Year Three

January 23, 2012

This post completely snuck up on me. For some reason, I had it set in my head that I would be writing this post later in the week. And then yesterday, I realized that it was January 22nd. Which means that today is January 23rd. Today is my anniversary.

Two years ago, on January 23rd, 2010, I met with Richard Simmons, who offered to help me lose weight. He had me start keeping a food log that he looked over every week, keeping me accountable for what I put in my mouth. It was the beginning of my effort to lose weight.

January 23rd, 2010 marks a number of of other important beginnings: the beginning of my friendship with Richard, the beginning of a focus on health and wellness unparalleled by any other period in my life, the beginning of an attitude shift towards confidence and self-appreciation. I can see this date whenever I want, because it’s at the start of my weight loss chart – the very chart that shows that since January 23rd, 2010, I have lost 166 pounds.

I was recently thinking about some big hypothetical what ifs. What if I hadn’t taken Richard Simmons up on his offer? What if I had continued to believe that my body was never going to change? What if I hadn’t challenged my own engrained notions that I could never successfully lose weight?

These what ifs led to a depressing series of visions: me, heavier than ever, sitting around, surrounded by junk food wrappers. Me, walking into a big & tall store for the umpteenth time, seeing all the same clothes over and over again, knowing exactly what I’ve already tried on. Me, continuing to slowly isolate myself from the people that love me, continuing to convince myself that I wasn’t worthy of their attention.

But you know what? They’re just visions. There is no alternate universe where I’m lounging on the couch, chocolate smeared on my face, screening my calls. And you know why? Because I took those first steps, on January 23rd, 2010, and it was hard and I was scared, but I kept looking forward. I kept moving forward, finding new ways to be healthier and implementing them, continuing to exercise and push myself like I’ve never done before.

And look where I am now. It’s the beginning of my third year on this track, and I look and feel like a completely different person. One of the things I’ve heard on multiple occasions, from the people in my life that have known me for years and years, is that they don’t recognize me in old photos anymore. They don’t remember the 400-pound body I used to have.

What I find exciting is that the same thing is beginning to happen to me. That guy, in those photos, is starting to seem foreign. The memories of struggling to get in and out of a low-riding car or feeling winded after walking up a hill are fainter, and evaporating more and more each month. It’s exhilarating, because it means that all this effort and determination is really sticking. I’m proving to myself, with every passing day, that this isn’t some fluke or some miraculous spurt of good health. It’s evidence that I’ve changed my life.

That change began on one day: January 23rd, 2010. Today is January 23rd, 2012, and I challenge you to make today a new beginning. It doesn’t matter if this is Year 1 of trying to lose weight, or Year 3, or Year 33 – take this opportunity to start making changes. They can be small at first, or you can dive right in – but either way, make a change. You deserve more.

We’re only three weeks into this new year, but it doesn’t need to be January 1st to make a resolution. My resolution, that I reaffirm on every post of this blog all year long, is to keep it up.  I need to keep it up, because I love shopping for new clothes in increasingly smaller sizes. I need to keep it up, because I want as much time with my family and friends as I can get. I need to keep it up, because I know that the love of my life is out there somewhere, and I won’t find him if I’m holed up in my room feeling sorry for myself. I need to keep it up, because my life depends on it.

So that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. What about you?

Happy Anniversary, David. And…


Is It Time For a New Gym?

January 22, 2012

OK readers – I’m contemplating switching gyms and I want your thoughts.

My current gym membership expires in a little over a month. I like my gym. I’ve been a member for about 4 years, and have written about it many times before, including just the other day. There are two locations, it’s clean, it’s rarely so crowded that I can’t use the equipment I want to use, and parking is generally easy. It’s a simple, no-frills gym – no fancy decor, no juice bar, no hot tub or sauna, and on location doesn’t have towel service. And it’s cheap. When I first enrolled 4 years ago, I was paying around $24 a month, but I renewed last year while they were having a special, so right now I’m paying $16 a month (!), and I’ve never paid sign-up, processing, or any other additional fees.

But there’s a big, new fancy gym comin’ to town, and it has caught my eye.

Are you familiar with Crunch Gym? It’s a very fancy, very pricey, high-end company with about 30 locations across the country (mostly in big cities on the east and west coasts). If you watched Will & Grace, than maybe you’ll remember their logo – the characters on that show worked out at Crunch in multiple episodes.

The only Crunch in Los Angeles right now is in West Hollywood (about 30 minutes away). But they’re in the process of building a second location, in Burbank, a few blocks from my current gym. It’s going to be big. It’s going into a retail space that was formerly a CompUSA, and it’s going to be 26,000 square feet. Construction is currently on-track for a mid- to late-March opening. Crunch set up a membership center near their new location, and on Friday, after my workout, I went over to check it out.

This new Crunch facility sounds like it’s going to be awesome. They’re planning on offering 70 classes a week, and stocking the gym with all new, state of the art equipment of all kinds. The woman I was talking to kept peppering our conversation with mentions of types of training and machines that I’ve never heard of before, and it sounds very exciting. Plus, there was a big floor plan of the space on the wall, and I’m a sucker for a floor plan.

And, of course, Crunch has a membership special that’s running right now. Here it is in a nutshell: A full-price membership to Crunch runs $75 a month. I can enroll right now and get access to both the Burbank and West Hollywood locations for $49 a month, plus a one-time $20 processing fee. The monthly billing wouldn’t start until April 1st, which means I’d get access to the West Hollywood location for free for the months of February and March. There also isn’t a contractual length of time: I could hypothetically cancel my membership in May, and they’d stop charging me.

I’m really tempted. Having access to the West Hollywood location for free for two months is exciting, although it’s a little far. The price is great, too – $49 is a good deal for a $75-per-month facility. Then again, $49 is significantly more than the $16 that I’m currently paying. Then again, that $49 will get me access to more machines, more types of exercise, more everthing. Then again, I’d like to think I’m going to love the Burbank location when it opens, but there’s always the chance that, for some reason, I’m going to hate it or it’s going to be ridiculously crowded. There’s lot of “then agains.”

Plus, there’s the matter of my current gym. I have yet to sit down with them to talk about renewing my membership, or what they can offer me, price-wise. I think I’d need to, at minimum, renew for a couple months even if I do sign up with Crunch, just so I have access until the Burbank location opens. Going to the West Hollywood Crunch will be nice, but I just don’t think I’ll be able to swing it into my schedule as often as I want to, and having my little gym 10 minutes away will be nice.

So, there are the facts. What should I do? What would you do? Please offer some input in the comments section!

Oh, and my Friday workout was fantastic – 40 minutes of weights, then 17 minutes of cardio, mostly on the the arc trainer.

Keep it up, David!

Pants Update AND Evening Run

January 20, 2012

A lot of you read my last post about my favorite pants – hopefully you liked it! I ended the post with a plan for my newly-mended pants: I would wear them around the house, and once confident they weren’t going to rip again, I would venture out of the house and wear them in public.

Last night, I tossed the plan out the window. Screw the plan! I wore the pants out of the house. Without a trial run. I went with my friend Kristy to a party. Kristy’s come up on this blog before – she’s one of my best friends, and an amazing singer/songwriter (check out her website) who has even written a song inspired by this blog. The party was for our friend Haviland’s birthday. Haviland is a really talented actress and singer – she’s been in a Lifetime movie and in big Broadway musicals, and she’s a sweetheart (check out her website).

The pants worked out great. They didn’t rip, they were comfy, it was awesome. Here I am, in the pants, with Kristy (on the left), and Haviland:

I think we’re each looking at something different! I’m also wearing a gingham shirt from H&M, the swazer I bought on my trip to Seattle last summer, and some new kickass shoes that were a Christmas present from my sister. I think I looked pretty good!


I decided to go for a run last night. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was in the mood for a run, because I don’t think that’s true. It was more like I realized that I hadn’t been running in a few weeks, so I should probably go running. Running isn’t my favorite form of exercise in the world (although my first 10K was a completely wonderful experience), but it’s a good form of exercise, and I like having it in my arsenal for days when I don’t feel like going to the gym, and when I’m places where I don’t have access to a gym.

It’s been a month since I’ve updated my Running Chart, although I have gone running once since then: it was on the final morning of my cruise, when I ran a 5K around the track on the ship. But that run was interrupted by a short but torrential downpour (during which I did lunges and jumping jacks under an overhang), and because of the interruption, I wasn’t able to gather all the stats I need for the Running Chart, so I couldn’t add it.

Last night’s run, however, has already been added to the Running Chart. It was a good run – I ran, without stopping, for 47 minutes, and went 4.4 miles during that time. I felt pretty strong, although a touch sluggish (which my average speed of 5.6 MPH confirmed), but that didn’t bother me.

My route:

I learned two new things about my neighborhood on this run:

  • Where the closest police station is located! I’ve lived in my place for over two years, and while I frequently see police cruisers patrolling the streets around me, it’s never occurred to me where the precinct was. Now I know! It’s only a couple miles away. The fire station, by the way, is about a block away, right on my street. So I feel pretty safe when I play with all those matches and greasy rags.
  • There’s a street I ran down that I never been on before – not on foot, and not even in my car. It seemed like a pleasant enough residential street, but I’m not going to run down it again at night, because there aren’t street lights, and I quickly grew paranoid that I was going to trip on a piece of sidewalk pushed up by tree roots, like I did that one time when I nearly died during a run.

My run was also notable because I jogged past a ton of fast food establishments. Wanna know how many? Me too. Let’s count.

  • Del Taco
  • Subway
  • Baskin Robbins
  • KFC
  • Donut shop (don’t know the name, but it might just be “Donuts” – or “Donuts & Croissants”)
  • Carl’s Jr.
  • Denny’s (I know, it’s a diner, not fast food, but I’m including it just because they once had, on their menu, a Mac ‘N Cheese Big Daddy Patty Melt, which has 1,690 calories and 99 grams of fat)
  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Taco Bell
  • another Subway
  • Yum Yum Donuts
  • Burger King
  • Yoshinoya
  • McDonald’s
  • El Pollo Loco (“The Crazy Chicken” if you no habla espanol)
  • Jack In The Box
  • Last but not least, three different 7-11s.

That’s an 19-item list right there. A lot of potential temptation! But not for me.

Keep it up, David!

My Incredible Shrinking Clothes – Casual Pants Edition

January 19, 2012

Come see me speak at Whole Foods Pasadena in two weeks! I’ll be there on February 2nd. Click here for details, and tell all your friends in southern California!

Gather ’round, because I have an epic tale involving a pair of pants. This is a post I’ve wanted to write for five months, but there have been delays, due to events both good and not-so-good, my own procrastination, and a good solid stretch where I forgot about this idea completely.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Part 1 – Finding the Pants (Early Sept, 2011). At the end of August, I flew to Michigan for a couple weeks, and on one of my very first days there, I went shopping with my mom at Macy’s. We entered on the opposite side of the store from the Men’s Department, and as we approached, the very first thing I see is a display featuring an awesome pair of pants. I had a feeling this would be fortuitous, so I snapped a crappy picture on my cell phone:

They’re the pants on the mannequin in the front. I made a beeline for them. They were awesome. My mom liked them too. I grabbed a pair in my size. When I got to the dressing room, with an armful of options, I tried on these pants first. Something didn’t seem right, so I went out and showed my mom, who said something that I’ll never tire of hearing: “Well, you’ll just have to see if they have them one size smaller!”

I found them in the smaller size (more on that size later), and they fit. Perfectly. So I took them home with me, along with a pair of jeans I also ended up blogging about.

Part 2 – Wearing the Pants (September 10, 2011). I had the perfect occasion to break in my awesome new pants: Cedar Point. They were the most awesome pants to wear to the world’s most awesome amusement park. Before the big trip to Cedar Point, I called my sister Laura, who was going to come with me, and I said: “I found the best pair of Cedar Point pants ever.” Her reply: “Do they have zippered pockets or something?” Laura knows me pretty well! In addition to zippered pockets (which keep important items from flying out on crazy and super-fast roller coasters), they were lightweight and comfortable.

The first time I wore the pants was at Cedar Point, and, as I predicted, they were perfect. Here I am, in the pants, near the entrance to Millenium Force, Cedar Point’s 310-foot coaster:

The pants have eight pockets total (two on the butt, two on the side, two zipper pockets, and two flap pockets just above the knee), and I made good use of them at Cedar Point. Not ever did I lose my phone, wallet, camera, chapstick, gum, or the jerky that I carried around for 1/2 the day just in case I needed a quick protein fix. It was a long day: 10 hours in the park, and another 5 in the car, and by the end of it, I was more in love with my pants than ever. (You can read more about my Cedar Point adventures here – that day was 10 years in the making!)

The pants were worn frequently during the next few weeks… until disaster struck.

Part 3 – Demise of the Pants (October 2, 2011). This day was supposed to be celebratory, because the night before, at 9:15pm, I set out to accomplish a goal I had set a year earlier: to run past all six strip clubs in my neighborhood without stopping. I completed the run (6.4 miles), and, for this blog, wanted my picture in front of each strip club. So, on October 2, I drove around to all the establishments I ran past the night before, and photographed myself. You can see the photos and read about the run here.

I wore the pants. I was kinda in a rush, because I had a dinner party to go to that night, but I stopped in front of every strip club and snapped away. At about the fourth strip club, as I was getting out of my car, I heard the rip.

I’m very familiar with the sound of pants splitting up the backside. I split more than my fair share of pants when I was heavier (and always pairs that I really liked), and when I heard that sound, I knew exactly what had happened. I reached around and felt, and sure enough, there was a tear. A big tear. CRAP.

There were two more strip clubs to photograph, which I did with ripped pants, and then I went home and changed before the dinner party. Once the pants were off my body, I was able to confirm what I already knew: the rip was bad.

At least the rip wasn’t right up the ass. It was a little off-center, and up the side of the back pocket.

Part 4 – Forgetting About The Pants (October-January). The ripped pants stayed out in the open for about a week, with the intention that I would try to fix them, or have them fixed for me, but that didn’t happen, and soon, they were tossed in the deepest, darkest corner of my closet, where I forgot about them.

Part 5 – Finding The Pants, Again. (January 18, 2012). Yesterday, while rooting through my closet, I found the pants. I held them up, and my fond memories of loving the pants came back. Then I turned them around, saw the rip, and those memories came back. I decided on the spot that it was time to fix the pants.

I wouldn’t say I’m a whiz with a needle and thread, but I know enough to make some simple repairs, like reattaching buttons or stitching up a tear. This was a big tear, too – I had forgotten how big. I could fit my hand through it:

So I got out my sewing supplies.

I picked a brown thread, because I didn’t think I had enough black. It took over an hour, but I was satisfied with my work. It was a two-part process: first, stitching together the base fabric that covers the butt, and then reattaching the pocket. Check this out – you can hardly tell it had ripped! The tear originally extended the entire length of this photograph, but you can only really see the mismatched thread where the pocket ends:

And you can’t see any evidence of my work at all when the pocket flap is down!

Nice work, David!

There’s one other piece of information about these pants that I had forgotten about until I had them inside out yesterday. They’re a size medium. MEDIUM. The first pair I tried on at Macy’s (the pair that was too big) were a size large. When I ran to grab a medium pair, it occurred to me: I had never fit into medium pants before. This was a new experience.

Here’s a photograph to show how far I’ve come in pant sizes:

I lined up these two pairs of pants, so the seam on the right for both pairs are on top of one another. The khaki pair on the bottom are a size 3x. I wore these when I was at my heaviest. I wore pants with drawstrings almost exclusively when I was heavy – they were more forgiving. Not having to worry about buttons was a good thing. I wore these pants most recently as part of my Halloween costume last year – I dressed as Jared, the Subway guy (see pictures here).

From 3x to medium – that’s freakin’ impressive! Now I just gotta prove that I can still wear these pants without ripping them again! I’m a little hesitant to wear them out, so I think I have a dry run where I wear them around my house for an afternoon, and if that goes well, I’ll venture out in public. I’d hate for my pants to split when I’m around other people, but I do love these pants! And I did wear them successfully on many days before they ripped the first time, so I’m confident they’ll continue to serve me well.

Keep it up, David!

Check out the other seven posts in the My Incredible Shrinking Clothes series by clicking on “My Favorite Posts”!

Chart Update 1/17

January 18, 2012

I’ve decided on a weigh-in rhythm that I’d like to try for the next couple of months. I’ve found, in the past, that I can get obsessed over the numbers on the scale, which leads me to do things like keep my scale in the trunk of my car. But if I go too long without weighing myself, I start getting really antsy, and begin fixating on when I’ll weigh myself next.

So, I’m gonna start weighing myself once every two weeks, and see how that goes. Starting… NOW.

Tuesday is my regular weigh-in day, and it’s gonna stay that way. Yesterday, I weighed myself, for the first time since I weighed myself on January 3rd. The results:

I gained a pound.

I’m happy with the two weeks that I had – I ate well and had great workouts – but sometimes, these things happen. And I’m not going to freak out. Those two weeks are over, and all I need to do now is keep moving forward. Keep eating well, and keep exercising.

In fact, I’m off to the gym as soon as I get this post published. I haven’t worked out for the past 2 days: Monday was a planned rest day (after 6 great workouts in a row), and Tuesday was an unplanned rest day. For the past few days I’ve been fighting the beginnings of a cold, and yesterday, I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon and now I feel a whole lot better. Hopefully the cold has run its course. I’ve already had two bad flus/colds this winter, and I don’t want a third.

My current weight is 236 pounds, which is a weight loss of 166 pounds!

With this one-pound gain, I’m back to what I weighed at the beginning of December:

Even though I’d still like to be losing weight, I’m pretty impressed with my consistency!

Keep it up, David!

A Tale of Two Gyms

January 17, 2012

I visit two different locations of my gym. I’ll call one “Closer,” and the other “Farther,” although both are convenient: Closer is less than 10 minutes away, and Farther is only 15-20 minutes, tops.

Each gym has it’s own pros and cons, and I’ve grown to appreciate their differences. Aside from being closer, Closer has easy parking, lots of natural light, and high ceilings. Most of their cardio equipment faces big windows, which I like. Closer has an assisted chin-up machine and a back machine that I enjoy using.

A big pro for Farther is that it’s bigger, with equipment on multiple levels. There are classrooms, although I’ve only taken spin classes there (and I haven’t done that in a long time). There’s a great corner that’s usually empty that’s perfect for planks, sit-ups, and mat work, and a perfect area for me to do walking lunges with having to dodge equipment or other customers. Farther has fun crunch machines that I occasionally use to switch up how I work my abs. Farther also has Arc Trainers, my favorite piece of cardio equipment.

A big con for Farther is that parking on the weekends can be a bitch – the garage across the street serves all the businesses in that area, including a 16-screen movie theater, and it will fill up completely. Ceilings are low in some rooms – there’s one spot where I can actually hit my head if I’m not careful. Meanwhile, the cons for Closer include a locker room and bathroom that I like less, and a shortage of open space for sit-ups and such.

I know each gym backward and forward, and I tailor my workouts to their strengths. But last week my two gyms threw me a curveball. And it’s gonna change the way I think.

One of the other differences between Closer and Farther is that Farther is the only location that has StairMasters. Well, to be specific, it’s the only location that has the kind of StairMaster that I like: the ones that look like mini-escalators that you continually climb. Closer has the StairMasters with pedals that you push up and down (actually, both locations have them), but I hate that machine, and won’t use it – it shouldn’t be called a StairMaster if it doesn’t feel like you’re going up stairs.

All of my StairMaster workouts that resulted in a new addition to my skyscraper collection happened at Farther. I would plan workouts with the StairMaster into my schedule, and those helped dictate which days I worked out at Closer and which days I worked at Farther. It was a system that I liked, and it worked.

So imagine my surprise when, a few days ago, I showed up at Closer and saw these:

Now both gyms have StairMasters! You’d think I’d be ecstatic, but I’m not. And it’s because, when it comes down to it, I don’t like the StairMaster. It’s torturous. The whole reason I created my Skyscraper Collection is because it was the only way I could motivate myself to use one. And I force myself to use one, roughly once a month, because the results are fantastic: I can burn 200+ calories in a matter of minutes, and get a great leg workout in the process.

To be honest, I liked that Farther was the only location with StairMasters. It meant that I could, during all my workouts at Closer, not even consider using the StairMaster that day – it wasn’t an option.

Now, it’s an option. Now, I’ll have to see those bad boys no matter where I workout. Now, I’ll have to incorporate the StairMaster more often into my workouts, because I tend to rotate through the machines. I’ll benefit from this – like I said, the StairMaster provides an awesome workout – but it’s gonna take some getting used to. And I’ll be grumbling until that happens.

The other day, when I saw the new StairMasters for the first time, my heart sank a little, while I simultaneously feigned excitement to the gym employee at the front desk. But I figured since it was my first day at the gym since they arrived, I should go over and introduce myself. I took the same posture as when I meet a new dog: stand firm, with a position of authority, and make clear that I’m the alpha being, and one that’s not frightened of them.

After a warm-up and a good long session using weights, it was time for the introduction. I sauntered over to one of the StairMaster, hopped on, and set the timer for 20 minutes. It’s been a month since I last used a StairMaster, and I could feel it. I didn’t push myself as hard as I have in the past, but I got my heart rate up, and I started sweating. After 10 minutes, I was exhausted, so, feeling satisfied in the entirety of my workout, I stopped.

Even a new StairMaster in a new setting doesn’t change how I feel about StairMasters:  I still don’t like them. But hey – I climbed 51 floors and burned 175 calories in those 10 minutes, and that is nothing to sneeze at!

Plus, I get to add a new skyscraper to my collection!

This addition brings my skyscraper collection to a whole new continent. I’ve already have towers in North America, Europe, and Asia, and now, I’m adding a fourth continent. One of the stops on the cruise I recently took was Aruba, an island that’s only about 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela (see pictures of me horseback riding in Aruba at the end of this post). I had never, in my life, been so close to South America, so in honor of that, I’m adding a South American skyscraper to my collection.

This, ladies and gentleman, is the Mirante do Vale building in Sao Paulo, Brazil:

At 51 stories, it perfectly reflects my StairMaster workout. Some fun facts about the Mirante do Vale:

  • It’s the tallest building in Brazil, and it has been for over 50 years, since it was completed in 1960.
  • The name means, roughly, “viewpoint of the valley” in Portuguese, and it’s a condo building.
  • It’s not well-known, even among Brazilians, that this is the tallest building in their country, and that’s because other buildings, built on higher pieces of land, appear taller in the Sao Paulo skyline. You can look down at the Mirante do Vale from the top floors of other buildings that were built on hills.
  • While it’s the tallest building in Brazil, there are 13 taller building in South America – all located in Chile, Columbia, Argentina and Venezuela.

And here’s what’s most interesting to me about the Mirante do Vale – it’s the tallest building in the world with an external fire escape that runs the entire height of the building. You can see the fire escape in the photo, going up the side of the building on the right. I just read about the history of fire escapes, and I was enthralled – and since I liked it, I think you might, too. This is boiled down from historian Sara Wermeil’s 2003 paper “No Exit: The Rise and Demise of the Outdoor Fire Escape,” which was published in the journal Technology and Culture:

Fire escapes came to be in the late 19th century, as buildings were growing taller, but before elevators were commonplace. After catastrophic fires started destroying those buildings in the 1870s, state legislatures finally enacted laws requiring means for getting people out. This meant new technology, and some creative solutions were devised. Elementary: equip each upper room with a long rope. Fantastic: a hat-like parachute, anchored under the chin, and boots with highly elastic soles. Practical: canvas escape chutes, like those used on jet airplanes today. Rube Goldberg: a rope and pulley system that let a person lower themself in a canvas seat.

The familiar fire escape finally emerged as the solution that worked best, but even they have huge shortcomings, namely, exposure to fires on lower floors and ladders, raised above street-level to thwart thieves, that frequently jammed. The beginning of the end for the fire escape was New York’s terrible Triangle Shirtwaist fire, where 145 garment workers died in 1911 as their ten-story factory building burned. Many died on fire escapes as flames billowed up from the windows below them. Fire escapes melted and buckled, dropping people to their deaths. Today’s solution is the closed, insulated stairwell, protected by fire doors that keep smoke from getting in, and that’s a still-evolving technology.

You learn something new every day, huh? I wouldn’t have learned any of this had I not stepped on that StairMaster.

Keep it up, David!

PS: Be sure to check out all the buildings in my Skyscraper Collection by clicking here!

The Fat-Burning Man AND New Song

January 15, 2012

Stop what you’re doing right now, and go check me out on the Fat-Burning Man! The Fat-Burning Man is Abel James’ website. Abel is an Austin-based author, fat loss coach, and health crusader.

Abel asked if I’d be down with talking about my story and answering some questions about my weight loss. Um, sure! Last week we had a wonderful phone conversation that Abel recorded and put up on his website. What I didn’t know at the time was that Abel’s planning on featuring a whole series of inspiring people on his website over the course of this year, and he picked me to be the first. Very cool.

I had a great time chatting with Abel, and he posted the entirety of our talk, which clocks in around 35 minutes. CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT.

Abel also made an abridged version with a photo slideshow. It runs about 15 minutes – WATCH IT HERE.

I’ve been reading Abel’s blog on his website for a few months now, and, over the holidays, I also had the pleasure of reading Abel’s book, also called The Fat-Burning Man, in which Abel outlines his LeanBody program, which can help you lose fat and build muscle. The book is fantastic – it’s thoroughly researched, and Abel has an ease with turning lots of information into accessible and understandable points, and with a sense of humor, too. Learn more about The Fat-Burning Man here (and ladies, don’t feel left out – Abel has also written The Fat-Burning Woman, but I haven’t read it, and I probably won’t).


My workout music is constantly evolving. I’m the sort that finds a song that I love, and then I listen to it over and over and over and over again until I get sick of it. I’ve blogged about these songs before – in the past few months both “Open Your Eyes” and “Push That Knot Away” have seen more than enough face time on my iPod – and now I wanna share another song that’s been on heavy rotation.

It’s called “Now You See It,” and it’s by Honorebel featuring Pitbull and Jump Smokers. It’s a fast-paced hip-hop dance song, and it gets me moving every time I hear it. Lately, I’ve been playing it at the beginning of my workouts, and again, a second time, near the end when I want to push through and finish strong.

The annoying thing about the song is they’re a bunch of different versions of it, and I couldn’t find a shareable version of the exact version that I like. Because it’s a dance song, there are a bunch of remixes out there. The song was featured on the compilation albums Just Dance 2 and Ultra Dance 11, but I became exposed to the song because it was featured on the soundtrack to Piranha 3D.

I loved Piranha 3D! It’s a really funny, clever, disgusting horror movie about a bunch of beautiful people that gather at a lake during Spring Break, where a school of vicious fish kill them in increasingly gruesome ways. I don’t remember when “Now You See It” played during the movie: I don’t think it was when that one girl’s face got ripped off by a boat propeller, and I don’t think it was when the topless parasailing girl got her legs, from the thighs down, munched off by the fish. And I’m fairly certain it wasn’t when the porn star got devoured completely, except for her breast implants, which bobbed to the surface. In 3D. Seriously, do you need any more reasons to rent this movie? And I didn’t even mention the fate of that one dude’s severed penis!

Anyhoo – when I saw the movie (in the theater, in 3D – naturally), I remembered thinking that the soundtrack had some songs that would be great for my workouts, so I bought it. And I’m glad I did. “Now You See It” is the 4th song from that album that’s gone into heavy rotation on my workout playlist.

Here’s the official music video for “Now You See It” – but this isn’t the same version that’s on the Piranha 3D soundtrack. You should know that the phrase “shake that ass for me” is featured prominently throughout the song, so it may not be work appropriate.

Today, “Now You See It” came in handy when I wanted to power through my bench press sets. And I did. And I was happy. And I wanted to dance, right there in the gym. But I didn’t. Maybe next time.

Keep it up, David!