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Archive for July, 2010

The 10% Thing

Which 10% thing is that? Some might even have something in mind already. I can think of only one ofd the top of my head, and that’s a 90 / 10 rule. Meaning as long as you adhere to a diet or training regiment 90% of the time, you should still make progress. The other 10%, well, that’s called being human.

But that doesn’t have anything to do with this post. Or at least not much. This post is about me, after almost four weeks of cutting, breaking the 10% bodyfat barrier. By now America is accustomed to Biggest Loser numbers, so 4 weeks of cutting must mean I shaved off at least 20 – 30 pounds, right? Well…not exactly…

I went from 226.5 to 217.5, as of today. Nine pounds in 26 days, not very impressive. I would agree, except my strength has not only maintained during this phase, but it has even increased just marginally. That’s a very hard thing to accomplish. That means those 7 pounds are, in all likelihood, pure fat and not muscle. Hell, maybe I even lost 7.5 or 8 pounds of fat but gained a little muscle. Stranger things have happened.

To do that the diet has to be very careful. Low carb, but not carb free (especially at the right time). Proper workouts without excessive cardio to catabolize the protein (muscle). And properly maintained calorie amounts. The objective is to eat less than what I need to maintain my body mass, but not by much. Some occasional refeeding of carbs to jumpstart the metabolism and anabolic processes, and plenty of water to wash everything through.

Three more days left, counting today, then I transition into a gaining phase. The objective, of course, is to gain muscle and not fat. So again it has to be carefully controlled. A lot of people will treat a bulking phase as an excuse to binge on pizza, fast food, and anything else they can get their hands on. That works, and it adds muscle (provided you work out), but it’s far from optimal. When you’re done with the phase you’re fat and your organs feel abused (because they are). To do it right you eat only a little over your maintenance level, specifically on workout days or the day after your workout, and keep the simple carbs to a minimum (exception: during or after a workout a post workout shake loaded with protein and simple sugars is the best way to go). That will help to still put on muscle, but limit the fat gain.

My goal? Unrealistic, but still a goal. Before my injury in November I was flirting with 235 pounds and being in the 11% – 12% bodyfat region. I’d love to be 230 – 240 and 10% bodyfat (or less, optimally). As a point of reference, I believe Arnold was in the area of 250 pounds during his 1975 (final) Mr. Olympia competition. Granted, he was a hell of a lot leaner and also an inch or two shorter than me. Oh, and they had access to a lot of different supplements back then too.

These days you look at Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman and I wouldn’t bat an eye if they were 300 pounds and very lean. The game has changed – but more importantly, I’m not a bodybuilder, I’m a powerlifter. They’ll always look prettier than me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give some of them a run for their money strength-wise. Well maybe not Ronnie Coleman, that guy makes front loaders and some cranes look like sissies in comparison.

But hey, I’m just a guy with an obsessive hobby (several, probably). If anybody wanted to endorse me and pay me to do it for real then maybe it’d be a different story. Then again, maybe not – my genetics might be nearing the end of their potential. Only time and hard work will tell!

Categories: Uncategorized

New Stuff

The “stuff” I elude to is both a new blog post (yay me for remember to post) and a new book or two. Well, sort of. Human Nature is a science fiction book set in a near future Earth. Very near future, in fact. Heck, by the time you read this it might even be near past. Anyhow, the point is that it takes place in the American midwest amidst a world devastated by warfare and oppression. What? Near future America? Yeah, well here’s the skinny on it…

Many years ago that ridiculously successful Will Smith took place in a movie that was similarly ridiculously successful. No, that’s probably not a coincidence. Anyhow, the movie was called Independence Day, and it involved aliens showing up out of the blue and laying waste to the Earth’s major cities. Their intent was to eliminate the population then strip mine our entire world for natural resources before moving on. But, as is our way, humans found a way to kick their ass.

I always wondered two things, A> What if humans were the aggressors taking on other worlds? Well, I wrote a book about it. It’s not very good though, so it’s sitting on a hard drive somewhere probably never to see the light of day. And B> What if the aliens couldn’t be stopped?

Human Nature is based on premise B. The aliens aren’t after the natural resources of the Earth though, they’re after something else. Enter into that my main character, an unlikely nobody named Dawn Vincent. Dawn was a nurse practitioner working in an obstetrics ward before the aliens showed up. After, well, she was like everyone else: running and praying that she’d survive one more day. The only thing more important to her than her own life was the life of her fiance – until he stepped foot in a building full of aliens.

Lost physically, mentally, and emotionally, Dawn manages to hook up with a group of survivors trying to stake out a means of survival for themselves. Survival from the aliens and survival from other humans who are just as interested in being left alone and being able to survive. Thrust into the role of a combat medic the tale officially begins…

Check it out at www.smashwords.com if you’re interested. I’ve even set a very low introductory price of $1.99 for the novel. Later this year it should be released on http://www.excessica.com. I’m jumping the gun because I own the rights to it and it’s ready to rock.

The other book? No, not the abandoned one, but another one I put up on www.smashwords.com is called Voidhawk – The Elder Race. It’s a sequel to my original Voidhawk fantasy epic. It’s far from the end of the tale for the Voidhawk and crew, I’m already at work on book 3, in fact, amongst many other projects. Voidhawk – The Elder Race has been published on www.fidopublishing.com. Print versions of the book are available at https://www.createspace.com/3450132.

Phew, lots of self-promotion and not much for sales. Clearly I don’t know what I’m doing yet but I’m struggling to learn and to try! Someday soon, I hope, I’ll even go so far as to put some money in the hands of a  marketing / publishing firm to help promote my books.

Oh, and if anybody is interested in helping a brother out by doing a review or two, let me know – I’ll do what I can to return the favor in some way, shape, or form!

Thanks for reading,

Jason Halstead

Categories: Uncategorized

To Beauty

July 6, 2010 1 comment

The saying, “Beauty if in the eye of the beholder,” is often maligned by dorks such as myself. You see I grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons, back when it was definitely not cool, and even worse, it was done with paper, pencil, and lumps of plastic called dice. Yeah, I’m old AND a dork.

So anyhow, in that game there is a creature called a beholder. It’s a large round floating fleshy sack with a massive eyeball and rather considerable teeth. No thought was ever given to its digestive system or means of disposing of whatever unlucky adventurers it happens to eat. On top of this levitating abomination are multiple smaller eye stalks, giving it the means to see anywhere and everywhere at all times. Oh, and each eyeball has a different magical ability, from turning a stalwart warrior into a stone statue to disintegrating a fleeing maiden. They can do other things too, but I think you should get the idea.

So anyhow, that simple statement has been abused many times over the years by myself and my friends. We do it shamelessly, and often take it for granted. Owing to my past abuses, I now consider it my personal duty to take it back – much in the way that Randal attempted to do the same with a different phrase in Clerks II.

My wife, you see, is an amazing woman. Is she the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth? That’s arguable. A bold statement when one considers the likes of Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, and other more ageless beauties such as Demi Moore and Goldie Hawn. But to me, the difference is clear and obvious. I know my wife. I know what she’s been through over the years. I know the struggles she’s endured (and continues to) and I know the victories she has achieved. Those other women? I know nothing about them save what their publicist or stalkers have released to the world. Do they truly have an inner beauty to them, or is a carefully cultivated mask designed to drive men and boys alike into sweaty palm induced fevers?

This isn’t a blog post about the weight loss journey my wife has made either, although to date she’s logged in over 90 pounds of weight lost. It’s about how she takes my breath away when I look at her. It’s about how I catch myself staring at her time and again – and yes, many of the thoughts that run through my mind also invoke some sweaty palm induced fevers!

Now for what it’s worth, many others have responded with similar, if slightly less amorous, observations about her. Losing that much weight is life changing, and it’s been a great experience for me to go through with her as well. Her self-confidence and self-esteem has sky rocketed, she’s more outgoing, and just generally enjoying life more than ever. Along with the missing pounds came other makeover items as well such as  platinum blond hair and sexier clothes.

Her journey’s not done though. She’s still aching to get rid of some excess skin and a little more fat in areas she deems unsightly. Hey, we’re all our own toughest critics, so I can’t fault her for that. I’ve been lifting weights for well over six years now to rebuild my own body into the image I want. The irony there is that I don’t think I look very big or impressive. I’m as strong as your average ox, but when I look in the mirror I don’t see that. I see other guys who look bigger than I think I do and I’m irritated. Experience has taught me in many instances that I am stronger than they are, so wtf? I opined just the other day that if I looked as strong as I feel, I wonder how strong that would really make me. Who knows, but I think it’s a hell of a goal to shoot for!

I’m digressing, but only slightly. Back on my gorgeous wife. I’ve read about, and personally known, a couple of women now who have maintained that the Barbie build is bullshit. No real woman should look like that or should even want to look like that. I nodded my head in appreciation of these viewpoints, especially if the few women who do look thusly earn such animosity from their peers. But these rare selections of women that I do know who have managed to effect such changes in themselves to achieve partial or complete transformation towards that archetype have a considerable change of heart. They find themselves thrilled and looking forward to progressing further. Cute, sexy clothes are only the beginning. Longer time spent at the gym perfecting the image, other assistance as needed in the form of thermogenics or beta blockers to help sculpt the body or, in instances where the gym alone cannot provide the answer, even cosmetic surgery. Is this fake, unreal, or unnecessary? I say no.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My wife’s outer beauty matches her inner beauty these days, and she wants to take both to new levels. I often wonder if I’m lucky that I met her before her transformation – a Goddess such as her probably wouldn’t give me the time of day if I met her on the street these days! Well, she still would because she’s just a caring and nice person, but you get the idea.

Anyhow, for those seeking third party assistance in reaching the level they want themselves to reach, I say more power to you! Humanity has been expressing itself since the beginning of time through our bodies. Sticks shoved through ears, lips, noses, or other areas were only the beginning. These days we have boob jobs, fake glutes, anabolic / androgenic steroids, liposuction, lip injections, botox, vaginoplasty, and a host of other means of making ourselves look, feel, and perform the way we want to. Yes, I said vaginoplasty – it’s real and it involves making the mommy parts look, act, and feel like they did prior to, well, whatever happened that made them not look, act, and feel that way!

So, aside from the basket cases who are addicted to plastic surgery or other extreme cases of narcissism, if you’ve done the work and can make it happen, I say express yourself in the way that makes you the happiest. I’ve used over the counter supplements on and off over the years in my pursuit of strength and conditioning, and I know plenty of others who have not let a over, under, or around the counter get in their way. I believe that America was based on the beliefs that people should be free to do what they wish to do with themselves, provided it does not endanger or harm anyone else.

And besides, without the extreme cases and the beautiful people of the world, who would we have to talk about?

Categories: Uncategorized
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