Monday, December 16, 2013


Today is the first day of my new challenge. I woke up 35 minutes before I had to get up. No time for a workout before catching the 6:15am train to work but I plan to get one in this afternoon or evening. Nutrition so far has been greek yogurt and granola. Lunch will most likely be a grilled chicken salad. 200ml of water down a 3 liters to go.

I took my before pictures yesterday. I went on a run and it hurt. Did 2.4mi and felt like quitting 15 minutes into the run. It was sunny and in the 50s so I could not pass up the opportunity.  Later in the day Ellen and I rode our bikes because it was so nice.

My job contract ends two weeks from tomorrow and I am going to have to push hard to keep a consistent routine until then. Once it is up I will be working from home on Monday & Wednesday and commuting by train to work on Tue/Thur and maybe Fridays if my work load calls for it. If I do cardio MWF and weight TTHS then I will not have to buy a gym membership. I do want to pay a year pass to the city gym for only $150.

Things are looking up and good nutrition happens one choice at a time.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Challenge Notice

Yesterday I left my jacket on at work because my pearl snap shirt kept popping open.
I refuse to buy new clothes and I have 3-4 lawn bags of old clothes waiting to bo away that I cleaned out of my garage. About my excuse of not being able to exercise. My office has a small fitness room I have never used. My part time job has a huge fitness room. I filled out a form for a memebership (free) but I need to follow up on it. I rode my bike to the commuter rail today. Also wiped out on some ice but it was fun and COLD.

New challenge starting on Monday since it is the 4 years anniversary of the start of my first BFL challenge. I plan on running a St. Patricks day 5k at the end of the challenge.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

BFL Coffee Crew!

This was my biggest support group. When I started a new job in April and lost all my support. Bad habits I had not had in many years slowly came back. Last night I ate a double cheese burger, 6 chicken nuggets, a bean burrito, and a flatbread taco.

I have made 2-3 attempts to start back up that crashed and burned. I had the fuel but this group was the wind beneath my wings. I quit the new job two months ago and now I am working two jobs as a independent contractor. I quit my gym membership because I had not used it in months and only went 20 times the whole year VS. 3-6 times a week in the past.

I got thru for a long time saying as long as I am under 190 I am doing ok and maintaining all the hard work I put from 2008-2009. Right now I am 204 and had to switch to an old belt to go to work. My wife is worried that I am out of control as she never knew me before I lost most of my weight and started living healthy.

Last week I turned 30 and I feel like a whole new chapter is opening. I am starting a business from home that we plan to launch in the spring. I am losing my full time contract at the end of the month. I slept in till 11am yesterday when I was suppose to be at work at 6:45am. I drank a red bull on the way to my second job and could not sleep last night.

I plan to take before pictures and measurement this week. My very first BFL challenge started December 14th 2009 (weighed 182) and I hope to start a new one or some type of training plan soon.
I miss this support group. It was one of a kind and everyone moving to Facebook then all the members fading away really hurt. The forum was magic because anyone could post and there were always new people who wanted to join in. The Facebook group was closed so only 1 person in it is still motivated and posts.

This is only my 17th blog post of 2013. I had 248 in 2012 and 340 in 2011. I have not had much to say and have not done much to write home about.

With 2014 on the horizon I am still optimistic about what the future will bring. I have been laying the stepping stones to escape the cubicle and draining commutes and focus on what I am passionate about to make a living. Depends on how a talk goes with my boss at my part time job my freedom might greatly increase. Freedom of time and freedom of living closer to what I believe in and what I want the future to bring.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ideal Physique

Steve Reeves, who competed in body building in the 40's and 50's was probably the ultimate body builder from the pre-anabolic steroid era. He tweaked the calculations used by the Victorians slightly whereby for his perfect symmetry, the calves, neck and biceps should be the same circumference, the chest should be twice the thigh and the waist double the neck. Although I can't verify this last ratio, his measurements satisfied the other criteria for what he considered the ideal body.
For me ideal.
Neck 16
Calf 16
Bicep 16
Chest 42
Thigh 21
Waist 32
Neck 16
Calf 16
Bicep 14.5
Chest 40
Thigh 22.75
Waist 33
I will take measurement tonight to find out how far I have gotten in the past 9-13 months.
Re-watching Thor last night inspired me to start lifting weights again. I have not done it since late August. Chris Hemsworth is only 3 months older than me.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Annual Progress Pic Year 5

10-1-2009 was the end of the second round of the first year of the Levings Biggest Loser. I won $100ish dollars in a family pool. This was right around when I first read about Body for Life and two months before my first challenge. I have continued a weekly spreadsheet since then and have taken a progress picture on Oct 1st each year since then. Each year I made improvements but this year showed a huge setback. I am 20-25 lbs heavier than last year and maybe 5 pounds heavier than 2009. I made a promise to myself in 2009 that I would never get above 190 again. I have been hovering just above and below 190 since last December. Summer of 2012 I was down to 165 and that felt too small. Is anybody down for a challenge? I want to get back to the comfortable 175ish range by Christmas. There are about 12 weeks left in 2013 and about a pound a week is a good way to loose weight and keep it off. I posted my progress pictures on my blog. Starting weight for me 190.2 lbs. 15.2 pounds in 12 weeks. I took better quality pics today and I am starting Monday.

10-1-09 185
10-1-10 179
10-1-11 175
10-5-12 170
10-5-13 190

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Recently I am back to old drinking habits... Water 3-4 liters a day! Yesterday's the high was 104f. Instead of going on the weekly social run I volunteered to hand out water at the halfway point. I was surprised that 80ish people still ran. Anyway all the water is taking me back to the "potty for life" days. I am the only one at my new job and have to take the office phone with me a lock the office every time I go.
Training for my upcoming 20K and Half marathon officially starts Monday. 12 weeks to get back in endurance running shape. I am hoping all the bike riding I have been doing will help with my cardiovascular endurance while running.

Monday, July 15, 2013

15 Weeks

It is now 15 weeks until the DRC Half Marathon.

Ellen started a Juice Fast on Friday. Check out her blog:

Last week I attempted to do a full 5-6 day workout routine. I ended up running Wednesday, biking Thursday, and lifting weight on Saturday. This week is the new beginning. No more road trips and no more excuses. I am already signed up for the Palo Duro 20k on 10-19-13 and that is my main focus. If I can run 12.4 miles on sandy trails I will be able to run 13.1 miles on streets two weeks later.

I just downloaded the Hal Higdon's Novice 2 Half Marathon Training program. For some reason I cannot find the one I used in 2011 but this one is better because it works up to 12 miles before the race instead of 10. I have only run over 3 miles once in the past 6-7 months so I need to work on building back up to an easy 4-5 miles in the next 3 weeks.

We spent July 1-7th in Colorado. I used the time to eat healthy and stay active. I dropped from 198 to 191 in two weeks and plan to get back to my ideal racing weight (165-170) over the next 3 months. I peaked out right about 200 lbs which is my heaviest in almost exactly 4 years.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Yesterday's 5k sparked up some needed inspiration. Life has been full of changes and I let my health and fitness slip. I have written out a workout schedule on my calendar. I have some big races coming up in 7-8 months and I have to get back in shape by August just to train for them. Back in October I said I would do gomad until I hit 190lbs or 20% body fat. Yesterday I logged 194.4 and 20.1% and it is time to take action. I am back to where I was in August 2009. This time around I have more free time and better understanding of nutritional philosophy. I have not touched a set of weights since March 15th. When I put my two weeks notice in at my old job March 18th life got crazy. Next week is the first normal week for Ellen and I at our new jobs and perfect time to establish good habits to fit our new schedule.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Shoes and 5k Registration

I just ordered new shoes for my wife and I on clearance from

I had been asking for a pair New Balance Minimus Zero since October. 

In order to get free shipping I got my wife a pair of Vibram fivefingers SeeYa LS. She loves her SeeYa shoes with a strap and hopes the ones with the laces will be even better.

I also signed up for the St. Paddy's Day Dash Down Greenville 5k

I am hoping to break out of the funk I have been in the past 5 months.
New Balance MR00
Vibram fivefingers SeeYa LS

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Back in Action

Things are looking up in my world. After our trip to Reno we completely lost our routine for 3-4 weeks. As January was coming to an end I looked at my calendar and noticed I had only ran 2 miles and had lifted weight twice. Since my post last Wednesday "Why wait till Monday" my mojo is back. I got off my ass and just did it and ENOYED it. 

I dropped 3 pounds since then and I am eating better. I feel better. Yesterday I had to survive on just 900 calories from 6am to 7pm and I though I would die but I just drank more coffee and I was fine. I have been eating enough or overeating for 4 months and forgot that I can control and limit myself.

After 12 weeks of bulking and lifting and 3-4 weeks of no activity I am read to tackle the next 16 weeks.

I am 15-16 pounds of fat above ideal. I am giving myself a June first deadline to lose it. Just in time for 3 trips to the beach we have planned.

Starting Wednesday I am giving up gluten, alcohol, fried foods, and all nonessential communication tools. 40 days of freedom!

Starting Monday we are following an 8 week program called The Texas Method that I downloaded from the creator of StrongLifts. It is similar to what we just finished except it adds in Pull Ups and Dip and the number of reps and intensity vary from Mon, Wed, Friday.

We are headed to Galveston Island this weekend. It will be in the 60s and rainy. I have not visited my grandmother for a whole year. She is turning 80 this summer and my last visit was on February 2-4 2012 when I ran my fastest half marathon.

February 2012 was the peak of my running conditioning. I had been training for 8 months with a 2 week break in the middle. On 2-5 I ran my fastest Half and on 2-12 I ran my longest ever run (17mi). On 2-19 I was attempting 18 miles and my knee crapped out on me ending all my plans. I am no longer motivated or interested in longer endurance running/racing. I have 8-10 pounds more muscle now and I am not going to waste it away again.

Balance is good in human fitness. Body for life was good balance for me. Running for 20 to 45 minutes is healthy. Doing 5k and 10k races is fun. After my first BFL challenge I swore off cardio and just lifted weights. After that I start running like crazy for 2 years and eventually lifting became a twice a week effort to just maintain my muscle.

How do I combine the best of both worlds? I want to bench press more than 165 pounds. I want to run 10k races in under 54 minutes. I would like to maintain a lean sub 12% body fat year round. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quote of the Day

The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. 
It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are 
it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. 
You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. 
It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. 
How much you can take and keep moving forward. 
That's how winning is done! 
Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. 
But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers 
saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! 
Cowards do that and that ain't you! 
You're better than that!  
Rocky Balboa

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"I'll Start Monday"

"I'll Start Monday" is just an excuse and procrastination. Time for action starting now!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013: A New Beginning

We just got back from Reno on Saturday. After a week of good eating I lost 3 pounds and Ellen lost 6 pounds. We have been gaining weight since June and I have been intentionally packing on the pounds since October. With a combination of the GOMAD diet and just plain lazy laid back holiday eating from Thanksgiving to Christmas I managed to pack on 19 pounds (25 pounds since June). Due to measuring body fat percent I can tell that I gained 13.5 pounds of fat and 11.5 pounds of lean body mass. Considering my history with obesity having 45% of my weight gain non-fat is pretty good.

My final weigh in of 2012 something happened that I had not seen in over 3 years. I weighed 190.6 hitting my "weight ceiling" I set on my last training session with my personal trainer back in September 2009. The good news is that although I am right at 190 I am 3 pounds leaner than my last training session. At the beginning of the GOMAD diet I planned to go to 4 week or stop when I hit 190 pounds or 20% body fat. I peaked out at 190.6 lbs and 17.9% body fat.

I have almost come full circle over the past 3+ years but now I have more confidence, more muscle, and I am stronger mentally and physically. I have gained and lost the same 15ish pounds 4 times but I am not a yo-yo dieter. I have changed my short terms (2-6 month) goals back and forth from weight lifting and muscle growth to weight loss and various running speed and distance goals. This year I plan to keep my focus on the longer term without any up and downs steadily chipping away at the goals I set in 2009 that I have yet to reach. My fast food addiction has improved but I want to eliminate it like I did my addiction to sodas. I drink maybe 2-6 cans of sodas a year now. Chipotle will be my quick healthy go to food along with almonds and beef jerky from convenience stores.

This evening we finally took our progress pictures and measurements.

January 2012 to January 2013
 January 2012 to January 2013
September 2012 170ish (Pre-GOMAD) to January 2013 190ish

Friday, January 4, 2013

StrongLifts Week 12 Day 3

Just finished my final workout of the 12 week StrongLifts 5x5 program. I started week 1 with just a 45 pound Olympic barbell focused of form. 

Here are my current 5 rep max.
Squat 220
Bench 165
Deadlift 230
Overhead Press 95 to 105
Bent Over Row 185
I highly recommend this program if you are looking to build strength and muscle.