A Merry Rogue

One working Dad's journey to find "healthy".

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 2 Completed & Hoop Dreams

Week 2 Results

Well here we are at the end of Week 2.  Made it to the gym all 6 days and completed every workout.  I did "cheat" on more than one meal this week . . . what?!  I'm weak!  Twice my wife and I ate out this past week.  Once because she was craving a burger so we made our way to the Blue Door Pub in St. Paul for some of the most AMAZING stuffed burgers.  The second time we at least split the meal.  Neither the burger or the Double BLT (@ Merlin's Rest Pub in Minneapolis) were that "unhealthy", but the tater tots and battered onion chips weren't.  Also . . . yeah, there's more . . . while not really "unhealthy" spaghetti is not really in my diet plan.  But we had it . . . and it was delicious . . . and I regret nothing!

Mostly that is because when I stepped on the scale after today's workout (the final of the "week"), I am down another 3 pounds.  Which puts me at a total of 10 pounds down from  my weight at the beginning of Week 1.  While 3 pounds is nothing compared to the 7 I lost during the first week, it is about what I am expecting/hoping to drop each week.  According to most medical websites that I've came across, losing about 2 pounds per week is considered healthy.

Before I move on, I want to state a few things so that no one is getting the wrong idea here.  First, I am not a calorie counter and I don't plan on becoming one.  My "diet" consists most of lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and nuts.  I try to stay away from processed foods, and I have little to no gluten in my diet.  Most of these happen over the course of a week, but they are few and far between.

Secondly, I am not so worried about the number on the scale.  I plan to weigh myself once a week, immediately after my final Cardio workout of the week.  It may not be the best time, but it is the most convenient.  I walk right by a digital scale going from the showers back to my locker.  Step on the scale, read the digit display and I am on my way.  I do take into consideration other variables in how I judge my progress.  How my clothes fit, how I look in the mirror and how I feel weigh into it.  The workout routine I am doing is designed to burn fat and build muscle.

The Workout

I mentioned my workout plan briefly two posts ago, but I figured it would be good to go into it a little more in depth.  I will not divulge the full details of the workout as it relates to the workout from Joe Manganiello's book Evolution.  If you want the workout, go buy the book.  It is well worth it.  You can read my last post to get my thoughts on the book and the workout it includes.

The Beginner's routine that I created based off of the Evolution workout consists of a 6 days per week schedule.  Alternating 3 days of weight lifting with 3 days of cardio.  For the first three weeks of the Beginner's routine, the lifting days are full body days.  One workout per body area/muscle group, followed immediately by 20 - 30 minutes of low intensity/fat burning cardio on the elliptical.  On the cardio days, you do one of the Ab workouts from the Evolution book workout, followed by 30 - 45 minutes of low intensity/fat burning cardio on the elliptical.

For the second three weeks of the Beginner's routine I will switch to a 3-day split workout.  This is where you lift 3 days, but each day is dedicated to just certain muscle groups.  Such as Chest & Back for day one, Legs & Triceps for the second day of lifting, and Shoulders/Deltoids & Biceps for the third day of lifting.  The Cardio & Ab days remain the same as before.

Hoop Dreams

Now if you are like me and just need a change up from doing your run-of-the-mill cardio routines, I like to change it up some.  What I have done 3 times this past week is played basketball.  Now let me just point out that I haven't played basket ball in close to 12 or 13 years.  From the time I was in 1st or 2nd grade there was hardly a day where I didn't play.  I was obsessed with basketball to the point where a friend and I used to shovel his driveway in the middle of winter, just so we could play ball . . . mind you this was in International Falls, MN . . . you know the place.  The one that is stupid cold during the winter months.

This past week found me with a ball in my hands once again.  Within five minutes of stepping back on the court, I was asked to play a game of pickup basketball.  While I am a far cry from the 195lbs I used to be when I played my senior year, I was pretty pleased with the results.  My vertical leap may be in the negatives, and I may not be as fast as I once was, but a lot that I feared I may have lost over the years was still there.

I may not be ready to join the NBA ( . . . or even a Men's League for that matter), but it feels good to find once again the pleasure I used to find in just shooting some hoops.

Of coarse I can't end this post without once again mentioned the Polar Bear Plunge that I will be doing with the rest of the cast from the Robin Hood and The Merry Men Show.  We are of coarse always looking for more donations.  So if you can, head on over to my site and donate.

Until next time!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Success In Failure & The Polar Bear Plunge

Success In Failure

In the two years since my very first blog post, Me vs. The Scale, not a lot has changed in terms of the number I see on the scale or the number on the measuring tape.  That in and of itself can be a disappointing fact.  However this past week I learned a very valuable lesson about only paying attention to those numbers.

A few years before I began this blog, an injury to my low back resulted in a herniated disc.  I spent a lot of painful days and nights sleeping on the couch since then.  Every winter since then I have slipped on ice during the winter (sometimes falling, sometimes not) and ended up back on the couch in pain . . . except this year!!  I cannot tell you how excited I am about that fact. 

Two nights ago in a rush to get things done so I could get to bed I slipped and fell on our outside steps while taking out the trash.  Aside from some slightly sore muscles in my upper back from landing on the steps and some sore neck muscles from the impact (I fell quite hard), I have no other indications that I fell.  My low back muscles held!!!  All of the planks, plank rows, crunches, situps, bridges . . .etc, they all paid off.

There are other successes as well, when I stop paying attention to the numbers and focus on the positive.  My overall strength has increased in my entire body.  And while losing weight will give me a better idea of my "size", I can tell that I have gained muscle mass.  Which in my opinion is a good thing.  When I look at pictures from just before I gained weight, I see the pictures where I was around the 214 to 217 lbs size and I think that I am too skinny (and the BMI charts say I should be 190 to 195 lbs at 6'2"!!).  Then there are pictures from when I had started lifting again and gained some muscle mass.  I was around the 220 to 225 lbs range, and in my opinion I looked better.

Rock Star with my adoring fan(wife) @about 217lbs.
Doing a little Sword work @ about 225lbs.

The Polar Bear Plunge

Last year the members of the Robin Hood and The Merry Men Show participated in the Minnesota Polar Bear Plunge and it was an amazing experience. Some of the Merry Crew even jumped twice!!!  Ironically enough, I couldn't do the first jump in White Bear Lake due to slipping on the ice and hurting my back.  At the Minneapolis Plunge we volunteered our time, along with a Mermaid, a Belly Dancer, Fandazzi Fire Troupe, and The Cabin Boys, and spend the day entertaining the crowds before taking the plunge.  This year we plan to do it all over again on March 1st at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis!!!

The 2013 Minneapolis Polar Bear Plunge
I know, I know!  You are thinking we are a bit daft for jumping into a freezing cold lake in the middle of a Minnesota winter.  . . . Well you're probably right!  But we have to make up for being able to jump in a nice cold pond at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in the August heat some how!

Final Jump off the Bridge at the 2013 MN Ren Fest

Besides, all the money we raise goes to benefit Special Olympics Minnesota athletes.  It gives these athletes the opportunity to participate in the Special Olympics and it helps them show the world that they are not "handicapped", stupid, or inferior.  It helps these athletes show the world that they are in fact uniquely talented, driven, intelligent human beings with goals and dreams.

So if you can, please make a donation. It doesn't even have to be to me!  Just donate to someone you know.  Or even go to Polar Bear Plunge Website, click the "Find Plunger" link and search for some random person to donate to.  Should you feel compelled to donate, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.

PS:  If you would like to donate through my page, just go HERE and click on the green "SUPPORT ME > Make a Splash" button.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Sometimes you just have to be honest with yourself about where you are at.  This applies to just about every aspect of your life.  Work, home, diet, fitness . . . pants size.  Until you are honest with yourself certain things just aren't going to change.

It has been a year since I started this blog and not a whole lot has changed in terms of weight.  My pants size is a bit smaller . . . but hey, that could be from me stretching them out.  Gotta be honest with myself.

I was so proud I took a pic to send to my friend Ted.

So what's next?  Well I have already started a new workout . . . well tried at least. It started back in early December when I received a copy of Joe Manganiello's book Evolution: The Cutting Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You've Always Wanted.  This book was the motivation & inspiration that I needed to get back in the gym.  Unfortunately I foolishly tried to jump into the workout right away.  The result?  I ended up over training and was in pain for a good week . . . which I then repeated the following week.

Before I continue, let me say this:  You should buy this book!!  The forward to this book was written by Arnold Scharzenegger.  Magnaniello's story is inspiring & compelling.  The meal plan is easy to follow, and the workout will destroy you!

I do have two cons about the book that I feel I need to point out since I am recommending this book.  The first is that there is no mention what-so-ever of stretching.  From the first time I stepped into a weight room, I had the concept beat into my memory.  Stretching is key training, and it's lack of mention in this book is a serious oversight.  Always stretch!  The second is that the book claims to be for anyone from beginners to pros.  While the inspirational story, meal plan and workout description can be used by anyone beginner to pro, the workout is not.  In fact I will say this; Unless you have been consistently lifting weights in the gym for at least 6-12 weeks, DO NOT try this workout right away.  Find yourself a beginner's workout plan and follow it for a while before stepping into this one.

. . . but seriously, go buy this book.


So after two weeks of pain due to my own stupidity, I took the workout from the book and created a 6-12 week beginner's workout plan to follow.  This will accomplish two things.  The first being that I will get my muscles used to working out again and lower my required recovery time so that I can actually do the Evolution workout effectively.  Secondly it will also get me used to the lifts & exercises used in the Evolution workout.

For the workout I am doing 2-3 weeks of full-body weight lifting (M,W,F) and three days of Cardio with Abs in between.  Then I will do 2-3 weeks of a 3 day split, where each lifting day only focuses on two muscle groups per day.  Which is similar to the Evolution workout, which uses a 6 day split.  Once my recovery period has decreased, I will move into the actual Evolution workout.

I also refined my diet.  I cut back on some of the stuff that has slowly crept back in over the past few months.  The biggest is the cutting back of alcohol.  It is amazing the amount of calories that creep into your diet thanks to the booze-ahol.  Taking down a few drinks a week, or even one a day after work?  You might as well be eating a bag of chips.  The diet focuses on veggies & lean protein for the most part. 

Another thing that I have been working on is to replace the term "exercising" or "working out" with "training".  It is amazing what you mentally attach to certain terms.  In our culture terms like "exercising" and "workout out" have become negative terms.  Something we dread and hate.  Training is something we do to achieve goals . . . it serves a purpose (at least in my mind).  It is what I did in school to get ready for sports.

So far it is working great.  I have completed the first week of the beginner's program I created and have lost a total of 7 pounds.  Not a bad start if I do say so myself.  As an added bonus, I can still move my arms.

 I plan to keep posting at least once a week.  If you follow the blog and don't see a post, don't hesitate to poke me.  If you buy the book, drop me a line and let me know what you think of it.

The next few months are going to be crazy!!!  For those not aware, my wife and I are expecting twins in early April.  Between birthing classes, baby showers, work, training, and chores it looks to be a whirlwind start to 2014 for us!!

A little peek at Baby A & Baby B.
The Wife and myself.  Photo by our friend at M.C. Photography


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