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I am sore.  Hamstrings?  Sore.  Quads, calves?  Yup.  Pretty much everything on me is sore.  I guess that’s what happens when you take three days off from exercise.  Crazy.

Lady Aravan and I worked out Saturday (a double-shot of Jillian’s Biggest Winner Series – more on that later), then went to an event that ended with me drinking quite a bit (it’s fine, I logged my alcohol calories and took them into account, as did my fair Lady).  So, when I awoke Sunday I was still a bit drunk and decided that exercise really wasn’t in the cards early, and then later we had friends visiting.  Day off, no biggie.  Then Monday came, and having a lazy day off was too nice, and exercise was pushed off until Tuesday, which of course was another lazy day off and I just said forget it.  Wednesday, however, it was up at 4:30 and back at it. Read the rest of this entry

Me and My Scale

I sigh as I walk through the door, trying to prepare myself.  My hands are a little clammy, which is ridiculous, but I can’t help but feel nervous.  I clear my throat as I approach, trying to project confidence.

He doesn’t look at me as I approach, his eyes in the middle distance looking at nothing that I myself can see, offering only his profile.  He is immaculately dressed, his tuxedo perfect in every way save one: his tie is slightly loosened.  The perfection of every other stitch makes it obvious that this is deliberate, his way of showing just the slightest tweak of contempt for us all.  His dark hair looks oiled and smells vaguely of raspberry vinaigrette, and his aquiline nose hangs just slightly over the line that demarks arrogance. Read the rest of this entry

Draggin’ Ass

Still getting up at 4:30 am every morning to work out.  Well, to be completely accurate, this week it’s been 4:40 am since Lady Aravan has been using the snooze button once every morning.  She’s in charge of the alarm.  At one time, it was my responsibility, but this last time that she said she wanted to get up in the mornings, I said, “Sure.  But you have to deal with the alarm.”

I did that because Lady Aravan has two stages of waking up.  The first is a half-conscious state, where she is aware that she is being awoken, but nothing else.  Her vocabulary consists of, “Nooooo,” “I’m so comfy,” “but I’m warrrrrmm,” and little else.  I found it very difficult to be in a groggy half-state of awareness myself and hear this without having to lay back down myself, because I too wanted to say no, be comfy, and remain warm.  Her second state is the actual fully-aware state, in which she remembers nothing of her half-awake antics.  Sometimes she would get mad at me for waking her up, but that was rare. Read the rest of this entry

Hi Again, Jillian!

When Lady Aravan and I started working out, we started with Jillian Michaels.  She’d always been an inspiration to both of us, ever since we first saw the Biggest Loser, and we own all of her DVDs.  We worked our way through the 30 Day Shred, then the Biggest Winner Series, and then Banish Fat & Boost Metabolism, No More Trouble Zones, and Yoga Meltdown (the only one of her DVDs that ever disappointed us, but maybe I’ll talk about that another time).  We were alternating the last 3 as our workouts for a few weeks when we saw Bob Harper’s DVDs, which I’ve written about once or twice.

We loved Bob’s DVDs, and said that it was OK, we weren’t exactly “cheating” on Jillian since it was Bob, same show, you know.  Then we did the workout plan, and loved it as well, and saw incredible gains across the board.  Once we “completed” it, we wondered what to do.  Keep going with Bob?  Mix in other things?  Go back to Jillian?  Since Lady Aravan had tweaked her shoulder earlier and it was taking time to get better (especially since she never stopped pushing it, which is so like exactly what I do that I really couldn’t tell her not to, and it wouldn’t have mattered what I said anyway), we decided to do an all-cardio week.  Yesterday we stuck with Bob.  Today, we went back to Jillian after nearly three weeks.

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Bob Harper’s Inside Out Method Workout Plan Review – Day 5

Ahhh, Day 5.  Yoga Day.  The idea seemed so calm and serene, especially when I would say “Yo-gaaaaaahhhh,”  which would make me feel like I was saying “Shangri-La.”  I’d been through Bob’s Yoga for the Warrior twice before, and I knew it was hard, but not Pure Burn or Body Rev intense.  I was especially looking forward to it after 4 days of the other stuff, plus my own strength workouts.  My body felt especially sore this morning, after attempting to do 100 pushups in row the day before (and succeeding!  Woo hoo!).  So I was ready for Bob today.  I thought.

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My Trainer Bob Workout Review: Day 4

The ongoing saga of love, tears, and the vindication of the human spirit (actually, just the daily journal of my wife and I and our attempt to complete Bob Harper’s Inside Out Method workout from

Rough night.  Weird dreams.  Went to bed stiff and sore, then dreamt a long, rambling, and vividly-colored dream that culminated in me being mistakenly taken as a Hairdresser and Facial Expert to the Stars, or at least to Jennifer Love Hewitt.  No, I am not making that up, and no, I don’t know what that means.  The fact that we were at a strange wedding pre-party for a co-worker of mine didn’t help it make any more sense.

Anyway, I was awoken from this dream, not by the sounds of electronic waves crashing from my alarm clock (I will never be able to use a BEEP BEEP BEEP alarm clock again), but instead by our trio of mutts who decide, for no good reason, to leap up and run outside barking.  Perhaps one had dreamt about being a Poodle to the Stars.  I’ll never know, but I do know it’s not 4:30, it’s just after 4.  Fannnnnnnn-tastic.  The soreness in my right shoulderblade (“Yep, I’m still here!” it says joyously as I squint at the clock) keeps me awake.  I try to go back to sleep anyway, even if it means washing Jennifer Love Hewitt’s hair (I mean, I’ve never even watched any of her shows – why her?  Anyone?).  No luck.  Alarm sounds, here we go again.

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My Trainer Bob Workout Review, Day 3

The chronicle of my wife and me and our attempts to do Bob Harper’s Inside Out Method workout plan from

Day 3.  Cardio again.  I slowly get out of bed today.  I’m sore, legs, arms, and glutes – big time – but the worst is the rusty steakknife still jammed into my back next to my shoulderblade from Tuesday’s mishap.  Deep breath, shrug it off, time to go.

Hi, Bob.  It’s now the fifth or so time I’ve been through this exercise routine, but Bob still gets me motivated.  “ToDAY is the DAY you make a difference.  Right now.”  I’m ready to make a difference.  Warm-up, then the punches that mark the blending between the warm-up and the intensity to follow.  As always, I admire Roxie’s stance as she goes through the punches, then uppercuts.  She’s tiny, but you can tell from the way she holds her hands and hunches into her stance that she isn’t a stranger to boxing.  I try to mimic her casually perfect form and can’t, but that’s OK, since it’s something to strive for.

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My Trainer Bob Workout, Day 2

The ongoing chronicle of my wife and I and our attempts to do Bob Harper’s Workout Plan from

It’s Day 2, and you know what that means, and it ain’t French Toast.  Day 2 is strength day.  Even at 4 stinkin’ 30 I’m apprehensive.  My neck and upper back are sore, because I am stupid.  Yesterday at lunch, I did my strength workout (back and biceps) and, straining to increase my reps, I tweaked a muscle in my upper back/neck, making it hard to turn my head.  Lady Aravan makes me promise to be smart with it, so I need to keep a rein on my own stupidity.  At 4 freaking 30 in the morning.  Protein shake, feed dogs, water filled, skip heart rate monitor because I don’t want to be distracted, DVD in.

Bob ties his shoe.  He looks at me, and I can see that he is determined.  “Let’s do this,” he says, firmly but quietly.  He walks onto the set, where Helen, Stephanie, and Francisco await him.  He slaps their hand one by one.  My wife and I aren’t terrorists, but we fist-bump anyway.  Let’s do this.

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Me, My Shovel, and My Trainer Bob: Attempting Bob’s Workout Plan

After reviewing Bob Harper’s new DVD collection, I found on his website (free to join) his 4-week exercise plan.  Well, technically, my wife found it, and she talked me into trying it in that roundabout way she has (“I was thinking about trying this” – when Lady Aravan is thinking about something, that generally means it’s what she wants, but she doesn’t like asserting herself all the time).  I agreed.  After looking at it, we decided to start on Week 3, since we currently work out 6 days a week, and that mirrors the Week 3 plan.  Full on vinegar and bravado, we decided that we’d start Tuesday – which is today.

This is the background paragraph: If you don’t care, click the Read More button and skip it, but I think it’s helpful info.  My wife and I are not young 20-somethings, marathon runners, or fitness nuts (or, at least, we weren’t, but we seem to be becoming that).  I’m 38, she’s 39.  I smoked over a pack a day for 10 years or so, from 18 to 28, and still occasionally do when I’mma gettin’ ma drink on.  I only run when my life is in peril, and since I live in the suburbs, my life hasn’t ever really been on the line.  I started lifting weights regularly a couple of years ago, but hated cardio so much that I avoided it like brussels sprouts.  In April of this year, Lady Aravan and I were at our heaviest weights ever and not happy.  We decided to do something about it, since I came to the painful realization that the government is not currently working on a top-secret cyborg that my brain will be implanted into, thereby gaining me eternal life, so I’d have to increase my lifespan the hard way.  We started with Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred, built some endurance, mixed in some of her The Biggest Winner exercise DVDs, and moved to her latest (Banish Fat and Boost Metabolism, No More Trouble Zones, and Yoga Something Or Other) DVD collection.  Over the last 4 months, we’ve dropped weight, gained strength and endurance, and were ready for a new challenge.  Bob Harper’s DVD set looked interesting, so we decided to give it a whirl.  Enough background: this is the story of Day 1 of Bob’s workout plan.

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Five Things for Monday, May 10th

1.  My novel is now on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble’s website, even a couple of Indian websites and a couple of Asian ones.  Crazy.  Before I did it, I said I’d be pleased if I sold a dozen copies.  I’ve sold 15, so I am now officially happy.  I’ve set up a Facebook page for it and already have over 40 fans, a couple of whom I don’t know and never met.  It’s cool.  I was afraid to set one up, feeling like the world’s biggest narcissist, but Lady Aravan had a good point: I want to write for a living, and I need to promote the thing as best I can.  She’s right.  Now I just need to stop checking the page incessantly.

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