What’s a Penn State Football Fan To Do?

I have no idea what I am supposed to do.

Joe Paterno is dead. Jerry Sandusky will spend the rest of his worthless life fighting off the sexual advances of Pennsylvania’s prison population. Silas Redd is a USC Trojan, Rob Bolden is an LSU Tiger (good luck LSU… HAHAHA), Penn State hired an Irish coach, and they added names to the backs of the most classic jerseys in all of sports.

I feel a little like I am reconnecting with a high school friend. We bump into each other at the mall and make plans to catch up later. When I arrive at the predetermined destination, I find my old friend has spent the last 10 years selling cell phones in the mall, blowing coke and dating girls that still have a curfew. He still looks like the guy I used to know. Except he has chest hair sticking out of his shirt, he missed the memo that blowouts went out of style and there is a ring of white powder around his nose.

Despite all these changes, I still find I cannot help but laugh at my old friend’s jokes and at the end of the night, after I have intervened to keep him from starting three fights, we make plans to meet out again.

This is me with Penn State Football. I was and am sickened by what took place at that school under Joe Paterno. I am ashamed that I defended him and all that he supposedly stood for. But to me, that has very little, if nothing to do with the players on the field. Although the next few years are going to be tough to swallow (thanks to the NCAA taking an absolute wrecking ball to the program), I am sure I will still at least check the scores. At least I should have more free time on Saturdays for the next few years.

I don’t think I have the capacity to change teams at this point. I am not sure I would be able to look at myself in the mirror if I did.


Body Beast- Build Phase Review

I completed the Build Phase of Body Beast last Saturday and I wanted to quickly comment on my thoughts on the program so far.

I mentioned a few times in previous posts that I like the workouts, but am not a huge fan of the overall vibe. The workouts themselves, as in the routines, sets, and schedule are great. I have not been sore like this since last March when I first began P90X. I am getting bigger and stronger which I am happy about.

As far as the videos go, the crew, the theme, and Sagi himself, it gets old quick. Let me try to explain it this way: I will drink anything. Any pre-workout drink, shake, or Shakeology, I will drink. So when someone tells me they hate the taste of Greenberry Shakeology, I am like “Really? I thought it was fine”. The same goes for workout DVDs. I will do any of them. I just kind of ignore Sagi and the guys in the video and do the workouts. But for some reason, if I try to just use the workout sheets and do them without the videos, I don’t enjoy it as much (I have tried this with P90X workouts before). So although I do not love the workouts, I do them and feel good when I am done.

Overall I liked the Build Phase, but now that I am into the Bulk Phase workouts (I have done three of six), I am really liking this new phase. The workouts are shorter and focus on a single body part (I have done Chest, Legs and Arms so far). Because the workouts are shorter, I have been doing a bit more cardio, running and ab workouts. I have mixed in Insanity: Cardio Abs as well as P90X2 Ab ripper and Ab Ripper X.

I have been eating a bit more, and I am not happy with how it is making me look. I am going to stick with it for a few more weeks and see how my body adjusts. I am eating about 2500 calories as 40/40/20, carbs/protein/fat using MyFitnessPal to track my diet.

Once again, I think that Body Beast is not for everyone. There is an intensity to the workouts that I think would turn some people off. It is great for building muscle, and if you adjust your diet correctly, you can lose fat while doing it as well. One of the things I love about Tony Horton in P90X and X2 is that there is a non-threatening atmosphere to the workouts that no matter how much you are struggling, whether you are just starting or are on your 5th round, makes you feel like you are not in over your head. Part of it is Tony’s motto of “Do your best and forget the rest”. The other factor is Tony himself. This is something that Body Beast does not do with its “Whatever it takes” mantra.

Body Beast Week 3

For me, I think a good mix would be a Body Beast/Insanity hybrid. I like more cardio and am not looking to get huge. I know I can adjust my diet to meet my goals, but I enjoy mixing in more cardio. The Bulk Phase is 5 weeks (I am doing the Lean Beast calendar) so I am interested to see what the results of the next four and a half weeks are.

Getting Back on Track

In the weeks following our trip to Cape Cod, I struggled to get myself back on schedule. I was wholly unmotivated and got very little done around the house.

I didn’t miss a workout and continued to stick to my diet and exercise with Body Beast. But getting out of bed and getting going with my day had been a struggle. I had gotten up before 6 am almost every day for over a year. So not being able to get up and get at it was odd for me.

This week, for whatever reason, I have been able to get back to my usual schedule of morning workouts (except today, because I couldn’t fall asleep last night). I think a big part of getting motivated to get back into a routine has been getting back to work on the deck.

I am finishing up the final touches of the deck and am really happy with how it is coming. I decided to use deck boards for the skirting around the base of the deck

I am going to stain/seal it next week. I just have a few finishing touches to apply to the hand rails and I am ostensibly done with this project. It came out better than I had hoped.

I am starting Phase II of Body Beast on Monday. I have my last Phase I workout today, Build: Shoulders. Then I am going to take three days to rest/recover. And by “Rest/Recover” I mean I am going to do Insanity and X2: Yoga. I haven’t gained any weight (actually down a little bit) by design. I am not eating enough carbs or calories to be adding weight. I am going to up my calories slightly over the next month (to 2400). I feel pretty good about how I look/feel at this point.

Beast Week 2

Avi and I are reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at night. I read her the “Kings Cross” chapter the other night from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She loved it and wanted to know what happened, so I told her we would have to start from the beginning. As I was reading it, she asked me “Daddy, why are your eyes leaking?” I said, because Daddy loves this story. I can’t wait to work through the series with her.

Body Beast: Week 1

I wrapped up my first week of Body Beast this morning by doing P90X2 Yoga on my rest day.

I purchased Body Beast on a whim. When I first watched the preview video, I thought it looked stupid. To me, it looked like a bunch of meatheads yelling and pumping iron. I was pretty turned off by it and thought it wasn’t something I would ever really try.

When I finished my P90X2/Asylum hybrid last week I was torn between doing a full 60 days of Insanity and trying something new. Body Beast was relatively inexpensive, and I already own the equipment necessary to complete the program, so I decided to give it a shot. I followed my own advice and came up with a plan for how to attack the next 90 days and set my goals. I am hoping to add around 5 lbs of muscle while continuing to cut body fat. I am not looking to get huge (although I watched Warrior last night with Tom Hardy, and the idea of looking like that holds some appeal for me). I weigh about 185 right now, and if I end up at the same weight in three months, I will not be upset in the least.

As far as the actual workouts go, I am impressed. The video quality on my DVDs is a little on the poor side, the commentary is somewhat meat-headish. Listening to Sagi refer to himself as the Beast constantly gets a bit old (although, when he shushes one of the cast members and says “shush, the Beast is talking” I cannot help but laugh). I am used to Tony Horton and Shaun T. Both of whom I enjoy working out with.

The workouts themselves are good. Usually between 30-50 minutes. The warm up is not enough. I find myself hitting the foam roller and stretching a bit before I push play. Both P90X2 and Insanity include truly effective combinations of static and dynamic stretches that prepare the body for the coming workout. Body Beast does not. One positive is that it keeps the workouts short. But in order to maintain flexibility and avoid injury, it is essential to add some additional work (hence why I did X2 Yoga this morning). At the end of this program, I don’t want to be such a beef cake that I need someone else to wipe my ass because I lack the flexibility and Lats are just too damn big.

As far as effectiveness of the workouts is concerned, I can only go by what my body is telling me after 6 days. What I know is, I have not been sore like this since my first week of P90X last March. Every day, a different part of my body has been sore from the workout the day before. I don’t mean just sore, I mean like hard to walk up the stairs sore. Can’t brush my teeth sore, can’t straighten my arms sore. These workouts work. I cannot wait to see how my body responds the second time through these workouts and beyond. I was never sore like this doing P90X2. I know this is working.

When I first brought up this program on this website, I stated that it would not be for everyone. I still believe that. There are some people that this style is simply not going to appeal to. But I am in a Facebook group of TeamRIPPED members who are all doing this together, and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of women are are hitting the Beast with us.

So far I like it. It is a nice change-up from P90X2, where so much was focused on balance. Every lifting move was done while incorporating some element of balance (curls on one leg, etc.). It is nice to firmly plant both feet on the ground and lift weights.

Week One

If you are interested in learning more about this or any other BeachBody program, let me know. I know there are a lot of people who have decided to commit to P90X and Insanity. If you are interested, but don’t know where to start or which program to choose, contact me so I can help guide you towards the program that will best fit your goals. All of the products that I have used, and continue to use are available through the links on this site.


Getting Started

Monday marked the beginning of another 90 day journey for me.Last week was the end of my P90X2/Asylum hybrid. I didn’t take official “Day 90” pictures because we were in Cape Cod, but as you can see from the pictures in that post, the results were good. This is off topic, but I forgot to mention it in the Cape Cod post earlier this week. I we camped on an electric site, so I brought my blender, Shakeology, and three tubs of protein (which apparently was an issue for Danielle, and Avi when one fell on her head in the car). I had about two scoops of Greenberry Shakeology in a Tupperware container. After the third night in a row of raccoons stealing our bread, I put everything away before bed, except my small Tupperware of Shakeology. There are now a couple of super healthy raccoons running around Provincetown.

Back to the point of this post. On Monday I started Body Beast, which is a new program from BeachBody, the makers of P90X, Insanity etc. Body Beast focuses on building muscle and is more of a straight weight lifting program than Insanity or P90X2. It is somewhat similar to P90X, but I am finding it to be way more challenging. With the start of the new program (which I will have a week 1 review of up later this week) I got thinking about some of the things that go into getting started and what I have learned over the course of the last 18 months about doing at-home workout programs. These are, in my opinion, the keys to being successful with any 60 or 90 day at home workout.

Set your goals

What are you hoping to accomplish? When I first started P90X, my goal was just to get through it. I didn’t have a clear goal in mind. I was hoping to get down from 235 to 225 (a goal that I surpassed). I think that because I didn’t have a clearly defined goal, my results were less than they could have been. If you are looking to lose fat, gain muscle, get in better shape, dunk a basketball, or whatever, you have to clearly define it if you are to know how to go about doing it. It is very difficult to cut body fat and build muscle simultaneously. My suggestion is to focus on fat loss first, then when your body fat percentage is where you want it, adjust your diet to build muscle and run at a calorie surplus.

Set your nutritional goals

If losing fat is your goal, then you have to run a calorie deficit. You can use any number of online tools to calculate your body’s daily caloric needs. Once you know what your body needs in a day, you can decide what you are going to put into it each day. I suggest using the Fat Shredder diets listed under the Diet tabs at the top of this page. Get set up with MyFitnessPal, or a similar food tracking app. I got lazy with tracking my food this summer. Starting this week, I am tracking everything again. I am eating 2000 calories a day, 40% Protein, 40% Carbs, 20% Fat. MyFitnessPal does all the math for me, and also includes a pie chart to help me know where I am at for the day. If you are not tracking your food, you are not going to be honest with yourself about what you are consuming, and you are not going to be able to reach your goals. Period. It is in my opinion the greatest key to my success. One of the first questions I get asked is “did you follow the diet guide”, and the answer is yes, I follow the diet guide. But instead of trying to calculate it all myself, as the diet guides would have me do, I let the app and website do it for me.

My goal for Body Beast is to gain some muscle mass while continuing to cut body fat. So I upped my calories a bit (from 1900-2000) so that my body will have the fuel it needs to build muscle. I am not looking to get huge, so I am not eating to get huge. The diet is the key to the results.

Take Day 1 pictures

I famously skipped this step in my first round of P90X, which is why I have to resort to using the pictures from Cape Cod in 2008. Those are the closest approximation to how I looked last March that I have. I think I got camera shy because of how I looked. It does make for a cool comparison shot between then and now. You don’t have to show anyone but yourself, but you will want a record of your progress.

Select the program that works for you

I use BeachBody programs because they have worked really well for me. If TapouT XT is your thing do it. If you are looking for cardio and want to cut fat, Insanity is awesome for it. If you want to improve sports performance, Insanity: The Asylum is fantastic. Everyone pretty much knows what P90X is. I love it, it works. P90X2 takes P90X to a whole new level. Each program offers something different. I have done them all, and each is great in its own way. If you have done one and are ready for something new, there are great hybrid schedules available at TeamRIPPED.com

Make yourself accountable

When I started P90X, I signed up for a free account with Team BeachBody, went to the message boards, and found a group of people who all started P90X around the same day as me. It was awesome to have people to talk to every day that were experiencing the same things I was. Because it is anonymous, I didn’t feel stupid sharing the challenges I was facing. It was through this group that I learned about TeamRIPPED. If you are interested in something like this, you can follow the Join My Team link on the right side of this site and I can connect you with any number of TeamRIPPED Facebook groups. I am currently in two Facebook groups, one for veterans of X2/Asylum, and one for people currently doing Body Beast. The awesome part of the Body Beast group is that Sagi Kalev, the Tony Horton of Body Beast is a member of the group and posts advice and support. By signing up for a Team Beachbody account, you will have access to the message boards, which is where I built my foundation of knowledge.

Decide what supplements you are going to use

I have used a ton of different supplements. I like to try new things and get bored with the same thing after a while. One supplement that I take every day is Shakeology. I believe in the hype. The stuff is amazing and is the foundation of my daily nutrition. I also take a pre-workout almost every day. I take BeachBody’s Energy and Endurance right now for a pre-workout. I am also a huge fan of post-workout drinks. My favorite to date is Results and Recovery formula. If you are going to workout hard every day, you are most likely going to need to supplement your diet in order to maximize your results. I didn’t start using all of these things at once. I tried one, then added another until I found a combination that I found to work.

Stick with it

My first week of P90X, I missed two workouts because I was so sore I couldn’t move. I doubled up workouts at the end of my first week to catch up and didn’t miss another workout for 90 days. There are going to be times when it gets tough. Things are going to come up that get in the way. You are going to get sick, your kids are going to get sick. My suggestion is to keep pushing play. Once you build up momentum, it only takes a day or two to undo it. Stick with it. The results will be there in the end if you stick with the diet and exercise. If you cheat by skipping workouts or eating like crap on the weekends, you will not have the same level of success. Period.

I am excited to see what the next 90 days will bring. If you are interested in getting connected with the message boards, or any of the TeamRIPPED Facebook groups to support you through your journey, let me know.


I took the picture on the left four years ago in Cape Cod when Avi was 11 months old. I was weighing somewhere around 225. The picture on the right is me and Avi (she turned 5 two weeks ago) on the same beach four years later. I weigh 184 and am in the best shape of my entire life. I didn’t look like this in high school. I didn’t look like this in college. I look like this because I followed the steps I listed above and pushed play every day.

Cape Cod 2012

Since we got home on Sunday, I have had a really hard time putting my thoughts about the week down.

Simply said, it was everything I hoped for. It was fun, relaxing, and I asked Danielle to marry me (to which she said yes!). Avi had the time of her life (all that kid needs is sand and salt water). Teaching her how to boogie board was one of my favorite parenting moments ever.

When I decided to ask her to marry me in the Cape, I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. I thought romantic walk down the beach, on Commercial Street in P-Town, have Avi help me, ultimately I decided a whale watch proposal was the way to go. It was really rough on the ocean (people were puking over the side of the ship). We saw more whales than you could count. As the whale watch was winding down I decided it was time to drop the question.

After 90 days of X2/Asylum, this is the best I have ever looked.

Beach Yoga

The company is called BeachBody for a reason

The week was amazing and I am already looking forward to next year. This week I started Body Beast, and we have a wedding to plan. I am two days into Body Beast and I will have a week one wrap up posted later this week.