Tag Archives: weights

Closing In on the Goal

It’s raining.  It’s raining pretty hard.

I like the rain normally.  But…


Sometimes when I train I wear a diaper as well.  If only Charles Atlas was still the standard of male jacked-ness.  I think I’d stand a chance.

The only thing about the rain I don’t like tonight is that it kept me from doing my cardio workout.  I lack a treadmill or elliptical machine so I either go for a run or do 25 minutes of jump rope in my driveway.  Driveway’s flooded and the streets are a mess.  Since I’m only four weeks out from recording my final results in the Body for Life Challenge that just means I’ll do the cardio first thing in the morning and then a lower body workout (leg day) in the afternoon.  If you read this, say a prayer for me please.  I’ve never been this close before to achieving a goal I really wanted this badly.  For eight weeks now I’ve put in the hardest physical work of my life.  I followed a really good diet to an almost-micro level.  I did every set, every rep, every major muscle group at the appointed time.  When it was cold in my garage and the steel plates were hard to grip, I gripped ’em.  When it warmed up and I put the garage door up to let in a breeze and I wound up giving my neighbors a show as I pumped iron without a shirt on, I, well wait, where was I?  Oh yeah, I swatted mosquitos trying to suck the blood out of my near-bulging veins.  When the idea of hitting the pavement to run 20 minute intense intervals sounded like a death march, I forced myself to go faster and faster hoping that this would actually start burning fat.

I’m 40 years-old and in phenomenal health for a man half my age (if I do say so myself).  But there’s something about being able to visualize those results…  You know what I’m saying.  My body fat percentage is dropping but not fast enough for me.  I’ve gained 7 pounds of muscle since I started and that’s great but not good enough for me.  I’m finally starting to see the kind of definition that would turn heads and that’s awesome but not good enough for me.  My former-one time-actually never in reality trainer who remains an acquaintance of mine despite the way I’ve abused him in print over the years told me yesterday that with this particular program the results from the last four weeks are expected to be as good as for the first eight weeks.  “You’ve no doubt gotten a lot stronger now and can force more out of yourself.  Lift heavier because you can!  Run faster, jump rope more intensely.  You can either quit now and be happy or you can double down and be really happy.”  It was cool to hear him say that he really believed I could do it.  But if that’s the case and I stick with it (as I fully intend to) I should be a chiseled man in a month.  As shallow as it sounds but for the reasons mentioned above, pray for this.  I’d like to be happy with my appearance once in my life.  And if not, well, they say it’s good to possess good health.  Yeah.  Great.  Whatever.  I want to be ripped.

Good night, folks.


One Badass Workout

I promised to keep you, my two loyal readers (Mom got bored), up to date on my progress with my new bulking/shredding program called BodyBeast which is designed to get me huge and ripped.  Previously I would have thought those were two things I wanted to avoid.

Last week I finished week 1.  True, I had spent the two previous weeks messing around with it.  It usually takes me a week or two to get things like a new diet under control (especially when that diet has me jump from about 1700 calories a day to 3400).  I had done some of the workouts using limited equipment I borrowed from a friend and a stability ball I picked up at Walmart.

Last week, though, I was set and committed.  It’s either going to happen or it’s not.  What motivated me was the knowledge that if I had been so committed in the first two weeks I’d be approaching the end of the first phase right now.  OK, just get it done.


That’s what I’m talking about!  A nice looking set of dubmbbells and plates right there.

On Friday I went to the trainer’s house.  Yes, the point of this workout is that you don’t need a trainer and you do it all at home.  But, I like the guy.  He’s given me great advice and stuck by me while I wallowed in the many failures I’ve endured trying to get into his shape.  Most of the time, he hasn’t even laughed too hard at me.  He and I ran through a 45 minute workout on the pavement of the driveway behind his house.  We each had sufficient weights, each had a stability ball.  He has an awesome pull-up bar rigged up over his 8 foot fence and that came in handy.  At the end of the routine I was pleased to discover that he judged my form to be great and he was impressed at my ability to complete a pretty tough workout.  Did he have a drop of sweat on him?  What do you think?  Nonetheless, I felt confident that I was doing something good.  If this guy, who is a training god, came very near to expressing pride in his wannabe-protege, then I can’t be too off.


A closer look.  These range from 10’s on the left to 40’s on the right with a set of interchanging weights in the middle and some plates for the bar.

Today, it was back to chest and tri’s.  This time, though, I’ve expanded my arsenal.  From yet another friend I managed to borrow even heavier weights.  For many movements lighter weights aren’t a bad thing.  I’m thinking of shoulders.  At the end of a workout, you try lifting more than 15-pounders in a military press over your head.  It’s hard!  But for chest workouts, I can definitely go higher than the 20’s I had maxed out with.

A note on all these friends who have weights to spare…  It seems a universal truth to me that in America when a young man enters his 20’s and has a trifle bit of spare change he invests it in weights.  He uses the weights religiously for a short while, then trails off.  Evermore the weights remain in his possession until his wife, who long ago gave up caring what he looked like naked, puts them on eBay for extra Christmas money.  Either that or he repurposes them into a coffee table in his pseudo man-cave.

Anyway, I’m definitely feeling this.  It’s going great and I feel great too.  I also was one of those who had weights once.  My excuse was the two spinal fusion surgeries I had so I’m going to stick with that.  It’s been years since I lifted anything and it’s taking some time to get back into it but I feel it coming back to me.  Drop a prayer now and then, if you would, that I don’t injure myself and that I complete these twelve weeks so I can be “beastly”.

Pro Rata

Everyone say a prayer that the gym accepts my scheme, er, proposal tomorrow.

My current membership expires and I’d like to renew.  However, since I won’t be around to use it for parts of the summer I want to either do a partial plan or pay up front and half it applied only to the times I’ll be in town.  Last night, when I suggested this to the woman at the desk I was greeted with the standard “I’m not sure we can do a prorated plan but my manager’s not here right now so…”

I’d really like to keep this thing going a little while.

It’s hard to hit the weights if the card’s expired.

Another Friday, Another “Fried” Day

And again I point out that I have still never been “Freshly Pressed”.  I really just think that the good folks at WordPress just don’t like me.  But that’s OK, the tens of thousands of people who’ve viewed these pages in the past year DO like me (or at least the vaunted spectacle that is my life).  I’m not broken up over it, I promise.  *weeping*

All this could have been mine at the crack of dawn...

I woke up with every good intention of hitting the gym at 6AM.  Hey, I’m taking this thing hard core.  I’ve even got a running log on  my iPhone of all the days I’ve been to the gym since I started.  It’s my way of tracking my progress.  Tumbled out of bed and I stumbled to the kitchen.  Poured myself a cup of… coffee.  You were expecting the rest of Dolly’s song?  I don’t lift.  I sat down to watch Tim and Lauren and before I knew it my wife was nudging me saying “It’s 7:00.”  Crud.  That meant I had exactly ten minutes to jump in the shower, shave, get dressed, grab something of substance to eat, and hope the car didn’t need defrosting before driving the 35 minutes to work.  Oh well, it’s a Friday and around my job Friday is spelled E-A-S-Y.  Today, however, that would prove to be W-R-O-N-G.  Man, I even had my gym bag packed and everything…

The book and its author. CS Lewis, workin' the pipe.

Upon arriving at work (looking quite sharp for a man who had been so rushed) I remembered I had promised my kids a quiz on The Screwtape Letters.  Five minutes later I was on my way to the copy room to run off 120 quizzes not sure whether the kids would freak because they weren’t really paying attention or laugh at how easy these questions were.  I don’t teach first period so I had about 80 minutes to play around with.  I did the following in no particular order: went to the cafeteria for coffee, went out for a smoke, made a PowerPoint, went back for more coffee, met with some students about missing work, grabbed some more coffee, and used the bathroom.  That’s a lot of coffee but I’m a teacher.  It’s what we do.

During my first class, I was treated to two “shadow” visitors.  Shadows are potential students who visit the school to get a feel for it before deciding to enroll.  Had to come to my “most energetic” class.  Afterward, I reached out to the admissions director and apologized for the fact that these two young ladies might not want to ever step foot on our campus again.

During the next period I moderated a study hall.  It probably would have been less painful if I had been impaled on a Bic pen.  In the middle of study hall I had a lunch break so I stopped by my classroom to straighten up and get ready for the final class of the day.  I looked across the hall and noticed the principal sitting at the desk of the woman who teaches across from me.  This could only mean one thing — observations!  My heart began to race.  I hate being observed.  Funny, I am essentially “observed” every day by scores of the most critical teenagers and yet if someone asks to come and watch me teach I freak out.

Better yet, why don't you just come watch me while I work...

And as I returned to my classroom for the start of fourth period I realized that my fears were not unfounded as my principal stepped in and asked “Mind if I observe?”  What was I going to say?  No?  The problem is that, being the last class of a very long week I kind of had an idea that I wanted to let it be a relaxing, easy-going class.  I had things planned but wasn’t really intending on sticking to everything on the lesson plan like a hawk.  I began to pray in my head that the Spirit give me something to speak about.  I knew that if I got started I could just talk her into a torpor.  And sure enough, the kids, desirous of that same easy-going class as I was, sat up straight, paid attention, did their assignments, asked germane questions, and were even in flawlessly perfect uniform as I patched together the greatest retelling of the life of St. Scholastica ever told!  Build a good relationship with your students and they’ll have your back when it counts.

On her way out, the principal left a long, handwritten note on my desk.  It contained not a single recommendation and was concluded with the words “Great class!”  I couldn’t believe it.  At some point they’re going to see me for the fraud I am.  Until then, I guess I’ll keep teaching.

Later on at home Karla and I took the kittens to mass.  They’re getting so much better at behaving in the small daily mass chapel at the parish, given all the neat things there to distract them.  It helps that Rita fell asleep on the way and slept in my arms throughout the liturgy.  Approaching the priest for Communion, I made a profound bow.  The nice man with the strong Roscommon lilt held aloft the host and said: “The Body of Christ.”  I replied: “Amen” and received Our Lord.  Fr. reached down to my son, signed him on his forehead and said “God bless you, young man.”  My son then reached right back up, signed the priest on his forehead and said “God bless you too!”

Took me all day but I finally made it.

After dinner it was Daddy’s favorite time of day — bath time!  They’re just so cute in the tub.  Then, finally, I was able to “hit the gym!”  Once again I was just about the only one there.  This time, though, there were two older women being given a tour by one of the trainers.  What was cool was that, half-way through he began simply to point at me and tell them things like “You want to bend just like he is” or “See what he’s doing?  That’s the right form.”  Wow.  At least I know I’m getting it right.

It's time to meet the Muppets on The Muppet Show tonight!

Finally (you’ve been so patient) I came home and put my son to bed.  He asked me to tell him a story about when I was a little boy and used to watch The Muppets.  Essentially, that is the story.  He just likes to hear me say it.  He, too, likes Kermit, Fozzy, and Piggy.  Tonight he asked for a few other stories and I obliged.  He asked me to sing him his song; which tonight turns out to be Meet the Mets.  As I finished he asked me to sing Rita’s song; which tonight turns out to be Taio Cruz’s Dynamite.  Mommy’s song was next.  Apparently this is where I find myself lying in his bed in a dark room humming the theme to Dallas.  I told him how we’d have to get up early to go to mass and asked if he liked going with me to mass every day.  He said yes.  Then, the Catholic in me couldn’t resist asking although I know he’s too young to really grasp the question…  “Benny, do you think you’d like to be a priest one day?”  He looked at me.  “Yeah.”  Interesting.  “I mean NO!”  “Oh,” I said in reply.  “OK.”  He looked right into my eyes as his own were effortlessly falling closed.  “I want to be a daddy like you.”

Could my life be any better?

PS: The “shadows” apparently loved my class and want to be part of the school next year.

Weights, Smurfs, and Tubes

It happened again.

Actual ear tube. Imagine if they tried to put this into Lincoln's ear...

As I was about to fall asleep last night my son woke up with terrible pain in his ears.  The odd thing is that he had already started an antibiotic during the day.  The even odder thing is that he had ear tubes inserted five months ago.  Well, actually, it’s apparently not that odd.  You see, the tubes don’t mean he’ll never get an infection again (no, he’s hyper-prone to those like his dad was when he was a kid).  Instead they mean that when he does develop an ear infection the fluid causing the pressure and pain will be able to drain out.  I know it sounds gross – and quite frankly it is – but our only cause of concern is that it was still painful for him.

La la la la la la... Sing that happy song one more time and I'm gonna' kill someone.

His mother and I tried our best to calm him down.  Did you know that there’s an insidiously evil new movie on DVD?  Yeah, it’s called The Smurfs and it was directed and produced by Satan.  I’m only half-kidding.  We rented it from Redbox last week one night.  He loved it so much that we’ve been returning and re-renting it every night.  Ridiculous, I know.  We just honestly believed each time that he was done with it.  Well, in my fatherly duties of watching TV with the kids (to screen what they’re watching) I sorta’ kinda’ came to like this one.  I do remember that I used to love the Smurfs when I was just a bit older than he is now.  It was the early 80’s.  What can I say.  But this movie stars one of my favorite actors – Neil Patrick Harris – so it MUST be funny.  And it is.  Just smurfin’ dandy.  Oh, and Ben’s fine.  This should clear up in a day or so.  It’s just sad to see your baby in pain and he is so pathetic with pain.  I guess no matter how many earaches he gets this will never get easier.  Please keep him and his sister in your prayers for the best, speediest, and happiest recovery.  Thanks.


And then tonight my wife very graciously found time for me to hit the gym.  It helps that it’s two minutes from the house.  I did my upper body circuit — presses, pull downs, curls.  When I walked over to the shoulder press machine I noticed that an idiot had been the last person to use the machine.  Why?  Because this machine, which works a very difficult muscle group that don’t really require a whole lot of resistance in order to increase in size, had been set to 150 lbs.!  By contrast, I’ve been working mine just fine at 40 lbs.  Granted I just returned to the gym after about a year but still… Psycho.