ACE

A Seven Points Weigh-In

Weigh-in info is below, but first… the story of my personal trainer test!

After I announced my plans to take the ACE Personal Trainer test, I suddenly became much more nervous.

My initial fear was that I would be the only fat guy in the room.

FYI - searching for "only fat guy in the room" on Google Images with SafeSearch to No brings up a surprising amount of porn

I can only say, I received so much support and well wishes from so many of you, I truly feel blessed.

So I kept going through my course materials. I studied muscles and insertion points, nutrition guidelines, professional roles and responsibilities of personal trainers, and so much more.

I took two practice tests on Friday, and I failed the first and barely passed the second. They also showed me something very important. Regardless of passing or failing, I had a LOT more studying to do before I felt comfortable presenting myself as a personal trainer.

On Saturday morning, Tina dropped me off at the testing site. I was the only fat guy in the room. I was also the only guy in the room. There were TWO people testing, me and a young lady who looked fit enough to have been a personal trainer. However, this was a testing center for any proctored test. She may have been taking the ACE PT test or the GRE or any other number of things. So my biggest fear was completely pointless.

How often is that the case? How often do we end up afraid of things that aren’t even real fears?

So, I took the test. I’m a fast tester; I always have been. I’m also one of the lucky people who does not suffer from test anxiety. No matter what the test is, the day of, I’m usually calm as a cucumber. Same thing here.

How did I do?

I failed by seven points.

I’m truly not upset. I’ll be honest – as I was taking the test, I really felt pretty good about it. I expected to see a score in the low 500s, barely passing. BUt oh well. Even if I had passed, I would have felt the need to study more to truly feel like I knew the material well enough to fully train someone.

Is it sour grapes?

Maybe a little. But I’m actually quite pleased to know that the ACE PT test is this tough. Honestly, it was one of the toughest tests I have ever taken. My game plan is to continue studying, and I’m going to take it next year.

Next year, I’ll be thinner. No wish crap. I will be. Period.

This week, therefore, is a Seven Points Weigh-In.

No, not a Seven Pounds weigh-in.

Most depressing movie ever...

August 15, 2011
367.7
Change from Last Week = -2.1 pounds
Change from Highest = -35.1 pounds

Yay! I lost two pounds! Woo hoo!

The semester starts two weeks from today, and I can’t wait! I spent the day at a New Faculty Orientation. The highlight of my day was when Big Red (WKU’s mascot) took the mike. (If you aren’t from WKU, you should know that Big Red never talks. Ever.) It was funnier if you were there.

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January Resolutions Update

2011 is shaping up to be a good year. I made some big resolutions, and rather than make them and just hope they were accomplished by December 31, 2011, I decided to break them up into small, manageable goals. Every month, I plan to report on how I’ve done and set goals for the next month.

So how have I done? The bold is my resolution and below it is what I wanted to accomplish in January.

One quick note – a lot of bloggers (present company included) make a big deal about labeling everything as a failure or a success. I’m not going to curse myself with the word Fail for those goals I did not accomplish as I had planned. I will therefore have successes and Not Yets.

Lose 120 pounds.
January’s Goal: To get below 350
The verdict: Not yet. I’m not going to beat myself up, though. I weigh 358 right now. I weighed 364.2 when the year started. That is six pounds. Is it amazing? Nah, it’s okay. But what is amazing is that even if my weight loss doesn’t increase, I will still weigh 72 pounds less on January 1, 2012, and THAT is amazing.
February’s Goal: To get below 352

Bench press 180 pounds.
January’s Goal: Increase bench press to 140.
The verdict: Not yet. When I got my eye infection, I got grounded from the gym, and I didn’t put the time in on my bench press early in the month like I should have. I am still benching 135.
February’s Goal: Increase bench press to 140.

Eat 52 new vegetarian dishes over the course of the year.
January’s Goal: Report on all four January dishes and plan out all four of February’s.
The verdict: Success! I ate Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas, Savory Sweet Potato Chips, Spicy Brussels Sprouts, and Roasted Asparagus. I have my vegetarians dishes planned for February as well.
February’s Goal: Report on all four February dishes and plan out all four of March’s.

Become an ACE certified personal trainer with at least two clients by year’s end.
January’s Goal: Study through Chapter Four of ACE’s Essentials of Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals textbook.
The verdict: Not yet. When I made this goal, I’ll admit to having only skimmed the book. I suspected this textbook (a good thick textbook, too) would have twenty or so chapters. Nope, only five. Five chapters of about 100 pages each it seems. But I did do some work, albeit not as much as I planned. I have to get cracking, though. My testing certificate expires in August!
February’s Goal: Study through Chapter Two of ACE’s Essentials of Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals textbook.

Complete (and edit) that young adult novel that keeps popping up in my brain.
January’s Goal: Write at least 12,000 words on the tentatively titled Athena Institute.
The verdict: Not yet. However, I made some headway, and I’m grateful for that. I may have not written 12,000 words, but I did write 3,648.
February’s Goal: Write 8,000 more words on my young adult novel.

Attempt to have my watercolor paintings put up in the gallery at the local library.
January’s Goal: Come up with theme for series and paint at least seven paintings in said series.
The verdict: Not yet. But wow, that was ambitious. I have decided on my theme, which is going to be Fitness and Weight Loss. I have not yet painted a single painting, however.
February’s Goal: Paint at least two paintings in my series.

Create an online store to sell my photographs, space paintings, and watercolor paintings (and other arty things, including light-up wine bottles).
January’s Goal: Open store.
The verdict: Not yet. I picked out some photographs to sell, and I’ve rounded up some wine bottles, and I’ve even started the process of making my store, but I haven’t actually put anything into it yet.
February’s Goal: Open store.

Build my first ever snowman.
January’s Goal: If there is a snow in January (and there better be), build a snowman. Complete with scarf and carrot nose.
The verdict: Not yet. We had a few tiny snows, but nothing more than two inches or so.
February’s Goal: Make a snowman, even if it is a tiny snowman.

Send 100 letters out through The Mail Project.
January’s Goal: Send out eight letters.
The verdict: Not yet. I mailed out one letter.
February’s Goal: Mail out fifteen letters, eight for February and seven that I missed in January.

Take Tina to Las Vegas after she graduates.
January’s Goal: Put aside $100 to help pay for trip.
The verdict: Back burnered, at least for a while. Tina and I have quite a bit of credit card debt. Far more than I am comfortable having. We will have paid off one credit card entirely here in the next few weeks, but we still have one to go. I can’t in good conscience go on a vacation when I have bad debt. I still hope to take Tina to Vegas before the year is over (maybe over Christmas break this year), but I have to take care of our bad debt first.
February’s Goal: Put this one on the back burner until May 2011 when I re-evaluate our finances.

Visit at least one more National Park.

January’s Goal: See above, in saving up for Vegas trip.
The verdict: Ditto. Not yet.
February’s Goal: Reference the Vegas trip.

Begin work on my doctorate.
January’s Goal: Successful start classes this Spring semester, which begins January 24th.
The verdict: Not yet. The online class I had hoped to take ended up not happening through the fault of no one. It just didn’t make. It looks like any post-graduate work will have to wait until summer at the soonest.
February’s Goal: Back burnered until May 2011.

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An Always in Training Weigh-in

On Sunday, I wrote about how I had just had a major breakthrough. It was mental, not physical.

I didn’t discover the magic wand for weight loss.

I didn’t discover the warp zone to skinny.

But I did find something FOR ME that makes everything click into place.

I truly believe that’s part of a healthy weight loss journey. It isn’t about losing weight. We all know how to do that, even if we all have slightly different theories. Some people say that a calorie is a calorie, whether it comes from carrots or chocolate. I don’t agree. Some people say that you can never splurge. I don’t agree. I subscribe to a middle-ground approach, where you SHOULD eat as healthy as you possibly can but the occasional treat is acceptable.

It isn’t even about exercise, although that certainly plays a big role. It’s pretty much proven that losing weight is 90% diet and 10% exercise. I’m exercising to make me healthier, much for the same reason I try to eat at least 80% of my food as healthy choices.. I know I can lose weight without exercising, but I don’t want to deal with the excess “excess skin” that will come without lifting weights and doing cardio.

So, if it isn’t about diet and it isn’t about exercise, what on Earth have I found that is a crucial element of every weight loss success story?

The mental aspect. The breakthrough. The trigger. The event.

Whatever it is, I have it. Some people have it when they have a child and realize they have more to live for than themselves. (Please note: we are NOT having a baby yet.)

Some people have it when they come to terms with abuse from their childhood or they finally combat self-defeating behaviors.

I had an excellent childhood. I wasn’t abused. I’ve certainly been self-destructive, though, and a few years ago, I came to terms with that.

So why am I still fat?

In the words of Dr. Phil, being fat was working for me.

If I am fat, I cannot fail because I’m not even going to try.

No more.

I’ve come to realize that the event isn’t just ONE event. For me, at least, it has to always be something. I have to have something concrete to plan for, to look forward to, to train for…

Before I met Tina, I wanted to lose weight so I could find a great girl to spend my life with.

While I was engaged, I wanted to lose weight so I’d look good at my wedding.

Now what? I want to be healthy and thin so I can be a good dad, obviously, but that’s easily several years off.

But I need to be training for something. So that’s how I’m viewing this journey now.

I am ALWAYS IN TRAINING.

Always. Every day. Every workout, I am in training. I’m in training to save the world, so I better get stronger at each bench press I do. I’m in training to become a great dad, so I better push a little harder on the elliptical. I’m in training to become a personal trainer, so I better try a little harder at my food choices.

Always in training.

The mental aspect of it is a great deal of fun. Whenever I’m lifting weights, I just pick something random that I’m in training for. I’m in training to be the next Power Ranger, and if I can complete this weight workout with my heart rate dropping out of a good fat burning zone, too, then I will definitely be picked to wear the blue armor next.

I’m in training to be a personal trainer, so if I want to make a little extra income by helping others lose weight, then I had better put that cookie down and pick up an apple instead.

It’s honestly fun, and for me and my varied mental mind games I play with myself all day long, it’s a big help.

And therefore, this is an Always in Training Weigh-in.

As I said on Sunday, I’m switching to Friday. Friday weigh-ins are what I did last year, and I just enjoy them more.

January 21, 2011
Last Week’s Weight: 360.7
Today’s Weight: 359.0
Change from All-Time High: -43.8 pounds
Change from Last Week: -1.7 pounds

Goodbye, 360s. I won’t miss you. I may not break 350 by February 1st like I had planned (although I have really stepped up my weight workouts this past week in a BIG way), but I’m still losing no matter what.

What are you in training for?

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My 2011 Resolutions

Every year, I make resolutions. They are usually broad, sweeping resolutions that cover almost every aspect of my life. And while I am not one of those people who hate resolutions, I still have to admit – I usually forget about them by mid-January.

I’m going to try and do it a little differently this year. I’m going to make my resolutions in a way that I have to “check” in every month. So basically, rather than just make my resolutions for the entirety of 2011, I’m going to make them so that I can check on my status at the end of every month.

Before I give my resolutions, let me remind you that some of these are purposefully easy to accomplish. That helps give me a feeling of accomplishment, because I know there will be months that I don’t do as hot on something.

Lose 120 pounds.
Based on past experience, this one is big, but I’m still tackling it. It is a tough but doable ten pounds a month. Now that my thyroid issues are more or less under control, with some hard work, this one may be possible. I don’t deny that it will be tough, but I’m up for the challenge.
To accomplish by the end of January: Get down to 350.

Bench press 180 pounds.
I seriously contemplated not putting this one on the list, because to do so will require me to admit how much I bench press. I am not as strong as I’d like to be. I can bench press 135. That’s only one forty-five pound plate on each side of the bar. I’ve selected 180 as my goal because, according to charts, that is my ideal weight, and I would love to be able to bench press my weight.
To accomplish by the end of January: Increase bench press to 140.

Eat one vegetarian dinner a week.
I’m not vegan. There are some vegan blogs I read (and a few I stay away from because their militant veganism turns me off), but I like the idea of being so committed to healthy eating that you practice it at EVERY meal. Please note that I am committing to eat a vegetarian dinner one night a week, not a vegan one. I like animals. I have four that I share my life with (two cats, two dogs, all heathens). I just also happen to think that vegan food sucks. I’m sure some of my meals may end up being vegan, but I’ve tried cooking vegan. I’ve never been able to make anything better than “eh, it’s mostly edible.” But by not eating meat during at least one dinner a week, I can reduce my carbon footprint somewhat and expand my culinary repertoire. Tina and I are making Thursday night our Veggie Dinner night.
To accomplish by the end of January: Report on all four January dinners and plan out all four of February’s.

Become an ACE certified personal trainer with at least two clients by year’s end.
I already have the study kit and the testing certificate in my possession. Yes, I will still be obese when I go to take the exam, which I expect will result in a few raised eyebrows, but oh well. I plan to blow the test out of the water. Given that I’ll probably take the exam by late Spring to early Summer, I have decided to up the ante on this resolution and require myself to use it. I’m not planning to replace my career at WKU with a personal training one, but I’d definitely like to do it on the side. I feel pretty good about this one, too, as many overweight people I have talked to say they would prefer a trainer who once had weight issues as opposed to someone who has always been a hard body.
To accomplish by the end of January: Study through Chapter Four of ACE’s Essentials of Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals textbook

Complete (and edit) that young adult novel that keeps popping up in my brain.
I’ve been a writer since I was a little kid. I guess you could say I’m technically even published. However, I want to finish this one particular young adult novel that has been clanking around in my head for a while, edit it, and actually send it out to agents in the potential of getting it published. I realize that publishing fiction is only 2% talent and 98% luck, but I’ll never be published if I don’t at least try.
To accomplish by the end of January: Write at least 12,000 words on the tentatively titled Athena Institute.

Attempt to have my watercolor paintings put up in the gallery at the local library.
I have dabbled in watercolors for several years now. I don’t pretend to say I’m amazing, but I keep looking at the local artist galleries they put up, and I frequently say to myself, “Well… I can do that.” Except I haven’t. In 2011, I’m going to at least try. First up – I need to decide on a cohesive theme for a series of paintings. Frankly, right now, I’m thinking something healthy living related.
To accomplish by the end of January: Come up with theme for series and paint at least seven paintings in said series

Create an online store to sell my photographs, space paintings, and watercolor paintings (and other arty things, including light-up wine bottles).
Tina is immensely talented when it comes to crafts. Far more than I am. However, I’ve made some things that I think are pretty interesting. I don’t know if I’m literally good enough to make money off of my talents, but let’s give it a shot.
To accomplish by the end of January: Open store.

Build my first ever snowman.
We’re looking at having a very rough winter in the south this year. We’ve already had two decent snows, and that’s pretty rare for us. Our first snow usually comes in January. Despite having enough good snows over the course of my life to build a snowman, I never have. This year, Frosty is going to make an appearance.
To accomplish by the end of January: If there is a snow in January (and there better be), build a snowman. Complete with scarf and carrot nose.

Send 100 letters out through The Mail Project.
This one will be easy. The Mail Project is a new blog I’ve started where I basically write to companies and ask for free stuff. I’ve already had some successes. Over the course of 2011, I have to send out at least 100 letters.
To accomplish by the end of January: Send out eight letters.

Take Tina to Las Vegas after she graduates.
Tina is finishing up her Bachelor’s in May and promptly starting her Master’s in June, if things go according to plan. I’ve promised her a trip to Las Vegas for some time after her graduation. In mid to late May, I resolve to take her there.
To accomplish by the end of January: Put aside $100 to help pay for trip.

Visit at least one more National Park.
On our life’s To-Do list, Tina and I plan to visit every National Park in the U.S. So far, we’ve only knocked out two, Mammoth Cave (where I proposed, in fact) and the Great Smokies. We just went to the Great Smokies a few weeks ago, and in fact, I’ll soon be documenting the trip on my travel blog, The Window Seat. Going to Mammoth Cave is very easy, as it is just thirty minutes from our house. We go regularly, and we’re going to take a nice day trip there as soon as spring shows up. However, that still leaves 56 national parks to go. Since we’re going to Vegas, I plan for us to also go visit one or two near that desert oasis. There are several. For this year, I’m leaning toward Death Valley National Park, as it is only about two and a half hours away and it seems like one you should see in the summer. Hopefully, we’ll also be able to go to the Grand Canyon. It may take us our entire lives to see all of them, but that’s okay by me. I’m in no hurry. I’m also not in too big of a hurry to see all of the National Parks near Las Vegas, as the city is so much fun, I’m sure we’ll go back again and again and again.
To accomplish by the end of January: See above, in saving up for Vegas trip.

Begin work on my doctorate.
I’m not officially in the cohort yet, but I’m starting on some additional grad-level classes this spring that will count toward my hours. I have two Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree right now. I definitely want that terminal Ed.D! (Please note – I am choosing the Ed.D. instead of the Ph.D. because I work in education, and given my current circumstances, an Ed.D. makes more sense for me than a Ph.D. Either way, I’ll be a doctor!)
To accomplish by the end of January: Successful start classes this Spring semester, which begins January 24th.

So, those are my resolutions. Do you have any?

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Weigh-Ins
12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)