All posts by srboyce

Fat Nerd to Chic Geek: Week 7

Hiatus concluded. 

This week has featured the following truths: of a 20-minute cardio workout, I now run for 12 of those minutes. Each and every time, I wish to die. I am told this is entirely normal. I’m also told that I’m running wrong? I don’t know about that part. I have a bad habit of not stretching properly after I work out, which is murderous the following morning, but since I alternate my cardio days and my weight-lifting days now, it’s somewhat more survivable. I worked out six times over the past week and am set to do the same this week. The diet thing had gotten a lot easier because of the patently excellent application LiveScape that I snagged for my new Windows 7 Phone. Well, new to me. Yes, I’m that guy with a Windows 7 phone, and you know what? I like it, so back up off. No, I can’t do all the cool shit your jailbroken Android phone can do. No, I don’t have the rich, integrated user experience that your iPhone has. What I have is a good smartphone that’s not filled with endlessly distracted bullshit and a pretty smart sync system to my new car.

It’s also a great companion for working out, because the Netflix and Spotify apps for it are actually basically fantastic. But I was talking about Livescape, and plugging the shit out of it.

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A Good Day For A Long Walk – Hungover

It turns out that this is a terrible idea. 

Which I’m sure 99% of human persons can tell you without having to do it. A friend of mine had a party a few weeks back, and, like you do at parties, I consumed what I’m going to call an ordinate amount of refreshing adult beverages. Drinking games were played, fun was had, and I think I wound up calling it a night around 3? Maybe 2? I don’t remember. It’s not important. Well, it’s relevant, but the cogent data is that it was really god damn late or really god damn early, depending on how you choose to measure time along your axis of reality.

We go hiking at 7am.

Seven. Aye. Em.

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So Busy – Or FNtCG Hiatus

So I was doing a series of Articles at the turn of the year titled “From Fat Nerd to Chic Geek” that was a chronicle of my efforts at being a happier, healthier human being. And, honestly, they were working. I weigh almost 50 pounds less than I did at the start of the year.

 

 

If you’re wondering, “why all the white space?” That was an applause break. You should fucking clap.

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A Good Day For A Long Walk – It Was Assy Out…

The morning of 6 May, 2012 (that’s old school for you) was not exactly a good day for a long walk, though it was vastly better rested. The first time around, we all gathered at Will’s place and tried to spend the night there to set out early the next morning and, save for Will, all slept on couches.

Well, I guess Zach and Chris slept on couches. I cramped up and sweat my face off for about four hours on a couch.

This time, we had a more auspicious start – we all woke up individually and made our way over to Will’s place where we packed up our water and snack supplies and set out for Peters Mountain and the associated trails. Realistically, the mountains around here aren’t very tall or complicated hikes, but Peters Mountain is apparently one of the best. Our morning involved a stop at a local grocer to get more water bottles and for me to get a doughnut. That turned out to be a stupid-ass decision later on.

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A Good Day For A Long Walk – Becoming a Hiker

I’m gonna get a little deep here, but what is adventure? We can do a quick definition and find out a relatively generalized version: Adventure is defined as an exciting or unusual experience. So if we adventured all the time, is it still adventure just because it’s dangerous? Because it’s risky? Actually, it’s not.

What we crave is structure. We’re social creatures. I can talk a lot about this, and I can point you at a bunch of great research that indicates this is incredibly true, and you will likely not believe me, but I don’t have to because Jane McGonigal did it and wrote a God Damn Book about it. Plus, she Talks about it (capital T indicating a TED affiliation – what you know about links, son? Best be clickin’ that) in a way that’s way more compelling than I can. Trust me when I say this: I’ve lived The Aimless Life before. It’s terrible. I sought and continue to seek out structure and form that empower and drives me. We’re lucky enough to live in a world that enables you to do those things with a little help, a lot of patience, and varying degrees of luck.

Since starting my new job, incidentally, my workouts have become more regular and I’m getting back into journalling my food consumption a little bit better. So Fat Nerd to Chic Geek is likely to make a comeback (Don’t call it a comeback/I’ve been here for years.) avec le vengeance. This concept of structure is something I champion to a lot of my nerd friends. It’s not adventure if it’s just random all the time. You have to break up the monotony of whatever your life is with other activities, even if your life is really enjoyable – but the dark secret is that if you break up structure with something structured, chances are you’re going to have an even better time.

Enter Hiking. Or as I call it – taking a long walk. Those with powerfully generous definitions of the term might call it hiking.

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Adventures in Los Angeling

That’s not a real word, but I don’t quite know how else to describe my trip thus far.

Let’s start with the set-up:

My reasons for going to LA turned out to be dumb. I knew this. I was mostly decided on not going, but then I thought about it and figured, “eh, what the hell.” I even convinced Brandon to come with me so I’d have a sightseeing ally for the majority of the time I was there, save for what turned out to be a wonderful evening spent with an awesome lady-friend of mine who lives out there. That is to say she is a lady, and she is my friend.

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From Fat Nerd to Chic Geek: Cheevo Unlocked. No, not cheeto.

Yipes it’s been awhile since I did this, huh, guys?

The weekly monitoring took a huge hit about two months ago and I haven’t quite recovered. My fat is like the economy: not beaten just yet, not shrinking at the rate we thought it would. Thankfully, I don’t show nearly the signs of growth.

That said, I have to get more diligent and get back on track with even healthier decisions. My water consumption tapered off and my meals-per-day for the past two months became pathetic. I was still working out, and I continue to, but the general approach has much more malaise in it, much more of a maintenance feeling. I have noticed significant loss in my weight-lifting regimen and my abdominal exercises are nowhere near as proficient as they were. Also, running hasn’t come along as quickly as it should.

So why the title up there?

Just Achieve It! XBOX 260 Achievement Generator

That’s why. Today, for the first time in eight years, Jeans that actually fit me in high school (and weren’t four size too big, as was the style. Thanks a lot, 1990s) fit again. I tried because I’ve maintained a consistent weight less than 215 since getting back from PAX and I felt smaller. To make sure the stylistic differences weren’t atrocious, I trucked out to a clothing store and tired on a pair of jeans one size up so as not to destroy my ego. They were appropriately too large. Regular fit and everything. So I went and grabbed the dreaded Size of The Past. You might say I seized the size if you were a doucher like me.

Short version: they fit. I up and bought ’em. Those of you who have known me for an extended period of time are literally blown away that I now own several pairs of jeans that I have not had for more than 5 years. I own several shirts and sweaters that I did not receive at Christmas from my super fashionable aunt and her super fashionable daughters. This is largely celebratory in most cases. Which I openly acknowledge is possibly foolhardy! Because ye the jeans giveth, and ye, doth thine fat taketh away. It’s an endless battle.

But this post from Dillen almost had me hold off on the celebratory thing because I still know I have a long way to go. I can accept being hefty, even slightly overweight. I’m never going to be some kind of Adonis (it doesn’t match my personality, really) posing for American Eagle with a douchey Van Dyke and steely blue eyes. (It’s possible that amount of detail bordered on homoerotic, and I’m okay with that.)

But I can keep at it. With other things in my life looking up every day, it’s getting easier to say “no, I do want to be healthier.”

…I did get a bowl from the Chai-Poodles today, though.  And it was delicious.

Also, feel free to tell me if the phrase “that’s hot like whoa” is douchey. It’s a thing I’m debating. What if I’m using it ironically, the way hipsters did before you heard about it?

Fill me in, dear readers. I need to know.

Mass Effect 3’s Massive Effect on Me. GET IT?!

Headlines – I’m bad at them.

I just finished Mass Effect 3 while working real hard to stay away from actual content discussions of the ending(s). I had heard a lot of qualitative talk – mostly that it was “bad” or “dumb” or “bullshit.” I did not have these reactions! This did not surprise me. This whole thing is stupid with spoilers, by the way, so just scoot out now if you fret over such things. No, for real. Go. Like Ashley in Mass Effect when I killed that bitch. Hoop! There’s one! Continue reading

From Fat Nerd to Chic Geek – Week 5

So, big news upfront: it’s officially 6 weeks, 5 consistently, and I am just short of 25 pounds lighter. This is significant! But not as significant as you might think, because I think Week 5 was filled with a lot of failures.

Despite the fact that I dropped about 2 pounds this week, I was incredibly lazy as regards my food-journal efforts. Not here, even though this post is late. It got to the point where I was eating the same thing every day, so I saw little to no point in always writing it down. This is bad, because now I have no idea if there were days in which I deviated from the norm, ate too much of something, or whatever. I highly doubt it, but it’s definitely a possibility.

I know I probably could have eaten better. I still can’t quite shake the burrito as a post-workout meal. It’s filling and enjoyable, so I get pretty fixated on it as a reward for myself. I also will probably owe Brandon a new single-serving blender thing by the end of this, because it makes odd noises when I use it, and I use it daily if not more.

So, a couple of revelations: sleep, it turns out, is seriously important to muscle recovery. This, again, falls under the category of “shit people have been telling him for ages,” but sometimes I just need to go my own way, alright? What was interesting here was that during the course of my weight-lifting rotation, I came across a random day where certain exercise felt like they bordered on impossible. In fact, Saturday’s workout involved a real disappointment at the bench press. I had no one to stop me, so I may have played it overly safe, but I did not remotely approach my current maximum, and I had been hoping to overshoot it. In fact, the second tier of my workout felt like it was dangerously close to failure, and I had to stop at tier 3, which was really disappointing.

I have a suspicion about the reason for this: I slept particularly poorly the previous two evenings, including the evening since I had last worked out and in fact fell asleep in a position awkward enough that I couldn’t feel my hands in the morning. Not like my fingers were asleep; from the wrist down, I had a weird tingling sensation in my hands. One theory that’s been suggested, in addition to the harm of a fitful night’s rest or two, is that I guess I pinched most of the blood vessels off in my arm, depriving the arm-portions of my bench-pressing musculature the necessary nutrients and enrichment they require in order to repair themselves, which is actually what allows them to do the whole strength-building thing.

Today, I re-achieved that maximum, but I was nervous of trying to push beyond it. On Wednesday I’ll increase my weights again.

I also learned that consistency in content of meals isn’t as important as consistency in time of meals, which is something I probably should have learned awhile ago. This is inferred from some interesting medical bloob-blab that I read or heard somewhere (I think a guy was on The Daily Show?). The basic concept is missing a scheduled meal by two hours or so already begins to trigger stress hormones and frustrate our bodies and encourage the storage of fat. Two hours. If you eat 5 or 6 times a day, it’s pretty easy to miss one by a significant margin.

Especially when your routine is entirely self-imposed. This is getting to be a recurring theme, but it’s also one I’m having a hard time shaking. It’s interesting: when I started this, the effort involved made it seem prohibitive to having gainful, full-time employment while also dedicating yourself to working out and getting healthier. No it seems like I need the structure of something I’m required to do to help me generate structure in my personal business. Harrisburg isn’t exactly rife with jobs for someone of my skillset, but I am investigating.

Unrelated to fitness, but related to the job hunt – ever apply for a job that you just know you shouldn’t get your hopes for, but then you up and do it anyway because the job seems made of awesome? Well, I have and have quite recently, in point of fact. That’s a frustrating experience. Mostly because I know on some level that, if I’ve gotten nearly 200 non-responses (which are the worst sort of “no”) or “Thanks but no,” responses, I can’t expect the one I really want – and would be fantastic at – to suddenly be a different scenario. But sometimes, I think, you can’t help that. When you want something to work out really well, even when it’s an incredible long-shot, it’s tough to nail down your aspirations.

Hm, that sentiment is a little related to this, as it turns out. I want to sneak under 200 by the end of the summer (yeah, folks. I am crazy fat. In fact, I used to say I weighed “Two-hundred and Crazy-Five” pounds because the actual number was damning and depressing).  I began to believe that I might be able to do it really quickly, but the efforts required at this point – the monotony of it all, honestly – are beginning to have their toll on my ambitions. I haven’t sent Cody a meal sheet in a week or possibly more. I think from the last one I sent him, I only recorded about two more days, but that’s not the worst of it. I think that aspiration – like the awesome job – is certainly attainable, but I can’t drown myself in the disappointment of not impressing or outdoing myself early.

I’m still pressing on (if not impressing), and I’m still doing mysel– wait.

It’s possible things just got weird for you. That’s fair. Let’s just take it back, 40 words or so, and live in that time. When things weren’t weird. Alright. Cool. I’ll see you all next week.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day to all the Ladies out there, single or otherwise. To the guys – hey, guess what, you don’t get a holiday. #sexism

From Fat Nerd to Chic Geek – Week 4

I have been doing this for a month. And, if I can be a little overzealous, I’m super proud of myself. This is an interesting fact when judged against what I suspect is Cody’s level of satisfaction with my progress – which I would estimate as low.

I ate decently well this week and really kicked shit in with working out. Possibly a little too much, because my deteriorating husk continues to fail me! Last week, while attempting deadlifts, my knee protested vociferously. Perhaps there was not as much vociferi as italics would indicate. My knee didn’t actually ululate audibly, (I am a little high on vocab right now. Back up off!) but I happily conveyed the protuberance of pain into my frontal cortex with what I will describe as the most macho yelp ever. Cody recommended I take it easy on that front and gave me what I’m going to call wimpy exercises to compensate. Then, this week, while doing my run (I actually run for parts of it so I can call it that now. No, for real. It’s happening), my achilles on my right foot began to complain. It was a stiffness, if I’m honest, and it’s only grown stiffer and the pain resulting I can only describe as sharp and measurable. Both of these are good things. Sharp indicates that it’s probably just strained, from what I can tell, and my ability to quantify it means it’s not the sort of white, eye-bending pain associated with something torn or otherwise duly sundered. WORDS!

On a personal note, I had a pretty awesome week. I met some cool people and got to check out a part of my native city that I’d never actually spent any real time in, and that was quite invigorating. I’m also quickly approaching the point where my weight loss will eclipse my 5-year low! I was 228 at last week’s weigh-in, making it something like 18 pounds in about 5 weeks, which feels like a damn win and a half. This week, my goal is to show up at 225 or even 224, and it will feel, ladies and gentlemen, amazing. Partly because that will be nearly the least I’ve weighed in six years and partly because it stands to reason that I will weigh less than some of my other chubby friends.

Also, new jeans. And this is one of the saddest truths of my existence: I am a clothes hoarder. I never throw things away, long past their prime and long past the point when propriety or convenience indicates this is the done thing. This very moment, I’m wearing a tee-shirt extolling the virtues of being aware of the location one’s botanical vascular organs reside – in a cultural sense. This shirt looks like it’s been through a  Dick-Cheney level hunting accident. If I spread blood and dirt on it, you woud be convinced I wore it through a Transformers movie starring Shia TheBeef. I’m saying it’s torn up and full of holes. I can’t let go of it! I adore it. It once held deep sentimental value because it was a gift, and some of that lingers, but I like it by nature of the fact that it’s mine and I am an inherently greedy ape.

The point is, I keep clothes forever. I have jeans from 1998 in my closet, back from when you were supposed to buy jeans 4 sizes too wide and at least 2 sizes too long so that they bunched and billowed like you were some Arabian Street Rat Turned Adventuring Heir to the Sultanate. I continue to own and wear these jeans. I never buy my own jeans. This is a sad truth. In the last 14 years, I had previously purchased 2 pairs of jeans. I was never concerned with the fact that all of my denim clothing was ill-fighting, highly tarnished, and ancient. I just loved it because it was mine.

But I have bought jeans! Jeans that fit, and they are a size smaller than the last time I attempted this very thing. It was very satisfying, to say the least.

I suppose I should talk about my diet. I’m still having a hard time getting to my target caloric levels, and this is shameful and depressing. I think this is where my belief that Cody is disappointed with my progress stems from. Also, missing a couple days of lifting the week before last really slowed my progress on that front. I’m planking now! No, not that. That! Yes. It is difficult and strenuous. I may have mentioned it in a previous update, but I’m starting to strangely enjoy it? There’s a lot of yelling involved. It’s normally best that I do it in relative privacy, because I typically have to yell at my ailing corpus to complete the task at hand.

Anyway, week 5 begins now in earnest, and my commitment must be redoubled, and so it shall be. I sort of want that Clint Eastwood speech from the Superbowl commercial to listen to whenever I go to work out. It’s a pretty baller narration. I may actually start a collection of riveting “to war!” speeches. Henry V or Marc Anthony moments, if you will.

Shit, I may just slap Coriolanus and Captain Picard’s turn as Macbeth on repeat. The fact that old British and Scottish dudes shouting hypes me up unnerves me. I should get that looked at.