Vertical Plyo

I have the best workout partner ever. It is hard to take breaks when she is yelling “no breaks” at me.

You will notice me wanting to take a break about 30 seconds in, but refusing because she is still jumping. That is freakin’ motivation. Aviendha has become one Shakeology drinking, Shaun T. and Tony Horton loving kid, and I could not be happier.

My legs felt amazing tonight at softball (which is remarkable in that they never feel good at softball) and I believe PAP is responsible. I collected 4 more hits tonight (in 5 ABs) and continue to rake. If only I had taken up this sport years ago.


11,000 is a Large Number

My P90X2 results video went over 11,000 views today. I have to thank everyone who has viewed and shared it. I had someone tell me the other day that they are three weeks into P90X and their reason for getting started was that I motivated them. It took a while for this to register with me. It was for this exact reason that I became a Beachbody Coach. It is for this exact reason that I post here about my diet and exercise and share my pictures and videos.

On a sort-of-related note, I took Avi to the spray park in Spencerport today, followed by lunch at her favorite restaurant, Abe’s (it’s and honest meal). While there I was flipping through the Living Section of the paper and I saw two articles that caught my attention.

The first of which offered tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on vacation. This was of particular interest to me, as we will be leaving for 1o days in Cape Cod next Friday. Among the tips were get exercise in the morning so that you can enjoy the rest of your day, plan your meals and snacks so you are not caught trying to find healthy choices, and bring easy to carry workout equipment with you. Luckily for me, our trip coincides with my recovery week. Next week is the final week of my P90X2/Asylum hybrid, I will treat the week in Cape Cod as recovery and be tackling the Body Beast when we get home.

I plan on running at least 4 times in Cape Cod. I will also do yoga on the beach. I am packing my Rumble Roller. We also walk a few miles every day between the beach and Provincetown (many of those walks will have a 40 lb 5-year old on my shoulders).

For food, I am planning on bringing and grilling lots of chicken (although I have joked about a total-seafood week). I will also be bringing my Shakeology and whey protein. On a sort-of side note, I think I have mastered the art of blending Tropical Strawberry Shakeology. I mix 1 scoop Shakeology. I scoop vanilla whey protein. 8 ice cubes. A small handful of Dole frozen tropical fruit. And almond milk mixed with orange juice. The stuff comes out amazing.

Our trip is not going to turn into one 10 day long cheat meal. I will continue follow the same basic dietary guidelines I have established for myself while we are there, while also remembering that we are on vacation and I am allowed to enjoy myself. I am already resigning myself that when we go to Fenway to see the Red Sox and Tigers, there will be very few healthy options on the menu.

The second article I found in the Living section had to do with the importance of keeping a food journal, especially for women. I have written before about the importance of tracking food. I thought I was eating healthy my first few rounds of P90X. It wasn’t until I began using MyFitnessPal and following the 1900 Calorie diet posted to the TeamRIPPED website that I realized just how wrong I was. It is nearly impossible to be honest with yourself about what you have consumed in a day, and how those calories fit into your dietary goals if you are not keeping a record. Either through an app like MyFitnessPal, or with a simple pencil and a piece of paper. Anyone who is looking to lose body fat has to be calorie deficient (take in less than they burn in day) while also hitting specific percentages of carbs, fats and proteins. The best way that I have found to do this is by using MyFitnessPal because it does all of the math for you and tracks those essential macro-nutrients.

Danielle is in the middle of her fourth week of ChaLEAN Extreme She is loving it and I can say that there is already a noticeable difference in the way that she looks. ChaLEAN is a toned down program similar to P90X. It is not as extreme as P90X and is geared towards women. But I can honestly say, the few times I did a workout with her (using heavier weights) I was sweating my ass off along with her. The workouts are shorter (in the 35-45 minute range) and fast paced. They are a combination of resistance and cardio exercises based on the principal that muscle burns fat. I am hoping Danielle will guest-post a full review here along with before and after pictures when she is done.

With finishing my X2/Asylum hybrid next week, I will hopefully have a chance to take some after pictures. If not, any we take on vacation will have to suffice. I can honestly say I have never been in this kind of athletic shape. It is ironic that we are going to Cape Cod and I am feeling so good about how I look. Because many of the “before” pictures I have used in my posts, videos and as motivation to get in shape were taken there in the summer of ’08.

If you have found my video motivational, please keep sharing it. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that 11,000 people, most of them total strangers have viewed this thing already. If you would like to sign up to have me as your coach, you can follow the “Join My Team” link on the top right side of this site. It is free to sign up and only takes a few minutes. For those of you have already gotten in touch with me, keep up the good work.

The Deck Project

Being unemployed this summer, I needed a serious project. One thing I have hated about my house since I bought it in ’07 was the lack of outdoor living space.

There are beautiful sliding glass doors off of the dinning room, that until recently, opened up to steps leading down to the driveway. This led to avoiding spending time outside. We have a beautiful back yard and Avi loves playing out there. But, there was never any place to sit and enjoy the space.

A few months ago, when I realized I was not going to have a job for the summer (and maybe the fall) I decided to sell my motorcycle and use those funds to build a deck.

I have never undertaken a project like  this. With some guidance from some friends, today I “finished” the deck (there are still some small things to be done, but I put the power tools away, so I am done for now.

I started by digging the holes by hand.

Luckily, we have almost no rocks in our soil. So I was able to dig the holes (a re-dig a few of them) without much problem. It also gave me a chance to show off my Beast Mode.


stainless steel cable for the railings.

Because the back yard gets full afternoon sun, and thanks to man-made global climate change, it as hot as hell (literally, as hot as hell) out, we bought a triangular “shade sail” and hung it over the deck. It creates a nice shaded space in the center of the deck throughout the afternoon. Had I known when I started that this was the direction we were going to go, I would have put more thought into where I placed the posts, and when I choose to cut them down. The original plan was for a wooden pergola.

shade sail

the (almost) finished product

I was worried about building the stairs, but it was actually easier than I anticipated. I would have been done with the thing a week ago, but I had to spend half of my time fixing my own newbie mistakes. At the end of the day, I am really proud of myself. I have created (with some help) a really beautiful and comfortable space where before there was asphalt. It took me about two weeks to build (while taking breaks to play the role of Eric from “The Little Mermaid” and whatever else Aviendha dreamed up). I am not sure about the total cost, I would have to go through the receipts (there were many return trips to Home Depot). The lumber cost $2000. All told, everything (aside from the new furniture we need) will be less than $3000.

We are hosting Avi’s 5th birthday party on the deck this Sunday, got hope it does not collapse.

Completely Preoccupied

Last week flew by, so much that the weekend arrived and I had no idea what day it was.

I think part of this was the weirdness of having a holiday in the middle of the week. Mike Greenberg of ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the morning has the idea to move the Fourth of July to the first Thursday in July and call it Independence Day, thus giving everyone a four-day weekend and avoiding the mid-week holiday. I completely agree. I actually vote we do this with all major holidays, like we do currently with Thanksgiving.

During last week’s craziness, I was able to “almost” complete the deck. I will have pictures up when it is done. Having never built anything like this before, I did not have a clue what to expect. It came out a lot better than I had hoped. I am in sort of the finishing touches stage, which is nice. I felt bad for Avi last week. I tried really hard to attend to her needs while also getting a major construction project completed. Not easy.

We celebrated Avi’s birthday with her school friends on Saturday. It was a bit before her real birthday, due to scheduling and what not. We were all afraid it was going to be a nightmare. Something about 15-20 four to five year-old kids in a pool together with only me and my father to keep an eye on them scared the crap out of me. It was actually a really nice time. The kids were really well-behaved and Avi seemed to have an awesome time and was incredibly gracious opening her presents. Two weeks from today my kid turns 5. If I close my eyes, I can see exactly the way she appeared the first time I laid my eyes on her tiny face. The sun rose twice on July 23rd, 2007 and my life has been brighter ever since.

I am reading a really good book that my sister suggested for me. It is called “The Art of Fielding”. If you were to ask me what it is about, the easy answer would be “baseball”, but it is really about so much more than that. I highly recommend it, to anyone. Baseball fan or not. Last night I was sitting on the deck (who knew a 18 foot x 16 foot platform could be so relaxing, it’s where I am typing this now) reading the book. I was startled out of my trance by a too-low flying by-plane. I looked up and the clouds were doing the most beautiful thing. I sat and stared at them for no less than five minutes. My eyes started to water because I forgot to blink. I truly love summer.

For the third month in a row, I switched up my Shakeology flavor. Last month it was Greenberry, the month before that Chocolate. For July (and probably August) I am going Tropical Strawberry. It just feels “right” for summer. I am mixing it with either almond or skim milk (sometimes half orange juice) a handful of Dole frozen tropical fruit and vanilla whey protein. I am loving it.

I realize this post jumps around a bit, but I think that is where I am at right now. I have a bit of an unsettled feeling. Being unemployed, not sure that I will have a job this fall. Hating the summer class I signed up for. Finishing the deck. Playing with Avi. My brain is a bit jumpy right now.

The Mets Are Killing My Relationship

Something new and wonderful and awful is happening.

In the three years that Danielle and I have been together, by June, the Mets have fallen out of the playoff hunt. Often during those three years, they have been borderline un-watchable. This has been great for our relationship, because although I have continued to pay a cursory level of attention to the goings on on the field for fantasy baseball purposes, I have not felt a longing to actually watch any of the games (you can only watch Mike Pelfrey get shelled so many times before you become numb to it.)

Unfortunately for our relationships sake, this is not the case this year. As a Mets fan, I could not be happier. Not only are the Mets in the thick of the playoff hunt, they are fun and entertaining to watch. They are young, they play hard, they pitch well and as evidenced by their 11 runs against the Phillies last night, they can hit the crap out of the ball at times. R.A. Dickey’s starts have become must-see-TV. Johan has already thrown a No-Hitter this year. Jon Niese gets better with every start (as does my fantasy team thanks to his pitching). David Wright is the MVP of the NL in the first half of the season. They are so good, it almost makes you forget about that guy who used to play short stop and wear uniform #7.

What this means for our household however, is that my attention is clearly not focused on being anything close to a good partner. At the Jazz Fest Saturday (check out Trombone Shorty!) I was more focused on the fact that Johan had given up only two hits in 8 innings than I was on enjoying our night out. Twice in the last week, Danielle has said something to me that I heard none of because I was thinking about the pitching match-ups in the Mets upcoming games.

They say the first step towards recovery is accepting that there is a problem. I am 100% aware that this is a problem. I am also 100% aware that until either the Mets fall flat on their faces and drop out of the race (I actually do not see any possibility of this happening) or the season ends, I am not going to become less interested in this team. There was a magical feel to the 2006 team, and looking back this feels very similar.

For now, I am going to stick to my “three games a week” rule and choose wisely which games I decide to watch.