Sorry it’s been awhile since my last post. I should be a bit more regular once I hit dry land again!  I’ve been tracking my food, so I should have some caloric and macro-nutrient breakdowns when my web access isn’t so restricted.

Just wanted to relate my experience yesterday during my workout.  I have modified the workout from Gym Junkies a little, turning the whole thing into a superset.  Yesterday’s workout for example was Dumbbell squats (30# ea x 8 reps) straight to bench press (#13 on the weight stack, don’t know how much weight, but it’s challenging without blowing any blood vessels) x 8, then lat pulldowns (same weight) x 8 reps.  Rest 1 min in between rounds.  I usually knock out five rounds in just under 15 minutes, which leaves me out of breath and fatigued in a good way.  Yesterday I was hurting on the third round, and on the fourth I could barely hold the dumbbells at my shoulders for the squats.  I struggled through (even had to reduce the weight for bench and lat pulls), and called it quits after that round.

Now there are other factors here, namely the ships rocking makes every movement harder.  Sometimes the weight gets real heavy on the left, sometimes the right… It’s a constant, fatiguing balancing act.  I’ve also been working out every other day, a total of five workouts in nine days.  Despite this I am sure the biggest reason is that I have followed a very strict ketogenic diet out here.  I have only eaten fish, meat, dairy, olives, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Throw in the fasts I did as well and it’s easy to see that I am finally depleted of glycogen.  My muscles don’t feel sore as if I’ve been overtraining, and they shouldn’t since I’ve actually only done a total of an hour and 15 minutes worth of actual weight training!  Now begins the real business of fat burning.  I was tempted to eat a few more carbs after yesterday to support the training, but then I reminded myself that the weight training was the tool, not the goal.  The weights are there to remind my body to hold on to my lean mass as I shift deeper into fat-burning mode.  It is really hard to shake the “get bigger muscles” mentality that had a hold of me for so long.

So I will rest tonight and hit the weights again tomorrow.  I think the combination of cold dry recycled air, a woeful lack of sunlight, and several sick crewmembers, have conspired to give me a sore throat and mild (so far) sinus infection.  So I’m not real hungry and may just stick to green tea with lemon for the night.  Go immune system!


No kiddies, it’s not the latest fitness craze – it’s what happens when you are on a boat that is constantly rocking back and forth.  Just a rock of a few degrees side to side can produce some profound soreness in the stabilizer muscles.  You really notice it in your ankles, calves, knees, sides, and lower back.  Every motion of the boat forces your muscles to contract to keep you in your customary upright position, and all those little contractions really add up after a few days.  Even while you sleep, your body is fighting to keep you from rolling out of bed!  Not a bad way to burn a few extra calories.

So that said, my back was very stiff this evening when I got up.  I remedied it with a quick set of 20 Hindu push-ups and some very short planks.  The added motion of the boat made a 30 second front plank feel like absolute torture, and I limited the sides to only 15 seconds for fear of injuring myself!  As far as food, I am fasting today, drinking only green tea and water.  I set myself up nicely, though, having gorged myself on fat and protein last night.

Here’s the continuation of my foods eaten and activity:


11:00 pm – 1 can of Beach Cliff Sardines, drained


1:00 am – 6 oz. canned salmon, spanish olives, 1/3 cup guacamole

5:00 am – 1.5 cups ground beef w/ taco seasoning, 1 oz. shredded cheddar

10:30 pm – Workout A from Gym Junkies.com (I did workout B the other day, but mislabeled it as A)

11:00 pm – 2 cups shredded roasted chicken, drippings poured over it


2:00 am – 6 oz. canned salmon, 2 cans sardines, about 5 tbsp olive oil, all mashed up ( I wasn’t really hungry, but I wanted to get plenty of protein and fat in me)

7:00 am- 2 boiled eggs, 6 pork sausages (good ones with a skin casing), 4 strips of bacon

As you can see, yesterday was a heavy eating day!  I’m not even remotely hungry this evening.  I plan to go at least until 7 am, but if I’m not starving I may just go to bed.  We’ll see!

So yesterday started dark & early for me, as I had to be at work by 4:00 AM.  I can’t even entertain the thought of food at that time, so despite my “hunger of habit” the night before I had no appetite for several hours (save for some much needed coffee).  I am lucky to have some weights at work, so I took a break around 8:00 and squeezed in Workout A from Phase 1 of the Muscle Building Workout at Gym Junkies.  I was done (& done!) in about 15 minutes.  After the workout, I ate 2 cans of tuna with about 10 Spanish olives, salt, and pepper.  I got a little hungry again around 1:00 PM, and had 10 more olives with some EVOO and pepper, and a couple cups of green tea.

After a long 12-hour workday I arrived home to the heavenly aroma of Roast Beast simmering in the Crock-Pot.  I could have wept for joy!  And when it was ready I piled my plate high, savored every bite, and went back for more.  I was so full and satisfied that I didn’t miss the cheese at all later, nor did I eat anything else that evening.

I went to bed before 10:00 PM and woke up this morning already 12 hours into today’s fast.  I had some coffee and hit Workout B this morning, pretty well killing my appetite.  I’m not sure what’s on the menu tonight, but since my wife is allergic to fish it will probably be egg salad again.  That is totally fine by me – in 12 years of marriage I have yet to taste a meal she made that wasn’t delicious!

Well, today was the first day. Being Ash Wednesday it was a day of fasting and no meat, so I just had a cup of coffee in the morning.  I didn’t eat anything until around 6:30 P.M.  when I had some egg salad and a small green salad with EVOO & balsamic vinegar.  Easily under 1,000 Kcal for the day.

Now I should say that as I don’t regularly eat grains or sweets and do an 18-20 hour fast most weeks, the real “challenge” for me is giving up cheat days, wine, and cheese.  And right now I am really missing my glass of burgundy and plate of cheese while I unwind before bed.  I’m not so much hungry as I am craving that comfortable little routine.

As promised, here are some starting numbers:

Height – 5′ 10.5″

Weight – 193 lbs

Waist – 36.5″ (measured at navel)

Neck – 16.5″ (measured below the larynx)

Biceps – 14.5″

Estimated BF% – 19.1%

We’ll see how a month+ of fasting, weight lifting, and a dairy, alcohol, sugar, and cheat free diet affect my body composition!  I have a hunch……

Well Fat Tuesday has passed, and so begins another season of Lent.  For folks who aren’t familiar with this Catholic tradition, there is a some good info at Aggie Catholics.  Last year I did a straight week of fasting, consuming only one small meal in the evening.  This year I decided to expand and adjust a little, throwing some paleo principles in as well.  So from today until April 9th I will abide by the following rules I’ve set for myself:

  • No Alcohol – not even my evening wine
  • No Sugar
  • No Grains or grain products
  • No Dairy – going to be very tough!
  • Fast every Friday (1 small meal, no meat)
  • Fast at least one additional day a week, no less than 24 hours

Additionally, I’m going to commit to Vic Magary’s muscle building workout to preserve as much mass as possible during this period.  I also plan to try some alternate day fasts (eat one day, only tea and water one day, eat..) during March, as I will be out at sea for my job and my wife won’t freak out about me not eating.  Fasting during Lent gives me a profound appreciation for the fact that unless I want to, I never have to go to bed hungry – a luxury many others do not have. It also gives a feeling of connection to countless generations who fasted to become closer to their gods, to express remorse, or demonstrate their faith so that they might be worthy of future blessings.  Many people who don’t consider themselves “religious” still find a kind of spiritual experience in the clarity and calm one experiences during an extended fast, a sense of power and control in an otherwise chaotic existence.

But enough rambling.  I’ll have before and after body measurements (Not promising pics, not sure if I’m comfortable putting shirtless pics of myself online, lol), and talk about how I’m feeling during my personal challenge.  Wish me luck!

The other day I mentioned that I calculated my body fat percentage using a formula I found at DaveDraper.com. You enter your weight and your waist circumference measured at the navel (for men – women can also calculate but have a few more variables to measure) and it spits out a number accurate to +/- 3%.  Now I recall that in the Army we would measure BF% using waist and neck measurements.  So today I thought I would run my numbers through a couple different online calculators to compare the results.

Usually I just wrap a tape measure around my waist and record the number but I wanted to be more accurate this time, so I actually stood in front of a full length mirror and ensured that the tape was straight all the way around.  Here are the numbers:

Height – 5′ 10.5″

Weight – 190.7 lbs

Waist – 36.5″ (measured at navel)

Hips – 41.5″ (measured around the buttocks)

Neck – 16.5″ (measured below the larynx)

Chest – 45.5″ (at the nips – this one was difficult, so may be off a little)

Biceps – 14.5″

Forearm – 12″

Wrist – 7″

First up is the DaveDraper.com calculator. All it needs is weight and waist.

Result = 21.72%

(If you don’t want to mess with Excel, there is an online calculator which uses the same formula here.)

The next calculator is from HealthStatus.com. This one uses both Army/Navy and YMCA developed formulae, and requires 2 waist measures, hips, neck, height, and weight.  The only thing I dislike about this calculator is that the height is entered by a drop-down menu, so I had to pick either 5′ 10″ or 5′ 11″.  I did both.

Result @ 5′ 10″:

19.32% Army/Navy   19.62% YMCA = 19.47% average

Result @ 5′ 11″:

18.89% Army/Navy   19.62% YMCA = 19.25% average

Total Average = 19.36%

ScientificPsychic.com provided the next one, using a Navy formula.  I like this one because I could put my actual height. It asks for height, weight waist, neck, and activity level.  It not only provides BF%, but calculates lean mass, BMI, waist-to-height ratio, and gives caloric and protein recommendations.

Result = 19.1% (probably why I like it so much, hehe)

Lastly, there is this calculator from HealthCentral.com. A bit more in-depth, this one asks for age, weight, waist, hips, forearm, and wrist, as well as calculating lean mass.  Sadly, this site does not allow you to input decimals, so I had to run it twice, first rounding the .5 values up then rounding down. I used 191 for both weights.

Rounded up = 18.6%

Rounded down = 17.1%

Average = 17.85%

Average of All Calculations = 19.50% Body Fat

Average Fat Poundage = 37.2 lbs

Average Lean Mass = 153.5 lbs

Average American Male = 22% Body Fat

Healthy Normal = 15% Body Fat

Using this calculation from BodyRecomposition.com, I can determine that my weight at 15% body fat should be 180.2 lbs.  Of course that assumes no lean mass losses or gains.

So to sum it up, body fat calculations can vary quite a bit depending on the method used.  I personally prefer the mirror, but these calculators are useful tools to track monthly progress, and to make sure you aren’t losing muscle during strict dieting.

What say you?!

I Know How He Feels

I Know How He Feels

So I was talking to my wife last night about my sudden weight drop and my concern that I was losing the wrong kind of mass, and she said to me, “Duh, you’ve been running around non-stop.  You have hardly sat down all week.”  I love this woman.  And she is right.  I had been on my feet from 6 A.M. until at least 10:30 P.M. – mostly spent running up and down stairs to get this or that, carrying laundry baskets, moving furniture, dumping garbage, etc.  Heck, I even took the stairs at the hospital since the elevators were too slow, and we were only on the fourth floor.  And yes, ALL exercise counts.  Our ancestors didn’t “work out”, they just WORKED!  So I guess I really did get some primal exercise.  It really is hard to break free from the “exercise program” mentality.  And the weakness I experienced?  Well, maybe I’m just tired (REALLY tired!) because my sets went much better today after a couple cups of black coffee.

So I got up today feeling better about those 3 pounds, and though I don’t usually weigh more than once per week, I jumped on the scale this morning and had lost another half a pound!  Again, the words of my wife come to mind, “Duh! We’re back to eating low-carb again!”  Yes, yes we are 🙂

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