It’s been over a year and a half since I last published, so I figured it might be time to check in.

I’ve been at around 270 @ 23% body fat for about a year (112 pounds net loss). I’ve remained mostly active, but I am now a graduate student in addition to working, so gym time is a little harder to come by. As a result, I’m doing my best to keep things under control on the diet side.

For a while there, weight was coming back on in a hurry. I maxed out my weight loss at about 232 pounds, and it stayed there for about two months. After that time passed, looking at a doughnut would put on 3-5 pounds. I went with a ketogenic diet to throw a wrench in the gears of my metabolism while I figure out what’s next, and the weight has been holding steady for quite some time now with minimal effort.


Still enjoying the benefits of not being a giant tub.

If you haven’t seen it, the followup study on contestants from The Biggest Loser is pretty eye-opening. Basically, it portrays what happens to someone’s metabolism after extreme weight loss, and covers some of the basics of set-point theory.

At first glance, it paints a fairly hopeless picture for anyone that loses a bunch of weight, but there’s hope – it just takes time and patience.

Current Goals: Stay focused on school and work to maintain weight, for now. I still maintain a fairly active lifestyle, it’s just time crunched. If I stay exactly where I am forever, I can live with that. It’s still a long way from where I was.

PS – 351 days smoke free. 🙂


Quitter’s Flu

I’m never quitting smoking again.

16 days into it and Quitter’s Flu is in full effect. After 30 minutes of arm/shoulder/chest/burpee circuits and a 2 mile run at the gym, I’m pretty sure I hacked up enough crap for nine people. Still, I can run faster and farther than ever before, and there’s already a marked difference in resting heart rate and cardiac response during workouts. Removal of a fist full of inhaled stimulants is leaving me feeling pretty tired, but that’s temporary and I’m not forgetting it.

That said, I’m spending the month of January focusing on fitness benefits of quitting and ignoring pretty much everything else. While I’m obviously still eyeballing diet and exercising (harder than before), I’m not going to weigh in or shift back focus to anything weight related until I’m past this initial month.

Cold turkey

I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions. If I make any, they’re usually very vague, like “Have a better year than last year.”

I have been mentally preparing myself to quit smoking for a couple of months now, and when the end of the year came around, I realized I was a few months past due, so I tossed my last pack in the fireplace when I went to bed the night of the 31st.

Day one was fine. Today sucks. It’s not even the urge to smoke – It’s the immediate shift in energy once a boatload of stimulant is removed from the equation. I slept great, woke up ten minutes before my alarm (sweating and heart pounding, but rested), and headed for the gym. I got through one circuit and felt like hopping in the leg press rack to take a nap. By the end of two circuits it felt like I was trying to work out after eating Thanksgiving Dinner. After three, I was done. Out of gas.

It’s okay. I prepared for this, and I know it may be a while before my energy comes back and I will just keep pushing through it. In the meantime, I will choose to focus on the immediate benefits, like taste, smell, and better sleep. A few more weeks of difficulty will lead to fantastic benefits, especially by the time Spring arrives and it’s time to start climbing mountains again.


2014, the Gear (and Apps) in Review

When I kicked this shit off, I was a hefty dude. There’s not a lot in the way of fitness gear for 5x Tall guys with big feet, but I managed to find some, and it helped considerably in the way of comfort while sweating my ass off. I also had the opportunity to check out a few different wearables and use several different apps along the way.


Reebok Play Dry
Pros: Reebok produces this stuff in sizes up to 6X Tall in everything from tees to golf shirts, and it’s fantastic for wicking and keeping cool in the heat. The material is also quite durable and can stand up to a hojillion washes without fading. It fits well and is accurately sized.
Cons: Some rather severe nipple irritation when sweating, and I have no idea why. They don’t irritate any other skin, and I have tried washing them sans detergent and softener, and the problem persists. It doesn’t appear to be from abrasion, just contact, and it does seem to go away after a while. Despite that, I still rate it highly for its other properties. – 9/10

Asics GT 1000 and 2000 series
Pros: Available in large sizes (14-18 US) with accurate width fitment.  Very comfortable for all-day wear, running, walking, and hiking, and durable enough to stand up to a lot of weight over a lot of miles. I put over 250 hiking miles on a pair of GT-1000-2’s when I was over 300 pounds and still wear them regularly. Their mesh upper also breathes very well (to the point that you can feel wind on your feet through socks) and they’re great for keeping the sweat and stink down.
Cons: The 2015 versions of the GT-2000 seem to be slightly narrower than their predecessors. After several days of wear, I’m dealing with some foot pain. To be fair, I have a size 17 alien-width foot. – 10/10 because I can’t destroy these shoes.

Columbia Hiking Sandals
Pros: Extraordinarily good traction. Very flexible yet firm.
Cons: I don’t know who handles the sandal sizing there at Columbia, but they’re insane.  I ordered a pair of size 17 sandals, and they went nearly 3 inches beyond my toes. I made a trip to their outlet, and the 15s were also too large, while their size 16 boots won’t even fit. I finally settled on a pair of size 13s because they fit my feet, and after a couple of hikes, my feet hurt so badly that I could barely walk the next day. I assumed maybe that was just them breaking in, so I tried them one more time and switched to my shoes a mile into the hike. Great traction, awful fit and sizing. – 2/10

Columbia Omni-Heat Base Layer
Pros: Great fit, extremely thin, unexpectedly warm.  I love the way these shirts fit.  With any fitted base layer, long arms can be an issue.  These have thumb holes in the sleeves to remedy that, so I don’t have to reach under my sleeves to pull the base back down after stretching out, and can pull gloves over them without having to spend two minutes tucking them under, and they stay put.
Cons: The only issue I have had is that after a few stretches, they don’t recover as well, and the foil lining the inside affects wicking negatively.. – 9/10

Under Armour ColdGear (Everything)
Pros: Just fan-damn-tastic gear. Under Armour clearly puts a huge emphasis on quality. Their Evo line of base layers is good into the teens with little outerwear, and the Base 4.0 compression shirts and leggings could take me into the Arctic Circle. Excellent wicking properties as well, and breathes well enough to keep on indoors. This stuff is Colorado-ready and Berk approved.
Cons: Not available above 2X and Tall sizes are difficult to find, though their standard sizes are generally long enough. – 10/10

Under Armour HeatGear (and “Charged Cotton”) lines
Pros: Excellent wicking, smooth fabric, and very breathable. Another win for Under Armour.
Cons: Even the “Loose” fit wears a little small. Not a major issue, just something to be aware of when buying. – 9.5/10

Under Armour Infrared Escape and Infrared Engage Run Gloves
Pros: They’re really comfortable and work flawlessly on every touchscreen I have tried them with.
Cons: They breathe a little too well, which is a negative for gloves. With the Escape model I can’t keep warm below 20 degrees, and the Engage works fairly well down to the low teens. Below that and I’m numb inside of 20 minutes. Running gloves should be centered around warmth. – 6/10

Reebok One Series Hoodie
Pros: Normally I wouldn’t bother with putting a hooded sweatshirt on this list, but this one really stands out. It’s neatly fitted, extremely lightweight, flexible, and the front pockets are sewn together inside to keep wind from blowing through. The drawstrings also have retainers and are sewn in on the “loose” end to keep hanging strings out of your grill.
Cons: None. Get this. – 10/10

Apps and fitness tracking:

Pros: It does it all and makes it easy. It syncs with most other fitness apps and a few trackers. Over 3 million foods in their database, and barcode scanning is included. There is simply no better way to track nutrition and bounce it against calorie burn.
Cons: They’re a little slow to resolve bugs when they do happen, but for the most part, the app works very well. – 9.5/10

FitBit Flex
Pros: Great app support. Simple, compact, easy to use with 5-7 day battery life. Water resistant. If I’m being honest, this thing was an amazing tracking tool, especially coupled with MyFitnessPal, for really pushing me to the next level.
Cons: For the price tag of $100, it should have an altimeter like many other FitBit products. The bands also break rather easily, and although I didn’t have the issue, many users reported losing theirs to the clasp not being reliably secure. – 8/10

FitBit Surge
Pros: Lots of data. Simple, intuitive interface and fairly customizable watch face. Excellent battery life for a smart watch. The app is also intuitive and easy to use.
Cons: There is a design flaw present which causes heart rate to read erratically above 130 BPM and stop reading it altogether if sweat gets on the optical sensor. It’s also quite pricey for a fitness tracker with these features, especially when they don’t always work correctly. – 6/10

Basis Peak
Pros: Accurate heart rate monitoring, replaceable band, water resistant to 5 ATM, LOADS of data, and outstanding sleep tracking. This thing is pure science if you’re into numbers.
Cons: Lacking GPS and altimeter, but it’s also $50 cheaper than the FitBit Surge. It also has a bit shorter battery life at 3-4 days. Lack of API to sync with MyFitnessPal also cost it a point, but Basis reports that it’s on their to-do list. – 8/10

Pros: Syncs with other apps like MyFitnessPal, accurate calorie estimation, takes elevation gain into account when calculating burn, and includes heart rate data from a plethora of trackers. Can access music and camera directly from app. This app is fantastic, especially as a standalone for those without fitness trackers.
Cons: None. It does exactly what it says, and does it well. – 10/10

Christmas 2014

Weight: 253 pounds
Body Fat: 19.1%
Energy: Flu Recovery Status

Thanks to maintaining a healthy diet over the holidays, and some flu-inspired loss of appetite, I squeezed off several pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I purchased this domain today, and will be working to fill in the blanks on this blog leading up to now. I ate like hell today and didn’t regret a bit of it.  If there’s anything I’ve learned during this trip, is that it’s okay to allow a little excess now and then, but always in moderation.  😉

New Goal: Finally kick smoking. It’s way overdue. No matter what level of physical fitness I manage to achieve, I can’t even begin to call myself “healthy” until I stop.


Number 11

Weight: 294
Body Fat: 28.9%
Energy: Nuclear powered

-88 pounds, 18 pounds to go to goal

11 trips up The Incline.  As if my life hasn’t changed enough, I accepted a new job recently and will start in a little over a week. Since I began this, I have genuinely felt awesome about getting further and further outside of my comfort zone more and more as time goes on. It seems like my new comfort zone is to try new things as often as possible. If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be here today, I would have suffocated to death from laughter.


Crash and burn

I have taken to running as much as I can of Barr Trail after completing The Incline. It’s about 2.7 miles of relatively tame downhill running and a good way to really make sure you’ve completely demolished your quads, in case The Incline didn’t finish them off. Anywho, during yesterday’s run, a root managed to grab a hold of my shoe and bungee me straight into the trail. It’s not natural to see kneecap exposed, and it slowed me down a little. Alas, I will heal, but I hope it doesn’t slow me down too much.