Tag Archive | Physical exercise

Box Quest (Part 3)

chair1 chair2I was finally able to acquire that Ikea chair to do my 7 minute workout routine. It turns out it’s made out of extremely lightweight unfinished pine. It feels like balsa wood. I bought some wood beams and screws from Lowes. The seat had to be reenforced by putting a beam in the center. I also screwed in additional beams on the legs. All the joints were slobbered in wood glue as an extra precaution.  My weight is lighter, but I still don’t trust it to stand on a $25 soft wood chair.

Tomorrow or the day after, I will sand it smooth, attach the seat (with more screws and glue), and apply several coats of clear polyurethane – which should add even more sturdiness to it. I entertained the notion of putting my name on the top and painting flames on it, maybe a skull, but I just want this finished and functional.

Almost there…


Box Quest (Part 2)

It turns out that plywood is more expensive than I thought. For about forty to fifty dollars, I could own a 4×8′ mediocre piece of 3/4″ plywood. So suddenly, my quest has dead-ended. Due to my lack of funds, I’ve resorted to monetizing some of my talents. Unfortunately, judging by the amazing lack of interest from people so far, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be profitable. I would, technically, make more money begging at an intersection.

I did find the cheapest option so far, a $25 wooden chair at Ikea. It looks pretty sturdy, although I would reenforce the legs with some more strips of pine. But, again, it requires about twenty-five dollars more than I have.

That said, I’ve started the 7 minute exercise routine without a chair or a box. I’ve resorted to use the stairs for the step-ups by stepping up past the first step, hitting the second, and coming back down. I measured it, it’s about 18″, which is about the seat height of a chair. I’m using the sofa for the dips, just because I can’t dip properly on the stairs.

It is a tough workout, and I can barely get through it all. I add on another minute of push ups and sit-ups each to make it a good 10 minutes.

I’ve also had to switch to tap water from filtered water and drop some food options (like nuts) at the moment until the situation improves. It’s not my preferred way of losing weight, but I’m not at the point of starving (yet). I have lost 3 more pounds since last week.

Box Quest (Part 1)

box_cartoonFor the last few weeks, I’ve been going insane trying to find a cheap yet sturdy stool or chair to do step-ups on. The step-ups are part of the 7 minute workout that I’m trying to get started on. My only criteria for one was that it be eighteen to twenty inches high, be strong and stable enough to support my (dwindling) weight, and cost around twenty dollars. I almost resolved making a bench out of pressure treated 2x4s, but I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure of what I’m doing with power tools and I had no plans to start from. I also wasn’t sure of having it kept outside in the backyard. Winter is coming. I also looked into getting a rubbermaid step stool, but seemed too flimsy and small.

I finally found a good plyometric box DIY page. A plyometric box, from what I’ve read, is for jumping exercises used in Crossfit routines. Although I’ll be mainly using mine for step-ups and dips at first, I guess it would be nice if I decided to expand my routine later on. For now, I just want to complete that 7 minute routine – and I just need a freakin’ box.

So my plan this week is to go to Home Depot or Lowes and have them cut me out the plywood. I have a circular saw, but frankly, I’m not keen on cutting a large sheet of plywood with it. I’ll then buy some glue and some screws and hope for the best. At least it’s not like some of the slanted plyo boxes DIY I’ve come across – those look hard to assemble. Hopefully the box won’t take up too much space in our small townhouse livingroom.

I’m also considering getting a chin up bar for under the backyard deck. I was going to make one, but sanity kicked in and I found a cheap one on Amazon. My exercise goals over the next few months are modest but important. I want to be able to do one hundred push-ups, two hundred sit ups, one hundred fifty dips, two hundred squats, and twenty pull ups. These goals are outlined in the “Just Six Weeks” app I have. I figure if I can do these, then I’m in pretty good physical health and will have decent muscle tone.

I just need a box to start this, man.

This Weeks Motivational Track

80s Stallone is such a great name. I’ll be listening to this as I get back to doing daily exercises. Yo.

Mean People Suck

I saw an article on CNN today about a young Saudi man who weighed 1,345 pounds. While the story is tragic and sad, what was even more horrible was the comments. The CNN comments, in general, are one of those train wrecks I can’t help myself looking at, and I haven’t been able to teach myself to avoid them. Each and every time I read them my blood boils. Anonymity of the internet allows people to be cruel and mean-spirited, and they are. And I don’t buy the nonsense that people aren’t that cruel. If some feel the need to write that sort of passive aggressive hate on a website comment, then they are, in fact, assholes in real life. And if CNN comments are a marker for that, then we are doomed as a species.

saudi_commentsHumans have developed, in recent years, a remarkable lack of humility with the invention of the internet. A sort of alpha dog hubris that allows them to judge the less fortunate. I experienced that in real life quite a few times, especially when I went to places like the gym. There were always guys there who thought that if people weren’t at the same level of fitness they were, those people were overweight and/or unhealthy. I am well aware that I am not sculpted like a Greek god – it’s just that I have other shit I need to do during the day besides pumping iron. What I consider healthy is probably different from what they consider healthy.

This guy in Saudi, in one way or another, got himself into a situation. That is unfortunate. Why and how, that business is his. It is a matter of prevention up until it is a matter of treatment. People smoke, drink, do drugs, and get fat, no matter how much they are told that it is bad for them. I am guilty of it. One day a person wakes up and realizes the problem, but some are never able to wake up. Ridicule doesn’t help solve the problem.

The solution was probably handed to this guy many times, and for some reason or another, he couldn’t or didn’t want to see it. Most likely, he was handed a whole bunch of bad solutions, like I was. Starvation was the one I got handed the most. Exercise was the second.

Starvation isn’t appealing to anybody. You can talk about calories-in/calories-out all you want. Hunger is hunger. Whether the body wants it, or the brain thinks it wants it. When someone tries to starve themselves, they end up failing and eating more – and feel like a glutton and failure.

Telling a 300 pound or a 1345 pound man to exercise is not going to help things either. To begin with, the diet is probably bad so the energy levels are probably crap. Doing anything, even as simple as squats, aren’t going to be enough. It’s guaranteed failure, which only adds to the misery.

That leaves diet. With today’s food companies marketing the most outrageously malnutrition garbage and government guidelines so far out of whack, it’s no wonder people are helpless in making good decisions. We can’t rely on other people making these decisions for us.

I don’t need people who have never been as obese as I was to tell me the solution especially if they could be wrong. If I see another fitness guru/model say “You could look as good as I do” on TV, I’m going to scream. They don’t want your results, they want your money.

So people with a good fitness regimen and awesome metabolism – stop picking on us. Some of us will come around and see the error of our ways, despite the error of yours.

Breathing is Important

From the office of Blatantly Obvious, breathing is really important. Your lungs are connected directly to your heart – two of the heart’s four big pipes are connected to it. Blood rushes into the lungs and the lungs infuse the blood with oxygen before returning to the heart to be pumped back throughout your body.

My morning exercise routine consists of twenty to thirty minutes of cardio, and about ten minutes of muscle focus. I can do about thirty minutes of cardio with the normal expectant heavy breathing, sweating, and increased heart rate. That’s fine. It’s when the workout is over, I experience a moderate asthma attack. My lungs feel constricted and I just can’t catch my breath. It’s probably what is known as exercise-induced asthma – something that even pro athletes have.

Back at my heaviest, 316 pounds – I had massive breathing problems. I wheezed most of the time. I had always connected to my smoking or my allergies. I had quit smoking four years ago, and the problems persisted. I switched allergy meeds, and now only have the occasional allergy attack, which is different from my breathing problems. It was the weight.

As I lost the weight, my breathing improved. It’s still not at a hundred percent, as I still have many pounds to shed. But I no longer wheeze and I can have a decent night sleep without waking myself up with violent snoring. But thirty minutes of cardio still takes my lungs about ten minute to recover.


Enter two devices that I bought a long time ago. I never had the discipline to properly use them, but I guess I need to start now.

The first device is volumetric spirometer. You breathe into the device at a steady rate, trying to keep a bobble floating for as long as you can. The second column measures the overall capacity. This will supposedly increase your lung capacity and train your lungs to take longer and deeper breaths, which will supply better oxygen to your blood supply.

The second device is a respiratory exerciser. It looks like a snorkel mouthpiece, but without the snorkel. The idea behind this is that it forces the lungs to work harder in breathing. 25 good breaths a day is what’s recommended. Act like Darth Vader for a few minutes.

Hopefully these will help with my lung power. It can only improve as I lose more weight. I’ve added them to my Amazon store if you’re interested. I bought them a while ago, but like exercising other parts of the body, it requires commitment to a daily routine. I would also recommend to see a respiration therapist or consult a doctor if you are worried about your breathing. I would if I could, but money and insurance are rare these days.

Links to my store:

TELEFLEX Voldyne 5000 Volumetric Exerciser
Breathboost Breathing Exercise

Exercise Stuff

Just Six Weeks appJust Six Weeks

The Just Six Weeks app was what I was using to do sit ups. I stopped using it lately because I’m using the “Tae Bo Express” abs module, and its quite a work out. I’ll probably go back to it to tone up after the bulk of my weight loss. It’s a nice little app. It allows for training to do hundreds of reps of: sit ups, push ups, squats, pull ups, and dips. The 3 weeks I did use it I was able to do one hundred sit ups.

One hundred. Me. Chunky monkey. So yeah, it works.

Daily WorkoutsDaily Workouts App

Full work outs app has dozens of exercises to do. I use it mainly for the dumbbell exercises and a quick 10 minute routine. Each exercise has a video loop of the instructor demonstrating the proper moves and a 30 second timer, then it moves on to the next exercise. I have alternating routines for the days I’m not doing Tae Bo.

7 Minute Workout

I’m going to build a 2×4 stool so I can do this scientific 7-minute exercise routine. I’ve made an audio version here to help me. I plan on doing this every morning outside.

Tae Bo Classic

Billy Blank’s Tae Bo Workout

For now, I’m doing Tae Bo 4 times a week in the morning before breakfast. I did Tae Bo in ’97 and almost wore out the VHS tape. But before that happened, I digitized it onto DVD. It was a crappy transfer, but it allows me to do the classic Tae Bo workout which was a half hour.

This is Tae Bo DVD Tae Bo Express

My wife had bought me the “This is Tae Bo” DVD but it was an hour long and my lungs couldn’t handle it. I continued doing the classic workout, bad music and all. I then bought the “Tae Bo Express” DVD and it is now my favorite. It has eight ten minute workouts that are really hard. I try to do three, but sometimes can only manage two. On Saturdays, I do the hour long “This is Tae Bo”