No more excuses. That was my motto back in August. That is what I used to kick-start getting back into the shape I needed to be in. Sadly, it did not stick. The only part that did was the motto itself since I have no excuses for not succeeding in my plan. In Part I, I went into the start of my weight loss and strength gain. The plan for this post was to continue through my journey in discussing Stronglifts 5x5 and fun friendly competitions with new friends I made along the way. For now, I’m going to drop the latter portion and focus on Stronglifts. The reason for this is that I currently need to refocus on what I plan on doing going forward rather than what I did in the past. I’ll mix in what I have done in the past, but this should be read as a plan forward more than anything.


First, diet adjustments will be key in making this work. I’m not going to go into detail on this topic, but it is time to watch my portion size, add more veggies, more protein, less carbs, less empty calories, and a lot less fried food. Oh….and MORE WATER!

Time to start over again. Time to check my ego at the door. My 515lb max deadlift is no more.

Back around 2011-2012, I discovered Stronglifts 5x5. This would be the first time I adventured into the free weight area for barbells. I was nervous. I’m a big guy and assumed everyone would be expecting me to put up some big numbers. This was the first thing I needed to correct. I checked my ego at the door, started low to ensure proper form, and quickly realized that no one in the gym was paying attention to me, let alone how much weight I was lifting. It’s time to do it all over again. I won’t need to drop down to the point I started back then, but I will need to check my now bigger ego at the door, take the weight down to the point of being able to properly do all 5 reps for all 5 sets, and work my way back up…slowly.

The key to making this work last time was strict adherence to the program. The only way to do this is either pen and paper or using an app. I have now re-downloaded the Stronglifts app, and will not budge from it. It might also be time to breakout some old spreadsheets and tack on some old fashioned pen and paper note taking.

Lastly, I plan on picking back up with supplementing with body weight exercises. I had become obsessed with pull-ups until I injured my shoulder, and really want to add that back into the mix. While doing this, I need to gauge how much I can push my shoulder now. No need to go into detail here, but I do not want another injury that causes me to doubt myself and ability to heal and keep going.


I came across Stronglifts 5x5 and Starting Strength when I joined Nerd Fitness back in 2011 after starting to research how to properly use barbells. Both of these programs are considered beginner programs, but they will definitely take you further than what you would imagine a “beginner” would lift. I personally stuck with Stronglifts a little longer than needed, but this wasn’t a bad thing. I was still seeing gains, so there was no need to switch. I was comfortable with the lifts, the program, and was already supplementing other items into it (primarily body weight exercises). I later moved on to more advanced programs as I did eventually outgrow the 5x5, but I’m going back into this assuming a similar timeline as before until I can “graduate” again to a more advanced program.

The basic idea behind many of these programs is 3-4 days a week, 3 lifts a day, 5 sets for 5 reps. Rest days are taken in between lift days, but I also took the weekends off. The various programs differ slightly, but Stronglifts divides the lifts into 2 alternating workouts.

  • Workout A - Squats, 5x5; Bench Press, 5x5; Barbell Row, 5x5
  • Workout B - Squats, 5x5; Overhead Press, 5x5; Deadlift, 1x5

Take note of the 1x5 for deadlifts, not 5x5.

Back when I first started, it was perfect. I didn’t want to spend more than 3-4 days in a gym and didn’t want to spend more than an hour at the gym each time. Initially these workouts stayed in the one hour time-frame without a problem, but by the time the weight got to the point that required more rest between sets and longer sets due to not being able to breeze through them, my gym time went up to about an hour and half or a bit more. By that point, I didn’t mind the extra time since I felt good doing it and was steadily seeing results.

Getting back into it, in addition to reforming the routine, another big hurdle to initially overcome will be DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). I had gotten to the point where I didn’t experience DOMS unless I was pushing myself to the next level, which sometimes was a little too far. Week 1 will go fine with the possible exception of the last day, but I know week 2 will be a battle for me to keep going. I know I can do it. I have done it before. So to bring back my semi-failed motto, no more excuses.


Today it begins again. The big difference this time around is that I am starting off not needing to lose weight. I am also starting off knowing what needs to be done, how it is done, and the experience to get there. Today, the battle is with the routine, the desire to skip the gym and go straight home from work, and the desire to turn planned gym days into lazy evenings. The turning point will be when the battle switches to be against just me and the iron.


I just realized I haven’t explained the “Warriors” part in these post titles. I will go into that with Part III when I dive a bit more into Nerd Fitness and some of the best like-minded people I could have come across with my fitness journey. I will also go into some of the inspiration and drive I got from these people through some of the best experiences I’ve had in competitions and other interactions, both in person and online.

Later on, I’ll bring in other past inspirations that drove me, as these are things that will continue to push me to my goals. Items from Henry Rollins, random shared videos, the Warrior Dash, and the desire to be able to compete in longer and harder endurance style courses.

I got the email. After over 5 years going and I got the email.

I have been tethering my iPhone off and on for years. I’m still grandfathered into an unlimited plan that doesn’t allow it, but I have been tethering since before it was even supported on the iPhone. I’ve never been one that has used it heavily or completely relied on it for my day to day use, but it was a nicety to have for use with various laptops over the years.

Until the last few months, I hadn’t tethered in quite some time. My recent reason was for my Android tablet, and I’ve only used it maybe a couple times a week at no more than 30 minutes each session. This time was a bit different and maybe this is what caught me.

There have been many ways to tether over the years. The first I can remember was a short lived App Store app named PDANet that later went to the jailbreak side (Jailbreak Tethering - 01/2009). I used it briefly, but mainly for testing purposes. My go-to for years has always been the MyWi app even though it was always on the more expensive side, and this is where I may have gone wrong. I gave up the MyWi app for convenience with the TetherMe app so that I could quickly toggle it on and off through the iPhone control center screen. I read up on it beforehand and all looked good. Well, 2-3 months later, I have now received the “we caught you tethering without paying for it” email.

On the soapbox stance, I hate that I’m paying $xx/mo for data that I can’t use the way I want. This has forever been the fight so many people have been dealing with. Having to pay an extra $20/mo to use my data in another way is stupidity (or greed) at its best, especially when it forces me off of my unlimited data plan, but this is why I give up.

Here I am, over 5 years later fighting the same fight, dealing with the same greed, and nothing has changed. The cheapest plan for me to switch to will increase my monthly bill by close to $25. I’m not quite sure I have given up enough to do that, at least not with my current provider. Instead, I believe it is time for me to look at other options. Switching carriers is one option considering the iPhone 6 will be out soon and I’m due for an upgrade, but another option would be getting a standalone tethering device of some kind. Although it may be the more expensive route, it may prove to be the more reliable.

For now, tethering will remain off on my phone. Carrier, you won this round.

A couple weeks back, I decided it was time to get back to the gym. I have put on about 10-15 lbs from where I cut down to over the course of a couple of years, and I also lost a good deal of muscle in the process of being lazy for over 6 months. No more excuses.


At my largest I was somewhere in the 260-270 range. I don’t know exactly since I stopped weighing myself at that point, but I knew I had to be above the 260 mark since I was larger than a point in my life where I knew I was 260. Over the years since college, I had tried weight loss here and there by hitting the gym with running, other cardio, and weight machines (but never free weights). Although I felt my diet was also adjusted, in reality it wasn’t since I would use the workout excuse to eat more or “cheat”.

In the summer of 2011, one of my closest friends made a very harmless comment to me that changed my life. Although I had been hovering in the 250-260lb range for over 10 years, and now peaking over 270lbs, it wasn’t until this moment that I truly saw how my weight and overall unhealthy appearance was holding me back from so much.

I began by cleaning up my diet and cutting back on empty calories. I decided to put my condo’s gym to use in the only way I knew how, by hitting the treadmill. I quickly learned the same thing I had always learned after starting at a gym, I hate to run, but I pressed on out of determination. I still remember the first time in the fall of 2011 when I was able to run for a solid 30 minutes without stopping. It was a first, but around this time, I wanted to put my focus elsewhere before I gave up entirely due to my dislike for most cardio activities.

As I normally do, I went into research mode. I had always despised the meatheads at the gym and out around town, but I knew that if I wanted to get my body into the shape and appearance I desired, I’d need to hit the weights. At this point my sole focus was appearance and vanity. Since my condo’s gym only had dumbbells, I found an all body dumbbell routine at Muscle and Strength. I also worked in a lot of body-weight exercises. Reading through a forum about this workout, I quickly discovered that the meatheads weren’t the only ones hitting the weights, and I fell in love with the routine and kept at it. This is when I started to take notice of the changes. I was gaining strength, and fast! I was going through notches on my belts. People were starting to notice and giving me compliments. I had made it over the hurdle that I had never been able to do before, and this made me want to go further.

During the dumbbell routine and further reading, I came upon a site called Nerd Fitness. I honestly can’t even remember how, but that doesn’t matter because I found a great community like I had never seen before. This started phase 2 of research mode. I started reading about Starting Strengh, Stronglifts, and discovered deadlifts! I knew my next goal. Having done the dumbbell routine for about 6 months at this point, and having outgrown the 60lb dumbbells in my condo’s gym, I needed to find something else. I had a gym at work, but what I didn’t know at the time was, it had a full free weight section with a squat rack.

This is when I started my Stronglifts 5x5 program and started lifting heavy.

Part II will be my progression through Stronglifts and fun competitions with new friends…


Apple to Android?

I’ve been a long time Apple user. I used an old Powerbook 1400 throughout college, and my first computer purchase of my own was a Power Macintosh G4 533 dual processor that shipped with OS 9 Classic and OS X (10.0). I’ve had every physical iteration of the iPhone since 2007. I have used an old Mac Mini as an HTPC and have built several Hackintoshes over the years. I don’t call myself a fanboy, but to say I have respect for Apple hardware and software would be an understatement. With all of this respect for Apple, the one product I never purchased was from the iPad line. Instead, I recently opted to try out Android via an inexpensive tablet with pretty decent hardware, the Kindle Fire 7” HDX.

Sadly, this is where my usual research overkill failed me. This was an impulse purchase and I have a few regrets. Yes, it runs “Android”, but I wasn’t entirely aware of how crippled Amazon decided to make their Fire OS. No Play Store integration and no support for Gapps is a huge issue for any Android device. Initially I didn’t see this as too big of a deal since I planned on rooting and replacing everything with stock Android build anyway, and this is where my research would have come in handy. As it turns out, the Kindle HDX isn’t rootable on the latest version of Fire OS. Luckily, mine shipped with a version that can be rooted, but then I ran into problem number two. The bootloader hasn’t been hacked yet. This means that I am very limited in what I can do with the tablet. I’m stuck with the Fire OS kernel (4.2.2 Jellybean) and running hacked versions of the Fire OS ROM. If the community around this device were bigger, I have no doubt we’d have a fully hackable tablet to play with, but sadly the community is quite small. For as powerful as this little tablet is, I’m quite surprised. I do believe we will get it in the long run, but this hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped for my first foray into Android.

In hindsight, I should have picked up a Nexus 7, but the hardware of the HDX was better. Here’s to hoping the HDX with get to the point where we can replace the bootloader. Regardless, I’m fairly impressed with Android even in the limited capacity I have been able to dabble. Surprisingly, I’m now giving thought to trying out an Android phone for a bit, but I’ll wait until the next version of the Nexus 5 or Moto X is out before making that jump. I need a guaranteed piece of hardware that I can hack to my hearts content. I won’t make an HDX mistake again.


Slight Site Change

Slight change in the site yesterday. I still have the 3 blogs (words, photos, and videos), but I now have the primary site showing the 3 blogs merged. Still tweaking…

Like I previously mentioned, I have so far refused to leave MovableType (MT) behind for another CMS. MT was the first blogging software I used, and once I became familiar with it, I jumped into customizing many of the templates for my very simplistic needs. I could very easily move over to the one that won the war, WordPress (WP), but I don’t see that happening any time soon. If I were to switch, it would probably be to something other than WP. I like throwing support to the underdogs, especially when they are actually superior to number one.

Since my decision to stick with MT had already been made, I needed to figure out a way to connect IFTTT to my sites, but IFTTT only offered a channel for WP. That’s when my search led me to Richard Benson’s Posting to MovableType from ifttt, and his use of a modified xmlrpc.php (the piece that enables API use for third party apps and blogging software). IFTTT uses WP’s variation of the xmlrpc, and Richard wrote this to take in IFTTT’s data to be used with MT’s xmlrpc API. In his words:

So today I made a bridge that will allow anything that insists on WP implementation of xmlrpc to talk to MovableType. It’s a fairly simple solution, merely inserting the blogid and passing everything else on as is. It works for posting to MovableType, I have yet to test reading posts, but it should be easy enough to tweak if needed. Code after the jump….

Bear in mind that this will need to be in the root of your domain and called “xmlrpc.php” as ifttt will only look there, if you can, use a subdomain or a rewrite if putting it at the domain root is not desirable. It doesn’t need to be on the same site as your MT install, however.

Using this, combined with 3 IFTTT accounts and the three locations for my blogs, I was able to automate photo, video, and word posts through Flickr, Vimeo, and email. Ideally I would like to be able to use a single IFTTT account and a single xmlrpc.php file, but that is just not possible just yet.

I know I will need to move on from MT at some point, but until something becomes so broken that a solution like this can’t be found, MT will remain my CMS of choice.

They say that once you put something on the internet, it will forever be on the internet. Well, I recently found that to mostly be true.

This site has been in existence in some form for over 10 years now (not always under I’ve never really put much into it and tend to neglect it for years at a time, but when I decided to give it a bit of a revival, I realized that all of my past content had been lost to host provider changes and failing to backup properly. I initially figured all of my content dating back to 2004 would be lost forever, but then I remembered a little something called The Wayback Machine. So I hit up the internet archive site to see what had been cached. Sure enough, I was able to pull back a lot of my old stuff (minus pics, media, and attachments). It involved a lot of copying and pasting into an XML document to import into the site, but now I have it back (well, most of it).

Reading through some of my past posts show that this site has never served a purpose, but I always come back to it if for nothing more than treating it as a hobby or project. This time is no different from a hobby perspective, but I’ve been able to automate some items in a way that wasn’t possible in the past. Using IFTTT, I’ve set up three recipes for my three “blogs”.

  • Email to Words is a recipe I set up to make writing my posts for metts.words easier. This recipe looks for emails with the label words, then posts the subject as my title and body as my entry. The emails are written in plain text using Markdown.
  • Flickr to Photos is a recipe I set up to automate posts to Any pic I upload to a certain album on Flickr gets posted on my site, simple as that. I tried using Picasa Web Albums since I upped my storage with Google and wanted to store everything there, but that became a hassle, so I also created a recipe that sends those same photos to Picasa.
  • Vimeo to Videos is a recipe for metts.videos, and is very similar to my photo recipe. This one simply embeds each video I upload to Vimeo into a new post. Once I get my YouTube channel sorted out, I’ll probably toss it into the mix as well.

All of the automation took a bit of time figuring out since I refuse to give up my blogging platform of choice, MovableType (still on a free 5.2.9 pro version). The problem was that IFTTT doesn’t support it as a channel. I’ll share the workaround in a later post.

That is the state of my site regarding content for now. More to post about at a later time. In the meantime, for my super old posts, I tagged them all as old

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