Let’s start this post off with a photograph:
A photo of a calendar can only mean one thing: time for a MONTHLY PROGRESS REPORT!
Let’s start this post off with a photograph:
A photo of a calendar can only mean one thing: time for a MONTHLY PROGRESS REPORT!
It’s already the sixth month of the year? Are you kidding me? This year is flying by.
At Keep It Up, David, the start of a new month means one thing: time for my monthly exercise progress report! I put these together at the beginning of every month (check out April, March, and February). Every workout I complete gets noted in my calendar, and once a month I use magic to transform those notes into facts and figures. I dig facts and figures. They motivate me.
Here’s my May calendar:
I’m injured. Again. My foot is completely better, but I’m pretty sure I bruised a rib towards the end of last week. And unlike my foot injury, which was a complete surprise and mystery, I know exactly when and where I bruised my rib: while using a row machine I wasn’t very familiar with at the gym. I’m not using that row machine anymore. Like my foot, there are no external signs that anything’s wrong: no swelling, bruising or redness. But it hurts, and I’m staying off upper body weights this week. I’m still fine to do cardio – and I’m most certainly NOT postponing the big stair climb this weekend (by the way, I reached my fundraising goal this morning – WOOHOO, and thanks Heidi and Tom!) – but this is my third week in a row of nursing an injury and I’m tired of it.
But there’s good news, too. Since May has begun, it’s time for my monthly exercise progress report! I do these at the beginning of each month (check out March, February, and January). Every workout gets noted in my calendar, and once a month, those notes get turned into facts and figures. I nerd out on facts and figures!
Here’s my April calendar:
April was a busy month! My new gym opened, Richard Simmons introduced me to a couple ’90s sitcom stars, and my foot injury forced me to postpone my stair climb by two weeks (it’s this Saturday). Last week, I swam laps for the first time in months, and because I liked it so much, I went back a few days later.
In total, I worked out on 26 of the 30 days in April – a 86% success rate! I’m especially proud because I could’ve used my foot injury as a reason to stay home for a week or so, but I got creative and stayed active (lots of seated upper body weights that put no pressure or weight on my foot). In total, 17 of those 26 workouts had an emphasis on weightlifting, which is my second-highest number ever (behind July of last year, when I had 20 weightlifting-focused workouts).
Here’s April compared with the 5 prior months:
So far in 2012, I’ve exercised 102 out of 121 days (84%), including 18 classes at Slimmons.
Keep it up, David!
Happy Friday! Take a look around – I’ve made a few changes to Keep It Up, David, to help you access your favorite types of posts more quickly and easily. Basically, the My Favorite Posts page was getting way too big and unwieldy (there were over 85 links on it!). So I split it up and created a third row of header links:
With these three new pages, that still leaves about 12 or 14 links on the My Favorite Posts page, and they truly are the posts that I’m most proud of.
Remember the TV show Sister, Sister? It was a sitcom about twin girls, separated at birth, who get reunited as teenagers. It ran for 6 seasons in the mid and late ’90s, first on ABC, and then on the WB. Maybe the theme song will jog your memory:
The reason I bring it up is that I met the show’s stars, Tia and Tamera Mowry, last night at Slimmons! They currently have a reality show on the Style Network, appropriately called Tia & Tamera, and they’re filming their second season right now. Last night, they filmed during one of Richard Simmons’ classes at Slimmons.
This was a complete surprise to me, but not an unexpected one. It’s maybe the fourth or fifth time (at least) that I’ve walked into Slimmons and seen a film crew there – whether it’s for the Today show, The Doctors, or a local news piece. This was the biggest crew I’ve seen at Slimmons (I wonder how it compared to the film crew for Khloe and Lamar, which also filmed at Slimmons, although I wasn’t there that day): two cameramen, a sound guy, three or four producers, and two or three assistants.
Tia and Tamera looked exactly how I remembered them from Sister, Sister. The cameras shot them meeting with Richard before the class started and then Richard introduced them to a bunch of his regular students, starting with me. I met them, briefly, while the cameras were rolling, so there’s a chance I’ll be on their show! I’m not holding my breath – they got a LOT of footage during the course of the evening. They were both very nice, and their jaws dropped when I shared how much weight I’ve lost.
I worked out next to them during most of the class, and you could tell they were having a great time and working hard. One of them (I’m not sure if it was Tia or Tamera, to be honest), said goodbye to me on the sidewalk afterward, and I waved and said goodbye back.
When I got home, I sent a tweet to both of them:
And within a half-hour, Tamera tweeted back!
And, a few hours later, Tia responded too!
And then she sent a second tweet!
That means we’re new best friends, right?
Richard’s class was really good last night, regardless of the presence of celebrities. Lots of friends there wanted to touch my head – it was the first time I’ve been to Slimmons since getting my haircut. I also worked my ass off… and I was soaked with sweat by the end!
Keep it up, David!
Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was busy… I went to two parties and saw four movies (three of those movies were watched at one of those parties, so there was definitely multitasking going on).
It was also a noteworthy weekend because my new gym opened! You regular readers know that, a few months ago, after lengthy consideration and thorough analysis, I bit the bullet and switched gyms. My new gym, Crunch, was opening a new location near me (in Burbank), and offered great pre-enrollment rates (but I ended up lucking out and winning a free year-long membership in a drawing!), and part of the deal was that I would have access to their other location (in West Hollywood) until the new location opened.
I’ve been working out in West Hollywood for about two months, and I really like it (I posted a couple photos from there on Friday). I’ve mentioned it in posts, referring to it as my “new gym.” On Friday, the Burbank location finally opened for business – so it’s my “new new gym.” And it is a beautiful gym. I took a bunch of photos (which, generally speaking, is frowned upon in gyms, so don’t do this at home).
It’s on the second floor of a building, above a Barnes and Noble, and there’s a 6-screen AMC movie theater in the basement. The front doors are accessed from the roof of the adjacent parking garage.
And guess what’s right across the street?
Between the gym, Barnes and Noble, the movies, and Ikea, I could easily spend an entire weekend within a 500 foot radius. All that’s missing is an arcade with a Ms. Pac-Man machine.
I arrived at 10:30 on Friday morning, to find the front doors barricaded by yellow caution tape. Turns out the gym wasn’t quite open yet – they couldn’t officially open until they got the all-clear from the fire marshall, and they were waiting for him to make an appearance. I had to come back later in the day, but it was no big deal – I’ve waited two months for this gym to open, I could wait another few hours.
Inside, everything was brand new and shiny. The gym is enormous, with high ceilings and lots of natural light, and there’s tons of equipment: rows and rows of cardio machines, and every type of weightlifting device imaginable. This photo’s a little blurry, but it’s the best I got:
The gym was also empty, although I suspect it won’t be for long. I was one of maybe 10 people working out when I got there – the staff outnumbered the clientele. I loved that my lock was only one in the entire locker room.
On Friday, I warmed up on the treadmill for 6 minutes, then spent 35 minutes lifting weights. I felt like a kid in a toy store – every time I looked around, there was something I wanted to try out or play with. I alternated between trying new-to-me equipment and doing things in my regular routine, and had to keep reminding myself that there’d be plenty of time to try everything I wanted to try.
After finishing up with the weights, I wanted to end my workout with a little cardio, and I picked a machine I had never seen before: a seated elliptical.
You position yourself on it like you would on a recumbent bike, but instead of pedals, there are big elliptical-like pads. The machine has all sorts of programs and ways to adjust your workout, and I ended up going for 17 minutes, and I selected a program that ramped up the resistance to high for 15 seconds of every minute, so I was combining cardio with leg presses – multitasking rocks!
I went back to my new new gym on Saturday, and took a Zumba class with my friend Natalie. It was only the second Zumba class I’ve ever taken (I tried it for the first time about a year and a half ago). Zumba is fun – it has great music, and it’s high energy cardio dance. It’s also really hard for me, because the choreography is based around a lot of belly-dancing-esque hip movements and shimmying that I just can’t do. But I do what I can and have a ball anyway. This class had a great teacher (a woman named Miracle) and I was the only man in the class.
One more picture: The Burbank location, like the West Hollywood location, has a mountain view (although they’re different mountains):
When I first joined Crunch, I planned on using West Hollywood until Burbank opened, and then I planned on using Burbank exclusively… but now I’m thinking that I’ll revise that plan, and alternate between the two gyms. I like that plan – I know I have successful workouts when I switch things up. And I like knowing that I have two gyms, in two different parts of town, that are there for me to use.
Keep it up, David!
I’d like to start with a big thank you to everyone that reached out regarding yesterday’s post. Based on my through-the-roof blog hits, I’ve learned that people are quite interested in reading about plastic surgery, and I appreciate all the comments here, and through Facebook, Twitter, and email. If you missed the post, click here – it’s about the consultation I had with a plastic surgeon, and whether or not I’m ready (physically, mentally, and emotionally) for a tummy tuck.
Since it’s a new month, it’s time for my monthly exercise progress report! I do these at the beginning of each month (check out February, January and my ginormous 2011 Year-End Report). Every workout I complete gets noted in my calendar, and once a month, those notes get turned into facts and figures, because I just love facts and figures!
Here’s my March calendar:
March was an excellent month for me, exercise-wise, and I have my own birthday to thank. It was on my birthday that I decided to challenge myself with two big stair climbs, and training for those stair climbs fueled me all month long. I set personal StairMaster records twice (climbing the equivalent of the Willis Tower, and then, two weeks later, climbing the equivalent of the Abraj Al Bait in Saudi Arabia). March ended with the first of those two stair climbs – I ascended the 63-story Aon Center in just over 15 minutes! – but I won’t take a rest from the StairMaster until I complete my second challenge in a few weeks (it’s a fundraiser – click here to learn all about it!)
In total, I worked out on 27 of the 31 days in March – a 87% success rate! I’ve only reached a percentage that high once before, in January 2011 (the first month I started tracking my workouts), so I’m thrilled to have tied my record! Some additional figures: Five of those 27 workouts were Richard Simmons’ classes at Slimmons. I also took a spin class during my whirlwind trip to Illinois. Lastly, 14 of those workouts had an emphasis on weightlifting (I wish that number was a bit higher, but I’m nitpicking).
Here’s March compared with the 5 prior months:
So far in 2012, I’ve exercised 76 out of 91 days (83.5%), including 16 classes at Slimmons.
My ultimate goal for 2012 is to work out more times than I did in 2011, and now that the year is one-quarter gone (shocking, huh?), I went back and calculated that in the first quarter of 2011, I worked out 75 out of 90 days (83.3%) – so I’m reaching my goal (by two-tenths of a percentage point)! Woo-hoo!
Keep it up, David!
First things first: yesterday was a weigh-in day. After going most of February without weighing myself, I’m back on my once-every-two-weeks weigh-in schedule. Here’s how I updated my weight loss chart yesterday:
Down one pound! It was a lovely thing to see the morning after my birthday, and a welcome change from my last three weigh-ins, each of which resulted in a gain. In the grand scheme of things, a weight of 238 equals a total lost of 164 pounds. I’m 6 pounds above my all-time lowest weight, and 18 pounds away from my next goal – and still happily chugging away!
It’s hard to tell because that photo is so close-up, but with this weigh-in, my chart moved onto a new page! It’s officially my chart’s eleventh page (!), but in December, I reconfigured the chart because I was running out of space, and condensed five pages onto two. Here’s the eleventh page, waiting to be filled up:
Here’s the chart in its entirety:
I’d love your input on a chart-related matter. I’m thinking of retiring the weight-loss chart altogether. I’ve been updating it for over two years now, and it was most helpful during year #1, when I ended up dropping 150 pounds in twelve months. Updating the chart every week and seeing my progress was a huge motivator. Now, though, it’s less motivating. In the past year, I’ve oscillated between 243 and 232 – an eleven-pound range (eleven is turning out to be the number of the day!). I’m certainly proud of that accomplishment – keeping off weight loss is no easy feat – but I don’t find myself rushing to update the chart or relying on it as much as used to. On one hand, I’d like the satisfaction of keeping the chart active until I reach my 220-pound goal, but on the other hand, reaching that goal has proven to be really difficult (I’ve been working on it since December 2010), so how much longer should I update a chart that just features a line wavering between a 10-pound range?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section. You’re an insightful bunch, and you regularly help me see things in a new light, and I’d love to know what you’d do if you were in my size 13 shoes.
In other news…
Last night I took one of Richard Simmons’ classes at Slimmons, and at the end of class, my birthday was celebrated. Richard pulled me up in front of the entire class and had everyone sing me happy birthday (which he does with birthday celebrants at the end of nearly every class). Earlier, during the workout, he pulled me into a big circle to dance in front of everyone. Both moments may have been captured on video by Michele, one of the other instructors at Slimmons, so if they were and she’s able to send them to me, I’ll most definitely share them here.
When it’s your birthday at Slimmons, Richard gives you a little present: it’s a little, hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind Richard Simmons doll on a ribbon that he puts around your neck. He commissions a doll artist in the Midwest to make them for him. The one he gave me is jumping out of a package:
Cute, right? It’s the third birthday I’ve celebrated at Slimmons, so I’ve received three of these little guys:
And because it was my birthday, I couldn’t resist getting another picture with Richard (see all my pictures with Richard in the Photo Gallery). Wanna see it?
Yep, those are hundreds of colored puffs all over Richard’s tank top. As he said during class, “it takes a lot of balls to wear this top!” It sure does – quite literally!
KEEP IT UP, DAVID!
Happy March, everyone! I get excited when I get to turn the page in my calendar, because that means it’s time for one of my favorite recurring posts… it’s Progress Report Time!
You’ve seen these before, right? I do one every month (check out January and November, and for December, I did a monster 2011 Year-End Report). Basically, I track all my exercise in my calendar, and then, once a month, I process the cold hard data into interesting (to me) facts and statistics, because I’m a nerd like that.
Here’s my February calendar:
Each dot represents a workout, and the scribbles next to the dots describe, briefly, what I did. Some dots have other shapes around them: a circle around the dot represents a class at Slimmons, a triangle around a dot represents a different type of class (in this case, my first ever yoga class), and I started marking workouts at my new gym with a square around the dot. I did this because my gym memberships overlapped for a little while, and I was going to both, and I wanted to demarcate which workouts were done at which gym. My membership at my old gym is now expired, so for March (and beyond), no demarcation is needed.
February got off to a rocky start. I let some depression get the best of me, and during the first five days of the month, I only worked out twice. I rebounded nicely, and during each of the remaining weeks, I met my weekly workout goals. During the last 12 days of the month, I worked out 11 times.
Another noteworthy accomplishment is that I did three workouts on the StairMaster, which might be a monthly record, as I don’t love the StairMaster. In fact, I beat my own StairMaster record on the first two of those workouts (I conquered the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago and the Empire State Building). As for the third, well, it just happened the other day, and I haven’t blogged about it yet, but that’s coming (along with an exciting announcement) in a few days.
Let’s crunch some numbers, huh? In February, I worked out 23 out of 29 days, which is a 79% success rate. That’s slightly below last February’s percentage, which was 82%, but I worked out 23 days during both Februaries, so my lower percentage this year can squarely be blamed on leap year. Curses, leap year! I also took 4 classes at Slimmons, the aforementioned yoga class, and 13 of my workouts had an emphasis on weight training, which is pretty damn good!
Here’s February compared with the 5 prior months:
So far in 2012, I’ve exercised 49 out of 60 days (81%), including 11 classes at Slimmons.
Keep it up, David!
Well, it’s happened. Yesterday, I took my first yoga class. Tavi, the “friend” who recently tried to murder me in the Hollywood Hills, has been pushing me to try yoga off and on for a while. He’s not the only one: yoga has been suggested by a number of people over the past couple years, but I’ve never had much interest.
It’s been my experience that yoga enthusiasts (and Tavi is a big one – he even teaches it) are very passionate about yoga, much in the same way, I find, that runners can be very passionate about running. More often than not, when people hear that I’m a (very) occasional runner, they assume I’m hooked, that I must love it as much as them, and that I can’t wait to start training for a marathon. That’s when I smile and nod and politely explain that I have no interest in a marathon, and, a lot of the time, I barely tolerate running at all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that exact conversation with one of my very good friends who shall remain nameless because he reads this blog (*cough* *Collin* *cough*).
I’ve had similar conversations with yoga fans, who all make clear that once I try yoga, I’ll be immediately be hooked and love everything about it and it will change my life and it’s the best thing ever and seriously I’ll fall instantly in love and how did I go for so long without it and I’ll want to take a class every single day and there’s a great teacher at their local yoga studio and what the fuck am I waiting for?
To all those people out there (and you know who you are), this post is for you. Because, did you hear? I finally took a yoga class. I met Tavi for a 9am class at our local Bikram Yoga studio:
I’m no expert, so correct me if I’m wrong, but Bikram is a specific type of yoga, developed by a guy named Bikram, that’s comprised of a certain number of yoga poses, which are performed in a specific order, for a specific amount of time. A defining characteristic of Bikram yoga is that it’s done in a hot room. Our room today was 108 degrees, and humid – two humidifiers on full blast. Exercising in that climate is not completely foreign to me – it’s routinely above 100 degrees around here in the summer (although it’s very dry heat), and I once went running on a 105-degree day (I don’t recommend it). That’s not to say that I’m comfortable in an 108-degree room, because I’m not. But it makes you sweat – oh, how you sweat – and that’s one of the goals: to draw out toxins. Also, heat increases your flexibility, which is a key component of yoga of any kind.
I don’t own a yoga mat, so I rented one for a buck. Plus, I paid $18 for the class – they tried to sell me on a week for $30, but I wouldn’t commit to that until I tried it once.
The class had 20 or so people in it, and even though Tavi billed it as a class for beginners, I was the only first-timer. I positioned myself behind two people who knew what they were doing, so I could watch them, which was helpful, because our teacher, Mary, didn’t actually demonstrate any of the poses. Tavi, in turn, was behind me, because he didn’t arrive until just as the class was starting.
I kept an open mind going into the class, mainly because I didn’t really have any expectations. I don’t consider myself an incredibly flexible person, and my balance is questionable at best (which recently led to a hilarious first attempt on ice skates and a downright unpleasant first attempt at stand-up paddleboarding). But I’m down for trying new things and trying them as best as I can, so I felt ready.
Throughout the class, I found myself holding the positions better and longer that I thought I’d be able to. Mary was adept at describing the positions and how get in and out of them, and she very kindly paid attention to what I was doing and pointed out adjustments so I’d feel more impact. Generally speaking, she spoke a lot, and at a very rapid clip:
“Knees together, heels planted, back straight, chest up, shoulders back, neck straight, chin forward, palms up, hips in a straight line, bring your leg up, hold it, push through, push up, push further, push harder, feel it in your foot, through to your knee, to your hip, your core, your muscles, your digestive tract, push more, push beyond, keep pushing, mind over matter, push longer, and change.”
Mary would rattle that off in about 8 seconds.
I modified some positions that I couldn’t execute, and held others for a little less than the rest of the class, but for the most part, I did it all. The class was almost 90 minutes, and by the end, I was drenched with sweat. Sopping wet. I’m certain it was the sweatiest workout I’ve ever had. You can’t see the sweat marks on my clothes, because there are absolutely no dry parts whatsoever.
My towel was soaked.
I could wring sweat from my bandanna.
I created an even bigger puddle when I wrang out my t-shirt.
Who knows how much of that sweat could be attributed to my exertion, and how much could be attributed to the climate, but the class was certainly an exhausting workout. My muscles burned and quivered throughout the class. It was almost bizarre how tired I felt: never had I moved so little and sweated so much. As I right this, late Tuesday night, I’m still a little sore in my arms, shoulders, and quads.
Right now, I’m envisioning all you yoga fans at the edge of your seat, or perhaps you’re in the Tuladandasana pose (balancing stick), pondering the big question, which is whether or not I liked the class. The answer is… more than I thought I would, but not enough to go rushing back. I’m glad I gave it a whirl, and it wasn’t a miserable experience, but… I don’t know… The peace and quiet of yoga was a nice change of pace, but I think I prefer more exuberant forms of exercise. I’d rather clear my mind, let off steam and burn some calories by jumping or dancing or pedaling or otherwise being more vigorous, and with my favorite music in my ear. But maybe I’ll try another yoga class at some point. Never say never, right?
Tomorrow I start my marathon training.
KEEP IT UP, DAVID!
PS. I’m kidding about the marathon.