Nerd Fitness 2.0 is on the Way!

Happy Friday everybody!

I’ve spent most of this week out of town for my day job, and you can see why the updates haven’t been consistent if you read the blog I wrote for Sixthman today.  I know, how terrible, I had to hang out with a bunch of musicians and watch them create songs for three days, poor Steve.  Anyways, it’s made me realize that there will often be weeks where I won’t be able to update every single day. Because of this, I’ve decided there needs to be a better way for this community to grow even if I haven’t written a blog for that day.

This weekend in Atlanta is expected to be pretty crappy unfortunately, which means I’ll have plenty of time to move Nerd Fitness over to a new platform.  Instead of having just the blog, I’ll be making NF more of a full-scale website with easier access to previous articles so you can read about exactly what you want to learn.  I’ll also be expanding the more technical part of the website, providing descriptions of specific workouts and exercises for those of you getting started and in search of guidance.  Once I can get things squared away, I’m going to look into developing a Nerd Fitness message board that will allow you guys to interact and help each other out.  I’ve been on a few message boards, and understand that they can be both a pain in the ass and detrimental if people use them for the wrong reason.  I envision a board where healthy discussions, tips, funny stories, and motivational advice exist; I’m even considering making the board invitation-only so that only people who REALLY want to be there will have access.

What do you guys think?  Would you use a message board?  Would you be more/less likely to use it if it was exclusive?  Personally, I’d rather have five dedicated posters who are actually getting something out of it than 1000 people who spam and flame each other.  Eventually, I’d like to create a Nerd Fitness starter-kit for guys who want to get in shape but don’t know where to begin and aren’t ready for a gym membership.  Rather than making something and hope it’s what you’d want, I’d rather build it with your help and make it as beneficial as possible.


Damn you Ants!

Damn you ANT!

Damn you ANT!

Sorry about no update yesterday.  The day job has been hectic in a really good way.

Earlier this week, I spent two days writing about running and running shoes, and I’ve manged to get two of my toes infected…which means I won’t be running for quite a while.  Last weekend while my friends were in town, I walked through an ant pile down at our pool.  While my friend Sarah was busy saying, “oh they won’t bother anybody,” the ants were busy attacking my feet with the firey passion of a thousand suns (I don’t know what that means, but it sounds like a lot).  They bit a few of my toes which then swelled up like crazy.  Being an idiot, I wore sneakers all day on Saturday while helping out at Pet-a-palooza – think music festival except with way more dog poop than normal – which gave me crazy blisters, which then became infected over the past two days.  AWESOME.

Now that I’m back from Augusta, I plan on heading to that pool tomorrow afternoon and absolutely GOING TO TOWN on that ant hill with a big-ass can of Raid.  I will end them.  Ants aside, I’m realizing that I’m going to have to get creative if I’m going to stay on my fitness routine.  Being out of town for four days, not sleeping much, eating sporadically, and not being able to wear shoes has certainly thrown a wrench in my workout.  As I’ve stated in a previous blog, it’s important to find a way to get exercise in there even if it it has to be in an unconventional way.  I won’t be able to run for probably two weeks, so I’m going to have to find other ways to get cardio.

Here are some thoughts:  Split up my workouts so I hit up the gym more often – five days a week instead of  three days a week- and supercharge my workouts (minimal rest between sets, lots of supersets, etc.) so I get an aerobic workout too while lifting weights.  Also, I’m thinking of maybe swimming to get my heart race pumping without needing to use these feet!  Other options would be to do a boot camp style thing in my house in the morning without shoes on, maybe running in place, jumping rope, jumping jacks, etc. etc. etc.

It’s a setback, but it’s no excuse to start slacking and take some days off.  I’ll find a way around it, because I know that I need to stay on track.  I’m very close to hitting my goal weight, and I only have ten more days to get there.

Stay on target!


Couch to 5k: Get Off Your Ass!

My friend Kappy, a bigger guy by most standards (his nickname is Grande Rojo), has been following the “Couch to 5k” plan on over the past few weeks; I decided to check it out and make sure he’s following a good plan.  After going over the website, I am now fully supportive.  I’m a big fan of interval training, so I’m glad that this program is built around them; it’s a great way to exercise both your body and your heart.

My recommendation?  Sign yourself up for a 5k race and time it so the race occurs at the end of your “couch to 5k” training cycle.  Sure you can skip your training and just go to the 5k, but I don’t think you’ll be to happy when you get passed by a 75 year old grandmother pushing a stroller.  Hopefully this will give you the motivation you need to actually follow your training regiment for the race.  Now, once you finish one race, sign up for another one, and work on improving your training and your time.  Always have something to look forward to, something to strive for, and a goal to reach.  Once you there, set another one!

If you’re reading this in a desk chair or your couch at home,  maybe the Couch to 5k is the kick in the pants you need to get started.  Follow the directions exactly and in 9 weeks you’ll be crossing the finish line.

What are you waiting for?  Put down the remote, buy a GOOD pair of running shoes, and start the Couch to 5k plan today!


PS – I do have one complaint about the Cool Running site.  The first ad I saw on there was for PIZZA HUT!  Come on people.  Try running a 5k with Pizza Hut in your stomach and tell me it’s a good idea.

I Take Sports WAY Too Seriously.

Bruins LoseI realize this has nothing to do with nerds or fitness, but it’s relevant I swear. I was going to write a  post last night, but I got sucked into watching the Red Sox, NBA Playoffs, and NHL playoffs, and it ended up being the worst case scenario:

  • The Red Sox lost in 12 innings, and David Ortiz went 0-7, stranding 15 runners in scoring position.
  • The Celtics lost game 6, which means game 7 will now be played on Sunday night, when I’ll be on a plane headed to Miami.
  • The Bruins lost game 7 in overtime, and the goal was scored by the same jerk who sucker-punched our player two days ago and didn’t get a rightfully-deserved suspension.

Talk about a rough night. Yes, I realize as a Boston fan, I have absolutely nothing to complain about this decade (3 Super Bowls, 2 World Series, and an NBA Championship).   However, losing in such a fashion still destroys me.  My friends even tell me that it’s more fun watching me watch a game than it is to watch the game itself.  After these games ended and I tried to pull my night together, I just couldn’t.  I don’t know why I get so emotionally involved.  I mean, I never met these guys, I don’t live in Boston anymore, and none of them are actually from Boston…and yet every night I scream at my television, get way too excited over a win, and far too depressed over a loss.

I remember a few years back when the Red Sox lost to the Yankees in extra innings in the playoffs (Aaron f***ing Boone) and I had an Econ mid-term the next day – I was so crushed that I just went to bed and BOMBED the test.  That’s not the right way to go about life!  I’m alive! I have a job! I have my health and a good group of friends!  I have nothing to complain about!

I gotta relax.  It’s not the end of the world.  Growing up playing sports gave me an outlet for my competitive nature.  Now, I’m reduced to watching people making millions of dollars and having my night hang on the outcome of a game thousands of miles away.

I gotta join some league or something that will allow me to get competitive. Maybe it’s time to join a tennis league, or start playing pick-up basketball again.  All my friends are playing Ultimate Frisbee, but I can’t join their league due to timing conflicts.

Any suggestions?


Hey Big Guys! Your Excuses End Here.

Terence lost 200 lbs in 11 months.

Terence lost 200 lbs in 11 months.

I don’t care how old or how big you are, it’s never too late to make a change in your life.

Meet Terence Haynes, a 430 lb., 45 year-old guy who suddenly decided to completely change his life.  He set out to lose 200 lbs in one year, and did it.  After losing all the weight, he rediscovered his passion for sports and a desire to continue improving his life: he went back to college and joined the college wrestling team.

If you have nine minutes to burn this morning/tonight/tomorrow, watch this video on ESPN.  For you big guys/girls out there who have lost hope, who think it’s a waste of time, or perhaps you’re just too far down the road that you can’t get in shape.  This guy ate 20,000 calories a day and was literally eating himself to death…so he enlisted the help of a personal trainer, cut his diet to a healthy 1800 calories (which must have felt like starvation for weeks), and exercised 4-6 days a week.

Obviously losing 200 pounds in a single year is an extreme case, but when you go from 20,000 calories to less than 2,000, and start exercising almost every day instead of sitting on a couch…you will get extreme results.

If you’re looking for motivation, here it is:

Terence Haynes Video

If you don’t have time to watch the video, feel free to read the article here.

Now, if you’re looking to get back into exercising, make sure you consult your physician before you start any exercise to make sure it’s okay, and then take it slow.  Instead of concentrating on the numbers on the scale, concentrate on fitness goals – The scale might lie to you, but your body won’t.

Take it one day at a time, do a little bit more every day, eat right, and your weight will drop before you know it.


Getting Started Again After a Break

Get back on the horse SON!

Get back on the horse SON!

Let’s say you just got back from vacation, you’re just getting over the flu (fully recovered), or you had friends come in for a long weekend.  Not surprisingly, you probably had too much to eat or drink and your body started to get used to this whole “doing nothing” thing.  It happens to everybody, and who cares?  We’re all human, we’re all entitled to vacations, and we’re all entitled to have some damn fun.  We only get one chance at this thing called life, so we might as well enjoy it, right?

However, once things go back to normal I highly recommend jumping right back into your routine, no matter how tired or worn out you feel.  It’s easy to come up with any excuse to stay home: I’m too tired, I’ll just wait one more day, why should I, ehhhhh, etc.  We all know that it’s 8 million times either to put that first day off a little longer because you’re not ready.  Being as cliche’ as possible: there’s no time like the present, so just do it.

To put it simply: Get your ass off the couch, and do something!  Taking unexcused “days off” is a slippery slope, and one that can derail your success extremely quickly.  Unless you’re sick or hurt, you owe it to yourself to get out there.  You might be tired, you might have a crappy workout, so what!! Toughen up and get through it.  You’re going to do this because you’re motivated, and you realize that skipping today, whether or not you get on track the next day, will make skipping the next time that much easier…and maybe that time you can’t get right back on track.

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like crap, and I wanted so badly to take the day off for exercising.  Because I’ve made myself accountable via this website, and I’ve had really great success on my current workout plan over the past five weeks, I decided that skipping is NOT an option.  Once you remove the “slacking” as an option it gets much easier to get to the gym.

This is another reason I highly recommend working out with a friend who keeps you accountable: whenever you’re not feeling good he can drag you there, and whenever he doesn’t feel good you can drag him there.  Just make sure you don’t pick a slacker as a partner or you’ll both make each other feel better about skipping.

Now let’s say you’re going to a tough time in your life, you have eight projects due over the next three weeks, or you just can’t get to the gym consistently.  Expecting to have time for the gym five days a week during this time period is crazy.  However, the WORST thing you can do is say to yourself, “well if I can’t go consistently, why bother going at all – it’s a waste.”  Not true, idiot!  If you can find time to go to the gym at least once a week, do a full body workout (which you can get done in 30 minutes) , and keep your diet on a regular track…you’ll be able to start things right back up where you left off instead of having to play catch-up.  Sure, you might not see any gains during those three weeks, but it’ll be like you’re treading water instead of drowning.  Plus, going to the gym for the first time in a week is much easier to do than going to the gym for the first time in a month.

Go.  If you can get there you’ll feel 100 times better afterwards.


Nerd Fitness: Beyond Diet and Exercise

I can only show you the door.  You're the one who has to walk through it.

I can only show you the door. You're the one who has to walk through it.

I realized this weekend that Nerd Fitness should be the catalyst for improving people’s lives.  That is my goal for for this site – to facilitate good changes in people’s lives, to allow them to find their inner strength, their true motivation, to realize that exercising is a microcosm for their future successes in life.  I want Nerd Fitness to be the place that allows people to become 2.0 versions of themselves.

I see people every single day in the gym paying crazy amounts of money for personal trainer sessions and then half-ass it.  Of course, the trainer doesn’t care, because he gets paid either way.   This drives me bonkers.  I think it’s smart to have a mentor, and a trainer can make sure you’re doing exercises with proper form so you don’t get injured.  However, if you’re intelligent (and if you’re reading a nerd fitness site I’d like to think you are), you can be smart about getting in shape and not have to spend thousands of dollars.  I’d much rather see a really skinny or overweight guy in the gym by himself, with his headphones in, recording his results on his iPhone…pushing himself every day to get better.  I’d rather hear about the programmer who decided to start riding his bike to work, ultimately lost over 100 pounds, and will soon compete in a Ironman Triathalon.  These are the guys who will be successful in life, and will help others along the way.  These are the people I want in the Nerd Fitness community.

Now, why did I decide to start a fitness website, even though there are already a million of these things out there already? It’s because 99% of the sites out there are extremely overwhelming, beg you to spend 4 easy payments of $89.99 for their program, and endorse products that probably aren’t good for you (but make the site owners an extra 20 bucks a week).  I know what it’s like to have no clue  where to start…and it sucks.  I created Nerd Fitness to approach wellness from a different angle – I’m not a body builder and I have absolutely no desire to become one; I’m just a normal guy with a day job that wants to help other people become better versions of themselves.  I want to make things as easy and fun as possible for you guys, because your lives depend on it.  Why not have fun, look better, and live longer!

I want to help, and I need your help. I want you to email me at and let me know what questions you have about your exercise plan and diet, if you got a gym membership and need a routine, what you’re struggling with, and let me know how I can help.  I don’t have all the answers, but I can put you in touch with people who can answer the questions I can’t.  I want you to email me and let me know what topics I should be writing about more often; I want to know if my articles are too confusing, too long, or too short; I want to know where I can improve so that I can help you improve.

My friend Saint’s success (losing over 30 lbs in a few months) has shown me that if somebody is determined to change their lives, they can do it without a personal trainer yelling at them five days a week.  Hell, Saint didn’t even have a gym membership!  Fitness is what you want it to be: if you want to run marathons, you can.  If you want to climb mountains, play Ultimate Frisbee, study karate,  or win the Tour de France, you can.  There’s no right way to get in shape; you just need to find out what makes you happy and healthy and stick with it.  I don’t care if you’re 18 or 80, fat or skinny, in shape or immobile; there’s a better version of you waiting around the corner, and I want to help you get there.

Like Morpheus says in the Matrix, “I’m trying to free your mind, Neo…but I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”


email Steve at

What’s Better – Free Weights or Machines?

Dumbbells for the win!

Dumbbells for the win!

What a weekend – I had nine friends in town (2 from Massachusetts, 1 from Ohio, 1 from New York, 2 from D.C., 1 from Memphis and 2 from Nashville), so our apartment got kind of hectic.  However, the daily updates are back!

For those of you guys with limited time in the gym, you need to be concentrating on exercises that work and recruit as many muscles as possible.  Sure you can use a machine and work out a single muscle group decently, but your range of motion is extremely limited – you can push it out, and then lower it back to the starting position.  Although this certainly helps prevent injury by not allowing you to drop weights on yourself, it’s limiting the amount of work your muscles can do in the same amount of time.

If you’re a daily reader of the blog, you know that I am a big fan of efficiency.  If you can get more done in less time, why do anything else?  Because of this fact, I strongly prefer free weights to machines for many reasons.

  • When you use free weights, your body has to use every single muscle to keep the weight stabilized as you raise and lower it. Because you’re using these extra muscles (that you’re not using if you’re on a machine) to keep things steady as you lift, you’re getting more done in less time!
  • Because you’re using free weights (like dumbbells) you get to work both your left arm and right arm independently, instead of using a barbell you can find out if your body is out of balance.
  • Machines often put your body in weird positions or at odd angles which can cause injury (shoulder press machines, pec deck machines, etc.) I’ve learned to stay away from because they put unnecessary stress on unwanted muscles and joints at funny angles.
  • Free weights make you feel better about yourself (this is my own opinion).  You see a weight, you pick it up.  The next time you’re there, you either try to pick up that same weight more times than before, or pick up a heavier weight.   If you’re on a machine, you’re just pulling a pin or turning a dial.  It’s not as easy/fun to see the growth.

Now, there are a few things to consider when using free weights, and that is the safety factor.  If you don’t have good form, or you don’t have a spotter, you can get “injured bad” because you could drop the weights on yourself or mess up a muscle by doing it incorrectly.  Make sure you practice perfect form, and really concentrate on isolating the muscles used in the exercise and you can see greater gains in the same amount of time.

This is why I prefer to do incline dumbbell press instead of a chest press machine, squats with a barbell instead of in the smith machine, straight pull ups instead of lat pull-downs on a machine.  It seems more natural, more muscles get recruited in the process, and I get more out of it.

Here is my routine now. I keep it simple, I use free weights, and I’m seeing great results.


Battle of the Bulge: Domino’s Bread Bowl, KFC Chicken Pot Pie, and the Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad

It’s all going downhill people!

Although I believe in taking responsibility when it comes to your weight, I know the fast food chains of this country aren’t helping.  It like a nuclear arms race except with fat and calories.  The prices get smaller, the amount of food gets bigger, and your body hates you just a little bit more each time.  Today’s heavyweight battle will take place between the Domino’s Bread Bowl (Chicken Carbonara), KFC Chicken Pot Pie, and Taco Bell Fiesta Salad, three ‘meals’ where you get to eat the thing they’re packaged in (bowl, pie crust, taco shell).  Let’s find out which one is more damaging to your arteries, heart, self-confidence, well-being, and dignity.

The Chicken Carbonara

CarbonaraAh yes, the Chicken Carbonara.  If you go to Domino’s website, they don’t have the nutrition facts up for the bread bowls yet.  Luckily, the people over at called up Domino’s and got the scoop.  I don’t blame them, if I was on their marketing team, I’d conveniently ‘forget’ to add this to the nutrition list too.  Oops!  Let’s see what we got here for the biggest offender:

Things that jump out at you immediately: 740 calories, 28 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 05. grams of trans fat,  1140mg of Sodium, and 94 grams of carbs. Good lord.  Oh, and that’s just for half of it, because they call these little meals “two servings”…which means you can double everything listed above if you take down the whole thing.  When you can crank out 50 grams of fat, 1500 calories, 2300 mg of sodium and close to 200 g of carbs in one meal, you know your body is going to hate you.  That’s 120% of your daily saturated fat suggested intake in one single meal, in one tiny bowl.  But hey, it was only 5 bucks right?

I think the reason they list it as two servings is just in case you’re not interested in eating the bowl.  Who would order a bread bowl and not eat it?  Isn’t that the big appeal of this thing?  I also love that if you order a Bread Bowl online instead of calling you get $1 off your bill, which means you can get a heart-attack baked into a bread bowl without even have to leave your computer chair or pick up a phone.

To put this in perspective, if you want to burn off the calories from eating one of these things, you have to run 15 miles.  Yeah, that’s worth it.  Moral of the story: if you’re going to run a marathon tomorrow, feel free to eat 2 of these things and you’ll almost finish burning the calories at the end.

The KFC Chicken Pot Pie

potpie_Here we have the KFC Chicken Pot Pie.  Yikes.  690 Calories, 40 grams of fat, 31 grams of saturated fat, 1760 mg of sodium, and 57 grams of carbs.  Throw in a biscuit to complete the failure pot-pie and you get another 200 calories and 6 grams of saturated fat.  Okay, so the calories, carbs, and sodium is lower than the Bread Bowl.  Big deal.  You also have 37 grams of saturated fat in this pie of pain – that’s 200% of your daily requirement, condensed into a 5 dollar meal made by some yokel.  YEE HAW!  Search “KFC Chicken Pot Pie” on Google and the second link that comes up is a website begging people not to eat them.  That can’t be good for business.

I do have to give props for KFC coming through with GRILLED chicken on their menu now.  I bet the Colonel is rolling over in his grave and their marketing people are thinking, “Our name is Kentucky FRIED chicken, how the hell do we spin this one?” – but it’s a step in the right direction.  I haven’t check the nutrition on it yet, so they might be injected with gravy and lard.  Grilled > fried.  Every time.

Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad

tb-salad“Check under the beans,” says the allegedly attractive girl (I don’t see it) to the dude trying to find the lettuce in his “salad” in the new Taco Bell commercial for the Fiesta Taco Salad.  What drives me nuts is that it seems like this country has given up completely on even TRYING to be remotely healthy.  Polishing off one these salads of sorrow will fill your stomach with this conglomeration of chaos (alliteration ftw!): 845 calories, 45 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat (suck!), 1780 mg of sodium and 80 grams of carbs. Trans fat is the worst thing for you, and this has 1.5 grams of the stuff.  Taco Bell has never been known for healthy choices.  However, I think this one takes the cake in that they call it a salad, and then make fun of the fact that it’s so unhealthy for you that it’s just “technically a salad.”  Cue the Bud Light “Giant Taco Salad Inventor” commercial:

Taco Salad Inventor

Now, you take any of these three meals and add in a side item of fries, breadsticks, a coke, etc. and you’re looking at a really cheap way to kill yourself slowly.  With everybody feeling the pinch from the economy being in the gutter, these fast food companies will continue to produce the cheapest, unhealthiest option and wave it in front of your face with multimillion dollar marketing campaigns.  It makes me sad watching these commercials, because I know the people buying this crap will ultimately end up in the hospital with heart problems and it will be my tax dollars paying for it.

Just say no people!  Friends don’t let friends eat this stuff.


How Jim the Biker Lost Over 100 Pounds

Big Jim at over 320 lbs

Before: Jim at over 320 lbs

Meet my friend Jim.  He’s the man.

About a year ago, I met a friend through work named Jim Hodgson and somehow we got on the topic of fitness.  When he told me that he used to weigh over 320 pounds I couldn’t believe it; Jim seemed like one of the healthiest guys I’ve ever met; he rides his bike everywhere, he competes in races, and has insane amounts of energy.  Oh, and he could totally kick my ass in Counter-Strike.  When I put this site together, I asked Jim if he’d be interested in talking about his story, his success in losing so much weight,  and hopefully pass along some words of wisdom to other big guys who might think it’s already too late for them to make a change or they don’t have the right genetics to be healthy.

After: Jim over 100lbs lighter!

After: Jim over 100lbs lighter!

Jim is truly an inspiration, and my favorite part about it is that he lost over 100 lbs. in an non-traditional matter; he didn’t like dieting, and he was smart enough to recognize that burning more calories than consuming calories would produce weight loss….so he just set out to burn as many calories as possible every day.  Today’s post is really long, but if you’re tipping the scales and think all hope is lost this could be the thing that gets you off the couch and on the road to a better life.  Read it on your lunch break!


Hey Jim, can you describe a typical day before you decided to change your life, what did you weigh?

Jim: I remember stepping on the scale when I sort of had that “Ok, that’s enough” moment, and the needle went around twice. It’s not supposed to do that.  The number in my mind is 320, but I don’t know how precise that is. Definitely well into giant fat man territory, though.  I would get up, eat some Lucky Charms, go to work, smoke cigarettes, do some coding, smoke more cigarettes, go eat a big burger for lunch, then eat a bigass meal that night and plop down and play games or watch TV. Basically I shoveled in the calories and didn’t burn any of them.

Did one thing push you over the edge? What was your motivation to make that change?

Jim: I always thought I would. I guess I just sort of figured that now was the time. Not getting any younger, all that. I spent a lot of years sort of fantasizing about losing weight and what I would do if I lost it, but not actually losing it.  So finally I was like “I guess I should get started.”  I bought a bike and started riding it to work. That’s how I lost the first 60 or so.

How about today?  Describe a typical day now, and now what do you weigh?

Jim: I actually don’t know. The last time I weighed it was 216 but that’s been a while. I personally never had much luck with scales. I would weigh myself every week and my weight would go up or down and it would affect me psychologically. So instead I just worked on my calorie intake and worked on my calorie output through exercise and stopped weighing.

I burned 4000 calories today on an 87 mile road ride [NF note: Holy ****!]. I can eat pretty much whatever I want.  I feel a lot better not obsessing when I’m up 3lbs from last time I weighed or whatever. Just stick to the plan. If you feel like crap, maybe you have a crap workout, but you still work out. If you stay in the game, you cannot fail no matter how slowly you progress. Stay in the game.

For me, weighing in on the scale is like the stock market. If you watch it every day it goes up or down, but if you look at it over a long period of time it trends in a certain direction. I’m much more concerned with my athletic ability and capacity for running at a certain pace or cycling at a certain pace for a given length of time.

As far as a typical day, I have a weekly schedule. I get up around 6am in the spring/summer/fall. In the winter I do a base building spin class so I get up before dawn so I can get in two hours before 7am. The rest of the time I get in a morning workout, then go to work (I like to be at my desk and cranking by 8 at the latest), then do an evening workout. On the weekends I do long runs or long rides. Wednesdays I do long swims. I go to bed around 10 or 11 usually.  I try to work in rest days but I feel slack on rest days so it’s a struggle. I also hate tapering for long races.

Lets talk about the future: what are your goals moving forward?

Jim: I want to continue to grow my business [NF: the link is at the end of the article], continue to get more fit, continue to be a positive force for people who need it, meet the right girl and start a family.  I really have all my goals exactly in place. It feels great. Now all I have to do is work hard.

What’s the most important thing that had the most impact on your weight loss?

Jim: Getting to the point where exercise and being active is not only fun, but a part of my life. I’m in a triathlon club. I’m on a cycling team. I have races I’m looking forward to and a growing list of stats and results from races I’ve done in the past.  Working out is not something I do because I think I should. Each workout has a purpose, and each week of workouts fits into a schedule that builds specifically for my racing goals for the year.

It makes it a lot easier to put a given workout into perspective, rather than feeling like a hamster on a wheel. I did the elliptical machine thing for a long time and I had some success with it, but I’m much more stoked about riding all day with my teammates than about trying to get on an elliptical machine and watch CNN or listen to my iPod.

Favorite video game of all time?

Jim: I’d have to say Counter-Strike. I’ve been playing it since beta 6.5 when the m4 still had a scope and there were drivable vehicles. I love that game. It’s the best FPS ever made in my opinion.  I still play CS a few times a week just to headshot a few n00bs and blow off steam. I love gungame. I’ve also recently been into Left 4 Dead, and I played through Fallout 3. My schedule is getting too packed to play much anymore, but I still like doing a Rock Band night with my friends.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be, and why?

Jim: I’d like to win the Tour de France, or win Kona. Not really a superpower since people do those things, but you know, I would want my superpower to be doing it without performance enhancing drugs. I’d probably rather win the Tour since that would annoy the French. America, baby. F*** yeah!

If I had to pick a real superpower I would pick flight, but that would probably get me disqualified from racing so I wouldn’t want it anymore…and I would pick incredible power to attract women, but I already have it. Sup, ladies? [NF note: hahahahahaha, nice.]

Do you have any advice for other guys in the same boat, trying to lose a large amount of weight?

JIm: I had much better luck with getting my calorie output up than getting my calorie intake down. Last week my heart rate watch recorded 12000 calories burned. I expect to probably have a 20000 week this summer. That means I still get to eat my favorite foods but I don’t gain weight because I’m super active. After my first marathon I ate half a large pizza, then went out that night for a cheeseburger. Hell yes.

Other items that helped me:

  • Stop drinking
  • Quit sodas. Yes, including Diet Coke.
  • If you smoke, quit
  • Stop eating so much. Hey-ohh!
  • Start racing.

In my experience, losing over 100lbs changed my life in a lot of ways that I thought it would and a lot of ways that I didn’t see coming at all. I used to be a really goofy silly guy and I’m not anymore. I used to sit around and watch TV all the time and I don’t do either one anymore. I don’t smoke or drink anymore. I don’t stay out late because I have a race or a training ride or my business to go to.

So, friendships that I had that were based on those things went through big changes. Or in other words, all of my friendships went through big changes because I went through big changes. I lost some friends. I made a bunch. Ultimately I am a million times happier now than I was.

People will hate on you and say discouraging stuff that they either don’t know or don’t care is discouraging. I have always been Big Jim. Granted, I am still 6’1″ and 210, and I swim all the time so I’m pretty thick, but I’m still tired of being Big Jim.  People are going to try to marginalize you and explain away your accomplishments because they know that if you can do it, they can too. I’m sick of talking about my Ironman race coming up in August because everyone says the same thing. “Oh my god, I could NEVER do that!” It makes me ill because that’s the mental attitude I had that kept me fat and miserable. F*** that.

Losing massive weight or training for a race as as easy or hard as flipping a switch. If you’ve decided you’re going to do it, nothing can stop you. If you haven’t, nothing can get you going.

Flip the switch.

If you haven’t noticed yet, Jim’s the man.  Follow Jim’s progress towards participating in the Ironman Triathalon this summer over at Jim Hodgson: Fat man to Iron man, follow him on twitter at, and check out his new social media company at

5 Rules for Guaranteed Weight Loss

Don't worry Homer, we'll get you there

Don't worry Homer, we'll get you there

Alright people.  You’re starting to work out, you’re ready to get in shape, but you’re terrified of doing the whole ‘diet’ thing.  Diets get a bad reputation because all you hear about is how terrible they are and that they don’t work.  WTF?  I don’t know what the hell kind of diet these people are on, but the ones that actually work are pretty normal.  Remember, your diet can account for at least 80% of your success when it comes to weight loss.  Here’s five rules you should follow if you want to lose weight:

1) Double the number of meals you eat every day –  You want your metabolism to be constantly working, and you want your body to have a constant supply of fuel and nutrients throughout the day. By eating six times a day instead of three, your metabolism will always be working instead of start-stop-start-stop.  Obviously, this goes without saying: EAT BREAKFAST. After sleeping for eight hours, your metabolism is in hibernation-mode and needs to be kick-started right away.  After that, you’re going to want to eat every two to three hours.  Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. Simply figure out how many calories you can eat per day for weight loss, divide by 6 – pronto. There’s your meal plan.

2) Eat protein and good carbs with every meal – You might think eating 6 times a week is going to make you get even bigger.  Wrong, because you’re going to eat 6 good meals.  You want to make sure you get protein in each meal, because protein will build lean muscle (and lean muscle speeds up your metabolism).

Pick a protein.  Pick a carb.  Add a vegetable.

To see more information on how to create the perfect meal, read my blog from yesterday where I go more in depth on proteins, GOOD carbs, and vegetables.

3) Cut out the liquid calories – According to Men’s Health, the “average person consumes 459 calories, most of which come from sugar, in the beverages he or she drinks each day.”  You know all those sodas, juices, beers, etc. you drink every day along with your meal?  It’s the sugar that gets ya:  it jacks you way up, and then turns to fat.  If you can find a way to cut those out of your diet completely, you can lose close to an extra pound per week (500 less calories a day = 1 pound of body fat lost).  The best cure I’ve found for this is to just drink a lot of water.  Think about it: if you’re drinking water you’re NOT drinking something else.  Water is good for you, has zero calories, and doesn’t cost money (hit up that office water cooler people!).

4) Keep Track of what you eat – If you have to write down/type every single thing you eat, you’re going to be far more likely to make better choices.  Now, I hate writing things down and I’m terrible at keeping track of stuff…so I use the wonderful internet to help me out.  I keep track of all my meals and workouts (although I did slack last week) on , and I’ve found that on weeks I pay attention and write it down, I stay on track, and when I start to slack and forget to input my meals the results for that week aren’t nearly as good.  I’ve recently been introduced to another website, – where you put in your diet goals and it will generate a meal plan for you (complete with recipes).  I haven’t got a chance to mess around with it too much, but I love the idea of putting recipes in there because I can’t cook anything but I can follow directions pretty well.

bigmeal5) Eat whatever the hell you want one day a week – Body For Life recommends it, Tim Ferriss (the man) recommends it, jury’s still out for me, so I’ll leave this one up for discussion.  Your stomach will recommend it too.  Pick one day a week, and eat whatever the hell you want: Twinkies, Gatorade, Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, donuts, whatever.    If you want to eat an entire family size pag of peanut M & M’s…okay that might be too much.  When you eat all this crappy food, your metabolism will have to work extra hard because it’s used to getting 6 good meals a day.  All of a sudden you throw a Domino’s bread bowl at it and it doesn’t know WHAT to do, so it works overtime.  The next morning, when you go back to eating healthy, your metabolism will KEEP working overtime and you’ll burn more calories.  Woot.  During the week, when you see that two week old birthday cake sitting in the company fridge, you can tell yourself “not til saturday.”  Plus, once you start eating healthy, you can use this One Day a week to reward yourself for being good..and eventually the food that used to be so appealing to you (and so terrible for you) might not seem so great.  This one is probably more of a mental edge than physiological, but I think it works for lots of people.  This one is up to you.  If you just want to go all out and stay dedicated for the whole week, more power to ya.  Here’s a great article laying out the pros and cons.

So there you have it.  6 meals a day.  Protein and GOOD Carbs in each one.  Drink water.  Keep track of what you eat.  Give yourself one day off.

Make it happen.  I’ll see you at the finish line.


The 3 things that NEED to be in every meal if you’re serious about weight loss.

Peter knows that chicken is high in protein

Peter knows that chicken is high in protein

Every day you have a choice to eat right.  You have a choice to eat a grilled chicken sandwich or a family-size bag of peanut M & M’s for lunch.  Nobody is forcing you to eat better; you’re all grown’d up and you can make that call yourself.  If you are serious about getting in shape, then you need to be even more seriouser (yeah I made that word up) about what you put in your body.  It’s like trying to run a corvette on crappy gasoline: it might work, but you’re doing the car a disservice.  All the exercising in the world can’t get you to where you want to be if you’re eating poorly.  Let’s start with one meal at a time.  There are two (sometimes three) things you want to keep in mind when picking out your meal:

Protein and Carbs – Protein builds lean muscle.  Carbs give your body the fuel it needs.

Why do I want protein? Protein = muscles (if you’re working out.  if not it will eventually become fat)  The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism operates.  The faster your metabolism operates, the more weight you’ll lose.  Everybody wins.

Examples of protein: grilled chicken, turkey, fish (tuna, salmon, etc.) shellfish (lobster, crab, shrip) eggs, steak, lean ground beef, skim milk.

Want to know if something has protein?  Read the label.  You want to get at least 20 grams of protein in each meal if you can…more if you’re looking to bulk up and build muscle mass.  I eat probably 200 grams a day, evenly spaced throughout the day (30-35 grams per meal, every 3 hours).

Why do I want carbs? Because I want energy to get me through the day (no sugar/caffeine doesn’t count).  Because you’re working out/exercising, you want that protein to help rebuild your muscles, so you need to give the rest of your body fuel to keep going.  Without those carbs, your body will steal the protein for energy and the muscles won’t get built.

Examples of good carbs: baked potato, steamed brown rice, pasta, oatmeal, beans, nuts, anything that’s ‘whole grain,’ whole-wheat bread, apples, oranges.

What’s a bad carb? white flour, refined sugar, white rice.  White bread, candy, sugary drinks, etc.  Screw atkins.  Carbs aren’t the enemy.  BAD carbs are the enemy.  Eating way more than you should is the enemy.  Good carbs in moderation = NECESSARY.

And don’t forget your veggies. Try to add a serving or two of vegetables with your lunch and dinner.  Vegetables generally have very few calories so eat as many as you want…as long as they’re not deep fried or covered in ranch dressing.

Pick a protein.  Pick a carb.  Add a vegetable. It’s really that simple.  Pick one thing from each list and eat them together. BAM! There’s your healthy meal.  Picky eater?  Pick something that works for you from both lists, and eat a LOT of it.  And get used to it.  I eat grilled chicken every freaking day because I don’t like eggs or fish.

It’s tough to cook/pay for/eat/prepare/clean up after 6 meals every day.  Unless you have a full time chef on hand, cooking 6 meals a day would eat up all of your time (eat, get it? zing!).  I recommend buying pure whey protein (can be found for very cheap online at any store – don’t buy from GNC), and making a shake or two each day to fill in those “snacks.”  Just be careful what you buy – many ‘meal replacement’ shakes are loaded with cholesterol and sugar (future blog post coming soon on supplements).  I buy all my stuff on  And no they’re not paying me to say that – it just happens to be the best place I’ve found to buy stuff online.

Keep it simple.  Find something you like, and learn how to cook it.


PS On a completely unrelated note, I played through BioShock for the first time this weekend – wow, what an incredible game.  For those of you that have played it, this will make sense…just another example of how cheating your way to genetic perfection will surely backfire and cause city-wide riots under the ocean.  People just never learn.

Wait a Second, Breakdance Fighting is REAL!?

"They're break-dance fighting!"

"They're break-dance fighting!"

Last week, my friend Joe went to his first Muay Thai Boxing class at a gym in the area (blog post about it here), and hilarity ensued (to borrow a phrase from Tucker Max).  I’ve always been interested in studying a martial art to go along with strength training for a number of reasons:

  1. Why not?  It gives me something to do.
  2. I’ll be able to defend myself against ninjas, which is nice.
  3. It’ll improve my flexibility, which could use some work.
  4. I’ll feel like a badass. win-win!

Now, I was trying to decide which discipline to follow and I came across Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art originally developed by slaves.  What makes this one so awesome?  Um, it’s literally BREAK DANCE FIGHTING.  I’ll let that sink in for a second.  Yeah, take fighting, and throw in flips, spins, rhythm, and a big helping of awesome and you got yourself on hell of an afternoon.  I’ve been a terrible break dancer for years, and it’s something I’ve wanted to get back into, so I figure might as well learn some fighting moves and get better at that at the same time!

So I’ve done some research on Capoeira (apparently there’s this free encyclopedia on the net called Wikipeidia…who knew!), “Capoeira’s origins are not entirely clear. While many believe that the form displays a combination of African and Brazilian martial arts, historians are divided between those who believe it is a direct descendant of African fighting styles and those who believe it is a uniquely Brazilian dance form distilled from various African and Brazilian influences.  The sparring is marked by fluid acrobatic play, feints, and extensive use of sweeps, kicks, and headbutts.”  Sounds good to me, plus I’ll look like these guys:

Capoeira Circle

Now, I do have some concerns in going this direction.  One, there’s no real fighting when it comes to practicing Capoeira, it’s all about the movements and actually NOT hitting each other.  If you get in a fight with a dude, you’re not gonna wanna practice NOT hitting him.  You’re going to want to beat the **** out of him as quickly as possible if you’re in danger.   Plus, if it happens in a bar or some place similar, then break dance fighting probably won’t help.  Anybody out there ever done Capoeira?  Can it actually be effective in a real-life situation?  I’d consider studying Capoeira alongside a more applicable study like Brazilian Ju-Jitsu (also taught at the same gym) or Muay Thai boxing with Joe.  Either way, I’d definitely like to jump into Capoeira soon.  At the very worst, I could look like this guy and get cast in the next You Got Served movie.

Best Break dancing I’ve Ever Seen

Any Capoeira people out there? Any recommendations? Would anybody NOT recommend Capoeira?


You’re not drinking enough water. Don’t lie to me!

How much water are you drinking every day? If you’re looking for optimal health, especially if you’re working out and running…I can almost guarantee you’re not drinking enough unless you make a concentrated effort to do so.  Are you going all out in the gym and kickin’ your ass?  You should be consuming a gallon of water a day if you’re a dude, and close to 3/4ths of a gallon if you’re a girl.  If you’re not hitting the gym that hard, then less water is okay.  However, if you’re not hitting the gym hard or training hard during your workouts, you’re wasting your time punk!

The main thing is to not rely on your thirst-meter in your body to drink water, especially when working out.  Your brain will tell you that you’re thirsty long after your body actually needs it, so I find it’s helpful to just go get a few gulps at the water fountain or from my waterfall during each set.  Bring a water bottle with you to the gym so you don’t have to get up from the machine/bench every 30 seconds…and you’ll be more likely to drink more.

Your kidneys, the things a boxer tries to beat the crap out of during a match, exist to balance your body out with its fluid levels. When you work out and sweat, your body loses that fluid and needs to be put back in or else your muscles will suffer and your workout will suffer.  Because your body will often process that liquid before it’s able to put it back where it belongs, you need to drink MORE than normal after a workout.  Let’s talk about the best method to keep ahead of the game when you’re working out:

  • Two hours before you work out, drink between half a liter and a liter of liquid..any kind, anything other than booze.  Water is a great choice, because it’s free and plentiful.  Yay for water!
  • While working out, you need to get water into your system quickly so it can rapidly replace the water loss through sweat.  Start drinking it before you even feel thirsty.  In between each set, keep chugging.  6-8 Fluid ounces every 15 minutes.
  • After working out, you need to get your body ready for the next workout by getting the levels back to normal.  Because you’ve been chugging water, you probably need to piss like a race horse.  However, your fluid balances still aren’t back to normal, so you need to keep drinking.  If you can work some sodium into either your liquid or food intake after the workout, your body will retain water longer, giving it more time to absorb and use and regain balance.  You know what has sodium in it, Bobby Boucher? That’s right, GATORADE.  Ruh roh…
  • Drink water throughout the day.  Not only is it good for you, but it’s good to stay hydrated even if you aren’t working out that day.    Trying to lose weight?  Drink lots of water before you eat lunch and you might find your appetite curbed.  If you work in an office or from home, you already have a free abundant supply of the stuff, just keep a glass or bottle on your desk and fill it up every morning when you come in.  And who KNOWS what kind of gossip you’ll hear over by the water cooler while you’re there.  Did you hear that Billy slept with Gina’s sister?  Totally.

You can read my previous post, What the eff is an electrolyte? Is Gatorade really worth it?


Make Sure You’re Not THAT Guy

Don't do it.

Don't do it.

Let’s be honest – nobody likes that guy.

He’s the guy in the gym who tells you that he knows better exercises, or that he can do it better, or that he can lift more than you can.  He’s the guy who one-ups you for no reason.  He’s also the guy in your office who makes a comment every time anybody eats anything remotely unhealthy.  “Eating a donut huh? Let me tell you how many calories and grams of fat are in that.  But good for you.”  He’s the guy who gives you advice whether you want it or not.

I HATE that guy!

Even though you’re changing your life and making yourself a better person, you’ll still be surrounded by people who aren’t healthy that might not make the same healthy decisions that you do.  To that, you have to say “who gives a ****?”  As the great T.I. once said, “Live your life.”  Of course, he’ll be saying that from jail for the foreseeable future, but that’s not the point.  You live your life and let others live theirs.  Let them do what they want, and only offer up advice or criticism if they’re looking for it.  However, don’t be surprised once you lose 20 lbs and develop a six pack that people start to ask you for a tip or advice. THEN, and ONLY then, can you help them out with tips on how to be healthy.

Don’t be that guy, please I beg you. Don’t be that guy in your office.  Don’t be that guy at the gym.  Don’t be that guy in your house.  I’m not just talking about being healthy either: this can apply to all facets of life.  Nobody else cares about how much better you are than them, or how much tougher you have it than they do, or what they’re doing wrong, so don’t tell them!  It’s not a competition…unless it is a competition, in which case you should lie your ass off.

Now, there might be instances where intervening is absolutely important, like if somebody is literally killing themselves with unhealthy choices and they need help but refuse to see it.  For example, if your friend is going to stick a fork into a socket, maybe you should tell him that he shouldn’t.  Now unless it’s this bad, let people do their thing.  Nobody likes to be told what to do, especially by a know-it-all.  Lead by example and you’ll be far more likely to make a positive impact on the people around you.


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