One cardio session done

Due to foul weather I rode one of those fancy, computer screen stationary bikes at Gold’s Gym.

I must admit, I was disappointed when I discovered it wouldn’t let me run other riders off the road.  8 miles in 45 minutes.

The last hard week in the gym for a while

I made it to the gym 3 times this past week (3 different gyms in two different cities) and even though I was tapering off on the weights, I still managed to log some fairly high volume.  More than I wanted to, actually, but when I was in the gym it felt so good and I was not pressed for time and I needed the mental reboot.

So my week broke down like this (excluding some time on the spinner and rowing ergometer):


I made it out on the water for a 12-mile training run this afternoon and now will pretty much take a week off from strength training to allow my muscles and tendons in my elbows to recover.

My on-water training so far this year has consisted of 10 times out on the water in 4 different boats for a total of 90 miles, which is pretty much in line with the number of miles I’ve typically paddled at this point so early in the year.

My body is now deeply in dietary ketosis so I am right where I want to be…in fat burning mode, poised for endurance without the need for lots of sugar for fuel and little risk of bonking.  I will remain in this state at least through June and maybe much, much longer.  I’ll also eat at a slight caloric deficit for most of this week but might bump up my calories on Thursday and Friday a bit.

I’d like to drop 3 pounds this week.

Then I’ll go back to slight deficit for a few more weeks to shed some more fat pounds.  Getting lighter for racing is the stated goal, but let’s face it, there is some vanity thrown in there, too, because swimsuit and pool season is right around the corner.

Whatever exercise I do this week will be cardio.  I hope to make it out on the bike at least 2 or 3 times and maybe some light paddling once.

My upper body needs some rest and recovery for my first race of the season this coming Saturday.

New Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

After many years using my last life jacket which is now sun-faded and with rust stains from pinning number bibs onto it, I finally broke down and purchased a new life jacket, the Kokatat Orbit Tour, which seemed the best minimalist jacket for fitness paddling and racing and is Coast Guard approved.

I’ll do a review once I paddle with it.


Kokatat Orbit Tour Personal Flotation Device Yellow, S/M

First early long run

17 mile training run on the South Rivanna Reservoir and Ivy Creek, Charlottesville.

This boat has more rocker than I imagined and was very squirrelly  upstream with the rudder up.

Slower than the T-bolt-X and Viper but more stable for the long haul.

Different types of kayak paddling

There are many types of kayak paddling just as there are many different types of kayaks.

The two videos below cover the most basic types of paddling, mostly applied to flat water kayaking.  Of course, these strokes are every bit adaptable to flowing streams and rivers, but whitewater kayaking is almost a different sport requiring its own special blend of unique strokes and nuanced maneuvers.

These, however are the basics.

Recreational or fitness paddling with a flat bladed paddle


Fitness paddling or racing with a wing paddle

See also: The kayak wing paddle

Suggested reading list

Here are some of the books I’ve read and recommend:

– Nutrition and Diet –
Grain Brain
Wheat Belly
Fat Chance
The Big Fat Surprise
Eat The Yolks
Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It
The Case Against Sugar
Good Calories, Bad Calories
Keto Clarity
Eat Happy

– Fitness & Exercise –
Fitness Confidential
Bigger, Leaner, Stronger
Starting Strength
Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle

– Kayaking & Canoeing –
The Kayak Coaches’ Manifesto (for advanced paddlers)
New York to Nome
Racing To The Yukon

– Business and other –
The Myth of Multitasking
Brand Immortality
How To Build and Manage Your Brand (In sickness and in health)
The Power of Alignment
Celebrity Leverage
Obsessive Branding Disorder
6 Steps to Free Publicity
Uncommon Marketing Techniques
Marketing Warfare
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
Why Johnny Can’t Brand


And so I begin.

The kids’ Spring Break is over and after returning home from out-of-town visiting family last week and after two weeks on the road, one of them out of the country, I had to mow my overgrown yard after work today and skipped the gym for a rest/recovery day.  Even being on the road last week I managed to hit the gym 4 times so a rest day was not unreasonable.

lastbig4-10-17My last big workout last night after driving 6 hours home

Tomorrow I start my no beer, no wine (#NBNW) regimen in support of my mostly #NSNG (no sugars, no grains) lifestyle.

I started the NBNW tradition last year to try to drop a few pounds to lighten up for kayak racing season.

It worked.

So this year I’m going to do it again and I’m also going to eat at a slight caloric deficit most of the time as I try to put myself into dietary ketosis to even further boost my fat loss while I’ll still hit the gym to try to maintain as much muscle as I can.

I won’t lift the way I have been, though.  The weights will be lighter and the sets will be fewer.  I’ll also start cycling more.

Wow, I really miss my road bike.

If I know my body the way I think I do, dietary ketosis should set in by this Friday, April 14 and I will try to stay in that state at least until my major race, The James River Rundown on June 24-25.  That means from April 29 to June 25 I will will paddle more than 160 miles in 4 different kayak races, not to mention the many training miles I will also lay down between now and then.

I want my body running on fat for fuel and I want to have the best muscle-to-fat ratio I possibly can.

If bodybuilders have final contest preparation in terms of dieting then this is kayaker’s contest prep.

So that’s where I am in my journey.

I started to take fitness seriously in early 2013 when I weighed 180lbs at ~22-23% body fat (“skinny fat”) and am now at 177 lbs at ~16-17% body fat.  I was at my lightest–and most unhealthy state–in May of 2014 at 158 lb. Far, far too skinny and unhealthy.

In retrospect you can see things you couldn’t at the time.

I don’t miss those dark days of eyelids twitching, crashed metabolism, sleepless sweaty nights, endless cardio, brain fog, and sore joints.

It has been an up-and-down transformation and I can’t thank my fitness trainer, Vinnie Tortorich, enough for putting me on the right track and pulling me out of my tailspin.  I also thank Anna Vocino for her wonderful recipes and cookbook that make a low-carb lifestyle easy, enjoyable and healthy.

I’ve managed to add muscle mass in my late 40’s and now 50 while also losing body fat.

It hasn’t been fast or easy, but I feel good about what I’ve worked for and can’t wait to see  where I am in mid-June.

Last week’s summary

Tracking my weight.  Imagine starting at 180 on the left.