I am a Tough Mudder

October 26, 2011


It wasn’t easy (or graceful), but after 6 hours and 8 minutes, I crossed the finish line of the Tough Mudder held in Wintergreen, VA on October 23rd, 2011.

When I started down this path in May, my focus was on running. As I chronicled on here for the first three weeks, my run time improved slightly, but I was missing my goals of being able to run four miles because travel and uncooperative heat in the evenings. What I didn’t report was shortly after the six week period, I injured my hip, sidelining my efforts to go out and run for about a month. By the end of July, I returned to running, but cut back to running just a few nights during the week to allow my body to recover, and I switched to doing more indoor work with the P90X and Insanity workout programs.

It was the latter that I feel helped me more in this event, since it focused more on cardio, which in turn improved my endurance level. Much of the event dealt with walking/running up and down steep grades, requiring more than just leg strength. In fact, my back was more tired than my legs on the Death March up the ski slope, which I don’t think straight run-training would have prevented, let alone improved.

In the end, I completed the challenge with the help of my coworker. In the final two months, we trained together in the evenings, changing up our routines each night. We worked on upper body, legs, and cardio during the final weeks with the focus on being able to tackle all obstacles (both the fixed structures as well as the distance between them). I think together we were more productive than if we tried this on our own, and to that end, I give him a lot of credit for me being able to complete the event.

On to the stats!

Weight: When I started, I weighted 202 pounds. While my weight did drop down to 193 pounds, I weighed 195 on the day of the event. That’s a net drop of 7 pounds . . . something that I have not done during any of the prior six-week challenges.

Chest: I dropped from 40.67 inches to 39.67 inches since May; a reduction of one inch. To be honest, I am a bit surprised by this because of all the upper body weight training I did. I thought they numbers would be much closer.

Stomach: Conversely, I thought the loss around my stomach would have been greater. I started out at 39.42 inches, but ended up only at 38.75 inches (a net loss of 0.67 inches). Maybe I didn’t do enough ab work?

Waist: One change I easily noticed was the drop around my waist. I lost 1.17 inches during all this training, falling from 38.17 inches to 37 inches. If you recall, my waist measurements were bouncing all over the place during the six-week challenge. While those fluctuations occurred, my pants usually fit the same. Now . . . they are looser, requiring the use of a belt.

Glutes: My biggest disappointment was the glutes. I started out at 42.67 inches, but ended up only at 42.42 inches (a loss of just 0.25 inches). I would have thought with all the leg work (not to mention the loss around the waist) that my butt would also shrink at a similar rate. I guess I can’t complain, since a decrease is a decrease.

Well, that’s it for this challenge. We’ll see if we can keep the body in this current position until the next challenge comes around.


Getting ready for a new 6-Week Challenge

February 14, 2011

As this “heat wave” melts all the snow in my yard, and with Spring just around the corner, it is time for another 6-week challenge.  The quest to lose those pesky five pounds continues, and maybe the fourth time is the charm.  To recap, the first six-weeks was standard exercising (sit-ups, push-ups, etc), the second six-weeks was using the Wii Fit, and the third six-weeks was using my Concept II rowing machine.  This time we’re going to try something different.

I recently purchased the Microsoft Kinect for the X-Box 360.  For those of you who are not familiar with the device, it is a camera that attaches to the gaming console that follows your movements and computes them into actions in the video game.  There is no need for a controller, and you cannot play the games from a seated position.  So here is my plan for the next six weeks:  30 minutes of “playing” with the Kinect and 30 minutes of rowing (Monday through Friday).  This should allow for muscle confusion and burn off those five pounds one and for all!

To add to this, with Spring on the way, my weekends will likely be spent outdoors trying to get the rest of the yard to grow once again.  I had good results at the end of the fall, so hopefully I can continue the success with the rest of the yard.  PLUS, the yard work will help with tackling the five pounds.  Also, you might find this interesting. In doing some research on metabolism, I discovered that Vitamin D (specifically, Vitamin D3) is generated by being exposed to UV radiation, such as sunlight.  Vitamin D boosts your metabolism, so while not only working in the yard and exercising will help me lose weight, the Vitamin D generated by the sunlight will help as well.

I think I will start the exercise challenge next week, as I am currently having to build a puppet stage for church.  Once that’s done, I will have some free time after work.

Exercise methodology

March 19, 2009

There are so many different exercises out there that I can choose from, targeting anywhere from my neck down to my ankles. Since my arms and my legs are in good shape and toned, I want to focus more on the trunk and waist areas. The goal is to lose five pounds, and these two sections are where men tend to carry more non-muscle weight.

Exercises that increase flexibility and tones multiple muscle groups are what I am looking for, especially if they are low-impact. Doing some research, I have identified ten exercises that I believe meet my needs. They are:

    Basic crunch – exercises the rectus abdominis
    Bicycle crunch – exercises the rectus abdominis
    Chair squat – exercises the hamstrings and gluteus maximus
    Crossover crunch – exercises the rectus abdominis, external obliques, and internal obliques
    Forward lunge – exercises the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, and the hamstrings
    Long arm crunch – exercises the rectus abdominis, external obliques, and internal obliques
    Pile squat – exercises the hamstrings and gluteus medius
    Reverse crunch – exercises the rectus abdominis
    Seated oblique twist – exercises the rectus abdominis, external obliques, and internal obliques
    Standing side bends – exercises the quadratus lumborum muscle

I will create a daily schedule identifying which exercises I will be performing per day, making sure to change the sequence to ensure that each muscle group is targeted. Muscle burns fat, so targeting these muscle groups will help achieve my goal. However, as I am burning away the fat, the muscles are increasing in density, possibly leading to my weight remaining the same (even if my clothes fit better).

This is why I will be recording my weight each week as well as measuring three points of my body. The first point will be around the stomach in line with the belly button. The second point will be around the waist. The last point will be at the top of the adductor longus (groin) muscle. Measuring in these three points should identify where the weight loss is occurring. Since this is only a six week challenge, the changes might be only a quarter or half inch, so I will measure each point three times and take the average diameter to account for any discrepancies in the measuring process.

My next post(s) will explain how to properly perform the ten exercises listed above.