April 03, 2009

Weighty Matters

I'm reading the part in Good Calories, Bad Calories about obesity now and I am kind of tickled about what I've seen so far.  For a long time, I've been saying that I actually lose weight without exercise.  This has been the case for years.

I'm nearly 6'2" and I presently weigh about 175lbs. (I'm guessing.) You'll recall that I was actually up to almost 195lbs last April.  In order to get up to this weight, I was exercising a lot and eating a lot.  It took me almost three full years to pack on those 20ish lbs and almost as soon as I stopped exercising, I lost 10 lbs.  And then 15.  I haven't weighed myself recently, but I am sure that I'm getting close to back what I weighed before I started working out and exercising.  In four months of inactivity, I lost what took me three years to gain!

This is why I've pretty much given up on the notion of being 195lbs and having a big, broad-chested body (with killer arms for the gun show!) like I admire on other men.  Instead, I'm aiming for an athletic body that is more in line with my natural disposition, which is to say, slim.  I just look more like a swimmer or runner than I do a wrestler.

I think there must be something genetic here.

My father's family has lots of obesity in it.  My dad has battled with his weight for years.

My mother's family, however, is largely comprised of very wiry people.  My mother, grandfather, and my uncle are all very slim people.  Narrow shoulders, fine wrists and ankles, and not a lot of body fat.

What is interesting to me is the fact that while I take after my mother's family in terms of body type, my sister is more like my father's family.

Taubes' book contains citations of studies that have shown that exercise can actually help people -- even fat people -- to gain weight, that it increases appetite and drives a person to consume more calories.  What's more, it has been shown that caloric restriction is not an effective method for reaching and maintaining a low body weight. 

There are lots of people out there who just don't seem to get fat even though they eat a lot and exercise little and people who don't seem to lose weight even though they are very active and are careful about how much they eat.

I've run a few half marathons before and there have always been people who finish way ahead of me who are way chunkier than I am.  They have more body fat, but it's pretty safe to assume they've been training longer and are at least as active.  This has amazed me, but when you read about these studies and observations, it's not all that surprising.

I don't mean to suggest that body weight cannot be controlled or changed through diet and exercise, but in reading this book, I am sure the relationship is more complex than the conventional wisdom would have us believe.  I am also inclined to believe that how much one eats is less important than what one eats when it comes to controlling one's weight.

I am just pleased to see that my experience with trying to gain weight is actually documented as really pretty normal.

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December 01, 2008

Out of Fish Oil

I ran out of Fish Oil this morning.  I need to go get some more.

But this morning I cooked my own eggs and sausage and I cooked with coconut oil for the first time.  It's kind of like butter in that it's a solid at room temperature.  It is very yucky to touch -- sort of like a heavy, very persistent sunscreen.  *blech*  But it goes liquid under heat and it doesn't disappear the way that olive oil seems to disappear.  Or at least it didn't with my eggs and sausage.  Further, I really didn't notice any significant change in taste in my eggs.  Neat.

I've also added vitamin D to my daily supplements.  I currently take a multivitamin, glucosamine & chondroitin and sometimes lysine. 

I only take the lysine when I think the conditions are ripe for a fever blister outbreak

The glocosamine is for my knees because about six months ago my left knee started cracking and then it got painful.  Since I started on the G&C, it still cracks, but isn't painful and I noticed over the weekend that the cracking is starting to taper off.

The vitamin D is for general purposes, really, and because it's getting cold out, which means I'm getting less sun than usual.  (Your produce vitamin D naturally by exposure to sunlight, which is why getting a bit of sun is good for you.)

The multivitamin is for... well, I don't know what it's for.  I started taking one a long time ago for reasons I can't recall.  Maybe my doctor recommended it.  I'm not sure.  I take Men's One A Day and a friend gave me a bottle of his Centrum.  (I only take one of either a day.)  I wonder if it's bad for me to take these. hmmm...

I started taking the fish oil, though, over a year ago after my physical when my doctor told me that my "good cholesterol" was a little low.  He recommended fish oil and exercise.  Since I was hitting the gym three times a week at the time, I decided that fish oil made sense.

I'm starting to wonder, though, if my new diet will help me correct a lot of this stuff naturally, though.  That's what the rumors on the street are, anyway.

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November 30, 2008

Exercise for the Body and Heart

These are called ... umm...

So pretty.  So very... very pretty.

Turkish Get-ups!  That's it.  They're called that.

Um.  yeah.

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November 12, 2008

Fatty Daddy, Two by Four

I was just reading this article about perceived obesity and then I calculated my body fat on this site.

Method 1: 11.4%
Method 2: 12.2%

Thanks, Monica!

This came up because Monica and I were emailing about diet and carbs and stuff and I mentioned that I was not really pleased with the weight I had lost.  She said that I should really stop for a second to consider whether or not my goal weight was really appropriate for me.

Here I am: a semi-active desk jockey and I'm losing weight rather quickly with little to no effort.

I'm 6'2" and I had finally broken the 190lbs mark.  I had considered my goal weight to be 195ish, so I was happy when I hit 193.  That was a couple of months ago and it didn't last long.

I noticed that as I cut back on activity and changed my diet, I was losing mass quickly.  The other day I weighed myself and I was back down to 186.

So, I was fretting over this a little.  Not TOO much because I've been thinking I need to trim down a little to see better muscle tone. With regard to how it relates to the article, I wrote this:

I attribute my losing weight to decreased caloric intake mostly, though.

In the link you just sent to me, it talks about the environmental influences on perceived obesity and reflecting on my own childhood I think it applies to eating habits.  My mother was the primary adult influence in my life and she was always thin as a rail.  She also rarely ate full meals and opted instead to do a lot of grazing.  She'd eat a few carrots here.  Maybe half a sandwich there.  Supper was a dollop of that and a couple of hours later she'd have a little dash of this.  So, I tend to do the same sort of thing, but food isn't just lying around for me like that.  Compounding matters, I have a VERY difficult time eating when I'm not hungry and I'm able to easily ignore hunger pangs for several hours.

So, lately, particularly after shifting my diet to eliminate all that sugar, I've only been having two sizeable meals in a day and they're early meals, too!  Yesterday, I ate breakfast around 8 and worked without stopping until 8:30 and so I had a dinner of chicken and ribs  (from Chirping Chicken!) and no veggies.

This morning I put on one of my suits which used to be slim and fitted and today it feels baggy and loose.

Finding my ideal weight and proportion of muscle is one of my primary goals, but I think I need to work out some better patterns for eating to ensure that I get what I need.
Rambly enough for you?

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July 30, 2008

50 Pushups

So, this evening I was a little tipsy from several glasses of a pleasant chardonnay and I got home from watching Project Runway and, of course, it's time to do my push ups.

Now, I know you shouldn't exercise before bed if you hope to sleep, but that's the time I have to do this sort of thing.

Well, I skipped to day 2 of the one hundred push ups program and I maxed out at 50 pushups.  That's just 10 less than my initial max.  I predict that by the end of this thing, I will be able to EASILY do 100 pushups.  I actually think I can do 100 pushups now if I were willing to push it a little.

I am doing this with a group of people (by way of internets) and some of them started very low.  I mean, I started at 60 as my alleged max, but one person is starting with less than 10 as their max.

I told my trainer about this and he believes that there is no way that these people will make it to 100 in six weeks.  I am inclined to agree, particularly because I am a week behind them and only two others have logged their day one or day two maxes.  This makes me think they aren't really working at this.

Also, tomorrow, one of my coworkers is bringing in this Nike thingie her boyfriend bought her.  It's a runner thing and it tracks how far and how fast she runs.

I have not endorsed this product because what I saw initially was that this thingie required Nike shoes.  I can't run in Nike shoes.  They're clunky, heavy, and they kill my feets.  I don't like them.  I wear New Balance or Ascics. (How do you spell that?)

Well, she says that her thing doesn't need the shoes, so I'm excited to see it.  I'm not keen on spending $60 on this, but I would spend that much on a watch and then forget to write my training down.  So, maybe it's worth it.

I'm excited to see it.

Tomorrow night, I'm going to see Lisa Loeb in concert.  Do you know about her?  I think she has one song.  Who knew she had concerts?  Still.  It should be fun.

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July 29, 2008

Will I or Won't I?

I started this One Hundred Pushups program last night because a friend of mine is doing it and it's fun to do things with friends.  I did my initial test and did 60 pushups.  Not bad.  I think I can do more, though, because I was very tired and sore from my weekend of volleyball, swimming, and gardening.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, a friend of mine ran his first half marathon and he did very well.  I actually think his time was the same as my first half marathon time.  I am very happy for him, but this morning he said he didn't think he would ever run a marathon.

This is ridiculous to me.  If you can run a half marathon, I'm convinced you should just go ahead and run a marathon.  I know that after my last half marathon, I could have run a full.

So, I am giving a lot of thought to taking up running again.  The only problem is that I hate my current schedule.  I think I will have to shift everything around so that I work out with trainer in the morning instead of after work in the evening.  Then, I could run in the off-mornings.

On the bright side, I discovered this website Run Your City which has running maps and blogs for NYC.

I haven't made up my mind about it yet, though.  Running is a hard sport to break into and it's hot out.  I run better in the cold.  I'm just SO out of running shape right now.

The first thing I need to do is get a new watch for running.  Maybe I'll look around for one at lunch this afternoon...

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June 23, 2008

The Apology

My trainer is a total sweetheart.  We talk a lot trash during our workouts, but he is actually concerned about how I feel about my fitness and stuff.

He called me today about the backhanded compliment I received on Thursday night.  He wanted to make sure my feelings weren't hurt by that guy's remarks.

They weren't.  I thought it was just silly.  It was very silly even if a little rude.  I joked about it and really didn't take it to heart.  But my trainer called me to make sure I didn't take it seriously and that my feelings weren't hurt.  Isn't that nice?

I told him it was totally fine.  I mean, even though it was fun to carry on about it, the remark was really very dumb and didn't mean much to me.  It anything, it meant that my belly looks a lot better now.  But beyond that, the guy's remarks were so absurd that I couldn't take them very seriously.

So, anyway, I just wanted to talk about how nice my trainer is.  If you live in NYC and you are a member of NYSC and you want a personal trainer, let me know because I will totally recommend him to you.

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June 19, 2008

Video: Formerly Fatty Flibbert

Ok, so I have never thought of myself as being fat or even really having much of a belly.  Sure, I've had an abdominal region that lacks tone, but I wouldn't have ever called it a gut or a "spare tire" or anything like that.

But this evening I was in the gym and this person that I see there from time to time came up and remarked at how good I look these days and that I've "lost so much?"  And I was like, "What?"  Because I've gained weight over time, I haven't lost it.  And he pointed to my stomach and said I used to have "an inner tube" and now I don't.

I was actually shocked.  And in this video, I talk about it.  Plus, you get to see my abs in their current, apparently inner tubeless state.

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April 09, 2008

Grand Old Times

Monica sent me some very interesting information about something called Evolutionary Fitness, which seems to be a system promoted heavily by one Art DeVany.

The idea is that one should eat and exercise according to the dietary and exercise conditions in which human beings evolved.  The result is that you eat a lot of natural, unprocessed foods heavy in veggies and meats (People are omnivores!) and you exercise irregularly, though not infrequently, at a moderate level of exertion punctuated by spikes of "explosive" movements and exercises.

You have to read about it.  A lot of it is very good sense and mirrors advice I've received from my trainer, doctors, and other such people.   DeVany, of course, takes his principle to the extreme and as a 70 year old who does motorcross with a ROCKIN' body and a PhD in economics, he presents some strong anecdotal evidence to make his case.

First thing, I am skeptical by the article which introduces the general ideas behind Evolutionary Fitness if only because the article is presented without any footnotes or citations of scientific evidence to back his claims.  It reads as a long stream of pseudoscientific assertions.

Monica has a post up right now that highlights another concern I have about this paleo-fitness reasoning. It's about people drinking milk.  As strange as it may sound to you, people did not start drinking milk as adults until fairly recently in our evolutionary history and to this day there are people who cannot digest lactose.  (People are generally able to digest milk as infants, but many outgrow that ability as they age.)

There is, of course, a lot of controversy about whether milk is even an appropriate food for adults, since only 30-40% of the world's population produces the lactase enzyme as adults. However, I have to question whether this is a valid basis for determining whether cow's milk is a species appropriate food for humans.
I share Monica's concern.

DeVany seems to be one of these people who seems to reject milk as being bad for people on the grounds that people 40,000 years ago didn't drink it.

What makes 40,000 years ago so much more special than 10,000 years ago?

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that whatever people evolved to do, then that is the right thing for them.  Well, some people evolved to digest milk.  So, doesn't it follow that milk is good for you as a human being who has evolved to digest it as an adult?  By this thinking, it's the less evolved people who can't digest it who are REALLY screwed are the people who don't have the gene that allows them to produce this lactase enzyme.

This is my problem.  I do not care what cave men did or where they get their car insurance.  I just want the cheapest, best insurance coverage available for my car and my health and well being.

Nevertheless, I do have an open mind about this because I like the general form of the argument which he sums with the simple statement "be a good animal," so I am very tempted to buy his book and read all about it.

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April 07, 2008

I Am Almost Dead

So, I'm finally in my goal weight range, which is 195 - 200 lbs.  Ok.  Actually, I weighed myself the other day and I was 194lbs, but if I put my shoes on, I'm TOTALLY in my range.

Anyway, I'm pleased about it and am happy to say that I now have a couple of shirts and jackets that no longer fit me.  Well, sort of happy.  I liked those shirts and jackets.

So, as tickled as I am about all of this and hope to gain a few more pounds in certain areas, I still do not have the rockhard abs of my dreams.

I spoke to my trainer about this and he has told me that I need to do a LITTLE bit of cardio (I tend to get carried away with the cardio and start running crazy distances and not eating enough, which causes me to lose weight, yadda yadda yadda) and he gave me a little ab routine I need to do.

Swimsuit season is upon us, so I woke up early this morning and went to the gym.  I told myself that I would start slow and just run for 30 minutes and then do my ab stuff.

Yeah.  I haven't run any distance in almost a year.

I am almost dead now.

But my favorite part about running is the start because that's when you see the fastest results.  It's easy to build endurance up to a point.  And you also get sore without a lot of work.

But it's also VERY difficult because you're, like, breathing and tired and stuff.

So, anyway, that's what I did.  I'm pleased with my little under 30 minute 5K this morning.  I'm excited about the warm weather coming because I hope to be able to actually run from my apartment in Queens to my gym in Manhattan and then do my abs and shower.  Won't THAT be fun!

(If I don't die this morning, of course.)

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March 17, 2008


Caffeine is an amazing chemical.  When I haven't had any in a few weeks and then I have a soda or two, my productivity soars.  Yes, I'm fidgety, but I'm also able to focus through mundane tasks and get a lot done.  I read somewhere a year or so ago that consuming caffeine before a workout also improves endurance.  And this may be a bit too much information, but it also stimulates peristalsis, which helps me stay regular.  (Of course, with my new protein bars, I may not need to worry about that.)

The fidgety I can deal with.  The way it disturbs my sleep is acceptable up to a point.  Further, after prolonged use, the withdrawal symptoms -- primarily headache and fatigue -- are intolerable during the work week. And I just plain dislike the idea of being dependent on a particular chemical like that.

So, if I find myself regularly consuming caffeine -- I usually get it from Pepsi or coffee drinks -- I will go without it for a couple of weeks until the withdrawal symptoms pass and I'm confident that it's all out of my system.  I always start the process on a Friday so that the withdrawal symptoms occur over the weekend so as to not interfere with my work.

Fun Fact:

Caffeine has a physiological half-life of three and a half hours (Parsons anjd Neims, 197 to six hours (Aranda et al., 1979). Its physiological effects are observed in less than one hour (Parsons and Neims, 197 .
I'm not sure if I've ever consumed caffeine as regularly or in the amounts that I had been over the past month or two.

I tried a couple of times to stop it, but the withdrawal symptoms didn't kick in until Monday, which meant that in order to make it through work, I had to have another soda.

Well, I stopped soda last Thursday.  By Sunday evening, I was the walking dead.  You can see it in my face if you watched my last video.  The fatigue is apparent.  The headache is not, but it was present and oppressive.

I'm happy to say that today, I made it through work without a soda and my headache was still there, but bearable.  The fatigue was notable, but I was able to stick it out.

Tonight, as I settle in for bed, my headache is all but gone.  I'm pleased that I'm almost clean now.

But in spite of having endured all this pain, I'm excited about becoming sensitive to the effects of caffeine again. 

Don't worry, Pepsi!  I'll be back soon!

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February 14, 2008

Bragging Cuz It's My Blog

I lifted 540lbs on the decline leg press machine tonight.  Woooooo...

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January 14, 2008

The Steam Room

This weekend, my trainer and I worked out at the 86th Street gym.  This is the flagship gym for NYSC, so it's really, really big.  The gym is a lot more crowded and it's also less conspicuously gay than my regular gym on 41st Street.

I mentioned a few months back about sex in the steam room and my concerns about going in there, but because I didn't spot very many gays at this gym, I decided to treat myself to a visit to the steam room.

The steam room is great!  I sat right next to the heater and found that so long as people weren't running in and out, it was very, very relaxing.

It was tough finding a place to sit.  When I went in, there were just four of us in there and due to the conventions of male-male personal space and the fact that two of the gentlemen in there were inconveniently situated.  I didn't realize that these rooms were so small.  I made one dude scoot over to allow me to sit down.

The running in and out was super annoying.  I think part of that was caused by the fact that there really weren't good places to sit in there. 

It took me a little while to catch on, but there was at least one guy in there looking for sex and he came in and out of our room five or six times during the little time I spent there.  And he almost ran into me when I was leaving, too.  I know he was there for sex because I think he made a failed pass at someone who left and he showed everyone his erection as he was leaving.  I think he was leaving to avoid getting into trouble.

Anyway, I'm still not sure the steam room is worth putting up with the annoying sexual habits of some of the other gym patrons, but it was a very nice treat to relax in there after my workout this weekend.

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December 28, 2007

Lazy, Crazy Me

This week I am reminded how very important it is to ease into a new exercise routine.

I think one of the reasons people don't stick to their New Year's Resolutions when it comes to exercise is because they try to leap headlong into an intense schedule starting at a very demanding level of performance.

This week, I've given a good example of what not to do.

During my time with my family, I was feeling kind of dumpy and said that I needed to get back on the horse and do some more cardio, maybe even start running again in hopes of getting into the racing crowd next fall.

So, on Wednesday, I woke up early and went to the gym.  At the gym, I leaped up onto the treadmill and started jogging.  I set an easy goal of just running three miles.

Three miles is not a difficult distance for me and it hasn't been for several years.  The difficult part is speed.

I, like a bonehead, punched in the speed that I usually do for my warm ups.  A warm up consists of me jogging for six minutes.  Three miles consists of me jogging for 25 - 30 minutes.


After about a mile and a half at that speed I started hoping my shoe lace would get caught in the belt and the machine would tear off my leg so that I would have a reason to stop.

If being boneheaded weren't bad enough, I'm kind of pig-headed about it, too.

Well, when it became clear that my gym has developed an inconvenient concern for my safety, I decided to just lower the speed.

I got my three miles done, but I was VERY tired from it.

And I was still tired yesterday with my trainer who killed my legs again.

So, this morning, instead of going to the gym, I am sitting in bed whining about my sore muscles.

I'll get up tomorrow and do a long, slow run and then take a break until Monday.

But my point is that I bet a lot of people do something stupid like I did and then they can't build a habit of exercising and they're just miserable until they give up.

Don't do that with your exercise resolutions!

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November 29, 2007

Why I'm Not Sure If I Will Be Able to Walk Tomorrow

Warm-up: 5:30 on the treadmill at 7.5 mph and 2degree incline

Smith Machine Squats 10 x 115lbs, 2 x 10 x 135lbs
compound w/ Step Scissor Jumps 3 x 15

Cable Tricep Extensions 3 x 10 x 110lbs
compound w/ 1 arm cable curls 3 x 10 x 40lbs
compound w/ 1 leg standing calf raises 3 x 10 x 35lbs

Leg extensions 3 x 10 x 175lbs
compound w/ wall sits 3 x 1:15
compound w/ seated leg curls 10 x 120lbs, 10 x 125lbs, 10 x 130lbs

Dips 2 x 15
compound w/ hammer curls 2 x 15 x 20lbs

In reality, I will be able to walk tomorrow, it will just get harder and more deliciously painful as the day goes on and on Saturday it will peak and start to wear off.  I'll love it!

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October 29, 2007

Dr. Flibbert

So, remember my facial twitchy-ness that I was complaining about?

Well, I decided to Google about it and I found information on hemifacial spasms.  I was terrified to find out that they can be a sign of all kinds of horrible things like tumors, Bell's Palsy, and, according to at least one website when present in people under the age of 40, neurological disease like multiple sclerosis.

But the most common cause of this twitching is actually just pressure on your facial nerve.  In one forum, some guy was saying that the pressure typically comes from a vessel crossing the nerve where it exits the skull behind your ear.

With that in mind and my face twitching like mad, I took to massaging the area right behind my ears and, lo, it stopped!

I told my coworkers about it.  I'm not sure if it will work for everyone, but I asked them to let me know the results should they have opportunity to try it out.

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October 22, 2007


My face twitches.  I hate it.  It's related to stress.  If I concentrate, I can relax the muscles and make it stop twitching, but these little muscle spasms are really annoying.

The thing that worries me about it is the fact that it's getting worse.

The twitching first manifested itself two or three years ago when I was at my last job and completely hating it and stupidly not finding a new job.  It started as just a twitching at one of my eyes, which I think most everyone experiences from time to time. 

The only problem was that it went on pretty much non-stop for several weeks. And it spread to both eyes.

Eventually, it slowed again and went away.   But periodically, during times of stress, it would come back.  And different areas of my face, usually around my eyes would twitch.

Well, over the past few weeks I've working late a lot and there was the Mister Bookworm thing and basically I've been kind of stressed out.  And my face has been twitching.  My chin has twitched a little.  My eyes have twitched a little.  The muscles that control my upper lip have been twitching.

I don't think people can see it happening and, like I said, I can relax the muscles and make it stop, but still.

What if it doesn't stop?  What if it gets worse?  What if it does become visible?  And what if I lose my ability to relax the muscles and make it stop.

I'm going to watch it for a little bit, but I think I might go to my doctor about it.

If anyone has any information on this sort of thing, I'd like to read more about it.

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September 17, 2007

Bad Teeth

During my last dental checkup, my dentist noticed an increase in bacteria and damage to my gums and teeth. He expressed obvious concern and I had admittedly not been flossing as much as I should and we're not talking about lots of decay, but the amount of damage was really strange to me.

If you ask most people who know me, they will tell you that I have reasonably good teeth. Every dentist I've ever had has asked if I had braces when I was younger because my teeth are nice and straight. My teeth are also generally very clean and white. Really, I have good teeth and I take pretty good care of them.

Good dental hygiene can help you stay strong and healthy. Bad hygiene can make you susceptible to disease and according to some shorten your lifespan.

So, anyway, I was both disappointed and surprised to get such a bad report at my dental check up and I was convinced that merely reducing my flossing back to just 3 - 5 times a week could not account for this.

Then I realized the problem: Orange Juice.

I started drinking orange juice during the day almost exclusively about 6 - 9 months ago. My company supplies us with orange juice, so my thought was, "Hey! It's free, it tastes great, and it's got vitamin C, so it's good for you."

Yes, vitamin C is good for you and orange juice also contains goodly amounts of potassium, so it can help with sore muscles. OJ even counts as a serving of fruit for the food guide pyramid that some people go on about so much.

But orange juice also contains LOTS and LOTS of sugar.

Basically, I've been feeding my mouth bacteria quite heartily for the past 9 months or so, to the detriment of my smile. Granted, this is just a hypothesis, but the idea is given more strength by considering what I stopped drinking for the sake of the OJ: tap water. Water is good for you, but tap water also contains things like fluoride, which help teeth.

So, anyway, I'm limiting myself to one glass of OJ, tops, and consuming tap water again in its place.

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July 10, 2007

Public Service Announcement


NEW YORK CITY – July 9, 2007 – After leveling off for more than two years – and declining in 2006 – new syphilis cases spiked in New York City during the first three months of 2007. The Health Department announced today that doctors reported 260 new cases of primary and secondary syphilis during January, February and March, compared with 128 cases during the same period last year. Interviews with patients suggest that the increase is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. As in past years, half of those newly diagnosed with syphilis also report being infected with HIV.

Mind your manners, people!

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June 26, 2007

And Now for Something Different

Due to certain after work events that I will attend this evening that involve vodka snowcones, I had to reschedule my trainer to let me work out during lunch today.

I don't know if I will ever do that again.

I am completely wiped out.

Usually, I work out with him, go home, eat, and go to sleep. I don't do anything that requires significant concentration or effort. But now I'm sitting in the office and I almost can't make myself focus on anything. I certainly don't WANT to focus on anything.

Oh, but fun fact: my trainer told me today that chocolate milk makes a good after workout drink because it has both protein and carbs.

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June 21, 2007

Too Much Poop

I don't eat very much. I don't know why. I THINK I eat a lot, but I really don't.

I'm trying to gain weight and gaining requires getting more calories, so I made a meal schedule that includes three "big" meals and two snacks. An ordinary day on this schedule might have included something like this:

Breakfast: eggwhites equivalent to two or three eggs. (I don't measure, so I really don't know.)
10am Snack: protein bar
Lunch: a turkey wrap and cottage cheese.
3pm Snack: protein bar
Dinner: chicken breast and veggies

I liked this schedule because I wasn't hungry at all throughout the day, but I also wasn't stuffed to the gills.

Well, that isn't enough food. I started losing weight. When I talked to my trainer he said I need to eat more. He said that I should probably try to get some 2500 calories a day.

Given that the USDA recommended allotment is 2,000 calories in a day and I felt like I was eating a lot, I swore to him that I HAD to be eating at least that much in a day.

Guess what. It's not.

All that food and, if I've figured it out properly, I was probably only getting somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 calories. WHILE doing cardio five days a week and weights three days a week. No surprises there that my clothes were getting baggy.

Fortunately, I don't think I've lost more than five pounds.

So, I tried to eat more yesterday. For my 10 am snack, I had a protein shake instead, which is worth about 600 calories. And for my 3pm snack I had TWO protein bars (180 calories each). Even with my three soysage patties (60 calories each) and the crazy chicken and red sauce with pasta that my roommate made last night, I think I only BARELY got over 2,000 calories in yesterday.

This is very hard for me.

Today, I repeated the protein shake and brought two turkey wraps for lunch. I haven't been able to eat the second one, though, because I feel like I'm about to essplode.

I grew up in a family of grazers. We wander around the house and we eat a little bit here and there. A few baby carrots here, a dollop of ceiling spackle there. We'd have only one large meal in the day, supper, -- IF we had an actual meal -- and that's it. My parents also weren't very big on the "clean your plate" philosophy. We ate as much as we wanted and that's it.

In general, I think we ate pretty well, granted I've always been skinny.

I find that as an adult now, I rarely eat very much in one sitting. I eat a little and rest. Eat a little and rest. Eat a little and rest. And when I'm done eating, that's it. I don't eat more.

So, now I'm trying to force myself to eat and I do not like it. How will I ever eat some 2,500 calories?!?!

And another irritating aspect of eating so much more is that I have to poop so much more. Personally, I do not like to defecate. I don't care if it is an unavoidable fact of human existence. I don't like it.

And eating so much is just putting more stuff inside my body so that it can come out the other end. It just makes this whole process even more bothersome.

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June 18, 2007

My Genes and My Workout

I think I'm going to start running a little bit again. I haven't been running in probably a year. When I do my cardio workouts in the morning, I'm usually on the eliptical, but this morning I hopped on the treadmill and cranked out a little over 5 miles on the "hills" workout without much of a problem.

Then, I went to the locker room to get dressed.

Last fall I bought this skinny black suit. I decided to wear it today because I'm going to this art show at a gallery later and was asked to "wear black" because the dress code is "downtown hip" whatever the hell that means. Anyway, I'm wearing this skinny black suit which has always been, well, skinny on me.

I have sort of big quads due to soccer in high school and then all the running I've done in the last five or six years.

Anyway, I put on my suit this morning and it was big on me. Last week, I noticed that I had to cinch my favorite belt a notch tighter, too.

Even though I'm trying to build up, I take this as a good thing since I'm trying to tone up and burn off a little fat right now.

But one thing I have to come to terms with is the fact that I am not genetically disposed toward having the sort of body that I admire in other guys.

I'm not talking about those crazy, 'roided-out, bubble bodies. I'm talking about bodies like Antonio Sabato Jr. in that Janet Jackson video or like Brad Pitt in fight club or... well, lots of guys.

Here's the thing, though: I have narrow shoulders and a long, lean frame. I seem to have more slow-twitch muscle fibers than fast twitch. Building muscles with any noticeable bulk is rather difficult for me.

I'm sure that if I worked at it really hard for a long time I could build up a nice amount of muscle and a body that is of the sort of body that I like to see on other men, but the fact is that I would have to work at it more than some other men.

Instead of aiming for some crazy standard that isn't really "natural" for my body type I'm trying to develop in my mind an image of how I want my body to be that is consistent with how my body CAN be -- without an insane amount of work. (Emphasis on insane, there, cuz I'm not opposed to doing a significant amount of work.)

Anywhoodles, an inquiry was also made about what my workout consists of.

I work out with my trainer two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we do different things. In order to keep my development pretty steady and make things exciting, my trainer and I cycle through different sorts of workouts on a 6 to 8 week cycle. (I think it's 6 to 8 weeks. He keeps track of all that stuff and I just do what he says to do.)

We do a cycle of lower weights with repetitions of 12 to 15. Each exercise usually consists of just two sets and we move pretty quickly from exercise to exercise. This cycle also includes lots of exercises that I generally categorize as "jumping." In actuality, it's a bunch of aerobic and plyometric exercises. We do a lot of things with one arm or one leg at a time, too. And there's a lot of standing on one leg, too, which I hate. I usually end these workouts by collapsing on the floor in a panting puddle of sweat. It's good.

Right now, we're in the heavy weight cycle where we do three sets of exercises with high weights and few reps -- six to twelve depending on the exercise and how well I handle the weight. My trainer likes to get the weight to where the 10th rep is my limit and I am almost about to drop it but not quite. We usually do fewer exercises during this cycle, too, because we rest for up to two minutes between sets.

During both cycles, we focus on different muscle groups. Right now, Tuesdays consist of Legs and Shoulders. Thursdays are Chest, Back, and Arms. On Saturday, when I work out by myself, I hit my entire upper body, Chest, Back, Shoulders, and Arms.

All of my workouts start with 4 to 7 minutes of cardio to warm up and some kind of ab exercise.

So, our Tuesday workout might look something like this:

1 legged leg press - 3x10 - 240lbs
Weighted Lunges - 3x20 - 60 lbs (30lb dumbells in each hand)
Shoulder PNF - 3x10 - 20lbs
Hack squat machine - 3x10 - 540lbs
Shoulder press - 3x10 - 40lbs (40 lb dumbbells in each hand)
Seated calf raises - 3x10 - 90lbs
Wall sits - 3x1.5min to 2min. Sometimes I hold a 25lb? bar out in front of me, but I've only managed to hold that up for about 40 seconds.

My shoulders do this weird thing where, when under stress, they will briefly pop out of the socket. It's mildly painful and terrifying to my trainer, so we're always doing things to try to strengthen the muscles around my shoulders and rotator cuffs.

On Thursday, we might do something like this:

Bench press - 3x10 145lbs compound set
Bent-over rows - 3x10 60 lbs

One arm Lat pulldowns - 3x10 100lbs? compound set
Push ups - 3x20

Skull crushers - 3x10 60lbs compound set
Standard curls - 3x10 25lbs

Something like that.

And then on Saturday, I try to do 8 to 10 different exercises that cover all of the major muscle groups in my upper body. I follow the same 3x10 pattern Trainer has me do. I really like compound sets, so I do a lot of those, too.

I'm terrible about keeping track of my exercises and weights. Trainer does all that and I never seem to be able to remember what we did. He also changes things every week, so we rarely do the same exercise two weeks in a row. I should really start writing them down or something so that I can keep track.

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June 17, 2007

My Workout Schedule

Reader Tom Rexton writes:

Anyhow, you work out six days a week? What workout philosophy are you abiding by? Because from what I've read you need about 2 day(s) of rest between workouts for each muscle to allow time for recovery and growth. In effect you don't exercise a particular muscle or muscle group more than three times a week, else you produce adverse effects, including injury and slow hypertrophy (muscle growth). So I do a split routine and workout three days a week.

Of course I'm no weight training guru, so I'm not going to stand by that as a scientific law. :P It's just what I've gathered from (lightly) reading about weight training and the theories behind muscle growth.

I would add that one needs two days between workouts to enjoy being sore. :o)

Here's my workout schedule:

Every weekday, I do 30 minutes of cardio and a few sets of abs before work. That's 5 days a week right there. On Tuesday and Thursday, I workout with my trainer after work on weights and on Saturday, I do another workout by myself on weights.

Tuesday nights are legs and shoulders.
Thursday nights are chest, back, and arms.
Saturday is all upper body because I'm trying to focus on building that up.

So, there you go.

I'm in the gym six days a week getting some kind of work out, but it isn't six days of weight training. My trainer seems to think that two days of rest are necessary, too. He says I can do arms and abs every day if I want, but he doesn't like for me to do other stuff unless I have a full day of rest before I work out with him.

Well! I need to get moving. I skipped the gym yesterday because I woke up late, so I'm going to get my Saturday workout in today.

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June 16, 2007

Steamy Sexy Times

I'm about to get out of bed and head down to my local NYSC (New York Sports Clubs) gym. I'm running kind of late because I'm tired. For the past two weeks, I've been at the gym six days a week. That's a lot to me.

Right now my shoulders are sore and I have to actually force my shoulders to relax down and back or else I will just sit here with a permanent shrug.

I guess I could go get a massage, but that's expensive. It'd be nice to sit in the steam room for a little bit.

I've never been in the steam room at NYSC before. The reason is because I usually work out at the one on 41st and 8th and it's a moderately cruisy gym. This means there are many gay men there and they have sex in the steam room.

This bothers me. I do not want to have to fend off advances. I do not want to accidentally sit or step in a puddle of semen. I don't want to sit in the dark and listen to or watch two men having sex who cannot separate the fantasy of lockerroom sex from the reality of the lockerroom.

Real Jock: Sex at the Gym: Harmless Fun or Just Plain Wrong?

Some days guys go to the gym for a full strength-training and/or cardio workout. On other days, they may only have time for "a Hollywood" (just a steam). Either routine can help them relax. But some gay men say they need more than that to de-stress, which is why they go to the gym not only for a workout, but also a working over. And this "gym sex" is causing a rift at gay gyms between those who point to the rule of "consenting adults," and those who think that sex in the sauna or steam room encroaches on the rights of other people at the gym.

Apparently, it's a problem everywhere.

I will say this: it's not a violation of my rights for other people to have sex in the steam room whether I'm there or not. It's a violation of the rights of the gym owners who have explicitly stated that sex in the lockerroom or steam room is not allowed. They've permitted these people to come into the gym on the condition that the follow the rules and they refuse to follow the rules. That's why their memberships get revoked.

If I don't like the fact that people are having sex in the steam room, I can, as I have, simply avoid the steam room. We might argue that it's rude, but it's not a violation of my rights. But the owner of the gym is the one who makes the rules and it's their rights which are being challenged by these people.

Well, I can't go to the steam room at NYSC today because the steam room at BOTH the gyms I go to have been closed by the Health Department. (I don't think it's the Health Department's business, either.)

I don't know how long they will stay closed and I don't know how long my ears will wait before getting a restraining order against my shoulders, either. All I can say is that I'm annoyed by this.

Update: They've re-opened the steam room at my gym on 41st street. Now it has good lighting and you can see what people are doing through the little window in the door. I still didn't go in.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 04:02 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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June 15, 2007


Someone brought in donuts for everyone and I had to turn it down because it's too much carbs and sugar.

But, you know what? Forgoing a little temporary pleasure right now will pay off for me down the road.

I'm gonna go flex in the mirror for a little bit or maybe go military press a toyota or something.

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