Clone Wars!

November 2008:

Clone wars!

At last back amongst the surviving packets on the grand isobaric terrain of the intArweb.  In my travels I have seen many lonely deserted packets, dropped needlessly from their groups… 8, 32, thousands… why do they not care for the feelings of a single packet, leaving them to separate into fragments of bits at our very feet.  But behold, I have before me packets folded to my bidding.  Networks staged on the very air over my living establishment are now mine, MINE, at my very bidding… my beckoned call to bow upon my every whim and desire.

Oh yes… I have internet access now.  Clandestinely perhaps, but I never claimed to be a Greenpeace activist.  I’m not armed enough for that role, yet.

June 2010:

Time progresses and this blog consists of things I have ran across and/or learned within the last 2 years.  In some cases, simply being a documentation for me to refer to later, along with sharing to the rest of the world.  I forget more than I ever type, sadly.
No longer am I clandestinely pirating airwaves to gain ‘net access.  I find my own connection to be far more sound.  That, and I can afford it now 😉

The sounds that won’t cease

I’m sure there are many out there that might think I’m insane for mentioning such things, but I’m typing this for those that feel it too so they know they aren’t alone.  That constant scream inside at yourself, the one that is intolerant of everything you do.  That doubt that the step you are taking is correct, and that desire to make things better being the only motivator.

Over the last 5-6 weeks, I’ve unburied old feelings I had before 2008 which was a physical/mental/emotional/life changing period of my life due to an accident that nearly killed me.  I’ve thought about it quite a bit since.  I had a personal goal to actually make something of my life in special forces, and that was the pivot point which stopped it all.  With the last month and half of pushing myself physically, I’ve learned I’m still the same man I used to be and I am better than I ever was.  I’ve found that by abusing myself physically through different forms of physical exertion/exercise, the hormones change and dull the pain a touch.  It takes a while but it slowly makes that die away until you have that fire, drive, ambition to do what you can before it’s too late.  That being said, you’re not alone and that scream never goes away inside.  You just learn during that work, you are in control of yourself.  I may have said it in joke before but the mantra, “Pain is weakness leaving the body” really does hold true if you don’t fear pain.  Love is out there from me to you all.

And with that, as a single leg amputee with a military-grade prosthetic, I bid you farewell with this:


Concept of Protein Powders By Providers

Since I’ve been with The Camp Transformation Center, I’ve viewed the prices of many protein powders in the industry.  I’ve used protein powders since 2005-2006, so it’s not new to me. What is new to me is the concept people have about price vs product.  During my time at The Camp, my protein necessity is zero fat/zero carbohydrate/zero sugar.  In the protein industry, that’s quite a limitation!  I used one within that boundary for over a year or two now, named Isopure unflavored whey protein isolate which has 0g fat/0g carb/25g protein.  The price for me?  ~$39-$40/3 lb container, which I’ve always considered a very good price for a quality product.  I started The Camp, and the brand sold there (MyoFX IsoFX) was $50/2 lb container, and also had 1g fat/1g carb/24g protein.  I’m okay with it being sold, but everyone seems to act like the one I’ve been using is this outrageously priced one that is silly to buy.  (Including the GNC salesman…)
It’s hard to have a conversation when you basically say you paid less but then your told it’s expensive.  I finally bought a container of the MyoFX IsoFX to try and while it tastes good I’ll relinquish it to protein snack mix.

I finally just bit the bullet, and ordered a 7.5 lb container of Isopure low carb dutch chocolate whey protein.  If I’m going to be told something is expensive, I’m going to do it in style.  It was $95 and has 0.5g fat/1.5g carb/zero sugar for $12.66/lb.  I’d say that’s better than $25/lb for MyoFX IsoFX, or most of the others in the fat/carb/sugar spectrum.

The reason I went with dutch chocolate is because the unflavored was starting to become a nuisance since all I tasted was the stevia I added with it for sweetening.  You can’t go wrong with the unflavored version otherwise, however.  zero carb/fat/sugar, 25g protein, for ~$13/lb.

The Camp Transformation Center – Week 4

This is my fourth week at The Camp Transformation Center, and I have to say it definitely changes your entire life.  I’ve learned quite a bit along the way so far, and more to come I’m sure.  The first thing I learned is don’t take a doctor’s word as gospel.  They are looking out for your well being, but at least for me they went the motherly coddling approach and telling me not to put undue pressure on my hips along with no impact sports.  That was the only thing that finally made my muscles balance completely, and this program helped me with that in a slow pace.

I’ve learned, at least with my bodies metabolism, not to use hydrolyzed protein isolate in between-meal supplementation due to the quick bodily absorption.  During my use, it hindered weight loss.  I slipped back to using Isopure protein isolate (unflavored) which has the same nutritional facts but digests slower.  (0 fat, 0 carbohydrates, 25g protein/serving)

I’ve also learned that person in the front guiding the group is not your boss, they are not telling you what to do, they are guiding you along the path.  When first starting, it’s very painful and feels impossible.  With that person in the front giving instructions it feels very formidable but it’s important to remember that you’re doing this for yourself.  After a week or two the inner anger builds to push yourself.  Once you are your own worst enemy and your own best friend, that person in the front is simply guiding you along so you don’t have to think about what to do next or if you are performing the task correctly.

One thing I’m still learning is how to properly handle food preparation and choices.  The food choice is limited while on the program.  Not limited to diet food, but limited to a certain list of meats that are high nutrient/protein but low fat/calorie and a list of certain vegetables and carb selections that are high nutrient but low fat/calorie.  The largest problem I’m working on is how to prepare it in my kitchen with the limited amount of time I have and allow it to taste decent.  Taking food to work does kind of suck at times since microwaving destroys flavor.  My biggest task now is including the carb selections since (for me) it’s the longest of preparation time.  I’m working on this, and I will do this since I’m including this in my life for a while.

At first the main thought by most (and partially including myself) is I’ll do this and lose some weight then go onto a plateau but then you learn how food interacts with your body.  The food selection within the restaurants within America for the most part is depressingly geared towards how it tastes vs keeping any semblance of nutrition.  It seems most times the selection of nutritious choices are limited to lettuce based salads with chicken, or some other poor choice.  Lettuce offers nothing, it’s mostly water.

I have 2 more weeks on this challenge, and I’m hopefully going to reach the second challenge to continue my journey.  I have lost 15 lbs so far in 4 weeks, with 10.6 lbs lost on the first week.  To reach my 20 lb loss in 6 weeks, I must lose 5 lbs in the next 2 weeks.  My personal goal is 10 lbs in 2 weeks.

Wish me luck.  As I tell the group, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Fitbit Blaze & medical equipment

With the whole change of life, I thought it’d be best to invest a bit in monitoring of my body along the way.  The first item I got was a Fitbit Blaze smartwatch.  It monitors heartbeat, steps, calories burned (approximately, obviously), and gives you reason to input the rest to a log like weight, food eaten.  It auto senses activities performed and logs them as well, but the nice thing about it for me is the ability to go to “exercise”, and select “bootcamp” then monitor everything that happens while I’m in my workout.  I wasn’t sure about my heartrate being monitored accurately, so I figured whats the next step?  A blood pressure monitoring machine!  I know, it sounds over the top and something you’d only get if you were old.  With my genetic predisposition, I know I’m susceptible to a bad cardiovascular issue.  I figure I’ll monitor my blood pressure once a week and make sure I’m in good shape… and it also shows beats per minute.  To top it all off because of my history of lung issues in the past, I also picked up an oxygen sensor to use at the same time as the blood pressure monitor.  The oxygen sensor also shows heartbeat.
The double-check between all three shows that the Fitbit is within 1-2 count of spot-on which is pretty damn good in my eyes for something strapped to your arm and monitoring 24/7.

The oxygen sensor was a good investment, I found out after receiving it.  First time using it I saw my blood oxygen levels were fluctuating between 89% and 96% depending on my breathing patterns.  It’s nice to have a little nudge to look at something when at the doctors again since that’s not usually something that’s monitored regularly until something breaks.

I didn’t realize until now that I had repaired my heart issues from 15+ years ago with the cycling/cardio I did before my accident.  I haven’t been working out enough to make a dent in that respect this time around, but I know 15+ years ago my resting heart rate was about 80 bpm, where now it’s 55 bpm, with no heart arrhythmia like back then.

Knowledge is power, and being able to monitor/graph changes as they happen now will help as I make this journey.

The blood pressure monitor I purchased was this one: Ozeri CardioTech BP3T Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor With Intelligent Hypertension Detection ( )

The oxygen sensor I purchased was this one: Innovo Deluxe Fingertip Pulse Oximeter with Plethysmograph and Perfusion Index ( )

Quinoa Bread

A colleague of mine was tired of doing without bread while on the nutrition plan at The Camp Transformation Center, so imagination invents the impossible!


Quinoa bread!  I haven’t tried it but I figured I’d share because several others have and said it tastes great.

This is straight from her:

It is SUPER easy. Soak 1 cup of quinoa in 1 cup of water and half the juice of a lemon. Cover and let it sit over night(it cold cooks). Blend the living shit out of it and heat up your oven to 425. Put on parchment paper and spread it around. Season as you like. Cook for 15, flip, then cook for another 8. There is a video on youtube but it gives no instructions. If you search two ingredient quinoa bread, it will come up.

When it cold cooks, it doubles and becomes 16 ounces. So when you take it out, cut it into 8 slices, or 16 for two slices a serving. They will be smaller than pictured.

Homemade Fat-Free Yogurt in Excalibur Dehydrator

I started using my Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator for making yogurt, and it works very nicely!  I set the temperature to just a nudge above 105 degrees, time to 12 or so hours (just to make sure it stays on the whole time) and I let it stay on for a while to warm up a bit as I prepare the yogurt.

For the yogurt, I used fat-free milk.  It has a different characteristic than 1%/2%/whole milk, since the fat isn’t there to coagulate in large amounts.  It does create yogurt, it’s just the visual indicators of when it’s ready to stop fermenting isn’t as apparent.  I use 1/2 tablespoon plain greek yogurt as a starter for a 32-oz ball mason jar container, stirring it together in a little milk before filling the entire container.  Loosely put the top on, and toss it in the dehydrator for 8 hours.  At that point, visibly inspect the container every hour.  Look at the surface of the milk, which will start to be less white and more transparent.  This is the whey collecting at the top, a good indicator it’s time to pull the container out.  You should see layers of floating fragments whiter than the surrounding liquid, as well.
Pull the container out, and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or two, so the liquid slowly reaches lower temperatures.

At this point, if you want to strain the yogurt then toss it into there and into the refrigerator , otherwise just toss the container in the refrigerator for 6 or so hours and you’re set.  Personally I absolutely love my yogurt strained for 12-16 hours to remove the whey.  That reduces the carbohydrates and sugar by quite a bit, leaving the yogurt at about 5-6g of carbohydrates for 8 oz (1 cup) serving.

The Camp Transformation Center

I’m overweight, and I know it.  Compared to how I was in 2007, I’m a mess and I admit it.  This isn’t an overnight thing, it’s been very slowly progressing over the last 4-5 years as I’ve gotten comfortable with doing the same routine daily.  This is changing, and it’s not a new years thing.  I originally was planning of getting back into bicycling after my leg became acclimated to the prosthetic life, but weight became an issue.  My goal now is to get back into the weight zone so I can bicycle again.  (without stressing the frame)

A friend of mine started going to a program called “The Camp Transformation Center”.  It’s a relatively new personal group workout & nutrition assistance program based in California (with offices in CA, AZ, and other places), and it’s pretty intense.  Being such a new business and with all of the competition of $10 gym memberships, of course there’s going to be a marketing gimmick.  (What business doesn’t?)  In a nutshell here’s what it is:
A guided group 1 hour daily H.I.I.T. (High intensity interval training) workout that uses light weights in high interval along with bodyweight combined with different exercises to impact the entire body muscle structure.  It’s intense, with no rest and a circuit of exercise stages that are performed with a partnership of 2-4 people in the group.  It helps not going at it alone, and the instructors push to make you pull the best out of yourself and not quit.  The exercises include everything from fire hydrant, squats, crunches, pushups, weight snaps, different styles of including light weights into other routines, body weight pulls/pushes, etc.  It’s not about the workout and muscle building however, it’s about losing weight and becoming fit.  To begin there is a 2 week trial to see how you’ll like it.  There’s also a fully immersive 6-week challenge.  This I have to go into detail on because lots of people seem to make it sound like a scam, when it’s pretty straight up for the most part.  There’s a deposit of money you place down in the beginning ($497).  There’s a set final weight that is your target (about 10-20 lbs higher than your ideal weight set by doctors generally), and the challenge itself has a target of 20 lbs lost within 6-weeks.  This is the time where most people I’ve noticed seem to overthink things to the point of cynicism.  If you reach through the first 6-week challenge and lose 20 lbs, you are rolled over to the next challenge.  Wash-rinse-repeat until the final weight target is reached.  If you do not meet 20 lbs on any of the challenges, a portion up to that times deposit will be withheld, and the rest returned.  The rule is you attend 5 days out of the week, follow the nutrition diet within the nutrition book given upon joining (the “bible”), and check-in on facebook everytime you attend. (while tagging the director)  It’s very much FTDI. (follow the damned instructions)
It’s not as simple as walking in, doing some workouts, and leaving.  It’s very intense and changes your lifestyle for that 6+ weeks, from diet to how your muscles feel.  I’ve started in the beginning of last  week (Jan 9th was my first day), which was 7 days ago.  I won’t lie, it still has me pushing the limit of my body’s capabilities.  Within that time, I’ve dropped 11 lbs.  It wasn’t water weight, I was on a 2-week trial before that to get my muscles worked in, the difference was that I followed the nutritional diet along with followed the supplement recommendations.  Since it’s only for a short period of time, supplements are recommended to use such as sponsored ones like LipoFX AM and PM, EFA, and isofx protein.  Personally I chose my own by seeing the nutritional makeup of each and choosing as appropriate.  For protein I chose ISO-100 which is zero fat/zero sugar/25g protein, KryptoLean for the morning which is a thermogenic supplement.  Also a multi-vitamin to make sure your essentials are provided.

I’ve typed a lot, but I’ve started this program and I have a long ways to reach my goal.  It’s hard to get a workout like this without spending 100+ a month, which is about what the membership is if you want to continue after the challenge:  ~$120/month.

It’ll be interesting to see how things progress over the next 5 weeks.  Whatever happens, I have the information needed to continue after, as well.  Let’s see how things go!

EDIT February 9th 2017:
Being on my fifth week out of a six-week challenge, I can now honestly say it’s worth every ounce of energy.  The first few weeks were a little turbulent, but once my body (slowly) became accustomed then things change.  It didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t a catastrophic change, but it was noticeable once you stop and observe.  Following the plan and workout, I lost 20 pounds so far within 4 weeks, and it’s a good start.  I’m starting the suicide sprints now too, and it’s helping me get my cardio back in check.  It’s a nice feeling, and in another week I get a week of downtime between challenges.  2 more after this one, then I became a member to come on my own accord…. which will probably be the same haha.