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    Monday
    Sep012014

    Syndicated: Episode 13 (Arrow, Part 1)

    Dear listener, I'm afraid you have failed this city.  And by city, I mean podcast.  And by failed, I mean downloaded.  Now you should listen to it!

    The usual crew is lined up to dish on the first twelve episodes of the DC Comics-based TV show "Arrow", which is about the origin and adventures of the character formerly known as the Green Arrow, and apparently now just known as "The Vigilante". 

    What do they think?  Is it any good?  WILL OUR HEROES SURVIVE?  Tune in to find out!

    We have a twitter account!  Follow us @SyndicatedPod!

    Don't forget to email us at SyndicatedPodcast@gmail.com!

    Direct Download (AAC)

    Thursday
    Aug282014

    Box Office Poison: Episode 88

    Hey folks, Jon Rind was unfortunately out of town for this recording session, but the rest of the boys from BOP are here to 'splain you some sick flicks! We start things off with the star of the critiquosphere, Calvary, before getting around to Assault on Arkham, Dallas Buyers Club and even a bit more on Guardians of the Galaxy. Then, in the second segment, we answer some of your questions for Post Office Poison, including directors putting their personal lives in their work, watching movies at the gym, models vs CGI and more!

    Want to show your support for BOP? Head on over to iTunes to leave us a rating and a review. And when you're done there, hit us up via email (crosstawk@gmail.com), Twitter (@crosstawk) or in the comments section on the website.

    Thanks for listening, and be sure to come back in two weeks for our discussion on El Topo!

    Direct Download

    Friday
    Aug152014

    BOX OFFICE POISON: EPISODE 87

    After some technical difficulties with our last recording, we are back with the do-over of episode 87! We go over Guardians of the Galaxy, Boyhood, The One I Love, and Blue Jasmine before going in depth with our 50th Movie of the Month, Fiddler on the Roof!

    Next episode we'll be answering your listener mail so send your questions over to crosstawk@gmail.com or to @crosstawk on Twitter. See ya in two weeks!

    Direct Download

    Wednesday
    Aug132014

    30 Days of Fitness: Day 30

    Wow. It's hard to believe that the start of my journey to be less of a fat dude is actually over. The operative word there is "start," of course - I'm nowhere near my goal of 185 pounds. But I'm closer - more than 25% of the way there after this first month. If you haven't been reading, well, why the hell are you starting with the end? Go back to Day 1 and read through. But if you insist on starting here, the rules were simple - I had to eat less than 1500 calories per day and work out four times a week during the morning on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

    There's a lot of stuff I want to talk about, but before I get to that, let's round Day 30 up.

    Day 30: 8/12/2014

    Yesterday I wanted to hit the bench again, but there have been more and more people showing up at 6AM lately, and every bench (there are four at my gym) was being used by someone with their personal trainer. So I had to opt for dumbbell curls and the fly machine instead. Here's what I did:

    • 125 Calorie Burn on Elliptical
    • 150 Stomach Crunches
    • 60 Leg Lifts
    • 50 Freeweight Curls
    • 2000 Meters of Rowing
    • 100 Reps on Fly Machine

    Those freeweight curls were also with heavier weights - I went from two 20-pounders to 25 and it was definitely a challenge getting all the way to 50. And the fly machine continues to feel agonizing for every set of 25, but I just dig deep, and somehow, I always get there. Oddly enough, the last set always feels the easiest. Maybe it's because I do it last, and I know I can just give everything I have left.

    By the way, I know it seems like a cheat to still do 125 calorie burns on the elliptical machine, but believe me, on a higher setting, it's so much harder. It gets my heart rate going in a serious way, so even though I do it a little faster now (12 minutes versus maybe 14-15), I feel like I've exerted way more when I'm finished. Plus it frees up more time to do other stuff. So I think it's a net win. Maybe I'll kick it up to 150 calories next week, though.

    As for rowing, it continues to be awesome. It's just so much fun, and being insanely low-impact, I just feel like I can go on and on forever. I'm really looking forward to doing 2000 meters in under 7 minutes - I'm at around 9-10 now, and I know I can push myself further. Every day I get a little faster, a little stronger and a little more determined to kick that machine's ass, even as it's kicking mine.

    Now let's get on to the food:

    • Breakfast: Protein Shake (160 Calories)
    • Snack: 2 Mango & Raspberry Bars (280 Calories)
    • Lunch: Healthy Parm Bowl from Protein Bar (382 Calories)
    • Dinner: Pan-Fried Salmon w/Quinoa and Salsa (337 Calories)

    Total Calories: 1159

    I wanted to have a really light dinner to make my final weigh-in the best it could be, but as it turns out, eating a much later lunch (alas, work meetings) just gave me a really small appetite anyway. The salmon was delicious, though. Fish, guys - so pricey, but so delicious.

    Anyway, here's the moment you've been waiting for, most likely - the final weigh-in. Here are the numbers:

    Starting Weight: 238.5 Pounds
    Current Weight: 222.2 Pounds
    30 Day Weight Loss: 16.3 Pounds
    Remaining Weight to Lose: 37.2 Pounds

    And there it is. 16.3 pounds lost in a month. It's been an awesome start to the long road to 185, and these thirty days have shown me that I can make it. I'm nearly a third of the way there already. That's not to see I'll have lost the rest in two months - it'll probably take closer to six. Now that I've built my eating and workout routines, I need to start pushing myself harder to keep my weight loss consistent. Otherwise I'll have weigh-ins like Monday's where I'll either stay the same or even gain a little weight.

    Now, as promised, here are my Before/After photos:

    There are a handful of things I'd like to impart, but to avoid endless paragraphs here, I'm going to format it in a mock Q&A.

    1. What was/is the hardest part?
    It's actually two-fold. The first hardest part is getting out of bed at 5AM. There isn't a single day where I leap out from under my blanket ready to bust my ass. Fighting the desire to sleep in an extra 2-3 hours and forget the whole thing is constantly there. But I've gotten stronger each day, and as I see the results and look at what I've accomplished, I've never lost that battle

    The second hardest part is when I first get to the gym, put my stuff in the locker room and walk to the elliptical machine. The elliptical, despite being relatively low-impact, is the hardest exercise I do every day. Before I've warmed into a rhythm, my body is just screaming at me to stop, take a breath, sit down, drink water, etc. But I push past that and get to 125. Usually around 40-50 calories, I've locked in, and the rest is just keeping in form. But that first third is always incredibly difficult.

    2. What's the easiest or best part?
    The best part is when I've done the last exercise of the day, then go the locker room and weigh myself before taking a shower. I get to see the day's progress and then I always take a nice hot shower to relax get in gear for the work day. I love showers in general, but it's always that much more satisfying after I've worked myself to the bone.

    3. When did it start to feel normal?
    Probably around Day 10. The first week was really hard because I was cutting down on my calorie intake by so much. I think it was in my Day 5 wrap-up where I talked about getting a headache from literally starving myself to clear enough room for a restaurant meal, and how dumb that was. But I was just so afraid of going over, I was taking drastic measures and since my body hadn't adjusted, I just felt really hungry constantly. That kind of leveled out around Day 10, and while I still get hungry, it's usually closer to when I've scheduled a meal, and so I never feel too hungry for long.

    Oddly enough, working out felt great from the very start. If anything, that first week was really easy because it was new and I was seeing such quick and easy results. It's so invigorating seeing you've dropped 5+ pounds in your first week, so that first third was probably easiest, actually. It wasn't until I hit that first plateau at the start of Week 3 that I knew I needed to start taking things seriously and push myself continuously.

    4. Did you actually think you'd finish when you started?
    Yes. I'm a stubborn asshole, and especially vain when it comes to how I'm perceived publicly. So I knew I wouldn't be able to take the shame of throwing in the towel in front of the maybe 10 people who read this blog series. Plus my friends, family and girlfriend knew about it, and I didn't want to let them down either. So no, I knew I wouldn't give up. If anything, after my first week, I thought I'd lose way more weight. But I wasn't really being realistic at that point.

    5. 16 pounds in a month seems like a lot. Are you being healthy by doing all of this?
    Well, there are a few things to consider. First off, I started off pretty damn fat, and so a lot of the weight I've lost up to this point is water weight, which just kind of falls off once you start being active. Burning fat takes a lot longer, which has why my weight loss has slowed and I'm probably going to average 2-3 pounds at best from here on out. In fact, I'll be extremely satisfied with losing 10 pounds a month from here on out if I can. That would be fantastic.

    As for the food, as I've learned more about nutrition and daily recommended intake for things like protein, sodium, carbs, etc., I've been paying a lot of attention to what I'm putting in my body. So I take a lot of care, not just to limit the potentially harmful substances, but also making sure that I get what my body needs and that I don't end up malnourished. To be frank, it'd probably be a tad healthier for me to have taken a more gradual approach to slimming my diet down, because that first week was kind of a physiological shock, but now that I've gotten used to it, I'd say I'm very healthy.

    Furthermore, let's not forget the Golden Lesson of 30 Days of Fitness: Pay attention to your body and listen to what it tells you. I'm sleeping better, I have more energy, and my body feels strongger and more toned. If I was litertally just starving myself and working to the bone, I would've landed myself in the hospital at this point. I would've at least started suffering symptoms like bad headaches, nausea, etc.

    6. Do you have any advice for people looking to lose weight or just generally get more fit?
    Well, let me start by saying that I'm not a nutritionist, personal trainer or even a seasoned veteran at the gym or in the kitchen. But as someone who's gotten really great results in the last month, I would say that if you're looking to make a change, you've gotta commit full-tilt. Don't go all-in at once, necessarily, but if you want to lose weight, you have to know that your diet is actually more important than just working out, so don't just do one or the other.

    For god's sake, make your own meals. Depending on restaurants or convenience meals to get you where you need to be leads to malnourishment or over-indulgence, straight up. By controlling the ingredients and various serving sizes, you're able to custom-tailor a meal plan to what you're after. Whether it's bulking up or slimming down, this will make a gigantic difference, no doubt about it. I know cooking all the time is tedious, but if you cook in bulk (last night I cooked my lunch for the next three days), it's not so bad.

    Try to make things fun, if you can. I got a FitBit Flex because it kind of gameifies fitness. I get real-time updates on my progress against my set goals, and it constantly pushes myself to go a little harder, walk a little further or just stay upright a little longer. I got a standing desk because I'd read so much about how sitting all day is bad for you. And that's been a fun way to make me more active in general - I'm always moving. And by keeping your heart rate up consistently, you'll see better cardio results.

    Whether you're bulking or slimming, protein shakes are a great way to achieve your goals. I use a Hydro Whey formula from GNC that helps me cut calories faster while giving me a lot of much-need nutrients to get through the day. It's also got caffeine, which is great for you folks who are cutting coffee.

    Lastly, just don't be afraid or intimidated. Everyone goes at the their own pace and if you're making any effort at all, you're going in the right direction. Be proud of yourself for that. Stick with it and you'll get where you want to be. Because seriously, if I can do it, you can do it.

    7. What happens now?
    Now I begin the meat of my journey to 185. I'm going to stay on the 1500 calorie diet, but I'll probably cut myself some slack a couple times a week if someone wants to grab dinner or a couple drinks. I really only need to be at a caloric deficit of around 750 a day to stay on track, which ,at my basal metablic rate, gives me around 2400 total calories a day to play around with. Shooting for 1500 is only going to speed up my progress, but hitting 2000-2200 calories every now and then isn't going to kill me.

    All the same, I'm going to keep doing Cheat Days. They're incredibly helpful mentally (during the week, I often think about all of the awful shit I'm gonna stuff down my gullet on Saturday) and they keep my metabolism running quickly. I might show a little more restraint, though, especially when it comes to carb-heavy meals like pizza.

    My workouts will continue getting more intense and I'm going to keep going Monday through Thursday. My body's trained to wake up around a quarter to 5AM now (though I don't make myself get up until the alarm goes off - I'm only human), so I don't see my fitness schedule changing any time soon.

    Finally, I plan on writing additional fitness blogs here when I hit milestones or experience something noteworthy. I can't promise that it'll be on any sort of schedule, but I'll chime in every now and then. If you want the most consistent updates, check my Twitter feed (@crosstawk) on Monday mornings. I'll keep updating my weekly weigh-ins there.

    So that's that. 30 Days of Fitness is over, my life of fitness is only beginning.

    Excelsior!

    - Karl Castaneda

    Tuesday
    Aug122014

    Syndicated: Episode 12 (Chuck)

    Round 2 (Season two?) of Syndicated beings!   Andy's back on deck with his next pick, and his pick is the 2007 action-comedy: Chuck.  The world of Chuck Bartowski is filled with spies, nerds, gunplay, karate, and lots of sexual innuendo.

    Neal, Nathan, and Luke join Andy to give their thoughts on Chuck.  What do they think?  Do they all agree, or do we have a genuine disagreement on the show?  Tune in to find out!  

    Next time on Syndicated, we'll be talking about the first 12 episodes of Arrow.  Email us your thoughts!

    We have a twitter account!  Follow us @SyndicatedPod!

    Don't forget to email us at SyndicatedPodcast@gmail.com!

    Direct Download (AAC)

    Tuesday
    Aug122014

    30 Days of Fitness: Day 29

    Hey folks, and welcome back to 30 Days of Fitness, the start of my journey to be less of a fat dude. We're coming up on the end of this series, and I have to say I'm conflicted. On one hand, I'm going to miss writing about fitness about updating you folks on my progress. On the other hand, I'm getting a little tired of writing five times a week. I'll probably still drop in a blog here and there until I get down to my goal weight of 185, but aside from those, I think I'll be a litle relieved after tomorrow's closing entry. Having said all that, let's talk about the penultimate day!

    Day 29: 8/11/2014

    I knew yesterday's weigh-in would be a gain (I was actually expecting more, to be honest), so I made sure to really push myself at the gym. I increased the resistance on the Elliptical machine, beefed up my floor exercises and got right back onto my new favorite toy - the full body rowing machine. Here's the specifics:

    • 125 Calorie Burn on Elliptical
    • 150 Stomach Crunches
    • 60 Leg Lifts
    • 5000 Meters of Rowing

    And let me tell you, I felt that in a big way. The rowing machine has been a bit of a revelation to me, because I really have a lot of fun doing it (your distance numbers move really quickly, and when you really pull back with all of your strength, seeing the display speed through 10-12 meters is super satisfying) and I'm planning on making it a key part of my routine. Perhaps not daily, but certainly 2-3 times per week. What I like best about it, though, is that it's very low impact, so while I'm actually rowing, it's not too taxing. But as soon as I get up, I instantly feel every meter in my shoulders, biceps, legs and even my core. Everything hits you at once, which almost makes it more satisfying.

    The one difficult thing about rowing is that it makes drinking water kind of difficult. You can row one-handed, but it's awkward and since you're constantly extending and contracting your legs, it's difficult to put the water bottle down and not have it fall over. I need one of those sippy-tube helmets people fill up with beer or something, I guess.

    Now on to the food:

    • Breakfast: Protein Shake (160 Calories)
    • Lunch: Ahi Tuna w/Quinoa (320 Calories)
    • Snack: 2 Mango & Raspberry Snack Bars (280 Calories)
    • Dinner: 2 Bowls of Raisin Bran w/Almond Milk (440 Calories)

    Total Calories: 1200

    I wanted to try something new, so I cooked up that ahi tuna, also known as tuna steak, and good lord was it delicious. I'd eat it all the time, but it's pretty damn expensive. It was $5 for a 5oz steak, which comes out to around $15/pound. It's not bad compared to a meal I'd buy at a restaurant, obviously, but considering I could have had chicken for less than a fourth the price, I think I'll make it a weekly or bi-weekly treat rather than a staple.

    Even so, I'd highly recommend those of you looking for a tasty, healthy meal to try it. It's got a similar consistency as steak, though it's a bit flakier. It's got tons of protein, potassium and Omega-3 fatty acids, but it's only 30 calories an ounce, has no carbs and almost no fat. Ahi tuna's also unebelievably verstaile. It's great served hot or cold, and you can actually eat it raw (it's the tuna you get in sushi) as long as you serve it fresh. There's always a slight chance there's a little mercury in there, but as long as you don't eat it twice a day all week, the danger of mercury poisoning is nonexistant. It's even safe for pregnant women to eat twice a week.

    And that was Day 29. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the final blog, which will include my final weigh-in and a Before/After picture!

    Tuesday
    Aug122014

    Discover Music Project: Episode 64

    Get ready for the biggest single-artist episode we've ever done! We broke the limit for a guy who broke limits in music across the decades: Miles Davis. This is a listener request show, but Jonny is fortunate to have an experienced jazz fan in co-host Jon Rind. They explore this mysterious music together, learning to listen deeply to this true American legend. If you've never tried jazz before, we hope this will be a great entry point! Be sure to also check out the previous DMP episode on John Coltrane, who can be heard on a good portion of this Miles Davis playlist:

    1. Boplicity (Birth of the Cool)
    2. If I Were a Bell (Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet)
    3. Four (Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet)
    4. When I Fall in Love (Steamin')
    5. So What (Kind of Blue)
    6. In a Silent Way / It's About Time (In a Silent Way)
    7. Spanish Key (Bitches Brew)
    8. Right Off (Jack Johnson)

    Encore:
    Mahavishnu Orchestra - "Miles Beyond" (Birds of Fire)

    Direct Download (MP3)

    Monday
    Aug112014

    30 Days of Fitness: Days 26-28

    Hello there, and welcome back to 30 Days of Fitness, the start of my journey to be less of a fat dude! We're in the final stretch now, making it more important than ever to stay on top of things. Here's my wrap-up for the weekend, Days 26-28.

    Day 26: 8/8/2014

    I started this day with a bit of an issue. See, the night before, my friend Jesse had texted to see if I'd be interested in a bar crawl for Friday night. He's moving away from Chicago, and this would sort of be his send-off. I couldn't say no to that, even if it was cheating on my diet, so I decided that I'd go, but that I'd fit in an additional workout after work to off-set the calories I'd be taking in that night via drinking. So, beer and all, here's what I had on Friday:

    • Breakfast: 2 Oatmeal Bars w/Peanut Butter (340 Calories)
    • Lunch: Chicken Chili w/Cheddar and Greek Yogurt (380 Calories)
    • Snack: Protein Shake (120 Calories)
    • Dinner: 2 Bowls of Raisin Bran w/Almond Milk (440 Calories)
    • Drinking: 6 12-Oz Beers (800 Calories)

    Total Calories: 2080

    Not too bad, actually, considering I only went over my daily allotment by 580 calories, so I was definitely still at a calorie deficit by the end of the day. And that's really what fat loss is - burning more than you put in. It's really just how big the deficit is that determines how much fat you'll lose, along with other factors like metabolism and muscle growth. Speaking of which, let's get to the workout:

    • 125 Stomach Crunches
    • 50 Leg Lifts
    • 7000 Meters of Rowing

    And that's where things get interesting. So I've listed rowing on this blog before, but it's actually not the same thing I'm talking about now. There's a rowing machine that's sort of a sit-down set-up where your arms go onto two separate grips and then you make a sort of rowing motion. Anyway, the label is scratched off at my gym, so I just called it a rowing machine. That's not what I'm doing now.

    You've probably seen a real rowing machine before. If you watch House of Cards, it's the thing that Frank uses to exercise in his basement. I think there might also be a rowing machine in The Social Network when the twins are prepping for rowing crew. Anyway, it's a pretty awesome workout. Your legs are constantly extending and contracting, and obviously your arms, chest and shoulders are doing a bunch of work doing the actual rowing. And there's also some core strength involved with keeping your back straight to keep in form. Needless to say, after doing 7km, I was fucking tired.

    No rest for the wicked, though, so I grabbed a shake, ate some cereal and went out for the bar crawl. It was an awesome send-off for Jesse, and for those of you interested (and who live in the Chicago area), here's where we went:

    • Burke's Web Pub
    • Corner Bar
    • Quencher's
    • The Map Room
    • Gallery Cabaret

    Definitely a more mini crawl than the infamous Fawl Crawl, but it was a lot of fun nonetheless. Afterwards, I walked on home, drank a ton of water and went to sleep.

    Day 27: 8/9/2014

    My Cheat Day went pretty normally. It was actually pretty uneventful, one detail aside. See, I ordered a FitBit Flex last week to track my daily caloric burn, and it showed up on Saturday. I was really excited to put it on, and having used it now for a couple days, I can say that I really love it.

    For those of you who don't know what it is, it's basically a small wristband (kinda looks like a Livestrong bracelet) that you wear constantly (the battery life is supposed to be two weeks to a charge, so it's not meant to be taken off too often), which uses your heart rate to track calories burned, steps taken, distance and even sleep cycle. It works together with a great app, as well, that shows all of your stats in an easy-to-read format. You can also log your food, which shows you your daily caloric deficit. For me, since I'm trying to cut down to 185 pounds by the end of January, I need to have a daily caloric deficit of at least 750.

    The FitBit Flex also gives you daily goals to hit, like 10,000 steps, 5 miles of walking and, of course, the caloric goal that you set. It's a lot of fun to hit, and it really inspires you to get up and walk around, especially when you're within reach of the goal. I went on an almond milk run last night purely because I was only a mile off from hitting all of my daily goals. It's about $100 depending on where you buy it from, and I'd absolutely recommend it.

    Now on to the awful food that I shoved in my face:

    • Breakfast: 3-Stack of Pancakes, Side of Bacon, Glass of Orange Juice
    • Lunch: 2 X-Large Slices of Pizza and a 6-Piece of Buffalo Wings
    • Dinner: 1/2 Order of Butter Chicken and Butter Naan w/2 Glasses of Ginger Ale

    I ate like a goddamn king on Saturday and I regret none of it! Muahaha.

    Day 28: 8/10/2014

    As has become the norm, I wasn't very hungry on Sunday, and my eating habits showed. I didn't really need to do much of a grocery this week, so I just grabbed a handful of things from the corner market. Namely:

    • Half-Gallon of Almond Milk
    • Small Laundry Detergent
    • 5 Oz Ahi Tuna Steak
    • Lettuce
    • 1 Pound of Ground Turkey Breast

    As for what I ate:

    • Snack: 2 Cups of Banana Yogurt (280 Calories)
    • Snack: 1 Oz of Kale Chips (150 Calories)
    • Dinner: Scrambled Egg Whites w/Bleu Cheese and Sriracha (267 Calories)
    • Desert: 1 Bowl of Raisin Bran w/Almond Milk (220 Calories)

    Total Calories: 917

    And there's the weekend. Now it's time for the weigh in:

    Starting Weight: 238.5 Pounds
    Current Weight: 224.2 Pounds
    Weekly Weight Loss: +0.2 Pounds
    Total Weight Loss: 14.3 Pounds

    So you might look at this and say, "Oh, wow, looks like things didn't go well last week." Well, you'd actually be wrong. Yes, obviously the bar crawl didn't do me any favors, and maybe I didn't need to double-up with pizza AND chicken wings on Saturday, but the real story here is twofold:

    1. My only increases in my workout last week (Friday rowing aside) were in strength training, not in cardio.
    2. I've noticed significant muscle growth over the last week.

    Cardio is what's going to burn fat, and by not pushing myself harder in cardio, I didn't burn off as much weight. And having pushed my weight training regimen harder, my muscles got bigger. So while I'm sure I dropped a decent amount of fat, my added muscle weight simply is simply weighing me down a bit.

    What it comes down to is the golden lesson for this entire month: Pay attention to your body. I feel leaner, I feel stronger, and I feel better than I did last week. And since I'm making cardio changes this week, I'm confident that I'll start seeing more weight loss, as well. So I'll take this 0.2 pound weight increase. I'll have burned it off by tomorrow morning, no problem.

    Thanks for reading, folks! Come back tomorrow for Day 29!

    Friday
    Aug082014

    30 Days of Fitness: Day 25

    Hey folks, welcome to 30 Days of Fitness, the start of my journey to be less fat. With only five days to go until my last entry, it's more important than ever that I stick to the routine so that I can get the best results possible out of this month. So here's my Day 25 wrap-up.

    Day 25: 8/7/2014

    I always look forward to Thursdays - after all, they're my last workout day of the week, and leaving the gym, I always feel the full week's accomplishment on the way out. So while I still really need to shake up my cardio routine in a big way, I decided to change my leg strength exercises. Here's what I did:

    • 125 Calorie Burn on Elliptical
    • 125 Stomach Crunches
    • 50 Leg Lifts
    • 100 Hip Abduction Reps
    • 50 Leg Extension Reps
    • 125 Calorie Burn on Exercise Bike

    And let me tell you - those leg extensions were brutal. Maybe I had the weight too high, but after 50, my quads were on fire. I can still feel that burn now, actually. But then I read a bunch of stuff online about how leg extensions are bad for your knees and that, apparently, squatting is better? I dunno, I might try lunges while holding freeweights on Tuesday next week, so this may not have a lasting place in my routine.

    One interesting milestone was my leg lifts - the hated, hated leg lifts. When I started, doing five sets of 10 left me feeling like I was going to puke. But yesterday, I did 50 in one go, and it wasn't even that hard. My stomach's still got a long way to go, but my abs are starting to get decently strong, which is really encouraging.

    Anywho, on to the food:

    • Breakfast: Protein Shake (120 Calories)
    • Snack: 2 Country Valley Oatmeal Bars (340 Calories)
    • Lunch: Chicken Quinoa Bowl w/Kimchi (350 Calories)
    • Snack: Yogurt Parfait w/Granola and Strawberries (320 Calories)
    • Dinner: Chicken Caesar Salad (330 Calories)

    Total Calories: 1460

    Interestingly, this is probably my most even day in regards to spreading calories out. I definitely felt really full at the end of the day (I haven't had breakfast yet, and I honestly still feel kinda full), so maybe there's more to this. Can't wait to get my FitBit Flex in the mail tomorrow so that I can chart my calorie loss in relation to my meals.

    Thanks for reading, everyone! Be sure to come back on Monday when I'll wrap up Days 26-28, including the bar crawl I'll be going to tonight.

    Thursday
    Aug072014

    30 Days of Fitness: Day 24

    Hey folks, and welcome back to 30 Days of Fitness, the start of my journey to be less of a fat guy. After a solid return to my normal routine on Tuesday, I wanted to redeem myself after quitting Upper Body Day on Monday early. So here's my recap for Day 24!

    Day 24: 8/6/2014

    There's no two ways about it - I wanted to kick this morning's ass gym-wise. I bailed on my seated chest press set early and didn't even do my exercise bike routine on Monday. It was time to prove I could hack it on the bench and still finish my other sets. And here's how it worked out:

    • 125 Calorie Burn on Elliptical
    • 50 Bench Press Reps
    • 125 Calorie Burn on Exercise Bike
    • 125 Stomach Crunches
    • 50 Leg Lifts
    • 100 Fly Machine Reps

    I decided to move up the exericse bike portion to let my arms rest after the bench. Because lemme tell ya, they were complete jelly. And since I'm getting a bit bored with the seated chest press (it's really just a less-efficient regular bench press, honestly), I moved over to the Fly machine. This primarily works out your shoulders and chest and it hit me like a sack of bricks. I did four sets of 25, and after each set, I didn't know if I could do another. But I willed myself to hit 100, and I'll be doing the same next week. The burn was crazy and I can already feel the effects.

    But while the fly machine (and another new addition I'll talk about tomorrow) are really feeling great, I can tell my cardio's slipping. It's just getting too easy, and as I weigh in every day (I know you're supposed to do it weekly, but I'm impatient and curious), it shows in my weight loss, or lack thereof. I've hit a serious plateau, and it's easy to see why. My cardio's just gotten too easy. I still struggle a bit when I first get started on the elliptical and bike before I've warmed up, but I'm breaking less and less of a sweat. Today I got off the elliptical, and I barely needed to use a towel. I'm usually a sweat monster.

    On one hand, this is great - it means I've gotten stronger and faster and generally more fit. But it also means that I need to raise the bar to continue losing weight and making progress. Otherwise I'll just stagnate, stay at my current weight level, and just put on a little muscle mass. So starting on Monday next week, I'll start shaking my cardio routine up in a big way.

    Now for the food!

    • Breakfast: Fruit Loop'd Protein Shake (120 Calories)
    • Snack: Fruit and Veggie Bar (120 Calories)
    • Lunch: Chicken Quinoa Bowl w/Kimchi (350 Calories)
    • Snack: 2 Nature Valley Oatmeal Bars w/Peanut Butter (340 Calories)
    • Dinner: 2 Trader Joe's Chicken Patties w/Bleu Cheese Melted on Top (400 Calories)

    Total Calories: 1330

    Those chicken patties in particular were pretty delicious. The Trader Joe's brand comes with the patties pre-seasoned with lime and chopped bell peppers, and the bleu cheese added a lot of flavor and texture to the mix. Thinking about it now, I probably would've preferred a little something on the side, though, just to make it more filling.

    Thanks for reading! Come back tomorrow for Day 25!