Friday, April 20, 2018

Fitness Goals update

It's too soon to measure any real progress since last time, but I took a couple positive steps forward, so...

1) Bench press - With a morning body weight of 195.4 lbs. on 4/18, I pressed 185 for 16 reps. Probably could have done a 17th, but was a little disappointed that it wasn't going to be easy, so I bailed. I had previously done 195 for 16 reps, so it seemed like I regressed. Possible issues: it was later in the evening (energy was more sapped), I had played some basketball for over a half an hour prior to (perhaps expended energy), food consumption during the day, or something else.

I think what may be happening is I've been training with lighter weights for higher reps, but perhaps the best way to to train for benching my weight for a high amount of reps (24 is the goal), is to go back to higher weights, say 225, and improve the reps for that weight. I'll try that and see what happens.

2) Pull-ups - With a training-time weight of 196.4 (including attire, no shoes), I did 9 full pull-ups, hands-over-top style. A personal record. Feeling good about this. What my self-esteem would have been like in junior high school had I been able to do that then!

3) Dunking/vertical jump - I've been working on my two-footed jump, practicing technique from some Google searches. They don't seem to be BS; I've noticed some improvement. Still, at a workout-time body weight (including attire and shoes) of 198.4, I was able to do a running, one-foot jump and get just a tad higher than last time. Probably 3 1/2 inches or so above the rim.

Still guessing my ideal body weight for these goals is around 185, but it may be closer to 180. The question is whether I'll be able to get the weight down that low without losing too much lean mass and strength. It's possible, but perhaps not in the short time I've given myself.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fitness Goals

Three years have passed since I blogged last. No, I'm not rapping, although my toes are tapping.

Anyway, I figured I'd post this here because I want to put it "out there" to help inspire myself, without putting it on Facebook so as to look like I'm fishing for likes, compliments, etc.

A couple of weeks ago, when I realized it was 12 weeks until summer, I posted on Facebook that I have three fitness goals to hit by summer. I didn't say what they were; I only gave a vague reference to the fact that if I do hit them, I'll be in good shape for the beach.

Not that I've let myself go since losing some 35 pounds two years ago, but I've been simply "maintaining" and not really inspiring myself.  So I set some new goals, and made them a little different because simply "losing x pounds" or "benching x pounds" not only isn't as inspiring, but ultimately, the end goal is to look good, and one can accomplish those types of goals without really looking (or being) any more fit.

So Here they are, with an update:

1) Bench press my weight for 24 reps.  Whether I weigh 225 or 175, I want 24 reps at that weight. When I first benched 315 for one rep, a lifetime goal, I was overweight. When the weight went down, so did the strength. That's what happens when you're not doing PEDs. You can try to keep as much of the strength as possible, but you simply aren't going to keep it all when losing weight.

2) Perform 12 pull-ups in good form. Over-the-top grip, just like they made you do in school, and I could never complete even one.

3) Dunk a basketball on a regulation-height rim, with a regulation-sized basketball, with nothing but a regulation floor and regular basketball shoes. No cheating, in other word.

The thing is with these goals, if I achieve them all, I'll be in the kind of shape I want to get do. You can't do them all without being both lean and strong.

So here's a progress report:

1) 4/14/18 - Benched 195 for 16 reps, with a morning weigh-in of 195.2
2) 4/15/18 - Performed 8 good pull-ups with a body weight (including clothing) of 196.8
3) 5/15/18 - Was able to grab the basketball rim just enough to tug, but not hang on. Probably about 3 inches or so above the rim, meaning I'm about 7 inches away from dunking

Goals 1 & 2 are on track. Goal #3 may never happen, but if they all are to happen, I figure I need to get my weight down to 185 while losing nearly no muscle. I could see myself getting strong enough at 195 to do the first 2, but I'm not sure my knees would allow me to spring enough at 195 to get high enough above the rim. So for now, I'm looking at 185 as the target weight.

Here's, hoping.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

March Madne$$

I'm not sure exactly where I stand on whether Division 1 NCAA athletes should be paid. I'd probably be happy with generous per diems and looser rules that aren't related to cash.  Despite all of the revenue the big sports bring in, and thus allowing a profit on the backs of kids who will never see the big professional dollars, I'm not sure the right thing is to start paying them what would be akin to salaries.

One of the stronger arguments I've heard against paying them is that for the Division 1 colleges that don't make the huge profits that the Ohio States of the world make, paying the athletes on the big money teams might necessitate canceling sports that 

To that, some say, "So what? If you're upset that you don't get a free ride as part of the rowing team, learn to shoot a three-pointer."

Strawman, yes, but I'm probably not too far off.

Regardless, I find the amount of money being made on the backs of athletes who mostly are getting average educations, albeit free, is disgusting.  So when I was watching a kid interviewed after one of the games tonight, impressed at his articulation and eloquence, and ability to say all the right things and how great a game the next one will be, my mind wandered off, imaging something I would have liked him to say.

I'll preface it by saying that in addition to the obscene amount of money, I'm disgusted by the gall and arrogance of the NCAA.  They no doubt would have a thing or two to say if any athlete publicly blasted them after a big tournament game (or any game, really).  But what if his post-game comments went something like this:

"You know, we're really looking forward to playing Wisconsin on Saturday.  We lost a heartbreaker to them last year, so we really want to prove something.  They are a talented team, so I'm sure they want to prove something too.  So it should be a great game - one the advertisers will be happy to spend big bucks on and making a lot of people a lot of money.  I'm just glad to be a part the awesome ratings it will bring and commerce that will come with it, knowing that some people's nest eggs will be enriched."

I would love to see the athletes take a united stand in this; using irony that you can't prove to bring attention to the absurdity of big time college sports Imagine if every interview became just as predictable as they already are, only instead of "giving 110%" and other cliches, we'd hear about what great ratings and ad revenue it will bring in for the corporations, colleges, and NCAA.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another New Year's Eve

It's New Year's Eve, and my wife and I are waiting to ring in the new year at the airport.  We are flying out on the 1:15 AM flight to Orlando to cheer on the Gophers in the Citrus Bowl, and then we're heading right back to Minnesota on Friday.

It's been a typically stressful holiday season, and while I love watching the kids enjoy it, I'm always glad when it's over. Year-end stuff at work always adds to the stress, and my wife gets anxiety when flying.  As my dad once said, having fun sure can be hard work.

But I am looking forward to the New Year.  I'll have some resolutions and goals, some of which I'll try to remember to share here.  Or perhaps I'll forget about it and post something entirely unrelated a month from now, as if I never said anything about it.

Physical goals, bowling goals, financial goals, even career goals this time around.  We'll see. Oh, yeah, parenting goals as well.

Is it really the eve of 2015? Wow. Just wow.

Happy New Year and Go Gophers!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gaming DNA

When I was in junior high school, I was addicted to pinball. Any quarter I could muster, I would take to Lotsa Fun at the Har Mar Mall in Roseville, Minnesota, or perhaps the Kresge store in the same mall, or the now-defunct and my eventual main hangout, Rose Bowl Lanes, across the street. The video game Space Invaders was introduced at some point in my junior high tenure, shortly followed by Asteroids, and the end of pinball's dominance in arcades was begun. I'm not sure what hooked me, but it's not too surprising, since my dad was a terrific pool player (and still amazes me on the rare occasion he plays). I think there's a similar arcade-like DNA there.

I made the switch, too, becoming a regular at Circus, the successor to Lotsa Fun, using the same mall space with an expansion. There were a few games I was pretty good at. I became a very good foosball player as well (also in the billiards DNA), even winning a couple championships at my Technical College (I know, I know..."real impressive"). The only game I became better at than anyone I ever saw was Wacko, and obscure game where you moved a hovering-saucer-riding alien, shooting other aliens it would meet at different points along the path.  What made it challenging was that you had to multi-task in a way no other game required.

In my adult years, I enjoyed some home video games, with my favorite being Links golf on the PC. I still fire it up once in a while, despite the franchise folding sometime after Microsoft sold it in 2004, preferring it to even the most recent Tiger Woods games from EAS. For a while, and in spurts, I would be addicted to the game, and even quite temperamental when I didn't play well.

This background leads to the point of this post: I'm not a gamer, and I'm not sure why.  My 20-year-old son is, my 7-and-9-year-old sons are hooked on Skylanders, Mario, and most recently, starting to really get into WWE. But not only am I not a gamer, I don't play home video games at all, other than occasionally when my young sons want me to play with them. And I'm not sure why.

Perhaps they have become too realistic, although I can still see myself getting the bug to play Tiger Woods again, and perhaps even Brunswick's PBA bowling game, both of which are quite realistic. Perhaps because I never really enjoyed the personally violent games I say personally violent, because obliterating scores of spaceships were fun. I still enjoy playing Galaga every time I visit Breezy Point Resort.  So, perhaps I only enjoy video games for nostalgia, or if they are realistic facsimiles of sports I enjoy playing in real life.

I guess it's a good thing, as it saves money and keeps me from wasting time.  Then again, I spend plenty on games for the boys, and I really don't use all that free time as productively as I should.

Oh, and I did lie a little. I still occasionally play bumper stars on It's a bit addictive for me, and I'll binge in it still occasionally. It's basically a video game cross between pinball and billiards.

Yep, I can't defy, nor will I ever totally shake, my arcade-like DNA.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Everything was better at Grandma Ann's

My Grandmother, Ann Malmgren, was laid to rest yesterday. It was truly a celebration of her life.  Tears were shed, and there was sadness, but the joy of stories, memories, and even home movies made it a wonderful time.

As with my Grandpa Leonard (Ann's husband, who passed away 21 years ago), I was asked to deliver the Words of Remembrance at the Mass of Christian Burial.  Basically, it's the non-clergy eulogy.  Knowing I had only a few minutes during which to speak, and that it had to be religious in nature (which I found a little awkward coming from me), I kept my stories short and simple.

I talked about hoping to awe and inspire everyone with my stories, but in preparation, was having trouble coming up with anything other than what everyone else would have said about her. So, as I explained, I started a brainstorming session, writing down a word or two about every memory I had.  Here was my list:

Well water
Orange Juice
Ice cream
Tonight Show
Coffee Maker
Poached eggs
Basement smell

There were more I could have written down, but I realized I was getting nowhere.  It was a  mundane list for sure.

But then,after looking it over some more, I realized that's what made Grandma Ann so special. To have fond memories of her linked to each of these ordinary things could only mean that she truly was extraordinary. 

I had originally planned on describing why many of these held special meaning to me, but for time purposes, limited it to just a couple. As it turned out, less is truly more. Most people who knew Grandma Ann knew exactly what I meant by enough of these that they understood there must be something similarly wonderful to those they did not. It's like hearing a joke that you don't get, but know that you should get, and why, and thus find it funny.

I concluded my personal remembrances with the following, and am paraphrasing here, as it was mostly ad-libbed from the rehearsals that took place in my head:

Everything was better at Grandma Ann's. Some of it is understandable: her cooking, sewing, and gardening, for example. 

As for some of the others, it may not make much sense, and you might ask, "How could all those things, like mass-produced, store-bought ice cream, be better just because it was at Grandma Ann's?" 

Well, that's a question that pretty much answers itself.  Everything at Grandma Ann's was better...just because it was at Grandma Ann's.

Here is a link to her obituary:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Things I think about when my team is sucking

What better way to cheer myself up over the pathetic Christian Ponder-led Vikings showing in Green Bay tonight than to criticize a sports announcer? No, not one of the football game's announcers, but the play-by-play guy who did the Giants-Pirates Wild Card game last night.

I don't recall who was on the play-by-play, but it's not about picking on him. Rather, it's about any announcer who does this, including former Twins announcer John Gordon:

"(Batter) is up, and (On-deck Batter) would be next."

Gordon used to do that all the time.

"What's wrong with that?" you ask. "The on-deck batter would be next. if the current batter keeps the inning going."

Well, that's all fine and dandy, except there was one out and no one on base.

So unless by "would be" the announcer meant, "(On-deck Batter) would be next, unless he gets knocked out like a sacked QB by a foul ball, or the manager does something incredibly stupid and puts in a pinch-hitter for Hunter in the third inning."

Until last night, I thought Gord-o was the only one who ever did that. I suppose I'm going to notice it all the time now. Funny how things work like that. For example, my ex-wife was the first person I ever noticed using the non-word "acrossed." She said it while we were doing a crossword puzzle together.

(She gave me quite the lashing for correcting her, but dang, if you ever catch me doing something like that, if you're my friend, I expect you to correct me immediately!)

Then I started to hear some sports announcers use it, as in, "He passes the puck acrossed to Parise."

And then I heard it in a production of Oklahoma!, which means two things, probably: 1) That its use has been around a lot longer than my ex-wife, and 2) That it probably wasn't meant to be used any more than "Caint" (as in "I caint say no") or "Whatcher" (as in "Whatcher gonna do when he starts talkin' purty?")

Yes, I'm quoting old Broadway tunes instead of watching football.

I should turn the game back on to see if Ponder is still playing QB.  Chandler Harnish would be next.