In January of 2012 I stepped on the scales in the emergency room at UT hospital and weighed in at 386lbs.  I was there because I thought I was having a heart attack.  As it turned out it was spasms in my esophegus brought on by acid reflux and a probable ulcer.  Being under so much stress recently we were also able to add a full blown anxiety attack on top of it.  Needless to say it was a rough couple of weeks.  I was miraculously healed of the dibilitating level of anxiety on Feb 7th (story here) and what lay ahead of me was the path to rebuilding.  Decisions had to be made regarding priorities and one that quickly bubbled to the top was my health.

     Fast forward 5 months.  My last weigh in on June 2nd was 355, down 31lbs from January.  I'm a little behind on my goal of losing 10lbs a month but I'll take some progress over no progress.  It took a while to find the right combination of motivation, schedule, and diet that worked for me.  The diet I'm going to talk about in a separate post but as far as motivation goes let me tell you what worked for this geek.

Mind Games

     One of my buds that I work with has a funny way of saying 'mind games' . . . you'd have to be there I guess.  But he's been great at giving me tons of information regarding form and function of each exercise.  There's another guy who's now holds a title in MMA fighting.  Let's call them Ice Man and Mr. Clean.  Both have been great educators and motivators.  So step one is to find people like that and get them in your life.  I had the pleasure of working out with them last year but the desire fell off for me and I didn't stick with it.  So there has to be a 2nd layer of motivation in there and it can be anything from family to a mental image you hold of yourself.  Whatever it is define it.  

     I was lucky enough to have yet another friend and fellow geek that was into power lifting that posted an article from Nerd Fitness.  You can check out the original article here (it's a great article, take the time to read it) but the gist of it is to create for yourself an alternate ego.  I know this may sound like a dangerous trip down Schizophrina Avenue but hear me out.  When I'm on the last set of a hard exercise and feel like I'm about to quit I kick in to my alternate ego and know that he can finish the set!  I've yet to have this process fail me.  

Practical APP

     Yea, pun intended.  I use two apps on my smart phone that help me track not only what my workout routine is but my long term progress and achievements.  Don't have a smart phone?  No problem, both of these apps have great websites that promote community and all the functionality of their app.

  • JeFIT – I started using JeFIT before it was called JeFIT so I've been a long time user.  If you're a power lifter this is the App for you. It offers great flexibility regarding creating your routines, finding new exercises, and offering great tips on perfecting your form.  Where JeFIT excels though is in it's tracking.  Not only does it track your progress on the time you run and the weight you push, but there's spots for your body stats as well.  LOVE this feature!  Hop over to  JeFIT to pick up their app & create your online profile.  You can find my profile by searching for user id 'sjturnm'
  • Fitocracy – I can't really remember how I ran across Fitocracy but I'm thinking it might have been from NerdFitness . . . or possibly another fellow geek.  This app serves a multitude of tasks but to me it's best feature is it's motivation.  Each exercise you log earns you experience points and so many points and you "level up".  There are acheivements to unlock and quests to complete.  The community is fantastic, huge, and supportive.  I told Ice Man about it a week ago and he's already blown me out of the water with his heavy lifting.  I'm currently level 8 but I'm getting there!  Get yourself to Fitocracy now and get down to leveling up!  Do a search for my user id theCelticFriar and give me a shout.

Bringing it all Together

     Thanks to NerdFitness my alter ego is built.  The Celtic Friar.  I've used the pen-name ever since the early days of writing my own blog.  I have to give props to Mr. Sinister & The Freshman as they helped coin the name . . . though at the time they were only calling me Friar.  Not sure how or when the Celtic part came in but it stuck.  Not important really I guess.  Using advice from Ice Man and Mr. Clean I knew to break up the body parts that I'd be working into groups and work them on separate days allowing time in between for muscle repair, etc.  While it took some time this is what I've come up with:

  • The birth of The Celtic Friar
    • In nomine Patris – In the name of the Father: this is my arm day to reflect the strong arm of the Father.  Shoulders, Biceps, and Triceps are the focus.
    • et Filii – and the Son: this is my legs day to reflect that Christ walked amongst us.  Lower back, Glutes, Quads, and Hamstrings are the focus
    • et Spiritus Sancti – and the Holy Spirit: this is my chest and upper back day to reflect that God's Holy Spirit resides in our hearts.  Lats, Pecs, Deltoids are the focus
    • Amen – meaning 'so be it': with our whole bodies we serve & worship.  this is a full circuit of light weights at high reps

     I've been running this routine for a few weeks now and I'm loving the results.  I didn't list specific exercises as you really should change them up from time to time to combat muscle memory.  Once the muscle learns the easiest way to do something the exercise is really no longer as effective.  It may seem that a ton of planning went into this but it honestly just came to me over time.  Each time I go to the gym I try to do better than last time.  Maybe that's a little longer on the elliptical or cycle, maybe it's one more rep, or perhaps a little more weight.  Whatever the case never cease improving.  

     My next weigh in is in 2 days.  After I have my updated stats I'll come back and share about my diet.  Allow me to go ahead and say that I'm not a rabbit and therefore can't survive off rabbit food.  I'm a man, a big man at that, this machine needs plenty of energy and fuel.  I'll tell you what's working for me and why . . . who knows, it might work for you as well!


Now get out there and get fit.  Rise up from the ashes of your old life and burn like fire in the new!

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