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Thursday, January 02nd, 2014 | Author: Casey Criswell

Here we are, January 2nd 2014! I’m not much of a resolution guy. I figured out a long time ago that resolutions tend to get forgotten and thrown to the wayside. Especially by me. What can I say, I’m bad about that. I’ve learned in the last year though, that I’m a hell of a goal guy. I set a goal, I get obsessive until I can knock that goal off the list. It gives me something to drive towards, etc. and works well with my addled brain!

So, here’s my list of goals for 2014.

In 2014…I’m going to turn 40! Uh…oh shit!
Actually…I’m not worried about this one anymore. I’m hitting 40 in far better shape than I was at 30 and probably even 20. (I was a life long fat kid.) I’m not letting it panic me too much. I still get hit with those thoughts of ‘oh god it’s half over!’ but I’m a diagnosed fatalist and well…you’ll have that.

In 2014…I’m going to run 1000 miles.
In 2012, I ran 292 miles. Not too shabby considering I started off 2012 at 350 pounds. In 2013, I finished up at 711.11 miles! I was pretty ecstatic about that. That’s a lot of miles and seeing those miles pile up are a real motivator for me. I like to see the number get bigger! So, for 2014 I’m setting the goal of 1,000 miles. It’s going to happen. And yes, I’m gonna brag about it! If you’re curious or like numbers, you can see my mileage spreadsheet here.

In 2014…I’m going to get back into hiking.
I used to love hiking so much. I never did it as much as I’d have liked, but I did it a lot. Then, I got fat. Hiking and being fat don’t mix well. Now, I no longer have the obesity excuse, so I’m going to add hiking back into my repetoire! This goal ties into a couple of my other goals too, so that’s a plus. I’ll get to that in a few…

In 2014…I *may* launch a new health coaching podcast based around weight loss, fitness and turning 40.
So, I’m starting off 2014 being productive and trying to get my shit in gear. I’ve uploaded my first episode/test here. Feel free to check it out. I’m a little nevous about it, to be quite honest. Feedback is always welcome. zenatforty@gmail.com

In 2014…I’m going to uh..edit our instomatic Kon Tiki Episode!
See, I told you I was starting off 2014 productive! This is our 4th episode of The Instomatic. If you’re unfamiliar, it is myself and Charlie Gonzalez talking about Netflix Instant Watch movies every two weeks! Our next episode, has a special guest. You should stick around for it!

In 2014…I’m going to stop being such a hermit.
In my old age, I’ve become…complacent. I know, it sound weird with all the running, working out, etc. Far too many times though, I get overwhelmed by thinking we don’t have enough money to do stuff, not enough time, not enough…whatever the excuse, and then I decide I’d rather not stress or put thought into it and we end up sitting at home. Doing nothing. That ends this year. As I said in the hiking goal, it ties into a couple of other goals. This is one of them. Hiking is the perfect cheap ‘thing to do’ and it’s fun for the whole family!

In 2014…I’m going to get the family back to camping regularly
Here’s the other goal that ties in with the hiking goal and the stop being a hermit goal. We Criswell’s used to love hiking dearly. But, our tents wore out, we got away from doing it as much and now we haven’t been in a number of years. (As a family, there was a fair bit of camping with the Girl Scouts.) This year, we’re going to get back to camping. Our old dog was not conducive to camping in public as he was a bit of an asshole. Since he was an asshole, he wasn’t conducive to kenneling either. Our current dog Pooka though, is a lover and I think she’ll be perfectly suited to camping. So, it’s time for us to hit the woods once again!

In 2014…I’m going to return to writing full strength
About a year and a half ago, I got frustrated with writing in general, put my pen down and walked away. I wasn’t quitting, I was stepping away for awhile to concentrate on other things (weight loss, dealing with my anxiety, etc.) Now, I’m ready to get back to it. I’ve got a healthier attitude. I’ve got a better ‘plan’ and I have better ‘plans’. Here’s hoping to a good year on that front!

In 2014…I’m going to lose this last 35 lbs and get to 200lbs
Oy vey, plateaus. They’re rough. I’ve been stuck on my current plateau since June. It’s demoralizing. Said plateau started out as my body not wanting to work with me on the weight loss front. I was good, I did what I was supposed to, my body wouldn’t let go of the weight. Then, that progressed into frustration, anger, sadness, etc. with the whole process and I started to get lax on the weekend with my diet and that didn’t help. So, we’re going to nip that stuff in the bud and we’re going to knock out those last 35 pounds.

In 2014…I’m going to run my first Ultra Race
An Ultra Race is defined as any race over the full marathon length. Typical Ultra’s range from 50k (31 miles), 50 miles and 100 miles. There’s a 50k race in December here in Indiana at Chain O Lakes State Park. I plan on running that race, at the very least. If I feel my oats, I may try more! There will be a couple half marathons this spring and summer as well.

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Monday, December 16th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

Ah Monday’s. The Chest day. I tend to enjoy these days in the gym, not sure why. For the most part, the chest lifts always feel the best after the fact.

I’ve been struggling with my eating on the weekends. My Health coach and I had a good long talk about it last Thursday and came up with a plan. I’m happy to report that this past weekend went pretty well. I was a bit over on Friday and Saturday, but 250 calories or so, but there was exercise both days and the overages were accounted for. Sunday was over by a mere 33 calories, but the Mrs. made me peanut butter pie, and there’s just no way I’m going to turn that down.

This morning, Central India was hit was a nice little snowstorm, dumping 2-3 inches on us. I had the pleasure of running in a snow storm for the first time time and I gotta tell ya…it was pretty great! Even better, I was listening to Led Zeppelin on my run this morning and that mixed with the dark and the snow was pretty fab. When Immigrant Song kicked in at mile 2.5 as the snow began to stick to my beard, I felt like that song was written just for me!

Weight wise, I had a good day today too. I had a pretty big breakthrough on Bench Press form last week and felt ready to try 225 for reps. It’s a weight I’ve been fighting with for awhile and I’ve been pretty intimidated by it. I went for it today and it went pretty well. I got 2 sets of 5 good and clean. The third set, I got 3 reps, a 4th with a lot of help. Pretty good for my first attempt in a few months! I plan on setting my working weight at 225 now, so I’m pretty stoked. I could definitely feel the effort in the rest of my lifts, so it felt pretty good to feel good and fatigued after it was all said and done. Next week, I’m going to try and add my rest-pause sets back into the routine, upping the weight on those to 185. Those sap my strength in a hurry, so we’ll see how that goes.

In the meantime, weight this morning was 238.6, so the damage I had done over the past few weekends of indiscretion has been undone. Time to put the 230′s behind me!

Running
- 00:45:47 | 4.3 mi | 10.7 min/mi
- [i]http://runkeeper.com/user/CinemaFromage/activity/281021992[/i]
Barbell Bench Press
- 135 lb x 10 reps
- 135 lb x 10 reps
- 185 lb x 5 reps
- 185 lb x 5 reps
- 205 lb x 2 reps
- 225 lb x 5 reps
- 225 lb x 5 reps
- 225 lb x 4 reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
- 60 lb x 8 reps
- 60 lb x 8 reps
- 60 lb x 8 reps
Machine Chest Fly (Pec Deck)
- 220 lb x 8 reps
- 220 lb x 8 reps
- 220 lb x 8 reps
Bent-Arm Dumbbell Pullover
- 45 lb x 12 reps
- 45 lb x 12 reps (PR)
Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extension
- 55 lb x 12 reps
Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise
- 60 lb x 12 reps
- 60 lb x 12 reps
- 60 lb x 12 reps
Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift
- 155 lb x 8 reps
- 155 lb x 8 reps
- 155 lb x 8 reps
[sub][url=http://www.doomers.org/fito2sa/]fito2sa[/url][/sub]

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Thursday, December 12th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

…coming back….writing more…yada yada…I’ve said it all before. Let’s just get into the nuts and bolts.

As I’ve written here many times in the past, I’ve been on a long journey to lose weight, get fit and change my liftestyle. It’s been a good journey, I’ve had my ups and downs but over all, it’s been a great success. I’ve got from 351 pounds to my current 237 pounds. The problem is, I’ve been stuck at 237 pounds for quite awhile. That’s okay though, we’ll get through it here sooner or later.

I’m back here at ye olde blog though, to start my daily workout logs once again as I’ve had some significant changes in my routine. For the past year and a half, I undertook this journey with a weight loss group that I attended weekly. They had my back, they were good for support and it was a great environment for those rough early stages of changing your life. That group was great for accountability too when it came time to step on the scale. Now though, I’ve put the group behind me as I’ve out grown it. I’m still seeing my health coach one on one every month, but the weekly group time has come to an end. It was a good journey with that group, but I’ve gotten what I needed and there other people that could use my space to get the help they need.

The problem is…I still need to be accountable! And that’s what we’re here for . Starting today, I’m going to start doing my daily workout logs here, if for nothing else to keep myself accountable. It’s also going to help me work some stuff out, vent some frustration when I don’t see the scale move and hell, even brag about myself some times when I have a good day at the gym. For you readers, I hope to provide some insight on what goes on in the process of losing weight and keeping it off, changing your lifestyle permanently. Maybe it’ll help somebody out. Coming soon. (Maybe real soon) I may tack on an audio equivalent of these logs too. I love podcasting, it feels like a good fit. We’ll see what feels best.

So, enjoy the ride. Are you going through a similar journey yourself? Feeling frustrated, confused or scared? Hit me up with what ever questions you may have. I’m no expert, but I’d be happy to share what info I do have with you. You can reach me via email at ccriswell at gmail dot com, or you can find me on twitter right here: CaseyBGH


Today’s workout? Not too shabby. My lifts have been coming along very well (woop woop, 315×5 deadlift last week!) and the running is habit by this point. You could say it was brisk when I set out to run at 5:30am in 5 degree weather! I was scared of it a bit to be honest, but once I got out there, I found my layering was rock solid and it wasn’t too bad.

Lift wise, I’ve been feeling like my shoulder day was a little light, so I added standing military press back in. It’s been a good 4 to 5 months since I did those regularly, so I definitely felt them. Thankfully, my shoulders are coming in pretty good, so whatever I’ve been doing has been working. If I could just get rid of the gut, I’d be set.

Weight’s still up from my weekend transgressions, but I met with my health coach today and she gave me a good plan of attack. I’ve been suffering from a severe lack of willpower on the weekends, but I’ve been abandoning my structure that I keep up rock solid during the week. I eat the same thing from breakfast to after lunch snack every day, with variety at dinner time. When I abandon that on the weekends, my post long run cheat meals turn into cheat days and things just get…ugly. So, we’re going to try and keep the breakfast through lunch structure on the weekends, have a cheat *meal* (meal being the key here) at dinner time and see how that goes.

Running
00:45:11 | 4.3 mi | 10.4 min/mi

http://runkeeper.com/user/CinemaFromage/activity/279909994

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
45 lb x 15 reps
45 lb x 15 reps
45 lb x 15 reps
Side Lateral Raise
15 lb x 12 reps
15 lb x 12 reps
15 lb x 12 reps
Front Dumbbell Raise
15 lb x 12 reps
15 lb x 12 reps
15 lb x 12 reps
Standing Dumbbell Upright Row
35 lb x 10 reps
35 lb x 10 reps
35 lb x 10 reps
Dumbbell Shrug
60 lb x 12 reps
60 lb x 12 reps
60 lb x 12 reps
Ab Crunch Machine
80 lb x 15 reps
80 lb x 15 reps
80 lb x 15 reps
Standing Military Press
65 lb x 10 reps
85 lb x 5 reps
105 lb x 5 reps
135 lb x 5 reps
135 lb x 5 reps
135 lb x 5 reps
Hanging Bent Leg Raise
12 reps
12 reps
12 reps

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Thursday, June 27th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

I know I’ve been saying I’m going to start doing more blog posts here on health, fitness and my journey but…the day job has been crazy this month and it leaves no brain power for writing! But here I am at any rate. Along with burning brain cycles at work, I’ve also been doing a lot of reading to try and figure out how to change up my weight lifting routine since I’ve been going 13 weeks on the current one.

So far, I haven’t found a definite plan that I want to dive into. There are so many different weight lifting programs out there and a lot of them over lap with each other. It can be pretty overwhelming. At the same time, I’m starting to realize that I may not need as much of a program that lays everything out for me anymore. I’ve been doing this enough, I’m starting to get a good sense on what I need to work on on my own, which leads me off to finding even more specialized lifts, then I get even more overwhelmed, and I keep doing the same thing! So, I came up with a compromise.

For the past 13 weeks, I’ve been doing more of body building/hypertrophy type program because I had zero muscle definition before and I figure if I’m going to be skinny, I might as well look good when I get there! This involves doing lower weights at higher reps (10-15 reps) and isn’t bad. I’ve really been missing the base building lifts though, which is heavier weight for lower reps. Seeing as I haven’t been able to find a particular program that’s really grabbed my attention, I decided I’ll combine the two! There are roughly 4 core lifts that are the basis for the Strength Program, that get used in the hypertrophy programs as well. Those are Bench Press, Over Head Press, Barbell Squats and Deadlifts. My compromise that I started incorporating this week is to go back to high weight and low reps on these lifts, and stick with the low weight and high reps on all the other accessory stuff. I won’t be doing Deadlifts still, because those run too much of a risk of hurting my back. I may incorporate rack pulls though, which is sort of…the upper range of motion of a deadlift. The biggest change here, is that I will be going BACK to Squats. I’m going to try to at least.

My biggest focus fitness wise is running, because I love it and it helps center me as far as anxiety and nervous energy goes. I stopped doing leg lifts back when I started this last program because i was starting to have problems with leg recovery from the lifting and the running. It’s hard to run 30 miles a week when your legs are still fried 5 days later. Plus, my legs are already pretty big from the 6 months of Starting Strength where you do squats 3 days a week, not to mention from 10 years of carrying my 351lbs around daily. That is to say, I’m not at risk of looking like a broseph who does upper body only. Fridays are normally rest days, so I will start doing squats on Thursdays, hoping that my legs have recovered enough for long runs on Saturdays. This will take some experimentation, but we’ll get there!

I miss doing barbell squats. They make you feel pretty powerful when you’re moving nearly 300 lbs without too many issues. Plus, they’re a whole body lift since you use muscles throughout your core to help as well. Really…they’re pretty great and good for runners as well.

So, here’s what my program should start looking like now:

Mondays:
Barbell Bench Press:
135 lb x 5 reps (+67 pts)
155 lb x 5 reps (+77 pts)
185 lb x 5 reps (+94 pts)
205 lb x 5 reps (+108 pts)
205 lb x 5 reps (+108 pts)
205 lb x 5 reps (+108 pts)
225 lb x 1 reps (+68 pts)
Barbell Incline Bench Press:
135 lb x 12 reps (+81 pts)
135 lb x 9 reps (+78 pts)
135 lb x 7 reps (+74 pts)
135 lb x 10 reps (+79 pts)
Decline Barbell Bench Press:
100 lb x 12 reps (+43 pts)
100 lb x 7 reps (+39 pts)
100 lb x 5 reps (+35 pts)
Machine Chest Fly (Pec Deck):
160 lb x 12 reps (+23 pts)
160 lb x 12 reps (+23 pts)
160 lb x 11 reps (+23 pts)
Machine Dips:
180 lb x 10 reps (+26 pts)
180 lb x 10 reps (+26 pts)
180 lb x 10 reps (+26 pts)
Weighted Decline Sit-Up:
10 lb x 15 reps (+22 pts)
10 lb x 15 reps (+22 pts)

Tuesdays:
rkout for 1,483 pts Jun 25, 2013
Pull-Up:
3 reps (+54 pts)
2 reps (+40 pts)
2 reps (+40 pts)
2 reps (+40 pts)
Its not many, but its all me!
Lat Pulldown:
140 lb x 12 reps (+30 pts)
140 lb x 12 reps (+30 pts)
140 lb x 12 reps (+30 pts)
Seated Cable Row:
80 lb x 12 reps (+29 pts)
80 lb x 12 reps (+29 pts)
80 lb x 12 reps (+29 pts)
Wide-Grip Pulldown Behind The Neck:
120 lb x 12 reps (+36 pts)
120 lb x 12 reps (+36 pts)
120 lb x 10 reps (+35 pts)
Ab Crunch Machine:
90 lb x 15 reps (+15 pts)
90 lb x 15 reps (+15 pts)
90 lb x 12 reps (+14 pts)
Dumbbell Side Bend:
45 lb x 12 reps (+32 pts)
45 lb x 12 reps (+32 pts)
45 lb x 12 reps (+32 pts)
45 lb x 12 reps (+32 pts)
45 lb x 12 reps (+32 pts)
45 lb x 12 reps (+32 pts)
45 lb x 12 reps (+32 pts)
45 lb x 12 reps (+32 pts)
Hanging Bent Leg Raise:
12 reps (+5 pts)
12 reps (+5 pts)
12 reps (+5 pts)
12 reps (+5 pts)
12 reps (+5 pts)
T-Bar Row:
90 lb x 12 reps (+33 pts)
90 lb x 12 reps (+33 pts)
90 lb x 12 reps (+33 pts)
90 lb x 12 reps (+33 pts)

Thursdays:

Barbell Squats:

Rack Pulls:

Side Lateral Raise:
25 lb x 12 reps (+9 pts)
25 lb x 12 reps (+9 pts)
25 lb x 12 reps (+9 pts)
Machine Chest Fly (Pec Deck):
160 lb x 12 reps (+23 pts)
160 lb x 10 reps (+23 pts)
145 lb x 11 reps (+21 pts)
Barbell Shrug:
185 lb x 12 reps (+41 pts)
185 lb x 12 reps (+41 pts)
185 lb x 12 reps (+41 pts)
Barbell Shrug Behind The Back:
185 lb x 12 reps (+27 pts)
185 lb x 12 reps (+27 pts)
185 lb x 12 reps (+27 pts)
Triceps Pushdown:
80 lb x 12 reps (+13 pts)
80 lb x 11 reps (+13 pts)
80 lb x 10 reps (+13 pts)
Barbell Curl:
70 lb x 10 reps (+18 pts)
70 lb x 9 reps (+18 pts)
70 lb x 6 reps (+17 pts)
Standing Military Press:
95 lb x 12 reps (+91 pts)
95 lb x 12 reps (+91 pts)
95 lb x 10 reps (+89 pts)

This is still up in the air mind you, so it could change up. Thursdays are generally pretty heavy on shoulder and arm stuff, so the arm stuff may get bumped to Fridays to cut down on Thursday time at the gym.

So , that’s that! It’s been a good week success wise. I hit 236 lbs this week, which is exciting! Plus, I can officially do unassisted pull-ups, which is even more exciting! Plus, I plan on posting my month mileage after Saturday’s long run which is promising to be pretty damn exciting, to me at any rate!

So long, and thanks for all the Fish!

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Thursday, June 20th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

The weight loss beast has been a fickle mistress this week. I hit a new low of 237.4 over the weekend, but then I’ve been holding hard to 240-239 for the better part of the week. This is mostly just stubbornness on my body’s part, as the diet and exercise has been spot on. It’s just one of those ugly things you have to contend with, especially as you start to get towards the end of your journey. That last sentence, “…you start to get towards the end of your journey” has been the train of thought that helps to keep these weeks where the weight is being a nuisance manageable. When I weighed in on Saturday at 237.4, there was a thought starting to take shape that I couldn’t quite put my thumb on. Then, I took some updated comparison pictures to enter a contest with MyFitnessPal, and that thought came full circle; I’m under 40 lbs to my ultimate goal of 200 lbs! It’s hard to get discouraged when you look at it like that.

That brings me to another thought; the importance of progress pics. I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I’ve lost the weight and taking lots of progress pictures has been one of the most important tools in my toolbox. As a person going through the journey, you simply can’t see the change often times. You look at yourself every day, so it’s hard to notice the gradual shift in how your body looks. It’s even harder to let go of that mental image of your former self. Even today, I look in the mirror and if it’s a slow week loss wise, all I can see if the fat that is still there. It may sound odd to somebody outside the process, but problems with things like body dysmorphia exist and can be a pretty big blow to your mental state of mind. With progress pictures though, you can place your current self side by side with your old self and then, even your own brain cannot hide the fact that you’ve come so far! I’ve taken a lot of pictures in my year plus long journey and I’ve had to use them quite often to quell that nagging voice of failure in my mind. Every time you place them side by side, you can get an instant shot of confidence and mental well-being, and that’s usually enough to help you buckle down and push away that bag of chips you were contemplating, just because your weight was up and you figured what’s the point of trying any more.

Those situations are going to happen. It’s important to have the proper tools to be able to combat that.

And finally, while on the topic of people asking me how I lost weight, what’s my secret and such, I may have clearer answers for you on that subject here in the near future. Throughout my weight loss journey, one of my best and oldest friends Garry King has been taking the weight loss plunge alongside me. We’ve managed to lean on each other when times got tough, temptation was high and the scales were just down right frustrating. Garry’s had as good as success as I have and he’s also had a lot of people asking him about how he lost his weight as well. Between the two of us, we see a lot of misinformation out there on the weight loss process, a lot of information that can scare people off, or teach them unhealthy habits that will only work for the short term. So, Garry and I have been talking and we’re thinking there’s going to be a new podcast here in the near future to address all of those issues. So far, it’s looking like it will be a bi-monthly cast and will cover everything from calorie counting, exercise and emotional eating. We don’t pretend to be experts on the subject, but we know what worked for us quite well. We also know the importance of making a lifestyle change vs. a temporary diet and it’s that line of thought we hope to share!

With that, I’m out! It’s time to go finish breakfast #2!

-Casey

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Thursday, June 13th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

This week, my health coach was out and had to miss our last group meeting for this session. In her stead, I was told I’d be running the group in her absence! (Note that I wasn’t asked!) Everybody expected me to talk about running, but I went a different direction and decided to spend today’s meeting sharing the various sites and apps that I’ve used along my journey! So, I figured I’d go ahead and share that list here for you all as well!

Enjoy!

Learn to Run:
Couch to 5K – http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
Zombies Run 5k Training – https://www.zombiesrungame.com/
Hal Higdon Training Plans – http://www.halhigdon.com/training/
GPS Tracking:
Run Keeper – http://www.runkeeper.com
Endomondo – http://www.endomondo.com
Nike+ – http://www.nikeplus.com
Strava – http://www.strava.com/
Exercise Tracking:
Fitocracy – http://www.fitocracy.com
JeFit – http://www.jefit.com/
Google Docs – http://docs.google.com
Exercise Training:
EXRX.net – http://exrx.net/
Livestrong.com – http://www.livestrong.com
Starting Strength Wiki – http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ:The_Lifts
Brain Over Brawn – http://brainoverbrawn.com/ (body weight exercises)
Stumptuous – http://www.stumptuous.com/workout-6 (Female Centric fitness blog, good dumbbell program)
Entertainment:
Spotify – http://www.spotify.com
Pandora – http://www.pandora.com
Audible – http://www.audible.com
Jog.fm – http://www.jog.fm
Calorie and Weight Tracking:
My Fitness Pal – http://www.myfitnesspal.com
Physics Diet – http://www.physicsdiet.com
Sparkpeople – http://www.sparkpeople.com/
The Daily Plate – http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/
Recipes and Food Info:
Nutritionix – http://www.nutritionix.com/
Sparkpeople – http://www.sparkpeople.com/

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Friday, June 07th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell


Important note: as my wife pointed out, yes I look like a dork with my shirt tucked into my shorts! I don’t work out with them tucked in though, that was just for progress pics! I swear!

End Week 11:

This week saw the end of Week 11 of a 12 week body building split I’ve been working on, and I like to see that the change has been a bit noticeable! It took some time to get into the groove with this split, but now that I’ve been at it awhile, I like it quite a bit. This program started out as a 4 day program, but as I started to up my running miles, I realized that leg day plus running was pretty much frying my legs. I talked to a couple of the trainers of the gym and they agreed that I’m probably okay without out leg lifts for a bit!

So, my current split is three days. I have a chest day, a back day and a shoulder/arms day. This fits in well with my 25 to 30 miles of running a week as my legs stay pretty fresh for those miles. (Plus, my legs carted around 350 lbs for years, so they’re pretty built!) My original plan was to do this program for 12 weeks, then go back to the Starting Strength program that I did in the beginning, but the problem is that SS has you doing squats three days a week and dead lifts every other workout. That’s simply never going to work well with all the running. So, I’m thinking I’ll stick to the current split and start to substitute in some different lifts for the ones I’ve been doing. The main concern is that they say you should change up your lifts every 12 weeks or so, so I figure that will be enough to help.

I never thought I’d get into something anywhere close to body building, but I’m enjoying it. I’ll never be a bodybuilder, as that’s not what my ultimate goals are. The biggest thing is, when last I dropped a lot of weight, down to 214 lbs some 10 years ago, I was skinny, but I was what you would call skinny fat. I’ve never had any ‘muscle’ to speak of. So, I figured this time it’d be nice to at least look fit when I dropped all the body fat and so far, that feels like it’s working. It’s working to me at any rate!

A good Week.

In the end, it’s been a good week on the weight front. I’m to a point in my journey where I’m trying not to rely so much on the number on the scale and go more by body fat and appearance, but it’s hard. I’ve been fighting a plateau for a solid month, maybe a month and a half; it has been a tough one. Today though, I awoke to find that I have finally pushed beyond that point when I weighed in at 239.8! 241 has been the sticking point for so long, it was pretty exciting to see something below 240! I say it’s been a tough one, but I’ve never been despondent over it. I know by now that consistency is the magic key to weight loss and I’ve kept right on trucking. So I know it would break, just not when.

In addition to that, with school now being out so no daughters to get up for school, I’ve been able to transition my running to the mornings before work, and this has been a HUGE boon to my mileage! The evenings were okay, but it’s hard to squeeze an hour run in there sometimes. You’re tired from running around at work all day, you’re hungry, you want to relax and doing something easy for a bit. Let’s not forget that it’s getting to summer time it’s downright hot some evenings as well. Now in the mornings, I’ve found myself eager to get up and get going. It sounds cheesy, but there’s something pretty motivating about running with the sun rise that’s hard to explain. So far this week, I’ve racked up a little over 18 miles from Tuesday to Friday. Saturday, I plan on heading out early for my long run and I’m going to try for a new personal best, so we’ll see how that goes.

So, there’s this week in a nut shell! I hope yours has been a good week as well! Feel free to add any of your own successes in the comments or even ask any questions.

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Thursday, June 06th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

Recently, I was asked by the HR department at my company to write a letter about my journey and how the company provided Wellness Programs helped me in my success. I was happy to do so, as the Wellness program did quite a bit to help me get to where I’m at. Once the letter was done, I was asked to share the letter our Wellness Coordinator if I felt comfortable doing so. After some deliberation and though, I figure I might as well share it. At this point in my journey, I’m starting to morph as a person into something far healthier and happier and maybe even bordering on something that may closely be called an athlete.

My goals, dreams and aspirations have changed during this unfinished journey. I’ve got big, crazy ideas that I’ve dreamed of doing for years, but always assumed I’d never accomplish due to my size. All of those excuses are gone now, so I’ve adopted a ‘what the hell, let’s try it’ attitude towards it all. Along with this, I finally feel happy enough with myself that it’s time to start writing again, so I figure as I set off on these new goals and dreams, why not knock the rust off the old writing chops and get those back in shape here at the old CF as well.

So, to kick off this 2nd stage of Operation No More Mr. Fat Guy, here’s my letter. Hope you enjoy.

***********
In 2010, I had reached a point in my life where I was no longer happy with life and myself, and reached out to the CNO Employee Assistance Program and sought out therapy. At the time, the Employee Assistance Program was the answer to all of my problems; through this I was able to identify that I had an anxiety disorder and through their help, seek out the treatment to fix my anxiety and in turn my depression. This then lit a fire in me to better myself all around.

With the stress, depression and anxiety in hand, I decided to further improve myself. I was unhappy with my pack a day smoking habit and I was unhappy with my weight and size. Through the therapy however, I knew that it was best to take on these battles one at a time, so I set forth on my own power to put my smoking habit behind me once and for all. This too was a success, as I haven’t had a cigarette since November 2nd of 2010.

With smoking finally and truly out of the way, I found myself much happier and a fair bit healthier. My latent stress and inability to deal with it was still there in the background though. Instead of handling my bouts of stress with cigarettes, I turned to food and things got worse. My weight continued to grow until around February of 2012 where I found myself at 351 pounds, my health starting to decline, my blood pressure sky high, and a sense of self-loathing and hate when I saw myself in pictures. It was not a happy time, despite the progress I had made in other aspects of my life. At this time, I vowed to stop eating poorly, begin to exercise and nip my weight problems in the bud before I neared the 400 pound mark, the thought of which was bringing the depression back on its own.

In that month of February, I made a good start. I was eating better, but still far too much. I was walking and feeling proud of myself, yet still not dropping weight due to the amount of food I was eating. I was frustrated, but kept pushing on. One day in March, I happened to be taking a break at my desk, reading up on weight loss and diet tips, when an email popped up in my inbox. It was from our Wellness Coordinator letting the company know that the on-site clinic at our office was starting a weight loss program that was free of cost, but was taking a limited number of entrants. Up until this time, I was trying to figure out how I could work in the cost of Weight Watchers to join the on-site group that our company coordinated, but then the invite for FUSE with its key word “FREE” flashed before me and I replied with my wish to apply right there and then, knowing I needed help. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but knowing myself, I wouldn’t get very far without guidance, so I felt good knowing I was making the right choice.

Going into the FUSE program, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured we would be given a diet, and being told that I would be meeting one on one with a health coach throughout the program was intimidating at first. I was not feeling 100% confident in sharing the details of what I considered a very humiliating problem with a complete stranger. The first thing our coach told us on the first day of the group? That they were not going to give us a diet. We had to choose a diet that we felt like we could stick with for life. This thought was jarring at first as I expected they would be giving a diet much like Weight Watchers, but it didn’t take long for me to fall in synch with the truth of the matter; that I was changing my lifestyle, and not just dieting. The FUSE program started to gel for me for certain.

Sitting on the far side of the program, now down to 243 pounds with more yet to lose, I see where the FUSE program teaches weight loss in a healthy way. They teach that losing weight is not so much a diet, but changing your lifestyle to something you can maintain over life. This is a factor that is a huge stumbling block for many, including myself in the times I tried dieting before. I quickly came to see the FUSE program as something more akin to therapy than a weight loss group. They are teaching you the proper tools, tools that you weren’t aware of, so that you can fight this battle yourself. So many other diet plans give you strict guidelines and tell you to do this and nothing else, whereas FUSE teaches you how to live a healthier life, and to be happier with yourself and your choices. Healthier in weight, health AND mind.

Another key aspect of the wellness program is our access to one on one health coaching through the clinic. This is attached to the FUSE program; however you can utilize these services outside of the weight loss program as well. While the group meetings for the FUSE program were a big part of my success, the one on one health coaching has been the biggest factor of my success. There are times in the weight loss journey where all seems lost. Your weight will plateau and you will become frustrated and want to give up. Your health coach is there for you to sit down in complete privacy and air out these frustrations. They let you get them off of your chest, they help you learn the proper tools to be able to work around these issues, leaving you rejuvenated and confident that you can press through. For me, the coaching provided by our wellness program is the key ingredient to my success. There’s been so many times that I have felt upset or even overwhelmed or under confident; my coach has been there every time to talk through every one of these issues and to help me find the best course to be able to combat them. The key here is that she teaches me how to do these things, rather than tell me that I have to do it this way. This leaves me educated so that the next time I come across the same feelings, I know how to combat them.

When I had my first doctor visit for FUSE, I was 345.6 pounds. I had a BMI of 47.6. My Blood Pressure was 130 over 86 and my LDL cholesterol was 121. I was pretty embarrassed to say the least. I had started cutting out bad food and walking a good month before this time. The only stats I know for sure from before the start of FUSE are that the very first time I stopped in at the clinic to weigh myself, I was 351 pounds.

Today, I am a different person. A new, better, happier and fitter person! My most recent weigh in found me at 243 pounds. 108 pounds down from where I started in February of 2012. At my last biometric screening, my blood pressure was 120/64. My LDL cholesterol is now 88. My BMI is 35.9 and getting better every day. I have a resting heart rate of 49 bpm.

My weight loss journey has changed my life. Parts of my depression in the past stemmed from a fact that I was 38 years old, living the life of somebody much older. My family and I didn’t go out and do much as far as activities go. I found myself making excuses to not take my daughter to the pool because I was tired and the thought of being seen with my shirt off was terrifying. We never went camping or hiking because I felt fat and exhausted. I felt trapped at home and this brought my self-esteem down constantly. Now, we are far more active. I come home from work, I no longer feel like I need to take a nap. I get home from work; I’m ready to go do whatever. At work, I no longer feel exhausted and irritable all the time with a need to spend my lunch hour napping in my car in the parking lot. Now, I’m ready to go and too much idle time at my desk makes me feel nervous and twitchy! The excuse to run and do tickets to fix peoples computers is welcome, just because it’s a chance to move!

As I said, I am no longer the man I once was. I am no longer on high blood pressure medicine, cholesterol medicine, antidepressants or even anti-anxiety meds. In fact, the only medicines that I take regularly these days are my allergy medicines! In this past winter, I didn’t even catch a cold, or my annual sinus infection! I’m far happier, no longer snippy with my family and seldom find myself depressed or anxious. When I do feel those come on? I head out for a run, or to the gym (where I receive a discount thanks to the CNO Wellness program as well) and all of those feelings fade away. Most importantly to me, I no longer feel like an old man stuck at home. I feel like a man who is preparing to turn 40 looking better than he did at 30, chasing dreams that he once held as a kid but figured he would always be too fat to obtain. These days, I have 5 races under my belt, I find myself preparing for my first marathon or two and running 25 to 30 miles a week. Things I thought I would never be able to add to my list of accomplishments.

I firmly believe that without the help of the CNO Wellness programs, the FUSE programs and the ongoing support of my Health Coach, I may have been somewhat successful on my own. I wouldn’t be near as far as I am today with such a new outlook on life, healthiness and self-worth. Without them teaching me, I don’t think I would have had the resources to make the choices that I now make without second thought!

Thanks for that.

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Tuesday, April 02nd, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

Tuesday 4/2/2013

The week from hell draws to a close, though it bumped my schedule by a day before it died! No worries though, because I got chest and back in today and I don’t have to work for the next 5 days! Huzzah!

The knee is doing better, still sore now and then, but better all the same. I’m still doing PT twice a week and they’re working on my butt, cause….my butt’s pretty weak. That’s okay though, it’ll improve! I’ve still been logging some miles running, which has been fantastic with the warm up, and the only thing keeping me sane in this crazy ass period here at work.

On my mini-vacation, I still plan on running AND…I’ve already made plans to visit my parents gym when we’re visiting them at the end of the week, so let’s get this train back on the rails!

Weight’s up by 2 pounds, at 248 but that’s due to stress and me trying to not go crazy with stress on the weekends and indulging a bit. It’ll buff out though.

Gooch2k2 Tracked a Workout for 1,096 pts Today
Barbell Incline Bench Press:
- 115 lb x 5 reps
- 125 lb x 12 reps
- 125 lb x 12 reps
- 125 lb x 12 reps
- 125 lb x 11 reps
Barbell Bench Press:
- 125 lb x 10 reps
- 125 lb x 10 reps
- 125 lb x 10 reps
Machine Chest Fly (Pec Deck):
- 100 lb x 15 reps
- 100 lb x 15 reps
- 100 lb x 15 reps
Dips – Chest Version:
- 10 reps || assisted || 100 lb
- 15 reps || assisted || 115 lb
Pull-Up:
- 10 reps || assisted || 115 lb
- 6 reps || assisted || 115 lb
- 5 reps || assisted || 115 lb
Bent Over Barbell Row:
- 100 lb x 12 reps
- 100 lb x 10 reps
- 100 lb x 10 reps
- 100 lb x 10 reps
Lat Pulldown:
- 100 lb x 10 reps
- 100 lb x 10 reps
- 100 lb x 10 reps
Seated Cable Row:
- 42.5 lb x 10 reps
- 42.5 lb x 10 reps
- 42.5 lb x 10 reps
Wide-Grip Pulldown Behind The Neck:
- 70 lb x 15 reps
- 70 lb x 15 reps
- 70 lb x 15 reps
Weighted Decline Sit-Up:
- 10 lb x 15 reps
- 10 lb x 10 reps
- 10 lb x 7 reps
fito2sa

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Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

Wednesday 3/20/2013

Day two of the new four day split! Like I had predicted, I was pretty sore this morning after the first day of the new program, despite if I thought I was working hard or not. It was a good kind of sore, (i’ve actually come to look forward to DOMS, in my mind, it means you worked hard!) so it’s all gravy. Mmm gravy. Today’s workout was all shoulders and tri’s. I felt the burn a little more during the workout this time but by the time I was done, I had some serious T Rex arms going as I tried to wash my hair! When I went to do my dips at the end, an exercise I’ve been busting out 30 reps on at the same weight, I damn near fell off the machine, my arms were jelly!

So, it was good workout.

Tomorrow’s the first day of Physical Therapy. Hopefully I’ll get told I can at least do the elliptical or something. No running is making me antsy and an antsy Casey is no fun for anybody.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press:
- 25 lb x 8 reps
- 35 lb x 8 reps
- 45 lb x 8 reps
- 50 lb x 4 reps
Seated Barbell Military Press:
- 45 lb x 5 reps
- 65 lb x 5 reps
- 85 lb x 5 reps
- 95 lb x 10 reps
- 95 lb x 6 reps
- 95 lb x 6 reps
Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise:
- 10 lb x 20 reps
Reverse Triceps Bench Press:
- 45 lb x 8 reps
- 65 lb x 8 reps
- 85 lb x 8 reps
- 95 lb x 8 reps
Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press:
- 95 lb x 5 reps
- 115 lb x 10 reps
- 115 lb x 8 reps
- 115 lb x 6 reps
Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension:
- 32.5 lb x 20 reps
Dips – Chest Version:
- 5 reps || assisted || 70 lb
- 5 reps || assisted || 70 lb

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