Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Does It Matter?

Four years ago, I spent election night in a fit of depression. I had been forced to vote for McCain/Palin because I believed (and still do) that Barack Obama was a statist. He believes that it is the government's role and responsibility to make things "fair" for everyone. The idea of fairness is a funny concept. Thomas Sowell, one of the great thinkers of our era, has written extensively on the concept of fairness and what it really means. I believe exactly as Andrew Klaven writes about the concept:

Free people can treat each other justly, but they can't make life fair. To get rid of the unfairness among individuals, you have to exercise power over them. The more fairness you want, the more power you need. Thus, all dreams of fairness become dreams of tyranny in the end.
I have said all of that to say this. The outcome of the election does not matter in the lives of people who do not put their hope in government or Presidents. If we are honest with ourselves, a whole truckload of money was spent to bring back the status quo. These things are true on January 1 regardless of the winner.
  • EVERY worker (notice I did not say every American) will have their taxes goes up by 2%.
    • The payroll (FICA) tax rises from 4.2% to 6.2%.
    • There is no thought by either party to prevent this.
    • If you make $50,000/year, your take home pay WILL BE reduced by $1,000 (~$85/month).
  • EVERY taxpayer (notice I did not say every American) will have their rates return to the pre-Bush tax cut rates.
    • In terms of dollars, the higher earners did receive larger dollar amounts in cuts. I never argued otherwise. However, the overall percentage of total tax bill paid by high earners INCREASED - stick that in your pipe and smoke it (but only in Washington and Colorado).
    • In terms of effect, the lower brackets will be impacted in a more significant way - particularly because Bush brought in a 10% bracket (going away) and also removed many families from the income tax rolls by raising personal exceptions and increasing the child tax credit.
    • I don't think there is the will to roll this back. There has been no movement on this in 4 years AND the players (Obama, Boehner, and Reid) will be the same.
  • We still have a $16 trillion debt and a $1 trillion+ budget deficit. We have not passed a budget in the Senate in over 3 years.
    • The current Administration is responsible for 1/3 of the debt during a relative time of peace.
    • This is a significant problem and the can is getting too big to kick down the road.
    • While I did not support the sequester (and still don't), I will not get bunched up if it happens. The pain is spread evenly.
    • Mandatory cuts may be the only way to get cuts. However, I don't think that cutting across the board (without looking at the individual program) is a good idea. I say that, but I know that every government program has waste, so maybe across the board cuts may begin to pare some of that back.
A few final thoughts and then I will leave you to your celebration or mourning. First, I feel really sorry for those that voted for Obama in the hopes that he will bring something to your life that is missing. You are likely to disappointed 4 years from now. Don't depend on Obama or anyone to do something to change your situation - do something for yourself. Second, we will now see what would have happened to our economy without Ronald Reagan 32 years ago. I am absolutely certain that we will find out that he wasn't just the beneficiary of fluctuations in natural economic cycles. Third, after the loss of a son, the struggles with keeping Sophie healthy, and Kristy's ongoing health issues, I have more important things to worry about than money or freedom. My hope is in a risen Christ - NOT men and political parties. I have not been guaranteed an easy life or freedom from struggles, but I have been promised things that men cannot take away. Finally, although he was not my choice, I will be praying regularly for President Obama - for wisdom, humility, and his ultimate salvation. It is my prayer that he finds a true redemption rather than his concept of collective redemption.

Now, let's move on to more important things like the Texas A&M game against Alabama, and the second season in Texas - football recruiting.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saturday Morning Wake-Up Call

Finally, Adam and I have finished the book that we have been working on for about 8 months now, Saturday Morning Wake-Up Call - just in time for football season. The book is available for $3.99 from (and we anticipate it will soon be available at other eBook retailers). We have coupons for a free copy for the first five Minimum Publishable Unit readers to send an email to requesting a copy. All other MPU readers can use this coupon code (CK94N) for $3 off the list price until September 27, 2012.

Here is the "Extended Description" of the book:
"The conclusions drawn by analyzing statistics from college and professional football often do not translate to the high school game because the games are so different. This book puts those powerful statistical techniques for maximizing a team's chance of winning into the hands of high school coaches and fans. These techniques are illustrated using the Pulaski Academy Bruins as a case study.

Techniques such as Expected Point Value and Points Per Possession analysis are demonstrated with examples. The authors explore the utility of onside kicks, 4th down decision making, and two point conversion attempts. In addition, the book touches on the aspects of game theory as it relates to the opponents psychological state.

Friday, July 27, 2012

"Daddy Issues" Review

  • Title:  "Daddy Issues"
  • Author:  Jonathan Watkins
  • Finished:  July 24, 2012
  • Synopsis:  The extended description at the Smashwords book page is the best way to describe this book.
  • Impression of the book: This is the second book in the Bright and Fletcher series by Watkins. It is a great follow-up to the first book, "Motor City Shakedown."
  • Read Again Scale: 6-7
    • Although I mentioned this in my previous review of Watkins first book, I will say it again. The new Kindle has opened a much bigger library to me, so my read again scale needs to be recalibrated.
  • Read Another Book by the Same Author: 10
    • Watkins includes a teaser for the 3rd book in the series. I am pretty sure that I am becoming a loyal reader. Although I kind of like recurring character series, I think I would like to see Watkins try a stand alone novel.
"Daddy Issues" was the first book that I ever purchased at Smashwords, and it was worth the $2.99 that I paid for it. I will read Watkins next book in the series (due out soon). He has put together a pretty good duo in Bright and Fletcher, and he still has a few threads that go back into the first book to work out along the way. I would recommend giving "Motor City Shakedown" a FREE read. If you like that, then you will definitely enjoy "Daddy Issues."

Friday, July 20, 2012

"Motor City Shakedown" Review

  • Title:  "Motor City Shakedown"
  • Author:  Jonathan Watkins
  • Finished:  July 8, 2012
  • Synopsis:  The extended description at the Smashwords book page is the best way to describe this book.
  • Impression of the book: The book has a "Grishamesque" feel to it. Lawyers are acting outside their job description. In this case, they are trying to clear the reputation of a client who has been murdered.
  • Read Again Scale: 6-7
    • Ordinarily, this book would rate higher on my read again scale, but the new Kindle has opened a much bigger library to me. So, it may take a while to get back to it.
  • Read Another Book by the Same Author: 10
I downloaded this book to understand the process for doing that at Smashwords, and I ended up with a VERY entertaining and funny legal mystery. Watkins keeps the pace going nicely and provides a good foundation for the beginnings of the Bright and Fletcher series. I will be buying "Daddy Issues" after Watkins provided "Motor City Shakedown" free at Smashwords.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Insanity Cycle #2 - Day 1

So, after a 3 week hiatus to recover and contemplate my next fitness goals, tonight I started cycle #2 of the Insanity Challenge. You may recall that the first day is Insanity's "Fit Test" that determines the baseline fitness level before the "60 days" begin. I weighed 188 last night which is 5 pounds lighter than when I started this madness the last time. Since finishing the first cycle, I have seen as low as 184 on my scale. My goals for this cycle are to be at 180 or less at the end AND have some sort of maintenance exercise program in the hopper.

Here are the results from today's workout (C2 Day 1 Reps) compared to the same results from cycle #1:

Exercise C1 Day 1 Reps C2 Day 1 Reps
Switch Kicks 35 51
Power Jacks 26 46
Power Knees 53 90
Power Jumps 22 42
Globe Jumps 6 8
Suicide Jumps 8 13
Push-Up Jacks 11 23
Low Plank Oblique 22 48

If you followed along before, you will notice that the beginning of cycle #2 is down about 10-20% from the end of cycle #1. That is what 3 weeks of decomposing buys you.  I can tell that I will be sore in the morning, and the soreness was non-existent at the end the first cycle. Also, it felt like I was REALLY starting over. I know that I am in much better shape now than 4 months ago, but it doesn't feel like it during the workout.

Tomorrow, I am doing the "Plyometric Cardio Circuit" on Day 2. I am planning to stick with the workout poster again, but I may add the "Cardio Abs" that are missing from the first few sessions of "Pure Cardio".

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 50 - Day 63, End of Cycle #1

The last 2 weeks of my Insanity Challenge went according to schedule. I squeezed in 3 workouts on the road (2 in Livermore and 1 in San Francisco). Today marked the last day (Day 63) on the calendar and the only Sunday workout called for during the challenge. The workout for today was a simple Fit Test session. The results from today's test are in the table below with the Day 1 results for comparison.

Exercise Day 1 Reps Day 63 Reps
Switch Kicks 35 56
Power Jacks 26 53
Power Knees 53 96
Power Jumps 22 53
Globe Jumps 6 9
Suicide Jumps 8 17
Push-Up Jacks 11 27
Low Plank Oblique 22 50

I have debated whether I am happy with my Day 63 results or depressed with Day 1 shape. I think it is a little bit of both. After much thought over the last couple of weeks, last night I decided to take the "after" picture (for public consumption) even before I did the Fit Test. For a little perspective, here is the "before" picture taken on February 25, 2012. (WARNING: Incredibly white pasty skin below. You might want to stop here if you have a weak stomach.)

Before (February 25, 2012)

Although Josh suggested shaving my chest and oiling up for the photo, I did not. You can thank me for that later.

After (May 12, 2012)

I am pretty happy that you can actually see a difference. It feels like it should be more than the 7-9 pounds of weight loss, but there are mitigating factors (I had three business trips - eating out 3 times/day for ~13 days). Hopefully, I will be getting my T-shirt in 4-6 weeks.

Let's be clear -- I absolutely HATE the Insanity workout for about an hour a day. I am fine with it for the other 23 hours. I really don't think that you can fail with Insanity as long as you make a commitment to do it whether you feel like it or not (or how good of shape you start with). Blogging about the daily workouts really helped me the first half of the cycle until the commitment became a habit. I will likely start a Cycle #2 in a few weeks because my body needs a break and I don't feel I am ready for the Asylum. Thanks for playing along with me over the last 2-3 months.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 37 -- Day 49

Ok. You probably think that you can tell that my dedication to blogging about my Insanity challenge has fallen off just a bit. Well, it's not so much that I have lost the dedication as it is a lack of time after all the stuff that been going on. The last 2 weeks of the challenge have gone mostly like the calendar advises. I had one switched rest day last weekend because I was too sick to do the workout.

Today, I decided to do the "Fit Test" on the Rest day because I wanted to find out my progress, but I didn't want to spend 25 extra minutes tomorrow when the scheduled workout is already an hour. Sophie "helped" count the reps and Eliza "helped" during the Push-Up Jacks and Low Plank Obliques. With those two things said, I am pretty pleased with the Day 49 (50) results. They are in the table below with the Day 1 results for comparison.

Exercise Day 1 Reps Day 49 Reps
Switch Kicks 35 52
Power Jacks 26 53
Power Knees 53 92
Power Jumps 22 43
Globe Jumps 6 9
Suicide Jumps 8 16
Push-Up Jacks 11 25
Low Plank Oblique 22 46

I have doubled (or more) the reps on 4 of the 8 exercises.  I may double all of them when I take the final test 2 weeks from today.

~ Notes ~
  • My resting heart rate is now in the high 50s to low 60s bpm.
  • My blood pressure is in the normal (115/65) range after working out.
  • When it feels like an earthquake at night, that is a muscle spasm.
    • I have gotten out of bed twice and wandered to the living room to ask Kristy if she felt an earthquake.
    • The spasms are likely caused by muscle exhaustion mixed with an slight electrolyte imbalance.
  • I am ready to be done so that I can get a real rest for a week or so before deciding what to do next.
I am stuck at the 5-6 lbs of weight loss, but my body is definitely changing. I am still trying to decide whether or not to post my before and after pics on the blog.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 36 - Fit Test PLUS Begin Max Interval

I finished off the Recovery Week by missing only the Thursday session. I was too exhausted from traveling back from Albuquerque to do the Core Cardio & Balance session that night. This week marks the beginning of the REAL Insanity Challenge as I found out about 26 minutes into the scheduled workout. The 60-day calendar has "Fit Test & Max Interval Circuit" listed for today. As I remembered, the Fit Test took 25 minutes and the results compared to Day 1 are below:

Exercise Day 1 Reps Day 36 Reps
Switch Kicks 35 48
Power Jacks 26 50
Power Knees 53 82
Power Jumps 22 33
Globe Jumps 6 8
Suicide Jumps 8 14
Push-Up Jacks 11 21
Low Plank Oblique 22 44

I felt pretty good about my progress while I loaded up the Max Interval Circuit session. The timer on the session read "60:00." This means that after my 25 minutes Fit Test that I only had an hour workout left in the evening. I know that you are probably thinking that this is just a hyped up refresher on the moves that I have been doing for 5 weeks, and YOU would be wrong! Don't feel bad, so was I.

The whole workout was like starting over at Day 1. My shirt was dripping as were my shorts and socks. My socks were the grossest thing ever (see Kristy's blog for details). Anyway, I am still on the train. I now have just about 27 days until I attempt to get the free T-shirt. Tomorrow is a "Max Interval Plyo" session. I have a feeling my tail is going to get kicked again.

On a related note, I don't think that I will do that Fit Test again until Day 63 (there is one scheduled for Day 50). The time commitment of an hour and a half is a little much.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 23 - Day 30: Still on the Horse

My Insanity challenge has continued for the last 8 days. It appears that my dedication to the workout program is much greater than my dedication to blogging about it. On Days 23-28, I finished off Week #4 of the calendar with a slight hiccup. On Easter weekend we had company, so I switched the Rest day and Plyometric Cardio Circuit day -- no big deal. I was actually able to work my way through that strange calf muscle issue. I have some optimism that the injury or strain or tweak is finally behind me.

Day 29 and Day 30 (along with the next 4 days) are sessions with the "Core Cardio & Balance" DVD. This DVD is a bit different. The goal of this disc is to allow you to keep what you have gained over the last month and give your body a rest from the hammering it has taken over the same period. It would be a bit easier EXCEPT that I am in Albuquerque (elevation ~ 5400 ft) for the week. That means that my recovery week has actually become altitude training. I must say that my timing is pretty good (lucky really) because I don't think that I want to be doing anything associated with Insanity that starts with "Max" at altitude for the first time.

I have had some strange conversations with a few people over the last month that mentioned that they had gone 35 or 45 or 50 days into Insanity before stopping. I have high hopes that I won't have that story to tell in a little over a month. I am rapidly approaching the halfway point, but looking at the calendar, I don't think that it is downhill from here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 20 - Day 22

Since none of the workouts are new until next week, I thought that I would summarize these 3 days of my Insanity challenge into one post. Saturday (Plyometric Cardio Circuit) was a tough one for me. The calf injury started to reappear late in that workout. I nailed the session scheduled for Sunday (OFF), but we have already discussed that the OFF sessions were my specialty for at least 10 years.

Today was the much despised Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs workout. I am continuing to improve on the effort that goes into it, but I can't see ever looking forward to it. Tomorrow is another Cardio Power & Resistance session, but I will be in Walgreen's in the morning looking for a way to keep my calf and Achilles tendon from hurting so much.

~ ~ ~

We are getting a new family member tomorrow. Bentley currently lives in Ft. Smith with a couple that has to travel a ton, so boarding him is expensive and he hates it. Sophie is so excited that she can hardly control herself (not really all that different from non-excited Sophie). Eliza loved chasing Lily (the Wheaten terrier down the street) a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully, we have happy girls and a happy dog this time tomorrow night.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 19 - No Injury

Well, this time I made it through Day 19 without an injury during the "Cardio Power & Resistance" session. When I finish the "Plyometric Cardio Circuit" tomorrow, I will be 1/3 of the way through the Insanity Challenge.

- - - Notes from Day 19 - - -
  • I need to start the workout before 10:30 pm. It will take forever to cool off enough for sleep.
  • There is a whole lot of jumping on this particular DVD.
  • Kristy claims that I made a funny noise. It must have been my thoughts because I couldn't have said anything -- I didn't have enough breathe.
  • I am starting to think that if you aren't REALLY sweating and hurting a little, then you probably aren't doing enough to lose weight.
  • I also think that doing ANY workout for 55 out of 63 days will cause you to be in much better shape, but Insanity is good for those who have an athletic/competitive background.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 18 - Curing Soreness

Day 18 of the Insanity Challenge is a "Cardio Recovery" session. After the Pure Cardio and ab work yesterday, I had a lot of delayed onset muscle soreness. The session tonight got my blood pumping enough to make me feel a little better. Tomorrow is a "Cardio Power & Resistance" session. I am hoping to be fully recovered from my soreness.

- - - Notes on Day 18 - - -
  • I don't find myself flat on the floor begging for mercy at the end of the Cardio Recovery. I was definitely there last night.
  • Based on the sessions, it is clear that my overall muscle strength level has not declined near as much as the cardio health over the years. I was more consistent with strength work compared to any other type of exercise.
~ ~ ~

On a funny note, the first email in the hopper this morning was that I had a "Message on Facebook that was urgent." It turns out that the urgent message was about the logos and color schemes of the hats of the Hendrix Warrior baseball team from 1993-1996. I guess the definition of urgent varies from North Carolina to Arkansas - right, Jaybird?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 17 - Pure Hatred, Uhh, I Mean Cardio

Day 17 of the Insanity Challenge is the day that I felt the initial tweak in my calf 2 weeks ago. It has come and gone again with nothing happening this time. So, I don't think I can blame the DVD anymore.

- - - Notes on Day 17 - - -
  • I still want to punch Shaun T every time he says, "I am not trying to hurt you, just trying to make you better."
  • If you ever hear me say, "I think I am going to relax and do a Pure Cardio session," then I have either lost my mind or started doing some sort of illicit drugs (or both).
  • I think Josh has a point when he commented that "Stupidity" might be a better name for the workout series, but it probably wouldn't sell as many copies.
  • I always look forward to the "Cardio Recovery" session that is coming up tomorrow.
Have a good evening!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 16 - Toil & Plyometric Trouble

After yesterday's reset, I was feeling pretty good about my chances of cranking right back into the Insanity challenge without skipping a beat. It turns out that it was a false hope. While my cardio fitness stayed with me to a reasonable degree, the stamina that I thought I was gaining in Monterey faded quite a bit.

Day 16 of the challenge is a"Plyometric Cardio Circuit" session. After getting both girls in bed at a respectable parenting hour, I started up the DVD. Midway through the warm-up, I was again hoping that a IXII phone call would not be necessary (sorry, I couldn't help throwing in that Roman numeral pun that I heard last weekend on the drive to Hot Springs). My fitness level is greatly improved from Day 1, but I am still only able complete about 3.5 of the 6 circuits with any real gusto. That leaves a lot of room for improvement over the last 75% of the challenge.

[Once again, I can say...] Now that Day 16 is complete, I am officially over 25% through the 60 (63) day Insanity Challenge. Tomorrow is a "Pure Cardio" plus "Cardio Abs" day. It is my least favorite day as I have mentioned on other occasions. Which leads me to wonder, "does it get worse during a Max Cardio session?" I guess I can answer that in about 3 weeks.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 15 - Time Machine Test

If you are playing along with my Insanity challenge, you already know that I had to take a week (really 9 days) off to recover from a pretty substantial calf injury. As of Saturday, I was walking around with no pain and felt pretty much back to normal. In order to keep the integrity of the challenge, I decided to rewind back a week to account for the week away. It also works out that I start with a test to see where I fell back during the siesta. So, I am going to pretend that the last 2 weeks didn't exist from the challenge standpoint (except that you will see the "real" day 15 results in parentheses below).

Day 15 of the Insanity challenge is a "Fit Test" session to determine if you have made any progress in the last 2 weeks. Here are the results from today's Fit Test workout along with the results from Day 1 (and real Day 15) for comparison:

Exercise Day 1 Reps Day 15 Reps
Switch Kicks 35 38 (38)
Power Jacks 26 45 (40)
Power Knees 53 75 (73)
Power Jumps 22 27 (25)
Globe Jumps 6 7 (8)
Suicide Jumps 8 13 (13)
Push-Up Jacks 11 18 (17)
Low Plank Oblique 22 32 (30)

So, based on these results, the rewind plan looks legit. Once again, the numbers in the table give me some sense of accomplishment and fortifies my resolve to keep going. Tomorrow (Day 16) is a "Plyometric Cardio Circuit" session.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Injury Update - Rewind Plan

A few days ago I mentioned that I had a possible overuse injury in my right calf. As it turns out, it is a real injury instead of a possible injury. The treatment plan for this type of injury is basically rest from whatever caused the insult. If you been following along, you know that the Insanity Challenge has caused the insult. Actually, it is likely the 10 years of mostly inactivity, but who is really counting this stuff? (10 years of sloth versus 3 weeks of high intensity exercise -- it must be the 3 weeks, right?)

So, my tentative plan is to rest from Insanity for this week (it would have been Week #4 of the challenge) and rewind back to the start of Week #3. I am going to try stretching the calf muscle, walking quite a bit, and maybe some time on the stationary bike to maintain my cardio fitness level. I am hoping that this doesn't disqualify me from the free T-shirt.

This plan lets me redo the Fit Test to see the damage done by the week of rest and get back into the swing of things from where I left off. I was very happy that I was able to maintain my workout on the road. That has always been a real challenge for me. I would have continued on Saturday if I didn't have that weird swelling in my lower leg. Also, the pain in that calf muscle makes it quite clear that any more Insanity would be a bad idea right now. I would rather take a short break than to tear the muscle and force a really long break. Sometimes the no pain, no gain cliche is just wrong -- This is one of those times.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 19 - Injured

Well, stretching and ibuprofen did the job to get me to the workout, but the butt kicks during the workout reinforced that I did have a problem with my right calf. I slogged my way through the Day 19 - Cardio Power & Resistance session, but I ended up limping around at the conference committee close-out dinner. I have made so much progress since that first week that I am reluctant to stop, but I am worried that if I continue that the calf muscle will tear. (Is that a compound sentence or a run-on?)

There was plenty of sweat during the session, but I am managing my heart rate and effort pretty well. Tomorrow is a long travel day (Monterey -> LAX -> DFW -> XNA -> Fayetteville), but I am scheduled for a Plyometric Cardio Circuit session. Depending on the state of my calf, I may swap the Sunday OFF for this workout.  Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 18 - Ibuprofen & Cardio Recovery

Today, I skipped hanging out with all the scientists and engineers to take my box lunch in my room AFTER I did the "Cardio Recovery" session of Insanity series during the lunch break. My calf muscle is still a little sore, but the gentle stretching, ibuprofen, and recovery exercises helped out a great deal. I am hoping to be at least at 95% for my "Cardio Power & Resistance" session on Day 19.

I have been thinking about doing a study of the total weight differential between the beginning and end of a conference. I am certain that the weight gain on snacks and meals is astronomical. I have more trouble on conference weeks than over the holidays.

The reason I participate on conference committees was reinforced tonight when I spent quite a bit of time talking with Mark Derzon (from Sandia). We talked about lots of things that will likely make my career at Sandia National Labs even more productive than it has been the last 10 years. He also offered to either mentor me (or find someone to mentor me) in writing proposals for the Laboratory-Directed Research & Development program.

Anyway, I have stayed with my Insanity challenge while on the road while making the right connections and getting my committee responsibilities completed -- that's a pretty good week. I am really missing my girls, and I am ready to be home. I get to jet out of here Saturday at 6 am.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 17 - Overuse Injury?

I continued my Insanity Challenge road trip with a "Pure Cardio" plus "Cardio Abs" session on this Day 17 morning. As I finished the Pure Cardio segment, I felt a tweak in my right calf muscle. I know it is not torn  because I can still walk without pain, but it seemed to be something between a cramp and a strain. I was able to finish that section and cool down.

The warm-up for Cardio Abs has some pretty decent jump sets in it. The calf muscle refused to play along with that game, but I did the rest of the ab workout. The muscle problem has me a little worried about it being an overuse injury. I am hoping that the full day between the next workout plus the fact that it is a "Cardio Recovery" session tomorrow will give me the opportunity to rest the calf muscle. I will also try to find some milk to get extra calcium in case it is a cramp.

The good thing about this issue is that I am complaining about it rather than the hellish workout that it is Pure Cardio. "I am not trying to hurt you, just trying to make you better" - Shaun T. Every time I hear him say that on the video, I want to punch him. I am just glad that I don't see that workout again until next week.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 16 - Plyometric Road Game

I decided to switch back to morning workouts for Week #3 of the Insanity Challenge because the HEART Conference has evening events all during the week (Monday - Registration/Reception, Tuesday - Conference Social, Wednesday - Industrial Exhibits, and Thursday - Open Meeting). That means finding the time and energy to workout afterwards would be difficult.

In any case, after a 5:00 am wake-up call and a Day 16 "Plyometric Cardio Circuit" session, I am now dripping sweat all over the desk area of my room. Yesterday's Fit Test results gave me motivation to continue, but the phone ringing at the time in the morning really makes me want to just go back to sleep. I am completing more and more of the workouts (fewer unplanned breaks), but I feel I am held back a little because of the hotel location. I have lost my home field advantage. I am not completely sure that I am not disturbing my neighbors. They didn't bang on the wall, but I don't know how far those rumbling landings of the jumps carry.

Now that Day 16 is complete, I am officially over 25% through the 60 (63) day Insanity Challenge. Tomorrow is a "Pure Cardio" plus "Cardio Abs" day. It is my least favorite day as I have mentioned on other occasions. I have about an hour to get ready for the conference. I hope that is enough time to shut down the crazy HEAT PUMP of my body. There is nothing more fun than sweating through a nice suit with 350 of your colleagues looking on.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 15 - Retest

Day 15 of the Insanity challenge is a "Fit Test" session to determine if you have made any progress in the last 2 weeks. Before getting to the results, let's just say "WOW!" I knew that I was changing my fitness level, but I didn't really understand the difference. On Saturday night before my OFF day, I did a weekly weigh - 189 lbs. That weight means that I am down 4 lbs from the start, AND I am certain that it is an actual loss of at least a couple of lbs rather than the 1-2 lbs variation that I usually see.

Here are the results from today's Fit Test workout along with the results from Day 1 for comparison:

Exercise Day 1 Reps Day 15 Reps
Switch Kicks 35 38
Power Jacks 26 40
Power Knees 53 73
Power Jumps 22 25
Globe Jumps 6 8
Suicide Jumps 8 13
Push-Up Jacks 11 17
Low Plank Oblique 22 30

Since I did this workout on the 2nd floor of a building of the Hyatt Regency Monterey, I was hesitant to go all out on the Power Jumps and Globe Jumps. After the workout, I toured the hotel below and found that the rooms below me are storage and utility rooms. So, I will not worry about disturbing anyone below me during the rest of the week.

As I mentioned on Day 1, the Switch Kick number was an estimate. I am pretty sure that I over-estimated by quite a few because I know that I did much better today. The numbers in the table give me some sense of accomplishment and fortifies my resolve to keep going. Tomorrow (Day 16) is a "Plyometric Cardio Circuit" session.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 13 - Pure Cardio With a Side Of Stomach Pain

I just completed Day 13 of the Insanity Challenge. It was my least favorite session, "Pure Cardio," with the "Cardio Abs" done after that. I don't think that I got as much out of the abs routines as I would have without the initial session. At the end of that session, I was again flat out on the floor wiped out.

I got a text from my college friend and current pastor at the Grove Church (cloften) earlier this evening, "Sometimes as a fitness professional I wonder why I do the things that I do." That is a Shaun T quote from the "Pure Cardio" disc. The next text told me that he had burned 1050 calories during a session similar to mine. If my caloric output was similar, I can have that ChocoTaco that's waiting in the freezer for me.

Now that I finished that workout and since tomorrow is OFF, I am 2/9 or 22.22222...% of the way through the challenge. I won't post tomorrow because of travel, but Monday is a repeat of Day #1. I will see if I have improved since 2 weeks ago.  


Today, we celebrated my little Cupcake's 1st birthday with a party. She demolished her individual cupcake. I think she is going to have a sweet tooth like her big sister. The party was more for Sophie than Eliza. EK really liked both of the toys that she got to open. On the other hand, Kristy and I were ready to hit the sauce pretty hard after the kids went home. I think that they were probably more exhausting than that workout.


We lose an hour tonight. I HATE switching back and forth from daylight savings time. We should just pick one (I don't care which), and then freaking leave it alone.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 12 - CPR

Well, that workout really sucked. Day 12 of the Insanity challenge is a "Cardio Power & Resistance (CPR)" session. I have described this workout before (here), but today it seemed like my body just didn't respond when I asked it to go. Instead, I kept thinking, "I hope Kristy remembers her CPR training because she's going to need it in about 20 seconds." I made through another day and I am ready for this week to end.

Tomorrow is the final workout of Week #2 - "Pure Cardio" with the addition of "Cardio Abs" for the first time. Sunday is a rest day which is great because I will be on the road to Monterey, California for the Hardened Electronic And Radiation Technology (HEART) Conference. It will be a real challenge to push myself to stay with the Insanity program while in a hotel. At conferences, there is always someone that wants to go to lunch or dinner, and the meals go on and on and on. It is difficult to break away from all the socialization (that should get a chuckle from those that really know me) to go sweat and beg for the workout to end.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 11 - Recovery?

Day 11 of the Insanity challenge is a "Cardio Recovery" session. This is only the 2nd of these sessions, but I can honestly tell you that it is a very nice change of pace. There are some strength and balance exercises in this session, but it seems more like a work out the sore places kind of stretch day. I think it is probably included so that the "OFF" word doesn't show up too many times on the 60-day calendar. It is geared to getting you in the habit of a daily workout regardless of how intense the workout is.

I don't know if I have recovered because my left knee feels pretty sore most of the day. My body feels alright for the stress I have been putting it through. I was expecting a lot more delayed onset muscle soreness than I have experienced so far. I will probably regret putting that in writing in a couple of weeks.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day - I have work. Eliza and I are going to a baseball game. Sophie has a "50's themed elementary school dance, and Day 12 of the Insanity challenge is another "Cardio Power & Resistance" session.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 10 - What Is That Last Exercise?

I just finished Day 10 of Insanity which is a "Plyometric Cardio Circuit" session. By finished, I mean that I was lying on the floor in the fetal position asking, "What drill are we doing now." Now that Day 10 is over, I am just over 15% through the 9 week Insanity Challenge. Looking at the "60-Day Workout Calendar" (which actually has 63 days on it), I see that there are workouts scheduled for all but 8 days. I guess even Shaun T believes in a Sabbath rest.

Here is the key feature of today's workout. Kristy entered the room at the end of the warm-up, saw that I was dripping with sweat, and assumed the workout was almost over. That's when I got to tell her that the warm-up was just ending. She looked mortified or scared for me or something and left the room.


In other news, today was Eliza Kate's 1st birthday. It is hard to believe that it has been a year. Kristy is the real writer in the family, and she tells little Cupcake's story very well on her blog today (Tales from the Krit). Happy Birthday, EK!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 9 - Why Am I Doing This Again?

Alright. Day 9 of Insanity is in the books. Thankfully, I will have 3 other workouts before I see the "Pure Cardio" workout again. It's not that the other workouts are a walk in the park. I just prefer them to this pure unending cardio hell. I found myself asking the question, "Why? Why? Why am I doing this again?"  The answer is basically that I paid for this @!%#!

I have this significant problem. The problem that I have is that the Insanity workout series wasn't cheap, but I am. After shelling out the dough to get the workouts, I feel pretty much obligated to make my way through them. So, I guess I keep going and find out if the T-shirt is waiting for me at the end of this mess. A free t-shirt would add to my invested value (I told you that I was cheap).

Eventually, if I ever get to the point where the warm-up doesn't seem like a full blown workout, I will see a benefit to this. Rumor has it that the first 3 weeks are really just laying a cardio and strength foundation to build upon. I guess if I make it through those weeks, then we will see. Tomorrow, Day 10, is a "Plyometric Cardio Circuit" session.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 7 and Day 8 Summaries - A Twofer

Day 7
  • Jerry: "So, has the summer of George begun? Or are you still decomposing?
  • George: "Decompressing!"
Day 7 in the Insanity workout motivation/goal poster says "OFF." I looked at that and decided that I could do that routine pretty well. Actually, I am a professional at OFF when it comes to working out. That's kind of the reason that I am suffering so much. I have been so good at OFF that my body almost forgot that there was an ON.

Anyway, I took Soph to the Grove Church in the morning. It was pretty much standing room only at the 10 o'clock service. We probably should look into the 8:30 service. All in all, it was a restful day except for the runaway kite episode. Let's just summarize by saying that I met a neighbor by asking him if I could climb up on his roof. That is probably not the best way to meet people in the neighborhood.

The Sunday night weigh-in resulted in a 192 on the electronic scale. That means that I haven't really lost anything yet. I am going to try not to be discouraged by that after working my tail off last week. I decided to let Eliza determine whether I would work out morning or evening. She woke up for feeding at a time that meant I was going to postpone the workout until Monday evening.

Day 8

Day 8 of Insanity takes us to the "Cardio Power & Resistance" routine again. I am handling the workload a little better, but my feet feel as if I am wearing cement sneakers. When I was playing basketball, we would call this "dead legs." It happens when your body isn't getting enough time to recover between workouts or games. I am pushing through in the hopes that I will eventually get to the point of normalcy with my knees and ankles.

I started the workout at 6 pm which was a mistake. I will wait until the kiddos are in bed from now on. Sophie is going to struggle as a coach until she can encourage someone to keep going. Instead, I got this from her, "Dad, it looks like you are struggling. Why don't you just quit?" The problem with her question is that I really wanted to quit, but I couldn't explain it to her why I kept going. That was our discussion during our nightly prayer and tuck-in time.

I am still on the Insanity train. Tomorrow, Shaun T is asking for the workout that haunts my dreams, "Pure Cardio." I will try not to think about until about 9 pm tomorrow.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 6 - The Remix

Well, I think I finally made it to a point where I can't find appropriate Seinfeld material for my Insanity workout. That is saying something. Day 6 of Insanity brings us back around to the first real workout, "Plyometric Cardio Circuit." The workout went about the same as Day 2. I made it farther into the warm-up before having to back off on the intensity.

During the last 2 circuits (lots of arms and core), I still found myself, to paraphrase my old friend Nick Callaway, -- Down on my knees, begging Mama for buttermilk. I never understood that expression, but I think it conveys how much I wanted the video to end. My arms and back are still twitching from the workout. I hope that ends before the day is over.

I know that these workouts have a lot of after-burn to them because 2 to 3 hours later I am still pumping out heat and sweating. I know that I burned all the glycogen out of my legs (and likely my arms too) during the workout, so the excess heat is probably related to replenishing those stores. I don't know enough about exercise physiology to really be sure though.

If I make it through the rest day tomorrow, then I will completed the first week. I may start doing the workouts in the evening for week 2. I am completely exhausted before we get the kiddos in bed because I have been getting up so early. It is almost like we have a new born again. My post tomorrow will probably just be a weigh-in. Have a good weekend!


Postscript: The Insanity workout goes much smoother without having a 7-year-old heckling that this isn't so hard while jogging in place. I think I got plenty of Sophie's peanut gallery commentary.

Friday, March 2, 2012

"I am speechless. I am without speech" - Day 5

  • Kramer: "Jerry, I'm fried!"
  • Jerry: "Technically, you're sauteed"
I don't know whether the title or the conversation above is more accurate. Day 5 of Insanity is a "Pure Cardio" workout. It started innocently enough with a pretty standard warm-up and stretch. I can feel I am already in a little better condition because I only had to stop completely once during the warm-up. It is good that I stopped because my heart rate was about 165 bpm (90% max). In the last minute of the stretches, the heart rate was down in the low 130's, so that wasn't bad. During the last minute, Shaun T started talking about how "scared" he was about the workout coming up. I started thinking, "Well, that's not going to be good for anyone."

The main body of the workout consist of 15 drills performed for 1 minute each with no breaks built in to the video. The other videos have you going hard for 2-3 minutes, and then you get a break. Not so on this one, my friend.  Here is my workout summary:
  • Suicide drills
    • Ok, these remind of basketball defense drills.
    • My heart rate climbed above 160 and stayed there for the next 15 minutes (even during the recoveries).
  • Switch kicks
    • This exercise is hard for me. It is the coordination of landing and kicking that makes it difficult. I guess we are working on becoming the next karate kid.
  • Wide football sprints
    • This is quick feet with a coach giving the direction to move followed by sprinting in place.
    • I had my first stop to check my heart rate here -- 172 bpm (94% max).
  • Stance jacks
    • This is a cross between a squat and a jumping jack.
    • I spent most of my time from here on out avoiding the heart rate red line because I am having to relearn my limits.  I am not 16, 26, or even 36 anymore.
  • Pedal
    • I don't even know how to describe this one.
  • Hooks & jump rope
    • We are training to be boxers in this exercise.
    • I had to take about half this exercise off to recover.
  • Power jacks
    •  Shaun T said at this point, "It's ok to take a break and gets some water. Check your heart rate monitor."
  • Level 2 drills
    • A combination of push-ups, floor sprints, and vertical jumps
    • "This is about the time Shaun T needs to take a break." - Shaun T speaking in the 3rd person.
  • Frog jumps
    • This is just what it sounds like.
  • Power knees
    • At this point, people on the video are falling off to take breaks.
    • Shaun T has to remove his shirt.
  • Mountain climbers
    • This is high knees with an added twist.
    • I was ready to flat out quit here, but I kept going.
    • I ended up getting a little bit of a "2nd wind."
  • Ski down
    • This is jumping side-to-side while using arms for power.
    • That 2nd wind was a mirage, and no 3rd wind ever showed up.
    • Shaun T sends one of the guys off to the side to cool down because he knows he is about to pass out.
  • Scissor runs
    • This exercise is another tough coordination move for me.
    • Shaun T calls this a "slight recovery" exercise.  I am going to call BS on this one.
  • Suicide jumps
    • These are a combination push-up, core work, and vertical jump.
    • Everyone on the video including Shaun T is about to pass out. They were most definitively as deeply fried as I was at this point.
  • Push-up jacks
    • You are trying to do a push-up while hopping off the feet to do a jumping jack at the same time.
    • I spent most of my time lying on the floor begging for the workout to be over.
It finally ended with my heart rate at 174 bpm (~95% max). We got a 1 minute water break before a long cool down. My heart rate was around 140 bpm (70% max) when the cool down ended. It took 40 minutes after the workout to get it under 100 bpm.

I am happy about 3 things right now: (1) That I didn't do this workout yesterday (I would have quit the whole thing - no joke); (2) Today's workout is over; and (3) Only 1 more workout day in this first week of Insanity. Tomorrow, we do the first repeat of a video. The "Plyometric Cardio Circuit" from Day 2 returns, and after what I just went through, I think I prefer it to today's workout. Imagine that -- preferring a workout that I HATED 3 days ago.

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    "I Feel Reborn. I'm Like a Phoenix Rising from Arizona" - Day 4

    • Frank Costanza: "I have been performing feats of strength all morning."
    The Day 4 routine (Cardio Recovery) of Insanity is not a break but it almost feels like one as you are really working on core strength and overall flexibility rather than hammering your cardiovascular system. The video is the shortest one so far -- just 33 minutes. Most of the video is stretching and the heart rate never really climbs. I did break a little sweat from the core work, but nothing like the pools dripping under me from the last 3 days.

    This recovery session comes at a good time because I am afraid another dose of high intensity cardio and power would cause most people (including me) to quit before the first week was over. I really needed the stretching to make those tight and sore muscles loosen up without generating any more lactic acid.

    The stretches really do require a lot of balance to keep from falling. I had to try getting into the proper positions several times as I lost my balance. Last night as I previewed the session, Kristy told me that she wanted to watch me do the "Plie Yoga Stretch." I promise you that it wasn't pretty, but I can take it if she can. By the way, she wasn't watching me at 5:45, so I think that was a bluff.

    Anyway, I feel ready to go again tomorrow with "Pure Cardio." It seems that recovery is going to be short and sweet.

    Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    "All Aboard the Pain Train" - Day 3

    • Izzy Mandelbaum: "If you want to live in a butcher shop, I'm gonna treat you like a piece of meat."
    Day 3 of Insanity is called "Cardio Power & Resistance." At this point, I am looking for Mr. Mandelbaum to hook me up to a convertible, scream "It's go time" at me, and then drag me for a few blocks behind the car. That would probably feel better than what I just went through this morning.

    This workout starts out pretty much like Day 2, but some of the warm-up exercises (~11 minutes) are slightly different because the workout will use those muscle groups more. My heart didn't think it was that much different because I still hit the 90% max level (165 bpm) about 4 minutes into it. I am finding it difficult to hear Shaun T encourage me to keep going while knowing I should slow it down to let my out of shape heart catch-up. I think that is the competitive streak in me coming out, and he is a lot like a couple of the good coaches I have had in the past.

    The 7 minute stretching portion is a nice relief from the warm-up. My heart rate calmed down to a respectable level of 135-140 bpm. The stretches include some core work that I can't keep up with yet. Hopefully, as I stick through this, I will be able to do all the component of the stretch.

    After the water break from stretching, I got into the meat of the day's workout. First, there were two 2 minute circuits of of Power Jumps, Belt Kicks, Hit the Floor, and V Push-ups followed by a 3 minute circuit that added Tricep Dips and One-Leg Tricep Dips to the previous 4 exercises. Somewhere in this mess, I did something called a Tricep Ball Push-up. I spent most of the time in these sets near red line where the body will just completely shut you down if you don't back off a little.

    After all that, I was just about ready to quit when we started Hurdle Jumps, Globe Jumps, Moving Push-ups, and Floor Sprints. My arms feel like jello pushed through a mesh screen and then left to dry in Death Valley.

    After a short (15 second break), the workout finishes with a 1 minute crazy thing called 8 Hop Squats/8 Push-ups. This is the point when I said to myself that I should have quit 8 minutes ago. The cool down session is pretty good, but I am still going to be hurting after this fiasco. My heart was back below 140 bpm (just barely) after the 3 minute cool down. I am down to 116 bpm at 15 minutes post workout.

    The Insanity warm-up does a good job of getting the blood flowing. It doesn't quite get the soreness completely out, but everything does feel a little better while the heart is moving the blood at a pretty good clip. This is the first time I have used a workout video seriously. I have a couple of Tae-Bo sessions with Kristy under my belt, but I don't remember it being quite like this. The timer on these Insanity videos is a really nice feature. It lets you know how much longer you are going to be suffering. It also runs WAY too fast during those "30 second" breaks. They feel like 3 second breaks. I will have to work on getting the whole recovery thing down because it is "Interval" training. It is important to get the heart rate into a recovery zone before going way back up.

    Tomorrow is "Cardio Recovery," but I am going to guess that my definition of recovery is something very different from Shaun T's definition.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    "Sweet Fancy Moses" - Day 2

    • George and Jerry, "Sweet Fancy Moses!"
      • I am sure many of you would have said this had you seen me "dancing" to Insanity this morning.
    Day 2 of Insanity was called the "Plyometric Cardio Circuit." They should call it "You Feel Like Dying, But You'll Probably Make It." I had to stop twice during the 11 minute warm-up to catch my breath. I have this cool new heart rate watch that told me I was doing about 155 bpm or 86% max heart rate during the warm-up. I am not sure if that really is a warm-up unless the maximum heart rate knob actually goes to 110% (OOOOOO, maybe that's what coaches have been talking about for all these years). The stretching lasted about 5 minutes, so my heart rate went down to about 70% max.

    Then, the real workout started. I did something called Suicide Drills, Mountain Climbing, Alpine Skier, and something else that oxygen deprivation prevents me from remembering for about 2-3 minutes. Then, I took a 30 second break. My heart rate at the break was 165 bpm which is pretty impressive because when I got out of bed this morning, I sat at 62 bpm. The madness continued through another 2 circuits of those drills before we did 2 or 3 circuits each of "football drills" and "basketball drills."

    A couple of things that I noticed. The sweat on the video is real. The people on the video that look like they are about to collapse are really about to collapse. I played junior high and high school basketball for David Stahler. The closest comparison that I can find to this type of workout is to take one of his off-season days in the middle of the week, multiple it by two and then do it in half the time. He drove the team to the designated puke trashcan a few times over the years.

    I do know two things. (1) I am going to hurt pretty bad in places that I have forgotten when the delayed onset muscle soreness hits. (2) My pedometer supplied by Sandia to track my steps doesn't know jack about active minutes if it thinks I only was active for 9 minutes this morning. I was dying (or hoping to die) for 41 minutes. I backed off just enough not to use my barf bucket.

    Day 3 of Insanity is  "Cardio Power & Resistance." [sarcasm]I am sure that is going to be easier.[/sarcasm]

    Monday, February 27, 2012

    "Let's Start the Insanity" - Day 1

    • Kramer: "Hey, I'll tell you what, Chubby, if that yogurt has fat in it, I will put myself on an all-yogurt diet for a week."
    • Jerry: "Well, let's start the insanity!"
    So, today I finished Insanity's "Fit Test" that really determines the level of slovenly life that I have settled myself into. Before getting to those results, I should say something about my current weight. I weighed 193 last night. That is about 10 pounds lighter than the 2 bills+ that I weighed after the Achilles tendon incident. My regular doctor thinks, "You really should try to get down to your weight as a high school senior." From the look on my face, I am sure that he realized that I would never see 155 on the scale unless I was weighing under water. So, he decided that I should shoot for something closer to 175. I would settle for 180.

    Here are the results from today's 5:15 am workout:

    Exercise Day 1 Reps
    Switch Kicks 35
    Power Jacks 26
    Power Knees 53
    Power Jumps 22
    Globe Jumps 6
    Suicide Jumps 8
    Push-Up Jacks 11
    Low Plank Oblique 22

    Now, the bar has been set, and it's a pretty low bar if I do say so myself. Apparently, I will be repeating this test on Day 15, Day 36, Day 50, and Day 63. This will give me a way of measuring my progress along the way.

    Here is a little summary to let you know how I felt during the video. First of all, my heart rate was above 80% of max when I finished the ~2 minute warm-up before the stretching. Next, the switch kicks (first exercise in the test) are tough to count because I am certain that the ticker was going north of 160 beats per minutes while I tried to do the long division (dividing by 2) in my head. So, the 35 is more of an estimate than an actual number. Next, I thought I was going to collapse during the last 4 exercises. My test results in the last half will improve a great deal if I can improve the cardiovascular fitness enough not to be redlining before I get to them. Finally, if today is any indication, I will need the barf bucket close by for the normal workout.

    Tomorrow is my first real taste of the asylum. I am doing the "Plyometric Cardio Circuit" on Day 2 (just like the poster tells me to do). I will report on that little nugget if I survive.


    In other news, you shouldn't leave a "temporary" crown on your tooth for close to 20 years. (In my defense, I was not aware that it was temporary.) It causes a lot of trauma when you finally let the dentist fix it. I struggled mightily to be productive after the 2.5 hour session in the dentist chair this morning/afternoon and lost the battle.

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

    "Serenity Now, Insanity Later"

    Well, it has been darn close to a year since my last post. A lot has been going on, so the blog has been put on hold. That, and well, the global warming thing is moving ever closer to the ash heap of history.  For details of that, the Watts Up With That blog has a new story every few hours to handle the issue much better than I ever could.

    In any case, I am going to try to use the blog for the next few weeks as my personal accountability tool with this workout video series called "Insanity." The video set arrived in the mail on Friday. I took them out of the box and popped in the "Fit Test." The 25 minute or so test has 8 different exercises. I got a little queasy just watching the video because I began thinking about what kind of shape I am actually in right now. I have a feeling that this isn't going to be pretty for the first couple of weeks.

    I once told you that I can relate anything back to Seinfeld. I am feeling pretty serene right now. However, as Lloyd Braun once warned George about his father, "Serenity now, insanity later." Last night, Kristy took the 3 before pictures (front, side, and back) because if you are going to do something crazy, you might as well go "all in."  Tomorrow, if I can lift my arms after the workout and work my way through the pain associated with my dental work, I will post the results for the number of these exercises I can do in one minute:

    • Switch Kicks
    • Power Jacks
    • Power Knees
    • Power Jumps
    • Globe Jumps
    • Suicide Jacks -- Sounds fun, doesn't it
    • Push-Up Jacks
    • Low Plank Oblique
    Who wants to join me?

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