A year later… (WTF?)

Well, it has been almost a year since I last posted on this blog and I’m pissed. I’m pissed that I’m a year older and not an ounce lighter. Why am I pissed? Well, because I wasted another year of my life, of course!

First, I burned about six-months trying out for Biggest Loser, Season 10. Knowing that I was right at the edge of their “fat requirement”, I didn’t want to lose any weight before heading to the ranch. It was a fun experience. I got to meet some great people involved with the show and made it pretty far in the casting process, but at the end of the day; 1) I simply wasn’t fat enough (have you seen some of the giants this season?), and 2) I just couldn’t commit to up to 15 weeks away (see reason 2 below).

Second, the reason I couldn’t commit to being away that long was because between the time of the casting process began and when filming was getting ready to start, our business had taken off like a wildfire. As a result, I found myself back in “work mode”, much more worried about creating a business (and about 300 jobs across the country), putting my body on hold again.

So, here I am a year later. Still fat. Some might say that it’s understandable, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m worse off than a year ago. Fat.

Time to fix that…

Two things that don’t go well together

I went on my third “official” run this morning, continuing a 3 week routine to train for a 5K on Thanksgiving Day. I love the peaceful darkness of the COCC track at 5:30am – the stars are fantastic and you have the place to yourself. (Don’t get any ideas – it’s mine!) Followed by a 5 minute brisk walking warm-up, I entered my first of 10 run/walk cycles. Ugh! Ouch!

The problem? Yesterday I did a lower body workout, pushing really hard to gain more muscle in these largest muscle groups (to boost my metabolism and help burn more fat.) Last night I felt “springy” and athletic, this morning, entering a slow jog, I felt like my legs weighed 500lbs and the outside of my calves started burning from my feet landing wrong (due to the stiffness). My joints were all achy – still recovering from yesterday’s heavy squats and other leg work… I now understand why marathon runners don’t squat 400lbs.

Rather than risk injury from “running through the pain”, I decided to take a time out and regroup. I spent a solid 15 minutes stretching and slow-walking out a methodical gait to loosen up my hips/glutes and calves. After that, I was up and at it – though, still feeling low and slow. Other than having the sh*t scared out of me by a stray dog materializing in front of me, it was a decent (not great) session.

The good news was that, cardiovascularly, I felt like I could go all day.

- One Less Fat Guy

Ultimate Workout Playlist

Everybody has VERY different taste in music for working out with.  Some people need the inspirational lyrics. Others just want a steady dance beat. Others like the macho-fun of classic hard rock.

I’m a bit of a mix of all of the above.  I was a music major in college, studying jazz performance and classical theory, so I recognize that my ear might be a little different than others. It is just as important for the music itself to be interesting enough that I would listen to it if I wasn’t working out. I need to feel inspired by the melody, rhythm, and emotion of a song – not just the standard dance-mix beat. Nevertheless, if you are looking for some new tunes, here is my main workout mix.

Song
Artist
Notes
This Is Your Life
Switchfoot
Good warm-up inspiration, “This is your life – are you who you want to be?”
Losing Grip
Avril Lavigne
I love the turn at the chorus – always gets me moving
You Met Your Match
Marc Broussard
Great rendition, funky beat
Try (Live)
John Mayer Trio
Might just be the guitarist in me, but I love this beat
Beautiful Day U2 Great warm-up, leading into main workout
Bodyrock Moby Probably still my favorite steady blood-pumping groove ever. Especially the chorus.
Comfort Eagle Cake Great driving beat
You Oughta Know Alanis Morissette Great bass beat – not really safe for work (unless you find the radio edit)
Coin Toss Maceo Parker/Ani Difranco Great little funk tune, Ani is adorable
Song For The Boys Pat Metheny Beautiful solo guitar, builds to drving beat
I Wish Stevie Wonder Love it, love it – fantastic for cross-training work.
Together Avril Lavigne I am apparently a sucker for angry-chick rock
Pinch Me Barenaked Ladies Great for interval training (verse, chorus, etc..)
Sweep The Leg No More Kings We used this for a video production once, it is stuck in my soul now. Funny lyrics – great beat!
Better Way Ben Harper Not your standard “dance beat”, but great groove and lyric to get you in the zone.
Dare You To Move Switchfoot Another insiprational tune to get you going again mid-workout. Starts a little slow, but then the lyrics get me moving.
We Live Here Pat Metheny Group Great afro beat, simple melody, straight ahead – great for a sunrise jog.
Pick Up The Pieces Average White Band Does it get any funkier than this? Love the swing section at the chorus.
Suddenly I See KT Tunstall Fun, light, relaxed.
Yes We Can Marc Broussard Fantastic recording of a motown classic. The last chorus often brings tears to my eyes for some reason.
Bring The Funk Ben Harper The title says it all
Grace In Me Laura Berman Sometimes I need a little 3/4 to switch up my brain a bit
Got To Get You Into My Life Earth, Wind, and Fire Straight ahead beat, (I could lose the verses though…)
Nugget Cake Raunchy/funny lyric – great beat (not safe for work)
Every Little Bit Patty Griffin Simple tune, builds well
Superbad James Brown Fast beat, fun rhythm, screaming fans – just fun.
Heat Of The Day Pat Metheny Group Crazy rhythms, fun melody – great for hill climbs.
The Story (Live from Boston) Brandi Carlile Kind of tricky to inject in a workout, but fantastic emotional chorus to get you going again.
The Distance Cake Just fun/goofy – good beat
Crazy Alanis Morissette Great cover/remix of Seal’s classic
Getaway Earth, Wind, and Fire If you don’t mind the falsetto, this is a great beat. The melody/interlude between choruses is insane.
Shameless Ani Difranco Straight ahead beat
Gettin’ To It Christian McBride Great funk/jazz tune featuring some monster palyers before they were famous
Waters of March Holly Cole Simple tune, different kind of swaying beat – great for cross-country skiing
So Much To Say Dave Matthews Band Great for run/walk interval training
Me Like It Like That Dirty Dozen Brass Band New Orleans groove, straigt ahead
Manonash Tuck Andress Insane solo guitar groove
What How When Where Why Who Ani Difranco Fun, easy to “think along” with while running
Who Did You Think I Was John Mayer Trio Fun groove (might want to set it to start after the intro)
Stranger In Town Pat Metheny Group High energy mixed with slightly relaxed sections
The Littlest Birds Be Good Tanyas Fun/cute little cool-down tune
other tunes…
Adagio For Strings Samuel Barber (many recordings) Not a workout tune, exactly, but a great piece of music to get your inspirations flowing – before or after your workout
I Like the Sunrise Kurt Elling Early morning, pre-workout wakeup inspiration

I’m sure that this will change dramatically by next week, but I hope you find something new/good to help you over the humps. If you have any good tunes to share – please add them to the comments. I am always looking for new tunes!

- One Less Fat Guy

Healthy Recipe: Zucchini Lasagna (Pasta-Less)

Check out this great recipe from the One-Pan Gourmet. It’s delicious AND healthy… (and very easy to create and clean up after!)

Zucchini Lasagna (Pasta-Less)

Do they make HazMat workout attire?

If you are sick – don’t go to the gym! If you have the swine flu – stay home! What the hell are you trying to prove anyway?

I’m not normally nervous about such things, but I  just about had a panic attack this morning at the gym, as four separate members of the walking dead (zombies), meandered back and forth on and off the same equipment I was using – leaving trails of their sweat on the seats and handles while expelling vaporous mists of their coughs and sneezes. What the @$&*, people?!?!?

I’m no hypochondriac. In fact, I rarely get sick at all. But, when I do, it is usually not pretty. It’s as if I am allotted 10 “units” of sickness every five years, and my body decides to spend them all at once. Usually it is food related and I pay little-to- no attention to airborne epidemics. I’ve never had the flu shot (because by the time I think about it – it is already March).

I found myself wanting to strip down on my way out the door to take a full-body Purell sponge bath, but there wasn’t a hook to hang my clothes.

If you need to exercise when you are dying of an infectious disease, please put a collection plate out at the local bank, and we’ll raise money to buy you a treadmill for your home.

- One Less Fat Guy

Setting goals (a week late)

As my wife (and staff) have learned over the years – I rarely do anything by the book. This is no exception. Normally I would have developed all of my goals before I stepped foot in the gym or made my first healthy meal. But – life happens and we play the hands we are dealt. (That said, most of these goals had been spinning in my head – I just hadn’t written them down.)

The Goals

  1. Lose 85 lbs in 6 months (due 4/15/10)
  2. Run an 8 minute mile within 30 days (due 11/15/09)
  3. Manage and/or fix coccyx pain
  4. Effectively manage transition from weight-loss strategy to endurance training
  5. Become a role model to others (family and friends that I am worried about)
  6. Save $1,000 by not eating out to be used toward training & equipment costs
  7. Compete as an individual in the Pole Pedal Paddle, May 15, 2010

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”- Goethe

The first two, I know that I can do. The third, I will do everything I can, but it might be out of my hands – the key being to not let the pain stop me from achieving the other goals. #4 – All I can do is live my life in an authentic way and be there for others.

#5 is actually one hell of a goal, but a necessary one. The Pole Pedal Paddle is a somewhat iconic race in my hometown with thousands of competitors getting involved in various ways. The format is simple:

  • Alpine Ski (after you run uphill in all of your gear)
  • 8 km Nordic Ski
  • 22 mi Bike
  • 10 km Run
  • 1.5 mi Kayak
  • 400m Sprint

There are many olympians and professional athletes doing the entire race as individuals in well under two hours. There are also many 6-person teams adorned in outrageous costumes (primarily in it as a social event) taking 3-4 hours.

Hurdles that I will not let get in my way:

  • I have almost no experience in downhill skiing (let alone racing)
  • I haven’t x-c skied in 15 years
  • I have a marginal fear of speed on bikes (a couple wrecks growing up)
  • Tailbone pain on the bike seat
  • I have never run more than a mile at a time in my life
  • I have only have kayaked in huge 2-man sea kayaks
  • I don’t own downhill skis, skating skis, a road/race bike, or a kayak

I may not win the race, but I will enter and I will finish. I will train seriously and I will race seriously to the best of my abilities. Who knows what 2011 will bring?

- One Less Fat Guy

P.S. – If anyone has a surf ski or similar flat-water racing kayak, I’d love to check it out.

Recipe: Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

I’m a foodie. It is part of my problem. I love food. Some people eat when they are sad or stressed. Others eat when they are happy. Others eat for the sake of enjoying good food. A friend of mine pointed out that I am all of the above. When I am being logical, I realize that I can control the first two AND still enjoy really good food – good tasting and very nutritious.

I heard that the restaurant chain, Ruby Tuesday started offering mashed cauliflower as an option besides french fries or mashed potatoes. (good for them!) We don’t have this restaurant in town (and we tend to only support our many fantastic local eateries), so I had to take people’s word for it.

Below is my own recipe based loosely on what a Ruby Tuesday employee posted to another site. I substituted  half as much “Smart Balance 50/50″ for the recommended 1/2 cup of heavy cream, honey instead of refined white sugar, and found that I could cut the cornstarch in half.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Smart Balance 50/50 butter
  • 1/4 cup no-fat cottage cheese (which I usually HATE)
  • 1 teaspoon pure honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt to taste

Directions:
1. Divide a head of cauliflower into florets that are all roughly the same size.
2. Steam cauliflower pieces over boiling water (15 to 20 minutes), or until the cauliflower is tender.
3. Thoroughly drain the cauliflower and toss them in a food processor along with 1/2 cup of water.
4. Puree the cauliflower on high speed until smooth, but with some very small pieces of cauliflower remaining in the mix for just a bit of texture. (based on your preference)
5. Pour all of the pureed cauliflower into a medium sauce pan.
6. Dissolve the corn starch in the remaining 1/4 cup of water and add the solution to the cauliflower.
7. Add the Smart Balance, white pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to the cauliflower and stir.
8. Set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thick – salting lightly to taste.

Yields: About six servings.
Note: I’m not sure how well it stores. I had some two days later but it was starting to smell a little more like cauliflower.
Slight variation: If you want to fake yourself out even more, you could add a bit of potato flakes to give it a bit more recognizable flavor. (while adding some carbs)

Menu Idea: You could serve it along side any protein, but we found that it is a great low (no)-carb alternative to pasta or polenta to serve under one of our favorite easy dishes,  Spicy Chicken Peperonata with Lime and Mint Dressing.

Enjoy your new treat!
One Less Fat Guy

Day One: The Right Choices

Waking up early has never been a problem for me. Waking up, getting out of bed, and doing something productive immediately is another story.

However, when you break things down, life is about routines. Well, routines and choices. No, maybe it’s more about overcoming barriers that keep your from making the right choices to build healthy and productive routines.

I’m not a newbie to this whole “change your life” thing. I already know that in order to make a real change in my life, I need to create a new routine, by making the right choices. I also know that I can’t ignore the barriers that get in my way.

Before I went to bed last night, I wrote down the three barriers that might keep me from getting to the gym today and turning over a new leaf.

  1. I might sleep though my alarm, might as well sleep in.
  2. I won’t be able to find my iPod, so why bother?
  3. If I don’t feel good enough, I’ll just start tomorrow instead.
  4. When I get there, I don’t want people to judge me for being the fattest guy in the room.

The first three are easy – they are just examples of lies (excuses) we tell ourselves to further remove any kind of personal responsibility from our lives. The last one takes a whole lot of courage and maybe a different kind of lying to yourself to boost your confidence.

I made it to the gym on time after setting two alarms last night after charging my ipod, setting out clothes, and filling my water bottle next to my gym membership card. Hell, I even made sure there was gas in the car.

The workout was fine. I’ve done them hundreds of times. Took it at about 80% just to avoid a little “first workout” soreness (and released toxins) that might make we want to sleep in tomorrow.

I got on the scale when I got home for the first time in about two years – not surprised by the 306 lbs. Only 94lbs to go…

Don’t Wimp Out, Never Give Up,
One Less Fat Guy

P.S. – To ease the suspense: yes, I made other good choices through the day, eating right, taking the stairs. I even whipped up a great dinner recipe idea that I will share here soon.

I ate my wife’s husband

I made the mistake of looking in the mirror today. There was a man there who I didn’t recognize. I am pretty sure he ate the man my wife married three years ago. You know how women say that before you leave the house, take a quick look in the mirror and take off the last thing you put on. Well, how about the last 100lbs?

Top reasons excuses for getting to this point:
sports injuries
painful divorce
stressful job
bliss of new marriage
more injuries
death of mother
can’t afford gym
loss of job
junk food is faster/easier
move across country
death of child
found great but unhealthy recipes
too stressed looking for work

making poor personal choices, ignoring the known consequences for my actions

I’m not stupid. I’m not a newbie. I’ve been everything from a competitive athlete to a chronic couch potato. At the end of the day, I did this to myself. It wasn’t my stressful job, it wasn’t my dead mother, it wasn’t even my ex-wife! It was me, one poor decision at a time. It is my fault. Period.

The good news is, when I wake up tomorrow, I will be faced with choice after choice. It’s my life, my decision. my responsibility to choose wisely.

Don’t Wimp Out, Never Give Up!
- One Less Fat Guy