diet. We shall see what the scales tell me on Saturday.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

P90X Day 1 Complete

This morning I completed my first P90X workout - Chest & Back plus the Ab Ripper X. The variations on push-ups were fine (I need to do more) but the pull-ups, as I expected, kicked my butt. Not sure if I was doing them right and maybe the pull up tower I purchased isn't right for this program as it doesn't have a straight bar going all the way across. Maybe I need to get another tower since I don't have an appropriate door in the room I'm using (and don't really want to drill holes in my walls).

The Ab Ripper X program really was hard for me as well. While I was able to do the P90 ab program this one has some moves that I'm not sure I'm doing right and put a little more strain on my back than I'd like. Fortunately no back pain has resulted and it might just be a matter of getting practice with the exercises.

My biggest difficulty today has been food. I'm supposed to eat 2400 calories on the phase 1 of the P90X program split 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates, and 20% fat. My previous diet (which was less food than my body needed I'm sure) got me used to something closer to 1600-1800 calories of mostly protein. When I'm conscious of how I eat, I try very hard to adhere to a low/good-carb and low gylcemic lifestyle; I'm not a diabetic but that way of eating makes sense to me as it seems closer in-line with how our bodies were designed.

I'm ready for bed and have only consumed roughly 1800 calories (at least very close to the right proportions). Maybe I'll grab a protein drink (180 calories) before bed but I hate eating so late - tomorrow I'll try to eat at least 400 calories with each of 5 meals.

So far I like P90X. The exercises are great and this is the first time (other than while in the military and P90) that I've done mostly body weight workouts. The energy level of the workout cast is high and Tony is a good motivator. As an added bonus the music is oh so much better than P90.

Right now I'm sharing my workouts as a google document available for anyone to view.

I'll be back tomorrow for pylometrics (jumping around like a crazy man from what I understand).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pre P90X Fit Test

I just took the fitness test to see if P90X is for me and I managed to squeak by. The program recommends some minimum requirements (noted in [] below) before starting the program. Some people begin without meeting those requirements but I promised myself I'd hit them first. Here is how the test went.
  • Resting Heart Rate: 68
  • Warm Up - Did the P90 Cardio 3-4 warmup
  • Pull-Ups: 3.5 [min 3]; I just made it and they were hard. The program does give the option of using bands which I plan to do after my pull-ups fail.
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Vertical Leap: 10" [min 5"]; I've always been good at jumping
  • Rest 4 minutes
  • Push Ups: 29 [min 15]
  • Rest 4 minutes
  • Toe Touch: +7" past my toes [min -6" from being able to touch your toes]. Been out of yoga for a little while but still flexible (need to get back to the Bikram studio)
  • Rest 4 minutes
  • Wall Squat: 1:07 [min 1 minute]; tougher than I expected but I pass.
  • Rest 4 minutes
  • Bicep Curls: 15 reps @ 30 lbs [min 10 @ 20 lbs]
  • In and Outs: 33 [min 25]
  • Heart Rate Maximizer (jumping jacks 2min with sprint at end): Heart rate at end and every minute 163, 121, 106, 100, 92
Thanks P90 for getting me to the point where I could pass the test but now I'm moving on to P90X. See you tomorrow for day 1.

Enter Beachbody's Tony Horton and P90

So there I was at the beginning of 2009. I had my treadmill workstation but my weight wasn't moving - I wasn't eating right or doing any real fitness conditioning. I began a serious diet - one of the shake + 1 real meal diets called the New Lifestyle Diet.

The diet isn't sustainable for life or even really low-carb (their products have more sugar than I'd like). But the diet represented a commitment to change my habits. And their food is tasty; enough so that my wife who has never dieted before and hates most of my diet food, liked it enough to give it a g0. She has been having great success with the diet and working out with Wii Fit but is growing weary of mostly sweet meal replacements.

Toward the end of January my wieght had started to drop but I still needed a fitness routine. One morning while bringing my grandma breakfast I caught an informertial for P90X. "Just another infomertial for some cheap fitness gimmic" I thought. But as I caught more of it I noticed that the exercises were using bodyweight, dumbells, resistance bands, and a pullup bar. So they weren't selling some gizmo and it did look serious. Time for some research.

I combed the internet looking for information on P90x. I found the companies site (of course) along with blogs and facebook accounts. It looked real serious and founded on some solid principles. But, given my fitness level at the time it looked like a bit much for me. So I purchased their P90 non-Xtreme workout. I already had some powerbands but also got some powerblocks for dumbells after the first week because I like the feel of free weights better.

P90 is a 30-45 min workout 6 days a week with alternating cardio and strength training days (although to be honest I get just as much cardio out of the strength days). The program has phase 1-2 which is shorter and introduces you to the program and phase 3-4 which is longer and adds a few new things. Their is a diet described in P90, but I continued on with the New Lifestyle Diet until this last week where I started moving toward the diet for P90X since I had started feeling a little tired and light headed due to (I suspect) just not getting enough fuel for my body.

I did phase 1-2 for three weeks then phase 3-4 for 8 weeks; not 90 days I know but I'm eager to move on to P90X. The program definitely works, see below:
Here are some stats from 2/1/2009 to 4/11/2009:
Body Fat (scale/navy method)23%/22.9%17%/14.4%
Right Mid-Thigh24"21.5"
Left Mid-Thigh24"21.5"
Right Upper-Arm14"14"
Left Upper Arm14"14"
Cholesterol128 (1/24/2009; was 162 5/10/2008 and 147 9/27/2008)(will have to wait until I donate in May)
Blood Pressure112/64(I'll go to the store and measure tonight)
Resting Heart Rate6668

So far so good. Strange my arms are exactly the same size but I've gone from lifting 20 lb dumbells to 30 - must just be more compact muscle.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Programming at 1.2 MPH

No, not my typing speed but how I actually work. I've assembled my workstation over a treadmill and I walk (all day) while programming at my day job. I'm fortunate that I telecommute so I didn't have to ask permission. After doing this since October 2008, I'd have a hard time going back to a regular desk.

This is my desk (more on how it was made, how fast I walk, etc later in the post):
So how did I come to walk while working? When I was 27 I hurt my back weight lifting and every once in a while if I do something stupid it bothers me. But over the last couple of years I've noticed my back getting more and more sore sitting at work all day - the price I pay for loving programming computers.

To alleviate the pain, I started using really expensive ergonomic chairs and active sitting on a yoga ball (which were 1/10th the price of the chairs and usually better for my back). But this just delayed the soreness. I was considering trying to get work to setup a sit-to-stand workstation so I could vary the position more and once I started working from home looked more seriously into it.

Around December 2007 I learned about Dr. James Levine, M.D. and his colleagues in the NEAT (Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis) lab at Mayo Clinic proposing that the office of the future should have people walk while working by placing their desk over a treadmill and slowly walk away the day. Made a whole lot of sense to me once I looked into it, humans are after all designed to walk and not to sit (or we wouldn't need those fancy ergonomic chairs). He has a book called Move A Little Loose A Lot (which just came out and I haven't read) should you want more information from the source. Dr. Levine, I thank you for the inspiration.

From an article about Dr. Levine's research I found several articles, others that had set the plan in motion, and eventually that even the office furniture maker Steelcase was making one (called the Walkstation; which is to pricy for me). I also found the Office Walkers Social Network. Despite all the information at my fingertips, job changes and general procrastination caused me to take until October 2008 to build my walkstation and begin using it.

These are the components and prices of my desk (which totals out at $1476, not cheap but much less than other commercial versions):
  • ProForm 11.5 Competitor Treadmill $800 New. You want a good sized walking surface so you don't fall off. This treadmill is 20"x60" tread; 3hp continuous motor. I took off the arms and console so I could mount the desk over it.
  • GeekDesk Adjustable Height Desk Frame $634
  • 75"x30"x3/4" Birch Plywood $30. Sanded and beveled the corners myself.
  • Polyshade Stain and Polyurethane Sealant $12. Gave the top a nice look with improved water resistance and durability
Since October 13, 2008 I have walked 566 miles while programming, designing, talking on the ant phone. I walk 1.2 miles an hour which is much slower than my normal walking pace but sustainable without making my head bob around and doesn't effect my work. It took a few weeks of walking an hour at a time and to get up to where I walk pretty much all day now - sometimes I forget to start it, or get lazy and work from a chair, but I walk from 5-10 miles a day every work day.

Weight didn't drop off me like I dreamed, but my weight did stabalize while eating more and I started to feel better. I was more energized and alert. Employers/workers consider this benifit even if you don't consider the overall health impact - you are more alert while walking and it is impossible to fall asleep while doing so.

I was able to cut out caffine from my diet (almost unheard of for a steretypical developer I know) and still had energy to spare. When work had a social gathering at Adobe MAX 2008 (we all telecommute) which included a quadathalon of death (paint ball, hiking, biking, kyacking) I did it without dying.

More offices should be setup like this. Changing how we work to something more active could reshape the waistline of workers everwhere and make us so much healthier (and with improving how we eat reducing health care costs, reversing the obesity epidemic, etc).

But still my weight remained stable, so obviously somthing more was needed...

Introduction and History

My name is Robert Stehwien and this blog will chronicle my quest to get back into awesome shape and maintain it while being a 38 year old software developer. First a little history.

I have always battled my weight. Before high school I was quite fat but got into shape with weight-lifting, running, gymnastics, and martial arts. Early college saw me expand some but it was in an acceptable range (approx 185 lbs at 5"10') and kept at bay with weight lifting.

I'd always been a computer geek and before finishing school I got a job as a C++ developer and got married. After that I continued to exercise lightly, but the sedentary job and continuing my eating habits from my younger days helped my weight creep up. Sometimes I lost a little (like when I got into kickboxing at 27) but normally the trend was up.

In September 2003, I topped the scales around 250 and had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. That was a wake up call as it showed me I was on the same path that had led a friend of mine to his death a few years prior (he topped the scales well over 350). The sleep apnea bow air up your nose device was also a great motivator - it was more annoying to my wife and myself than my snoring.

So I read up on some diet books and decided to go low-carb - using the latest (as of 2003) Atkins books, dust off my bowflex, and get some kickboxing aerobics videos. It worked well, by September 2004 I had dropped over 80 lbs and was down to 168 lbs (it only took 8 months to drop the weight the rest was a test of maintence). Here are some before and after pictures:

Above is also the belt I wore throughout the diet and still wear as a constant reminder.

My wife had been concerned with the diet being high fat, so I got my cholesterol measured before an after:
  • Before: Total Cholesterol 181; HDL 45; LDL 95; Glucose 203
  • After: Total Cholesterol 141; HDL 43; LDL 84; Glucose 76
Not bad for eating eggs, bacon, meat, and veggies. Not to mention that I felt great. I recall one day toward the end of my EMBA (one of the only people to loose wieght during the 2 year program) carrying about 50 lbs of books upstaris to a break room and while thinking how heavy they were I realized that one year before I had been carrying around 80 lbs... what that must have been doing to my body.

Things were good for a while. I was able to maintain the weight, got into doing Bikram's Yoga along with some weight training, and finished the EMBA which culminated in an awesome trip to Prague to study international business for a few weeks.

Toward the end of 2004 my dad and grandmother (essentially) got scammed out of her home a few years after his divorce and he a had to go in for spinal surgery. I stepped up to help care for both of them until he was on his feet and my wife and I still care for her to this day. Combined with a job I no-longer enjoyed despite my boss being very supportive during the chrisis, I was stressed to the max and my weight started to climb. By October 2008 I had gone back up to 200 and it kept on climbing. Time for a change.