Geoffrey Long
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Recently in Physical Category

On exercise charts.

So in an effort to overcome this plateau I seem to have hit entirely too early in my exercise efforts, I'm adding charts to the new right-hand sidebar to track some additional statistics. I'll probably add two more here soon – caloric intake and current weight – but right now I need to get back to work on some client stuff I want to finish up before a meeting tomorrow night.

Oh, and I seem to have pissed off the Google gods. I'm not sure what happened -- if the ads don't reappear tomorrow, I'll ping them and find out if I broke something when adding this new code.

Finally, all of this tweaking has made me start to reconsider the way this page is laid out. It's starting to feel too cold and analytic. Hmm. I wonder what I can do about that.

Update: There, that helps. I've been thinking about adding a photo to the top of this page for a while, so this seemed like a good time for it. The shot above is an edited photo of Native American totem poles from The Field Museum, taken back in March when my friend Mike and his fiancee were visiting. I'll probably update this every so often as the urge strikes. Also, a quick nod to Tom Bridge, whose Tiki-head design is a distant cousin of my new friends. I put this together and thought, "Hmm, who does that remind me of?" Hey, Tom. Howyadoin? :)


Risky behavior, continued part III.
This is the point in our narrative where my friendly competitor has the chance to catch up. Whereas Week One was fantastic, Week Two was a wash – no loss, no gain, which of course on a timetable means serious trouble. Week Two was sabotaged by going out to the Cubs game on Monday (which meant dining out for lunch), insane client workload and doing taxes (which meant lowered exercise time), and then hosting family visitors this weekend (which meant dining out for most meals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Further, Week Two saw the introduction of more weightlifting instead of the intense aerobic workout of crazy bike mileage, which means that while I'm more toned, I'm the same weight as I was before. Being toned is good (my arms and kiester feel great from biking and curls and so on), but what I really need is just to reduce all the extra me hanging around.

I'm getting a jump on Week Three, though. Taxes are done, the groundwork is laid for straightforward project grinding, and yesterday (Sunday) I did my personal best on the bike with fifty miles. Keep in mind that these are daily totals, as doing fifty miles at a stretch would probably make my knees fall off, but if you estimate that biking 10 miles per hour burns between 300 and 360 calories, then theoretically I burned between 1500 and 1800 calories today. That's huge, but it's going to be impossible to keep those numbers up – it's physically impossible for me to spend 4-5 hours on the bike everyday and still keep my client gigs (and everything else) going. Maybe if I designed some system to keep the bike in front of my desk... :(


Risky behavior, continued part II.
A quick update to this project. I've been measuring my weight every day, but there are some wide variations in numbers, which makes me wonder if my scale isn't hosed. There has to be something bizarre going on here, because there's a variation of three pounds between this morning and Friday morning, which is impossible. I'm happy because this morning's measurement was the best one to date, and is actually ahead of schedule (down 5.5 puonds instead of the hoped-for 4.3), but this still offends my scientific sensibilities.

Now playing: Sin City and Sahara

Anyway. This weekend I went and caught both Sin City and Sahara, which were both a lot of fun. Sin City was an experience, because when the film starts, it takes a little while to adjust your expectations. At first there's a knee-jerk reaction to how stylized it is, and how riddled with cliches and odd poetic twists the dialogue can be, but before long your mind gets into the rhythm and it becomes one helluva ride.

As for Sahara, it was a blast. A lot of the reviews out there accuse it of having an overly complicated plot for an action-adventure movie, but I say we need as many complicated plots in movies as possible. Matthew McConaughey was clearly having a great time while making it, which infuses Sahara with the same degree of silly joy as Ocean's 11 and Ocean's 12. The added hotness of Penelope Cruz and the offbeat goofiness of Steve Zahn made this one of my favorite cinematic rides of a while. It's great fun in a similar vein to the Indiana Jones movies, but what it lacks is the occasional gravitas of Harrison Ford; even when Matthew McConaughey is being serious he's still more lighthearted than Junior.

Take me out to the ballgame

Today, though, I'm knocking another item off the list of things I want to do before I leave Chicago – the good Mr. Schultz and I are going to catch the Cubs game this afternoon. I'm seriously looking forward to this – I haven't been to a baseball game in years, and going to a Cubs game with Ken is going to be like going out to dinner at fancy restaurant with Jamie Oliver. Go Cubbies!

Aside from that, things out here are chugging along pretty well. This is going to be an interesting week workwise, but I'm feeling pretty upbeat about it. God bless Spring – it couldn't have come at a better time!


I see a trend emerging here.

So I'm following the Abs Diet, ah, diet – three small-to-medium meals with three snacks in-between, and this seems to be working fairly well. I've also been doing a crazy amount of cardio – I put in 40 miles on the bike today, one ten-mile stint this morning before breakfast, another ten-miler after I came home from the day's main work, and then another twenty during and after The West Wing. I think I'm also dropping weight, but I'm not sure if the reported losses on the scale in the morning are really trustworthy, or if they're just natural physical variations from day-to-day. I weighed myself this morning and I'd definitely dropped since Monday, but I'm expecting to try that again tomorrow and not see any variation, or even a gain.

That said, if you figure biking 10 miles per hour burns 6-7 calories per minute, which is about what I was doing (and yes, I spent about 4 hours today on the bike), that means that I burned between 1440 and and 1680 calories, which translates into a little less than half a pound (3500 calories). Let's see if I can keep this up, though.


Risky behavior, continued.

So The Race to Negative Thirty is still in full effect. Today I did 25 miles on the bike and a great deal of walking, which doesn't really enter into my daily routine as much, so I think I'll count that as the missing 10 miles on The Bike. I also did some flys, crunches and what I believe are called overhead hammer curls, which absolutely kill when you do them with 20 pound dumbbells instead of 10 pound dumbbells. Irritatingly, I weighed myself again and I am convinced that there is something screwy with my scale, or else I fluctuate a full 1.5 pounds from one hour of the day to another. That's a little creepy, actually, although not at all outside the realm of possibility. I believe that what I'll have to do is set up a recurring appointment on my day planner to weigh myself at the same time every day/week in order to maintain some degree of scientific consistency. My friends who are actually scientists are out there snickering right now, I can tell – the irony is not lost on me that I'll be earning an MS instead of an MA, believe me.

The walking today was done primarily at the mall, while waiting on a friend whom I had taken to the dentist across the street. I went looking for clothes, but it's dawned on me that I shouldn't go clothes shopping yet, as any XLs I buy will need to be Ls if this experiment works (or Ls as Ms, etc.). That's a limitation I can deal with.

When I came home, I turned for inspiration to my old photo album from my days spent at The University of Exeter. I flipped through page after page of photos from Venice, Rome, Paris, London – all of these wonderful places, with the faces peering back of a thinner, more youthful me and at least two people that I don't talk to anymore, one of whom because she turned cold right before her wedding (interesting side effect, IMHO) and the other because I've completely lost her contact information. If you read this, Jordan, drop me a line?

In effect, this experiment is part of an effort to reboot my system, if you will, and try and wipe out the damage from the last – Jesus – 7-8 years. I've learned a lot in that time, but a good chunk of that is stuff I wish I hadn't. I've made some staggering mistakes, trusted some people that I really shouldn't have, and you can see it when you compare those photographs from 1999 to ones from 2005. I've also done some great things, don't get me wrong, but when I'm sitting down and thinking, "Okay, man, who do you want to be in six months? A year? Five years?" I find myself thinking that at least some of the answers to my problems – or leads on those answers – are actually to be found in the past. The key is to learn from those mistakes and, instead of dwelling on who I'm not, build on who I am. (Well, build on everything but the waistline, I guess.)

Anyway, I need to make a late-night run to the 24-hour Dominick's for fish and bananas and other diet chow. Onward!


Oh, yeah. It's on.

35 miles on the exercise bike today. I can't wait to see how rubbery my legs are tomorrow.


That tears it – the risky behavior starts now.
So this weekend I went out on a date – two, actually – and while I had a great time, for various reasons I had the point driven home that I really, really need to get serious about my plans for Spring Training. Namely, I need to peel off the thirty extra pounds that have managed to snake their way onto my ass in the last eighteen months or so. Further, the five-year reunion for my college class is coming up in eight weeks, and I'd like to be back down to my fighting weight for that as well.

Tonight I made a challenge with one of my classmates – The Race to Negative Thirty is on. To your right you will find a graph charting the necessary decline in poundage that would have to be achieved for the next eight weeks. According to The Abs Diet losing thirty pounds in six weeks is possible, but I remain skeptical. I'm not going to go on another one of those stupid Atkins/South Beach diets, because the last time I went on one of those I lost some weight but also turned into The Incredible Hulk – for some reason, a huge protein injection also resulted in a massive testosterone boost, which then in turn made me irritable and, well, roaring. I'm man enough without turning into Mr. Hyde, thanks. I like the Abs Diet because they basically say, "Eat right, exercise more, and by the time you can see your abs you'll have lost a bunch of flab everywhere else." I like to call it the 'No Duh Diet'.

Every Monday for the next eight weeks I'm going to post my progress in the form of an updated version of this graph. It won't be available in the archives, since I'm not sure I want this misadventure to haunt my future, but it'll be up here for y'all to taunt and mock at your leisure. The way I see it, I'm going to use the boost in my self-confidence from recent events to help drive this experiment – if I can get into M.I.T., I can do anything.