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GolfSpy Dave

Golfspy Dave's Golf Fitness Program-UPDATED 03/25/14

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Haven't We Been Here Before?

It seems like only yesterday when I was working out with a physical therapist and a golf instructor in an effort to drop my handicap through a winter lesson and fitness program. It wasn't yesterday, but rather Late 2011-Early 2012. You can read about the whole process in the forum thread HERE as well as the wrap-up report on the main blog HERE. Getting those seven sets of clubs was one of the high points of my time here on MGS, if not the high point. I left that project fitter and playing better than I had in years. Really better than ever on the course.


Then A Year Happened

After the project ended, so too did my diligence and determination. I could say that the last year has been a challenging one and that the time spent dealing with adversity cut into my workout and practice time. I could say that, and feel OK in that rationalization. In the sake of honesty though, I know that a great deal of the physical and play decay that I have experienced over the past twelve months has been due to negligence and laziness. My frequency of getting to the gym and to the range declined greatly from the near-daily rate of the previous eight months. Time became tight, and motivating to hit the gym became difficult.


Then What Happened?

I would think that you have already figured out by reading this post that something has changed. If not, I would be still cruising along at my declining pace. I think that we have all had those little moments when we have kicked our brains a bit sideways to gain a new perspective on our current situation. It's hard to see what is going on when you are in the middle of it, sort of like seeing your swing faults when you are actually swinging the club. The third party viewpoint is essential. The irony is that I was my own third party. Many of you read my articles on the blog about my trip to Maui this summer. It was an amazing trip, but it gave me perspective. Having the Kapalua instructor, Ben Hongo, tell me that my swing had reverted to pre-lesson form was frustrating, but that is not what motivated me to do something. Rather it was this photo:

Belly Photo.jpg


Rather than bringing up memories about the trip and the awesome golf experiences, this photo pulls me in right to my midsection. When did that come back? What did I do to get the body back into that shape? The sad answer was that I did nothing.


Paying Attention To The Universe

I had decided that I was going to go back to the land of calorie control on the Monday that my new semester started. I have had some excellent success using the Lose It app on the iPhone to keep track of calories. Just putting in my current weight gave me a target date of December to reach my goal weight of 195. Why 195? I'm not sure. Maybe that is sub-200 with some cushion. Anyway, on the Sunday before the "start on Monday" calorie counting, I played golf with a friend at a local course, Ancil Hoffman GC. We were paired up with another two guys, one of whom is one of the course's pros, Charles Burton. We had a fun round, in spite of my new found inability to hit a golfball. Time to add range time to my self-improvement plan.


The next day I hit the range at Ancil and I ran into Charles in the parking lot. We chatted a bit and during that conversation I learned that Charles is not only a PGA pro at the course, but also a certified personal trainer who is certified by the Titleist Performance Institute. I mentioned to Charles that I was starting my personal fitness and golf practice regiment. He was interested, and offered to do a physical assessment, so that I could have a baseline for the project. I took him up on the offer and I met him the next day.


Initial Assessment

In addition to the obvious weight measurement, Charles also measured my body fat using calipers, resting heart rate, active heart rate, and overall flexibility and strength. I'll give you all of the lovely numbers in a moment. During that assessment, two things happened. First, my eyes were opened up wide toward my current physical situation. It's not necessarily dire, but it is in dire's neighborhood. The second thing that happened was that Charles and I decided to work together toward righting my physical ship. We set up a plan to train together two days a week at the course, focusing on my overall health, and also on exercises that will help with my golf game. When I say train together, I don't really mean together. I soon came to realize that our training sessions would be a lot of Charles pushing me to do things physically that I didn't know that I could do, and then to do those things for another two reps.


Why Am I Chronicling this Here on MGS?

The first reason, is a selfish one. By starting this thread, and updating it as I go along, I put myself in a situation where it is more difficult to quit because people know what is going on. As soon as I click Post New Topic, it will be a whole lot more difficult for me not to follow through with the program. This time, there are no kids at the end cheering me on. This time it is all about me. And now you, of course.


The second reason for posting this is that I think that there are some of my fellow MGS folk who would be interested in getting in a bit better shape. Who wouldn't want a little more flexibility or strength inserted into his (or her) golf swing. As such, I will share some of the specific exercises that Charles gives me, detailing what the exercise should improve. Based upon that previous photo, and Charles's assessment, let's just throw the word core into the mix.


In addition to the time spent telling you about my training details with Charles, I am also going to let you know about any tools that I find to be useful in the process. I have already mentioned Lose It. It is a great app that really does a fantastic job of keeping track of calories. The other app that Charles had me download is called Walkmeter GPS. This app uses the phone's GPS to keep track of distances walked. That's important as Charles's first instruction for me when I left the initial assessment session was to start walking 3 miles a day. Outside of golf, I probably had not walked three miles consecutively since, well, never. With the two apps, I had a way to record food and exercise, the two main initial components of the project. I also had an easy way for Charles to see if I was holding up my end of the bargain. Ah beautiful motivation.


What's Coming Next?

My plan is to give you updates as I go along the road to fitness. Below, you will see the initial measurements, and I will update that chart each time that we have an assessment day. Hopefully that curiosity alone will make this a fun read for you. I am also looking to open up more casual dialog about the process. Please chime in and give me your 2¢. Atta boys are welcome, but as I lay this out there, any honest discourse will be helpful. I may have some mini assignments for you as well. Here is the first one:


Mini Assignment 1: Charles Burton's Facebook Page

Charles is not a facebook guy. No personal account, and no real interest. I am trying to put together a page for him to drum up some digital business. Since you are here, I figure that I'll ask your help about content

So here is the first question:


What would you like to see on Charles's Facebook page?


I'm not talking about this project necessiarily, but rather the type of information that you would find helpful if you came across a golf fitness trainer's site. Should there be photos of exercises? What about TPI video links? Totally open to suggestions. You can see the skeleton page for Charles that I put together HERE. Head over, check it out, and maybe give it a like to show Charles that FB is a way to reach people...



Initial Assessment Numbers

Assessment 1.jpg

There I am in all of my bared glory. I'll update the data and the details as we go along, but I think that this is a good place to end the beginning as any. Stay tuned. As you can see, I've been at this for a bit already. Good stuff is coming, I promise.


Post-Section 1 Notes and Assessment

I am going to see how it works to chronicle this process by updating the first post rather than adding new posts to the growing chain. I think that it will make it easier to follow along. Maybe I'll post the updates at the end as well. Let me know what works for you. Here are the highlights of the first session:



Even before hooking up with Charles, I was planning on keeping track of calorie intake using the Lose It app for my phone. According to the app, if I eat about 1700 calories a day, I should hit 195 by early December. Here are a couple of screen shots showing how the app keeps track of your food. Obviously you need to be inputing it manually.

Here is a shot of the daily log:

Lose It2.jpg


Here is one of the weekly log:

Lose It1.jpg


So far it has been fairly easy to stay under the calorie ceiling. There has been an interesting learning curve on the nutritional side and it has made me realize that many of our common foods are very calorie dense. Chicken seems the best meat source, as beef or pork come in at typically double the calories. I have not cut out all of the good stuff (i.e. beer), but I have learned to budget. It changes your perspective when you look at calories burned through exercise relative to what you are eating. Think about it this way, is eating that cookie worth walking for 45 minutes? Overall I have felt satisfied with the food part of the equation, but I definitely have had to be more conscious about what I am eating.



On my own, I have been doing my three miles a day walking. Every day. No misses. It has been tough to find that hour on some days, but I can tell that my body has responded to the dedication. Some days after workouts, my legs don't quite work right, and my pace drops off by a lot. But I still go. Some days the weather looks like this:


(I've been rained on during my walk twice. Finished the 3 miles)


Other times though, I see this kind of stuff out walking:



Walking the three mile loop through the neighborhood has changed my perspective about distance as well. The neighborhood grocery store is 1.5 miles away, and many times my walk has overlapped with getting something we need from the store. It feels very satisfying to walk there rather than drive. I have also gotten in the habit of walking to the farmers market, loading up a backpack with produce for the week. The Lose It app doesn't have a "with a backpack full of 30 lbs of produce" option for exercise though.


During my training sessions with Charles, workouts have been focused upon balance. We are "starting slow" so that my non-conditioned body doesn't get injured and thus derail this whole project. Here are some of this typical exercises:

Dumbbell press lunges


Balance on one leg

Balance on balance disc

Prisoner squats

Hamstring curls on the exercise ball


Overall, we are trying to build up leg and core strength, two things that I have heard are important to the golf swing. The balance part is a big emphasis as well. Holding one leg up at a 90° knee bend and balancing for a minute is harder than you think. Especially when it's the third cycle through the exercises.

One foot.jpg


And the Numbers Say:

Assessment 2.jpg


So there you have it. So far what Charles and I are doing is working. It was very interesting to see that the overall weight loss actually reflected some muscle gain, thus reflecting additional fat loss. Much as I dreaded the thought of body fat testing as a part of this, it really shows progress better than just the scale would. My goal initially was to drop down below 200 pounds, but I would probably be very happy if my weight stays the same, but my body fat percentage drops away. 210 lbs at 10% body fat would be a monster of a Dave. I'll keep you posted :)


UPDATE 10/28/13

It dawned on me today that I have been at this for two solid months now. I take that as an accomplishment. Above all else, I have done the following:

  • I have walked a minimum of 3 miles a day, even on days when I played golf or had training sessions with Charles. Even in the rain (2x) and during a windstorm (yesterday). Pollen is tasty.
  • I have kept under my 1700 calories as dictated by the Lose It app. Exercise usually gives me about another 300 calories for the day, but even with that I am usually still well under.

Overall, I am very proud of this accomplishment. It is so easy not to go and walk, or to eat the delicious calorie bomb at any given meal. But I resist. Last Saturday night, we had a family dinner & movie night and I was able to make the healthy choices at both locations to keep my calorie count in the acceptable range. Salad at dinner and a small non-buttered popcorn at the movie would not have been my choices before making this change. Last night though, I had one of my favorite seasonal beers with dinner. Velvet Merlin Oatmeal stout from Firestone Walker. It's delicious and it reminds me about when the Golfspy Crew went to visit Callaway in Carlsbad last December. It's all about choices.


I am also very proud of this little screen shot from the Walk Meter App:

October Walking.jpg


As soon as I get off the computer, I am going to do my 3 miles. That will put me over 200 miles walking. I am actually already over since the app stopped on me once and I also had to go an do my milage at the gym on a treadmill once. 200 miles walking though, seems impossible to me, but the data is there. 


Assessment 3

Assessment 3.jpg


As you can see, the declining trend line is continuing. Overall, I was OK with the numbers, but I thought that my total weight would be lower. I can feel my body changing, and I know that I am getting stronger as reflected by the pounds of muscle gained. I need to crack that 200 mark though. I know that the number really doesn't matter, but there is a definite psychological/emotional connection to getting past that mark.



What have I struggled with so far? There are a couple of things.

Lingering ankle/Achilles soreness.

I think that I did something to my ankle playing golf in Hawaii this summer. There is a residual ache that shows up in the left ankle when I play golf and push my pace on my walk. I feel strong enough to run now, but Charles has shut that idea down because of the possible ankle weakness. I appreciate that he is looking to keep me from injury as well as push me along. As he says, if I get injured, then we are back to step zero, and I don't want that. I have found that wearing compression socks helps a ton with the ankle. I'll have a mini-review of these magic socks shortly.


Bad Golf

One of the big mental blocks has come from my declining golf play. As I put more and more time into the gym and walking, my range and play time has shortened accordingly. Plus, my muscles and flexibility are in a state of flux. What this comes down to is a bundle of chaos on the course. It pisses me off. I actually smashed a wedge into the ground last Friday playing with Golfspy Tim. I was embarrassed about the outburst, but it is maddening. Having spent a year playing at about a 10, now I am lucky to break 90, or maybe even 100. Driver is on, then way off and irons are a circus. Putting is awesome, but that may be due to force of will. I keep telling myself that it's winter and golf swings should go south and that I am constructing a new body to play with, but it doesn't really help. 


I need to get away from using my golf play as an assessment of my physical health, but it is difficult. Outside of overall health improvement, my reason for doing this is to play better. My brain just can't grasp the concept of getting physically fitter, and playing worse. MADDENING!!!



This is not really a challenge yet, but most of my clothes are getting loose. A few things are now unwearable. I have some shorts that I played in last Friday that looked like scarecrow pants. You know how they flare out over the top of the rope belt. My belts are all two holes in. My pants that were too small now fit, and my pants that fit are now baggy. I know that this is a strong sign that the body is changing. The challenge is that I am going to need to get a whole bunch of new clothes as this continues. What I have now may be unwearable after the next two months...


So if any of you reading this are from a clothing company, and you are looking for a bald, 44 year-old model for your 2014 Spring line, give me a holler around the first of the year. By then, it may look like I am wearing belted blankets. Not that I will likely mind :)



UPDATE 11/05/13

So I have been at this fitness madness for nine weeks. Nine weeks of walking. Nine weeks of counting calories. If nothing else, I am impressed with my self-control and focus. I know that I mentioned my amazement with the fact that I have walked 200 miles in the last update, but that number still amazes me.


I have walked 230 miles since the end of August. 230 miles. Blows my mind.


It's starting to get a bit cold though so I may be moving to the indoor joy that is the gym's treadmill. My wife says that I could buy some cold weather gear, but it'll still be colder than a nice heated gym. Three miles on the treadmill seems way longer than when I am in the great outdoors, but warm trumps scenery. Plus, I do have a new boredom slaying walk aid:



Nothing seems to make the hour walking roll by faster than getting engaged in a good podcast. So far, the go to podcasts have been The Joe Rogan Show and The Opie and Anthony Show. Joe Rogan talks about some mind blowing stuff like bigfoot and the nature of the universe. He is a smart dude, but be forewarned that he is also a big pot smoker. Just a heads up incase you have issues with that. Opie and Anthony and Jim Norton make me laugh, sometimes at awful things. Their podcast about poop actually made me laugh out loud while walking. Not PG, and not PC. They do help me pass the time and they are free via iTunes.


There are lots of podcasts out there that may give you an alternative to music while on the road or treadmill. I am sure you can find something that will suit your tastes.


Exercise Update

Charles and I have finished the current cycle of exercises, and I could definitely see the improvement over the three weeks. Here are a couple of action shots. The first is dumbbell presses on the exercise ball.

Exercise sequence-1.jpg


The idea behind this one is that your body must support your body through the exercise rather than a bench supporting your body. I have never done sets of bench that I feel in my hips before. This one was very tough initially, but I ended up going from 40 lbs in each hand when we started to 65 in each yesterday. I didn't think that I could finish the reps with that weight, but I did.


If you are wondering about those snazzy socks, they are from 110% Play Harder. They will be the focus of the first Golfspy Dave's Fitness Product review later this week in the forum. You will want to hear about these magic socks...


The lunges changed during the last week. Charles had me put down the weights that I have been carrying and lunge without them, but now making sure to go all the way down. It made me long for the weights. The extension and flexibility to do this leaves me in a state of serious soreness, but I did the reps. I didn't think that I would even get my knee to the floor when Charles told me to do so. He knew I could do it though. Having Charles as a trainer and motivator has been critical!


Here is a series showing the "simple" exercise that completes each cycle. You stand on one foot, and then touch a 6 lb weight to the floor outside of your foot. Do it 10 times and then switch legs. This exercise is brutal. I am always sucking wind after the two sets.

Dumbell Series2.jpg


Some of you have noticed that that is not a 6 lb dumbbell. That would be 30 lbs. For the last set of the last cycle, Charles told me to get the 30 pounder and do the exercise. Natural weight jump huh? Again, I knew that there was no way that I could do even one rep with the 30 lb weight, but Charles told me to get on with it.


I did 4 reps each side without losing my balance and putting a foot down. I surprised myself again. I think that I am getting fitter and stronger than I realize. Charles knows though, and his presence is invaluable. He will push me to places that I wouldn't venture if I was doing this alone.


Assessment 4

Assessment 4.jpg


The trend line continues. Weight is dropping and measurements are getting smaller. My body is shedding about 1.9 pounds of fat a week. If the rate continues, that means I'll be sub-200 by Thanksgiving or so. That'll be the first time under 200 in about 23 years. I know that weight is not the complete measurement of my physical progress, but it'll be a big milestone none the less.


I didn't do a very good job of taking "before" photos, but I thought that this one shows some of the body shrinkage that I have accomplished.





I keep waiting for this new fitness to promote some hair growth, but so far the dome is still chrome :)




Over the past couple of weeks, I have been ravenous. The food volume that sated me before just wasn't cutting it anymore. I thought it was due to increased calorie demands of the extra muscle that I am supporting, but Charles had another culprit: Cold.

Charles told me that being cold makes you hungry. This is why you get ice water at resturants. The cold stimulates appetite. The transition to the cooler fall season, even a California fall, stimulates the body to increase calorie intake because the body is getting ready for the winter. When you get cold, you get hungry. This is why many of the diet pills are thermogenic. They boost your temperature and your appetite declines.

Once I was aware of this, I was able to kill off the irrational hunger by taking a quick walk, or doing something to boost my body temperature. Even a few quick reps up and down the stairs seems to sate the appetite a bit.



Still getting loser, but it has been fun to wear pants that have hidden in the back of the closet because they were too small. Even my size large shirts are getting roomy. To think that I may end up wearing mediums is a weird thing. I was joking about needing a clothing sponsor before, but I think that I will be sending everything to Goodwill in the spring and filling the closet with new, smaller duds.



Still playing, but still struggling. Getting to the course and range has been limited by the training time, and as such I don't expect much. There are flashes of tempo, balance, and power, but nothing consistent yet. I do seem to be hitting the tee shots longer. Something is working there. While things are rough on the course now, I think that the new body will do amazing things on the course this spring.


I'm the eternal golf optimist!


More to come.  


BTW, if you haven't done so, please go LIKE Charles Burton's Fitness page on Facebook. Here is the LINK again. We need to get him a certain number of likes before Facebook will run any kind of stats on the page. Give us that click :)



UPDATE November 25, 2013


The 200 Pound Barrier

One of my goals for this project has been to break the 200 pound barrier. It is a bit irrational, especially as I know more now than ever before that weight is not the end all be all benchmark for fitness. Someone over 200 pounds at 10% body fat would definitely qualify as fit.


Still though, since the scale has been my measuring device (and nemesis) for my entire life, I can't help gauging success by my weight. Last time, I was 204.5 pounds and I have been dropping about 2 pounds a week on average. That means that in the three weeks between measurements, I should drop under 200 for the first time since high school, maybe junior high…


And here we go…

Assessment 5.jpg


Well look at that. Still above 200. I have known for the past week or so that I wasn't going to pass 200. The scale at home seemed stuck, regardless of my food intake or exercise output. As a result, this has probably been the most difficult psychological stretch of the project so far. That 200 pound brass ring is just hovering out of reach, taunting me. I keep telling myself that things are progressing as they should, but the 200 pound gorilla is tough to ignore.


Thank goodness I am working with my trainer Charles Burton.


Not only does Charles come up with new and exciting ways to make me feel weak, and then stronger, but he also lets me know what that above data is really all about. It's about, as Charles puts it, amazing progress.


In three months time I have:

  • Lost 21.67 pounds of fat
  • Gained about 4 pounds of muscle
  • Dropped my body fat percentage 8.2%
  • Never missed my 3 mile walk
  • Never gone over my allotted calorie value


Overall, I am fitter than I have been in decades. All of my clothing is loose, with my pants about 2-4 inches too large. Viva belts! I am thinking that I may be wearing medium sized shirts soon. It wasn't that long ago when XL's were snug. To think that I may be wearing mediums, and size 32 pants makes my head hurt. I have viewed myself as large for a long time…


Am I still over 200 pounds? Yes I am, and it still pisses me off quite a bit. However, I remember that I felt stuck at 210, and now I feel like I will never weigh that much again in my life. Charles basically tells me that the 200 pound mental barrier will fall the same way, remaining only as a memory of my foolishness. I would like to write that I believe him, but I still want to get under that number. It seems that my mental picture and physical picture need to spend a little time together.


Exercises This Cycle

This time, we did eccentric and isometric exercises using both the TRX straps and other torture devices. I didn't know what was going on with eccentric flexing, it's not something that I have heard of, but that's why I'm paying a trainer. Charles knows this stuff. Basically, the muscle must work in three phases during the exercise. Take the dumbbell press on the ball as an example:


  • Start the dumbbells at the top/extended.
  • Lower the dumbbells toward the chest, slowly counting to four (eccentric contraction)
  • Hold the dumbbells at the chest for a count of two (isometric)
  • Press the dumbbells back to the top.
  • Repeat 10-12 times


This was a first for me. Initially they were tough, but my body really responded. For the chest press, we started with 40 pounds in each hand, but by session 5, Charles bumped the weight…15 pounds per hand! And you know what? I did the reps. 55 pounds per hand, following the above procedure.


For the last set, Charles had me do the set normally, as fast as I could. I ripped through the sets no problem. It's no wonder that my chest measurement went up 1.25 inches, with an overall muscle gain of over two pounds in three weeks. This is the weight that matters. I'm stronger, and fitter, and soon will be under 200 pounds :)



UPDATE 12/16/13

It's fun for me to update this thread, because it allows me to see where I was vs. where I am now. This lifestyle change has only been going on for four months or so, but it seems like I have been eating and exercising this way forever. Hopefully that bodes well for continuing on the path of health in the future.


Anyway, let's get to the tale of the tape from this session's weigh in. Did the looming 200 pound marker fall?


Assessment 6.jpg


Well look at that. Sub-200 pounds. We may be talking high school when we look back at when I was last under that 200 mark. That's 1987 for this dude. I may even be in better shape than that high school version of me. Likely stronger physically; definitely stronger mentally. Let's summarize the results so far:


Pounds Lost Total: -21

Fat Pounds Lost: -25.25

Muscle Pounds Gained: +4.24

Change in Body Fat: -9.64%


According to what I wanted to do back in August, I have reached my goal. It's difficult to accept that I was able to do it, since this weight/fitness issue has plagued me for so long. But the numbers don't lie. I'm under 200 pounds and under 20% body fat. So now what?




I going to score that one on the side of happier now. Sure I miss huge steaks and fried madness, but I miss it less than carrying around 25 pounds of fat on my body. My new plan now is to set new goals!


It worked the first time, so I might as well keep going. Here is what I am shooting for next:


Weight: 185

Body Fat: 13%


I know that the weight doesn't really matter, but that number seems crazy to a dude who was 225 in early August so that's where I'm going. Honestly, the 13% would be cooler to achieve. I'd be OK weighing 385 if my fat was at 13%. Monster.


So I'll continue counting calories with LoseIt on the phone, walking 3 miles a day, and training with Charles Burton. Will you go and like his Facebook page already? HERE


Golf Game?

Terrible. New muscles and range of motion combined with switching practice time to training time has shot most of my swing. We are back being down with OTT (yeah you know me). Whatever, it's winter and my fitness is still improving. Once I stabilize physically this spring, I'll retool the game. Some lessons with Charles and some practice and I'll be back on track. Until then, I'll enjoy my (very) loose fitting golf clothing as I card mid-90's abominations.


New Toys?

fuel tease.jpg

I have been tweeting about my new fitness toy, the Nike+ Fuel Band SE. There may be something to this little dude. I'll post a whole review of it soon, but so far it is a promising motivator. If nothing else, it's a cool watch. But it is something else :)


I'll see you again here in a few weeks. My short term goal is to see if I can actually drop fat and gain muscle during the holiday season. Shouldn't be a problem. I've worked too hard to mess this up with a fist full of fruitcake.


UPDATE 01/03/14

"I'll see you again here in a few weeks. My short term goal is to see if I can actually drop fat and gain muscle during the holiday season. Shouldn't be a problem. I've worked too hard to mess this up with a fist full of fruitcake." -Myself, three weeks ago


Well hello there 2014! I have a feeling that this new year will shape up to be my fittest yet. So let's take a look at the numbers and see how I did over the rough holiday season.

Assessment 7.jpg


So there goes my plan. Instead of losing fat and gaining muscle, I lost muscle and gained fat. Now I could rationalize that gaining 0.75 pounds over the holidays is not too shabby, and likely far less than I have put on in previous years. I could think that, but it would be a bit delusional in terms of taking responsibility for these numbers. The numbers speak to the cause:


Increased calories and decreased activity.


Calories are the obvious one. Holiday meals mean food. I scaled back consumption, but I also gave myself permission to go over budget on certain days. Over budget means around 2000 calories rather than the prescribed 1600. No huge binges, but go over for a few days (Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve, & New Years Day) and you have a couple of days worth of extra food.


My trainer Charles says that this is also the toughest time to shed weight because our bodies are really trying to conserve fat to deal with winter. He is confident that once spring rolls in, the fat loss will pick up again. I like how that sounds, but I still take the responsibility for changing the curve direction. It's funny to think that we could be making New Year's fitness resolutions right around the time that our bodies are most resistant to changing. Maybe it should be Easter resolutions instead.


The other thing that's different is that I am not working, and that means not being as active as the previous months. Sure, there has been more time on the golf course, but the basal, day to day activity is lower. A deadly combination with increased calories. Still though if I look at the overall trends of this little project, I'm encouraged.



What Now?

Now I am back on that phone app, religiously documenting calories. I am looking back at what I was eating in September and October when the weight loss was more dramatic and eating that stuff again. I am going to say that this assessment represents a blip on the chart, but it is what Charles calls a Call to Action. I need to tighten the ship up again if I am going to reach my ideal fitness goal.


Golf Update?

Playing a lot (sorry snow folk). Torched the wide open muni one day (+3 for the nine we played) then dropped a 90 at a different, more difficult course. Erratic and frequently over the top. My plan now is to get on that mat in the backyard and to work on the drills that were successful when I banished the OTT swing last time. Seeing the OTT return has not made me happy. Still I'll take playing poorly over not playing. But I'd rather get back to that land of flirting with a 10 rather than a 20 HCP...


See you in 3 weeks. New January exercises start Wednesday.


UPDATE 01/29/2014

That Was Depressing

I am not sure if you all are reading these updates, and honestly after the gloom and doom of the last one, I can't blame you. I was in a black place after recording a weight gain. Maybe that didn't come across, as I tried to put a positive spin on it, but I was seriously discouraged. I went to my next two sessions with Charles, holding on to the disappointment, and then I made a huge mistake.


I complained to my trainer about my lack of weight loss.


You may not take anything else from reading this chronicle, but take this to heart. Complaining to your trainer is a bad move. It's right up there with saying an interval is too short, or the weights too light.


Charles has never concerned himself with my progress in terms of weight. That's my mental issue. However, once he could see that I was obviously stuck on it he gave me the following directive:

  • 1200 Calories a Day
  • Protein Shake at 6:00 am
  • Eat balance of calories
  • Protein Shake at 6:00 pm
  • No food after that 6:00 pm shake

This is a straight up 1200, no adding in additional calories to make up for those burned during exercise. Whey protein isolate, mixed with milk, or almond milk (how do you milk an almond?).


How many calories is 1200? Not many. How many optional calories are we talking about once we take away the shakes? About 700. That is definitely not a lot. There are some golf/training/walking 3 mile days where the LoseIt app says I burned over 2000 calories. 1200 isn't much.


Crabby Bastard FTW

So how was it? To be frank, it was a huge pain in the ass. I was always hungry, irritable, and so tired at the end of the day that I was hitting the bed around 9:00 pm. I was cooking dinner for the family, and then having my shake instead. Grilled chicken has never smelled so good and been so taunting. My wife kept asking me how long I was going to do this, and even more relevant, why was I doing this?  Let's take a look at the numbers and then come back to the why.


1200 Calorie Results

Assessment 8.jpg

Well look at that. Once again Charles knows what he is talking about. 6.5 pounds lost and almost a 2% drop in body fat. That's really only from two weeks at 1200 calories because the first week of the cycle I was still on the other nutrition plan. I don't like that I lost muscle mass, but Charles explained that with that kind of calorie restriction, muscle will be lost with the fat. I was already convinced that this new nutritional plan was unsustainable, but that convinced me.


The new, more saner and still married Dave, plan is to go back to the suggested calories on the LoseIt app, about 1550, but continue to not add back in calories from exercise. 1550 is the number. Charles says that I may plateau at that number, but we will try it and see. So far, I haven't been up over 1400 for a day, but I am so much happier being able to choose my calories again. I actually had a beer last Friday. Madness, I know. I was also a bit buzzed after the one beer. Lightweight in more ways that one these days.


The Why?

The best thing that happened with the 1200 calorie plan was that it really forced me to assess my reasons for fixating on the scale number. I think that when the weight went up, that I totally expected that it was only a matter of time until I was back at 220+ pounds. It was a very emotional, irrational, and fear-centered response. I have decided that living in that space is not really all that fun, so I'm moving on.


If you had asked me back in August how I would feel if I would be in the 190's in January, I would have said that it would feel amazing, but not possible. That's where I am though. I have lost about 11% body fat since August, totaling almost 30 pounds of fat!


30 pounds of fat


Because I am right in the middle of this, I don't think that I have a good, objective perspective on what that means, or looks like. I catch glimpses of new vs. old body in the mirror, but my brain is still wired to see the 220 pound me. 


Buying some new pants for work helped. My previous pants were all size 36 waist pants. For the record, I've worn 38's in the not too distant past. These new pants? 33's, and they are a bit loose in the waist. I could do a 32, but my legs and rear are too muscular. Not too fat, but too bulky with muscle. It was eye opening. Looking at this graphic from LoseIt also opened my eyes a bit:

weight graph.jpg


You can see that I have been trying to do this since at least 2010 with the app, and a long time before that. The reality is that I am lighter and fitter than I have been in decades. My oldest weight measurement that I remember was the summer of my junior year in college. I was working in Alaska (another story) and I weighed in at 210 on the scale in the warehouse. I have been that or much heavier ever since. That was probably summer of 1990. At almost 45, I am much fitter than at 35, at 25, and maybe even at 15.


So I am going to trust the long term plan. I don't need to lose six pounds in three weeks. If I am shooting for 12-13% body fat, that is only about another 6-8 pounds by my math. It's time to remain dedicated, but to not worry about it so much. I know I am doing what I need to do. I'm even smashing my Fuel Band (review HERE) numbers most days.

Nike Fuel Band Pair 1.jpg


Workout Updates

We have just started a series where I will be alternating pulling and pushing workouts. Back & Bi, Chest & Tri sets. So far, brutal. As always, if there is something that I do well, too well, Charles changes it to something that makes me work. TRX jump squats really suck. They start out kind of fun for the first 5 reps while you jump up from a full squat while holding the bands. However, by about jump 15, they really are sucking. It's funny how just doing 20 of these can totally wind me and blast the quads. Of course, we do three sets. Four sets begin on Friday. Woohoo! Definition is coming though. Charles took this photo of my hamstring to show me the change.



That's lean, strong, and maybe a little pale and hairy muscle.


Charles has also commented more than once about how vascular I am getting. You can't see veins if they are covered with fat. This photo is a bit blurry, but you get the idea. Even my head is more vascular because of fat loss.



All in all, I am much more confident about my progress than three weeks ago, and more patient. Slow and steady. This is a life change, not a quick, short-term thing.



With all of the fitness frustration, I was also in a place where I was getting about 150 yards of carry with my driver. I was also getting 150 yards with my 8 iron. There was a range session where I almost smashed my driver over the stall rail. So pissed and frustrated. So I took a lesson with Charles. We have always planned on fixing my swing once my body settled down, but I can't drive the ball 150 and continue to play golf.


Short story, over the top and chicken wing. Got some drills last Friday, and things were MUCH BETTER when I played on Sunday. Only played 9, but only had one of the OLD drives. Not delivering the power I think I can with the new swing yet, but I did hit fairways. I want to play a new driver in 2014, and other clubs too naturally. Finally I am hopeful that there is a swing that will work for me that I'll be able to optimally pair with a new high performing driver. Can't wait to see the results of the Most Wanted Driver test.


See you in a few weeks...


UPDATE 03/25/2014

Where ya Been Dave?

Sometimes life gets in the way, and by life, I mean mallet putters. The testing and writing about mallets over the past six weeks has fairly well consumed my writing time. I know some of you have been wondering what was up with the fitness regime. OK, maybe one of you...


I am happy to report that I have kept to my program, training, calorie counting, daily three mile walking (with a bit of running too :) ) and all's on track. Here are the last two measurement sessions:



Highlights at the 6 Month Mark:

Body Fat %: -12.24%

Fat Loss: 31.29 lbs

Muscle Gain: 5.04 lbs

Waist: -5 inches


It seems like a lot when I look at those numbers. I still don't see it in the mirror all the time, but that perception seems to be changing too. It's funny, but I have a new bit of empathy for anorexic women and men. I can see how the brain runs on its own program, messing with your perceptions, regardless of reality. Stupid brain. Gotta push that crayon in deeper again...



1200-1500 calories a day. I'm not as religious at entering stuff into Lose It, but I know when I am at that point. I take this as a good sign that this dietary change will be lasting. I just know what I can/should eat to maintain.


The bumping of the calories did help me to not lose muscle this last weigh in. I realized that losing fat and muscle was not the plan. I have actually come to look forward to my morning chocolate protein shake coffee deliciousness. I can't wait for the weather to warm and the spring foods to return. Berries and peaches please.


I have also had some "pay no attention to that" meals and days. We went to a charity crab feed and I am fairly certain that my caloric intake for that meal was around "small city's worth". One meal, who cares? Fun and frivolity also matter.


Look at how far my attitude has come. I actually seem almost hopeful and confident that this is a lasting change. :)



Charles keeps physically abusing me every Monday and Friday morning. I guess it's really self abuse as he just tells me what to do and I administer the beating.


Simple truth is that Charles has helped me get strong. Not stronger, but strong.


I feel strong. My body looks strong, very vascular and musclebound. My reps and weights are way up on everything we do. That just means that Charles tweaks things to make it hurt/hard again, but I adapt and hard becomes not as hard.


Somewhere above this text, there is a photo of me doing dumbbell press on the exercise ball. That photo was from November. I can't quite see the weight amount, but this past cycle I had 60 lbs in each hand, 12 reps, 4 sets. Maybe you lift more, but for me, that's strong.


Since the last update, my wife has also started going to Charles for one session a week, and has already shown results. She has always been the fit one in our pair, but has had spots that she wants to work on. Soon enough we will be doing 6-pack flex offs in the living room. B)





Did I mention mallet testing? Haven't played or hit the range as much as usual. However, when I have played, there are signs of brilliance. Carded a 3 lip out 40 on the front last week, and went driver-hybrid through a Par 5 yesterday. I can see club head speed has increased, and my timing is improving.


I think that golf is going to be amazingly fun this summer! Even if NorCal has no water for the grass...


Fitness Gadgets?

Got a review coming on the Marc Pro electrical stimulation unit. Thing is crazy and seems to be working as promised. More soon on this one.


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Dave. I'm a strength and conditioning coach and if you need any additional help, no matter how big or little feel free to PM me. Very interested in this thread since it's near and dear to my heart. Best of luck and stay strong, mentally and physically

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This will be a good follow, I just got myself back into the gym and eating right as well. Hope to lose 50-75 pounds by next may

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Every spring and fall I tell myself I need to work out, get in shape, lose some weight.  Every spring and fall I skip it.  At least this year i started playing hockey again, but that once a week workout probably isn't going to do it alone.


Keep up the great work Dave, I'm hoping to get inspired!!

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Sounds great Dave, I started working on my golf fitness last October when I had Sean Cochrane (http://www.seancochran.com/) design a individual program for me and have seen great results combined with swing lessons over the winter months (start up again in December). I'd suggest getting a foam roller and start doing some of these. http://www.seancochran.com/edownload/On-LineGolfFitnessProgram.pdf Looking forward to hearing all about this quest of yours!

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I am here to encourage.  2 years and 70lbs later, I feel better today than I have in years.  The work you are starting now pays back, but the struggle to form new habits is tough.  

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Dave, just to give your numbers a bit more perspective and comparability for us, can you tell us your height as well?  Thx.

Good point.

6' tall :)

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Best wishes on the journey to smaller Dave! Don't know much about TPI, looking forward to reading.

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Hey Dave,  great read.  have you incorperated the use of a foam roller ?  EVERYONE who plays the game should go out and buy one...

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Hey Dave,  great read.  have you incorperated the use of a foam roller ?  EVERYONE who plays the game should go out and buy one...


For some very good exercises (myofascial release pdf.)  that I do please see my earlier post to Dave; there are some very good ones there using the foam roller.

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Thanks for the .pdf file !  the first time I did the Thoracic Roam Roll.......  Not only did I shake like I was freezing, I thought that my spine was "popping" out if space.  Great core and spine exercise.....

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I really appreciate all of the comments and encouragements!

I will have an update tonight or tomorrow. :)

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So, I think we should open this up, and get a bunch of us doing this together....  I know I'm not the only one watching this thinking... peer pressure might keep me on the wagon, not much else has


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So, I think we should open this up, and get a bunch of us doing this together.... I know I'm not the only one watching this thinking... peer pressure might keep me on the wagon, not much else has

I like this idea.

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So, I think we should open this up, and get a bunch of us doing this together....  I know I'm not the only one watching this thinking... peer pressure might keep me on the wagon, not much else has


I'm down as well! A couple of runs a month isn't cutting it for some reason...

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