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Finding Motivation to Get Fit
How I found motivation to lose weight, get in shape and help others to do the same.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter's chill tests motivation

Hey, gang, hope you've all been doing better than I have these past few months. I've had some great workouts but it seems I'm having a hard time watching my diet. My weight has shot up and although I am physically stronger and in better over all health, my belly has found its way back!

This is the time of year when depression can set it. If you need to get in better shape start today. Don't wait until January to start a New Year's resolution you won't keep. Get started now. Start small. Pick a simple goal. Lose two pounds in a week. Lose another pound next week. In a few weeks you'll be down five pounds and then the next five will be another few weeks away.

Is it really that easy? No, of course not. You're going to want to have an extra roll at your favorite restaurant. You'll want to drink a couple of refills of sweet tea, maybe an extra candy bar. Those are the tough decisions you have to find the motivation to make and enforce. Getting started is the most difficult part. Like the old Christmas song... "put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walking across the floor..." That's the idea. One day at a time and keep finding success.

Good luck and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and the best motivation!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Back in the Saddle

It's been a while since my last post and my workouts have been about like my posting. Non-existent! I could make several excuses but what's the point? Fact is I haven't been working out regularly and as a result I have lost some of the positive gains I've made. It's time to get back in the saddle.

This time of year always has the potential to derail the best of us and keep us from maintaining the gains we've made during the summer or improving upon them. The lack of daylight has a way of making us want to sit back on the cough and do nothing. That's when we have to press on with our workouts and at the very least maintain our intensity.

Over the past six weeks I've worked out two days a week four of those weeks, one day during one week, and zero days the other. That isn't going to cut it if I want to continue to reach my goals and maintain a healthy body weight.

So, starting on Monday, November 9, 2009, I am going to start again. Not from scratch because I don't need to go back that far, but I'm going to go back to the basics, squat / deadlift / clean complex / sledgehammer / tire pulls / sled pulls / ab work / and cardio. Done properly I can complete the whole routine in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Make the decision to get off the couch and find some activity to begin the quest of getting back in shape or at least improving your health. I wish you the very best and good luck!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Motivation comes in many forms

The Lady Knights have kicked their offseason lifting and conditioning program into high gear and with it I've had to pick up my game a bit. Finding the motivation to work hard, keep the girls on track and teach them to lift properly and injury free has been easier than expected due in large part to the large number who come out every workout. I can't let them out work me, now, can I?

One of the reasons many people give up on exercise and fitness projects is that things get stale or boring. For that very reason we made some additions and adjustments to our workout. Tuesday, rather than lift weights, we shifted our focus to plyometrics and tire work.

We use plyometrics to turn the strength we've been building in the weight room to power. We use a series of bounding and box jumps to work on lower body explosion. It's amazing how quickly the legs can wear out when they're taxed so intensely. To work on our total body power we flipped a tractor tire, a first for our girls and they did a fantastic job. We also "threw" car tires! Yep, that's right! We had our girls slinging car tires! What an intense workout! They also worked the sledgehammer, did ballistic pushups and planks. To wrap up our Tuesday workout we pulled the tractor tire over a forty yard course - talk about burning the muscles!

On Thursday, we stepped back into the weight room, but to wrap things up we got back to the sledgehammer, pulling the tire and throwing the smaller tires. I'm thrilled with the turnout and the effort of our girls but I'm also thrilled that due to their hard work I have to keep pushing myself to keep ahead of them.

Find a partner and get started on building a better you! Good luck!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Get Fit - Get moving

Getting back in shape isn't easy. Not getting out of shape after high school and/or college would be an ideal plan but most of us don't prescribe to that. So instead, ten, fifteen or even twenty years down the road we join a gym or sign up for a weight loss program or take up walking. While each of those are good starting points we often don't stick with it or once we reach our goal we give it up and soon find ourselves further in the hole than when we began.

I was very fortunate to have someone push me when I started trying to get back in shape and that helped motivate me to keep working when I felt like it was hopeless. And yes, there were a few times when I thought I had to have a pepsi or a coke and a 16 ounce ribeye and mashed potatos and all the gravy the plate could hold! Having someone to encourage you that your efforts are paying off and you should continue working toward your goals is extremely important. If you don't have that person, find one. A parent, a brother or sister, a nephew or niece or friend from church, it doesn't matter who just find someone who can and will encourage you when you don't feel like putting forth the effort.

Recently, I began hitting the weights very hard and after I lost six pounds the scale went the other direction... and suddenly, I'd put back on SEVEN pounds! I was crushed! I had busted my butt, lifting heavier, faster - with shorter breaks between sets, and increasing my cardio by running steps and still I'd put on weight. I knew that was a possibility because muscle weighs more than fat. But it wasn't easy to see on the scales climbing. So, I stopped weighing myself... temporarily.

I've decided that as long as my clothes fit well and the pictures I've been taking on a weekly basis continue to show improvement then I'm not too worried about the scales. I know I'm in the best shape I've been in since my last semester of college football in 1992. My wife and I have joked for the past eight years that I don't have to be in the "best shape of my life" until I hit forty! That's what the guy in the old Bowflex commercials said, after all! Well, at the end of this year I'll hit forty and I may just be able to say I'm in the best shape of my life - before forty!

Don't wait until January to make a "New Year's" resolution. Make a "New YOU" resolution today. Start simple. Find something you like to do and get to it! Don't let another day pass you by without taking the opportunity to improve yourself in some way. Good luck! I know you can do it if you will just make the effort!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer heats up and workouts are rocking

Hey, all! I hope you're enjoying a bit of this heat the past few days! We could do without some of the intense rains but we'll take what we get!

I've had some of the best most intense workouts I've had in years over the past two weeks! I feel better and have more energy than I've had in a while and I believe that's only going to get better.

Having great workout partners also helps to keep you motivated. I'd been very sporadic with my workouts and intensity until recently when my wife and a friend from church and his son started working out with me. Trying to keep up with an 18 year old, athletic young man really forces you to focus and get after it! And he pushes us all. When we don't feel like running bleachers because we've had a great workout he'll say, "We'll just run a few." We run a few while he runs twice as many and a few laps around the track! But that's one of the great things about working out with a partner or partners, they help keep you motivated!

I hope you find someone to workout with you whether they just come for moral support or take part in your program. Having that person there who can push you to be better makes it harder to say, "Eh, that's enough," before you ever break a sweat!

Until next time, keep working hard to reach your goals. It won't happen overnight... but it will over many nights!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rolling down the tracks

Getting started on a new workout program is easy.  Pick a day, a few exercises and go for it.  Thirty minutes to an hour later you've broken a sweat, hopefully not pulled anything and you're experiencing the high that comes with accomplishing the first step toward a better you.  Now for the hard part.  Do it repeatedly.

I had great workouts this past week.  My intensity was up.  I achieved my exercise goals.  I improved upon my normal eating habits.  My next step will be to step on the scales at work on Monday afternoon (I'm working 2nd shift this week) and see if it's made much difference.  I feel like I am making progress.  But I'm not seeing it yet.  I'll post a follow up picture tomorrow after my Monday workout and you can decide if I'm going in the right direction.

Early morning (9am) workouts are not a normal part of my life but if I am going to keep rolling down the tracks I have to get up and go workout early so I can eat, shower, and get to work on time.  This is a commitment I have made to myself and no one can force me to do it.  It's something I'll do or I won't.  At this time I am feeling great physically and I have the energy and desire to improve my body which is also helping me to improve my mind by constantly challenging myself physically and mentally.

This week will go a long way in determining my success.  There will be several obstacles that can make or break my exercise plan.  I have to focus my efforts and adapt to those obstacles and come up with what will work for me.

Please feel free to leave comments or write to me if you have questions about anything you read or see in this blog.  Hope you're having a great summer and finding the motivation you need to be successful.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Getting Back to Business

I've had three great workouts this week already and today was sort of a rest day for me.  My whole body has been put through a steady dose of weightlifting and conditioning.  I've adjusted my eating habits slightly to remove almost all sweat tea from my diet and I'm eating less.  In fact, my main dinner staple right now is a nice, big salad without dressing.

I've broken down my workouts into smaller segments that can be completed in 45 minutes or less.  I've paired two big lifts with two smaller lifts and then at least one form of conditioning.  Sunday I opted for my two personal favorites, the clean complex I've discussed and the front squat.  I prefer the front squat because it doesn't hurt my knees or my lower back and it forces me to help balance the weight with my core.  It's a tremendous exercise.  After three sets of each I knocked out five sets of calf raises, two sets seated with a dumbell balanced on my knee for resistance, two sets on a calf raise machine, and one set on a leg press.  The reason for each different lift was to hit my calves from different angles to spark growth.

On Monday I did my normal warmup, then ran a series of short shuttles (back and forth runs), the Russian Barbell Twist four times with progressively heavier weights, and twenty minutes of various ab exercises.

Tuesday saw a dumbell complex to get warmed up then deadlifts, benchpress and pull downs, before heading to the bleachers for a hard run.

Wednesday was a day of jump rope and assorted cardio work.

I haven't gotten on the scales this week as Monday will be my official weigh in.  I feel like I've made some progress just in the four days since I've restarted my program which gives me the motivation I need to hit it hard tomorrow.  Thursday will be squats, clean complex, calves, Russian barbell twists, steps and sledgehammer.  I'm excited to beat that tire!

I hope you're having a great summer and finding the motivation you need to get in the shape you want.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer blues & blahs

Hey, everyone, sorry for the very long delay in posting.  Summer has not been the easiest time for me to write or workout for that matter.  So I'm hoping to get back to a regular posting a few times a week starting tonight!

To begin with, my workouts have been erratic and sporadic.  I have not managed to workout two or three days a week and several of my workouts have only been half hearted.  As a result my weight has steadily climbed and currently I sit at 207 pounds, up from my low of 193.

There have been a number of issues which have contributed to my lack of dedication to working out but they are not excuses.  Fact is, I have had opportunities to workout and just haven't taken advantage of them.  Well, on Sunday, July, 19, 2009, I am going to begin to take advantage of my opportunities and not only get the weight off, but get my body into the best shape of my life.  That is my new goal!

So, I hope you're ready to take this journey with me!  If I can figure out how to do it, I'm going to post a current picture to use as a base for my workouts and I'll update it each week to track my progress or lack thereof.  Wish me luck and feel free to leave comments or ask questions.  I'll post some additional video footage as I take it.  Good luck and I hope you have a great summer!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Fun - getting the most out of it!

My apologies for another long delay!  I just returned from my very first trip to Disney World with my family and I am ready to get back to some serious training.

My weight has inched up a bit to 205 and that is simply not acceptable to me!  I'm sure much of it has to do with the fact that I'm eating pretty much everything that I want!  So, starting tonight I am cutting out my favorite refreshment - Sweet Tea!  Cutting out regular soda made a huge difference in my weight and I believe that cutting out sweet tea will also help in reducing unnecessary calories.  I hate to do it but sacrifices must be made.

I am also going to get back into my routine of three total body workouts per week, not including my baseball games.  I pitch most single games so that's my cardio workout for that particular day.  After doing some reading and research I am going to begin a new lifting program.  I am going to do five sets of the big three exercises - clean complex, front squat, bench press, and three sets of my complimentary exercises - dumbell curls, tricep push downs, and lat pulls.  For strength and conditioning I'm going to start with 120 sledge hammer swings on a tire and sticking with old school I'm going to flip a tire for forty reps.  If my body can take anymore I'll wrap up my workout by running bleacher steps!

Hopefully the rain will hold off and I'll be able to get in a great workout and start my summer off with a great sweat so that by the first of August I'll be down to 189 pounds and feel great about my health and the way I look!  Good luck!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scales don't tell the whole truth

Tipping the scales at 251 pounds shocked me into action two and a half years ago.  I've been hovering around 200 pounds for the past few months and haven't had much of an opportunity to work out on a regular basis due to softball season.  Unfortunately, the Lady Knights season ended a little less than three weeks ago and now I'm back on track.

I know that I haven't been getting nearly enough cardio work to drop weight considering the fact that I'm lifting pretty heavy.  My focus through summer and into the first of August will be to build strength and power which is more than likely going to add muscle and weight.  In August my focus will shift to getting the Lady Knights Power Program back in action and then I'll be getting lots of cardio and weight work so hopefully the weight will start falling off then.

I've noticed that my pants are fitting a tad snug but my shirts don't seem to be as restrictive.  I can still bend over and tie my shoes without having to hold my breath or lean to the side so basically I still feel good and I still have range of motion and flexibility to do the things I was doing when I was at my lowest weight which seems a lifetime ago in October!

Because I am still comfortable with how I look and feel, I have decided to shelve the scales until July 3rd.  I'll get an accurate weight on the third so that I can eat "healthy" on the Fourth and not worry about the few pounds I might put on!

With the heat coming on strong remember to hydrate well before, during and after your workouts.  A great sweat is a real motivator but you don't want to lose too many fluids or you can get muscle cramps or become dehydrated.  And remember, whenever possible, workout with a partner!  It's not just for helping with lifts.  In extreme heat you could pass out and need the assistance.

Have a great end of school year and a very safe, very healthy summer!  Goodluck in finding your motivation to get fit!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Time to get serious!!!

Softball season ended with a crash rather than the bang we had hoped for so now it's time to get back into serious workout mode.  One thing that happened earlier than usual is that the baseball league I play in, the WVMSBL, started up this past Sunday so I got an even earlier jump on my workout than I planned!

It's been three weeks since my last full body workout so getting started on Tuesday, May 19, 2009, will be a light weight, yet intense affair which will start with my usual warm up of active stretches and then a light dumbell warm up before getting to a full complement of the clean complex, front squats and deadlifts.  After that we'll hit the bleachers to get in some cardio and wrap it all up with 120 tire swings - golf swings will be optional!

Getting back to competitive sports reminds me that sometimes the harder we try more we just get in our own way.  On Sunday I was pitching and early on I was trying to throw the ball by hitters without much success.  So about the third inning I decided to just relax and not force the action.  What a difference that made.  But allowing my body to work free of tension everything fell into place and I got a fantastic workout in by pitching all seven innings!  Oh, and we won!!!  Go Yankees!  Until next time, keep your head up and keep working toward your goals.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

GOUT crushes motivation!!!

For those of you who have never suffered through a gout attack, God bless you!  I hope you never have one.  For those who have suffered, you can understand how it can crush your motivation to workout, go to work, get out of bed, even move!  It's been a few weeks since my last post because I've experienced two attacks and have worked out once since my last post!

During our trip to Frankfort and then Great Wolf Lodge, I had an attack after my workout that centered in my right ankle.  Gout is extremely painful and it limited the activities I was able to do.  That cleared up after about five days and I got in a dumbell workout the following Sunday.  On Tuesday, I suffered another attack in the same ankle but this time, it also hit my right knee and my left elbow.  It was a struggle to get to work and even tougher making it through the day.

As one can imagine my workouts have suffered too.  It's nearly impossible to use the affected body part for any type of effective workout during a gout attack.  But all hasn't been lost.  I've taken this time to do some additional research and I've found a few new exercises I'm going to start soon.  Although my body has been unable to perform during this time, my mind has been hard at work.  I've been planning my new program to incorporate more old school work including the sledgehammer, tire flipping, and sandbags.  Sandbags are completely new to me and I'm excited to get started!

I hope you're having success with your workouts and I look forward to getting back into the swing of things this coming week!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Take advantage of what you have...

This past weekend the Lady Knights took a trip to Frankfort, Kentucky for a softball tournament and then we headed up to Cincinnati for a Reds game and on to the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason for a couple of days of fun and relaxation.  But I needed to get in at least one good workout.

The Great Wolf Lodge had a decent fitness center but no free weights.  So, I took advantage of the machine equipment and some good old fashioned jumping jacks to get a sweat going.  Then I knocked out some pushups before hitting the treadmill for twenty minutes at a seven percent incline.

One thing I've noticed from my reading is that running on an incline burns more calories that running on flat ground, so anytime you have an option, opt for some incline.  I've noticed that my legs get a greater workout too!

After my workout I took a nice hot shower and then spent the next three hours learning how to play MagiQuest from some seven and eight year old kids!

Remember, you can get in a good workout no matter where you are or what you have to work with as long as you are motivated to get it done!  Keep working hard and remember to set your goals and work hard and smart to achieve them!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Soreness that makes me smile!

On Monday I had my best lifting workout of the new year.  It wasn't all that different from my other lifting days with one exception:  I did front squats.

That's it!  Nothing fancy, really, but it's been several months since I've attempted any sort of squatting due to the pain and stiffness in my knees.  Thankfully, I've gotten some relief after visiting a specialist and getting properly medicated to help relieve my gout symptoms.

I started with a simple lift of 135 pounds - the standard bar and two forty five pound weights on each side.  I did seven reps just past ninety degrees.  That's much deeper than I've been able to go for a very long time.  The resulting depth and muscle stretch really worked my whole body, but especially my butt and hamstrings.  I've been walking a bit gingerly but the satisfaction of knowing that I've worked muscles I haven't been able to work for a while gives me the confidence and motivation to hit the squat rack the next time I get to the weight room.

Don't have access to a squat rack?  Do your own variation.  Lean back against a wall and then slide down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.  Hold for ten seconds and stand up.  Do seven to ten reps for three sets.  When you get good at this, pick up a small bag of dog or catfood and hold it tight to your chest while you do the exercise.  Soon you'll start to feel the burning in your thighs and you'll see results in no time!

Good luck with your fitness work and have a great weekend!