40 in 2011 Challenge – Week 4 Results (No Change); Cummulative (-6.5 lbs)

Disclaimer: For those new to this blog, I have committed myself to lose 40 pounds in 2011, hence the #40in2011 Challenge, and weekly I will post progress towards my objective. This report covers progress through week 4 of 50.

How’d I do? (The Outcome Goal) This week sucked. Let’s just put it out there. No change up or down and I should thank my lucky stars that I didn’t give anything back by adding weight. Week four began with me not even having time to post my Week 3 report – I lost one pound that week by the way, bringing my year to date total to 6.5 pounds lost. Not too bad but then in Week 4 all forward progress skidded to a screeching halt due to my trip to Connecticut, firefighting work hours, the Northeastern Snowstorms, missed workouts, dinners out on Friday and Saturday night with friends and multiple days of traveling, including an 11-hour drive from NY to Ohio yesterday. Suffice it to say that I’m thankful that I didn’t gain weight this past week.

The rest of the report focuses on my process goals where I use three levels of performance measures. Less than Expected, Met Expectations and Exceeded Expectations. My grade?

Overall, for week 4 I gave myself a self assessment of Less than Expected. As you can see from my report card below, there are a whole lot of holes. Let’s jump into particulars.

My year to date weekly progress:

  • Week 1:  -1.5
  • Week 2: -4.0
  • Week 3: -1.0
  • Week 4: +/-0.0
  • Total to date: -6.5

Report Card – Week 4

January 24 – January 30:


The chart above is created using Joe’s Goals.

Caloric Intake/Nutrition = Less Than Expected

Eat light and often: I don’t even know where to begin. String cheese, oranges, apples, and a few other odds and ends – anything to try and keep some positive momentum. In reality, I did as best as I could to balance a few healthy snacks with the reality of client dinners, friends meals and skipped meals along the way. Not a good week, but I sure did put up a valiant effort.

Eat Healthy Breakfast: This I did do.

Eat fresh whole foods and protein: Filled in what I could, when I could, but more restaurant food than I would have liked.

No chocolate: Two cookies grabbed out of frustration more than anything else from the front desk at The Holiday Inn where I was staying in North Haven. Pissed me off that I showed that level of weakness. Opened up the door for grabbing a whole lot more throughout the week but I did somehow avoid those other temptations.  Mainly pissed off.

Avoid junk food and sugar: The two cookies plus two slices of pizza. See above for piss poor attitude.

Stop eating 60 mins. before going to sleep: Not even close. As I wasn’t eating at normal times, I found myself eating late, working late, being out late, essentially I was just late – I don’t even know what that means but I do know I didn’t have that slightly hungry feeling when falling asleep that I know pays huge dividends, knowing I will wake up in the morning feeling awesome! “Hunger is ugly leaving your body” ~ Ancient Supermodel Quote.

Caloric Expenditure/Positive Stress = Less Than Expected

January 24 – January 30:


Workouts captured on Buckeye Outdoors, a free online training log.

Workout early: No, not really. Does getting on calls at 6AM and getting off at 9PM count?

Min 45 mins of Cardio: I only completed three workouts of 45 minutes or greater. Travel, work, snow storms and exhaustion really messed me up. I did force myself to get in a quick 40-min session on my friend Kamal’s Elliptical before Friday night’s Spelling Bee duties in Scarsdale. Have I told you how much I dislike the Elliptical? Messes up my stride and places way to much stress on my calfs. That said, I did do it, so that’s something.

Resistance training: Uh yeah, No!.

Stretch and Core: I stretched on Friday when my back felt like crap and before my snow run on Saturday.

Recovery/Adaptation = Less Than Expected

January 24 – January 30:

Sleep min of 7 hours per night: Did this at the expense of my workouts, but my stress level was so high this week that I’m not sure I got much benefit out of it.

Conclusion: I was very conscious all week of my limitation and while I did slip up multiple times and miss workouts, I did otherwise make a number of good but challenging choices throughout the week. I also was faced multiple times with being around good intentioned friends who tried to be supportive but in the end created a few too many temptations than I could withstand. I really need to avoid these situations or extract myself from them gracefully without feeling guilty that my goals are selfish. I guess they are, but I still need to do it if I’m going to continue forward toward my goal of losing 40 lbs in 2011. See ya next week.

40 in 2011 Challenge – Week 2 Results (-4 lbs); Cummulative (-5.5 lbs)

Disclaimer: For those new to this blog, I have committed myself to lose 40 pounds in 2011, hence the #40in2011 Challenge, and weekly I will post progress towards my objective. This report covers progress through week 2 of 50.

How’d I do? (The Outcome Goal) Week two showed a continued drop of weight down to 220 lbs or an additional 4 pounds lost this week. The caveat is that I was on the road this week so my weigh-in was done at Bodies in Motion in West Los Angeles on a different scale and not all of the numbers were legible, but I checked multiple times and think I got it right. As is always the case, I weighed myself first thing in the morning, without clothes and after taking care of “business” but before eating anything or working out. Those factors alone can swing my weight 7 or more pounds in either direction. While I am clearly pleased and a bit surprised, this is just another measurement in a long journey. So no need to get too excited or too depressed about any particular weigh-in.

The rest of the report focuses on my process goals where I use three levels of performance measures. Less than Expected, Met Expectations and Exceeded Expectations. My grade?

Met Expectations Overall, for week 1 I gave myself a self assessment of Met Expectations. The reason I can grade myself this way is because of my adherence to the process goals set forth; my nutrition was pretty good, my portion control was good and I got 49 miles of running in which is pretty good at this time of the year. In short, I guess this week was “pretty good”.

My weekly progress:

  • Week 1:  -1.5
  • Week 2: -4.0
  • Total to date: -5.5

Report Card – Week 2

January 10 – January 16:


The chart above is created using Joe’s Goals.

Caloric Intake/Nutrition = Met Expectations

Eat light and often: Pretty good, with room for improvement – slipped up a little on Friday and more on Saturday but all in all it was another pretty focused week.

Eat Healthy Breakfast: Only one bagel but hardly any fiber.

Eat fresh whole foods and protein: Good. Salads almost every day. In truth, I got pretty sick of salads by the end of the week.

No chocolate: Still nothing, although I started to play games in my head about what was REALLY chocolate to try and justify breaking the trend.

Avoid junk food and sugar: Good, although I had a mini pizza on Saturday afternoon after my 21-mile run.

Stop eating 60 mins. before going to sleep: Got better but not by design. I drove around after work on a couple of nights trying to find anything healthy that would also satisfy me, and on two nights I just gave up when exhausted and went back to the hotel to sleep (in a fairly irritable mode). On Sunday, I drove back from San Diego which took 2 hours and I was so tired when I got back that I just collapsed. Probably not how this was intended to work.

Caloric Expenditure/Positive Stress = Met Expectations

January 10 – January 16:



Workouts captured on Buckeye Outdoors, a free online training log.

Workout early: Got out most every morning to start my day with a solid run or spin.

Min 45 mins of Cardio: Solid effort all week. I was really good this week with a 7-mile Westridge trail run, a 10-mile morning run and 21-mile weekend beach run.

Resistance training: Sucked as I haven’t done anything in here aside from watching Rich Roll, Brett Blankner, Jackie V and Jessi Stensland tear it up on the TRX on Sunday down in San Diego at ZenTri Base Camp. I guess the silver lining is that as we know that resistance training is without a doubt a spark for transformational changes and given how well I’m doing, it means I should be able to use this as an accelerator to even more positive changes going forward. A nice catalyst to have in my back pocket.

Stretch and Core: Actually not as good as week one. No excuses.

Recovery/Adaptation = Met Expectations

January 10 – January 16:

Sleep min of 7 hours per night: Got a healthy amount of sleep in this week by hitting the sack early. I think I’m now an honorary member of the blue hairs after going to sleep on Saturday at 6:30PM.

Conclusion: My nutrition, while solid was still a considerable struggle. My cravings especially at night were off the charts. I can’t keep relying on sleep as a way to exit this daily hell. I haven’t incorporated resistance training and really need to step up core work – a healthy reminder after stopping in at this week’s ZenTri Base Camp. Lastly, and I don’t talk about it often enough, but this weekend’s trip down to San Diego really allowed me to get geeked up about my form, my opportunity and how lucky I am. Watching Cathy, our blind camper, go through a triathlon training camp without a single excuse reminded me it’s time to pull up my big-boy pants and get this done. Experiencing something emotionally positive can actually lead to positive physiological adaptations. Never underestimate the value of a motivated and positive mental outlook. Onward to Week 3. Thanks to everyone for their support along this journey.

40 in 2011 Challenge – Week 1 Results (Down 1.5 pounds)

For those new to this blog, I have committed myself to lose 40 pounds in 2011, hence the #40in 2011 Challenge, and weekly I will post progress towards my objective. This report covers progress through week 1 of 50.

How’d I do? (The Outcome Goal) Week one showed a drop of 1.5 lbs to a svelte 224 lbs. OK, not svelte, but it was a pretty good start to this effort. I had a few slips up but did put in a solid effort and foundation from which to build upon. It’s important to remember that weight loss can be a see-saw affair, so better not to get too excited or too depressed about any particular weigh-in.

The rest of the report focuses on my process goals where I use three levels of performance measures. Less than Expected, Met Expectations and Exceeded Expectations. My grade?

Met Expectations Overall, for week 1 I gave myself a self assessment of Met Expectations. The reason I can grade myself this way is because of my strict adherence to the process goals set forth; my nutrition was good, my portion control was pretty good and I got in 30 miles of running in which is the floor for me to maintain or lose weight.

Before we get into this week’s details, I thought it would be fun to include out a week by week log to illustrate my progress:

  • Week 1:  -1.5
  • Total to date: -1.5

Report Card – Week 1

January 03 – January 09:


The chart above is created using Joe’s Goals.

Caloric Intake/Nutrition = Met Expectations

Eat light and often: Pretty good, with room for improvement – slipped up on Friday and Sunday

Eat Healthy Breakfast: No bagels and lots of fiber.

Eat fresh whole foods and protein: Good. Salads almost every day.

No chocolate: Nothing, nada, nunca – Whoohoo.

Avoid junk food and sugar: Good, except for Auntie Anne’s and pizza on Friday

Stop eating 60 mins. before going to sleep: Lots of room for improvement here – only successful one night.

Caloric Expenditure/Positive Stress = Met Expectations

January 03 – January 09:


Workouts captured on Buckeye Outdoors, a free online training log.

Workout early: Got out for 3 morning workouts this week. Still a challenge managing the time changes

Min 45 mins of Cardio: Solid effort all week. On Tuesday, even put in my first interval speed workout in months.

Resistance training: Did not integrate weight training into the schedule this week. Leaves me something to build on.

Stretch and Core: Began abdominal and range of motion work this week for he first time in ages. Felt good.

Recovery/Adaptation = Met Expectations

January 03 – January 09:

Sleep min of 7 hours per night: Got a healthy amount of sleep in this week by hitting the sack early.

Conclusion: Solid start to this effort. A lot more to do and a long time to stay motivated. Registered the UST team for RAGNAR in April 2011 to add yet another objective to use as a litmus test on performance.

UST Global Races RAGNAR SoCal 2011 – An Introduction for Beginners

Definitely one of my favorite running experiences is running relay races. A few years back I entered this field while running as a part of Team White Line Fever in RAGNAR Texas. Last year I ran as a part of Team with No Name in Hood to Coast. This year I will be running on April 15th and 16th on one of two teams our company is putting together for RAGNAR Southern California, which covers 200 miles and runs from Huntington Beach, CA to Coronado Island in San Diego.

We have a few new or fairly new runners who have jumped into the fray, and that’s pretty exciting. What more experienced runners tend to forget is how daunting any race can be, let alone one that covers more than 200 miles even if there will be between 8 and 12 runners joining together to complete it. So what I’ve done here is put together a few pointers to help out the newbies and hopefully lesson any anxiety that might be accumulating.

This isn’t a race, it’s a relay. This is probably the most important point to remember. Unless you are joining a team with an explicit competition objective, 99% of the teams are just trying to complete the event in the middle of the pack. Relays are very much about the experience and you’ll observe elite collegiate athletes as well as first timers, including this year two teams from The Biggest Loser television series. The main objective is to have fun. Your finish time is of secondary importance. You just don’t want to be the last.

You do need to train for a relay. A successful relay is about being able to run, recover, run, recover, run and recover as effectively as possible. Therefore your training should help you to do this on race day. Like any other running event, you will want to build up an adequate endurance and structural base by gradually increasing the mileage for any individual run along with weekly volume. What’s different is that you will want to build up your physical and mental ability to handle multiple runs in a relatively short period of time. Therefore, there’s a bit more emphasis on back to back days of running and then a couple multi-run days to simulate event-day experience. These multi-run days are much more about your mental training than physical. These runs will provide you with confidence that you can do this, and also provide a bit of humility as you learn that going out as hard as you can in your first leg will only leaving you wanting by the time you start your third leg.

So to get our newbies started, I’ve created a 14-week training plan which will guide you from now all the way up the starting line in April. Happy training.

14-Week Relay Training Schedule (Beginner)

Week Begins Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total
1 1/10 Rest 15 min. Rest 20 min. Rest 20 min. Rest
2 1/17 Rest 15 min. Rest 20 min. Rest 3 Rest
3 1/24 Rest 20 min. Rest 25 min. Rest 4 Rest
4 1/31 Rest 25 min. Rest 35 min. Rest 5 Rest
5 2/7 Rest 3 Rest 3 Rest 6 Rest 12
6 2/14 Rest 3 Rest 3 Rest 7 3 16
7 2/21 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 8 Rest 15
8 2/28 Rest 3 4 4 Rest 5/5 3 24
9 3/7 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 10 4 21
10 3/14 Rest 3 3 4 Rest 11 Rest 21
11 3/21 Rest 3 3 5 Rest 5/5/5* Rest 26
12 3/28 Rest 4 4 3 Rest 12 3/3 29
13 4/4 Rest 4 3 5 Rest 8 Rest 20
14 4/11 Rest 3 5 Rest Race Race Rest ~20

* Feel free to match your multi-run distances to the individual legs you will be running.

The 40 in 2011 Challenge – Week 0 Report (Baseline)

Okay, so on January 3rd I laid the gauntlet down. 2011 Outcome goal: Return to 185 lbs in 2011. At an embarrassing 225.5 lbs to start the year, you might wonder why I’m posting this publicly. Well it isn’t for some narcissistic reason or because I want people to feel like they need to support me in this endeavor. In truth, I’m doing this for two reasons. One because I’m a firm believer that a goal is not real until it is announced. That means that folks like you get to hold me accountable, if at any time I don’t do so myself (not that you have to, of course). Yes, that’s right I’m declaring open season on me to assassins like Timmy who already has jumped into the frey with his oh so unique way of providing feedback and support. Timmy, keep it up buddy. I count on you for clarity as well as for new words that can be used in an adult-only version of Scrabble. The second reason is because I need to log my progress for my own benefit and this is as good a place as any. So if during the next few months you see a new post on this blog with a similar title, feel free to opt out, without any hurt feelings.

My third – yes I said two – reason is that I’ve found that some folks aren’t very good at reporting on projects, both in business and in their personal lives. So for the aspiring project managers out there or for those who just want to dip their toe into the waters of accountability and management practices, this exercise might help you as you put your own plans together, although I will refrain from over exciting all of you with terms like Gantt and Pert. In business, there is an adage that a task is not complete until it is reported upon, and the same holds true in training, meaning that your workout is not complete until you record it in your log. Kind of like the tree falling in the forest if nobody was around. Providing regular reporting is good practice because it works. It keeps you focused, provides valuable information and quite frankly doesn’t really take that much time. One caveat, I know an awful lot of people who spend more times on the report than the work. It should be apparent why that doesn’t make sense.

Why 40 in 2011? (The Outcome Goal) Well last year I participated in the 10in10 challenge, with an outcome goal to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks. And yes I reported on it, and yes by the time I reached the start line of the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon in March, I had easily hit that mark. The trouble was that from March to December, I somehow found a way to let it all get away from me covering my 10 and raising it another 10. Lot’s of excuses why, lost days traveling, lousy nutrition on the road, blah blah. There’s always enough of those to go around. So to quote one of my favorite movie villain lines, “If at first you don’t succeed, Mr Kidd” “Try try again, Mr. Wint”. (extra credit if you are old enough to remember this one.) And this time it’s go big or go home! Or go small, or , well, you know what I mean.

Each week I will report out using the following format:

How’d I do? (The Outcome Goal) Up or down and by how much. I use three levels of performance measures. Less than Expected, Met Expectations and Exceeded Expectations. I’ll also include a report card on the Process Goals, which are all posted using Joe’s Goals.

Here’s an example of a weekly report from last year:

Report Card – Week 8

February 22 – February 28:


Then we’ll summarize our insights on these by analyzing them within the following three categories:

  1. Caloric Intake/Nutrition

  2. Caloric Expenditure/Positive Stress

  3. Recovery/Adaptation

I’ll be logging my daily workouts using Buckeye Outdoors, a terrific free online training log managed by some friends of mine who have dedicated themselves to providing high quality work while giving back to their community. Below is an example of a weekly report that is generated.



By the way, while you are there, if you want some additional motivation you can join 2011′s version of the 10 in 10 Challenge. Just search for “10 in 10 2011″ at http://buckeyeoutdoors.com/training/challenges You can also learn more about this on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/10in10Challenge

Sound complicated? It’s not. But if you want to get even simpler in your own 2011 goals, follow these simple steps. 1) Select one to three outcome goals, 2) break those down into one to five process goals, 3) tell your friends and family about them both to declare them and because their lives will probably be impacted, 4) log your progress after each activity (paper taped onto your refrigerator works great), and 5) analyze your results and report out weekly. That’s about it. This simple process will give you structure, focus and motivation. Hope it will help you as much as it has helped me as well as the many athletes and staff I’ve worked with over the years. Conclusion: I’m just as excited as any new person using the New Year as an artificial reason to do what could be started on any day of the year. But in the end, who cares, as long as it works. Have a tremendous 2011. Thanks for coming along.