Recently in No Pain, No Gain Category

Lies

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  1. I’m too tired to work out this evening. I’ll set my alarm for tomorrow morning and work out then.
  2. 6:30 AM already? I really need another hour of sleep. I’ll be sure to do my workout after work.
  3. I don’t feel like working out today. It’s only Monday. If I work out tomorrow, I can still have three good workout days this week.
  4. This week is almost over. I will give my workout schedule a fresh start next week.
  5. I’ll walk around in my underwear before I buy another pair of fat pants.
  6. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow I diet. (Because I will be starting my diet tomorrow, I can allow myself this last day of unhealthy, indulgent eating.)
  7. If I allow myself this 2,000-calorie indulgence, I will be less tempted to skip my workout today.
  8. As long as I don’t tuck in my shirt, my gut really isn’t that obvious.
  9. I remember what it was like to be 10 (20) (30) (40) pounds overweight. I will never, ever let myself put that weight back on again.

Top ?? reasons I gained back 40 pounds

So…I worked really hard to lose a whole bunch of weight. I got down to a 30-inch waist; I filled my closet with lots of new clothes. Then some time last fall, I fell off the proverbial wagon. I stopped exercising and gained back 40 pounds.

Now I am finally starting to get back on track with losing that weight all over again. To celebrate my new progress, it is time to present a list of the real reasons for the reappearance of my less than hard body (in no particular order).

  1. I was tired of all the women staring at my tight ass. (I just felt like such a piece of meat.)
  2. I had just traded in my old Bowflex for a new one, and, of course, each and every piece of exercise equipment must have a break-in period of no less than six months, whereby it functions solely as a rack for draping dirty clothes.
  3. Some intelligent designer or big banger or spaghetti monster or whatever decided that it would be a good idea to only put 24 hours in a day.
  4. Ben and Jerry made me their bizzle.
  5. The No Pain, No Gain category of my blog just wasn’t an interesting read once I became a skinny person.
  6. I thought outside the bun a few too many times.
  7. Trying to find pants with a 30-inch waist and a 34-inch inseam just became too much of a hassle.
  8. My lovers complained that I no longer had any handles to hold on to. (You know…love handles…never mind.)
  9. I wanted to experience what an actor goes through when putting on a large amount of weight in a short period of time in preparation for a movie role.
  10. Those damn Cold Stone franchises keep popping up everywhere faster than Starbucks.
  11. I happen to like roller coasters…and yo-yos.
  12. Slightly overweight people are generally more pleasant than those with perfect bodies.
  13. All work and no play makes Michael a fat boy.
  14. All work and no play makes Michael a fat boy.
  15. When my gut melted away, I no longer had a built-in shelf upon which to rest my TiVo remote.
  16. With my slim waist, tight shirts, and tight pants; I was starting to look less than hetero…and I have a hard enough time finding a female paramour.
  17. My Nautilus Sleep System bed just felt so-o-o-o comfy in the morning.
  18. Because of rising gas prices, I had my thermostat set low all winter. The extra layer of fat kept me insulated.
  19. One word. Beefcake. BEEFCAKE!

LC Paninis

For processed, frozen, microwavable, 300-calorie foods, those little boxes of Lean Cuisine are not half bad. As I have mentioned before, my freezer is often stuffed full of the things, and I have one of the LC pizzas almost every day for lunch (much tastier than a cold lunchmeat sandwich and much healthier than take-out). Our local Wegmans has had them on sale for 3 for $5 for at least three weeks straight now!

Anyway, over the past month, I have grown addicted to the newest addition to the Lean Cuisine line—paninis. Now, again, obviously a home-cooked meal or restaurant fare is going to taste better, but for meals whose prep time involves just 2 minutes and 45 seconds of nuking, they are damn tasty.

I have found four different varieties so far, and my favorites are the steak and cheddar and the southwestern chicken on sourdough.

You cook the two halves of the panini on top of that shiny paper stuff that browns them (just like the pizzas), and it does a decent job of keeping the bread dry and toasty. The silver stuff even has slots cut into it so that fake grill marks are scorched into the bread. Then you fold the two melty halves together.

It may be because of their novelty, but I do think that I actually like the paninis better than the pizzas. (Thai-Style Chicken still rules, though, esp. with a dollop of Hoboken Eddie’s Hot Sauce mixed in.)

Indulgence

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My name is Michael, and I’m a chocoholic.

One thing that’s really bad slash good about the holidays is the preponderance of indulgent food.

Correlatively, one thing that’s really bad slash good about the post-holidays is the preponderance of people trying to get rid of indulgent food from their homes.

Any resolution-motivated commitment to “eat healthy” can really be complicated by the ready availability of these indulgences. Willpower? What willpower?

Case in point, some of the tantalizing goodies brought into my workplace just in the last week have included dark and white chocolate-drizzled gourmet popcorn, a tin of delicious chocolate-covered peppermint cookies, a chocolate ganache torte, a box of assorted chocolates, some cappuccino-flavored meringues, and a container of chocolate-covered toffees.

Not that I am complaining…it is very hard to complain when stuffing something delicious and chocolate down my gullet…but it will be so much easier trying to get back on track with fitting into my pants again once this spirit of generosity finally dies down.

Exercise

“I don’t know why you waste your time exercising. It’s just sweat you’re going to have to wash off.”
—Master Shake to Meatwad

;-)

I’d say that it’s a fairly safe guess that the most common New Year’s resolutions are to eat healthier, lose weight, exercise more, or some combination of the aforementioned.

While I hate being a cliché, I really do need to get back on the proverbial fitness wagon in the new year. Occasional binge eating really starts to add up over time, and if one procrastinates enough scheduled workout sessions, skipping them entirely for weeks on end becomes the norm.

I was starting to look pretty darn good last year, buff even…then, at some point, I lost all motivation.

I had spent a good bit of money on new jeans and dress pants. All of my “fat pants” ended up in a donation box in a nearby parking lot. Now, I am down to three pair of “relaxed fit” size 32s that I can barely squeeze into.

Not a disastrous setback, but a setback nonetheless.

Good riddance, 2005.

It is time to get my motivation back.

Ultimate ex

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After nine exhausting hours, spread over a few days, my Bowflex Ultimate 2 is more or less put together. I plan on watching the instructional DVD all the way through before I start using it, though.

This sturdy behemoth replaces my Bowflex Power Pro that I had for five years. The poor little guy sits partially disassembled in my master bedroom. I took one last photograph to remember it by (below).

Bowflex Power Pro

We have been through a great deal together at three addresses (Plainsboro, Millburn, and Kingston. I have sat on that bench at 274 pounds, at 180 pounds, and quite a few ups and downs in between.

So why the trade in—and such an expensive one at that? Well, that $1000 off was hard to turn down. I could never get close to that on eBay if I were to sell it. Plus, when you think about it, the Ultimate 2 is not that expensive when compared to a $600-$900 annual gym membership.

Most of all, though, I had a few annoyances with the Power Pro that was really starting to negatively impact my motivation. I talked with the Bowflex sales guy for over a half-hour last month, and most of my concerns seem to have been addressed.

  • First and foremost 410 pounds of resistance on the Power Pro was not nearly enough for many of the exercises, including the leg press, the calf extension, and the shoulder shrug. 410 was so inadequate for the leg press I would often keep performing repetitions of the leg press until I got bored.

    But the Ultimate also maxes out at 410, so what’s the difference?

    This part was quite illuminating. As anyone who has seen the informercials knows, resistance is created on the Bowflex by flexing these composite Power Rods. Each rod has a number on top that rates how many pounds of resistance it provides. However, at the top of the rod’s flex, the rod only provides two-thirds of its rated resistance. The rod’s full resistance is only realized when the rod is fully flexed.

    The way the rods are positioned on the Power Pro, one rarely gets that full flexion.
  • Ab exercises on the Power Pro sucked. One of the exercises has you stretch the handgrips over your shoulders as you do a crunch. However, because of the machines design, even in the resting position, there is a tremendous amount of strain on the shoulders. Doing this exercise guaranteed that I would have welts and bruises on my shoulders the next day.
  • Also with the Power Pro, taking off and putting on the leg attachment or the lat bar was always a pain because of having to thread cables. The pulley and cable system of the Ultimate 2 makes that a thing of the past.
  • The Power Pro is kind of light. On some of the exercises, the entire machine would lift up. Let’s just say, the Ultimate isn’t going anywhere.

Here’s hoping I get a much better workout with my new machine.

Ultimate delivery

The UPS driver was a bit late today, but I love the fact that he usually doesn’t come until after 4:30 PM. On days that I know I have a package on the way, I can just take off from work a tiny bit early.

The boxes now sit, neatly stacked, in my living room. I decided not to get the abominable abdominal attachment at this time, which would have been one additional box.

Bowflex Ultimate 2 shipping boxes

…and so it begins. I just hope they included all of the pieces this time.

I wonder if my soon-to-be ex-BF will be jealous that I’m trading it in for the latest model.

Ultimate shipment

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Four hundred and twenty-six pounds of exercise equipment and packing material, spread over eight boxes, are making their way to my apartment from Hodgkins, Illinois, via brown and gold panel vans this week. The first eighty-pound box sits in my living room. Three more come Thursday; the last four should arrive by Friday.

As promised by the sales guy, my new Bowflex Ultimate 2 shipped exactly three weeks after I placed my order.

I will do my best to document (with photos) the unpacking, assembly, disassembly and repacking of my old Bowflex, and my initial first impressions. I have a feeling though, that this “insert Part A into Slot B” project may take me awhile.

Update 10/06, 5:10 PM EST: Boxes 1, 3, and 4 came today. The first one was Box 2. Two hundred forty-six pounds delivered; one hundred eighty to go. Box 1 has the assembly manual, but I don’t need no stinking manual. Yeah, right.

Ultimate

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Like many Americans, one thing that I have tended to do over the past decade and a half with my weight problem is to throw money at it. Sometimes it works, I suppose. Case in point, thanks to the Bowflex (partly), I can no longer really describe my weight “problem” as such.

Sometimes it doesn’t—[cough] the Body by Jake Fit Flex, those freaking Tae Bo tapes, Hot Rox thermogenic supplements, Trim Spa (but it worked for Anna Nicole?!?), a goofy leather and chain neck harness, my Gold’s Gym membership, and on, and on, and on.

Actually, my Bowflex was completely worthless for more than a year until I started using it for more than a clothes rack slash abstract sculpture. Obviously, just owning an expensive piece of exercise equipment only made my wallet lighter.

I’m at a seemingly inescapable plateau—maintaining, but not really advancing—so here we go again. I have decided that I want a chiseled upper body very badly (bulges in all the right places), but have been frustrated with my progress (or lack, thereof) over the past 8 months.

In fact, I was actually tempted to blow another $700 bucks for a year at Gold’s Gym (although the location near my house is now a New York Sports Club).

Yesterday I got a card in the mail for an offer to trade in my old Bowflex and get $1000 off the price of the Bowflex Ultimate 2. Uh oh, this is starting to sound like a commercial.

So I let reason slip away and called the number on the card around 2 AM last night (insomnia’s a bitch). I asked questions for more than a half hour, then I whipped out one of my perpetual Zero Percent Interest for One Year Credit Cards and took the plunge.

The Bowflex Power Pro was a great machine for getting me down from 274 pounds to less than ten stone, but I ran into some fairly significant limitations with this model. In fact, I may write a post detailing things I hate about the Power Pro. The Ultimate 2 seems to address almost every one of them. We’ll see, I guess.

So it’s three weeks of struggling with buyers remorse as I wait for the UPS guy.

…oh, and before you ask, no, I did not get the DVD player attachment for the Bowflex.

You are not a normal fellow

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…at least that is what the disembodied announcer in the Dance Dance Revolution video game keeps saying. If he only knew…

I’ve been working hard to get back down to 185 before my HS reunion. Between Bowflex and DDR, I may do it, but time is running out. My calves are soooo sore. Playing DDR while wearing 30 pounds of lead bars in my weight vest (product shot below) can be really exhausting. After an hour, I can barely lift my feet off of the dance mat, and every item of clothing is drenched with sweat.

weight vest frontweight vest back

I can’t believe I used to carry around more than twice that weight just last summer. Granted, fat cells are more evenly distributed than lead weights in canvas pouches. Still, though…if only I could have taken that weight off just by undoing a couple of velcro straps

It feels weird when I remove the vest—sort of like a Kryptonian moving from red sunlight to yellow sunlight. :-)

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