Oh My…

I’ve got some major news to share–I’m getting married!

:prop: :shocked: :prop:

Chris and I both took the 30th and 31st off to burn up vacation days, and yesterday we headed out to Wekiwa Springs park for some canoeing, hiking, and eating (of course). The proposal happened on a picnic blanket in the middle of a state park that is home to uncountable legions of gators, wading birds, mosquitoes, giant crickets and turtles after an hour of medium intensity rowing and a BFL-approved chicken quesadilla lunch. It was followed by another hour of rowing against the current and a 1.5 hour hike and run through the 5.3 mile long Volksmarch trail.

It wasn’t super mushy, but you could say that it was just my style.

Alas, Chris wasn’t in Dread Pirate Roberts regalia, but I said yes anyway.

We finished off the day with some seafood and frou frou tropical drinks at Bahama Breeze using my blood donation gift certificates, LOL.

Oh, and I did 30 minutes of YF cardio that morning, too.

This morning I hit the gym for back/bi/ab work with the trainer and 20 minutes of bike sprints. I also drove out to a local jewelry store to pick out a new setting for my ring. It’s a simple solitaire with a yellow gold band that belonged to C’s maternal grandmother that’s at least a size 7 and absurdly loose on my finger. Rita the saleslady kept trying to show me a bunch of girly-girl, bling-heavy settings, but I found a very nifty Art Deco-inspired white gold setting I liked waaaaaaay better, though I sort of cringed and thought, “OMG, this costs as much as a tricked out new laptop computer with an nVidia 7800 256 MB graphics card!” when I saw the price.

I’ll just have to save money by making my own dress for under $200, because, as with kitchen appliances like popcorn poppers and deep fryers, a wedding dress is what my kitchen idol Alton Brown calls a uni-tasker. No uni-tasker item should ever cost $1000 or more, especially a single-use uni-tasker!

Okay, I’m going to get some shoulder work done before dinner with my parents tonight.

Maybe my father will actually come and have dinner with us at our house now that we aren’t just living in sin anymore. ROFLMAO!


Odds and Ends

I donated blood again yesterday during my lunch break after a very good morning workout–30 minutes of legs with Ashley the mini-trainer followed by 45 minutes of Cardio Coach v.6 intervals on the treadmill.

Yes, I ran again of my own volition. I may have to change my “I hate running” pronouncement to “I hate steady-state distance running and training for/participating in races” because I don’t really mind doing HIIT runs for cardio at all. It’s just the monotony of going 7 mph for more than 2 minutes at a time that makes me want to tear my hair out.

With my tough workouts for this week at an end until Saturday, I motored to the blood bank to give up my bi-monthly pint and scored $20 worth of Darden restaurant gift certificates, a coupon good for a free BBQ dinner at Sonny’s Real Pit BBQ, 1/2 off coupon for Universal Studios, BOGO coupon for Silver Springs, one stylish lilac stretch bandage with smiley faces on, two cups of cranberry juice and two packets of Grandma’s cookies (which I piously gave away to my grateful co-workers). Not a bad haul for a single blood donation, I must say!

Food was on track for a lifting day yesterday (~1950 cals) even with the office-provided Chipotle dinner of Barbacoa beef, salsa, and black bean salad that I subbed for meals 5 and 6.

This morning I slept in and am going to stay in the 1500 range since my only active rest workout was 30 minutes of Yoga for Athletes during my lunch break. I’m due for my weekly rest day anyhow, and what better time to take it than the day after being drained of 16 ounces of blood, right?

I have a ton of sewing to do on Chris’s costume tonight and tomorrow, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we are going home at the regular time tonight instead of the 10 pm shut downs of the past two nights.

BTW, check out this godawful dumbbell exercise the trainer had me do yesterday as part of a lower body circuit.

Stand with a 15 lb dumbbell in each hand. Bend forward and place dbells on floor in front of your feet around shoulder width apart without releasing the dbells. Jump legs back in one move until you are in a push-up position still holding dbells parallel to one another. Jump feet back to dbells with knees bent and feet shoulder width apart. Sit back slightly into low squat position and jump up with dumbbells as high as you can.

Repeat for 15 reps.

Mind you, this was exercise #4 in the following sequence (15 reps each with no rest between exercises):

1. Barbell squats
2. Squat reach jumps
3. Walking lunges with 25 lb dbells
4. Dbell push-up jumps
5. Stability ball 2-legged hamstring curl
6. Stability ball 1-legged hamstring curl (15 on each side)
7. Fire hydrants (left and right)
8. Fire hydrants with leg extension (left and right)
9. Kickbacks (left and right)

I did the circuit twice before tottering away to do cardio.

I’ll tell you one thing…trying to do a squat jump with 30 lbs of extra unaccustomed weight is no joke. If I am ever able to do that exercise with the 25 lb dbells Ashley handed me at the beginning before I informed her that the likelihood of my feet leaving the ground from a low squat position while holding onto 50 spare pounds of weight was between zero and negative infinity, I will be a total monster. 😆

Where’s your GRRR-ly face?

One of the perks of belonging to a gym vs. working out at home is the opportunity to watch the people around you. Even if you are a confirmed health nut who doesn’t need a workout buddy to keep you on track, it’s still nice to have visual proof that you aren’t the only one who has to devote a portion of your day to exercise in order to keep things running and looking right.

I’m pretty sure that I entertain lots of people at Planet Fitness between my manic pedaling and sprinting alternated with bouts of more reasonable speeds on HIIT cardio days and the hilarious collection of squinched up GRRR-ly faces I make when I am trying to squeeze/push out the final reps of a set of lifting exercises.

I’ve seen myself in a mirror before, so I know I look like a kook. Or, as my ex has claimed, a really mean wench with PMS.

I’ve tried to maintain a calm, Zen-like demeanor before on those last reps, but I don’t think it’s possible if you are actually working hard. Sure, reps #1-15 of 30 leg presses at 335 lbs might be Zen-compatible, but #’s 20-30 are usually accompanied by a lot of mental cussing, much gritting of teeth, loud huffs of air, and a certain “OMG, she’s turning into She-Hulk!” expression.

I realize that my facial contortions and angry grimaces aren’t exactly ladylike, but geez, neither is leg pressing nearly three times my body weight, so :bite: me. Gasping, heaving, and sweating buckets after HIIT cardio probably isn’t very classy either, come to think of it.

But isn’t it interesting that the people who do all of those wacky, unattractive things are usually the ones with the best results?

Long live the bitchy GRRR-ly face!

(Loud, annoying, totally unnecessary grunting, on the other hand, is never acceptable. :yuck:)

Are you kidding me?

In the Men’s Health section of MSN.com, I ran across an article entitled:

Guys have body issues, too
Hunky media images have negative effects on men, spark reckless behavior

And yet another one with a similar theme….

Men under pressure to have perfect body too Muscle-bound media images have effect, may lead to dangerous behavior

So apparently all of the media images of fit, muscular male bods in the movies, on TV, in magazines and on numerous underwear ads across the nation’s billboards has the more average members of the male population feeling a bit insecure and unhappy with their physiques.

Would it be petty of me to snicker now?

Poor boys!

How horrible that to attain the current popular male ideal you may have to get up from your reserved PS2/Xbox station on your couch, stop eating junky man food and become familiar with the produce section of your grocery store! What a travesty that such “reckless” behaviors as lifting weights and performing regular cardio might be demanded of you! “Dangerous” forays into healthy food preparation now lie in your future if you want to have any chance of competing! What a terrible thing to have to turn yourself into a lean and fit specimen with great cardiovascular capacity, low cholesterol, strong bones and muscles, and endless energy!

Hold on while I find a hankie….No, it’s not for you. It’s for me–so I can mop up these tears of laughter flowing out of my eyes.


I am now firmly convinced that the mainstream authors of these and many other “health” articles all have their heads up their collective asses.

We women can only dream of being so lucky as to have a female version of the male ideal at which to aim.


1. 1/3 c. oatmeal, 3 T. raisins, 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites
2. 1 banana, 1 scoop protein powder
3: 4 oz. chicken breast, 2 steamed Mandarin rolls, 1 c. vegetable mix
4. 2 rice cakes, 1 T. ANPB
5. 2 oz. spaghetti, 1.5 c. cucumber, carrot, seaweed and bean sprouts, 2 oz. turkey, 1/3 c. dried berries
6. 2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites omelette with 1 c. broccoli, 1/2 bag light popcorn

Water: 16 cups

Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, EAS l-glutamine, 3 fish oil capsuless

Calories: 2052 calories (50.8% carb/28.0% pro/23.6% fat)


* YF Cardio (60 min)

Calories burned: 412 calories

DEFICIT: -48 cal

Project Runway Finale: Stuff I Want

Last night was the finale of Project Runway Season 3. This may come as a surprise to a lot of you, but PR is one of the few TV programs I bother to watch (aside from CSI, CSI: NY, and Good Eats). I’ve sewn clothing since I taught myself how to use my mother’s machine in middle school and started drawing outfits for my paper dolls (I was scared of real Barbies) when I was 6, so the program is a must-see for me.

I didn’t have any favorites out of the four finalists, but I was generally happy with the collections I saw last night. Uli had the largest number of wearable outfits, but each of the other three designers, including Jeffrey, the winner, had some spiffy threads as well.

I will say that as much as I loved Uli’s clothes, most of her long, flowy dresses only work on tall, skinny gals. Stick this dress on your average 5’4″, size 14 American woman with fluffy arms, and you get a striped muumuu from hell, not a sexy resort-wear gown. Jeffrey and Michael also designed for the tall, thin figure with a lot of skinny pants and tight shorts that would simply not work on 66% of the women now calling themselves American citizens. Laura’s evening wear collection, while not innovative, does seem like it would flatter the largest number of women.

You can check out their full collections using the links above, but here are my favorites from the show:

Uli –
Uli's shirt dress

Michael –

Jeffrey –

Laura –

I’m feeling so inspired right now that I may just try to knock off that shirt dress from Uli’s collection this weekend!

Change of Focus

After a lot of thought (possibly brought on by last week’s PMS munchies), I’ve decided to postpone the second half of the Cheapass Challenge for a while and focus on maintenance and maybe a bit of muscle gain through the holidays. Part of making healthy eating and regular exercise a lifestyle is knowing when to pull back from doomed self-defeating behaviors like, for example, trying to do a hardcore cut during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

I have very modest fitness guidelines for the next 4 months:

1. Maintain my scale weight between 130-138 lbs and my body fat below 19% (preferably between 16-18%).
2. Lift weights a minimum of three times a week.
3. Perform cardio for 25 (HIIT) or 30-45 (lower intensity) minutes a minimum of three times a week.
4. Keep my intake at an average of 1800-2200 calories/day.
5. Stay within 40-50% carb / 30-40% protein / 20-30% fat macronutrient ratios.
6. Experiment with at least one new healthy recipe a week.

The challenge for me when it comes to the holidays has never really been the food. I don’t go overboard very often because I’m too cheap to go out to eat all the time or spend money on overpriced junk food at the grocery store. I just get lazy about hitting all of my workouts consistently, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about my body over the years, it is that regular exercise will always have to be a necessary part of my daily life if I want to keep myself out of size 11/12 pants. I never lose muscle when I stop lifting or doing cardio, but my subcutaneous fat cells are quite good at filling back up in case of future famine. It’s as if my butt has a permanent morphic field stamped with a size 12, and constant vigilance and daily exercise are required to keep said rear end from expanding to fill that imaginary space. 🙄

I’m going to see what it’s like to actually go through the holidays eating at maintenance while hitting 5-6 workouts a week, even if they are only 30 minute ones.

Call it a test drive of the rest of my life.



1. 1 scoop dextrose, 1 scoop whey protein, 1 tsp. GNC Creastack
2. 1/3 c. oatmeal, 3 T. raisins, 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites
3: 4 oz. chicken breast, 1 medium pear, 1 c. vegetable mix
4. 1 rice cake, 1/2 T. all natural peanut butter, 1/2 scoop whey protein, 1/2 c. light soy milk
5. 1 rice cake, 1/2 T. all natural peanut butter, 1/2 scoop whey protein, 1/2 c. light soy milk
6. 2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites omelette with 1 c. red peppers, eggplant, and scallions from the garden
7. 1/2 bag light popcorn

Water: 16 cups

Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, EAS l-glutamine

Calories: 1889 calories (46.3% carb/32.5% pro/24.8% fat)


* Chest/Biceps/Triceps (60 min)
* Walk (3.6 mph / 23 min)
* Run (6.5 mph / 10 min)
* Bike HIIT (Lvl 8 – 12 / 17 min)

Calories burned: 826 calories

DEFICIT: -625 cal

CAC Part 2, W1D5: Fortune Cookie Wisdom

“A wise person cares not for what he cannot have but for what he can.”

I got the above message in a recent cheat meal fortune cookie and immediately thought about how the words truly applied to the endless struggle to meet the media’s ideal of physical beauty.

According to a study commissioned by Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty:

– 90% of all women 15-64 worldwide want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance (with body weight ranking the highest).

– 67% of all women 15 to 64 withdraw from life-engaging activities due to feeling badly about their looks (among them things like giving an opinion, going to school, going to the doctor).

The study also indicated a wider acceptance among young women for plastic surgery to permanently alter their appearances. (Speaking of plastic surgery, am I the only one who is appalled by the calf reduction surgeries being performed in Korea that either involve the physical removal of calf muscle tissue or the severing of a nerve in the calf to cause the muscle to atrophy? I’ll just keep my big Asian calves, thanks.)

It’s a shame that more women don’t share the attitude of our German sisters who equate beauty and confidence with their level of physical fitness. Fitness is something that every woman can improve, regardless of what she’s been dealt genetically. Most of us don’t have the 6′ height or the blank porcelain doll features needed to be fashion models, but ALL of us can feel more energetic, tighten up our physiques, strengthen our muscles, stave off the creeping fluff of fat, improve our medical stats, and face the world fully-confident that we can handle any physical challenge with just a small daily 30 minute investment of time.

How many women who say they don’t have time to exercise spend 30+ minutes every morning trying on five different outfits to figure out which one makes them look thinnest or hides the largest number of perceived flaws?

I’d rather use that time to knock out a quick workout and be pretty darn sure that as a result of my regular efforts over time, everything in my closet just automatically fits properly and looks flattering.

I believe in working with the body I was issued at birth–but taking it to its maximum potential and caring for it properly. Hopefully one day all young women will stop pining for an external ideal and realize just how much they can achieve with what they already have.

Bogleheads’ Project Chapter Six: How Much Do You Need To Save?

The previous few chapters of The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing covered the types of investments available to an investor, but Chapter 6 focuses on something equally important: How to come up with an estimate of how much you need to save for your retirement.

The Bogleheads examine nine different factors when calculating this value. They are:

  1. The amount you currently save
  2. Current age
  3. Planned retirement age – This varies from person to person, but a standard estimate can be based on the age at which you would become eligible for Social Security benefits or a pension (if you are eligible for one).
  4. Number of years you will live off the retirement account (based on life expectancy) – The book suggests a figure between 25 (standard) to 30 (conservative estimate based on the trend of longer life expectancies of the general population) years for this number.
  5. Do you want to leave a legacy or just ensure that you have enough to cover your entire retirement? – The Bogleheads stress that the higher priority should go toward funding your own retirement first before any thought should go into leaving something behind for your heirs.
  6. Expected rate of return on your investments – This is calculated according to a 30-year market forecast chart available at Portfolio Solutions using a current breakdown of your investment holdings. Using the values from the “With 3% Inflation” column, multiply the percentage of your current retirement portfolio invested in each type of investment by the corresponding value from the chart. Add all of your individual line results together to arrive at your total estimated rate of return for your portfolio.
  7. Rate of inflation – 3%-4% is a good estimate. Inflation must be factored into any retirement savings calculation otherwise you may wind up short of the amount needed.
  8. Expected inheritances prior to retirement – According to the book, you should not rely on an inheritance to bail you out if you don’t set aside enough for your retirement. Plan to save enough without the expected inheritance, and if it should indeed come your way, treat it as a windfall, not the linchpin of your retirement strategy.
  9. Other sources of income during retirement (e.g. pensions, Social Security, part-time work, etc.)

Once you are armed with the data above, you can easily plug those numbers into a variety of retirement savings calculators to check if you are on track for a comfortable, independent retirement. It is important to note that the equations and formulas these calculators use to determine your retirement savings goals can vary quite a lot. Some will allow you to input each of the nine factors while others automatically assign a standard value or guess to one more of the factors such as rate of inflation or number of years in retirement.

Here are a few sites hosting free online retirement calculators:


The chapter wraps up with a set of six tables that show how much you need to accumulate by retirement age per $1000 of retirement income desired annually assuming 30 years of retirement and an inflation rate of 3%. You select a chart to use based on how many years you have until retirement – 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 – and then choose your multiplier based on your expected annual rate of return on your investments – 5%, 6%, 7%, or 8%.

The estimated rates of return in these charts and in the 30-year market forecast charts may appear to be conservatively low, but the Bogleheads warn against falling victim to recency bias (“projecting recent events into the future”). While certain types of assets may perform very well in the past one or two years, there is no guarantee that they will do so consistently over the next 5 to 30 years. An observed market force called reversion to the mean (RTM) indicates that most assets cycle through periods of overperformance and underperformance, and that outstanding recent past performance is not an indicator or guarantee of continued success when it comes to investments.

Overall, I felt that this chapter provided a very good breakdown of the data that each individual needs in order to calculate their actual retirement savings needs. I especially appreciated the tables that were provided to calculate the rate of return on my investments and the quick and dirty ballpark figure tables at the end of the chapter for estimating the total amount I would need at retirement.

Thanks to this chapter, I now know that I need to save a mere $1,547,910 (based on a 7% annual rate of return) in order to retire in 30 years and withdraw $35,000 per year from my retirement savings for another 30 years.

Now I just need to visit the Bloomberg calculator to see if I’m on track to meet that goal.