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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


There is a fable about a hungry wolf. He saw two rabbits just hanging out, doing what rabbits do, and off he went, trying to catch his lunch. Instead of chasing after just one, he tried to get both. The poor guy was hungry, and he ended up losing them.
Now, I’m sure the details vary: it could have been a hunter and not a wolf, it could have been dinner, not lunch. Whatever the case, the point stays the same: chase after two rabbits, you’ll catch neither.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying people can’t multitask – I’m  a master when it comes to gchat and facebooking simultaneously – but when it comes to things that require a dedicated focus, it’s all too easy to spread ourselves thin.  Great, now I want peanut butter. Damn you, beach season!
This is why I have a dedicated time of year for each of my physical goals:

Jan – Feb: Maintain
March – May: Cut down
Jun – Oct: Maintain (or continue to cut if need be)
Nov – Dec: Bulk
My main challenge is cutting down. Your body wants to stay in homeostatis – the stable state that it’s accustomed to. Having spent the majority of my life overweight, that’s the stable state that my body wants to stay in (ug). I need to be more strict than most when it comes to achieving lower body fat percentage, whereas, to some, this comes naturally and they have to try harder to put on mass…bitches.
Now, I’m by no means a hardgainer. I put on mass fairly easily, hence only having two months being dedicated to gaining. Only real challenge for me for my bulk phase is eating clean enough that the mass I put on is muscle. This past year, I put on 20lbs in a two month span – from 180 to 200, a solid 15lbs of that was muscle (which is a pretty good gain ratio).
When it comes to transformations, I have learned it is easier to chase one rabbit than two. Cut, bulk, or maintain.  It’s incredibly difficult to cut fat and gain mass as the same time. Again, not saying it can’t be done, but from my own experience, it’s easier to have one set goal and pursue that. In order to cut, you have to eat below maintenance (see The Basics), and to gain, you need to eat above – and the optimal training for each is extremely different from one another. It is possible, during maintenance periods, to have a general “recompositioning” and shift your bf% and maintain the same weight (like I said in Numbers). For me, though, I like having one set goal and pursuing that to completion.
One focus, one drive, one rabbit.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


My nephew's 8th birthday is right around the corner. 

This little boy- who loves tennis and knows more about cars than I ever will - is the strongest person I know.

...and he could have died.

On September 30, 2007, Field was diagnosed with ALL Pre-B Cell Leukemia. He was three and was facing the biggest fight of his life, and I never felt more weak and helpless in mine. Four years of chemo. Four years of hospital visits. Four years of being a spectator to a fight that I could do nothing, physically, to help. Not once during the entire time did he ever lose his light. Often times, I found that it wasn't the doctors' assurances that everything that was going to be fine, it was seeing him run around and just be a normal, energetic boy that could (and probably still can) kick my ass in Wii tennis.

On January 8, 2011, Field was officially in remission. He won. He was stronger than cancer.

A few weeks ago, my sister had asked me to write something from an uncle's point of view for the launch of her site Live in Love & Hope (which will be launching soon), I told her that I couldn't. Expressing anything other than shiny, happy feelings is incredibly difficult for me, so this would be a challenge for me to say the least. After giving it a lot of thought, I realized how pivotal his fight was to my own desire to become stronger.

Feeling powerless in a situation is one of my largest pet peeves. If I can't positively affect a situation, I get extremely frustrated. In being there and helping out when I could, I played my part, but I still felt helpless. My first instinct, to become stronger - physically - so I could be the rock, so to speak, for my family. Having more of a physical presence during a rough time is incredibly important to me. It's comforting to physically have someone there. So I lifted hard and strove to improve my presence. To be there. To be strong.

Field has been cancer free for almost a year and a half and his light is brighter than ever. He's still a beacon of strength, determination, and inspiration for me. 

and he can still kick my ass in Wii tennis.

Friday, April 27, 2012


You know that hottie's number you got on Saturday night? Yeah, that's an example of a good number.

Waiting those 3 days to get in touch with him/her? First off that whole 3-day rule is bullshit, and also an example of a bad number.

As an engineer, my world revolves around numbers. The good, the bad, the real, the imaginary - yes, liberal arts majors, there are such things as imaginary numbers - √(-1). As with the rest of my world, body transformation and physical training is number-centric. There are good numbers to keep track of and bad numbers. From what I've noticed, most people get wrapped up in the bad ones because they are the most basic ones to follow.

Bad number –
Scale weight. I’ll admit, when I first started, I was completely wrapped up with the weight on the scale. The more I learned, the less I tracked it. The only real time I do is during my annual bulk cycle. As I approach my goal for the summer, I check it less and less. Wait, what? Yup. Scale weight isn’t what you should be following, there are way too many factors to bring into the equation in order to get a consistant reading: what you had to eat before, how much water you’ve had prior, hell – even if you’ve gone to the bathroom right before stepping on there. It’s too reliant on too many variables.
Good numbers  -
Body Fat % - When it comes to weight, this is what most people should be tracking. “Oh, I just want to lose 5lbs.” If that 5lbs is muscle, then you actually end up with a higher body fat % than when you started. Now, not all of us have access to a Hydrodensitometry Weighing tank (uses water displacement) – which is one of the most accurate methods. For us normal people, Calipers work well as long as you have someone who has been trained to use them. Now, I don’t have my own personal trainer to take these measurements for me (I’m a cheap bastard), so I primarily use a body measurement tape (or tailor’s cloth tape) and take readings from different parts and then plug them into the body fat calculator at This, obviously, is prone to some error because you might not get the exact same place every time, but it’s still good just for general tracking.
Bad number –
Lump sum for the day. As I discussed in The Basics, your body needs a certain amount of calories per day to not kick into starvation mode (which is NOT a good thing – the first thing your body will do is break down muscle for energy, not fat). For me to cut up for summer, I need to eat between 2,000-2,500 calories a day – which after my 3,500-4,000/day I needed after my bulk cycle, is kinda hard. Now your normal large thin crust pizza has about 2,000 calories in it. Can I just eat one of those a day and still cut fat? Hell no. Plus, I’d break out from all the grease. Not sexy. The quality of the calories matters too. “Clean” foods – baked chicken and fish, steamed veggies, fresh fruits (only right before and after lifting)…these are the sources that you should be relying on.  It really all comes down to…
Good number –
Macronutrients. This is the percent breakdown of protein, carbs, and (healthy) fats that your calories come from. The general rule of thumbs for each are:
Protein: 1 to 1.5 times your body weight in grams (1.5-2x if you’re bulking). I’m 185, I should get between 185-280g/day.
Protein is 4 cals/g, so I should be getting 740-1120 cals/day from protein.

Fats: 0.5 time your body weight in grams. I should be getting ~90-100g a day.
Fats are 10 cals/g, so 900-1000 cals/day from them.
Those two, you do not touch during a cut phase. If you’re cutting, you adjust the carbs – but do NOT cut them out completely. Your body needs them for basic brain and physiological functions.
Carbs: So since I need 2000-2500 (for this exercise, we’re going to go with 2500) cals a day to cut fat healthily, and, on average, 930 cals from protein and 950 from fats, that leaves 620 cals for carbs which, at 4 cals/g, works out to ~155g of carbs, less if I go for the 2000cals/day.
So instead of being wrapped up in the “OMG! I can’t believe I weighed 182 today, I was 178 yesterday!” mentality and then eat nothing but celery for a day to get back to 178, take a step back, breathe, and do the math…
and make sure to hit the head before you do actually weigh yourself.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


"Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just transferred"
First Law of Thermodynamics

The human body is a prime example of all things physics. I could get into the whole "a calorie is the amount of energy to raise 1g of water 1 degree Celsius" and how a "food calorie" is actually 1,000 thermal calories, but I'm pretty sure that'd put you to sleep. I'll leave that job to the sheep and melatonin.

This is going to be more about drawing energy from non-tangible things in life and turning them into something positive. Everyone has a bad day at work, gets a parking ticket (I may or may not have included a line item in my monthly budget for these thanks to the fine, thorough parking enforcement officers of DC), an unexpected happens. Think about it, that frustration, anger,'s all a form of energy. Well, more appropriately, it's how you're deciding to utilize the energy that you have.

I tend to over analyze situations. What can I say? I'm an engineer (as if the Thermo lesson earlier didn't give that away), analyzing is what I do. While I still do it from time to time, I've also gotten better about realizing what is within my sphere of control to change and what isn't. This doesn't mean that I'm over the situation, though. Emotions still linger, but instead of getting mad at getting the ticket, use the energy you'd spend being pissed on something productive. 9 times out of 10, I usually hit the gym if I'm mad or frustrated over something. 1 time out of 1000, I *might* clean...I either need to get pissed off more or hire a maid because my place is a mess. I choose to transfer the bad energy into something positive.

One thing I've noticed is that I always lift heavier, run faster, or play harder in the (extremely off) chance I'm not in a good mood. It gives me a focused outlet for those emotions. Not saying I'm looking to not be my normal happy-all-the-time self, but that I take that negative energy and put it towards accomplishing my goals - enter the eternally angry "Moto Lift Mix" on my iPhone - which provides me with that added push that being angry usually does. As the wise sage, Elle Woods once said, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't."

Three birds, one stone. You get a great workout in, your body releases chemicals to put you in a better mood, AND you don't shoot your husband. Everyone wins.

Long story short, you can choose to let the bad things that happen in life affect you or you can choose to transfer that energy into making them get you closer to your goals.

It's your call.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another"

Proverbs 27:17

15th and Constitution NW, I'm waiting for the crosswalk light to turn. 4.5 miles in on my run, at least another two to go. There's a steady 80 foot climb over 3/4 of a mile coming up and honestly, I was running low on gas.

Headphones in, I try to pump myself up before the light changes.

A girl in running gear jogs up beside me. There are no words, just a nod.

The light changes, we both start running, keeping pace with one another. She speeds up her pace a little, I match it. I speed up, she matches. We fed off each other's energy for a solid half mile.

Another stop light, another stop. She nudged my elbow with hers. No words, just a nod and we parted ways.

The experience gave me the energy and motivation I needed to finish the run strong. I made the hill by the Capitol building mine.

During the time I've been training, a partner has always presented him or herself at the time when I needed them the most. Some last years, others - a half mile. In every instance, I come out stronger, more knowledgeable and more driven than I was before I met them. My first training partner was Scott, a personal trainer at the gym where I was working out. He taught me the basics of lifting. After him, it was a solid three years before I met Bill, a power lifter I trained with when I was in Pennsylvania for a year for work. He pushed me to push myself through the walls and limitations that I had set for myself. Then on Friday, the half mile girl. The common theme among them all - we pushed each other to improve. We sharpened one another.

Everyone hits a point in their training where they stagnate, where they lose motivation to push their hardest, where their efforts aren't as focused and sharp as they should be to achieve their goals. When that time hits, recognize it as the time to pick up a lifting partner, a running buddy, or even hire a trainer. Someone who is better at what you're trying to do. Not only will you push one another, you will learn a lot in the process, too. You will sharpen one another.

How sharp can you be?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We all have those moments. Those sudden out-of-the-blue, holy shit moments of clarity. Sunday morning Sudoku; a problem you've been trying to figure out at work; and sometimes, a new realization to an issue that you thought you figured out long ago and had since put to rest. The last ones...those are the most epiphanic (and no, I didn't use a Thesaurus for that word. Bam!)

In December, I wrote about Control. The big "Why" as to my craptastic eating habits lasted as long as they did.

Then, while talking with a friend of mine about being in the closet, I had a lightbulb moment: there was another reason. While yes, I do still feel like I was exhibiting some sort of control, that's not the only reason. While it feels like it was a lifetime ago, the sting of what it was like to still be closeted - to hide myself from those closest to me I don't think will ever truly fade.

While I was putting on weight, up until I was my biggest at over 260lbs, there was a common factor throughout it all. I was struggling with my sexuality. There was a lot of pressure as to why I never dated, why I never talked about girls, why I had never brought one home to meet mom or flew one out to see dad. I think on some level, I allowed myself to get fat so that way no one would ever ask about my love life, so I wouldn't have to lie to them and to myself about it even more.

The bigger I got, the less people asked.

I remained in the closet until June 1, 2006. I had been working on getting in shape before then. As I got more in shape, I became more confident in every aspect of my life, I started to accept myself fully for who I was: A gay male.

Fast forward almost six years: I am in the best shape of my life. I am strong, confident, and entirely out of the closet - surrounded by friends and family who love me for exactly who I am - A gay male...who is slightly fanatical about fitness.

and I couldn't be happier.

Oh, and that 3 you have in the 2nd row, 3rd column...that should be a 7. Sorry, Sudoku spoiler.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


How you look at things will determine how much energy, time and effort you put into something. As most of you know, I approach most things in life with a certain positivity and excitement that – in most cases – is on the brink of really fracking annoying to anyone I’m around. Sometimes it’s contagious, sometimes not. It allows me to put 100% into what I do, whether it be work, gym, football…the list goes on and on.

This lesson never felt more tangible than it did during my lunch workout today. See, some of the recumbent bikes at the gym on base overlook the food court (yes, it’s unclass’ed, I can talk about it, hah). On one side of the glass: hamburgers, Chinese, Italian – your typical food court fare. On the other: the gym. In the gym, you could see people eating delicious food. In the food court, you can see people working out. I swear it’s like the architects intentionally planned to torture everyone, hah!

I chose to pull some positivity from this. Instead of the normal “omg, that pizza looks delicious” train of thought and being distracted by it, I upped the resistance on the bike and cranked up the RPMs. Looking through the glass I saw what I used to be, it was more of a mirror into my past than a transparent divider. I got more motivated, more excited to work harder. I chose to look at my workout as a path towards self improvement instead of a task that I had to do just to get done that day. There was a visible difference, you could tell who was in a positive mindset about being in the gym and who was just logging a workout for the books.

This is true for pretty much anything: the more positive of an outlook you have going into something, you’ll work harder, longer, do whatever you need to in order to accomplish it. If you have a negative view of it, you’ll be more likely to do the bare minimum, to just get it done, and, in the long run, to give up.

Positive. Negative. Excitement. Dread.

It’s all about your point of view.

Which side of the glass are you on?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Whether stepping up my weight training or starting to run so I don't die like Pheidippides did after his run from the Battle of Marathon during the MCM in October, one word has been used a fair amount recently to describe my efforts: "Absurd."

In a country where over 34% of the adults (and 17% of the adolescents) are clinically obese, and another 34% are overweight...more than two-thirds of our country... being fat is the norm.

You know what? If being fat and out of shape is the norm, then being "absurd" not a bad thing.

I used to fit in that statistic, and if you use BMI, I still am by 0.2 points. Side note: BMI is bullshit. Body fat percentage should be used instead of height/weight calcs, but that's a rant for another time. At 6ft tall and 260+lbs, I was the epitome of the new norm. I lived my life being lazy and eating foods that were shitty nutritionally. It became habit.

"First we make our habits, then our habits make us." - Charles C. Noble

I would sit on my ass, play video games all day, and eat junk food. Don't get me wrong, I still game with the best of them, but instead of chips and fast food, I choose chicken and veggies. Instead of planting myself on my couch for the whole weekend, I get up and play football, lift, run....and then sit on my couch (don't worry, I shower first!). I changed my habits, and then my habits changed me.

I now make my habits to continually grow stronger, faster, and leaner. To not be average. To be the best I can. This means not being content and stopping just because I can pull the full stack on the lat pull down. That I can go a mile further than I could before. That, what used to be my max, I do now for reps. To always be making progress.

So I'll take it as a compliment. I'm completely absurd.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Let’s get one thing straight: I. Hate. Running.

Running around while playing football or soccer or doing wind-sprints – I can handle. In fact, it’s rather enjoyable, then. There’s a short term goal: sack the qb, get the TD, beat your opponent to the ball, there’s something usually within 5-30 seconds. What can I say; I have a short attention span.

Distance running, however, is the bane of my existence - I mean, aside from doing laundry - which is exactly why I’m going to run the Marine Corps Marathon.

Waithuhwha? Didn’t you just…

Yup. I just told you that I hate running with the fire of a thousand suns.

It’s all too easy to stick to the stuff you’re good at. For me, that’s lifting weights. You’re in your comfort zone. You’ll most likely get better and better at it, sure, and hey, if your paycheck depends on that skill, then by all means stick with it. For most of us though, fitness is a hobby, and complete mastery of a sport isn’t needed for our day to day. We get confident, perhaps overly so, in the things were good at. Believe it or not, there was a day not too long ago where I couldn’t deadlift more than 95lbs, I was benching only the bar, could only do 5 pull-ups. I sucked up my pride and worked at it. With the challenge, I grew stronger, I became knowledgeable, my confidence increased. The challenge is trying your hand at something that you suck at.

Enter: the marathon.

Sure, I can challenge myself to lift heavier, to get stronger, and get more reps. But functionally speaking, why would I ever need to leg press more than 700lbs? to do dips with an additional 200lbs strapped around my waist? to row over 300? I’m not competing in a strong-man, I won’t be pulling any 18-wheelers. It’s time to develop a new set of physical skills. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to keep lifting – I love the “holy shit, I just did that” feeling I get when I get a new PR too much…now I’m just going to get that from running a new max distance or keeping a quicker pace.

I'm going to become *gasp* a runner.

So what are you doing to challenge yourself?