Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 47, Violent attacks of the noxious kind

Saturday afternoon was an uncomfortable time for me, yes yes, and I didn’t think I did anything to deserve it. But the human body has its own very unsubtle, and in some cases funny in retrospect, way of letting us know that what we’re doing to it isn’t what we should be doing. It has its own special way of asking, would you please stop doing what you’re doing? Thank you. Because that kind of stuff isn’t going to help in the long run and as a lesson for the future how’s about something you’ll never forget? Good.

Every so often I’ll buy a steam-in-the-bag bag of vegetables from the freezer section of the supermarket because chopping and peeling vegetables is definitely not my favorite thing to do. It’s just easier and sometimes I think I’m entitled to a little bit of ease (even if I haven’t been working too hard). Well, concerning this particular incident, I bought and ate one of those bags of vegetables for lunch on Saturday, an Asian Medley variety of vegetables consisting of broccoli florets, julienned carrots, mini corn (anyone else think that’s as crazy and weird as I do?), and sugar snap peas. I tend to get rid of the peas because I don’t think that those will react well to my body and its numerous allergies (take a look at my Day 17 entry for the reason for my concern).

That particular variety is also “Specially Seasoned”, meaning that it’s not PCP-kosher but whatever. Now compared to all of the other “Specially Seasoned” varieties of bag vegetables in the freezer section the Asian Medley is by far the least “Specially Seasoned” so I don’t feel bad about getting and eating it. The calorie, fat, and carb levels are almost exactly the same as any other mixing of vegetables so the problem isn’t there. There are only two differences, one is in the level of sodium listed which is obviously more than plain vegetables, not much more but more. The other difference is in the taste of the actual stuff: intensely noticeable right off but it soon turns into this mish-mash of indistinguishable flavors blending together to become something salty, unidentifiable, and eventually, admittedly, unsatisfying.

Which brings me to my Saturday afternoon. Let me start by telling you about the e-mail Patrick sent to us all on Saturday afternoon (well, Saturday afternoon for me, at least). This particular e-mails topic was about salt and why we are all limiting our supplementary salt intake to as little as humanly possible before we start going into salt withdrawal and die (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt#Health_effects). (Also, how weird is it that I have a problem concerning my salt intake on the exact same day that I get an e-mail by Patrick about our salt intake? It’s creepy, almost).

In the e-mail he enlightened us as to why we are trying to limit our salt intake and the basic gist of it was this: there is already enough sodium in vegetables and fruit and etc. in our diets that we don’t need any additional salt added to it, either by the manufacturer of the food we eat or by our own hand. There is enough in all of the PCP foods that any extra is superfluous. Now since we are on low sodium diets and have been for forty-seven days now any extra sodium we put into our systems that isn’t already in the vegetables we’re eating will certainly make itself known to us.

Hence this posting. It seems that the extra sodium in the Asian Medley bag of vegetables was enough to slightly tip my new daily required amount of sodium over the edge, enough to send me on a slippery slope of gastrointestinal displeasure. Yippee skippee, eh? One of the side effects of going over my new limit of sodium, according to Patrick, is an uncomfortable bloating sensation and, boy, is that what I ended up with about three or four hours after I ate that Asian Medley. The bathroom never looked so inviting.

So, touche, body of mine. Lesson learned. But how about next time you just “accidentally” cause me to burn up that stuff in the microwave or on the stove where I’ll be forced to eat something tastier and healthier for me, instead of putting me through that crap again because that was almost unbearable.

Are we cool on that? Let’s hope so.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 46, So begineth...

The second half, sirs and ladies. It certainly has been interesting and difficult, and rewarding and a big learning experience, and frustrating and exhilarating, depressing, fulfilling, tasty, tiring, muscley.

Those first few weeks had me worried, I must tell you. I can’t believe that I made it past those arduous days where everything was changing and my body and my days were becoming radically different in such a short time. I wasn’t ready for it, looking back on it now at the time it felt like I wasn’t ready to change. I fought it at every turn when I should have been riding that wonderful new wave and smiling at all of the changes happening with me.

Eh. Live and learn, right folks?

But then, whoa. Things started to get easier and easier, certainly not any less tiring or challenging but it felt like I was growing and adapting to all of the changes. I was becoming used to the speed that my body was traveling at while at the same time, unconsciously, preparing myself for all of the future changes (that are still at this very moment happening).

These times are exhilarating and I’m enjoying nearly every minute of it now, I mean, except for those freaking v-sits and chest dips but what are you gonna do? These improvements are rewarding and definitely empowering. I’m not sure what switch inside of me suddenly decided to flip itself on a while back but, boy, am I glad that it chose to and at the most perfect moment.

I want to thank all of you faithful readers (and the occasional ones, too) for the support so far. Without you guys along with Patrick, David, and Corry then I would have been lost weeks ago. I have no doubt in my mind that without the pushing that you all have given me then I would be sitting here right now, chips in hand wishing that I had stuck with it instead of buckling under the pressure I was putting on myself.

So it’s been an exciting and interesting forty-six days so far, let’s have an equally wonderful final month and a half. Good luck to you, David and Corry, and have the most wonderful day all of you readers. You’re what makes this whole thing possible.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day 45, A resolution

Of sorts. And it’s not even January 1!

So yesterday was Friday which means that it was sparring day at the karate school (ah the very last sparring day at our current location, new building coming on Monday). Sparring day is usually something to look forward to during the otherwise dismal week spent there because, well, first it is Friday so that means no work the next day, that’s always good, but it also means that I get to have some real time to train and get in a great cardiovascular workout all at the same time.

Mostly my time spent there is devoted to teaching all of the other students--that being my job because unfortunately I can’t get paid to just train for a few hours a day...or for reading or watching movies. Monday through Friday from four in the afternoon until nine at night are classes that I teach and very rarely do I get to work out on my own during those times. Hence the reason why I started taking kung fu and judo classes, because I can’t spend five hours a day teaching that stuff and then expect to be fulfilled from it, I’ve got to spend some time developing my own self not just teaching others.

Friday is the one big exception. Granted there are still three other classes during that day that I have to teach but at six o’clock the advanced belt class, my class, rolls along. Sparring class is different from any of the other “kata” classes in that I don’t have to be standing in front of a big group of kids counting numbers and telling them to bend their knees to be able to teach something. In sparring class I am able to get in there and spar the students myself, so I’m able to (hopefully) impart some of my earned knowledge to them while physically interacting and moving with the other person like everyone else in the class.

Like I said before, it gives me a way to train and further develop my abilities in a way that I wouldn’t be able to do any other time of the week due to my obligation to teach. It is also a fantastic cardio workout. For about forty-five minutes there is continuous movement, and when I say continuous movement I mean continuous movement, only stopping about every five minutes to change partners. So every bit of my body gets a thorough workout:arms from punching and blocking and other strikes, hips and core from moving constantly and keeping my balance in those fast and stressful moments when the other person is all over you, and legs from all of the kicks and leg blocks. It’s very intensive and very enjoyable.

Much the same way that the PCP exercise program is.

I realized something at the end of the class yesterday, I had spent the two or three previous sparring classes sitting out due to either a stomach issue or just plain laziness, and now after going through an entire class and getting to move around a lot, I kind of miss it. Even with all of the limitations imposed on the sparring (nothing to the legs or back, it being very “linear”, few acceptable strikes and kicks) I miss the physicality of it all and the interaction that you get with sparring your partner. All that is odd to say because, generally, I try to be and believe I am a very nonviolent person who normally avoids any kind of situation that would involve using what I know, I try to be the definition of “peace” (key word there is “try”). When it comes down to it though I see those sparring classes as a workout with a little training, something like: 90% workout, 10% training.

So my resolution? I resolve to get off my lazy butt and spar every week, every chance I can. I’m missing a great opportunity to really maximize my effort and potential to reach peak condition by sitting out those sparring classes. I enjoy them and they are a great workout, something that I’m used to but ends up being totally different every week because of the wide array of people and their different styles of sparring. I could be doing so much more than I have been these last few Fridays and I’m going to do my best to be my best.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 44, I must apologize

. . .

For the short post today.

Had you going there, didn’t I? That’s okay, we need to get a little suspense here with these things, keep you on your toes, you know? Otherwise these could get mighty boring and that wouldn’t be good at all, no sir. So if I have to make it seem like I totally went off track with my diet or have been lying about doing all of those jumpropes then so be it. It’ll keep you guessing and that’s the name of the game folks: what’s going to happen next?

Honestly, though, these past few days have been pretty slow as far as things on my side of the universe are concerned so I don’t have much to say today. I really should be making more of an effort to be looking around for new and clever exercises and ways to do the exercises that I am doing right now. I should be looking about on the Food Network web site or on AllRecipes.com for wonderful new PCP-themed and vegan related recipes for all of you, my faithful readers, to try out on you own time. I really should be doing things but I’ve been in a really lazy mood lately, also I’ve been afflicted by a stress induced annoyance down right below my belly button caused by unnecessary crap happening down at the ol’ job.

So instead of getting off my butt I’ll just keep you all updated on my diet and exercise programs because, as you all know, Wednesday and Thursday (for me, at least) are diet and exercise plan update days. I will warn you, though, don’t get your hopes up thinking that there will be a great many radical changes to my plans. I’m telling you not to get your hopes up because they will be slightly crushed. The changes for my diet and exercise plans are exactly...nothing. Nothing will change for me for another week. I will still be on the same diet plan, that you can find in earlier postings, and my exercise plan still consists of the “Day 1/Day 2/Day3” schedule.

So, I do apologize. Nothing tantalizingly new there but I do, as always, appreciate you keeping yourselves updated on my daily life. If you’re looking for some changes then go and ask how David and Corry’s plans have changed (because they have) and in the meantime I will go and do my jumproping--the jumproping that I still do every day, fear not--and I will definitely, most certainly think of something more interesting for all of you to read for this coming weekend.

Oh, that’s right, the weekend’s coming up. I hope all of you have a wonderful one and have much celebrating/partying/fun-making planned.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 43, Might I say, "Ugh"?

What an odd day yesterday was. Nothing too out of the ordinary happened, in fact, some may say that yesterday was a completely normal day with nothing different about it compared to any other day in the last month and a half. So why was it such an odd and peculiar day? Well, you can blame that on the exercises.

Blame it on me, too.

So yesterday was my Day 1 exercise schedule day so that means that I was busy doing exercises that I’ve been doing frequently for the past two or three weeks--they were, well, old exercises and frankly ones that I’m getting used to and a little bored with. Sometimes you get to a point where bicep curls are just bicep curls, nothing much else and when you’ve busted through your heavier resistance bands and are left with your weakest band then it just doesn’t feel like you’re getting much of a workout. Sure you might still be getting a pretty decent workout but the exercising is more mental than anything else so if it doesn’t feel like you’re working then you may end up doing something potentially damaging like overworking your body. After a point your body and mind become so inured to what you’re doing that they just shut off and turn on the autopilot which doesn’t help me all that much. I just don’t get the same workout as I would if I were totally invested and focused on what I was doing.

Anyway, yesterday I got to the point, for the first time since starting the project where I really, really didn’t want to do any of my exercises. I may honestly would have rather been repeatedly punched in the stomach by some sweaty, burly, somewhat smelly guy named Jimmy-Joe. As unpleasant as that sounds, doing the exercises seemed like a far worse alternative.

I will tell you right off that I did end up getting off my tired butt and trudging my way through all of the exercises that Wednesday had in store for me but, man oh man, did it take a lot of effort to get though. It took great strength of will, people! and I was nearly bested by my own lethargic mind and body. Curse those things.

But...like everything else with this project, once you get going the difficulty and the desire not to do what I need to do melts away and is replaced with a wonderful, warm, satisfied feeling of accomplishment and muscle tears. My body may have resisted, and resisted hard, at first but as I got into the swing of it, jumproping my way to sweatiness and busting out those pushups like there was no tomorrow things started to get much easier and the resistance that I started with faded away. I was greeted with that familiar tired euphoric feeling that comes with a nice workout and by the end of it all I was feeling rather proud of myself for overcoming my first big, resistance hurdle and coming out on top, above my lack of desire laughing triumphantly all the way to a better physique.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 42, Alright, point proven

There’s no need to tell me more than once what I should or, in this case, shouldn’t be doing.

I suppose I should be happy, though. I’m beginning to gain a better understanding of how my body reacts to all of the food I’m putting into it and all of the strenuous exercise I’m subjecting it to.

Yesterday, in an effort to get everything done and settled away as quickly as possible so that I could get out and to the stores to spend the cash that was burning a rather large hole in my pocket, I do believe that I overdid some stuff. I sped through everything I was supposed to do so that I could get to the stuff that I wanted to do much earlier. While it did work I was left feeling sore and unpleasant.

I again woke up about a half hour earlier than I usually do and after putting in my contacts and using the other bathroom utilities I rushed into the kitchen and, in a veritable tornado of activity, made a vegetable burrito, glass of fruit juice, and morning protein powder drink. I honestly may have set some kind of eating record as I scarfed that whole meal down which is never good because if you can’t sit back and savor what you’re eating then what is the point of eating at all?...I mean, besides not dying a slow, horrible death.

Yesterday was my Day 3 exercise routine that consists only of jumproping. I knocked that out in record time too. That was definitely a big mistake because if I can get through all of that stuff without breaking a sweat or even getting slightly winded then all of that exercise work is for naught. For naught, kind sirs and ladies!

On the plus side I was able to get all that I wanted to do done and out of the way before lunch time and was able to sit and actually enjoy that meal while watching a new movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. Yeah, not much of a plus side.

Much to my surprise my body did not like all that I was doing to it. Who would’ve thunk it, eh? I mean I was able to get everything done faster than I ever have before and I was able to do everything that I wanted to do before noon. So what was the problem? Well that was exactly the problem, I went through everything so quickly without paying attention to the signals and cries my body was giving me that I was left with something that felt like somebody was slowly grinding their balled up fist into the right side of my stomach, right below my ribs (the “oblique” section of my torso).

The body gives you those signals for a reason. Those signals are a desperate sign emanating from your body telling you to SLOW DOWN, for pete’s sake, and to not overdo it because overdoing it could potentially be very damaging, perhaps permanently, to your body. Who would possibly want that? Not me, not anymore.

So yesterday was a bit of a learning experience for me, I learned that while speeding through everything might get me to what I want to do quicker but at a much greater cost than I should ever be willing to take. It was an uncomfortable lesson to learn but I am glad I learned it. I only wish that I learned it sooner and wasn’t so closed off to realize all of that earlier on in the project.

But that’s what this is all about.

Have a nice day :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 41, When you're up

You stay up.

Sure, that doesn’t make much sense but how about for a little while we kick our feet up and say, “Screw you, Newton!”

Yesterday was a mighty day, let me tell you about it. I woke up much earlier than I normally do so I was able to get my breakfast cooked and eaten nearly forty-five minutes earlier than I usually do which as a nice side effect allowed me to be able to start and finish my exercises at a record time. Wonderful.

Last friday I finished the story that I had been working on for a few weeks (much too long a time I think) so, after putting that one away for another few weeks, I began another one last afternoon. So far it’s about a photographer named Joey, his deaf girlfriend named Laurie, and a long dead chef newly risen from the dead by some sort of otherworldly intervention. I’m feeling really good about it and if the first few pages are any indication then this will be a story that I can be really proud of. It makes me feel very happy to be doing something as fulfilling and fun and challenging as that. This story came together the way most stories tend to: in a blindingly fast flash of inspiration combined with inspiration from a few movies that I’ve recently watched (thank you Park Chanwook and Ang Lee).

I’ve noticed that the films of Hayao Miyazaki have given me a few things, most notably, 1) a great sense of happiness and well-being and 2) a huge surge of creative inspiration that leaks into the words I write every day. If you ever come across any of his movies then do yourself a favor and pick it up, give it a watch, and be stunned.

Today looks to be just as wonderful. Today is my Day 3 exercise day which consists of...anyone remember? That’s right, jumproping and resting. So nothing to difficult or strenuous there. Today is also Tuesday, which means that the new movies come out on dvd today which always, always makes my day better, also the new album from Sigur Ros comes out and I would advise anyone to check that one out.

I’m sure you’re all asking yourself, “What is this guy babbling about? He’s not talking about anything PCP-related. I oughta give him a piece of my mind, yeah, that’s what I’ll do.” Well I’m going on about totally unrelated stuff because of the peak condition project. I’ve talked about it before but it’s always nice to touch on it whenever I can because it’s something so mysterious and welcome that I can’t help but go on about it, that thing being my mood. It’s been steady as a pond. I will admit that it does still go up and down every so often because that’s what is supposed to happen to people and if it didn’t then something would be seriously wrong. But I no longer find myself swinging wildly from my highs and lows multiple times during the day (and sometimes within the same hour). As written above I’m currently enjoying a nice, continuous mellow mood since yesterday and of course it won’t last forever but the key word there is continuous, it has not flown up and then bottomed out over and over many times in the course of one day. I have gained controllability thanks to the PCP and for that alone is reason to do whatever you can to make yourself healthy and happy.

Thanks to the PCP. How sweet it is.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Day 40, Almost kind of. . .

Halfway done, kind of.

I’ve gotten to the point where my mind is taking me on some weird fork in the road where it seems to think that it can do whatever it wants to at points during the day, usually about an hour after my morning exercises when I’ve refocused on the world, no longer happily delirious from the workout, fresh as a daisy. At that point my body’s had time to cycle the endorphins brought on by the exercise through my body, I’ve taken my daily photo and uploaded it, taken a shower, and had my post-workout smoothie and eaten my lunch. So by that time I’m feeling wonderfully sore and mellow.

I’ve noticed lately though that I’ve taken to snacking on raisins, figs, apricots, etc. throughout the day, sometimes out of boredom, but mostly because I think I’ve recently and unconsciously developed these weird thoughts like, “A few raisins won’t hurt” and “A couple of crackers during the day, who going to know?”

Now those concerns might not seem like anything to really be, well, concerned about, I mean, raisins and apricots? I’m certainly not gorging on those things all day so what’s the problem? Well, mostly nothing but there is something of a psychological danger there, I think. If I keep doing something like indulging on a few extra grams of raisins or prunes during the day then there is a possibility that slowly my progress with the project may shift off course.

But more dangerously, those small indulgences may over time develop into a full blown indulgence habit that will spin way out of control until, gasp, I’m right back where I’m started! Horror of horrors. I have a feeling that I’m overreacting here, I mean I’d have to really fall off the wagon here for me to turn a bad corner and end up in my pre-PCP lethargic, bulgy state. So should I worry my silly little head about all of this?

Let me answer that one for all of you: No.

While taking in that stuff all of the time would be bad for me it’s certainly not like I am taking in that stuff all the time every day. I really shouldn’t get too hard on myself for some extra raisins during the day because there’s no reason for me not to. They are just raisins, healthy raisins, so there’s nothing there that’s going to ruin the project for me.

Now if you suddenly find me on a “big indulgence” binge like the kind I might have been found enjoying before the project then definitely, absolutely give me a big slap in the face and tell me to snap back to to my senses because that’s not the kind of person I want to be anymore.

In the meantime join me on looking forward to the big halfway point of the project coming up super soon. Exciting.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 39, Hitting a trough here, people

So, does anyone here want to guess just how hot it was yesterday (and probably today) while I was going through my exercises?

Go ahead and guess.

Do you give up? It’s not 87. Or 93. Nope. Get ready for it everybody, drumroll please...

110 degrees. Are you a celcius person? Well then it was 43 degrees.

Hmm, as a fahrenheit person working out in 43 degrees celcius sounds like it wouldn’t be difficult at all, enjoyable really after you get going and warmed up. That would be the difference between the U.S. and the rest of the world, right? Blame the schools, people.

Anyway, it’s getting to closer to the beginning of the fire season in California and that only means one thing: pretty soon the atmosphere above the Inland Empire here will soon ignite turning this place into a hellish volcano of a place to try and live in. It makes me groan just sitting here thinking about the full workout that tomorrow is going to bring with all of its jumproping, resistance band training, and all of the other exercises that Day 1 consists of.

Frankly, it almost makes me want to not do anything but sit under a fan in my underwear eat strawberry popsicles and watching nothing but movies all day. Hmm, is it bad if that doesn’t sound like a bad idea regardless of the oppressive heat during the afternoon? Possibly not, I’m sure those ups and downs are totally a part of the project and it’s totally understandable to have them, heck, I’m sure it’s actually a sign that things are going well with me body and the project and how I’m handling everything. I know that sounds odd but I can’t honestly expect every single day of this project to be a total walk in the park, piece of cake thing, that would be completely unreasonable to expect something like that. I think if I ever get to that point then I need to take a step back from everything and reevaluate how my body and, more importantly, my mind is handling everything.

So it might be 110 degrees out today and probably will be for the rest of the week it is that time of the year I should expect it to be a bit tougher. The hardest thing to do now is not think about how nice it is for Patrick to be working out in his 75 degree weather with nice, cooling rain otherwise my spirits may sink a little bit, dripping off of me like my body weight in sweat will be dropping off of me today when I’m in the thick of my workout.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day 38, A speedy one

Normally around this time of the week I’d be able to present you all with an updated and improved exercise schedule for all of you wonderful readers but not today. I know, I apologize, I do, really it’s not my fault. Actually there’s nobody to blame for anything because the current version of my exercise plan is doing what it needs to do just fine. In case you’ve forgotten here is the exercise plan I am working with currently:

Day 1

Continuous Jumprope (5 x 3 mins)

Chest Dips (6 x 8)  If you're feeling strong do the action until muscle failure each set.

Push Ups (6 x 20) Legs elevated.  

Rear Chest Flys (6 x 20) See attached file.

Biceps Curls (6 x 20)

Outer Biceps Curls (5 x 20)

Standing Shoulder Fly (5 x 20) See attached file

V-sits (5 x 25)

Half Plank (4 x 45secs)

Day 2

Continuous Jumprope (5 x 3 mins)

Chin-ups (6 x 6)  See my blog for ideas about where to find a bar.  The fingers curl over the bar away from you.  If they curled pointing back to you it would be a pull-up.

Rowing (6 x 15) Anchor the band about a foot off floor, sit on your rear, and make a rowing motion.

Lawnmowers (5 x 15)  With the band anchored at the same point as the rowing, stand, take both handles with one hand, and pull back as if you were trying to start a lawnmower.  Repeat on the other side to make one set.

Bench Dips (5 x 10) Legs up on a table if you can.  See attached file.

Small Base Pushups (5 x 15)  Place your hands close together, just under the shoulders, and do a pushup.  This will work the triceps.

Triceps Extensions (5 x 15) See attached file.

Forward Shoulder Raises (4 x 15) See attached file.

Sideways Crunches (4 x 15)  See attached file.

Leg-ups (4 x 15)

Day 3

Continuous Jumprope (5 x 3 mins)

Rest


So I’m sticking with this plan for at least another week which is nice because I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it. The Day 1 is no longer much of a problem since I’ve been doing those same exercises for a while now. I’m getting so used to it that it’s almost beginning to get boring. The Day 2 exercises are enjoyably different and I’m starting to really feel the effects of those particular exercises. I haven’t been able to find a really adequate chin-up bar or some sort of equivalent thing but I’ll keep looking for something around the home that is basically the same thing.

The only real problem is that I’ve broken two of my resistance bands already and am now forced to use the yellow band which is the band that offers the least resistance. I may have to go out soon and buy another resistance band set as a back up in case the yellow band is rocked hard enough by my awesome newly developed upper body muscles.

Well now I’m off for most of the rest of the day to a tournament that my karate school is putting on. I’ll be judging and trying not to fall asleep as I watch a couple hundred kids do the same form over and over all day. Luckily Saturday is “Day 3” so my exercises for the day will only consist of doing the jump rope so that won’t take up too much of my late afternoon.

Wish me luck.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day 37, Another sustenance update

If you’ll remember my post from about this time last week my daily diet plan did nothing but continue on the same course as it had been the week prior, which was fine, I was getting used to the course sizes and I was doing my best to mix it up to keep it from getting boring (although I do tend to have the same breakfast most days since I’m still too drowsy to really care about variety).

Yes, I realize I’m making it sound like there’s been a world rocking new development in the project, my part of it at least, but really that hasn’t been the case. Not at all really. There have been some changes--some minor, some that will take some getting used to--but all in all it should make for an easy transition within the next few days, luckily for me because the diet changes have been some of the harder parts of this project for me (for some weird reason).

So here you have it, the newly improved diet plan, we’re really cooking now...(a bit much? Yeah, I thought so):

Breakfast

80 g carbs

100 g fruit

150 g veg.

[nothing new here]

a.m. snack

100 g fruit
half spoon of protein powder [haven’t had to do this before, luckily it’s only a half scoop, otherwise...]


Lunch

170 g carbs [20 more grams than the last version]

250 g veg.

1 spoon of protein powder


afternoon snack

100 g fruit


Dinner

80 g carbs

200 g veg. [100 more grams]


p.m. snack

2 bananas
1 spoon protein powder

In addition, have two spoons of protein powder within 30 mins of finishing your workout.


So, as you can see, there hasn’t been any huge or drastic changes there with my daily meals since the last version.

Except for my dinner meal. Yesterday was my first official day with these updated measurements and, by and large, it was easy and I was filled up after every meal. There wasn’t much added to any of those meals to make me take a step back from my counter and go, “Wait, wait, wait a sec, Patrick, why the heck are you trying to pull here, eh?” Except for my dinner meal. As you can see above, I am now eating 200 grams of vegetables every night for dinner. I had been used to eating 100 grams each night for dinner but now I have to kick it up a notch; my stomach’s going to be in for a wild ride in the evenings.

Of course it’s doable but there must have been a look of shock on my face when I saw how much was on my plate for dinner. Now, I know that I eat fifty more grams of vegetables a day for lunch but that’s for lunch, my eyes aren’t used to seeing that much food in the evenings anymore so there’s a bit of shock going on there.

And I’m still laughing at myself for being so shocked and full after my meals considering that 200 grams of anything before the project would have just been a starter meal on my way to the main course for dinner. Now 200 grams has me floored and wishing for 100 grams again. How odd.

It will be nice, however, to have a full regular sized meal for dinner on the weekends with the family. 100 grams of vegetables and a mere 80 grams of carbs just wasn’t saying “cozy meal with my loved ones”. Now I’ll have something resembling more of a usual Sunday night meal to enjoy in the company of people that I enjoy.

Have a fantastic day.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 36, What a relief

In an e-mail Patrick sent to Corry, David, and I on Tuesday he gave us all a little bit of information that made my day. I mean, really made my day. There was a gasp of relief and everything as I sat back and read a bit of information that calmed the worries I’ve been having about my personal physique. More specifically, my abdominal physique.

A few days ago...possibly, could have been more than a week, I’m not entirely sure, I made a prediction about when the final remaining bits of unnecessary fat hanging out around my lower midsection would finally disappear and stop plaguing me, turning the bathroom mirror from something to be despised into something to enjoy and respect. The original prediction I made was that all of that fat would be gone within a week or a week or a half. Well, it hasn’t happened yet, not completely anyway (it is decreasing, albeit slowly), so my prediction was wrong but I’m not too broken up about that.

No, really, I’m not. Honestly.

Do you want to know why? Well, I’ll tell you, friends, that layer of fat tissue that hangs around the torso refusing to retract its claws from the developing layers of abdominal muscle tissue is called “adipose tissue”. What is adipose tissue? I’ll tell you about that to, adipose tissue is loose connective tissue composed of adipocytes whose main role is store energy in the form of fat--as well as cushion and insulate the surrounding areas. Since my body hasn’t completely bypassed the stage where it turns the food and drink I take in into pure energy, it’s still turning that food into fat to be stored. Well, possibly not, I’m sure that that process is giving its dying gasps and letting loose its death rattle as it struggles to keep on like it used to. Pretty soon I’ll be enjoying the benefits of food turned straight into energy to keep me going through the day.

For a visual reference here are white adipose tissue cells:



And brown adipose tissue cells:


So this stuff hangs on until the very bitter end despite all of the dieting and exercise that I've been doing only to give up and shrink away when all of the other fat stores around my body have gone.

(I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I do so love Wikipedia. Where else could you get all of that information about adipose tissue? And for free! Now, I can’t attest to exactly how truthful it is given that it is the internet--who knows, it may just be a bastion of lies--but, jeezy creezy, is it interesting. Way more than YouTube or that rotten MySpace--which I complain about but am still a slave to. It redeems itself every so often when truth breaks on through to the other side like a leaky dam. Something will shine through and fill me with wonder and curiosity, a rare thing to be found while on the internet.)

The best part about that e-mail? Well, my prediction wasn’t entirely wrong, no, it was just off by about a week. According to Patrick that annoying layer of adipose tissue should finally give up and shrink away within, get this, two weeks! Who else is excited? I know I freaking am. Now that following the diet plan isn’t much of an issue anymore and the exercising is, while difficult, definitely doable all I really have to do is sit back (figuratively) and watch the transformation, the drastic improvements occur. Absotively posolutely wonderful.

Do you see why I’m giddy now? One more step to peak condition. And what a step. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to accomplish for a long while now, getting rid of that abdominal fat, and now it’s happening and quickly, too, much quicker than I would have thought before I started the project.

Wonderful.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 35, Back on track

It feels mighty good, I must say. If you’ll all remember on Sunday I was feeling pretty disappointed with myself for not having been able to complete my daily exercises that previous Saturday after judo class because of my lingering injuries.

Well, I’m happy to proclaim that as of yesterday that has no longer been an issue for me. Might I say,”Whoo-hoo!” I did a little personal rebuilding the last few days so that when yesterday rolled around I would be able to come back with a mighty vengeance and knock that exercise program down a few notches with my powerful, newly developed muscles. Ironic, I know, since the exercise program was what has given me those newly developed muscles, but whatever.

Anyway, I was able to knock my way through those exercises easily since I gave my body time and room to heal the way it needed to. I’m glad now that I did that despite how tough it was to stick with it and not do any of those exercises. It was pretty difficult, let me tell you, to fight against myself and my desire to push past those injuries in spite of the pain but it was the right thing to do. I see that now and I’m hoping I’ll be carrying that knowledge with me, well, forever. You should listen to your body, it never lies.

Those Day 2 exercises are pretty grueling, though, not so much for the fact that they’re particularly difficult (they are tough but not overly impossible) but because they’re so new. I’ve not ever had to do any “Rowing” or “Lawnmowers” or “Leg-ups” until yesterday and I was in for a big surprise. I felt very good immediately after the workout and that feeling carried me through to the late afternoon, right about until my dinner, when I became pretty fatigued. It almost took me down for the count. Lately I have been feeling tired at that time because of the amount of time in between lunch and dinner and now with this brand new set of exercises, well, let me just say that last night was a struggle to get through without passing out in the middle of the karate floor.

But I’ll get used to it because I want to and my body is still very resilient even if I do whine about my troubles a lot. It will only make me stronger, and that’s what this whole thing is all about, now isn’t it?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day 34, Look what I found...

So in my surfings around on the interwebs I was able to find this amazing little thing on the Food Network web site. They’re called Fruit and Tofu Shooters:

Fruit and Tofu Shooters
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

1/2 pineapple, peeled and chopped
1 banana, peeled and sliced
1 cup strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup soft tofu (1 block)
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 lime, juiced

Combine all ingredients together in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve immediately.


I’m not sure when exactly I’ll have the time or the desire to make something like this despite how wonderfully tasty they seem even after (or, should I say, especially after) I replace the whole milk with soy milk and the honey with agave nectar. Actually it seems to be less of a matter of when and if I want to make it and more a matter of if I can make it. Obviously I am physically capable of putting all of the ingredients together inside of my trusty blender and pressing the “blend” button to turn everything inside of it into a smooth, sweet concoction that fills the stomach up something good. No, I’m more worried about if I’ll be able to have something like this soon and not stray outside of my diet plan. That’s the real concern.

Unless I give it some thought and modify the amount of ingredients that I try and put into the blender, creating single serving smoothies instead of a giant blender size serving that would probably cause my stomach to, first, tear and then explode very dramatically. I’ll think I’ll give the first one a try since it seems a heck of a lot less messy and definitely more enjoyable for everyone around me (people don’t like to be splattered with the insides of a somebody, right?).

Any hints on how to go about something like that since I am far from a culinary mastermind?

Until I do decide to do that I may just go ahead and look at something like this as a post-PCP indulgence. You know, something to look forward to along with August 15th. It’ll be something to keep me striving towards the end goal and keep me from going off track and doing something unwise. Plus after that whole long wait the thing will have developed in my mind as something epic and possibly mythic so that when I finally do have one it’ll be like the beautiful end scene of the movie Ratatouille where the hard-hearted reviewer Anton Ego takes a bite of the ratatouille that the rat, Remy, makes for him and is transported back to his fondest childhood memory of eating that very same dish at his mother’s table after a particularly bad day outside in the world.

Now that’s something to look forward to.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 33, Let me regale you

With Saturdays happenings.

Since I can’t think of anything explicitly PCP related I’ll let you all in on a little personal victory of mine. This last Saturday afternoon was spent at my uncle and aunt’s house for my cousin’s high school graduation party. Looking back on it today it seems that it would have been better for me if I were just to have stayed home that day but I wanted to see them all so what are you gonna do?

So, as you can imagine, there was a lot of food. I mean, a lot of food. Most of it, I’d say 90%, of the food there I couldn’t eat due to the constraints of my vegan diet, so that wasn’t difficult to avoid (also, why is it that the majority of food everywhere you go is fat laden refined sugar filled sweets and cake or pounds and pounds of mutilated animal carcass? It does not make any sense to me, literally, I can’t comprehend it). Really the only food there that I could have eaten were the general party snacks, i.e. chips, salsa, bread, small amounts of vegetable cold cuts (why are the hors d’oeuvres always carb bombs?).

That’s where the awesomeness starts happening and where I have to praise the PCP. At the party, for the entire three or three and a half hours that I was there I only had one, count ‘em one, tortilla chip. It was one of those half dollar coin sized round chips suitable for dipping that I ate and that was all I ate. I didn’t plop gobs of salsa onto it, either.

It was quite a test of my strength of will not to completely gorge on all of the appetizers there at the party but I found out something as the chip was being eaten and went through my system--first, that chip was horribly salty, really salty, like I could have had a tablespoon of salt and not have been able to tell the difference. It really was that bad and it would be difficult for me to go through that again even if I was forced to. Second, despite all of the other food there at the party about halfway through the whole thing I discovered that my craving for all of that food wasn’t really much of anything at all, just a lingering remnant from before the project. The massive amounts of food there and everybody urging me to eat them (yes, literally urging) was no longer a problem for me.

It turns out that my self-control was much stronger than I originally thought. Apparently, I can even go to a big shindig and if I put my mind--or stomach--to it I can keep myself from straying away from anything. Huzzah!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 32, Slight personal disappointment, and a cursing

With a hint of thoughtfulness thrown in.

Let’s get the cursing out of the way, shall we? Because that’s what fascinates people, doesn’t it?

In the name of all that is groovy and painless, I curse to the bottom-most depths of all that is agonizing and annoying, judo. Aaa, judoooOOO!

No, I’m blowing that out of proportion. Really judo has become an enjoyable weekend recreation and learning experience now that karate isn’t doing it for me the way it used to. But, unfortunately, given the intrinsic nature of judo it just isn’t a good class if it isn’t filled with pain of the sort that makes you feel like dying wouldn't be such a bad alternative all of the time, which makes absolutely no sense since the definition of judo is “the gentle way”. Odd, I know.

As for the slight personal disappointment, well, let me start by saying that yes I know all of this being hard on myself stuff is not healthy for me at all, especially considering how intensive this project is. Despite that, I’m still a bit disappointed in myself, probably more so than is necessary but that’s my intense perfectionism for you. The physical nature of judo has had some nasty side effects on my shoulder and ankle so that when I went to exercise yesterday afternoon after the class I found that I wasn’t able to do much of anything beyond the jumprope. Yesterday was the first time in 31 days of this project that I haven’t been able to finish my daily exercises. So you can see why I’m a little upset with myself.

I need to keep telling myself that while it was a disappointing setback yesterday, it was only one day and it certainly isn’t indicative of the rest of my work in the project. More importantly, by taking it much easier on myself yesterday I may have avoided even greater injury that would have required a much longer rest period than one night.

Still, it’s hard to get over myself. I’ve always been my harshest opponent and critic (just like everyone is with themselves) and I forget to rein myself in whenever my overactive self gets too hard on itself. While that does keep me going, always trying to better myself, and keeps me from quitting in a most embarrassing fashion it also makes being proud of the work I’ve done so far hard to be satisfied with.

Well, there we go, another goal for me to try and accomplish in the future: stop being so hard on myself.

Also, for those of you who are interested, my shoulder is suffering from something called subacromial bursitis. Ah, how I love Wikipedia. Now if I could just find out what's beguiling me ankle.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day 31, There are no words...

Day 1

Continuous Jumprope (5 x 3 mins)

Chest Dips (6 x 8)

Push Ups (6 x 20)  

Rear Chest Flys (6 x 20)

Biceps Curls (6 x 20)

Outer Biceps Curls (5 x 20)

Standing Shoulder Fly (5 x 20)

V-sits (5 x 25)

Half Plank (4 x 45secs)

Day 2

Continuous Jumprope (5 x 3 mins)

Chin-ups (6 x 6)  The fingers curl over the bar away from you.  If they curled pointing back to you it would be a pull-up.

Rowing (6 x 15) Anchor the band about a foot off floor, sit on your rear, and make a rowing motion.

Lawnmowers (5 x 15)  With the band anchored at the same point as the rowing, stand, take both handles with one hand, and pull back as if you were trying to start a lawnmower.  Repeat on the other side to make one set.

Bench Dips (5 x 10)

Small Base Pushups (5 x 15)  Place your hands close together, just under the shoulders, and do a pushup.  This will work the triceps.

Triceps Extensions (5 x 15)

Forward Shoulder Raises (4 x 15)

Crunches (4 x 15)

Leg-ups (4 x 15)

Day 3

Continuous Jumprope (5 x 3 mins)

Rest


Oh man, well there that is.

But I’m not too worried. I went through the Day 1 activities yesterday and while it was tiring and wore me out for the rest of the day so that when I got to work and work out later that evening I could hardly lift my legs it was also fairly easy...relatively. If you’ll compare my Day 1 activities with the exercise plans I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks you’ll notice that there isn’t much of a difference save for another additional set of everything.

So there’s nothing to worry about there, it’s nothing much new or different.

Until you get to Day 2, which I will be having the pleasure and privilege to force myself through as soon as I finish writing this blog entry. As you can see above the Day 2 activities are nearly completely different and totally new. There’s a lot of familiar band work that has been modified to stimulate different sections of muscle that I have already worked out in the past but, mostly, it’s a change. I can handle it though and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of wonderful burn I’ll be getting when I run through these. The only thing I am worried about is trying to find a chin-up bar, which are sorely lacking around my area and certainly in my house. I may have to pay a visit to my local playground since those places seem to have a plethora of hidden workout equipment just waiting to be used.

Also, I cannot wait until Sunday, Day 3. Only the jumprope? Wonderful. It’s like a shiny beacon in the distance lighting my way to relaxation and rest for my weariness.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Day 30, Decadent indulgence

The Indulgence

So-o-o-o, yesterday was indulgence day. And what a day! For my non-PCP food I chose to have a few pieces of 72% cocoa dark chocolate since that’s basically the only chocolate that I can eat anymore that I don’t have to shop at an obscure health food store to find.



The box comes filled with eighteen bite-sized pieces but to stay within the 400 calorie limit I only ate ten pieces of the chocolate putting my calorie intake at the high end of 300.



The taste? Interesting, to say the least, and not at all like I remember it tasting in the past. After not having eaten anything at all like it for the last thirty days my memory of the stuff was dull and faded, my taste buds unused to the intense chocolate-iness. It was intensely sweet, and at the same time bittersweet, making for an odd combination of tasty sensations bombarding my brain. It was so strong that the first few bites and pieces attacked my mouth, making my tongue and the back of my throat feel like they were burning almost (that from only 72% cocoa, I shudder to think what 85% would do to me...or even 80%).



The first thing that hit me while I was eating was how worried I was that eating even this little bit of chocolate would ruin all of the hard work I’ve done so far for the PCP. Even though I hadn't totally binged on the stuff I felt bad about eating it. I knew at the time that I would only have to work out for, what, a day to get back to where I was but still, it feels like I lost a full day, like I might as well have not exercised for that day instead of eating the chocolate.

The First Noticeable Sensations

About a half hour after I had eaten the chocolate I went to a nearby supermarket to return some moldy bread (by the way, moldy bread is not a nice surprise). Walking through the aisles to find a replacement loaf startled my legs into a frenzy that I haven't felt in...I don't know how long. Certainly not like this, anyway. It seemed that I could literally feel the muscles of my legs underneath my skin twitching and pulsing along to both the rhythm of my heart and, because of the chocolate, the uneven stride I was taking because of the sudden, intense rush of sugar and carbohydrates.

I was zipped, I was wired, I was a hummingbird after a huge meal of flower nectar. It felt like my heart was throwing itself against the inside of my ribcage, turning a lump-lump into a great, resounding BANG-BOOM! There seemed to be a giant inside of my chest beating his way out with his meaty fists, angry at his forced imprisonment. My mind became a young Russell Terrier, starved of attention, in a backyard full of butterflies and young children.

I was atwitter with energy and had nothing to spend it on being stuck in my truck driving to work (which is an amazingly effective depressant when flying high on a stimulant as potent as chocolate).

About an hour after I had eaten the chocolate my heart sped up even more, which seemed to be an unhealthy thing at that point. My heart doesn't usually beat like that unless my brain has just signalled my body to release a massive amount of adrenaline. That's not supposed to happen when you're just sitting around doing nothing but listening to music.

Worry, at that point, overwhelmed me. I had expected some craziness to occur but nothing as great as what actually started happening to me. Weird, troublesome thoughts abounded, "Do I lay down and do nothing until this thing passes?", "Do I check myself into the hospital in case my heart literally starts to melt from overactivity because that's what it seems to be doing?", "Do I start weeping?"

All very serious considerations. All of them I was about to take.

And then...the dizzies. I stood up and nearly fell over. No, this was no head rush, this was my body about to spontaneously combust into a glorious, chocolatey bonfire like that which has never been seen before. We could have made s'mores but the chocolate in those s'mores would have made the entire thing redundant.

I very nearly went home at that point because I was very seriously scared. I mean, what do you do at that point? I would have started screaming but that didn't seem like it would have helped me or anyone else.

My stomach began turning against me, it cramped up slightly, not enough to make me keel over but enough that it was uncomfortably noticeable.

My breathing became erratic and sharp like the dying gasps of a gunshot victim.

Because of the huge crests and troughs of energy that the chocolate brought I became irritable, and at the worst time possible--during the first kids class of the day at the karate school. It was something I couldn’t control and it’s something that I don’t want to have to repeat anytime soon.

What was I to do? Who the heck knew that eating chocolate after thirty days of not having anything remotely like it would do this to me. It’s amazing that the chocolate, this stuff that I used to eat frequently and in much larger quantities, would have this kind of an effect on me seeing as how it never has before, not like this. Really, I should have expected it but it blindsided me totally.

And it wasn’t even that much chocolate, that’s the really astounding thing about it. Normally I would have polished off every last bit of chocolate and probably licked clean the wrapper that it came in. I couldn’t even finish (although at the point that I stopped I didn’t want to finish it). The sheer density of the stuff combined with the guilt (unhealthy, I know) of eating it left me feeling very full very early on in to it.

The Crash

As far as aftereffects go...well, there weren't really any at all. The inevitable crash was avoided by chowing down on half a slice of bread before I came down off of the sugar high. The extra cards kept me going and let me off of the rush slowly replacing it with a calm, steady feeling of normalcy that was much needed and appreciated. Really it was rather anticlimactic which is almost disappointing given the craziness from before.

It’s odd, now that I’ve indulged in something not on the diet plan and felt the effects of something like that I don’t really have the desire to indulge like this anymore. While it was tasty at the time the benefits of the PCP far outweigh having chocolate anytime I want and the very temporary effects of eating that chocolate. The vegetables and fruit have become a wonderful replacement for all of the junk that I used to eat and I have no problem with that. I’m happy about it really.


Coming up tomorrow...the new exercise plan. Prepare to have your jaw drop to the floor like mine did when I first saw it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Day 29, Another minor physical annoyance

They just keep coming, don't they?

I’ll make this one short since I need to get up and at ‘em with these exercises of mine and, given the annoyance, these exercises will probably take a bit longer than usual...

Which also leads me to my topic for the day, drum roll please...

My left shoulder is bugging me to no end. Now this is a bit of an old, um, I don’t want to call it injury because I don’t remember ever actually injuring that particular shoulder anytime in the past (unless when I injured it I injured it so badly that the resulting pain completely blacked out the incident from my memory. Wouldn’t that be interesting?). It’s bugged me in kung fu class whenever we went through our drills that required us to keeps our arms raised or rotate the shoulder frequently and it became noticeable yesterday during my jumproping as my hands twirled the rope around over and over for those four sets of three consecutive minutes.

I’d guess at first that it’s just a strained muscle but it’s been a common occurrence for the last six months or so and it’s getting to the point where it’s almost distracting. I’ll be doing my best to take it easy on that shoulder during my exercises today and especially for the new workout plan coming soon from Patrick. I’m not entirely sure what to do about the discomfort it causes when I jumprope, perhaps a slower spinning speed but I honestly don’t want to get to that point since it won’t feel like I’m getting as good of a workout as I do at full speed.

Off to muscle building and sculpting. In the meantime, any suggestions, my fair readers? It would be greatly appreciated, especially now that we’re going to really be getting into the nitty gritty of the PCP.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 28, The magic hour

In 1978, Terrence Malick released his amazingly beautiful Days of Heaven starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard, and Linda Manz. Featuring a poetically sparse story, atmospheric soundtrack, and great performances. But that’s not what this movie is known for, no, it is known for something else, and if you have ever had the fortune to see this movie then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t then here’s the trailer:



As you can see, it’s downright beautiful in every sense of the word. Terrence Malick and his director of cinematography Nestor Almendros employed a technique that many have tried to duplicate but have never really quite captured in the same way. Pretty much the entire movie was filmed during the early morning and late afternoon hours. Terrence Malick’s desire was to have a light sky with no real view of the sun. These times are called the “Magic Hour”.

You may be asking yourself, “Um, what the heck does this have to do with the PCP, Sean? This guy’s run out of ideas and is going slightly loopy from the over eating of vegetables.” But, no, that’s not it (I know, a shame, that would have given the project a wildly dramatic turn. This whole thing could have turned into a soap opera).

Let me have you guys do something, it’s rather fascinating believe me. Let me have you head on over to Patrick’s blog (be sure to come back) and look at his daily photostream on Flickr. I want you to compare his day 27 photo with his photo ten days later, day 37. Crazy, isn’t it? Now I realize today isn’t day 27 anymore but I had something more important to talk about yesterday. Anyway, today is day 28 and it’s the beginning of what I’ve been thinking of as the Magic Week. See the segue there? Nice, right? And yes I’m aware that it’s ten days between day 27 and day 37 but then the term wouldn’t work, so whatever.

I’m getting totally excited about these next days. Patrick informs us three that this stretch of days is when the body finally gives up the ghost and stops storing and forming fat around the body in the same quantities that it has been. As you saw in the Patrick pictures, between those ten days he became lean and cut, most especially around the midsection. I’ve been looking forward to getting rid of that unnecessary store of fat around my midsection since, well, forever and now, put on a giddy laugh with me, it’ll be happening. My body will run out of its stores of fat around the rest of my body and turn to its emergency stores of fat--the midsection fat.

Who else is excited? I know I am. It’s going to be a whole lot easier to see exactly how my muscles are developing and shaping if I don’t have that last bit of fat hanging around on my body. I’ll be able to see where I’m lacking and what I need to do to really form everything in the way I want to reach my peak condition. So yippee! I hope you all follow me and my daily photo closely in the next few days and watch as my body turns into clay, ready to be molded into something...amazing.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day 27, All you naysayers...

“Be who you are and say what you think, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

That quote above is usually attributed to Dr. Seuss even though he never actually said it originally, that was Bernard Baruch. I like thinking that Dr. Seuss made it what it is today because it makes him seem more fatherly and wise than you can normally come across.

And it ties in pretty perfectly with a phenomenon that I’ve noticed happening ever since I started this project--the tendency for people to fight you, ridicule you, and generally try to make anything good you do for yourself as hard as it possibly can be.

I have never understood this way of acting and I don’t think that I ever will, really I don’t think that I ever want to because understanding something like that makes me think that I’d be more inclined to accept their close-mindedness and almost even empathize with the people who don’t want to improve themselves.

Being a vegan, I come across this way of thinking (or non-thought, rather) almost on a daily basis. People--not all people but a lot of people--don’t understand why I do what I do and why I believe what I believe and and can only meet my beliefs with ignorance. That sort of thing can lead people down a bad road.

Sounds crazy and like I’m lashing out at people but that is, very unfortunately, the way of people. That which is new or different to a person or society is very commonly met with ridicule and sometimes even hostility. It’s caused a whole heap of problems in the world and it will continue to forever.

I’m sounding pessimistic and preachy here and that’s not really my intention. Despite all of that bad energy coming our way there are always people that think the opposite and will fight to keep rationality and compassion in the world and our actions. You, my fellow readers, are some of those people and I’m eternally appreciative and grateful for you guys. By taking the time to follow Patrick, Corry, David, and I on our journeys you’re showing that you are interested in turning yourselves into better people and that you are not susceptible to falling into the tempting destructive thought patterns that poison the people who will fight something as harmless as the PCP.

Because really when it comes down to it the peak condition project, being a vegan, etc. are all personal things that in the end don’t hugely affect anyone outside of them--except for for those people who are interested in bettering themselves. Perhaps it’s that others feel threatened by the positive changes that one makes and the positive things that happen to a person because of those changes that those threatened people lash out verbally or physically but when it comes down to it there is nothing inherently threatening about those things.

I’m not really going anywhere with this because I can’t solve something like this; it’s to be expected from certain people. So what can you do? How’s about this: think of it not as an impediment to your goals but as a driving force. Your main reason to better yourself should not be to show everyone that their negativity doesn’t matter and that you’re better than them. That would be walking down the wrong path. Think of those negative things you happen upon in daily life as reasons to do something, if you make yourself better than you’re another step further away from becoming like those toxic people who spew out negativity. As for those poisonous people? Keep away from them because they aren’t worth your time or energy and never will be.

I’ll have to start paying more attention to that advice, too.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Day 26.5, Pictures

Well, these weren't the pictures I was planning on taking for all of you and they aren't in the manner I envisioned but I took some anyway because I wanted to show off a little bit. I bought this Under Armour shirt a while back and have only worn it once before on a bike ride. At the time I almost felt embarrassed wearing it because of some fatty protrusions but now...



I'm thinking that in another week or two I'll have to start wearing this thing to the karate school on my class days. Very awesome.


I'll be sure to take the pictures that I had planned on taking sometime in the future.

Day 26, Funny bodies

More specifically, what funny things our bodies are capable of doing.

So my brother has been back in town these last two weeks after having been away for about six months for naval boot camp training and all of the schooling that comes after graduating boot camp, whatever that schooling might be and how much of it he has to go through I do not really know and probably wouldn’t fully know unless I myself actually joined the Navy. But that’s not going to happen. Anyway, yesterday was his last full day back here in Corona on leave so as a bit of a going away present/goodbye to him the family all went out to eat at an Italian restaurant (or something close to Italian).

Now going out to eat on a diet, especially the PCP, is hard enough as I found out, yesterday being the first time since starting the project that I didn’t have any major meal here at home. Not only did I have to find something that would fit in with my vegan diet (which is always a great difficulty, even still during these changing days in the food industry), I had to find something that wouldn’t completely ruin all of the hard work that I’ve put into my PCP these last three and a half weeks.

So I settled on the basic house salad with the tiniest bit of vinaigrette (like a quarter of a tablespoon, probably less) sprinkled over it, a small slice of sourdough bread, and a laughably small portion of spaghetti, small enough that I could have counted the strands of spaghetti on both hands and still had fingers left over. You know, I say laughably small because it seems that I’m still getting used to the portion sizes of this diet and when I think back to how much spaghetti I took and how that little bit wouldn’t have filled me up in the slightest before I started the project then I sort of chuckle a wee bit.

Whenever Patrick mentions how much he is eating now compared to how much he used to eat and how the portions he eats now, or when he was about where I am now, would always fill him up like his pre-PCP meals I always thought that he was exaggerating. That little bit of food fills you up completely? Nah, that can’t be right. You’re just telling us that to make it seem like the project is more dramatic than it actually is.

Well let me squash any of those same thoughts that some of you readers may have, the dinner meal that I had last night filled me. Totally. I had difficulty drinking down my evening protein smoothie and I had that hours after that dinner. Believe me, I was astonished myself. It seems that serving sizes that once used to be mouthfuls, mere nibbles before the project have become meals that floor me and make me lethargic and make me vow never to eat another bite of any food ever again!

So what’s going on here? I’m being defeated by my meals, my miniscule meals? There must be some funky supernatural voodoo happening here because there is something not right about this. But, nay, I say, it seems that my body is adjusting to my daily diet sooner than my initial generous estimate. It seems that my stomach is shrinking to the point that even a small dinner such as the one I had last night has a noticeable impact on the evening. Now that’s just downright odd to consider given the veritable mountain of food I have to eat daily for my lunch. It seems that our bodies are varied, fickle things that change on whims that we, or at least I, don’t know about and faster than you realize.

Which shouldn’t come as a too much of a shock. I’m assuming everyone reading this has gone through puberty and you all know the weird changes our bodies went through then. But I wasn’t prepared for this one, it blindsided me, folks, and best of all...

It lets me know that the project is having wonderfully beneficial effects on me far greater and much quicker than I could have ever guessed. It shows me that my steps towards a better me aren’t in vain and that I’m on the right track. It shows me that my determination isn’t foolhardy and can produce amazing results if combined with something amazing. And how cool is that?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day 25, Something of a grand day

...although not much of a grand entry (um, as in large, you know).

I’ll tell you why:

I just spent the last, um, maybe two hours typing up the first bit of a story I’m working on so my fingers are a bit tired and my mind’s a bit fried.

But that’s not the exciting part about all of this and it doesn’t have much to do with why I’m writing this particular entry for today. This last week I’ve been able to really get the diet and exercise plan down to a point where I don’t have to focus on it as much as I was doing in the first couple of weeks. I’ve been able to go through everything, aware of it all, but without much resistance from myself and without hardly any scrambling around trying to get everything done.

As I’m sure you can imagine that’s left a lot more time for me to do the things that I love to do--writing, reading, talking with friends, and the like. I’m most excited about the writing. Like I said on Tuesday I want to make my living as a writer. I also touched on Tuesday at how much things have been improving inside of myself because of this project.

Well, I’ve got one more thing to add to that growing list of things that are wonderful about a project like this, or any personal improvement project. I haven’t been able to figure out why the writing has been going so well lately until just a little while ago but I think I’ve hit upon it now--this project has turned my mind into something clear and free of a lot of the distractions that were plaguing me before I started the project. I’ve become aware just now of how much better I am able to sit down and just focus on things that are important to me.

The writing has been easy this last week because there isn’t so much bouncing around in this noggin of mine. Now, I do know that all of my writing days won’t be as easy or confidence filled as the days this past week have been but it’s an exciting thing to realize especially when it concerns something that you love doing and want to do for the rest of your life. It makes it so much easier to break through the obstacles standing in your way and come within reaching distance of your dreams.



It’s day 25! Whoo-hoo! Shouldn’t there be some sort of grand, overly extravagant party for a day like this?

And, gah, is it warm today or what? I don’t know exactly what the weather’s like with everyone else but I may just end up reaching my target weight just by sitting here and sweating it off. There is definitely something wrong with that.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Day 24, Muscles aflame!

--First, I’ve got to apologize profusely to all you, my few readers, because despite what I said yesterday I will not be able to post a newer, non “Daily Photo” photo due to an annoyingly untimely living room repainting and remodeling. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, but I don't have anywhere to take this photo that doesn't require me to own a tripod for my camera (any suggestions on what I can use instead of one?). If I can’t get one tomorrow because of the same problem than there is no reason that I won’t be able to get one on Monday. Thank you for your patient understanding.--

Weh-heh-hell now. Is it bad if your arms are so tired that your fingers are having trouble making their way across the keyboard? I thought so.

So yesterday I spent my morning enjoying the souped up exercise plan that Chen and Patrick gave me to toil away on and, man...there are no words to describe it. What’s worse, I’m sure is that this is undoubtedly just the tip of the iceberg that is the exercise plan I have to look forward to in the next month. I wonder how David and Corry are handling their own new exercise plan? Hmm... I’m betting that they’re feeling just the way that I am right now. Especially with our new jumprope regimens. Might I say, “Holy jeez, those things suck.” I was really starting to enjoy the jumproping even with my ankle difficulties and then BLAMMO! I’m stuck with having to do three minute long chunks of jumping instead of counting them out. Those three minutes have turned into the longest three minutes of my day, and I have to do four three minute chunks, one right after the other. How’s about that, eh? And in very nearly 90 degree weather. Makes me long for the days of 1000 jumps.

But enough whining. It’s all energizing at the same time and, man oh man, does it make looking in the mirror for results so much more inspiring, and that’s what it’s all about, people, because without that then there would hardly be reason for doing all of this stuff (stuff that seems crazy to everyone that I talk to concerning the project). Even after one day I’m seeing new lines and definition where I don’t remember seeing them before. Now I don’t know exactly if that is just the cumulative effect of having been on the project for three weeks or if it’s a loopy hysteria brought on by the abundance of vegetables and grueling, sweaty to point of being funny strength training.

I have a feeling it may be both of those things.

Well, despite all of the difficulties that naturally come with a workout plan as tough as this one I am definitely having fun now, more so than I thought anyone could have with something like this. I hope that Corry and David are, too.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Day 23, What's the deal?

. . .

You know, if I didn’t know any better I’d say that Patrick was picking on me for some reason. Let me clear my throat because this will take a while, ahem, the exercise plan for the following week:

Jumprope,  You're also going to start timed jumping.  3 mins at a time, continuously, with a 10-15 second break, then another 3 mins.  Do this a total of 4 times.

Chest Dips 5 x 8,  Holding onto the backs of two chairs with your feet off the ground crossed behind you inhale and lower the body. The elbows are at 90 degrees and the chest tips slightly forward. Exhale and lift back up, the elbows stay stable and the feet are passive. Go slowly.

Push-ups 5 x 20,  Feet on a chair.

Open Chest Flys 5 x 20,  Put the door anchor a little above your head level.  Face the door, and open the bands out to the sides, like the Jesus statue in Rio.  Hold at maximum resistance for a second, and slowly bring the arms together.

Shoulder Flys 5 x 15,  Standing on the band, arms lifiting out to the sides as you've done before.

Forward Shoulder Raise 4 x 12,  Stand on the band, and lift the arms in front of you as if you were trying to stop a bus from running over you. Hold at the top for a second.

Biceps curl 6 x 20.

Outer Biceps curl 4 x 20,  Start with the elbows out to the sides and the fists facing forwards. Exhale and lift towards the center of your chest, so that the knuckles touch. The elbows are steady.

V-sits 5 x 20,  The body starts flat on the floor, exhale and fold the legs and torso together like a hinge, making a “V”. Your fingers should lightly touch the feet at the highest point. The back and the legs reach the floor at the same moment when lowering down.

Half Plank 4 x 30 seconds,  Lie face down on a mat. Place your elbows under the shoulders and lift up, keeping the body straight. Keep and breathe evenly for 30 seconds.  Repeat 4 times.


The upside (because there has to be with an exercise plan like this otherwise I would go crazy)? The upside is that I have to do this only every other day. Either way this is going to be a very interesting and incredibly tiring week. Luckily I have my days off to look forward to and keep me from breaking down and weeping uncontrollably on my knees begging for this project to just be over already because I can’t take it. Although, to tell the truth, I am kind of looking forward to it because with these crazy exercises it’s going to feel like I’m really getting closer to peak condition instead of playing around with my jump rope and rubber bands.

While the jumproping is tiring out my legs I am kind of missing the leg workouts, although I’m sure David and Corry would love to get rid of them. Oh well, I say, I’ve got those evil V-sits to look forward to today, so yipee skippy. The arm, shoulder, and chest workouts do seem to be doing their intended job though and looking in the mirror today have sent a rush of enthusiasm my way. I’ll have to post an awesome photo of me showing off tomorrow for all of you showing just how I’m looking.

So, I’ll sign off now since all of these extra exercises will take up a lot more of my time this morning. I hope you all have a day that’s not as tiring as mine is sure to be. Farewell.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Day 22, A minor annoyance

So it seems that I’m going to take the ol’ bike off of the hooks in the garage, dust off the seat and frame, and go for a sunny day bicycle ride.

Several months ago, I’m not entirely sure when anymore, I sprained, or very nearly sprained, my right ankle while sparring at the karate school. I was out of commission for a while, only able to teach classes instead of participating in them. Ever since then the pain and irritation has come back intermittently, usually at the most annoying times.

Lately has been one of those times. More specifically, jumproping is when it peeks out its head and makes itself known. It’s very unwelcome and gets in the way of things especially when it lasts into the evening and makes working out at the karate school a bit of a chore. It makes the actual act of jumproping a bit of a bother as well since that repeated jumping is all ankles and calves.

So, since the jumproping is a very repetitive activity and exercise I think that I’m going to have to mix things up a bit more than I am right now. I think that would be beneficial to me even if my ankle weren’t being annoying like it is right now since any activity like this is bound to send the muscles I’m working into some desensitized unworked delirium. The muscles that I’m working can very easily get too used to the exercise and not benefit in the way that I want it to.

So I’ll do that. My bike is in dire need of fresh air and asphalt on its tires since it really has been quite a while since I’ve taken it out for a spin, and it was a birthday gift too so that’s all the more reason to set out on the local trail. I could use some vitamin D coursing its way through my body. Also, I’m sure that the Under Armour shirts I bought a while ago would look great on me now, so that is always a big plus.

One last thing, today is Thursday and you all know what that means...that’s right, a new diet plan! But don’t get your hopes up too high because not much has changed for me specifically, my daily diet remains essentially the same except that now after I eat my lunch I have to drink one spoonful of my soy protein powder mixed with water.

Wish me luck with that endeavor.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Day 21, Weird cravings galore

Or should I say, um, normal cravings?

First of all, by the end of today it will have officially been three weeks since the project project actually started for David, Corry, and I. Whoo hoo! This is an event that can only be matched by by the elation brought on by getting through two weeks of the project. Week four, bring it on baby! You’ve got a lot to live up to, you better rock it like a sprocket.

Now then, on to the actual post for the day. I’ve been noticing the last few days, along with all of the amazingly awesome physical changes that are occurring, all of these strong and insistent cravings for stuff that I’ve never felt a craving for before and most definitely not as strong as this. It’s very odd and I almost don’t know what to do about it. On the one hand if I give into those cravings then the project could potentially be set back a few steps that would be difficult to catch up on not to mention how much of a struggle it would be to keep my determination and discipline at the high it’s at right now. On the other hand do I just let those cravings sit and stew inside of me until I can’t take it anymore and start lashing out in other ways like freaking out at work or becoming something altogether indescribable?

Hard to decide there. Of course it would help if I actually told you all what those particular cravings are, now wouldn’t it? Over the last few days I’ve been feeling a strong craving for fruit. Lots of fruit and sometimes some vegetables (although the vegetables aren’t tempting me too much considering how freaking much I have to eat on a daily basis already). It’s very odd and something that I’ve never really experienced before, well, not with fruit, which is also odd because I’m a vegan, you would think that that would be all I eat, fruits and vegetables. Truthfully though, I was much more into the prepackaged vegan meals that you can find in the freezer section of your local grocery store and fruit eating was something that only happened maybe once every other day.

With the diet plan that Chen has me on I am able to get a pretty good amount of fruit into my daily meals but, as with any good thing, that little bit is not enough to sate me nowadays. I only get to eat maybe 300 to 400 grams of fruit a day but I desire more. I find myself staring at the fruit bowl in the kitchen thinking, “Who’s going to know? Patrick’s way over in Japan, there’s no way he’s going to know if I sneak an extra nectarine or fig or piece of pineapple.”

It’s a brand new feeling for me, a great feeling I must admit because I’m no longer craving all of that crap that I used to live on (although my desire for Pop-Tarts is going to be a tough one to kill and isn’t something that I really want to get rid of. I mean, they’re Pop-Tarts, come on!). It’s nice to know that while I am craving something more, at least I’m craving something healthy for a change. It lets me know that I’m on the right track, I think, and gives me an extra boost of confidence and invigoration. It keeps driving me to the next day when I can eat more of the oh so good stuff that I want to have.

Have a mahvelous day everyone.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Day 20, New revelations

Like regular revelations...but better.

It seems that the middle of week 3 is when all of the good stuff really starts to kick in, you could see it in Patrick and it is currently rocking Corry, David, and me. Gone are the incessant unhealthy cravings, gone are lazy afternoons spent not exercising, gone is the general lethargic cloud hanging over our heads and permeating every small nook and cranny of our bodies and minds. Things are electric now, more or less, and in addition to all of the physical changes we all are experiencing now on a literally daily basis, things are beginning to be clearer and easier to notice. I can only speak for myself but the fog of daily life seems to be lifting and showing us all exactly what is happening to us during our days without anything obscuring reality from us.

My head has become clearer than it ever has before. What a grand feeling that is! Ever since I consciously started to develop into a person of my own I’ve felt that there was something keeping me from reaching my true potential, both inside and out. It felt like everything I felt was really interesting to me or what I truly believed to be right (a subjective term, I know) was there inside of me but was covered by a blanket to heavy to lift. Now that I’m knee deep into the project and am really starting to feel the positive effects of something like the PCP I realize that I’m able to push aside the veil of regular life and see what exactly I’ve always wanted to become.

Without all of these distractions my mind is free to develop into something amazing, I’m able to focus on what I’ve always wanted to do. Because of the changes in me I’m able to see the changes that I want to make in my life and in the world around me.

My current job is not something that I want to turn into my career, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy training in karate and the students I teach there are awesome but I can’t and don’t want to imagine myself working there ten years from now. My dreams are clear to me and, for the most part, the way to reach those dreams are clear as well.

I want to be an author, scratch that, a published author. I get a great sense of euphoria when I sit down to put my stories to paper, to feel my characters and places, and ideas work their way down through my arm, into my fingers, through my pen, and become something alive in front of my eyes. Despite all of the amazingly difficult work it takes to create a living, breathing world with real people there is nothing I would rather do than spend an afternoon sitting at a table and writing.

It’s very clear to me now that that is what I want to do. It is clear because of this project and all of the newly free mental space and abilities that have been opened up to me. This project is, if for nothing else, worth it because of that. It’s one of the most wonderful feelings in the world to have and is something that everyone should experience.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Day 19, Cha-cha-cha-changes

David Bowie sure got that one right.

You know, it seems to me that whenever I take a look at the daily pictures I post for all of you what I see in those pictures is not all what I’ve been seeing when I look at myself in the mirror. With all of these changes happening in me and with my body I’ve been struck with the desire to show off like I never have before. So first of all I am well aware of what that desire could entail and, no, it isn’t exhibitionism. Believe me, I realize that it would be easy to slip into a state of mind that would let my ego take control of everything and turn me into a giant, arrogant jerk. Of course, I am totally against that, I have a big problem with people that walk around with an undeserved sense of self-righteousness or ooze this attitude of being better than anyone else.

So I doubt there will be any issue with me turning into something like that. I remember all too well the Greek mythological story of Echo and Narcissus (which, by the way, was actually written by the Roman poet Ovid). I will not scorn all those who around me and then fall in love with my own reflection so much that I am frozen and transfixed by it until I die and wither away to nothing more than a flower that grows in my deserted place.



That certainly won’t happen. I do wish that I could really show you what awesome things are happening, though. Perhaps I’ll have to go out and buy a new higher resolution camera for my daily pictures...probably not. You’ll all just have to take my word for it when I tell you that I have not looked or felt as good as I do now. How wondrous this all is. Sure it takes a heck of a lot of work and the diet has been harder than I ever thought it would be (although, not too worry, it is getting easier by the day) but boy, oh, boy are the results wonderfully affirming!

Energy that I never knew existed is coursing through me, I feel healthier, and I can walk around happily and heartily knowing that I am doing something great for me and my future. I can look at all of the brightly colored fast food advertisements and say, “Nah-ah, you will not tempt me anymore. I do not desire you at all. Forget greasy french fries, show me stalk of broccoli!” I am so continuously surprised at everything that is happening with me and I am able to marvel at the changes that are happening all of the time.

How delightful. Have a good mood :-)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Day 18, Soy protein smoothie

Um, might I say...BLEHCH!

So last Thursday when I was given my new diet plan for this week there was one brand new addition to my daily meals: within twenty minutes after I complete my workout I am to drink 2 spoonfuls of my soy protein powder mixed with water. 

If there was ever any question as to what pure EVIL tastes like then I want you to do this: find some soy protein powder and mix it in with some water, plain water. Enclose yourself in a brightly lit room with no furniture or windows. Sit on the floor and place the glass in front of you and stare at it, long and hard, for this will be the last real thing you will see for the next two and a half hours. If you believe in a god then pray to him or her or it for your own personal safety in the next few hours. If you don't believe in a higher power like that then please, please line the walls with some sort of thick rubber padding because that's about all that will keep you from death. Then, once you've done all of this, drink the brew.

Let me give you a warning:

You will see dark, horrible things that a persons mind was not meant to see in his lifetime. You will know what it is like to feel that your tongue is slowly melting away at the back of your throat only to slowly slide forward out of your mouth and onto the floor and you will wonder, sincerely wonder if that is actually happening or if it's just your mind turning against you. You will wonder that because that is exactly what will be happening to you. Of course, that will be the very least of your worries as you try to find out how to stop the snakes from crawling out your walls and the chimera from sneaking toward you on the ceiling like the baby in Trainspotting.

The safest thing to do at that point would be to curl up into the fetal position and hope that the remaining two hours and fifteen minutes won't be as utterly terrifying as the fifteen minutes you just lived through were while trying to stop the uncontrollable crying.

Now, it sounds like I'm exaggerating but, honestly, I'm really not. It's quite an experience that I imagine can only be replicated by hard drugs of the type that would have been appropriate in one of Hunter S. Thompson's frenzied reporting sessions. It's all so strange really considering that the protein smoothie I have to drink in the evenings is rather tasty and something that I've begun looking forward to during the day. In the evening around 9:30 I drink another protein smoothie but instead of two scoops of the powder I only put one scoop in and I'm also able to put two bananas into the mix. It's a testament to the amazing flavor packed into a single banana.

Well, I'm off to my exercises...and my two scoop protein drink.