Upon returning from the Biggest Loser Resort yesterday morning I weighed myself and somehow I apparently gained 7lbs. I’m not sure if it’s the scale I own, or perhaps water retention, but there is now way I consumed enough food to gain 7lbs in a day and half. I would have had to have consumed 24,500 calories, on top of my RMR of 3500 which would have meant I had to eat 28000 calories or the equivalent of 25.5 Big Mac Meals, or 7.3 Large Deep Dish Chicken Bacon Ranch Dominos Pizzas, or 103 single scoops of Jamoca Almond Fudge from Baskin Robbins. I’m not quite sure the disparity in weight, but I’m not going to start freaking out until the end of this week.
I think my body needs a few days to adjust and I need a day of rest. This morning was spent in the ER at Virginia Hospital Center which is down the road from where I live; I had to have the fluid drained from my blister so I could walk. It was a relatively simple fix the Physicians Assistant cut, drain, and bandaged me up faster than I could tell her where I had been to get such a nice size blister. She prescribed some Keflex and I was on my merry way.
For breakfast I had some Kashi, and 8 oz of Almond milk, and a banana, almost like breakfast back fat rehab. It kept me filled up for most of the morning. Lunch was a treat today, because I got have some red meat with my family at a Korean BBQ restaurant. I actually didn’t eat too much beef, and ended up eating more panchan (Korean Side Dishes) which were mostly vegetables. My mouth desperately wanted to eat a variety of flavor profiles, which had been missed over the last three weeks. I have no clue as to how many calories I ate, but I’m sure it was less than 650 total. This would have been the biggest meal I’ve eaten in over a month. I didn’t eat any rice…yes it’s possible for an Asian person to sit in front of a bowl of rice and just say no!
I found myself dehydrated today; I had to make a concentrated effort to drink more water. I also found myself craving a high amount of fruits especially oranges. It wasn’t until after I worked out this evening that I stopped having any type of food cravings. Each and every day is going to be challenge, I’m going to have to plan ahead of time, and prepare snacks and meals, and similarly I have worked out a workout plan.
Before I get to my workout plan this week, I did want to mention I walked my dog 2.75 miles in just about an hour, and then did my own version of Treading on the Precor Elliptical Machine. I started at resistance level 20 and incline of 5. I choose not to go higher on the incline because the machine shows the higher the incline the more you are only using the quads and hamstrings of your legs; I prefer to use the entire leg.
I started with the traditional version of Treading from the ranch 5 on, 5 off, 4 on, 4 off, 3 on, 3 off, 2 on, 2 off, 1 on, and 1 off, followed by 5 five sprints. I then continued by lowering the resistance to 18 and leaving the incline on 5 and did another 5 on and 5 off, followed by 5 more sprints. By the end of this amped up Treading class the machine showed that I burned 1044 calories and traveled 4.4 miles. I’m not sure about the accuracy of the calorie burning but it must be close because I wore my heart rate monitor, I am beginning to realize that heart rate monitors are essential to a successful weight loss program.
My workout plan is as follows:
Cardio: Monday – Friday in the mornings 40 minutes to an hour based on schedule.
Personal Training: Monday, Wednesday, Friday Evenings or afternoon, 1 hour sessions.
P90x, Core, Yoga, Cardio Boxing, or Other Program: Tuesday, Thursday Evening 1 hour sessions.
Hike: 2 – 3 Hours Every Wednesday
Wednesday being my break through day, Hike in the Morning early afternoon cardio machine, and early evening session with personal trainer.
I believe this schedule is sustainable, after the last three weeks this is more than reasonable.
My diet is going to be a struggle. It’s going to take a while to figure out how long I can sustain a competent diet plan.
After three weeks away from home it was nice to sleep in my own bed last night, and it was nice to drive my own car, and walk my dog. It’s incredible how routine life is, and how you can miss the simplicity of a routine. The flight back was tough, the pounding I gave my body the last day of my workouts took its toll on my foot by the next morning I had to pop the blister, and let it drain. I spent most of the day limping around the airport terminals, and fidgeting in my seat trying to find a good position to set my foot. Once I reached DCA it took almost 20 minutes to limp down to the baggage terminal.
Here are the final results of my three week stay
03/20/2011 04/09/2011 Total Change
Weight: 373 lbs Weight 339 Weight: 34
Body fat: 40.9% Body fat: 37.5 % Body fat: 3.4%
BMI: 53.5 BMI: 48.7 BMI: 4.8
Chest: 63.25” Chest: 54” Chest: 9.25”
Belly: 58.5” Belly: 53 Belly: 5.5”
Hips: 62” Hips: 54.5 Hips: 7.5”
My experience at Fitness Ridge aka Biggest Loser Resort has been mixed. While I am happy that I was able to find a place like Fitness Ridge where I could go and attempt to change my behavioral patterns, I also appreciate the efforts of all the great trainers, and hiking guides, and the people you meet will not only inspire you but give you a reason to believe that your weight loss is possible. It’s an amazing experience watching other people transform and develop a physical and mental toughness they had either forgotten or never knew they had.
The people are what make it worthy of your time and efforts. I believe for what we pay they grossly under value preparing you for the trip home and reentry into the real world. One or two emotional lectures do not give you a set of skills to maintain your progress back home. The commitment to succeed has to come from you, and I believe this commitment has to be made before you arrive, and within in your first day. It helps if you are surrounded by super motivated people; fortunately I was surrounded by some wonderful people of all backgrounds who all have a drive to succeed.
The five things that I have taken away from my time at Fitness Ridge:
5- An understanding of the proper portion size of food to lose weight.
4- An understanding of how much fuel you can derive from a banana, an apple, an orange, or a hardboiled egg.
3- An understanding of the concept the mind can overcome the body. I was constantly pushed by my personal training sessions, and realized that after every ass kicking I could always find another gear. No matter how hard I think I am pushing, I can always dig a little deeper and work harder.
2- A personal mission to continue what I have started, and excel everyday in developing a healthy mental, emotional, and physical attitude towards myself. The unnatural power of self doubt is no match for the innate natural power of positive reinforcement of personal principles and values.
1-A clear picture for the first time in my life, of a way I can effect personal change in other people. I am not just pursuing this weight loss for myself, I am doing this to prove it can be done, and hopefully inspires others to do the same, and perhaps give parents a little insight into what difficulties their children may face if obesity issues aren’t overcome at an early age, when the body is more responsive to positive changes. I don’t know exactly how I will be able to effect this change today beyond this blog, but I have found a part of myself that has been missing for almost a decade, a deep emotional drive for success which is not limited by anything other than my own imagination.
Albert Einstein is quoted as “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
If you are planning on going to the resort prepare yourself for the fact that the resort provides you three things which you must make a decision to accept, and pursue with fervor, one a controlled meal plan which completely controls your caloric intake, two a controlled environment to pursue physical activity over multiple hours in a single day, and three the opportunity to meet people of like work-out intensity and physical prowess who become your support system.
And if you are only able to attend for one week and give it everything you can it’s possibly you won’t lose a pound. Every person’s body responds to stresses differently, and this is a tenuous series of circumstances which will test you in every way possible, so don’t be alarmed your weight loss may not occur until you return home.
In closing I have to thank again all the wonderful people I met, and the great trainers and hiking guides who helped push me when I didn’t want to push anymore.
Earl Nightingale who was the first well known motivational speaker used to teach “You become what you think about.” I am thinking about a guy who weighs 185 lbs, looks like a badass stud, and acts like he owes the greater world a debt which has to be repaid prior to crossing the river Stix.
Post for tomorrow: My game plan.
6:00 AM I missed the stretch this morning because of work back home.
8:00 AM Hike to Zuma Ridge. This was my first opportunity back to Zuma Ridge since the second day of staying at the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu. I have a new name for Zuma Ridge…My Bitch!
We set such a great pace that we talked the hiking guides into letting us hike past the turnaround point and hike up to Buzzards Ranch which is the peak of Zuma Reverse. When we set out on the hike I had one simple goal, not to take a break. The first time I went up Zuma Ridge I must have taken at least 15 breaks on the way up, today I did not take as single rest until we reached the summit of Buzzards Ranch.
I was in such a zone this morning that on the hike back down I did not remember how much ground we had covered. In fact Kent used his GPS to map the length of hike and we traveled 9 miles today. What a great feeling, and a fantastic way to end the week. This hike by itself made the additional week here worth the time and effort.
The best part about the hike was that I was able to keep up with Kent and James for the majority of the trip. Paula, who earlier this week had a bit of a rough time with an asthma attack, and knee pains, blew this hike out of the water. She was so fired up, she initiated the downhill jogging. It was as if we were all feeding off of each other’s energy to power our bodies. It wasn’t until we reached the trailhead that anyone of us felt any pain or sensations of being tired.
I needed this type of hike, and sensation. It will prove to be highly symbolic down the road, it will perhaps be the turning point in my mind where I knew that my all my weight loss efforts were worth their sacrifices, and this hike being the moment that I decided I am no longer a fat guy.
11:15 AM Missed class because we got back a little late from the hike, we did go 9 miles half of it uphill.
12:00 PM Personal Training Session with Sam & James. This was a nice way to follow the incredible hike we had this morning.
The session started with a miracle mile on the Arc Trainer at level 20. It took me 15:43 to finish, and James took about 17:35. I am going to use this Miracle Mile to warm-up before my workouts with my trainer. It’s an awesome way to warm-up without directly focusing on the time.
We broke right into a two piece circuit, and then performed each station twice, one after the other. I started on the pull-up bar, James started on the Big Ass Rope. The first Jump Ups required one of us to jump up and pull up, then jump down off the Reebok Steps and do a burpy. Then we jumped up to the Reebok Step and do another pull-up. Each exercise was performed for 1 minute with :30 breaks and another minute. The first action on the ropes we used alternating arms to flip the rope up and down.
With the second Jump Ups, we had to Jump Up and pull up, then jump down off the Reebok Steps and then jump back up on the step, and do another jump up-pull up. With the Big Ass Rope we moved the rope side to side like a snake. Again each station was performed twice each for a minute with :30 breaks.
The final Jump Ups, we had to Jump Up and pull up five times, then jump down, and do five triceps dips, turnaround and start again with five jump ups. With the Big Ass Rope we had to use two hands to flip the rope up and down. Again each station was performed twice each for a minute with :30 breaks.
We finished the session with one person on a treadmill and the other person with boxing gloves. 1 minute of sprinting on the treadmill, with 1 minute of boxing. James’s first sprint was a speed of 7 mph, by the last one he had ramped up the speed to 9 mph. I started at 5 mph, and ended at 7 mph. We performed 1 minute on with 1 minute off for 4 cycles.
At the end of the session James and I were charged up. I quickly realized the adrenaline had kept us going the last half of the workout, when it started to wear off I needed sleep. I went back to my room after the session and laid in bed. It’s one of the only times since the first week that I have taken a nap in the middle of the day. I was so tired that I missed the 2:30 Pool Class.
3:30 PM & 4:30 PM Circuit Training. In order to get a great last workout, and make up for missing one of the afternoon classes I decided I would do circuit training straight through for two hours. I was amazed to find that after I was warmed-up I found strength that I thought that I had lost. I was able to get through all the upper body stations for the weight training portion.
I also found that I can sprint on the treadmill. During the 2 minute cardio portions, on each of the treadmill sprints I sprinted at 8 mph for the last :30. On the very last treadmill sprint I raised the speed to 9 mph. When I get home I am going to spend more time on a treadmill pushing myself initially with small sprints but am planning on working up to a 5k.
The last two hours of this day were awesome. I felt strong, I felt athletic, and best of all I fought through immense foot pain. The blood blister which I have been nursing for two weeks has developed into a full bubbly blister. Is it luck or destiny that I was able to get through three weeks of this and not have a real blister until the last day.
As I am packing and preparing to go home I am anxious about my weigh-in tomorrow morning, but I am elated at the notion that I am going home. I can’t believe how much ground I have covered, and I can’t believe how strong my cardiovascular ability has grown. I got everything I needed to set me on the right track to losing weight.
There is no special secret taught here, nor is there a magic pill you swallow to get through it all, it’s a self-determined course. What this place has given me is the ability to get away from my life temporarily to ingrain the habits which I know I should have but hadn’t been applying for years. I don’t plan on ever coming back because I need to come. If I ever come back it will be to reach a new level of physical excellence.
I have met some amazing people who have made impacts in my life above and beyond anything I could have ever anticipated. This is my last post from the actual resort; I won’t be able to post my official weight after the weigh in until I get back home. I am traveling all day tomorrow.
I have to especially thank the following people for playing a key role in my weight loss these past three weeks. All my peoples in VAN 5 form the first week, Jill, Tara, Tracy, Stephanie, Sherri, Sharon, Lynn, Lora, Kent, my Irish Steam Ship Mary, and Maggie (non Van 5’er). Dwayne thanks for working hard, and showing me it can continue when you go home, read his blog Dwayne’s Blog.
In the past two weeks I really have to thank Sharon, Kent, James, Edward, Anne, and Angela. Without you all I would not have made the progress that I have, and you all have been a joy to get to know, and will always have my support.
Finally I have to thank Michael C and Sam. Michael C. for fixing my Kettle bell Technique, and providing me a different perspective in approaching physical disciplines, yes you are the Zen-Meathead. Sam , my first day here I asked who the biggest hard ass was, I received a question in response which was if I enjoy ass kicking’s, apparently I do, and would like more! Thanks for first helping me to recapture that sensation of overcoming physical boundaries, and making me realize that no matter how hard I push, I can always dig a little deeper and push harder.
To my friends and family back home thanks for all of your love and support.
Thanks for all the great comments, and feedback. Please stay tuned for the official weigh in numbers tomorrow evening, and I will post at least 4 times a week when I return home.
By for now…
6:00 AM I missed the AM stretch to take care of some work back home. Life is starting to reenter the picture.
8:00 AM Hike to Upper Piuma Canyon. On the going out portion, this hike is great. It reminds me of hiking in Colorado, where you follow ridges that eventually lead out of the tree line, to reveal bald mountain peaks. It is truly a beautiful hike, once you leave the neighborhoods the trail takes you into the more remote territory than any other hike. The deeper you travel into the trail the more it feels as if you are entering a simple less complicated time.
The trail is rocky, with many steep sections which require you to scramble across rock and gravel. I don’t know how last week Angela ran up this trail, and then ran back down. She must have incredible coordination and balance because this fat guy moved at a snail’s pace coming back down. The return portion of the hike is more difficult than the ascent, you have to exercise extreme caution moving downhill making sure that you are stepping on secure ground.
Towards the end of the hike I felt as if my body had taken a serious beating in a kickboxing match. My ankles were sore, the balls of my feet were on fire, and I almost felt a bit seasick. I think feeling seasick is the closest thing that I can equate the sensation to, what other feeling to you have temporarily that you just want it to end, and it ends instantaneously when you are standing on solid ground.
If you ever hike this trail, I would recommend hiking boots for ankle support, and the ability to absorb the beating your feet will take from the sharp edges of the rocks.
11:15 AM Kickball, I skipped kickball today to ice my ankle and make a couple of phone calls.
1:00 PM Ass Kicking with Sam. The second session of our three part group series.
Warm-up started on the treadmill. At speed 3.0 we walked on the treadmill raising the incline every minute by 1 level for 15 minutes. Starting at about minute 10 Sam handed each of us 1 of the following objects, 15 lb medicine ball, 12 lb weight bar, or a rubber balance ball. We each were handed the aforementioned items for a minute at a time, with the items rotating between the three of us. At the fifteen minute marker we started our “real warm-up”.
Our speeds were increased to a sprinting level, while maintaining the 15 incline. We were told to perform 5 sprints at :30 seconds, 4 sprints at :20 seconds, 3 sprints at :15 seconds, and 2 at :10 seconds. As the time decreased with each set of sprints the speed was increased. By the last set of sprints I was sprinting at 6.5 miles per hour, at a 15 incline.
We then moved into a three part circuit. Jump up pull ups, the big ass rope, and bosu ball hand walking. Each station was performed for 1 minute at a time with a :30 break followed by another minute of performance. At the end of the 2 minutes of work we cycled to the next station. Once we all got one turn at each station we moved on to the grand finale.
We finished the session with cart pushers. A cart pusher is where you get on the treadmill, and use your feet to move the belt while the machine is off. We performed 5 intervals, each 1 minute with 1 minute breaks between intervals. During the cart pushers I kept my head down and my eyes closed, I think by the third one I was hallucinating because I started think I had seen "THE LIGHT", when I opened them it's was the lights from the treadmill.
At the end of the workout all three of us were drained. We spent about 15 minutes after the session trying to get our heads around what we had just been through, I couldn’t believe that I am still finding new gears to use towards the end of Sam’s workout.
Sam has an innate ability to get the most out of you during a workout. I’m thankful I have had the opportunity to workout with him, as it has changed my perspective on how hard I can work, and has given a rebirth to my overall resolve.
2:30 PM Ballworks with Katina. This was the first ballworks class that actually had any challenge to it. The only problem was that as per usual issues with Katina, she doesn’t explain the maneuvers very well, which leaves people confused. She’s like a bad kindgerarten teacher, she knows where to go and what to do, but not how to get the children to respond to her and follow her instructions.
I don’t know if it’s the high levels of testosterone, coupled with the porn like electronic music she played, but I couldn’t help but have dirty thoughts watching her bounce up and down on the ball…yeah…was that out loud…enter uncomfortable silence…how’s the weather…exit respect for this guy…
I will have to admit the exercises I could figure out were effective, I didn’t know the rubber balance bal could be so useful for core work.
3:30 PM Treading with Ursula. Treading is the cardio class which starts with 5 minutes of intense work followed by 5 minutes of recovery, followed by 4 minutes of intense work, followed by 4 minutes of recovery, and then works its way down to 1 minute. At the bottom of the cycles you perform 4 sprints, 1 minute on 1 minute off.
As a direct result of reaching level 100 yesterday on the Arc Trainer & learning through Sam’s workout that I always have more to give, I had it in my mind that I would tread at level 100 today. The first five minutes of level 100 was tough, I could barely get the machine moving more than 90 strides a minute, at level 30 I was moving the machine 160 strides per minute. Once I overcame the first five the rest of the class was physically difficult, but my mind would not allow me to waiver. At the end of the class I could not believe the amount of sweat that I had on my shirt it is the first time in treading that I had soaked through the front and back of my shirt.
4:30 PM Pool Class with Sam. First workout I’ve had in the pool that was worth any calorie burning. It was a simple class which involved a combination of running in the pool, treading hands free, and swimming laps the distance of the pool. It was a good way to finish a long day.
I went out to a see a friend tonight, we met at a sushi restaurant in Beverly Hills. I had 8 pieces of sashimi. The restaurant was the easy part. After paying the check and leaving for the drive back to the reservation, I realized I needed gas. I also felt at this point the type of chills I only get when my blood sugar drops. All I really wanted was an Orange and a bottle of water.
I pulled over at a ConocoPhillips gas station, and started pumping gas. Initially I didn’t want to go into the C-store because it didn’t’ look like they had any healthy selections. Unfortunatelys I needed to go pee, really bad so I went into the store. Once in the store I grabbed a bottle of water, and a Sprite Zero. The soda crackwhore in me couldn’t help it, I really wanted some carbonation, and the taste of something familiar.
While in the store I started to feel the chills more intensely, I realized at this point I had worked out harder than I thought I had, and my body was desperately needed some type of sustenance. The only reasonable options in this place were beef jerky, or peanut butter crackers. I picked the beef jerky at 120 calories not the best in terms of calories but it did have 25 g of protein. I also made sure to get a bottle of water wash away the sodium.
It showed me that when I get home I have to be prepared all the time. The temptations and limitations for the diet are all over the place. What’s the probability of stopping in a gas station in any part of the US when you have to eat, and not finding anything worth eating, I bet 7 out of every 10 gas stations only sells crap.
In closing this long day I am happy to have stayed another week, tomorrows my last day, and I’m looking forward to Zuma Ridge, a return to my second day of trauma at the Biggest Loser Resort.
By for Now…
6:00 AM Dynamic Stretch with Sam. Exactly how I needed to start the morning. By the end of the session my body was feeling loose and limber. It is what I needed to get through this tough day.
8:00 AM Beach hike with the fast people. I did my last beach hike today, it was overcast the entire time, but the ocean is still beautiful. When we started it must have been the slack tide, a gaggle of surfers were unloading their boards, and putting on wet suits when we arrived. Out in the ocean more surfers sat on their boards waiting for the tide to come in and the next wave to break, from a distance they looked like a harem of seals.
The waves from the tide moving out packed down the sand which made it easier to walk along the beach.
The lead group created a nice brisk pace, I actually stayed within shouting distance of this faster group; that is until they started running. Once they started running I made it up in my mind I wouldn’t allow them to get more than 10 minutes ahead of me. I was able to keep them within 5 minutes of them on the out part of the hike, and stayed with them on the return back to the vans.
I had to put the ankle pain, and the blister on the ball of my right foot out of my mind. Recently on the hikes I have also been choosing not to listen to music. I am trying to focus on the duty at hand rather than use the music to distract my mind from the pain. It has given me an unanticipated opportunity to get to know some great people on an almost intimate level. During the hikes topics of conversation range from future plans, to the hopes and aspirations parents hold for children, to the best place to get sushi, or the intricacies of the word “fine” when spoken by a woman. I would also like to give a shout out to my stalker…I mean hiking guide Chloe.
Each trip to the beach has been unique. Today the combination of the pace, and the low tide allowed us to travel further down the beach than we had gone on any previous beach hike. The further down the coast that we traveled and the more houses that we saw, the more I asked myself “How do I live this life?” If you see the picture below you can’t tell me that sitting in those chairs watching a sunset wouldn’t just warm your soul, then I'm not sure you have one.
Reason number 102 of why I want to lose weight:
11:15 AM Stretch, I skipped stretch to take care of some work, and to ice my ankle.
12:15 PM Group Workout with Sam on the beach. James, Kent, Dwayne, and I were part of a test workout on the beach. The resort wanted to see how a beach workout would be received by the guests. From what I understand Dwayne asked Sam about the possibility of working out on the beach. Good Job Dwayne! Let’s take a tough workout and make it harder by adding sand to the mix.
We started our session with a jog down the beach about a quarter mile down and back. Once we returned from the run, we started with burpies. In a burpy you jump down into a pushup position, and then jump back up on your feet. After 1 minute of burpies we jumped straight up for 1 minute. Normally this is tough for any fat guy, if you add the sand it’s almost impossible to get an explosiveness to get your knees up. Jump ups was followed by 1 minute of mountain climbers.
Following the mountain climbers Sam turned up the level of "fun". We were told to get into a downward dog type stance with our legs straight and our hands touching the sand. Then we were told to crab walk down the sand down the slope of the beach towards the ocean and we had to touch the water. After touching the water we backed up in the same position. This motion was difficult for everyone. Especially the reverse motion, in reverse you have to push off your upper body and not your legs which is very difficult when all the weight is pushing forward.
Following the crab walks we turned perpendicular to the coastline in the same stance, and moved laterally towards the ocean. Once we touched the water we turned and moved back up the slope. By the end of the warm-up I think all four of us were getting tired.
In the next phase we moved to a small circuit of four stations. Sam took the big ass rope and anchored it down to a weighted vest. The vest was placed on the downward slope of the sand, as the water rolled over the rope the big ass rope became the heavy ass rope. In this part of the circuit, each of us spent 1 minute alternating arms up and down, and then 1 minute using both arms together .
Station 2 involved boxing with Sam. Two minutes of following Sam around the beach while throwing punch combinations based on what he would bark at us. Station 3 involved jumping lunges, and forward jumping, all of which was done coming up the slope of the sand. The added incline raised the level of difficult three fold. The final station involved using a 15lb medicine. Similar to Monday’s workout, we had to squat and press the ball, then we had to go chase it down and do it again. After1 minute we changed the motion by throwing the ball over our heads.
We finished the session in pairs. One set of partners pulled the rope with the weight vest attached and pulled the vest down the beach up a small service road and then brought it back. The other set of partners worked on core by doing inclined crunches.
By the end of the session we were covered in sweat, sand, and thanks to the oil company’s oil. I just wanted to give a royal fuck you and shout out to the major oil companies who continue to fuck up our natural resources. For the uninformed the oil which is leaked into the ocean never really just dissipates, it breaks up into smaller spheres which float all over the ocean. These balls then wash up on the shore where they melt and turn into splotches on our beaches. And then one day if you are a fat guy working out with your trainer and doing crab walks will plant your hand in one, and your toe in another one. Seeing as the West Coast hasn’t had a major oil spill since the Exxon Valdez when I was 10 years old, it’s highly probably this is a remnant from that great moment in ecological history.
So thank you Exxon for turning a fucking awesome workout into a moment of making me want to cut your corporate heart out with a spoon (it doesn’t sound the same coming from big Asian guy as it does Alan Rickman).
2:30 PM Mountain with John. We got back from the beach a bit late so I missed the first 3 levels of mountain. Having James and Kent on the machines next to me was a huge help in motivating me to get my ass moving. A personal victory, I was able to reach level 90 on the arc trainer during mountain. This is significant because each of the 12 levels last for 3 minutes which means this was the most time I spent working on the Arc Trainer at levels above 50. It was tough trying not to absorb all the rah rah that John was speaking. It’s not for me but I realize that it works for some people. It was an awesome session personally for me because I felt for the first time this week I was working like I had the previous two weeks.
3:30 PM Mountain again with John. In having such a great session in the previous hour, I felt I should make up for the slacking the past two days by doing Mountain again. Before the class started John came over to me and asked what level I had reached the previous class, I told him 90, he responded by saying you are going to go higher right? Inside I said to myself “SHIT!”. My plan had been to focus on speed this time instead of resistance. With everything I have said about John, my ego would not allow me to step down from this small but apparently effective challenge. I finished at level 100 for 3 minutes, and now grateful John is the way he is because I wouldn’t have pushed that hard if not for that slight comment.
4:30 PM Cardio Kickboxing with Ursula. Entering this class I felt wiped out. My partner Kent was clearly wiped out as well, when he told me he wasn’t sure what he had left I told him you got this we are going to kick ass. I don’t if I said that for him or for me.
Each cycle of kicking and punching we motivated each other with lots of loud “come on”, “hit harder”, “great”, and “get some”. If it hadn’t been in an open class room I think people might have mistaken our workout for hot gay sex. We were able to get stronger as we went on, and finished the class stronger than we started. During this class I saw Kent punch and kick the hardest since I’ve been here, and I think he actually enjoyed it.
After the workouts I did have dinner here at the ranch, but I also went out to visit a friend. We went a great little Sushi place in LA. It’s called Sushi House, and the fish is better than Nobu at a third of the price. I had a small plate of sashimi, and enjoyed a great night catching up with an old friend. It was a true test, he had a beer and sake, and a roll that I wanted to try but decided not to, he was sensitive to my situation, and wasn’t trying to get me to eat something I shouldn’t which made it a bit easier.
As my time here starts to close I am feeling better and better, while a bit of sadness is creeping in because I will be leaving some great people who have played a significant role in changing my life, most of whom I will never see again. I think the only way I can do their friendship justice is to maintain what they have helped me start. I am looking to turbo charge my last two days, and I am ready to go home and continue this new found lifestyle.
By for now…
I wanted to start this post with a great big THANK YOU to everyone who has left encouraging comments on my previous posts, and the great e-mails have received from everyone they have been instrumental in helping me keep my focus.
6:00 AM stretch with Cameron. As time goes on the stretch sessions with Cameron are becoming less satisfying, and the dynamic stretch with Sam is becoming more of what I want. How funny is it that three weeks after my first stretch with Sam I was wondering WTF? I got a decent stretch this morning, yet I don’t think my body is fully warmed up. Sam’s dynamic stretches provide me both and make it easier to hike.
8:00 AM hike to “Dirt View” aka “Ocean View” trail. Prior to the hike I iced my ankle, took 3 Motrin, and bought an ankle brace in the store at the resort. Yet my ankle was still making me feel a bit apprehensive about the hike. What added some apprehension to my hike was the fact that this week they have 1 less van than the prior two weeks, which meant that all the fast people are now in van 6. I was beginning to enjoy setting the pace with Paula for the entire van. I am now in the slower pack of the fast van.
The hike started again at the trail head of Zuma Front Side. I tried to start the hike ahead of the rest of the group in the hopes I could get a head start and warm up my sore ankle. Alas this plan did not work because before we crossed the creek Kent “Speedie” McDuffie had caught up and started his usual fast pace up the ridge, soon followed by the majority of the group.
My ankle at this point was in a great deal of pain, every step I took would make me wince, this feeling was not helped by the fact that the path had been washed out two weeks ago because of the rains so the terrain was sloped inward towards the middle of the trail which amplified the intensity of the angle at which you placed your feet. I proceeded to work the ascent as best as I could trying to keep a reasonable pace. As time went on the front group got further away, I couldn’t help but relive moments from elementary school where I always ended up last during a run. This feeling grew as the hike went on.
I just could not find a way to muster more steam. Every time I could create a small burst of energy I would only move a few hundred feet and revert back to the slow speed.
The rest of the hike was a major test of my mental fortitude. Every step I took was becoming more and more painful, a few times I wanted to turn back and return to the van. I had to keep telling myself I haven’t given up on anything yet, so why should I do that now. My poor mental state kept me highly anxious about snakes, there are rattle snakes here and they have been spotted on numerous hikes. Snake fears and all I did make it to the turnaround point, but it was far behind the lead group.
With the rest of the group turning around, I was the only slow person to make it to the turnaround point, which meant I was now dead last; this meant Zoë (hiking guide) was tasked with being my guide. I was so pissed off; I was now the “slow guy” who had to be escorted by the hiking guide.
The downhill’s made my ankle feel worse; it was a mental battle to get back to the van. By the time I reached the final ascent my ankle was limp, but I was still pissed off. I was really pissed off. I WAS THE FAT GUY WHO WAS LAST! I was not happy, Zoë did her best to make me think differently, but she made me feel deranged for the feelings I was going through. I went through an array of hostility towards myself, anger for not trying harder, and dejection for falling into last place.
11:15 AM skipped class to ice my ankle.
I did not have any personal training today I used the time to ice, and elevate my ankle.
2:30 PM Total body toning with Ursula. Ursula’s total body toning class revolved completely around rubber resistance bands. We warmed up walking in a circle, stretching out various upper body parts. We performed various motions laterally with the rubber bands under our feet to provide resistance. This was part of the warm up.
We then partnered with another guest and performed simultaneous resistance band exercises. An example of one the rubber bands were looped around each other in the middle with one set of handles in my hand and the other set in my partners hands. While holding bands straight in front of us we would both squat at the same time.
As we proceeded we built on each one dimensional move, and would add a compound move, such as squatting and rowing which created a total body motion. There were about 5 other exercises which we performed each for 2 minutes.
We finished the class with planks, and crunches. By the end of the class I was feeling better, and started to get my juices flowing. The unmotivated douche bag started to melt away from the sweat.
3:30 PM Cardio Intervals with Ursula. Cardio intervals involve 8,:30 second intervals, at the end of each interval you increase the resistance, incline, or speed of your work. At the top of the 8 increases you hold that level for 1 minute then work downward at the same pace for 7 intervals. At the bottom of the arc there are three sprints 1 minute intense 1 minute recovery. You then repeat the entire cycle once more.
The highest I’ve worked with on the Arc Trainer is level 60. My plan was to work up to resistance level 65 – 70, I ended up working at level 100 at the top of the interval arc. This is the first time I’ve gotten this high and held it for that long.
This was the most I’ve sweat during a cardio class since the first week. At the end of the class I was feeling great, it helped that James and Kent were two machines down from me. They are always working hard so I used there mojo to propel me. By the had end of the class I was feeling phenomenal.
4:30 PM Total Toning with Sam. Sam’s total toning class involves a circuit routine with 12 stations. This was such a great workout, I patterned with Kent, we rocked each station. The three highlights of the circuit included the 2 minute partner squat and hold, the Reebok step jump ups, and the leg throws.
In the partner squat and hold, you grab the arms of your partner in a crisscross fashion and then both lower your butts into a squat. The objective is to use your partner’s body weight to counter balance, the position requires you to use your quads as much as your glutes.
In the Reebok step jumps ups, Sam placed a series of five Reebok steps, with each set progressively higher than the previous one. We chose to jump up to each one. What a site it must have been a big black guy, with a big Asian guy leaping up each step, it could not have looked natural at all. I wish we could have recorded this one.
Leg throws involve one person lying on his back, using the other person’s legs as a handle, the partner stands over the head of the person on the ground and throws the legs forward. The person on the ground is fighting to keep his legs from touching the ground which engages the abdominal muscles.
If I ever needed a workout like this today was the day. It was the workout that changed my mind back to a positive place. I am here for three more days and I need to get my ass in gear. It’s time to make my extra time here worth every second of it.
I am coming into the home stretch. I am ready to go home but I have to kick ass the next three days. I have to hit my number to make it all worth the effort.
6:00 AM stretch…FUCKING CANCELED! I am very salty this morning. Very, very salty, salty, salty. They canceled the 6:00 AM stretch so they could do a circuit training class for all the newbie’s. What a bunch of straight bullshit. I am gob smacked that a company which has booked 80+ guests this week would make such a rash and stupid decision. In any given week 25-30 people are “stay over guests”, these are people who have committed to multiple weeks, in any business they should be a valuable client base, but in this place they are apparently just chattel, we have your money and you are stuck here. I am not looking forward to the hike this morning, my body is sore, and I feel like ass, I think mentally I’m ready to go home. A bit of buyer’s remorse is occurring.
8:00 AM Hike to Latigo Trail. Today is assessment day. Every Monday people are reassessed for their hiking groups for the week. Our van this morning was comprised completely of stay over guests. The hike was not very challenging, yet it was tough for me because I was in a bad place.
The hike starts with an ascent form the parking lot to a low ridgeline; it felt like I was starting the hike on Zuma ridge. Every step from the onset of the hike was painful, my calf muscles, my quad muscles and my hamstrings felt like…shit. No other way to describe it the technical term for how my legs felt was, shit. Shitty, shit, shit shit.
Without the morning stretch it took me almost 50 minutes into the hike before my body felt warmed up. During this entire time I was questioning my choice to stay longer, in fact I was feeling ready to call it day and just fly back home. What was truly unbelievable was that the hike wasn’t difficult; it was one of the easier hikes I have been on. The trail connects to Castro’s Crest trail, which is one of my “favorites”. Our group was moving fast enough that we not only went to the creek crossing on Castro’s Crest but started the ascent up to the peak of the ridge. With the hike’s based on time and not distance it was necessary for us to turnaround before we reached the meat of the Castro’s Crest ascent.
By the time we started our return to the Van I was feeling better but not great.
The return hike was interesting, I was walking over trail that I didn’t remember crossing, I had been so wrapped up in my own self-pity that I had blocked out the trail. It wasn’t until the final descent that I recognized the trail. I was given a lesson in attitude, and focus. How could have hiked miles without retaining what was around me? Unfortunately, this was not the end of my crappy attitude, but the hike had provided a temporary relief from my own bullshit.
11:15 am Mountain with Sam. Sam was just what the doctor ordered. I was in dire need of a motivated, intense cardio session to completely loosen my body up, and get my head straightened out. Mountain is the cardio session which requires you to increase your intensity on a cardio machine every 3 minutes for 12 levels. Sam’s delivery of this class is fucking awesome, the best sessions I have had in the gym are when Sam is conducting the class. I don’t know if it’s because we know his story, or his ability to maintain an intense workout, or if I have a man crush. Okay it’s the man crush. I had initially planned on trying to get to level 50 for the peak of mountain, in the process of pushing beyond my own limitations, I found myself working up to level 60. The sweat breaking across my brow was refreshing, this sensation alone started to put my mind back into a more positive place.
I think I was helped by having James on the arc trainer next to me. James is a middle aged mad man, he has to be the hardest working person here, and he is intense every session for the entire session. This guy kicks my ass on the hikes; he and Kent have become the trail leaders of our group.
1:15 PM PT with Sam. Regular ass kicking’s by Sam have become common place. I was concerned about another miracle mile today, or some medicine ball ass kicking, or some boxing to wear me out, alas he found a new way for me to dry heave.
We started by grabbing various sized small dumbbells, a weight bar, and a medicine ball. He wanted to work out outside today. What a great day to get your ass kicked outside! We started simply with walking lunges, walking sidesteps, walking squats, and reverse lunges, did I mention I was traveling over 30 yards, holding the weight bar.
Next I had to do various combinations of sprints. The first set of 5 was a straight sprint across 30 yards. I must confess my present sprint looks like too old people having hot sex. The speed is relative to most people’s jog but when you are over 330 pounds it’s hard to muster more velocity. The second set of 5 sprints I started on my feet then jumped down to a push up position and jumped up to run the 30 yards. Set three of the sprints I started on my back and rolled over to my front and ran 30 yards. All these runs were timed, and I had to continue to beat my time or there would be more. Set 4 of the sprints started with 5 suicides. For those who didn’t play sports growing up suicides are “fun”, you run ten yards and then back to start, run twenty yards then back, run thirty yards, and sprint hard to finish line. Set five of the sprints I started on my back and ran 5 more suicides.
I was given a slight reprieve from my runs. The 15 lb medicine ball became my new best friend. The entire field is around 100 yards. I was given the medicine ball and told to do a squat and press the ball forward, then chase ball down, pick it up and do it again. In order to return to the start line from the other end of the field I would have to pick up the medicine ball and thrust it over my back light a catapult, again chase it down pick it up and do it again.
We did this drill across the entire length of the field 5 times. Each pass got harder because Sam would get in front of the ball and redirect it which made me have to run laterally adding distance to my overall travel. I must have looked like a retarded bull chasing after some red object that the bullfighter kept throwing away from him.
There were a few more drills afterwards which I don’t recall, it was hot, I was sweaty, and tired. We finished the session with 10 sprints up a small hill. What was originally supposed to be 7 sprints with 10 second breaks, and 3 sprints with 3 second breaks turned into something different. On my third sprint I tripped on a rock and rolled my ankle, I actually fell down and rolled on the ground. Karma is a bitch.
I thought I sprained my ankle; I was able to get up and tried to figure out if I could walk. After a few minutes I walked back to the line in pain, and tried another sprint up the hill. Coming down the hill hurt more than the going up. After a couple more sprints the pain started to subside. Starting with run number 6 Sam had me get into a three point stance. Think NFL offensive lineman. Each sprint I performed got better, and stronger. He was motivating the hell out of me to push harder and work harder. Whatever he said was what I needed to breakthrough again. The final sprint was my best one, I actually felt like I was moving fast enough to be considered a sprint. This of course earned me another one. My last one was the best one of the day.
Let the dry heaving being, unfortunately this was not capture on video.
2:30 PM Circuit Training. After my session I came back to my room for some fruit, and to ice my ankle. I lied in bed with an ice pack around my ankle, and fell asleep. I missed the class, which actually was a big emotional help because John was teaching the class, if I had gone to this class his incessant talking would have driven me to homicide.
3:30 PM Core with Meghan. This was the first class in a long time which was beneficial for my core. Meghan is a great instructor, she explains things, and knows how to give you a good workout. She is tiny, and says she’s pregnant, yet I don’t know where because she doesn’t look pregnant at all. Even with her size she can crack a whip. It was a much needed session on my back, with all the work being crunches, butt raises, planks, and superman’s my ankle was able to get a much needed rest. My core is becoming stronger.
4:30 PM Circuit Training with Corrine. I started the class with the intent of staying with the class; it’s hard to stick to the class tempo. Time is always lost to the transition periods. After the first weight training cycle I made the decision to just keep moving and not wait for the class. This allowed me to get in at least 6 extra cycles of cardio and weights.
I found that I am weaker than the first week. It was hard doing more than 10 dumbbell rows with the 50 lb dumbbell, the week before Fitness Ridge I was able to do 20 reps. On the cable row machine I could barely do 15 reps with 120 lbs, when the first Monday I was here I did 20 with 140 lbs. Again protein consumption is a major issue here; I don’t know how they can offer some type of alternative. Everyone who is a doctor who is either here or has been here agrees that 5 oz of protein is not enough for an adult male.
5:30 PM my first chiropractic appointment. For the most part I used to believe that Chiropractors were all quacks. I have changed my mind slightly. Dr. Ray is a former body builder, and power lifter, who has become a chiropractor. He told me that he decided to become when he used to be a power lifter his visits to a chiropractor would allow him to lift 50 extra pounds of weight after an adjustment. I don’t know what he did but the numbness in my left finger is gone, and I am able to rotate my right arm with it feeling like it gets stuck. I am going to have a session with him on Friday to help loosen up my shoulders again but who knows this could all just be in my head.
6:30 PM Deep Tissue massage with Stacy. My body needs a long deep tissue massage. She was able to help loosen up my hamstrings and calf muscles. After the Chiropractor and the Masseuse I am feeling loose and better about my last week.
It’s incredible how much my emotions have changed today about my final week. I think I have accepted that I am here one more week. I further realize that I have to get my ass in gear tomorrow to make up for my shitty day today. This entire week is going to be a test of mental fortitude. I am running on fumes, want to go home, but still have a job to do. Tomorrow morning will be a new day, and another chance to commit myself to excellence.
By for now…
Today was a day off, a much needed day off. Sunday’s here are always a day of rest, it allows for your body to recuperate. As much as we abuse our bodies it’s a necessity to give the muscles a chance to recover, and for your mind to rest. I think the mind having a chance to relax is more important than the physical rest. It becomes a tedious routine plugging away every hour on the hour. I brought 5 books with me, none of which I have read. When the day ends all you want to do is rest, and give your brain a chance to “veg”.
This day started as the first step towards going home, but after the weigh in I was a bit disappointed.
Here are the numbers:
3/20/11 3/27/11 04/03/11
372 lbs 357 lbs 342 lbs
40% Body Fat 39.5% Body Fat 38.5 % Body Fat
I was hoping to get to 333 on this trip. 333 is a number I have gotten to in the past, and to return home having reached this number again, it would have been a major victory in overcoming my obesity. This is ultimately why I made a decision to stay for 5 more days. I changed my flight to Saturday morning, and I was planning on staying in a hotel nearby and commuting for another week, when a last minute cancelation allowed me stay in the same room. Can someone say serendipitous?
In the afternoon Kent and I went on another meal “test” in a restaurant. After 4 hours of trying to find a suitable place to eat, we found a nice Greek restaurant about 20 minutes from the reservation. Once we were seated we spent about 30 minutes reading over the menu, and using our smart phones to calculate calories. Ultimately we ended up choosing Seared Ahi Tuna, I picked a salad, and Kent chose the platter with orzo and a side salad. I wish I had taken a picture of this salad; the plate looked like a serving platter.
Based on my math the 7 oz seared Ahi Tuna steak had about 270 calories and about 30g protein (desperately needed protein). We also shared two shrimp cocktails; there are about 20-30 calories per shrimp. I think I had about 7 pieces. All together my meal was probably less than 450 calories. I asked for the dressing on the side and used it like wasabi, dipping very lightly my veggies.
What an experience…how different it was picking a meal based on my caloric needs, and not my emotional needs. I didn’t have a problem with the total calories, it was actually very filling. I could have gotten away with only eating half of the tuna put I finished the entire steak because of my protein deficiency. I have felt my upper body get weaker since I’ve been here; they only provide us 5 oz of protein a day. This is just not sustainable for a man. They don’t provide an alternative meal plan, so this next week I am going to purchase some Myoplex Light drinks which have a 110 calories and 17g of protein to help supplement my needs. I really think towards the end of last week the lack of protein created a situation where my body was breaking down muscle tissue. I had consumed less fruit and veggies to keep my calorie count lower, inevitably I think this behavior caused me to lose less weight than I should have, I know for a fact I burned more calories last week than the during the previous week, but my weight loss number was exactly the same. This is going to be tough finding the balance between low caloric consumption and high intensity workouts.
I rented a car today which has been liberating. It allowed me to visit a friend of mine who lives in Brentwood. This guy is awesome, he’s fiercely loyal, hardworking, and has a big heart. Being Israel the period after September 11th was tough for him, and I think he appreciates how I stuck by him, and tried to offer him as much support as possible during that time. I was happy to see he married a fantastic woman this past January, he’ll readily admit she’s a major catch for him. I am planning on seeing him again Wednesday for dinner, this will be a major test; it will be my first social gathering since fatguy rehab started two weeks ago.
In concluding my second week I realize that I am exhausted. My body is worn out, and the inability to surpass my previous week’s weightloss numbers was a kick in the teeth. I pushed myself to my limits, and then broke through on multiple occasions.
I haven’t worked this hard before in any endeavor, perhaps that’s the reason I am not satisfied with my life. I choose not to live my life in an unsustainable, unsatisfying manner. The major win for me this week is the redefining of what it means to work hard, in fact the barometer which previously measured my efforts in life don’t apply because we have reached a whole new arena of effort.
I am a bit apprehensive about staying another week, but I am prepared to work my ass off to get past the number which has been my wall for several years.
By for now…
6:00 AM group stretch with Edward, Angela, Kent, Sharon. Okay it wasn’t really a group stretch but out of 80+ we were the only ones stretching this morning. It was nice to get a chance to try and develop my own stretching routine.
8:00 AM Hike to Solstice Canyon. If not for Angela’s desire to hike Solstice, and Kent’s change of plans this morning after his weigh-in I would probably would have wussed out today and gone to the beach. I’m so glad we ended up doing Solstice.
This hike is rewarding, and gives you plenty of opportunity to work hard. When I started I had one simple goal which was to hike the entire route to the waterfall without stopping. I accomplished this goal, and was amazed at the time, my first attempt to hike Solstice took more than hour, today I reached the waterfall in 40 minutes. I am proud of the fact that in two weeks I have been able to cut almost 1/3 of the time. This obviously created enough time for a “bonus”.
The “bonus” here was that we turned around and went back up and hiked the reverse route. When I almost reached the top Randy (hiking guide) told me to reach the top and turn around because we would take the fire road straight out. I reached the top quickly and turned around to go back down to the waterfall. I had almost reached the home stretch of the hike down when I saw a bright neon green shirt coming back up the hill, I stopped. I was more than halfway back down and wasn’t planning on doing the return twice.
I got an additional “bonus” of doing the back side one additional half. Towards the top of the return trip to the van I had my first chance to hike with Kent, and James together. It was nice to have a few moments of straight testosterone. Guy talk, the way it’s supposed to be…me want meat…
When I reached the base of the hike we had enough time to do the paved hill again as another “bonus”. I actually wanted to do it again, but we were short on time. Can someone say indoctrinated?
11:15 Cardio or Pool, in trying to post to this blog in a timely manner I missed this class. I also had to take care of small work issues.
1:00 PM PT with Michael C. I had a session with Michael today utilizing the Bosu and Medicine balls. This was an interesting workout because I didn’t feel very winded, but I was sweating. The bosu is another evil device invented by some trainer, which looks simple and easy to use, until you workout with someone who knows how to make it destroy you.
An example a plank is a great way to work out your core. When you do a plank with the ball side down of the bosu you are working 10x as hard. You not only have to use your core to keep yourself up but you have to use other stabilizer muscles to stay up. This was my last personal training session for the week.
For dinner tonight we skipped graduation. We went to Nobu, it was our first time in a real sit down restaurant after two weeks. When the server started explaining the non-sushi menu I wanted to laugh, cry, and get the hell out of dodge. Everything sounded fantastic. It sounded amazing. We ultimately ordered just sushi and sashimi. I ordered sashimi, and had 10 total pieces of fish.
IT WAS AMAZING! Tasting something familiar to me was reinvigorating. What was even more amazing is that I was full after 10 pieces of sashimi. No rice, no other proteins, no additional filler. It was a great experiment in exercising self control when your meals aren’t catered to your weight loss needs. We are going to do another test tomorrow at a buffet; we will see how it works out.
This was a tough week. I have never in my life at any point ever exerted the amount of physical energy I did during this week. My body is sore, I’m tired and I can’t get enough it. If I could, I would stay another week.
Sam told me something yesterday which has stuck with me, he told me my body was ready to do the work but it’s my mind wanting to quit. I’m not ready to quit. I won’t ever be ready quit. I don’t want to find myself in that place again where quitting becomes easier. As my physical health has deteriorated I’m sure my mental fortitude in other areas such as work has suffered, and I am no longer planning on living my life in this place.
We all strive to create something tangible from nothing whether it’s a relationship, a business, an idea, I want to create a mission in my life to not only pursue physical excellence but to find a place where I am creating a financial means in my life that creates opportunity and choices while truly bettering the world at large. Where do I go to start this mission?