Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Spreadsheet of Life

Today we discuss The Spreadsheet of Life.

I posted a screenshot of The Spreadsheet of Life previously, when it was in it’s infancy.  You will see today that, at 3.5 weeks of age, it has matured into quite the chubby-cheeked child.

The Spreadsheet of Life

The Spreadsheet of Life 

Let us now look deep into The Spreadsheet of Life.

In the first three columns are general notes of scheduled events (such as the Indianapolis trip), the number of weeks until the bodybuilding show, and the date (complete with year, in case the current year is forgotten one can only assume).

The fourth column contains Chris’s step count for the day in a color-coded system where medium-green is the optimal color.

I haven’t mentioned Chris’s step counting before so I guess I better briefly explain:  he found a pedometer at his parents’ house last winter and has been wearing it ever since. In my understanding, he shoots for around the recommended 10,000 steps a day but doesn’t go too out of his way if the count falls short. (Sometimes if he’s less than 100 steps away from 10,000 at the end of day, he’ll pace back and forth in our small apartment to get those last steps in, so that’s weird, but it doesn’t happen too often, so it still falls in the “cute and amusing” rather than the “I must get him to stop this” category of significant-other behavior.)

So, back to the step counts on the spreadsheet.  It’s neat to see that the step counts almost doubled when we were in Indianapolis.  Probably all that walking to the bridge (that we ran over quickly) and to CVS for cottage cheese.

In the next column, we see his body weight in kgs. Ha! No, it’s in lbs. Good one huh? I make this hilarious joke because we can see Chris has found it necessary to include units in the headings of all the other measurements in this spreadsheet which is very important in case he were to look back later at say, May 24th, and think he had eaten 244 kg of protein instead of 244 g. Were he later trying to replicate this diet, he would have to eat a large hippopotamus to get 244 kg of protein, which is the exact weight of “Hippopotamus C” in this algebra problem and thus definitely a real hippopotamus weight.

But I digress.

We were discussing the weight (in lbs) column of The Spreadsheet of Life.  The weight loss has been very steady with the exception of the time in Indianapolis when traveling-induced disruptions in the digestive flow, shall we say, probably hampered weight loss a bit.

In the next column, we see Chris’s protein, fat, and carb intakes (in g, not kg) complete with colored bars to visually compare quantity consumed across days.  Next we see calculated Calories, macronutrient percentages, and workouts performed.

My favorite entry in the spreadsheet is on May 20th in the workout column:  “Off (tornado)”. That entry makes me laugh and yet, in a way, it’s profound. That tornado was such a huge event.  But life goes on. Training goes on.  And an unscheduled off-day needs to have a reason recorded next to it in The Spreadsheet of Life. Thus, “Off (tornado)”.

As contest prep progresses, I will post more screenshots of The Spreadsheet of Life as it grows up.






Partying, Baseball Game, and a Refrigerator Update

I went out of town this past weekend and left Chris alone in our apartment.  In the grand tradition of the engaged man left to freedom for a weekend, he partied hard while I was away.

Oh yeah, that's four DVD's from Redbox

Oh yeah, that’s four DVD’s from Redbox

A fifth DVD and Diet Coke (and yes, Chris bodybuilds and also likes to light candles while watching TV)

A fifth DVD and Diet Pepsi (and yes, Chris, the professional bodybuilder, really enjoys a good Yankee candle while watching TV)

What’s really awesome is that he (obviously) took these pictures himself to prove to me how hard he partied

Once before, when I left town for a weekend while Chris was dieting for a different show, he drank two two-liter soda bottles over the weekend and proudly showed me the empty bottles when I returned.  I was relieved to see that he didn’t party that hard this time.

Chris also took a picture to show me the big event of the weekend.  His weight loss is now significant enough that he has had to move his lifting belt in one notch.



I can tell he’s lost weight when I hug him.  It’s like hugging a large, uneven rock.  Washboard abs are attractive but not particularly comfortable to embrace.

Last night we went to a baseball game in Oklahoma City which is maybe 25 minutes away from our apartment.  I brought my purse.  Chris brought this cooler.


Leaving for the game

You can’t bring food or drinks into the game so I was confused about his plan.  Turns out the cooler contained two apples and one large protein bar.  The purpose of the cooler was to keep these foods cool during the brief car ride in my air-conditioned, cool car.  (I guess the cooler was for in case the AC broke?  I don’t always ask questions about things I don’t understand.)  The apples were for consuming on the walk from the parking lot to the stadium and the protein bar was to be put, sneakily, into the shorts pocket and eaten during the second inning.

Eating apple #1 while apple #2 pokes out from its napkin, awaiting devouration

Eating apple #1 while apple #2 pokes out from its napkin, awaiting devouration (it’s a word if I want it to be)


“Yessss, this is my protein bar that I eat.”  -Chris. (You can also see from this picture what a huge deal minor league Monday night baseball games are in Oklahoma City; we were lucky to get tickets!)

I will end this post with another picture of our refrigerator, taken last week, so you can see how things are evolving.  Fage yogurt (which I take credit for introducing him to) has taken center stage on the top shelf.  Also seen are the eggs (don’t worry, there are more on other shelves), packaged meats, and cottage cheeses.


Fage, eggs, and meat


Produce drawer of cottage cheese and apples

It’s an amino acid wonderland.





Indianapolis – Part III

Final Indianapolis Topic:  The Workouts

Before we left for Indianapolis, I called the hotel to ask about the gym situation there.  I was told that their workout room contained “8-10 treadmills, a bike, and barbells.”  As I am not dim-witted, I didn’t believe that the gym actually had barbells.  I was, however, optimistic that they would have several treadmills and that the bike was probably real.  The actual situation was disappointing:  2 treadmills, no bikes, 2 of those ellipticals made for giants, a cable machine, and some dumbbells.  (In my opinion, there should be a mandatory seminar given to the world on the difference between barbells and dumbbells).

Our first night in Indianapolis, Chris and I went to the hotel gym to make the best of it.  We both switched up our normal exercise routines and improvised a workout with what we had available.  It was fun. Chris did pull-ups supersetted with push-ups, flys supersetted with incline rows, lat raises suppersetted with dumbbell presses, incline dumbbell presses supersetted with diamond push-ups, and ended with push-ups suppersetted with being my assistance for assisted pull-ups that he suggested I do.  (I only remembered Chris’s workout from this day as the workout where he did a million push-ups and I just went into his room to verify the facts of this workout -yes, this is a blog of high standards where we verify facts- which I described to him as “the workout where you did a million push-ups” and he looked at me innocently and said something like, “What? I don’t think I did that many push-ups that day.”  But clearly, he did.  He gave me his workout log and I just counted TWENTY-ONE sets of push-ups of between 8 and 12 reps.  Yeah Chris, not many, you lazy sloth…

So for my workout that night, I did a variety of things not nearly as impressive as Chris’s (no push-ups for me) but, as I just mentioned above, I did do a bunch of assisted pull-ups with Chris assisting me.  I can do maybe 3 non-assisted pull-ups so, to get more reps in when just a pull-up bar was available, I needed assistance and Chris was able to assist me (and to supplement his workout with Lindy lifts).

He’d lift me up just enough so my arms screamed and it was very hard to do the pull-up and then I’d slowly lower myself, I suppose unconsciously stalling so I could delay the pulling-up again part, because pull-ups are very hard. This stalling during the eccentric phase, I believe, became my undoing as you will understand shortly.

I was shooting for 5 sets of 8 but ended up doing roughly 5 sets of 5 and was thoroughly fatigued by the end of it.  (So fatigued that at one point, to get some extra oomph, I accidentally, rather violently, kicked my legs behind me and hit Chris in an unpleasant place, making him groan and drop me and suggest that I keep my legs still in the future).

So why did I bother telling that story about my pull-ups?  Well, because that pull-up workout appeared to create the most muscle damage my arms have ever, EVER, experienced.  I’ve run marathons and I’ve competed in powerlifting, and NEVER have I experienced the kind of reaction I had to that workout.  I did this workout on Tuesday night.  On Wednesday, my arms hurt badly.  On Thursday, my arms hurt very, very badly and I could only partially extend my elbows.  On Friday, my arms hurt like crazy, I really could not extend my elbows, and my biceps and forearms were huge!  I have never in my life had a workout that caused swelling like that a full two and half days after the workout. That’s the Chris Fahs assisted pull-up method for you!  Seriously, he’s got to market this thing; I think “Insanity” or whatever has nothing on this method.

A great part of the situation was that we were at the American College of Sports Medicine Meeting where I heard nice talks about how muscle damage doesn’t equal hypertrophy so I couldn’t even console myself with thinking that at least my biceps must be growing tremendously if I was that incapacitated.  (I did feel good knowing that, should my arms have exploded that Friday, I was surrounded by Sports Medicine-ists who had surely dealt with pull-up induced arm explosion before).

My poor swollen arm

My poor, swollen arm (roughly 84 hours post-workout)

If you’ve never seen my arm before, the picture above might not look too impressive, but trust me, that arm is swollen.  I was waiting to take a comparison picture of my arm at its normal size but, as my arms are still sore 9 days later, I’m not sure right now would be a true baseline.

Ok, so how else did we workout there?  Well, one day Chris found this bridge and suggested we run very quickly back and forth over it.  (He did sprints.  As my absolute fastest speed really can’t be identified as a sprint, I just ran back and forth quickly with breaks in between).  It was unclear why we were running on the bridge but that was the Chris-defined best spot in downtown Indianapolis to do it so that’s where we did it.


This looks like a good bridge to run quickly over repeatedly!

I really enjoy running and I really like when Chris runs. He only runs during contest prep (in sprint form like the bridge workout) or immediately following bodybuilding shows (in 5k race form) when he is still lean enough for the runs to not be too hard and (I hypothesize this is the case) when he feels like he owes me for making me just sit through 12 hour bodybuilding shows (yes I exaggerate the time but that’s what it can feels like).

So I suppose Chris’s running with me on the pretty bridge made up for his destroying my biceps.  Having a superhuman machine man around in Indianapolis, thus, had its dangers and benefits.

And that wraps up the three blog post series of highlights from Indianapolis.


Indianapolis – Part II

Today’s Topic:  The Food

Overall, we weren’t too impressed by the food we ate in Indianapolis.

Our hotel had an omelet bar at breakfast which sounded incredible when we booked the room, but the reality of the omelet bar was waiting in a 10 minute line which isn’t that long and yes, there are worse things in the world, but, well, it just wasn’t as awesome as it had seemed it would be earlier.  Chris really made the omelet maker’s day each day by regularly requesting two egg white omelets “with a little cheese and all the vegetables”.

For lunch, most days we went to the Panera next door to our hotel and this was what I assumed Chris and I would do again on the last day of the conference when I said, “Hey Chris, when do you want to get lunch?” and he answered, “Let’s get lunch together after this talk,” and I thought, “Ok, good, we’ll get lunch together after this talk.”  After the talk, as together we were leaving the conference center, I looked over and Chris was animalistically scarfing down multiple protein bars.

Me:  “Um, didn’t we say we’d get lunch together after the talk?”

Chris (mouth full of multiple protein bars):  “Uh, I got hungry.  So I’m eating these.  But I’ll sit and watch you eat lunch. OK?”

Me:  “Yes, that is completely OK! It is my favorite thing to go to a restaurant with you and have you watch me eat food! I am thoroughly, joyfully glad I made lunch plans with you for today!”

Fine.  I didn’t actually say that at all.  That’s what a very patient, not hungry, all-forgiving fiance would have said.  What I really said was more like, “Seriously? You’ll watch me eat lunch? When I confirmed with you naught but an hour ago that we were going to eat lunch together?” (Shut up, of course I really used the word “naught”).  I then refused to talk to him much for several minutes because that’s what mature people do.

In my defense, it wasn’t that our not going to lunch together was such a huge deal per se; I know when he diets that there will be occasions when we “go to lunch together” but only I eat.  But see, in this case, we had planned on going to lunch together, had planned on waiting to digest our food for a while, planned on going to workout together, and then planned on going to do some site-seeing activities with friends later in the day. By Chris eating “lunch” (animalistic bar consumption) at the conference center, he was (seemingly selfishly but clearly unintentionally) disrupting the whole schedule. If I now went to the crowded downtown Panera as planned, I wouldn’t finish my lunch for maybe 45 minutes after his protein bar consumption. This would put our digestion times totally out of sync, he would be ready to workout before me, he would finish working out before me, he would be showered and dressed and ready to do things way before I was, and I would be the one holding everyone up from site-seeing and I feel weird saying, “Sorry guys, had to eat, do some digestion, and get my workout in” because that sounds weird if you’re not a bodybuilder and actually it sounds weird even if you are a bodybuilder but at least people have a label to give you -“weird bodybuilder”- and they can accept that.  Me, they’d just find irritating and inconsiderate for spending so much time digesting.  And that was why Chris should have checked with me before chowing down on the protein bars immediately post-conference talk.

So how was this problem solved?  Did Chris and I not speak for the rest of the trip? To answer the first question, I ended up eliminating the need for pre-workout digestion time by going straight from the conference to the gym and doing a quick high-intensity interval workout.  Then I showered, dressed, and for lunch got some milk and snacks at the little shop in the hotel.  I then digested these during the post-workout sight-seeing time.  So yes, it all worked out.  To answer the second question, no, Chris and I did not not speak for the rest of the trip.  That means we did speak. And we enjoyed each other’s company and had a good time.  Neither of us is any good at holding grudges against the other one which is really a wonderful skill for both of us to not be good at.

This post was supposed to be about food.  So back to that.

Dinner one night was at a restaurant (that I will leave unnamed because I’m sure the restaurant reads this blog and I don’t want to get sued for not saying positive things about it) where we spent $22 each on “shrimp skewers” and got what you see below.


Is this for real?  Perhaps the mondo broccoli head had to be transported all the way from Giant Vegetable Island and this jacked the price up?

All Chris had wanted from this meal was a nice big bolus of protein, some vegetables, and a decent serving of carbohydrates as this was a high carb (not crab) day.  What he got was a tiny baby bolus of protein designed for someone who hates protein, a decent amount of vegetables, and maybe 20 total grams of carbs (not crabs).  We ate the pittance, paid our $22, and then, disgruntled, walked to CVS to buy compensatory food to make up for this meal’s shortcomings.

Chris in front of CVS

The face of despair before a closed CVS

CVS was closed.  Apparently, CVS in downtown Indianapolis did not understand that the restaurants near it were serving meals with inadequate macronutrient quantities and that it needed to stay open late to help the poor bodybuilders wandering the streets looking for protein boluses and carbs for high carb day. (Of course there must have been other bodybuilders wandering the streets for carbs too; no, we did not run into any).

Thankfully, the hotel store was still open.  Pretzels were purchased and the carb situation was saved!


Pretzels save the day!

“What about the big protein bolus?  Lindy, we are not stupid.  You said he needed carbs and protein and we know pretzels are not a good protein source.  How did he get the protein?!” you query.

He got his protein bolus from some protein bars he had back in the room.

And all was calm and good in the land of the bodybuilder as he finished his quest for foodstuffs with which to satisfy the daily macros.

Final Note:  So you don’t leave this post thinking badly of CVS for not saving the day, I must mention that later in the trip Chris was able to obtain some of his beloved cottage cheese from CVS along with a special dieting bodybuilder treat of Diet Mountain Dew.  Nothing says “good eatin” like Diet Mountain Dew and cottage cheese.  Nothing.


Good Eatin’ Cottage Cheeses

Diet Mountain Dew

Good Drinkin’ Diet Mountain Dew




Indianapolis – Part I

Today begins a series of retrospective posts chronicling our adventures in Indianapolis.  I’ve decided to organize these posts by topic rather than by day as several key themes emerged throughout our trip.

Today’s Topic:  The Chris Fahs Note Card Organizational System

Before we left for Indiana, Chris explained to me his ingenious macronutrient-recording organizational system that I could look forward to watching him use on our trip.

At the heart of this system are The Note Cards.

The Note Cards live in a large black folder that also contains nutritional goals for the day.  There was one Note Card assigned to each day that we would be gone.

Chris with A Note Card and the Black Folder

Chris, post-meal, with a Note Card and the Black Folder

“What are The Note Cards for?” you ask.  “Doesn’t Chris have a great macro-recording organizational system already, using Excel, as shown in a screenshot in a previous post?”

Yes, yes he does.  However, using the Excel system as the lone macro-recording system is only effective when Chris is consuming his standard foods (such as eggs and delectable protein-peanut butter-oatmeal mush). With traveling, a field-data-collection system of macronutrient recording becomes necessary. Foods with unknown macros must be quickly identified, analyzed*, and then instantly recorded. As these are foreign foods (things like “fruit cups” and “chicken sandwiches”), their nutrient content must be recorded instantly lest a side pickle or squirt of ketchup be forgotten in a later recollection.

(* “Analysis” meant yoinking my smart phone and looking up nutrition info.  This method of instant analysis had the added benefit of eliminating my only method of entertainment post-meal while I waited on Chris and The Note Card system).

Chris with fork

In the rare case where a restaurant supplied paper copies of nutrition info, use of my phone was not necessary. I like that Chris is still holding his fork as he looks up foods. No time to set down the fork! Must discover macros NOW!

The Chris Fahs Note Card Organizational System was also used (only once to my knowledge) for meal planning, as well as the aforementioned post-meal recording, purposes. The last night we were in Indianapolis, it was decided during the afternoon that we would eat dinner at PF Changs.  Chris wrote the names and macros of four meals on The Note Card and brought The Note Card with him to the restaurant.  It was unclear why he picked four meals as, disappointingly, he only ate one meal at dinner, but it was very fun for him to already have that meal’s macros determined.

Although usually, throughout the week, The Note Cards remained in the black folder, occasionally, A Note Card was transported in Chris’s breast pocket, pocket-square style.  (What’s a “pocket square?” Info here:  No, of course I didn’t google “men’s handkerchief breast pocket thing” and stumble across this page to find the name “pocket square“).  

There's The Note Card!

There’s The Note Card!  Clearly, Chris loves the attention.

Now I know the question you are all now desperately wondering:  “What did he DO with The Note Cards after writing on them?”  The final step in the Chris Fahs Note Card Organizational System was to enter the information from The Note Cards into his master Excel spreadsheet to join all the other calculated macros in happy number world.

WOW.  What. A. System.  Crazy brilliant.

I end this post with a few final pictures of Chris and The Note Cards.

Chris, waiting for a talk to start, recording the last macros consumed.

Chris, waiting for a talk to start, recording the last macros consumed.


Chris, focused, at Panera, Note Card in hand.

Chris, focused, at Panera, Note Card in hand.


Yep, I've got a Note Card in my pocket. - Chris

Yep, I’ve got a Note Card in my pocket…and I’m awesome – Chris