Friday, April 26, 2013

P90X: Week 8

Yet again I'm posting a P90X blog a little late. Not that there's much to tell about Week 8 since it was the "recovery phase" of the second training block. No intense cardio or resistance workouts, unless you count core synergistics. I remember that workout being pretty intense the first month. This month it was still pretty challenging, but not nearly as bad as I remember.

The hardest exercises are the "prison cell pushups" and the "squat to chataranga" runs. They're both variations of a move we did in boot camp called "8 count body builders". You probably did something similar to them in school called "squat thrusts". Though the "squat runs" are difficult from the sheer mechanics of it - you get into a pushup position and then run in place while down there.

I also tried the "Cardio X" workout for the first time ever. It wasn't bad, actually. It was an interesting combination of all the other cardio workouts: yoga, kenpo, plyometrics, etc. Next time Kenpo X comes around I might substitute it with Cardio X.

I did do a lot of running during Week 8, though. In two days I ran 13 miles (that's a half marathon). Then ran another 8 miles on the Sunday and then another 8 on the Wednesday. That's a heck of a lot of running. I think I need it to break even on the relative ease of doing yoga and "x stretch" four of seven days.

Oh yeah, for the first time in a long long time I took a day off. Didn't even do the X Stretch, just bummed around the house from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. I also brewed a beer that night with Alisa.

What sucks is that I wound up GAINING four pounds that week! Arrgh! I was 172 on the 15th and was shocked to see I was 176 on the 22nd. How'd that happen? I didn't pig out and I did plenty of running and other cardio that week. Not that I REALLY care about the numbers on the scale anymore, but I'd just love to understand where all this weight comes from. Same thing with those times where I loss two pounds overnight - how's that happen?!

Something I'm doing now for the hell of it is weighing myself daily. I know I probably shouldn't, but I want to see if I can track any weigh lose associated with the "cool sculpting." It probably wasn't a good idea to get that done right before a beer festival, though.

Oh yeah, that's right. TAP NY is this coming weekend - two days of lots of beer and food.  I'm going to do my normal P90X workout Saturday morning before we leave and Sunday is yoga day so I guess I can do that in the hotel room if I feel I can do it. I'll do legs & Back when we get back on Monday morning (if I can).

Hard to believe I only have 4 more weeks of P90X left! Well, five technically this block there's four straight weeks of resistance/cardio workouts and then Week 13 is the last "recovery phase" but I may skip it. I'm already anxious about what to do after I'm done with this program. Going back to the gym and lifting weights seems so boring now.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I was frozen today!

I was literally frozen today. Well maybe not me per se, but the fat in my gut was. See, there's this new alternative to liposuction called cryolipolysis (or the trademark name "Coolsculpting")  whereby your fat cells are literally frozen.  I'm not 100% sure on the science behind it. This wikipedia article give you a brief overview.

From what I understand, freezing the fat cells "kills" them and then they are gobbled up by your white blood cells and then processed in the liver. I'm sure a doctor could explain better. In fact, here's the link to website of the plastic surgeon I went to for this procedure.

Now, I've already written about my own issues with my body shape in the recent past. I'm not going to recap that all here, so just check some of my previous blogs for discussion of that.

Anyway, about the procedure. I actually found out about it by seeing a billboard for the surgeon's office that said "Freeze your fat away." I think I had actually seen that billboard a year ago and either forgot about it or thought I'd look into it after I lost all the weight. A year later I saw it again so I decided to Google it. Reading other people's testimonials it sounded like a pretty good deal. So I contacted the doctor's office and scheduled a free consultation.

I went to the consult and he said I'm a perfect candidate for this procedure because I'm exactly the kind of person it's meant for - someone who's otherwise in good shape but just can't get rid of a certain area of fat (NOTE: if you're obese or overweight all over your body - this procedures isn't for you). Then he discussed prices. It's $1500 for the lower abdomen (e.g. gut or FUPA) and $750 per love handle. Since I don’t really have love handles worth treating I decided to go just for the gut treatment. While I was there I asked about liposuction, since that's pretty much instant results and more of a sure thing. The thing about Coolsculpting is that it's a bit of a gamble. Different bodies lose different amounts of fat at different rates. Also, it's not instant. It takes two to three months for the effects to kick in. He said lipo is about double the cost. I had actually considered it for a moment, mostly because it's a guarantee, but I really didn't feel like spending that much money. Also, since that's invasive I'd imagine if I did it I'd have to stop exercising for a little while afterwards, where as with coolsculpting you can go back to your normal routine right away.

So today was the day. I was kind of nervous going into it. I've had surgeries and other medical procedures before where I was knocked out, but this is done while fully conscious. They say it's non-painful, but believe me there's a lot of discomfort involved. First they put this cloth of gooey gel on my stomach. Then they place the suction device on top of it and then fire up the machine. It's not a gradual suck, it's a quick, strong suck. It's like someone grabbing your gut with two hands and squeezing. However, it IS just the fat, not any of the internal organs, so it's not that bad.

I felt a strong cold sensation for a few minutes, but it went away rather quickly. After that it was a continuous squeezing sensation for the next 50 minutes or so. It was uncomfortable yes, but not excruciating. I'd imagine if it were really painful they'd be required by law to put you under. It's hard to describe it exactly, though. The device that rests on your stomach seems to be pretty heavy, so it's kind of like having a 10lb dumbbell sitting on your stomach. And what's most uncomfortable is where the device meets the skin that isn't being sucked up. There was noticeable cramping, akin to what you get when diarrhea is about to occur - but not nearly as bad.

I passed the time by listening to a "Tell Em Steve-Dave!" podcast. Word to the wise: if you're going to get this procedure done, DON'T listen to a comedy podcast while you're doing it. Laughing really hurts when your gut is being sucked through a hose!

Once it was done I felt pretty relieved. But the worst was actually after the freezing process. When the nurse took the device off my gut I saw my gut literally shaped and frozen into a triangle! I swear I saw it come to a point. Then she had to massage it all back down by hand and that was actually a bit painful. Again, nothing excruciating, but more than discomforting. I touched the area myself and it was amazing how cold it was. Basically my entire gut was a popsicle. Like I said, I don't understand the science behind it so I don't understand how it can literally freeze you but not cause frostbite.

I came straight home after the procedure and laid down for a while. It took a few hours for my stomach to warm back up to body temperature. However, it still remains numb. You know how your foot feels when you cross your leg and it falls asleep? It's like that except without the "pins and needles" sensation of it waking up. As of this writing it's been 12 hours since the procedure and it's still pretty numb. If I touch it, it feels more weird than painful. I'm wondering how long it will be until I regain total feeling in it.

Oh by the way, they were right. You CAN bounce back from this procedure pretty quickly. After I woke up from my nap I went for an 8 MILE RUN!

Friday, April 19, 2013

2013 vlog #5 | I'm going to be writing for the Times Union's "Beer Nut" blog!

This is probably the biggest announcement in the history of Chad'z Beer Reviews! I'm going to be writing for the Times Union's "Beer Nut" blog! I explain it all in the vlog. If this is your first visit to my youtube channel - welcome! You can see all 700 of my video beer reviews on my other youtube channel at

Check out my introductory blog post here:

Add this URL to your RSS feed:

P90X: Weeks 6 and 7

I was going to write a recap of just week 6 last week, but I forgot about it and then kept putting it off, so I figured I might as well just wait until Week 7 was done since that's the last of the three week "mastery phase" of the second training block.

What I've noticed is the first week of a block is always the hardest, though that's the intention I'm sure. The second and third weeks are still challenging but tolerable. I noticed Block 2 was definitely harder than Block 1. The "Chest, Shoulders and Triceps" workout is especially tough. Though after all this time, "Plyometrics" still reigns supreme as the toughest workout in P90X. I found myself having to pause that workout quite a few times throughout because I was STILL getting dizzy and lightheaded after some of the more intense moves. I was STILL looking at the timer and thinking "oh man, another 25 minutes of this!?"

"Legs & Back" is still pretty killer as well. That workout always came on a Sunday and I would usually go for a walk later on in the day. My legs are always rubbery afterwards, so going for a run or even a light jog, just isn't a possibility. In fact, I went for a long walk quite a few times during Weeks 5-7. 

As for my weight, well, I think I've lost all the weight my body is going to let me lose. As you can see it's been trending downward for a month now.

 I've never really had a "goal weight," though I guess I'd like to be below 173 because that's the threshold between "normal weight" and "overweight" for my height as far the BMI formula goes for (those numbers seem really wrong to me). I notice my body will gain or lose up to three pounds in 24 hours. WTF!? How is that possible?! Though I'm still not sure how I gained all that weight at the end of February, especially when I ran like 40 miles that week!

Usually I just measure myself on Monday after I've worked out that day and right before I'm about to take a shower. Sometimes I'll measure myself in the middle of the week just for kicks and be surpised and a little disappointed that the weight has gone up. But like I said, I think I've bottomed out now. At this point, the only way to lose more "weight" is to turn to cosmetic procedures. And I'm actually looking into having that done. But that's the subject for a future blog.

Oh, one last thing. I've stopped counting calories with "My Fitness Pal." As much as I enjoy and support that app, counting every single calorie that I take in (that I know about) is a major pain in the ass! I have a good enough idea of what I'm eating now that I can guesstimate whether I'm under or over my calorie count for the day and the week. If I start putting weight back on I'll start the tedious process of counting the calories again, but in the meantime I'm going to enjoy the freedom of not having to worry about it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chad and Chuck Attempt the 10 McDonald's Hamburger Challenge

So our friends over at put out a "massive international food challenge" wherein you have to eat 10 regular McDonald's hamburgers. There's no time limit and you can split the 10 between teams of two (though they didn't say if each person must eat five or if you can split 6/4 or 7/3 etc). Anyway, my buddy Chuck Miller - who's also appeared in other food videos I've done in the last few months - came to my house with a sack of burgers and we tried to plow through them as quick as possible. I highly doubt we beat that many people, but spoilers - we completed the challenge (and then some).

Full rules:
Each Team of 2 (or single person) must procure 10 McDonald's hamburgers (vegetables and cheese optional) and take them down as fast as they can.

Each team member can only eat one hamburger at a time (though both team members may eat at the same time), and may not alter their burger, such as taking apart to eat the burger and bun separate or dip the burger in water.

All burgers must remain wrapped until the timer is started. Each challenger can only unwrap additional burgers after their previous burger has been consumed.

First team to consume all 10 burgers wins (must swallow all food for time to end)

Drinks and napkins are allowed.

NOTE: You can see ALL the entries here:

Check out Chuck on the web here:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2013 vlog #4 | I'm 100% B.A. Free!

You might remember about a year and a half ago when I was banned by that website. Well it took me quite a while, but I finally cleaned up BOTH of my YouTube channels and about 1000 posts on to remove ALL references to THAT website. I also made the reviews more uniform with an easy-to-read grading system and detailed rubric on the right-hand column.

Also, here's the links to my ebay auctions where I'm selling my own personal stash of Chad'z Beer Reviews t-shirts. ALL shirts start at $10 and shipping is FREE to the United States (foreigners contact me if you REALLY want to buy one).

Here's the links:
Chad'z Beer Reviews original text only t-shirt (size XL)

Chad'z Beer Reviews "Beer Nerd Empire" black t-shirt (size XL)

Chad'z Beer Reviews color cartoon logo on black t-shirt (size XL)

Chad'z Beer Reviews B&W cartoon logo on white t-shirt (size L)

Chad'z Beer Reviews color cartoon logo on green t-shirt (size XL)


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Chad Tries.... Founders KBS - ON TAP!!

I never thought we'd get Founders KBS in New York in bottles, let alone on tap. But a nearby restaurant (relatively speaking) got a keg of it, so Shaun and I headed up there on a Saturday afternoon to grab a glass along with lunch. Was it as good or better than the bottle? Watch and find out!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I'm cleaning out my closet and selling ALL my personal "Chad'z Beer Reviews" t-shirts (and one hoodie). ALL of these shirts were worn on various episodes of the show from 2010-2012, plus vlogs and beer fests, etc.

No, I'm not quitting Chad'z Beer Reviews altogether, I'm just going to try to represent my homebrew club "Albany Brew Crafters" as much as possible from now on.

ALL shirts start at $10 and shipping is FREE to the United States (foreigners contact me if you REALLY want to buy one).

Here's the links:
Chad'z Beer Reviews original text only t-shirt (size XL)

Chad'z Beer Reviews "Beer Nerd Empire" black t-shirt (size XL)

Chad'z Beer Reviews color cartoon logo on black t-shirt (size XL)

Chad'z Beer Reviews B&W cartoon logo on white t-shirt (size L)

Chad'z Beer Reviews color cartoon logo on green t-shirt (size XL)

Chad'z Beer Reviews color cartoon logo on blue hoodie (sweatshirt) size XL

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

P90X: Week 5

Seems like it's been a while since I updated on my P90X progress. I'm happy to report that I'm still losing weight and I can definitely tell I'm getting in better shape every time I look in the mirror. I mean, I still don't look like a Men's Health cover model, but I think I look pretty good. Ideally I'd like to have a bigger chest, bigger arms and a smaller waist, but we're not even halfway through the program. Though I don't think I'm going to have the cover model appearance all the people in the "before and after" shots in the commercials and the guide book have.

So anyway, week 4 was the "recovery phase" of the first training block. Week 5 is similar to the first three weeks but with two new weight training exercises thrown in: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps and Back & Biceps.

Weight fluctuation since January
The whole P90X program is based on muscle confusion and I definitely believe it after Week 5. Though I wasn't nearly as sore and wasted like I was during Week 1, I could definitely tell my body was trying to adapt to having had a week "off" from the weight training and also doing entirely new exercises. I have to say "Chest, Shoulders & Triceps" was especially challenging. It's a LOT of pushups combined with a lot of dumbbell-centric exercises that combine strength training and cardio. Seriously, there are a few moves where using just a 5lb dumbbell was exhausting!

According to, Chest, Shoulders & Triceps burns quite a lot of calories for a strength training workout (second only to Legs & Back). I believe it. The problem is my arms were nothing but rubber afterwards. I couldn't run  because I had no stamina to hold my arms up (would've been nice if I had a sling for each arm). I went to the gym and did the "Arc Trainer" for an hour and killed a lot of calories that way (it's basically the same as the elliptical except your arms don't move - just your legs).

The Legs & Back workout really exhausts my legs and I could never in a million years go for even a light jog afterwards. So what I did this week and also three weeks ago was to go for five mile walk about an hour afterwards. That sounds like it would take all day but it only took my about 80-90 minutes. I had my podcasts on so it wasn't boring. I should probably also try this on Plyometrics days, but I haven't because every single time that workout comes around it's either snowing, raining or just cold and windy. I swear this is the longest winter ever.

My weight really shot up in February AFTER I started P90X on the 19th. Odd. 

Oh, another thing I did was finally read the guidebook. Yup, I went five entire weeks into the program without really reading the instruction manual (insert male joke here). What cracked me up was that it's filled with typos and grammatical errors. Then it occurred to me that I probably have a BOOTLEG edition of P90X. That annoys me for sure, but I did get it off craigslist so I can't say I'm entirely surprised. Though it was in absolute MINT condition. Though that might explain why the DVDs have been giving me such a hard time trying to play them through my bluray player through the HDMI ports. I had to switch it to the composite video ports to get it to play properly. Oddly enough, the DVDs play fine through my computer. Hmmm.

Anyway, reading the guidebook was interesting though it didn't tell me anything the DVDs didn't already flat-out say or simply imply. It's also written like so many cheesy Men's Health books and articles I've read over the years. I didn't miss anything not reading it until now.

My weight's been steadily declining for the last month.
I also glanced over the nutritional guide book as well. What's nice about it is it tells you exactly what to eat for every meal of every day of the 90 days. I like that kind of idiot-proof approach. However, I just don't like being forced to eat a lot of foods and I'd hate forcing myself to eat Meal X and Snack Y at Time Z. It doesn't seem to allow for ANY cheating whatsoever. Not having read the entire thing I'm not sure if it flat-out said beer, pizza and chips are banned but it seemed to imply it from what I saw. 

And of course both books REALLY want to sell you on the P90X protein bars and shake mixes and such. Every meathead I've ever talked to in the last 15 years says bars and shake mixes are really only for professional athletes and guys who want to seriously bulk up. As I've written about previously, my  body just will not bulk up so I'm not going to try to eat massive amounts of protein because it'll just go to waste (or should I say waist?).

Monday, April 1, 2013

working from home: week 1

I know I said I wouldn't talk about my work, but I thought I should bend the rule slightly just this one time. When I wrote that I meant I wouldn't talk about people I work with, what I think of my company (or our client) or the specifics of my actual job, since a lot of that is confidential (well, maybe not confidential, but just not wise to discuss in a public forum). So in this post I won't violate any of those three rules, but I just wanted to bring you up to speed on what it's been like working from home for the last week.

If you know me you know I'm a self-propelled person, especially when it comes to work. One of the things that I always hated about the navy was all the teamwork involved. There were so many times when a task needed to be done I'd just do it myself because I knew I could do it better than the junior guys in my workcenter, or just because I didn't feel like trying to explain it to anyone else. Or I'd rather just work alone (which was actually the positive side of being DCPO for a while there). And the way my job is, it's rare that we do any work in teams. Oh sure there's plenty of times where I ask other guys on my team for help about what to do to handle a particular situation, but it's not like I'm accomplishing Task A while person B is accomplishing Task Y and they're both intermingled in getting Project Z completed (sometimes this happens, but isn't the norm).

My new desk. My personal PC on the right, my work PC on the left.
Ok, I realize I'm getting kind of cryptic here. The point is, I'd rather work alone. And I've been able to do that for the most part even at the office. But then the opportunity arose for the ultimate independent work - doing exactly what I do in the office but from home. The "catch" is that you have to work second or third shift to take advantage of this. That really didn't seem like a problem for me, especially second shift which is only 4pm to midnight Monday through Friday. So when it was offered to me (after nagging my bosses about it for literally months) I accepted. I actually had to go out and get a new desk and rearrange the furniture in my room to accommodate having two computers.

Last week,  March 25 - 29, was the first week of working from home and I thought it went really well. It didn't seem any more or less stressful than working from the office. The only real difference I've noticed is that the network tends to go a bit slower because I'm working via VPN instead of plugged directly into the intranet. But that's about as much as I'm going to say about my actual job.

The point of this blog post was to discuss my lifestyle adjustment to this new work situation. The weekend before I started working from home I tried to force myself to stay up "late" and sleep in "late" to get used to the new time parameters. I use the term "late" loosely because for the last year I've been sleeping the same hours I was for 6 1/2 years on active duty. Going to bed no later than 10pm (and sometimes as early as 8 or 8:30pm) and getting up between 5 and 6am to work out for a couple hours before going to work.

I have to admit that I was getting pretty tired every night as early as 9:30pm and started watching the clock hoping for it to move faster. Not because I hate my job or anything, but just because I'm tired. The first two nights were especially tough. I started drinking black coffee around 10 or 11pm as a way to stay busy for the last leg of the shift. I'm not sure why I bother, though, because I find that caffeine doesn't really make me any more awake or alert, but just speed up my heart rate.

By Friday night I was able to stay up until midnight no problem, but even then I still went to bed almost immediately after my shift ended. I'm not sure if this is going to be the normal routine from now on, but I think I'd be okay with it if that's how it works out. I'm actually finding it difficult to sleep in "late," too. My body will still wake up around 5 or 5:30am and I'll almost always be able to fall back asleep no problem. But then I'll wake up again around 7:30 or 8am and I have to force myself to sleep in a little longer. I suppose 8-9 hours of sleep is fine if I'm going to bed at 12 or 1am, though I find it's a bit of a paradox. I feel like I should sleep until at least 10am so that I'm awake and alert for that night's shift. But then I just feel like a lazy ass who's wasted a lot of precious time sleeping that could've been better spent doing something productive, like working out.

That's another thing - trying to adjust my workout routine. Usually what happens is I wake up and I'm absolutely starving so I immediately make breakfast. But I can't work out on a full stomach so I wait an hour or two before doing my daily P90X workout. Depending on the workout and the weather I'll either go for a jog afterwards or go to the gym and hit the elliptical. Though sometimes the P90X workout is good enough.

After that's done I'm already hungry for lunch, even though it's only been 2-4 hours since I had breakfast. Sometimes I eat lunch at the same time I normally would, other times it's very late in the afternoon and then dinner is right around the corner. So I'm basically eating three meals in a relatively close proximity. I know I should try to space them out more and not eat dinner until 730 or 8pm, but my body is still used to eating at 5:30 or 6 and even though I'd just eaten lunch a couple hours prior, I'm still hungry for dinner at the usual time.

I'm not sure if it's this new sleeping/eating/working schedule or if it's the fact I'm halfway through P90X, but I find that I'm hungry constantly. It's rare that I truly feel full anymore. Quite a few times after eating dinner the first week from working at home I felt like I had just had a snack and I could've eaten twice what I had. I also find I start to get hungry again when it's time to go to bed. Drinking coffee and water helps with the hunger pangs a little, but not completely. I try to use my sleepiness as a weapon against my hunger and hope that I'll just fall asleep, but other times I'm so hungry that no matter how tired I am I can't sleep until I've eaten something.

But anyway, I seem to have rambled on way too long (again), so I'll end this now. I guess it's hard to say what exactly my routine is and will be "from now on" since I'm still getting used to the changes. I'll write another post like this in a month when I've had more time to get used to the new routine. It's quite possible it could be vastly different from what it is now.