My Fitness Journey - Problems or Challenges?

So, back in the saddle again!

The holidays were not kind to me as far as progress towards my goals (as for many of us), and I also had that compounded with a badly-sprained left wrist (from heavy bag work), lightly-sprained right ankle (not sure from what - walking and compensating for my plantar fascia issues maybe?), and my perennial plantar fascia pain.  I also had a chest/head cold that seemed to escalate to a flu-like illness a couple of times.  It's weird - it would almost completely go away, and then I'd feel like total crap for a couple of days, then three-quarter crap, and so-on.  I'm still fighting it today, nearly a month and a half later.  BOOOO!

So, short version, for the better part of a month, I got in maybe four solid workouts.

As I'm sure was the case for many of you, I ate a bit too much of the wrong things, and indulged a bit more than I probably should have, but honestly, FUCK IT - for me, enjoying my meals and a few beverages with family and friends over the holidays is something I like to do.  I'm not going to make it a shitty time for me or be a grumpy asshole with everyone because I'm trying to be super-strict over the holidays.  I'm usually grumpy enough as it is - LOL!

Seriously, though, I firmly believe that you're better to go into holidays and special occasions being willing to indulge, and with the mindset that you know it's not going to be "optimal" (whatever the hell that means), but you're prepared to accept the consequences.  Just don't be the ass that eats a whole pizza, a bottle of wine and half a friggin' cheesecake in a sitting and then moans "poor me, I feel like a lard-ass" - OWN YOUR BEHAVIOUR!

Anyway, all told, it added up to me being a little over 212 pounds as of January 3.

I actually considered just bailing on this whole "Fitness Journey" blogging thing and going silent, but I feel like down the road, win or lose, I will rather have continued with this than not.  I also think having this outlet to put down in words how I really feel along the way is a good mini-vent for me, and can maybe help some of you out there realize that IT'S NOT JUST YOU!

So, now, back to our regular programming!


Sunday - Planned Rest

No planned activity - just preparing for the week ahead.

Monday - Walk to Work

One of the issues I was dealing with leading into the holidays was that I seemed to be having some kind of allergic reaction to something in the air when I was walking.  Monday was my first day back to walking, and the reaction was BAD, both on my way to work and coming back home.  Intense red, patchy rash on my legs, and hives spread across my body.  Antihistamines calmed it down eventually, but I don't think I'm going to be able to walk to work any more.

I'm thinking it may be the diesel exhaust fumes I'm experiencing on both legs of the walk, so I'm going to try walking on my lunch break instead, and taking less heavily-trafficked routes. (Of course, I never did manage to get a single lunchtime walk in this week - I'll try to do better next week.)

Tuesday - BAM!

Possibly the dumbest thing I've done in a while was to do this workout twice in one night.  Seriously, really stupid of me, since this was the first time really pushing myself in about a month - don't be dumb like me, and gradually work your way back up to higher intensity instead.  Now that my "responsible trainer" spiel is out of the way, here's what I did:

Deck of Cards Workout:

  • Sandbag Shouldering (60 lbs. for men / 40 lbs. for women)
  • Push-Ups
  • Sandbag Squats (60 / 40 lbs.)
  • Alternating Reverse Lunge

After doing this with the 4:30 group at the prescribed weight, 6:30 ended up being Megan B by herself, so I decided to do it again with the 40 lb. sandbag so she didn't have to suffer alone.  Each time through, that was 85 reps of each movement.

An hour and a half afterwards, my quads and entire back feel worked, but my glutes - holy cow, my glutes are sore!  I guess I use a lot of hip snap to get the sandbag up for shouldering.  Chances are good I'm going to be VERY sore over the next couple of days.

This was also the first time I've really pushed my lungs in about a month and a half due to this persistent chest and head cold I've had since mid-January.  The first time through the workout, I was gasping for air within the first four minutes or so.  Second time, with the lighter sandbag, my lungs weren't as bad, but my legs were already shot from the first workout.

Wednesday - Boxing

One of the injuries I've been dealing with has been a sprained wrist from hitting the heavy bag back in mid-December.  To allow me to still go hard with less risk of injury, I bit the bullet and bought a BAS.  The other upside of the BAS is that I can practice things like big punch, backfists, closing drills and pak sao drills at full speed and full power without a partner to hold pads or take shots, things that just weren't possible when training solo before.

We put the BAS through it's paces on Wednesday night, and it held up really well.  I was also really happy with how my wrist did hitting it.  Lots of full-power punches, and it felt great right up until the end when a misaligned left hook tweaked my wrist a bit.  This is going to make a BIG difference in my ability to train my Gung Fu solo.  Game changer, for sure!  If you're interested in checking out the super-cheesy infomercial videos from Bas Rutten promoting the BAS, go to

Thursday - Performance Testing

Over the first couple of weeks of the New Year, we put our training clients through some performance testing to establish baselines for this year.  Some VERY impressive numbers were put up by some of the diesel crew we have at The BTG, so I had to test myself as well!  I was still VERY sore from Tuesday's BAM!fest, and my wrist was an issue on the deadlifts and chin-ups, but I still managed to do pretty well:

  • 2 minutes max reps deadlift @ bodyweight (210) - 30 completed
  • 2 minutes max reps dead-hang chin-ups - 15 completed
  • 2 minute plank hold - completed
  • 2 minutes max reps strict neutral sit-up - 52 completed
  • 2 minutes max reps push-ups - 60 completed

There always seems to be an expectation that I have to outperform all of our clients at nearly everything, but that is just not the case.  We have some CRAZY strong and competitive people training with us, so it's inevitable that I will be beaten from time to time.  Will I give everything I have to try and put up the top numbers?  Absolutely, I am a super-competitive MFer, so I really can't help myself, even if I plan to take it easy.  That said, I scored third-best on my deadlifts, which should really be one of my strongest movements.  Both Gary L and Simon C put up better numbers than me there, so neither age nor size are excuses.  Will I beat them the next time we test?  You're damn right, or I will blow myself up trying. :)

I also started an attempt at the 5-minute Airdyne average wattage test, but knew about 45 seconds in that my legs were still too f-ed up from Tuesday to have any hope of putting up a representative result, never mind trying to chase current Airdyne king, Dillon L, so I stopped the test.  I'll re-attempt that one Monday or Tuesday evening, and do my 10-minute dumbbell snatch test on another night next week.

Friday - Unplanned Rest

I tweaked my back a bit lifting a printer at the office today, so didn't do the BAM! workout I had planned this afternoon.  Instead, I chose to rest, and will see how I feel tomorrow.  Sometimes, you just need to listen to your body...

Saturday - Unplanned Rest

I had planned to do my solo Gung Fu training (below) on Saturday, but had a (thankfully rare these days) bout of insomnia, and was awake from around 3AM onwards.  I was in no physical or mental state to train by the time it was late enough in the morning to not piss off the neighbours with my noise, and then we had a busy day through the afternoon and evening, so I pushed it off until Sunday.

Sunday - Solo Gung Fu

Over the holidays, I had the great honour to be named an Instructor in Ban Chung Wing Chun / Chinese Boxing /Gung Fu by my good friend and long-time martial arts mentor, Suki G.  I can't really put into words how big a deal this was for me, because starting my training with Suki all those many years ago was one of the major turning points for me from fat, inactive office-worker to where I'm at now.

When I thanked him, he replied "Well deserved 'black belt'.  Live up to it!".

Thank you again, brother, for more than just the "black belt", but for putting me on this road so many years ago, and being one of the inspirations that gives me a good kick in the ass when I need it!

Stuck with the basics today, all on the BAS:

  • 10 sets x 50 chain punches
  • 3 sets x 20 big punch (right, left, right)
  • 3 sets x 20 backfist
  • Pak Sao close and hit (from left and right sides)


Back to the basics this week.  Focused on drinking only calorie-free beverages, and eating a proper lunch at work.

Made beef keema (Indian-spiced ground beef) and ate it with lots of baby spinach and other veggies for lunch.  In the latter part of the week, had it with some mixed baby greens (kale, spinach, chard and beet greens) and red & white quinoa.

Dinners, I didn't really pay much attention to this week.  Just focusing on getting my lunches nailed down.  Breakfasts were non-existent much of the week - just had coffee most days.  I think one day, I had a piece of toast and cheese.  Breakfast will be my next focus...

We also had a night out Saturday with friends down to Fat Pie in Bellingham, where we over-indulged in pizza and a few glasses of wine.


+0.6 pounds since last posted weigh-in, -8.6 pounds since the start.

Mid-week, I was down to 207.8.  This morning (Sunday) I weighed in at 205.4, so I'm back on my way.  Again, my target is to get down somewhere around 180-ish, so I'm about 25 pounds away at this point.  It's still feasible for me to hit this by the end of April, but a more realistic target will be end of May instead.

I'm not necessarily tied to a certain date as a target, but being down around that weight will go a long way to helping improve my 5K run time for my first scheduled event this year, the Run For Water, which is on May 29.  Again, my aim is to get a time under 20 minutes for the 5K distance, and my current official best was my bronchitis-plagued 2013 effort at 22:36.