Sunday, April 21, 2013


I thought it'd be fun to look back at some before and after photos.  Back in the summer of 2011 I attempted P90X.  Actually, I call it P60X because I only lasted 60 days, instead of the 90 days the program is supposed to go for.  Anyway, I thought I took photos at the beginning and after one and two months, but I couldn't find any 60 day photos.

So the first two photos below are from the start of the program and the second two photos are after one month.  At the time, I blogged that the results were indistinguishable.  While I was stronger, it was hard to see visual evidence.  Looking back, I think part of the issue was that I wasn't doing any cardio work at the time, due to injury, so P90X basically just replaced running.  Also, I didn't adjust my diet at all.

Fast forward to the last two photos which I took yesterday and I think you can see more of a difference than anything I did during P90X.  While I'd love to say this is just from changing my breakfasts from cereal to Nutriblasts or from switching to a plant-based diet.  However, I just added the Nutriblasts at the beginning of April and I've only been without meat for one week.  I think this really all goes back to the start of the year when I started trying to mix in some salads and avoid all the sweets at work.  In addition, I also started adding in a second workout each day.  Basically, I'd try to do my cardio in the mornings, as usual, but then at lunch time I'd go into our fitness center and alternate days of core work with days of lifting weights.  Of course, x-c skiing all winter doesn't hurt either when it comes to things like triceps, abs and shoulders.

After gorging from Halloween through Christmas, I was up to 158 pounds.  Yesterday I weighed in at 145 pounds.  Best of all, I feel great.  Yesterday I had my longest run in probably 7 or 8 months.  I made it 15 miles at 7:45 pace and felt great at the end.  That gave me 50 miles for the week on 6 runs, plus an hour long spin class - and of course, 2 sessions of core and 2 sessions of weights.

July 2011 - before start of P90X

July 2011
August 2011 - after 28 days of P90X

August 2011
April 2013 - 145 lbs

April 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013


The new experiment that I alluded to in my last post has to deal with eating more of a plant-based diet and minimizing the amount of processed food. I don’t want to put a title like vegetarian or vegan on it at this point, but that’s the direction I’m heading.

It all started innocently enough. At work, I was asked to be on a wellness committee aimed and making our employees more aware of some of the benefits we offer, as well as, expanding those benefits. One of the things we do is hang up poster throughout the building on different topics, such as, drinking or texting while driving, eating better, exercising more, etc. One such sign, located by a microwave, simply said “Food Matters”. As I was heating my lunch up one day, a co-worker came by and said, “That was a good movie” as she pointed at the sign. The sign was so simple that I did realize it was a movie.

That night I went home and watch it. It definitely got me thinking, but I wouldn’t say it was a come-to-Jesus moment. It did lead me to seek out other food documentaries like, Get Vegucated, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, Forks Over Knives, Fire Engine #2 Diet, Mad Cowboy. These documentaries typically focus on either the health benefits of a plant-based diet or the cruelty to animals (and environment) side of the argument. If I had to pick one, I’d go with Forks Over Knives. However, if you’re obese and looking for a “solution” then Fat Sick & Nearly Dead is worth 90 minutes of your time.

Probably not surprising, I’m more concerned with the health benefits. We constantly hear about the Western Diet and the correlation between our health care woes. We hear it so much that it’s hard for me to think anyone in this country isn’t aware that “food matters.” We just don’t want to do anything about it. We like the taste of our meat, dairy, sweets, chips, etc. And we like the convenience of our highly processed, pre-packaged food. But as any of the documentaries will tell you, these foods are high in calories and low in nutrients.

I like to think I was eating healthy. Breakfast typically consisted of a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, or similar cereal, with a banana and milk. Then I’d have yogurt for a morning snack. Lunch was usually leftovers from the previous dinner or canned soup if I was in a pinch. Almost every lunch also included carrots, pretzels and an apple. Dinners didn’t include a lot of red meat, but we like chicken and probably eat brats once or twice a week in the summer. There’s frozen pizza most Friday nights. Once in awhile we’ll throw in canned veggies like peas or corn.

It’s hard to go from all that to plant-based over night, but like I said, I’m heading that direction. One thing eliminated is the cereal and milk for breakfast. I’ve replaced that with a NutriBlast. Basically, it involves filing a “blender” half with leafy greens and half with fruit, plus you can throw in some nuts, seeds, powder, etc., and add some water. It’s a simple as that.

Other than that I’ve just been keeping an eye on processed foods. Instead of eating a granola bar or graham crackers after lunch, I’ll reach for some extra fruit. I think this is a process like running. It’s hard to know where to begin at first, but once you jump in and start seeing some results, you can’t wait to proceed even further.

Today I was thinking about all the New Year’s Resolutions about getting healthy that have probably already been forgotten. I think people would have an easier time keeping these resolutions if they educated themselves about healthy eating, at the time they were making their resolution, rather than just saying, “I’m going to eat healthy”.

Of course, you don’t need a new year to make a resolution.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Given that it's been over 6 months since my last post, I highly doubt anyone will see post, unless they're using some kind of website to track me.  Anyway, as I commented on my last post "maybe after 7 years of blogging I've run out of things to say."  That may be true with running, but I have a new experiment in mind and I'd like to use this blog to document the process.  More on that in a minute, but here's recap of what's been going on.

As I stated in my last post, I'm really focusing more on exercising, rather than "just" running.  Sure there are days where I think to myself that I should crank things back up and see what's still left in the tank.  However, things are going pretty well with 4-5 runs per week, plus x-c skiing in the winter and, typically, 1 spin class per week.

Probably the best news is that my knee is fine.  If I had to place a percent on it, I'd say it's like 98% healed.  I feel it from time to time, mainly while x-c skiing.  I think what finally helped it the most was actually backing off my PT.  Right away I was gung-ho and doing my exercises every day.  Like any other muscle group, I needed to rest and let the training load "soak in".  Once I got into a routine of 2-3 strengthening sessions per week, things progressed quickly. 

While I'm not running a ton, I have been mixing in tempo runs and intervals, like 400m and 1 mile repeats.  All of these types of workouts have been done on the treadmill.  My long run is at 13 miles, which is fine because the only race I have on the horizon is the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon.

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging much, other than not having anything to say, is that, since January, I've been trying to incorporate strength training over my lunch hour.  It was during my lunch hour that I did most of my blogging.  Now I'm spending that time in our fitness center, alternating days of core work with days of lifting.  My core work involves following one of McMillan's Core Strength Training for Runners DVDs, which I watch on a mini DVD player.  I've also added in some other core exercises that I found through Pinterest.  As weird as it sounds, most of these are from women's magazines, like Self.  I've done the McMillan DVDs in the past, but usually I peter out after a month or two.  But this time, my New Year's Resolution seems to be sticking and I'm happy with the results.

Another part of my New Year's Resolution was eating healthier.  That's been going okay, but it could be better.  That's where this "new experiment" that I mentioned at the beginning of this post comes in.  Lots of little things have occurred recently that have me thinking about my diet more than ever.  I want to make some changes to my diet and I thought firing this blog up again would be a great way to document the experiment.

I'll share what little things occurred that got me thinking about this, but it'll have to wait till my next post because this is already getting longer than I expected.  I doubt I'll be blogging everyday, like I did about running.  However, I'll try to post at least once per week to share my findings, my struggles, my successes, etc.

Let the experiment begin...