Archive for Fitness

Proof That There Is A “Before”

By · March 5, 2012 · Filed in Business Education, Fitness, Personal, Sports · 1 Comment »

“Goals are nothing more than dreams with a deadline.” – Anthony Robbins, Awaken The Giant Within

Oftentimes you hear stories of great success and they usually try to make them sound more impressive by saying “well this is where they started”. Many of these “before” stories are exaggerations and I’m here to prove that this is the “BEFORE” that will be followed with an amazing AFTER.

It’s been too long since I posted here and for good reason: I’ve been busy!

I just want to make it known that in addition to being a better husband, son, brother and friend I have THREE big goals that I am setting TODAY. I will be doing a video journal on here(and YouTube as well) to keep up with my progress for at least one and possibly even ALL three of these goals.

As of today, March 5th 2012 I am 28yrs old. By January 6th 2017(I will be 33yrs old) I intend to accomplish the following:

1) Build a net-worth of at least $1m

Today: I’m far from it with student loan and credit card debts and only a little amount of money in savings. However, our business is growing day by day and I have a full-time job in addition to the business to help take care of paying down the debt.

Tomorrow: Jefferson Franklin Tax Services(JFTS) is my baby! Thankfully I am blessed to be partners with the two most important people in my life, my father and my wife. Each day is another day closer to making JFTS a household name. The goal has been set now it’s time to “fill in the blanks.” I have plenty of ideas for the direction of JFTS that will get us there, but bottom line is it will be more about what the MARKET tells us to do than what I tell us to do.

2) Run a Boston Qualifying(BQ) Marathon Time

Today: The current requirement for my age group(M18-34) is a 3:05 or less finishing time which equates to about a 7:05/mi pace. Currently I am running around an 8:30-9:00/mi pace for long-runs, however, when I reached my all-time worst of 274lbs I was running 3mi in about a 10:30/mi pace and in less than 3mos I ran a 1:43:16 1/2 marathon which was 13.1mi at approximately 7:52/mi.

Tomorrow: Not saying that I’ll run the BQ in my next marathon(Rock N’ Roll San Diego on 6/3), however, I am realistically shooting for 3:45(~8:35/mi). From there it’ll be a gradual improvement(don’t want to get hurt) until I can meet whatever the BQ requirement is by 2017. Keep in mind for 2011 it was 3:10 and thanks to the popularity of marathon running it has become 3:05 and who knows it might be 2:55 by the time I’m ready to qualify.

3) Tryout For and Make an MLB Roster

Today: File this under the “unfinished business” or “prove the doubters wrong” category. I reached the peak of my baseball career soph yr of HS, however, my decision to pursue acting and modeling as well as not really fitting in with the other “jocks”(I was a social butterfly in HS) led to losing my passion for baseball. Quitting baseball half-way through my soph year is a decision I regret to this day. Another decision is that I never took full advantage of my natural advantage of being left-handed and as such never really worked on pitching. After a 4yr hiatus I got back in and was rustier than the hull of the Titanic. Since then I have played on and off. A bad taste in my mouth that I need to rinse was the sickness of making the University of Illinois Club Baseball team only to “ride the pine” for most of the season. Despite working on my “fundamental flaws” I could still never make the cut and at least the team itself was successful, but if I would’ve played to my potential we could’ve won it all. Instead we got 2nd place at the NCBA World Series. As far as my pitching goes I was clocked last year at 75mph and have a splitter/change-up… bottom line is I need to add about 10mph to my fastball while developing precision control and perfecting

Tomorrow: I will have to keep a laser-focus and realize that declaring this publicly is going to set me up for plenty of scrutiny and ridicule, especially from some of my old teammates who will just laugh at this idea. I even got a vote of no-confidence by a current MLB manager who I asked during last year’s Spring Training, “I’m 27yrs old, what do I need to do to get on THIS field?” and his response was “well that 27yrs old part is gonna hurt and I can’t lie, it’s gonna be a 1/1million chance.” Personally, I like those odds! Like Jim Carrey’s character Lloyd Christmas said in Dumb and Dumber “so you’re saying there’s a chance?”

For those of you who don’t like YouTube, here’s another link to the video Declaration of these goals.

Enjoy! And please leave comments(and keep it cool, any negative comments will be filtered, deleted and ignored).

Rockin’ N Rollin’ To A New PR at the Arizona Half Marathon!

By · January 16, 2011 · Filed in Fitness, Personal · No Comments »

It has been a while since I last posted. As was the case before, I have been very busy working on the business, however, I’ve also been training for the Rock N’ Roll Arizona Marathon. When I first decided to run this, a little over a week ago, I knew that finishing the race would not be a problem since I had already ran a few 13.1mi runs measured by my RunKeeper(RK). The issue was whether I could make my “unofficial” PR of 1:47 as measured by RK an official time.

Today started like the two Chicago Marathons I ran. I woke up early and made sure to be uber-prepared, from having my snacks(aka the free samples I got at the Health and Fitness Expo) to using Body Glide on every part of my body that could possibly chafe. I got to the start line and tried to find my pace leader. On Friday I went out on a limb and figured I could run with the 1:45 pace group, I made this decision based on the fact that all of my current training runs were done with a “bulky” Camelback on my back for hydration and I always started out at too fast of a pace which resulted in positive splits aka a slower pace in the second half than in the first half. An example was starting off at around a 7:25/mi pace for the first 2 miles only to finish at an 8:13/mi pace overall.

Today I took no chances and stuck with the pace leader, Brian, for the first 4.5mi only to break away so that I wouldn’t fall behind at the next hydration stop(somehow Brian didn’t stop for any and when I did, I fell behind). After pulling ahead I realized that I had enough energy to stay ahead. Next thing I knew the miles were going by and I still wasn’t gassed, but still wanted to save it all for the last 0.5mi or so, which is what I did. I picked up the pace for the last 0.5mi only to trick myself into believing I was close to the finish to start my final sprint about 0.1mi too early. Either way, I still finished well ahead of my goal, with an official time of 1:43:13. Best of all, I had enough energy afterwards to go for a bike ride with my wife and I still have plenty of energy which means I have confidence that I can keep up that pace for an entire marathon. The only issue is I need to still cut about 40 seconds off my pace to get to my goal of a Boston Qualifier time.

Some of the highlights:

-running with Gerry, a 66yr old guy originally from Wales, who now lives in Vegas and also set a new PR of around 1:45!

-running with a fellow runner in Vibram Five Fingers, he was wearing the KSOs though. We also finished around the same time.

-running with a younger guy(in his late teens/early 20′s) who had a picture of a family member who died in combat who told me around Mile 10- no stopping from here on out! To which I replied “we have to finish strong for our fallen comrade, he gave his life for our freedom, the least we can do is finish strong.”

The funny thing is that of the thousands of pictures we’ve taken in the last 5yrs, we didn’t take any today, however, I’ll hopefully have a “MarathonFoto” picture up soon, for now here’s Adi and I with Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2009 NYC Marathon, the first American to do so in almost 30yrs. Oh yea, he was also a very nice and inspiring individual who wrote a book about his triumphs in life, titled “Run To Overcome”. It is not only about his running accomplishments, but his struggles early in life coming from Eritrea, one of the most oppressive nations in the world which is actually ranked below North Korea in “Freedom of Press” meaning that they don’t even have the freedoms we enjoy from our 1st Amendment, let alone the rest of the Bill of Rights….

Adi and I with Meb, an amazing and inspiring man!

Running Shoe Comparison: Asics GT-2140s vs. Vibram Five-Fingers Bikilas

By · December 14, 2010 · Filed in Fitness · 2 Comments »

Hello all!

Here is a video I did to show the difference between my old running shoes(Asics GT-2140s) and my current running shoes(Vibram Five-Fingers Bikilas).

A little background here, I started running in earnest back in late February 2008 in a pair of Nikes that I got on clearance at the local running store, Running Unlimited in Palatine, IL. While my goal for the first Chicago Marathon in 2008 was to simply finish, I got more serious in ’09 and decided I needed a serious running shoe. I upgraded to the Asics which cost about $120 and they did a pretty decent job. They’re light-weight and with them I experienced minimal pain/discomfort, however, I did train very lightly in them and never really pushed myself. Additionally, I would make sure to stretch after ALL runs and after longer runs(over 12mi) I would take an ice bath to further sooth any pain and discomfort.

Fast forward to June of this year. I got a pair of Vibram Five-Fingers Bikilas almost immediately after they came out. I previously had a pair of Vibram Five-Fingers KSOs, however, the sole on them was too thin and a hole developed after about 100mi of total activity(walking + running) thankfully the good people at Travel Country replaced them despite being about 30 days past the 90 warranty and instead of going back to KSOs I decided to upgrade to the Bikilas. From June to mid-September, I mainly walked in them, aside from a few short 3mi runs, this lack of intense activity in addition to terrible dieting most likely contributed to my weight ballooning to 274lbs(+35lbs from my pre-marathon weight for Chicago ’09). In mid-September I got back into running and have since ran over 100mi and in addition to now losing 45lbs, I also cut over 2:30/mi off of my pace, for more info on this check out my post titled: Fastlane to Health – How I’ve Lost 42lbs in 77days. So needless to say, these have been pushed to the limit and have done an admirable job!

Without further ado, here’s my video review:

Here’s my grades:

Asics GT-2140

Comfort: B-

Durability: B-

Price/Value: B-

Looks: B

Overall: B

Vibram Bikilas

Comfort: A

Durability: B-

Price/Value: A-

Looks: A

Overall: A-

First BQ Pace – Well, sorta…

By · December 8, 2010 · Filed in Fitness, Personal · No Comments »

If you haven’t read it yet, please check out my post: Fastlane To Health – How I’ve Lost 42lbs in 77 days in it I discuss the journey I’ve taken and one of the destinations I plan on reaching is running a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon.

For those who don’t know, Boston is THE premiere world marathon, while the other world majors(London, Chicago, New York and Berlin) all have the opportunity for open enrollment, thus anyone can sign up, Boston requires running a qualifying time in an officially timed marathon. The times are broken down by age group and according to the Official Boston Marathon Website a qualifying time for a Male, Age 18-34 is 3hr and 10min or roughly 7:16/mi, however, if you think it’s not that hard don’t let that pace fool you, you lose a lot of steam over 26.2mi and as such it is much better to use a running calculator, like McMillan to see that in order to maintain a pace of 7:16/mi over that long of a distance, you must be able to run ONE mile in 5:37!

Now with that out of the way, here’s where I started just a few short months ago:

I was at 274lbs and running 3mi at a pace of around 10:36/mi which would translate to a 5hr 21min marathon… almost 1hr slower than the time I ran in Oct ’09 at the Chicago Marathon(4:33:04). Needless to say I was WAY off my game.

Well flash forward to today….

42lbs lighter and much, much faster! That translates to just under 7:16/mi or a BQ pace, however, if you extrapolate it using the running calculator I’m more likely on pace for a 3hr 39min marathon. Either way, that’s a net gain of 3:20/mi in just a few short months, granted any gains now will be minimal as it’s near impossible to cut another 3:20 off my mile pace, however, considering I’m still about 20-25lbs off my goal weight the extra 1 minute I need to cut off my 5k time to reach a pace of 6:16/mi should be easily attainable, given that I maintain the same work/training ethic, although I plan for replacing my long bike rides(currently 50mi) with long runs(13.1mi aka Half Marathons or more) now.

Stay tuned for more!

And oh yea, as for my tools of the trade, Vibram Five Fingers Bikila:

Fastlane To Health – How I’ve Lost 42lbs in 77 days

By · December 5, 2010 · Filed in Fitness, Personal · 2 Comments »

Flashback to September 18th.

I took a look in the mirror and was shocked! Even worse, I stepped on the scale, fearing the worst. I had spent the last few months eating junk food and not having much of a work-out plan aside from a casual walk here and there. When I stepped off I was horrified and motivated, the result a new record for obesity – 274lbs!!!

While I certainly didn’t feel obese, since I could still strap on my shoes and go for a 3mi run at a steady pace, I definitely looked it and was nothing close to where I was this time last year when I was training for my second Chicago Marathon.

I knew something needed to be done and I acted – IMMEDIATELY!

Working out 7 days a week was a must and I knew there was no way I could run all 7 days, especially at that weight. So I decided to do a 4/3 split of 4 days of biking and 3 days of running. My first bike ride, that same day, was an almost 2hr ride at a casual pace(around 11.5mph) for a total of 22mi. From there I had a schedule of:

Tue, Wed, Thu = Run 3mi(starting pace was around 10:00/mi)

Fri and Sun = “Short” Bike Ride of 1hr(anywhere from 13-15mi total)

Sat = Long Bike Ride, starting at 20mi and adding from there

In addition, I decided for October 1st to be my start date for the Tim Ferriss Diet which promised losing 20lbs in 30 days without doing any exercise. As I was a skeptic and figured I needed lose a lot more than 20lbs to get into good running shape, I kept up with the exercising while on the diet.

I chose October 1st to start, since starting at the beginning of the month would make it much easier to know what day I was on. My starting weight after 13 days of exercise, but still on a bad diet, was 271lbs so I lost 3lbs in 13 days from exercise alone.

This particular diet I feel is different from most “low carb” diets as it’s essentially Greens, Beans and Leans. This differs as some “low carb” diets say it’s better to eat more fat to help burn it without letting carbs get in the way of your body’s metabolism.

In addition, the beans are important to keep caloric intake and energy levels up without breaking the bank(and your cholesterol) by eating tons of meat.

As far as meat went, I had a nice variety of chicken thighs, chicken breasts, top sirloins, pork tenderloins, salmon and eggs.

With beans I did garbanzos, lentils, kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans.

Greens were more limited as I hate lettuce without dressing so it was the following(all were steamed or microwaved): broccoli, sweet peas, asparagus, green beans and spinach.

There was variety in my lunch and dinner meals, but breakfast was a constant: 2 eggs, 1 serving of black beans, 2 servings of spinach. While the diet discourages “sugary” foods, even fruit, I decided it was ok to indulge in some fresh, home-made juice with my CuisinArt Stainless Steel Juicer using apples, carrots, lemons and strawberries.

Best of all, every Sunday was “Dieters Gone Wild” Day, you could choose whichever day you want, but I chose Sunday as a “reward” for a week well dieted. This day I averaged about 6000 calories and ate all the junk food I deprived myself of during the week, when I averaged about 2000-2500 calories/day. This spike in calories was helpful as it almost made me sick of eating for the week and also kept my metabolic rate up during the week so I could burn more.

The results- I lost 24lbs in one month:


I got to 247lbs on 10/31, despite not following the diet to a T, however my workout totals for the month were:

377.5mi of Biking and 40mi of Running.

Both of which were pretty accurately measured using the GPS on my iPhone 3G and a program called, RunKeeper, available for free from the App Store with a Pro version available for $9.99.

To top it off, to avoid the typical knee, foot and joint issues that runners come across, I did all my runs in Vibram FiveFinger Bikilas the only shoes I will ever run in again!

They look like “water socks” and promote a true barefoot technique much like the Kenyans who usually run without shoes until the age of 17, at which time they’re usually sponsored by the top athletic shoe companies in the world as they are finishing at the top of all the major world marathons as a result of proper running techniques learned from running completely barefoot.



After the month was over I was warned by a friend of mine that I would most likely gain the weight back as all I lost was “water weight”, despite all the caloric burn and lean food I ate. He was right, if I went back to my old ways, I’d most likely gain the weight back, so while the diet went closer to my old ways, I still tried to stay conscious of my caloric intake, so I stayed around an average of 3500-4000 calories a day versus the 5000+ I was eating to get to 274lbs in the first place. Additionally, I compensated by adding to my workouts, while the Long Bike rides went up, my 1hr rides went up as my average speed was getting closer to 15mph and my mile paces for runs shrunk to under 8:00/mi so I started doing a 3/5/3.

The result was losing another 8lbs by November 19th when we left for our current outdoor lifestyle paradise- Phoenix, AZ! I was now at 239lbs, down 35lbs since I started.

Getting to AZ from Chicago meant I didn’t need to bundle up for bike rides or deal with stiff, cold headwinds so I upped my distance more to 20mi on the “short rides” and 50mi for my long rides. My runs jumped to a 10k/5k/10k or 6.2mi/3.1mi/6.2mi. As of today I am down to 232lbs for a net total of 42lbs lost!

The goal: A final weight somewhere between 205-210lbs, not only for the sake of my health and physical appearance, but mostly for my joints as my current running goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. At my age a qualifying time is 3hrs and 10min or less translating to 7:14/mi when I am currently running my 10k(about 1/4 of a marathon) at 7:48/mi, so I still have my work cut out for me.

In addition, I need to keep the weight off and might also work on some toning, possibly the P90x program?

Stay tuned for more and please post any questions or comments you have!

PS- Until I figure out how to auto-post my RunKeeper workouts on here, my workouts are auto-uploaded to Facebook for my friends to see or you can follow me on Twitter