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DesktopWeb FormText   death by bicycleWed, 28 Apr 2010 17:12:27 GMT # 

i might have to rethink my no helmet in the TX heat stance ... because some car drivers dont seem to notice bicycles at all. from my home to the gym i only have to cross 1 (3-way) intersection. so i press the crosswalk button and wait for my turn. and its all safe until a driver comes and just turns without even noticing me. and i wouldn't consider myself a small target. its messed up. i'm looking at them through their windshield, and our eyes never meet. hell, they're not even on a cell phone. its like they have blinders on to only notice cars in front of them. not good. so now i just ignore the walk signal and wait until its entirely clear, or i make eye contact with a driver and they come to a complete stop. darwin would be proud. or maybe i should start walking the bike through the intersection? anyway, i'm not sure that i'll really feel safe on a bike until cars start driving themselves.

DesktopWeb FormText   bicycleTue, 20 Apr 2010 18:12:27 GMT # 

been feeling stupid for driving a mile to the gym and then walking on a treadmill for 5 minutes to warm up. so i've been thinking about getting a bike for about a month; since i figured the mile ride to the gym would take slightly less time and warm me up at the same time. so i've been watching out for any other bike riders for the last couple weeks ... and i haven't seen any. blame it on suburban sprawl. also been checking out the bike racks at the gym, there are alot of them ... all unused. hmm ... but then my recumbant exercise bike broke, so that pushed me over the edge. bought the cheapest bicycle i could find. haven't ridden for 18 years. i'm not sure how to distinguish the different types of bikes, but mine is somewhere in-between mountain and comfort? i assembled it after referring to some youtube vids. also found some vids for adjusting the height of the seat and handlebars. for sizing (6 ft), i just assumed an adult bike with 26 inch wheels would work. it seems decent, but the seat could stand to go higher (although its already at the maximum height mark). its been so long i was a bit nervous, but as a friend said, 'its like riding a bike' ... and it is. the only hard part is figuring out what gear to be in. where is the automatic shifting bike? i'd rather just set some difficulty level, and then it would automatically shift based on torque, depending on how hard i wanted to work. anyway, my derailleur (sp?) wasnt setup right. i just assumed that would be ready to go, but i couldnt get the front gear to shift into high. you get what you pay for? again, youtube has the vids for tweaking that. the next obstacle was getting out of the gated complex. but i couldnt find the sensor and/or didnt have enough mass to trigger it. trapped! so using the skills i learned from playing doom, i started follwing the gate and always turning the same direction, until i found a break in the gate. freedom! for sidewalks, i'd already checked google / bing maps to see that there would be paved paths the entire way. very nice. then, i was wondering if i'd feel self conscious about being out in the open on a bike, after being behind tinted glass for so long. i generally dont care what other people think, and this was no different. mostly because i was too concerned about getting run over by somebody in a car, that you dont get to feel self conscious. and you get to feel self righteous and pat yourself on the back for saving the world while they are destroying the environment with dinosaur batteries. er, um ... i'm not really a hippie, instead i was judging them for being fat and lazy. although i believe in darwinism, i wasnt wearing a helmet. TX doesnt have helmet bike laws, and i know there is no way i'd wear one during summer. especially with global warming (whoops, not a hippie). the next worry is flat tires. along the route there were a couple of broken beer bottles (rednecks). again, i watched some youtube vids for how to change a flat tire. i'm pretty sure i've never changed my own bike tire ... always had my dad do it :) i cant really see myself changing a flat just a mile away, but i've seen this stuff called tire slime that you can put in your tires to seal small leaks; at least good enough to get you home. so i need to get some of that stuff, instead of having to carry tire tools, spare tube, and pump. and then i realized how uncomfortable the seat was. its a brick. comfort bike my ass ... literally. i'm definitely going to have to get an aftermarket seat, potentially one that has a longer tube to get a little more height. for other accessories, i picked up a chain to lock it up, but am going to switch to a U-lock for more mounting options. there just isnt a good place for me to store the chain. also need to get an underseat bag and cover for storing it outside. probably a phone mount too, with some software to make it a bike computer. not sure if it really need fenders, maybe for after it rains? aside, my other complaint is the bike came fully stickered. i absolutely hate stickers, and branding. the other drawback, how are babes at the gym going to find out i have a nice car? anyway, it got me to the gym quickly and i was already warmed up. so i was patting myself on the back for saving the world, until i had to ride back home after leg day. ouch.

DesktopWeb FormText   new article : /treadTray Treadmill DeskThu, 01 Apr 2010 03:09:59 GMT # 

/treadTray is about setting up my treadmill desk and how i use it. the /treadTray app is a small utility that makes switching between my sitting desk and treadmill desk easier. i register which keyboard and mouse i use while sitting and standing, then it monitors those input devices. when it gets input from a device registered for the treadmill, then it switches the default speaker and microphone devices for treadmill usage.

DesktopWeb FormText   GUI sorting of audio devices from IMMDeviceEnumeratorTue, 23 Mar 2010 20:23:26 GMT # 

i 'think' this is how you sort the audio devices (mics and speakers) from IMMDeviceEnumerator; to match the 'Sound' control panel GUI for Playback and Recording. found it through trial and error by plugging in a ton of USB sound cards into my notebook. first, you sort by the string system name {b3f8fa53-0004-438e-9003-51a46e139bfc},6. and if the system names are equal, then you sort by an additional guid {1da5d803-d492-4edd-8c23-e0c0ffee7f0e},8.

this should help devices that script automation of changing the default audio devices. e.g. Vista Audio Changer ... which seems to be dead?

DesktopWeb FormText   retiring the dev notebookTue, 02 Mar 2010 21:07:52 GMT # 

amazingly, this dev notebook survived almost 3.5 years (Oct 2006). had been holding out for USB 3.0, but finally had to give up because this one's on its last legs : 1) DVD burner stopped working back in 2007. actually, i dont think i've had any notebook DVD burner last more than 1 year. 2) ethernet port doesn't work because it was destroyed by a lightning strike surge. 3) only 1 USB port still works. the other 3 have been worn down so much that they only recognize that a device is connected for a couple minutes. so i have a hub connected to the 1 working port. 4) power connection is bad. i had to dremel the lip off the plug so i could shove it deeper into the connection. and the plug has electrical tape around it to keep the connection tight. 5) lost the left-shift and left-ctrl keys on the keyboard. been having to use the 'righties' instead. 6) battery no longer holds a charge. if the bad power connection becomes loose, then it powers down within 5 minutes. anyway, it made it through a ton of code ... it'll be missed.

DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : (pre) scivation pre-contest dietSun, 28 Feb 2010 01:41:18 GMT # 

i've taken a week off of dieting. so my bodyweight shot up 5 lbs. i have taken in alot of calories, but that should mainly be stored glycogen and water weight ... which i'll shed real quick. i've definitely been able to tell that my glycogen stores are full when lifting and powering through cardio. thats been fun; but i've also been feeling bloated from all the calories. plus all the additional sugars / carbs / fats / sodium have really cranked up the cravings. when i was cutting the last month i was rarely hungry; but the last week of not-dieting, i've wanted to eat all the time.

been checking out the scivation diet, and its got more than a couple interesting parts. mainly, its weird with carbs. its seriously low carb, in that it pushes alot of fibrous carbs with every meal, but you really only get complex carbs with the re-feed meal every 3rd day. and that re-feed meal is your last meal before bed ... carbs before bed, that'll be new. the other weird part is the diet's ok with fruit (grapefruits or blueberries) in the morning and at night ... every day! i like that alot. those simple carbs should help keep me sane. but i'm worried about the lack of complex carbs in the morning. but i'll give it a shot, because the simple sugars from the fruit might be enough. another odd thing is that its against the insulin spike post-workout. that'll be new for me to try out as well. it really recommends BCAAs during your workout, but i'm not one to carry around a bottle at the gym, so i'll opt for a protein drink immediately after cardio. that said, i do drink BCAAs throughout the rest of the day. of course its high protein but its also high fat. it starts out higher fat than i'm really comfortable with, so that will be where i cut back to reduce calories first. at least the constant fat intake throughout the day should help my energy levels. also sort of remember reading something about improved protein uptake when you have some fats with protein? this also gives me some flexibility to have some meals with a higher fat protein source and just not add any more fat sources to the meal. the plan can be used for months, so you start out higher calories and then reduce as you hit a sticking point. i haven't done that for a while, but will start that up again. i'm also going to stick with whole foods, and only rely on protein powder post-workout.

can already kind of guess how i'll modify this plan. first, i'll cut fats as i hit a sticking point. second, i might have to add some complex carbs into the morning meal. third, i might have to add some complex carbs post-workout as well.

DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : skecher shape upsFri, 26 Feb 2010 00:56:35 GMT # 

i'd been waiting for these to come out (for men); and just got a pair yesterday. they are destabilizing, so they require more effort to stay upright. the first 30 minute session was more effective than expected. my lower abs were definitely working. that said, my legs didnt seem to be getting much out of it. anyway, they make a great addition to a treadmill desk, because they provide another method to make walking more difficult. so now i can throw on a weight vest while wearing the shape ups, and still keep the treadmill at low enough speeds to accurately use the mouse and keyboard.

i'm not sure if i would wear these to the gym on leg day. wearing these shoes while trying to do squats might be a bad idea.

DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : pre-contest diet wrapupTue, 23 Feb 2010 00:51:14 GMT # 

i spent a month trying a pre-contest diet. i'm vainly trying to get a six pack (no plans to actually compete). as a programmer, i consider it 'hacking my body'. or the brains-n-brawn spin is 'mind over matter'. overall, i didn't lose any weight, but did lower my fat percentage. specifically, i attempted the gaspari nutrition pre-contest plan that comes with the mitotropin supplement. after about a week, my body began to shut down. the mistake was that i wasnt getting enough total calories. 1) i wasnt getting enough fat. to fix this, i got a shot glass to measure how much flaxseed oil i was taking in the morning and evening. also made sure to have 100 calorie almond packs on low carb days. had to use packs, because i was cheating with a larger container of raw almonds. 2) i wasnt getting enough protein. so i increased my portion size from 4oz per serving to 6oz servings. also added an afternoon protein shake during/after my 2nd cardio session. 3) i wasnt getting enough carbs on the low carb days. so i stopped counting carbs from fibrous veggies. on low carb days (50 grams carbs) i would have 1/2 cup of oats before a workout, and 1/2 a sweet potato after. even after making these changes i was still a zombie during workouts. so i modified the plan. instead of a high, medium, low, low carb days; i switched to high, low, low, low. the real modification was to allow some fruits. i would have a small grapefruit before a workout and blueberries afterwards with a protein shake. on high carb days, i might also have some blueberries in the evening, depending on how low my energy levels were. with those changes, i still felt like a zombie, so i also started taking a level Tbsp of waximaize post workout.

working out was tough. again, 'zombie' is the word. because it was mostly core lifts to burn more calories, but getting through those core lifts on low carbs took serious willpower. ultimately, i entirely stopped caring how much (namely how little) weight i was lifting. i would say that vanity is slowly switching from strength and being directed to seeing more muscle separation ... but that's not the case. instead, lifting on low carbs was entirely humbling, and i was just trying to survive the lifts. and then i'd go do cardio after lifting, and it was just pitiful. i'm quite certain that the people giving tours to potential new members would avoid walking past me because if they saw how sad i looked, that there is no way they'd join the gym. anyway, i mostly followed the gaspari lifting plan too; except i dropped the 'shoulder and traps' day. 1) i genetically have good shoulders and traps, so they dont really need the work. 2) i didnt burn many calories those days. dropping that upper body day, meant less days between leg days ... which burns the calories. 3) it made a 4 day lifting cycle (chest/tris/calves, legs/abs, back/bis/calves, cardio/abs) to sync up with the 4 day nutrition cycle (high, low, low, low). so i'd have a high carb day on the chest/tri day and load up for legs the following day.

visibly, i still have some fat covering my low abs, but that midsection bodyfat percentage measurement dropped the most. my love handles have shrinked quite a bit, along with lower back fat ... although these 2 areas still have some 'jiggle' to them. i am starting to see more seperation of upper (and side) ab muscles and my ribs are starting to become visible. plus my waist shrunk and is close to 34 inches. now that i've shed enough fat to physically feel my ab muscles, i can 'see' that my abs dont seem particularly well developed. i'm hoping that lifting abs every other day will help fix this. at least its more ab work than i've ever done before and i am definitely gaining more awareness of my core muscles, to target the proper muscles and avoid cheating.

the gaspari pre-contest diet was only supposed to be followed for a month. so now i'm taking at least a week off to fuel up, give my metabolism a kickstart, and switch things up by lifting for strength. that means more calories from good fats and carbs. plus i get to eat the foods that i missed : red meat, dairy, more fruits, fatty fish ... redi whip! and i'm going to avoid : flaxseed oil (yuck), spinach, and cracking/splitting eggs for egg whites. next month, i'm going to try the pre-contest diet from scivation. with the modifications, i'm relatively happy with the gaspari plan, but i want to try the scivation plan as well; because i'm still trying to figure out what works best for my body.

DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : GoWearFit caloriesSat, 23 Jan 2010 04:16:01 GMT # 

picked up a GoWearFit to try out. mainly, i just wanted to get another calorie estimate. initially, it estimates the calories i needed based on age, weight, activity, weight trend. this initial estimate was 3000 calories. based on counting calories for over a year, i knew this was a high estimate.

now having worn the device for 2 days, its averaging that i'm burning over 3200 calories each day. i also think this is a high estimate. because i generally eat about 2000 calories. if i was really burning over calories 3000 calories a day, then i would be losing 2 lbs each week. the problem is my weight has been mostly constant lately, and i generally only lost 1 lb a week when i was losing. when i was heavier, i did need 3000 calories; but as i lost the weight, it dropped to 2500 calories, and then 2000. at one point, i was only eating about 1500-1750 calories a day to keep losing. anyway, i'm assuming its caloric expenditure estimate is high because it initially estimated by caloric needs were so high.

so i ran its nutrition estimator by providing 3 days of my food log. that dropped my estimated caloric needs down to 2000 calories a day (thats with a 10% underestimation). so i'm assuming the GoWearFit device will have more conservative measurements over the next couple days.

DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : new planFri, 22 Jan 2010 00:49:19 GMT # 

as i lose more weight, it becomes harder for me to keep losing. i think part of the problem is my body is too efficient. so the plan is to keep it guessing. i already do this when it comes to weight training, but haven't really tried it with nutrition. for nutrition, i've mostly kept moving calories lower, and that works to an extent; until your body starts shutting down. the plan is to cycle between what would be a pre-contest bodybuilder diet and then a weight gain diet. i'm thinking 4 weeks pre-contest and then 2 weeks weight gain to start off with.

the pre-contest diet is super restrictive. only lean proteins (chicken, turkey, lean fish, egg whites). starchy complex carbs earlier in the day (oatmeal, bulgur, sweet potato). fibrous carbs in the evening (broccoli, green beans, asparagus, ...). fats from flaxseed oil and almonds. within this phase, i'm also going to try carb cycling. so i'll have a high carb day (150 grams), medium (100 grams) day, and low carb (~50 grams) days.

the weight gain phase will still be 'clean' food, but more of it for more calories. fattier protein sources will be added back in (e.g. beef, salmon, sardines, some egg yolks), and every day will be a higher carb day. there will also be more 'good fat' foods (e.g. avocado). plus fruits (e.g. berries) and dairy (e.g. greek yogurt).

the workout routine will coincide with the nutrition routine. so i'll be training for size during the pre-contest diet (i.e. 10+ reps) and for strength during the weight gain phase (5 reps). the extra calories are needed for the heavier weight, and the heavier weight is needed to get the testosterone flowing.

DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : end of yearFri, 01 Jan 2010 02:50:24 GMT # 

i met this years goal. bodyweight dropped just below 190 lbs. bodyfat percentage is below 8%. in total, i lost ~20 lbs this year (55 lbs from Apr 1st 08). visibly, i still have a little fat covering my lower abs and love handles. that said i've got more definition all around; especially when lifting. my strength has dropped a little, but is still about the same as the start of the year. leg strength is actually up after re-incorporating deadlifts. for lean muscle mass, i still seem to average losing 1 lb of muscle per every 5 lbs lost.

its been a struggle with my ego as i lose size and strength. so i have to keep promising myself that i'll work on bulking up again later. and i'm trying to redirect the ego towards getting lean and seeing more definition. this part is not easy for me.

i kept experimenting with nutrition. the main change was avoiding all processed foods, and preparing all my own meals. a typical day now looks like :

breakfast - oatmeal and egg white (1 yolk) pancake, asparagus
snack - blend protein shake, mixed berries
lunch - 4oz chicken, brussel sprouts
meal - 4oz fish, quinoa or barley, green beans
pre workout meal - 4oz beef, mixed veggies (starchy)
post workout drink - whey protein shake, yogurt, blueberries
post workout meal - 4oz turkey, beans, broccoli
nighttime snack - casein protein (on heavy days, mix with tofu)
other snacks throughout the day might be edamame, almonds, prunes.

this meal plan gives me a consistent amount of protein throughout the day, from many different sources. it minimizes carbs, fruit, and dairy but still keeps my energy levels constant (mentally and physically). compared to last year, i eat alot more veggies, which provides a ton more fiber. i really like this plan on the days when i get to workout early in the morning, because then i get almost all my starchy carbs taken care of just after noon.

it sounds trivial, but i spent some time this year learning about grocery stores. serious. i would go into a store during their off hours and spend an hour or two studying the products they offered. reading labels and comparing products takes time. i also tried some new foods. each shopping trip, i made sure to pick up 1 new item that i had no idea how to eat. then i'd go home and search for 'how to eat/cook X'. youTube really came in handy for this.

next years goal is set. the plan is to keep cutting down to the obligatory 'six pack'. i'm not entirely sure what my bodyweight will need to be to meet this goal? when i weighed 245, i would have guessed 215. when i was 215, i would have guessed 200. when i was 200, i would have guessed 190. now i'm 190 ... and i've learned to stop guessing. anyway, i calculate my lean mass above 175 lbs (estimated) ... so i should be close ... hopefully. the problem is my genetic disposition for storing fat primarily at the midsection is entirely working against me.

so this post is to draw a line in the sand :
i will post an 'after' picture sometime in 2k10