Some New Group Fitness Classes Have Me Pumped For 2020!

January 14, 2020

I mentioned in my Year-End Progress Report that I haven’t been taking as many group fitness classes as I have in the past. But I want to change that, so on the first weekend of 2020, I went and got super sweaty at a fitness class I was trying for the first time.

This picture was taken right after Read the rest of this entry »

I’m Gonna Be Smart on Christmas Day

December 22, 2014

Another major holiday is upon us, and, if your family is anything like mine, there will be lots of food around. That’s why I’m recycling my Thanksgiving Pledge and using it this Thursday. In a nutshell, it provides some parameters so I can eat whatever I want, without beating myself up afterward.

I’m making one big change, though, Read the rest of this entry »

Fitbloggin Part Two: Ass-Kicking Workouts…and Local Celebrities!

July 2, 2013

Ready for more stories from the Fitbloggin conference in Portland? I got lots more to share, and today, I’m going to focus on exercise, because I took a couple classes that were truly one-of-a-kind experiences. At the end of my last post, I showed pictures from a run I took around downtown Portland, and that run was the only exercise I did solo.

The morning after the run I got up at the crack of dawn for a 6am boot camp class. We met in a big room inside the hotel, and after a quick warm-up, all of us (about 40-50 people total) headed outside, and did a bulk of the workout in Pioneer Square, a big plaza across the street.


The plaza was pretty empty at 6am, so we had a ton of space. The class was led by Erin Kreitz Shirey, a trainer who writes at Dig Deep, Play Hard. Erin is a dynamo of a woman – full of energy and passion and… currently pregnant! She led us through all sorts of excruciating exercises: squats, planks, push-ups, burpees, mountain climbers, frog jumps, and a lot of running up and down stairs.

It was towards the end of the class that things got really interesting. Read the rest of this entry »

2011 Year-End Progress Report!

January 10, 2012

We’re already ten days into 2012, and I’m the idiot that’s still wishing people Happy New Year (I’ll probably give it a rest right around Easter). Because it’s a new month, I get to share my December Progress Report. And because it’s a brand-new year, I get to share my first-ever Year-End Progress Report!

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, the December report. This may be repetitive for some of you, but in case you’ve never seen one of my Progress Report posts before, I’ll fill you in: I have a calendar in which I mark every one of my workouts, and write in a quick description of what I did. Each workout gets a dot, and each class I take with Richard Simmons at Slimmons gets a dot with a circle around it. Here’s what my calendar looks like for December:

December was a pretty good month. I was sick with a flu for a few days right smack in the middle of the month, but every other full week was spot-on, with me reaching my goal of 6 workouts in 7 days. That included workouts at the gym near my parents’ house in Michigan during the week leading up to Christmas, and a whole slew of workouts in the Caribbean when I was on the cruise. In total, I worked out 23 out of 31 days, a 74% success rate. Fifteen of those workouts had a heavy emphasis on weights – the highest number since August! – and I also took 5 classes at Slimmons. A pretty good month indeed!

OK, on to the main event…

The 2011 Year-End Progress Report!

Here are all twelve months of dotted calendar pages:

You may not be able to see all the dots in all those small pictures, but they all add up to a grand total of 284 workouts in the 365 days of 2011! Holy Crap! Wheeeeee!

Some additional facts and figures (because I love me some facts and figures!):

  • 284 workouts in 365 days equals a 78% success rate.
  • I took 52 classes with Richard Simmons at Slimmons (that averages nicely to once a week).
  • I took 17 boot camp classes with Craig Ramsay from February to August.
  • 108 of those workouts had a weightlifting focus (Its actually higher than this, but I only started noting weightlifting workouts in April).
  • My workouts average an hour or so, which means that I spent the equivalent of nearly 12 entire days straight working out in 2011. (!)

My goal for 2012? It’s simple: work out more than 284 times!

Here’s the 2011 month-by-month breakdown:

  • January 2011:  Worked out 27 out 0f 31 days (87%), including 6 classes at Slimmons.
  • February 2011:  Worked out 23 out of 28 days (82%), including 5 classes at Slimmons and 3 Boot Camp Classes.
  • March 2011:  Worked out 25 out of 31 days (81%), including 5 classes at Slimmons and 4 Boot Camp Classes.
  • April 2011:  Worked out 20 out of 30 days (66%), including 5 classes at Slimmons and 3 Boot Camp Classes. 4 workouts had a weightlifting focus.
  • May 2011:  Worked out 24 out of 31 days (77%), including 3 classes at Slimmons and 0 Boot Camp Classes. 13 workouts had a weightlifting focus.
  • June 2011:  Worked out 22 out of 30 days (73%), including 4 classes at Slimmons and 2 Boot Camp Classes. 10 workouts had a weightlighting focus.
  • July 2011:  Worked out 25 out of 31 days (80%), including 4 classes at Slimmons, 2 Boot Camp Classes and 5 training sessions. 20 workouts had a weightlifting focus.
  • August 2011:  Worked out 25 out of 31 days (80%), including 5 classes at Slimmons, 3 Boot Camp Classes and 4 training sessions. 15 workouts had a weightlifting focus.
  • September 2011:  Worked out 24 out of 30 days (80%), including 4 classes at Slimmons.  11 workouts had a weightlifting focus.
  • October 2011:  Worked out 23 out of 31 days (74%), including 3 classes at Slimmons. 11 workouts had a weightlifting focus.
  • November 2011: Worked out 23 out of 30 days (76%), including 6 classes at Slimmons. 9 workouts had a weightlifting focus.
  • December 2011: Worked out 23 out of 31 days (74%), including 5 classes at Slimmons. 15 workouts had a weightlifting focus.

Whew – It’s tiring just looking at all those numbers! I can’t describe how incredibly proud I am of this post, and the work that it represents. Only one thing left to say…


Two Reasons To Celebrate

July 6, 2011

With a title like that, I better not waste any time!  Yesterday was a gooood day, for two reasons.  Here they are:

1) Chart Update.  It was Tuesday, which is weigh-in day.  I normally don’t take pictures of what the scale says, because I don’t keep my camera handy in the bathroom, and it’s also hard to weigh myself and then get a good shot of the read-out in the 4 seconds before the display disappears.

But I was so excited by the display today that I immediately weighed myself 4 more times just to get the god-damn photograph!  Here it is:

TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY SIX POUNDS!  It’s the lowest I’ve ever weighed in my adult life.  It’s the number I’ve been trying to get to for the past three months.  It was a welcome sight!

That number represents a loss of 1 pound for the week, and a total weight loss of 166 pounds!  (And if you’re wondering about that .2, know that I disregard tenths, as a preventative measure to keep myself from obsessing over numbers, even though this post may suggest otherwise.)

Time to update the chart!

Ooh, adding that downward line felt really good.  Now I’m only 16 pounds away from my next goal!

I mentioned above that I’ve been trying to get to 236 for the past three months – what I mean is that I first hit 237 pounds on my March 17, 2011 weigh-in (my post for that day also features my rationale for not drinking diet soda, which you can read here) and I’ve been ping-ponging up and down between 237 and 240 pounds ever since.  Here’s what my chart has looked like since I first was able to write “237” on it:

And, what the hell – here’s the whole chart:

I’m not gonna go making any bold announcements about this being the end of the plateau I’ve been on, but I am gonna sleep well tonight knowing I’m another step closer to my next goal, and I am gonna take pride in knowing that the 1 pound that’s gone is a direct result of a really good week of food choices and killer workouts (like this one).

But I’m not done celebrating… 

2) Blog Milestone.  You all know I’m a big ol’ nerd for facts and figures, whether it’s my weight chart, my skyscraper collection, my running chart, or the fun posts I put together where I compare my weight loss to Butterfinger bars and cinder blocks.

Normally I’m pretty on top of all things facts and figures, but last week I was completely oblivious and totally missed acknowledging my milestone THREE-HUNDREDTH BLOG POST!  My 300th was actually my post all about fresh figs, which makes this post my 304th.

I can’t believe I’ve written 300 of these suckers.  More importantly, I can’t believe that there are people out there who have read all 300 of them, and keep coming back for more.  Whether you’re reading your first post, or your 304th, I give you a great big thank you for coming here, giving a damn about me, lending your support, and giving me a boost when I most need it.  First and foremost, this blog is a tool to keep myself motivated, and that so many of you come by and visit for a daily dose of motivation or inspiration means so much to me.

I mostly write this blog at night, as a way to unwind and take stock of my day, and earlier tonight, I went to my boot camp class, where Craig had us focus on upper body drop sets.  A drop set is when you do an exercise until you reach muscle exhaustion, then switch to lighter weights and continue doing it.  The class was tough, and I know I’ll be sore in the morning, and I was drenched with sweat.  By the time I got to my car, lifting my arms to the top of the steering wheel was tough.  But, in the spirit of my blogger buddy Kelly, who photographs herself after every workout (check out her blog here), I turned my camera phone on myself, and snapped a post-boot camp pic, and that’s what I’ll end this post with today:

Keep it up, David!

Chart Update: Easy Come, Easy Go

June 15, 2011

Tuesday was weigh-in day.  Wanna know what happened?

This happened:

A couple things to note:

  1. I haven’t fixed my chart from last week, when I messed it up by putting the dot in the wrong place.  Twice.
  2. I gained a pound.

I’m not happy about the pound, but I’m not surprised either.  As I mentioned the other day, I missed some workouts last week.  I missed another workout last night, because of my dinner plans with Heather (which was fantastic – read about it here).

So that’s three workouts that I skipped – and all three happened after my planned rest day, which means a total of 4 days in the last week were exercise-free.  No bueno.

In addition, I wasn’t great with my food.  I wasn’t horrible, either, but I was a little slack about portions, and ate a few things I normally would have skipped (including some fudge that was delivered to my office).  I’ve been keeping a food log, but I didn’t log any of my food last week.

So.  I’m not surprised I gained that pound.

Here’s a look at my whole chart.  Lately, it’s been zig-zagging back and forth between the same few pounds:

I have a whole week until I weight myself again.  And the first day of that week was fantastic.  I started logging my food again, and tonight, for the first time since April 19, I went to a boot camp class!  The class I go to is led by Craig Ramsay, and it’s really fun and really tough.  Craig has been out of town a lot in the past two months, which is why he hasn’t been teaching, and I’m glad he’s back, because his class was just what I needed to get this week off to a good start.

Tonight’s class involved a lot of super-sets, which involves doing 20 reps of bicep curls, flys, push-ups, or something like that, and then immediately go into walking lunges or squats, going across the room and back, and then immediately repeating the first exercise, and so on.  I did the entire workout with a 10-pound weight in each hand, and by the end I was ready to fling them through a window, except for that I don’t think I had the strength.  I was ready to collapse.  I noticed my legs quaking and trembling just standing in the parking lot afterwards.  I’m gonna be sore tomorrow!

The best part of the class was that Craig noticed improvement on my part, and complimented me on my shoulders and arms…  looks like all the weights I’ve been doing lately have been paying off!

My fantastic Tuesday ended with a visit to Whole Foods – I arrived 20 minutes before they closed, so I kinda raced through and grabbed what I needed, without looking for any new types of produce, like I normally do.  I should’ve taken a picture of the produce I did buy for the blog, but I forgot, and it was late, and now it’s already all put away.  Oh wellYou all know what fruits and vegetables look like.

Keep it up, David!

Reader Question, Office Temptation, Boot Camp

March 24, 2011

Three topics today.  Let’s get started!

1) Reader Question. I got a great question the other day in the comments section.  Lisa wrote:

I need to lose about 35 lbs. and am working with a trainer. The problem is I am an emotional eater. Before you started this journey, would you say you were an emotional eater? Do you think that’s how you gained the weight? I am talking to a therapist too about this, but I know the best advice comes from people who have experienced this firsthand. My problem is that I use anything “bad” that happens to me during the day as an excuse to emotionally eat. It sucks and I have to get myself out of this rut! I have lost 10 lbs. since Jan. 1st but gained some of it back, despite working out on a regular basis, because of the emotional binges. Anything you can share with me would be a tremendous help!

Ugh, emotional eating is such a hurdle, and I’m sure most of us deal with it in some way.  I wouldn’t say that I used to be an emotional eater, I’d say that I’M STILL an emotional eater, but I’ve developed some habits and techniques to combat tough times.  Food provided comfort in bad times, was a release in stressful times, and was a way of celebrate in good times.  There were very few emotions that I didn’t respond to by eating, so yeah, that’s pretty much the definition of emotional eating!

The good news, though, is that you can combat it, and it sounds like you’re on the right path, and I applaud you for working with a therapist.  Here’s what’s been working for me:  I took reward and celebratory foods off the table.  I used to treat myself:  if I was feeling great because of an accomplishment, than I told myself I could stop for ice cream, pick up a pizza, or load up on candy.  There have been times in my life when I was exercising, but eating poorly, and partly it’d be because I’d think, regularly, “yeah, I can have more fries and a shake – I had a good workout yesterday.”  Not anymore.

Focusing on changing my thought patterns during good times seemed like an easier challenge, because when I was really craving something as a celebratory treat, I could say ‘no’ to myself, and, instead, focus on whatever it was that provided me a reason to celebrate, and still feel great.  What I’ve found is that because I refuse to indulge in reward foods, I now have the great motivator to prevent binging in bad times:  After all, why should I console myself with crappy food when I won’t reward myself with it?  It’s a little mental game that works for me, and maybe it might work for you, too.  I hope this helps, Lisa, and KEEP IT UP!

Have any tips to battle emotional eating?  Share them in the comments section!

2) Office TemptationAs I mentioned yesterday, I recently started at a new job, and get to show up to an office every day for the first time in a few months.  That also means I get to, for the first time in a few months, deal with office temptation.  Here’s what tempted me yesterday:

Look! A fun-sized box of chocolate-covered raisins!

Did I say fun-sized? I meant a THREE-AND-A-HALF-POUND BOX.  Here it is next to my cup of tea:

It’s even bigger than my friend Jamie’s head, who has “a notoriously large head” (her words, not mine):

This beauty (by which I mean the candy, not Jamie, although Jamie is also definitely a beauty) was just sittin’ in the break room, left out for everyone to enjoy.  I don’t know where it came from, but there it was.  And I really wanted to have some… until I crunched some numbers.  Here’s the nutrition label:

There’s 30 chocolate-covered raisins in a serving, and 40 servings in the box, so that’s roughly 1,200 raisins total.  At 170 calories and 6 grams of fat a serving, that box contains 6,800 total calories and 240 total grams of fatGross.  Of course, a numbers for a single serving aren’t terrible, but I know that I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, eat just 30.  So I stayed away altogether.  Hopefully the box will be gone tomorrow!

3) Boot Camp. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I took, for the first time ever, two boot camp classes on two consecutive days, and man oh man, am I sore.  On Tuesday, I went to my now-regular boot camp class with Craig Ramsay.  He had us working with DynaBands, these latex stretchy bands that you can use to strengthen and tone your muscles.  It was my first time using a DynaBand, and it was fun, because it was new for me, but like every Craig Ramsay class, it was tough.  The exercises he taught us focused on specific muscles, but we would do them in lunge or squat positions, so other muscles would be utilized for stability and support.  Brutal.

If that wasn’t enough, on Wednesday, I went with my friend Chris (my most recent running buddy) to a boot camp class at his gym, where I had picked up a free 7-day pass so I could work out with him.  That class was taught by a nice woman named Kristy (Christy? Kristi? not sure of the spelling), and it involved free weights, a step, those giant balls, and a mat.  Thankfully not all at once, but I’m sure that day will come.  I’m tired just thinking about it!

This morning, I did cardio: 50 minutes on the elliptical; almost 550 calories burned.

Keep it up, David!