Sunday, August 12, 2012


Hey y'all,

The blog has been moved over to Head over there for the newest articles and (eventually) some new features!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

One - My First Year in DC

As I walked to work today, I couldn't help but feel a sense of awe. Almost one year ago, I packed up my first car load and drove up to DC - not as a visitor, but to become a resident.

To say that the past year has flown by is an understatement and to try and revisit everything that has happened in that time would take the better part of a year to do, so I'll try my best to sum it up:

Richmond was my safety net, my comfort zone, my home. My friends were there, my extended brothers and sisters, My Ducks, my Bills, my DOA'ers. I watched as my friends coupled up and started getting married. I couldn't be happier for them, but I felt like I was losing my place in their lives. I knew that a change was coming, my gut was screaming that much. I knew when I showed up for my first pick-up game with the DC Gay Flag Football League on a cold, but sunny day in the winter of 2011, that this was my place. I met the men and women who would make up my new family. I found a place where I fit in. I felt like I belonged.

I fought tooth and nail to make my way up here permanently. I finally had landed a job and - in the whirlwind that followed - found a place to live and I made it my own. I did public relations for the first time, I tried my hand at accounting, and I love that I've been given the chance to explore both, though I still fall back on the "but I'm an engineer" excuse in case there are typos that spellcheck didn't catch.

I have met people who work to better our country by political means, I have met others who will change the world in their own way who are no less significant. I have met toxic people and, upon realizing their intentions, I expunged from my life. I have realized that this is the place for the super driven and some people will stop at nothing to further themselves, some in good ways, others in bad. I am a better man for the lessons these people have taught me. Hopefully, I have had the same impact on them.

I have become more optimistic about the future, perhaps recklessly so.

For the first time since college, I became credit card debt free and was able to start saving. I felt relieved. 

I ended a relationship. I have had things ended with me. I have dated guys that have challenged my thoughts as to what I'm looking for in a partner. On the other hand, I have dated guys that have reaffirmed others. Regardless, I still wear my heart on my sleeve.

I have cried. Once.

I have signed up for my first marathon, granted, over my second pitcher of margaritas. I have not used that as an excuse to back out.

I have learned to fully embrace and be proud of who I really am, that I'm an amalgam: a meathead, a video game nerd, a jock, an engineer, a gay man.

I have become more vocal about things that matter to me. This place has helped me find my voice and I speak it because every. single. voice. matters.

I have celebrated my nephew officially being cancer free. He still continues to shine as my beacon of strength and hope.

I still feel a sense of pride and inspiration every time I pass by the Capitol Building. by the monuments. by the statues.

I'll be walking, driving, biking around the city when it'll randomly hit me: I'm really here. This is my home.

I take a deep breath.

and smile.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Anyone who knows me is fully aware of my love for mythology.  Greek, Roman, Norse – you name it, I probably know a tad too much about it (side note: probably best to not watch a movie based on one with me, though, unless you want a dissertation on how which parts were accurate and which ones weren’t at the end of it). Seemingly impossible tasks done by mere men and women all for the sake of love, honor, and loyalty never fail to inspire and teach me lessons. Hell, even Zeus taught me a valuable life lesson: there’s less drama if you just keep it in your pants. Or toga.
There are some myths, though, that are based purely off of misconceptions and rely on lack of knowledge to propagate.  It’s so much easier to believe the public thought on things than to actually change up your routine to get the effects that you’re looking for. Men and women both are susceptible to this, though this one is mainly for the ladies.
Myth #1: “If I lift, I’ll get bulky.”  Yes, because simply lifting some weights made Arnold the Terminator. This is the one that urks off the most.
Friend: “I just want to tone up”
me:  “Are you lifting or doing any kind of resistance training at all?”
friend: “No, I don’t want to get bulky”
me: *eye roll* “You won’t. Not unless you eat a surplus amount of calories for your body to turn into muscle. Lifting will help lean you out and preserve the muscle mass that you do have. Also: the more lean mass you have, the more calories your body burns consistently through the day, cardio only really burns ‘em when you’re doing it.”
Friend: *blank stare* “Um, ok. I’m going to hop on the elliptical”
Me: *facepalm*
Moral of the story: I beg you, please start lifting, even if it’s just whole body lifts 3x a week. Added benefit, you’ll become stronger (which IS possible without adding “bulk”) and will be able to open that jar of peanut butter all by your independent woman self. Do it for feminism.
Myth #2: I can spot reduce!

Where you put on and lose fat is based on your genetics. Can’t get rid of that stubborn little bit of lower abdomen fat? While technically, you can blame your parents,  that’s way too passive for my liking. Step up the training and zone in on your nutrition: just because you have saggy underarms doesn’t mean you can’t work on the muscles beneath it to have them help support them. For me – and the vast majority of people, the last place for me to lose fat is the first place I put it on. The mid-section. Work hard, buckle down and don’t give up hope, it’ll go away eventually.
Myth #3: These shoes/shorts/piece of clothing will tone my butt/reduce cellulite/<insert desired effect here>.

There’s a reason why those ass-shaper shoes can’t make that claim anymore. It’s bullshit. People might have seen some results because they figured walking around in them more would lead to more results. Wait, walking around more causes you to burn more calories? NO WAY (yes, I’m being sarcastic. Shocker). Honestly, the company that started those must’ve been geniuses. Marketing scientific fact as some novel idea and direct result of their product? Smart.
Now seriously, ladies (and gents too if you decided to read through this anyway), educate yourself. The biggest take away from my point of view is to start lifting if you haven’t already. Resistance training has a lot of really awesome health benefits. You’ll maintain your muscle mass (and build some too, if that’s your goal and eat enough to support that), burn more calories throughout the day and just overall be firmer. This might seem contradictory to what I’ve said before about nutrition being 80% of the whole process…I still stand by that, too, but lifting helps move things along.

Myths. Busted. Hmmmm, maybe I should get a show on the Discovery Channel about doing that and run some awesome experiments! Dammit! It’s already been done. Foiled again.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Zucchini and Squash Pasta

I love me some pasta. I could never have a "Lady and the Tramp" moment because, well, anyone who tries to split a meal with me would come back one fork holding hand less from the attempt.

Our bodies really aren't built to process refined carbs well. So with that in mind, I try to avoid them, with the exception of the day before long run days. Usually I use spaghetti squash as a good replacement, and it's pretty tasty. Sadly, the local Teeter was out of 'em when I went to pick one up. Looking around, I decided to be a little resourceful. Zucchini and squash were right there. Worth a shot.

Difficulty: 2/5 - there is a little multitasking
Prep time: 5 minutes (depends on how fine of a "noodle" you want)


- One zucchini
- One squash (or two if you choose to not use zucchini - I like the added color)
- One can of diced tomatoes - check the label to make sure no sugar (or form thereof) is on the ingredient list. IF you use regular pasta sauce, check the label for the same thing, you'd be surprised what they put in there to thicken it up.
- 99% ground turkey or a can of 98% lean white meat chicken (if you're lazy)
- Spices you'd normally put on your pasta - watch the parmesan cheese!


1.   Slice the zucchini and squash length wise - about 1/4" wide, slice them length wise again to make the "noodles."
2.   Put them in a pan, put it on medium heat, let them tender up. Use a little bit of EVOO if you wish, but again, watch the serving size.
3.   Drain the tomatoes and canned chicken (if that's the route you chose to go) and put them in another pan to simmer. Brown the ground turkey if you got that (my norm, just works a little bit better).
4.   Mix in the spices while the sauce simmers.
5.   Once the noodles are nice and tender, drain em off.
6.   Plate it, sauce it, and you're done

One zucchini and one squash yields one big boy meal (shown above) or two smaller meals.


Friday, June 22, 2012


"The only real failure in life is one not learned from."
Anthony J. D'Angelo

This morning, I set out to do 15 miles. I could barely run 10 before I had to stop. I was spent, I was done, and for a little while, I was pissed at myself for not being able to do what I had done two weeks prior.

Then I gave it some thought as I was walking back home. No, I don't consider this run a failure, it was honestly what I needed because I learned from it. Lessons that will help me be a better runner in the future. I need to hydrate more during the summer, I need to eat more to have energy for the run, I should not jump into a long run after being sick all week, and I need to not have a water-bottle belt that cuts up my lower back. Four...okay, three solid lessons learned from this run. Definitely not a failure.

So many people are discouraged and quit when they don't succeed in something. How do you know what true success feels like if you don't fall on your way to get there?  You get back up, you learn, and then you continue on - more knowledgeable than before. Fall, learn, repeat. It's like shampoo directions for achieving your goals.

This goes beyond diet and exercise based goals, too. Financially, professionally, and hell, even romantically. Something doesn't work to get you to your goal - whether it be paying off debt, climbing the corporate ladder, or finding that special someone - learn from the experience and drive on. I can tell you right now, that if I hadn't dated who I have in the past, I'd have no idea what I'm looking for in a partner, how to be a good partner in return, or have this killer ab routine that I use (lessons come in all different forms, hah)!

With the lessons that I learned this morning, I will drive on and will be one - okay, three - steps closer to completely owning this marathon.

Every seemingly negative experience in life has a lesson in it. 

Are you willing to learn?

Thursday, June 14, 2012


 “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Walt Disney

I’m all for being Mr. Motivation and pushing people to achieve their goals. That’s exactly why I’m telling you to quit.

Quit your excuses.

Quit spending the entire evening on your couch.

Quit putting off getting that lift session or run in.

Quit being too lazy to prepare your food for the week, and on that note, quit going out to eat and ordering things that you know are bad for you.

Just quit.

At graduation, I finally hit the breaking point. I was guilty of all of the above. My bad decisions led to bad habits. My bad habits led me down a path that ended with me being fat, unconfident, and most importantly – unhappy. And then I quit. I stopped being the prisoner of my own bad choices. I had the strength, and more importantly - the fire, to stop being who I was in order to improve myself and make me into the person I am today.

There’s this big misconception that quitting – at least in the training world – is a bad thing. What if the thing you’re quitting is the thing that’s holding you back? Bad habits, rationalizations, limiting yourself. This is when it becomes a good thing, when you take steps closer to your goals. Stop saying “I need to get to the gym,” “I should have chicken and veggies for lunch,” “I’ll start tomorrow.” These are all passive statements. Start saying these: "am going," "will," "now." Active. Decisive. Powerful.

Not happy with where you are physically? Stop your bitching. You're the only one who can make this change for yourself, not the trainer, not the nutritionist, not Dr. Oz. You.

Just quit and do it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Fourteen miles is a lot of time to think about things: how much this Pandora station is absolutely killing it today, what bills I need to pay, if the zombie apocalypse is here (mental note: avoid all bath salts, sorry Bed, Bath and Beyond), what my friends in Richmond and Pennsylvania are up to and if they're somehow managing without me (I kid, I kid), and you get some realizations as well. Then it hit me:

I may be a lot of things, perfect is not one of them (not that I thought that I was before, mind you).

Good news: no one is.

I may be a little too nerdy, a little too socially awkward. I might enjoy a pizza to myself on a more than regular occasion and be completely lost in any political discussion that doesn't involve "Game of Thrones." My xbox might see me a little too much, and my couch even more.  (I might use parenthesis more than I should) and I might not have a 6-pack and a 30" waist. I might be too trusting...okay, gullible...a little too optimistic, and even a little too smiley (trust me, at VMI, you can be too smiley). My dream for my future might be a little too white-picket-fency, complete with a husband, 3 kids and a dog - black lab, rescue of course. On that note: I might be a little too cheesy.

But you know what? I'm happy.

I've been working to a better body - to cut fat or gain muscle, to be able to run further and faster, to lift heavier and be a better athlete - for the past 8 years. I might have slipped and fallen, but I dusted myself off and kept on going, and on my run today - it hit me - I'm happy with myself. Eight years - 80lbs lost, and every time I looked in the mirror, I always saw imperfection and strove to "fix" it. As I hit mile 13 fifteen minutes ahead of when I finished at 13 two weeks ago, it really hit me: it's not the strive to obtaining perfection and getting it that will make me happy, it's the drive to be a better person, whether athletically, intellectually, or even nerdily (I also may make up too many words) - to help others in my community, no matter how small or large the task might seem -  that has and will make me happy.

There's a certain weight (*nudge nudge* get it? it's a fitness blog! See cheesy comment above, repeat cheesy comment above) that's lifted off your shoulders when you make this realization. A certain freedom that comes with it, to know that you're no longer doing this because of social pressure or to fit in, but to truly do it for yourself that's, well, freeing. My question to you is: are you doing what you're doing because it's what's expected of you - from your friends, from your family, from your community or religion - because of some media driven standard that is set - or are you doing it truly because it's what makes you happy? Take a little bit of time on your commute to work, while you're biking or pavement pounding, just when you can let your mind wander (ok, meetings at work - probably not the best place) and ask yourself that and really think about it.

Now if y'all will excuse me, my couch and my xbox are calling. Told ya I was nerdy.