Category Archives: Warrior Bod

For health and fitness related blog posts.

Into the home stretch

Purchase I’m into – my Bose Bluetooth around the ear wireless headphones. Cutting the cord was a big deal to me, and sound quality. There’s a lot of options out there, but I knew if I spend the dough Bose wouldn’t let me down. I walk with them, run with them, PT with them, travel with them, and meditate with them.

App I’m into – Calm. You read that right, meditate. Game changer. Carries a stigma in opposition to manly men stuff, but get over it and you’ll thank me. I tried Headspace, wasn’t my bag. Calm is the bomb. I meditate every morning before hiking into work. There’s more in it than this post allows, but overall it’s helped me recognize that the only time there is, is now. Dig it. Don’t dwell on the past, or fret about the future.

Entertainment I’m into – Vlogs (Video Blogs). In particular Justin Rhodes with Abundant Permaculture. I bought his video ‘Permaculture Chickens’ after hearing him on The Survival Podcast and have been a follower ever since. He’s invited the world into his farmstead. In so doing he’s provided me inspiration as a father and homesteader. Good dude with a beautiful family. A vlogger that inspires him is Casey Neistat. He’s a NY City slicker, but a great videographer and editor.

Future technology I’m into – the Boosted Board. We now live in the future, it’s cool, embrace it, and check out the Boosted Board. I first heard about it from Geoff Lawton, but Casey captures some awesome videography with it, I think it holds a lot of potential in areas with high population density. People say it’s expensive, and it is, but it’s awesome. And if you compare it to the cost of an automobile in the city, pennies on the dollar.

Book I’m into – The River of Doubt. Teddy Roosevelt has been inspirational to me for a long time. He deserves at least some credit for my National Parks tour of the US I took in my twenties. This book was an awesome combination of factual history and story telling. I love stories (e.g. Travis McGee and Dirk Pitt) but I can’t help but feel like I’m wasting my time reading fiction when I could be learning real world stuff.

Activity I’m into – Ultimate Frisbee. I’m so glad pickup games are still taking place. Once a week. Most of the cats are real cool, and it’s an awesome workout. I hope I can get into some pickup or league play when I get home.

Inspiration I’m into – Less than 90 days. A big wave of guys I’ve worked with since I got here just took off, that means I’m not far behind them. A few more months and I’m out. Make the days count, don’t count the days. Six-pack abs, permaculture wizardry and a peaceful mind. I got this.

Merry Christmas from DJ

I was very well taken care of by friends and family this Christmas.

I was very well taken care of by friends and family this Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

So, Somalia outlawed Christmas. Djibouti, and those of us on Camp Lemonnier did not. It was actually quite pleasant. Friends and family back home were more than generous and thoughtful in sending holiday cheer, but do you want to know what the best present of all was?

My own wet CLU.

It’s been a few days now, I’m somewhat settled in, but I’m still logging it as a Christmas miracle. The things that you don’t value until they’re gone are: privacy, a personal toilet, and a shower in which all the leftover pubes belong to people you know.

My own private room!

My own private room!

No mud, no stray hairs from strangers, and no shower shoes!

No mud, no stray hairs from strangers, and no shower shoes!

No one else will be using this toilet or sink for the rest of my stay!

No one else will be using this toilet or sink for the rest of my stay!

The internet mafia went after the hearts and minds by offering free internet on Christmas day and one day on either side. A nice offer, but probably a poor business choice. It had no effect on my Skyping home to see my daughter open presents. That was my number one priority today no matter what. Money no matter.

If you’ve ever deployed, or know someone who has, you might be familiar with the term “deployment family”. It’s a must have for sanity’s sake and I did get to enjoy Christmas dinner with my deployment family. Mostly the boys I came with, and some more I’ve picked up along the way. In our culture meals are really what bring us together and the galley catered to us so I’d like to offer a sincere shout out to all the peops who slaved on Christmas day to bring us a bad ass prime rib, lobster, turkey, shrimp, egg nog, cake, ice cream and pie dinner.

Thanks to the galley team for putting together a great spread.

Thanks to the galley team for putting together a great spread.

I made this my cheat day which means I usually let go of the reins and don’t even make an attempt to PT, but the boys were doing an easy 2 miles so I felt obliged to join. Some of us also met up to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” in the theater last night. I went for the social aspect, but found the flick more funny and enjoyable than I remember it being. MWR hosted a band but I did not make the effort to fit it into my evening. Much to the chagrin of my sister-in-law.

The jog justified the second scoop of ice cream.

The jog justified the second scoop of ice cream. And who knew I was so short?

If asked where I’d rather be right now I’d answer “at home” without hesitation, but since I’m not, and I can’t be, and someone’s got to be over here, and all other things considered, it’s about the best Christmas a man in a combat zone could have.

Grand Bara 2015

Lord willing, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A 15K footrace across a dried up salt lake in the Djiboutian desert. Of course, we did it Gunny style. What, you ask, does that mean? Please, allow me.

Step one: proper planning. And rightfully so, we took a lot of troops off Camp so proper planning and force protection measures were necessary.

Step two: show up wicked early. In the Navy we say, if you’re early you’re on time, and if you’re on time you’re late. We mustered at 0115 (that’s 1:15 in the morning) for a 0600 race less than 2 hours away. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about showing up early, the only downside was that it meant sitting on a bus for 5 hours before a 15K race.

How about some highlights? Continue reading

Thanksgiving at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti

As a men and women joining the military, in broad terms, we think of it as a job application. In reality it’s much more than that. I recall my footloose and fancy free days as an ensign on USS First Ship. Duty on the holiday’s blows, no doubt about that, but my Skipper was on board with his family serving holiday meals to the crew. I’m not even sure it occurred to me then, but in taking the oath, we commit ourselves to a way of life, the job is just part of it. Though I’m no Skipper out here, I had the distinct pleasure of serving Thanksgiving dinner to the crew along with many Camp and HOA commissioned and non-commissioned officers.

Seeing how the thousands of people here on Camp Lemonnier are my family for Thanksgiving, we had a friendly family chase around the base this morning we called the Gobble Wobble 5K. I will say that my training routine has me pointed in the right direction. I held a 7:30 pace to come in a touch over 23 minutes. Hat’s off again to MWR for hosting a great event with tunes at the starting/finishing line, a timer for those who care about their pace, road guards and a joyful pancake breakfast following the race. Eating in sweaty PT gear alone is a bit of a treat out here.

Lastly, and not an insignificant point, is that our chain of command was gracious enough to offer us a day with no scheduled activities, or a day off. Some guys still had to report to the office, but most of us get to take advantage of the holiday. Trust me, it’s a big deal, having the day off was in question right up until yesterday.

As an independent observation, I’ve found that some people just don’t know how to handle independent time. They consider themselves bored and seem more comfortable when someone is telling them what to do. I can’t say whether the military fostered that mentality, or if that mentality is naturally drawn to the military. Regardless, from my own perspective, the time off is an opportunity for me to focus my energy on personal fulfillment. There is so much more to life than ‘the job’, even in light of my observation that our job is really more of a way of life.

 

Warrior Bod: On Running, to include the barefoot movement.

The funny thing is, I’m not a big fan of aimless running. I love running during a Frisbee game, or soccer, but not just for the sake of running. Trail running is that grey line, I can dig trail runs. One thing that helped make running more fun was barefoot running, so let’s start there.

Shocker: I’m a fan of the Tim Ferriss 4 Hour Body. This book holds my highest recommendation to get yourself feeling fit. If you decide to join in please tell Amazon you love me by purchasing through the link on this page. Continue reading

Warrior Body: Week 1 in Review

Overview:

I maintained very good diet discipline this week. My PT regiment was busy and disorganized but lent data toward developing a routine. Weigh in shows 3 lbs less, but scale consistency needs improvement.

Warrior Chow:

Breakfast: Eggs (scrambled or omelet) with salsa. Bacon, sausage or turkey sausage side. Water and coffee.

Lunch: Chicken breast with salad and balsamic vinaigrette. Water.

Dinner: Meat, beans, beats and water.

Saturday: Biscuits and gravy, grilled cheese, grapes, chocolate pudding, banana, M&M’s, Mac-n-cheese, potato, Ice Cream, Mtn Dew, Coke, 2 Sam Adams. It felt so good to be so bad. Honestly though, it made me drag.

Warrior PT:

Sun/Mon: no record

Tues: Ab blaster

Wed: 3.25 mi run

Thur: 50+40 Kettlebells (35#), Tim Ferriss (TF) Abs walk 1.5 mi

Fri: 5K race

Sat: off

Way Forward:

Maintain proper diet, increase water intake. Work on finding appropriate carbs post workout (Fig Newton? Apple?). Hone workout routine with focus on a 10 mile race a month out.

Running: This is how we roll

It’s what we do. Twice a year we run a timed 1.5 miles after performing pushups and situps. It’s engrained in us. Well, some of us. There are many among us who are on the 3 miles/year plan.

Not these guys:

Runners

Runners in training at CLDJ. From L to R. Corky, Mack Daddy, Blogger, and LT Gunny.

I ran about 10 miles the first week I was here, culminating in a Halloween 5K hosted by MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation). There are a few important things to discuss regarding running in DJ:

  1. The air. It’s awful. My calibrated olfactory calculates the distribution to be on the order of 75% air, 10% dust, 10% burned trash, and 5% evaporated excrement. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I very consciously breathe in through my nose in an attempt to convince myself the nose hairs are an effective filter for my lungs.
  2. The running trail. My first few runs were laps around CLUville, which is about a mile per lap. My running buddies took me out to the running trail which is a combination of sand and pavement along a perimeter fence in Camp. That trail is about 0.75 of a mile one way so down and back us our standard 1.5 miles. Run to the incinerator and turn around. Given the circumstances, it’s actually a pretty nice trail
Tattooed sign marking the beginning and end of the running trail on DJ.

Tattooed sign marking the beginning and end of the running trail in DJ.

  1. Races: It seems that MWR hosts about a 5K per month. You can get a bib if you sign up in time and most finishers seem to get a T-shirt. I didn’t on my first race, but it’s my own fault. The Halloween 5K had a good showing, maybe a few hundred people, all with great spirit, and some with surprisingly extravagant costumes. The rumor mill is churning about a 15K in the salt flats coming up. I’m going to train up for it in the event I can get a slot. It sounds like only a few hundred from Camp get to run.
  2. Treadmills: I find treadmills to be incredibly boring, but the cool filtered air in the gym is tempting. I haven’t counted, but there are probably 7 treadmills along with various other cardio equipment in the gym.
  3. Sweating: It’s impossible not to sweat buckets, I can wring my shirt out after 1.5 miles. Don’t forget to bring a fresh shirt to the shower (and a towel).

I think that’s it. Happy trails.

Warrior Chow: This isn’t ‘Nam

There are rules. Five of them. Taken right from The Four Hour Body.

  1. Avoid white carbs, or anything that can be white. (except cauliflower)
  2. Eat the same few meals over and over again.
  3. Don’t drink calories.
  4. Don’t eat fruit.
  5. Take one day off per week and go nuts.

Fortunately, life on Camp is very well suited to these rules. Let’s take a look.

  1. My own opinion is that this one is a big deal. The first day into the diet I already felt the reduction of carbs. And it feels good. The chow line has lots of options, so this is a discipline requirement only.
  2. The galley makes this easy.
    • Breakfast is scrambled eggs with whatever meat they have, and salsa. Water and coffee.
    • Lunch is chicken salad. Not the mayo type, like chicken…and salad, tracking? Balsamic vinaigrette. Save the bleu cheese for Saturday.
    • Dinner is some lean protein and mixed vege’s. Easy. A little Frank’s hot sauce for jazz.
  3. Water. Hydrate. All day every day. The water here tastes good, and they make it very available. Because if they didn’t we would die.
  4. The fruit here sucks.
  5. Amen brotha. Ice cream is offered on Saturday, so that’s a no brainer.

Two more notes are important.

  1. Drink a crap ton of water! (We have a urine color flow chart at each urinal, so urine color serves as a solid conversation starter. Buddy: “How’s your urine?” Me: “Oh, pretty good man, right up there between Well Hydrated and Optimal. Thanks for asking battle buddy.”)
  2. No limits on volume of chow. With the remaining food options the calorie density is comparatively low. No need to go hungry, just eat more. The Galley does not limit our intake.

Summary:

Eat as much allowable food as you need and save the sweets and other gluttonous goodness for one day a week. Spike that glycemic intake and satisfy all the cravings. I’m not even one week in and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I killed a taco salad last night. It was so big I had to hold my tray with two hands. Ice cream on Saturday, and cookies, and pizza, milk, some Dew, a couple beers (not more than 2), and a sweetened iced coffee.

PT (exercise) regiment to follow…

Blogging “from away”

When you’re not born in Maine, and you live there, you’re know as being “from away”. I’d sure love to be in Maine, or better yet, NH right now, but alas, I’m not. So, let’s see if I can drive this train “from away”.

CLU Move In

Me sitting on the front porch of my new home.

I live in what’s called a CLU “clew” (Containerized Living Unit) in the African desert. Which is about as nice as it sounds. Regardless, I recently regained access to the internet, which is surprisingly nice having gone without, well with limited access, for the last few weeks.

So, how do we squeeze some lemonade out of this lemon? Number 1: Set goals. After considerable thought mine are to get this bod to 12% body fat, get 100 CWW sales from people I don’t know, and win the GWOT (Global War on Terrorism). That last one is a wee lofty but it’s what we came here to do so let’s get after it.

Goal 1: Redefining this warrior. I’m not too worried about this. I’ll need the PT to maintain sanity but to get the push I need I am re-reading The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. I’ll also start a PT log and potentially a food log. The chow here is actually pretty good, and it’s all you can eat for each meal so I’ll need to dig into some discipline.

Goal 2: I have 9 woodworking plans posted now. The trick is to build a client base, tune the website and get learned up on Internet marketing.

Goal 3: Most of this stuff won’t make it on the blog. The line between super squirrely secret and common sense is blurry sometimes, so it’s best that I keep most of my job to myself. That said, I’m slotted to be a contingency planner in the CJTF-HOA J5 shop, which means nothing to pretty much most people in the world. Not me, man. That’s my baby for the next 326 days, but whose counting?