Friend Making Monday

Kenlie over at the “All The Weigh” blog has friend making Monday, where you answer some questions on your blog and post a link on hers.  Well since its Monday, here we go.

  1. What city do you currently live in? Pasadena, MD
  2. What’s the weather like where you are? We get a little of everything. All four seasons, heat, humidity, rain, snow, cold.
  3. When you eat at a restaurant do you prefer to eat inside or outside? Inside most of the time.
  4. What is your favorite season? Spring. Cool mornings, bugs aren’t yet out and everything is becoming new again.
  5. When you go on vacation do you prefer the beach or the mountains? What’s a vacation?
  6. What do you like most about Spring? The newness (if that is even a word) life starting again, the chance to enjoy the outdoors.
  7. Share one of the greatest moments of Spring from your childhood. Growing up by the water, on a street of summer homes with 20+ acres of wood behind you, every spring was magical. As kids we were Kings of the neighborhood. Running, exploring, fishing to our hearts content with nobody else around. All the springs were good.
  8. Do you prefer to wear shorts, capris or dresses at this time of year? Shorts.
  9. What do you miss about Winter? …………? Trying really hard here…..but I am drawing a blank.
  10. What do you look forward to about Summer? Long sunny days. Sitting on the porch in the evening.

If you want to join in, stop over at the all the weigh blog.




The Waistline Warrior Project or Dale 2.0…Part 1

It was all the fault of the “Globolgym”.  You know, the large chain that I have a lifetime membership to. When I joined back in 1984 it was Holiday Spa, then it was Bally’s now it is something that will remain un-named. Each iteration removed more of my beloved free weight equipment, replacing it with soulless machines. From a business standpoint this is great. Your instructors don’t really have to know physiology or spend time teaching people to do a barbell lift correctly, don’t have a ton of weights lying around and you can move people in and out fast.

But, I still believed in the magic of free weights and the benefits of using them in ways that mimic real life. Movements that move weight and utilize balance. Efficient movements that train whole muscle groups at one time.  Not some artificial axis, groove or plane determined by a machine to isolate a particular muscle.

So, I waited…..again for a chance to get in the power rack and move some iron. Again, wasting time because the equipment that would do most gym members the most good have been replaced with a machine. Time I could be building strength and muscle instead of watching people flail away on a machine with the same weights they used last week, last month and probably last year. Then I got angry with the waiting and left.

Having belonged to a gym for years, I learned a long time ago that lifting free weights was the best way to improve your body, it’s strength and its look. Progressive weight training with a barbell stresses your body in way that can’t be duplicated by a machine. Let’s use the king of exercises the squat and compare it to a leg press.

Muscles worked in leg press
Muscles worked in leg press

The pictures show that you work both your quadriceps and your gluteus muscle groups in the leg press. A decent exercise as far as machine exercises go. But compare it to a squat.

squat diagram.
Muscles worked in the squat.

Look at how many more muscles are worked in the squat. You hit the same quads and glutes but also back, shoulders and abdominals are called in to assist. This is a picture of a front squat but the preferred back squat works a few more muscles. (couldn’t find a picture.) Don’t know about you, but if I am busting my butt in the gym, I want to get more work done in less time. Exercises that work more muscle groups at one time are more efficient than doing multiple exercises that work one or two muscles at a time. Compared to the leg press, the squat is an exercise bargain.

Back to the gym, or actually leaving the gym in disgust. Went right home and got on the computer to find a gym that offered more real weight training equipment. I knew from past experience that a person could train on three to five exercises and make more progress in a shorter amount of time with the right system and equipment. My must haves were;

  1. Must have enough free weights so waiting was a thing of the past’
  2. Must be newbie friendly. Even though I trained years ago, I am 55 and have lapsed back to “beginner”.
  3. Must be reasonably close.

In the next installment we will cover what I found in my area.

Another Month Gone By.

Procrastination seems to be a regular occurrence when posting to the blog. Last post was Valentine’s Day just over a month ago. Wish I could honestly say that I was too busy, but that would be a lie. When I started on this project, I figured that exposing myself to the cyber world would make me be more accountable to both myself and you, the readers. It hasn’t happened like that.

A lot has happened in my life since then, divorce (on my birthday no less), started/joined a gym and lost a job. All had an affect on my life, but none of them reduced the time I had available to post. Part of the reason for putting off posting was a lack of interesting things to say or share.

Since there have been so many big changes in the last month and a half, I am just going to wing it. You will likely see a lot of stuff that is, well…boring. But am honestly going to TRY to post more often and share a lot more. There have been some setbacks, but there are some steps forward. Hope you will stick around for some of them.

Thanks for reading.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Here I sit with coffee in hand contemplating the meal I’ll be cooking for Valentines Day. Knowing that it will blow any reasonable weight losses in the past week. Dreams of Rib Eye steaks and Cream of Crab soup with 9 Grain Sourdough bread from Great Harvest Bread Company in Alexandria, VA compete with whether I am attending church this morning or going to the gym.

Weekends can be dull or full of choices and this one is no exception. At least I am off Monday so that adds a little room to cram in more fun/work/naps. At least I didn’t forget to get you flowers.

I got you some flowers!
I got you some flowers!


AM still trying to be consistent with all of this posting, eating and training. The only thing that is consistent is trying.  Hope this doesn’t sound like whining, am actually quite happy and content. Got in 3 hours and twenty minutes of training last week. Posted to the weekly weigh in section and it was down a couple of pounds. Got to see Navy Hockey win the Crabpot Tournament last night. Plus I still have two more days off and the aforementioned delicacies to enjoy. Life is pretty damn good.

Maybe its just because its early. Maybe its because its squat day at the gym. Maybe its because its 9 degrees outside right now, but I am having problems getting my ponderous rear section ready to workout. One more cup of coffee may do it but I really need somebody here to prod me along.

Somebody…..The essence of Valentine’s Day is celebrating that somebody. Hopefully all of you have that somebody. The person behind you success, the person who prods you when you need it. Success doesn’t normally happen in a vacuum, it happens because others were there to cheer you on, to give you a shoulder to cry on, to pick you up when you’ve fallen and to apply one’s foot to your backside when you need it.

Celebrate your somebody today. Tell him or her how important they are. Let them know how they contribute to your success. You don’t need bacon flowers or Steaks and Cream of Crab soup, you just need a few kind words.

Have a great Valentine’s Day.

I’m finishing my coffee and going to the gym.




How Do You Feel About Being Average?

Average. 1. equaling or approximating an arithmetic mean. 2.being about midway between extremes. 3. not out of the ordinary; common.

A 2012 Gallup survey found that most Americans exercise for 30 minutes three times per week. (51 percent) Another 18 percent exercise two days per week and a third doesn’t exercise at all.  Seems that people exercise more in the spring and summer than in winter. Obese people and those with incomes under $36,000 per year tend to exercise the least.

The Maryland Population Research Center funded a study that found that Americans average about two hours per week engaged in sports or fitness activities. They also found that dedicated walking was the most prevalent activity and that 5 percent of Americans spend about 53 minutes daily walking. Two hours may not sound like much, but is way more than what we were getting in 1965 when the first U.S. National Diary was conducted.

Average. Is that that good enough for you? Do you go to see average movies? Spend you weekend seeking out average restaurants with average cuisine? Looking for an average job or and average mate? Do you want just an average body?

Don’t know about you but average? That’s not what I want to put the effort into. (Although an average body is an improvement for me) One of the planks of my 20/18 plan is exercise or training 4 hours or more per week. More than average, faster improvement and some flexibility. That comes out to 18 hours per month. Something every one of us can find the time for.

About four hours per week is what  the U.S. Center for Disease Control  recommends for adults aged 18 to 64.  Four hours of physical activity each week by combining moderate exercise for 2.5 hours per week and a vigorous activity, such as running and muscle strengthening, for an hour and fifteen minutes per week.

Over at Prevention Magazine they have an interesting article that cites an even higher amount of exercise. Seems that the JAMA Oncology magazine published a study that 300 minutes of exercise per week was linked to the greatest weight loss and fat loss.

Was worried about getting behind on exercise because of being snowed in over the weekend. It started to snow when I got home on Friday and 20 inches later I am still home on Sunday as I write this. But I did get in 1 1/2 hours yesterday and two hours today of shoveling snow. My week starts on Sunday so I finished last week with 4.3 hours of exercise and started the current week with two hours.

shoveled driveway


Now back to average. Is average really what you want? Obviously it is better than nothing, but it is still average. Can you commit to more and would you? How often do you exercise? Would love to hear from you.



Motivation To Post.

You’d think that a lack of posting means that somebody may have given up. Its not like it takes that much time to post a few words here and there. Doesn’t have to always be prolific posts. (not that any of mine have been so far). But, life gets in the way. Still fighting the waist, still working out, but at the end of the day a post seems to get lost in the shuffle. Life gets in the way.

The holidays, daughter going away to college (tried to spend as much time with her as possible), work and any other excuse keeps me away from the keyboard. Did formulate a new battle plan. Have read and studied some exciting (to me) books on the psychology of habit specifically and weight loss in general. And have applied some of those finding to the battle plan. Hope to elaborate more soon.

Surf a few other weight loss blogs and will occasionally link to them. Kenlie’s All The Weigh site is entertaining. Check it out.

Supposed to snow this weekend. Like…..lots of snow for this area. (12 plus inches)  Am sure being trapped in the house will cause a prolific posting or two and already have a couple of drafts in the works.

Thanksgiving And Thankfulness.

Holidays are a great time to spend with families and friends and its hard to resist one that centers around good food. Food has always been an expression of love in my family. Mom was one of those welcoming type of her generation who greeted you, invited you to sit down and then offered to make you something to eat. That has rubbed off on me.

Starting on Wednesday I spent most of two days cooking. Went over to my ex-wife’s house (yes, we get along great) and started on the feast. Everybody had one dish they wanted in addition to the usual Thanksgiving fare, plus I cooked dinner for Wednesday night, Panera Bread potato cream cheese soup. Wednesday was mostly prep so Thursday cooking would go smoothly. Made up two kinds of dressing, pies, soup for dinner, cleaned the smoker for the turkey and shopped for last minute items.

Spent that day hanging out with my daughter and the dogs. She helped some, but I was in my glory in the kitchen. Cooking is something I really enjoy, its that combination of creativity, art and the rewards of satisfied friends and family heaping compliments on you afterwards.

Did a Turkey on the smoker, its always a hit with the family and makes fantastic turkey soup. (the smoke adds a depth of flavor to the soup) One of the nice things about using the smoker is it frees up the oven for all the other things we tend to make for Thanksgiving. And with sweet potato pies, two kinds of stuffing, pumpkin spice corn bread all having to be cooked the extra space was needed.

Could ramble on about the cooking and the food but the important thing was having a great time with people we love. Am blessed to be able to enjoy that smidgen of time together before life gets back in the way and we all join our daily routines of work and school.

Yeah, I put on a few pounds. Yes, this blog is about my battle with the ever expanding waistline. But love makes the war worth fighting. Losing one battle is not going to lose the war. The hour plus long drive gave me time to reflect on what and whom is really important. The love of the people in all of our lives is important. Becoming healthy so we can spend more time wrapping that love around us is the goal.

I hope you too had a Thanksgiving full of love.