Friday, November 5, 2010

“No more excuses, I hope”

It seems I am always waiting for myself to get my act together, which drives my wife up the wall. When I first started kicking around the idea for Dunk, there wasn’t one person who didn’t absolutely love the idea of what Dunk was about. Granted most of the people who loved the idea, in fact loved me as well, (as they were all family and friends). But honestly, not one person didn’t love the idea of a documentary about a husband and father, getting back in shape, in pursuit of one amazing athletic accomplishment, dunking a basketball.

How many 270 pound portly men do you know that get sponsored by Converse(in the form of free gear) and have Esquire Magazine lined up to do a piece on them, not a heck of a lot. In fact the only portly white dude that was doing better than me in the beginning of 2010 was Kevin Smith. Ok, there are probably a lot more, but I really like Kevin Smith, and he is my only famous follower. Everything had fallen into place and all I had to do was lose 70+ pounds and dunk a basketball.

Obviously I didn’t do it, but I am still hoping I will. My entire life has been easier than most. I am not saying that my life is hard now, but I am saying it is a heck of a lot busier than it ever was with the arrival Henry Lyle, born 10-12, and starting a great new job. Abby and I have 3 kiddos, one four weeks old and the other two closing in on 18 months, which means I have to commit myself more than ever.

When we first started the documentary we had one amazing trainer (Heather at two different camera men, one director, a production schedule, and two fine women lined up as producers. Now we have two camera people (Abby and I) with one Flip recorder and two other camera’s on my Droid X and her Iphone. Essentially, all we have is man power and yet to be seen determination.

I would quit, honestly I would, and I am sure there are people out there who think it would be much easier to quit when you don’t have a gym to go to, you don’t have a trainer and nutritionist guiding you, and you really don’t have any extra time. But I owe this to myself. I can hit the pavement and I know enough to lose the weight. Common sense says I should have probably never ordered anything with extra cheese. So, I am going to work out at night when I am super tired and just want to sleep, I am going to eat right, and I am going to spend every second I can get with my wife and kids. In this year Abby and I will spend more money than we ever have, and a tiny fraction of it will go to either her or me. Evidently that is how this parenting thing works, or at least that is what my mom keeps telling me.

Ps-Welcome to the world Henry, I am so excited to see what you are all about.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Failed or Failure?

I failed Dunk? When we started, in January at 275 pounds, my goal was to be down to 200 pounds by now and I am at 245. I am a couple inches closer to dunking the basketball, but still a foot away. We did not film enough, I did not do a good enough job updating the blog, or releasing video snippets to keep the public interested. As far as I can tell, Esquire has walked away from the piece I had written for them with the help of one of their editors. Now with a new baby due in one month, there is zero chance to lose 45 pounds and dunk a basketball, so I failed. I give myself a big fat F. I could rationalize the shit out of it, but let’s just leave it as an F and move on.

Wait, move on from the production, no way Jose! Again, I am finding myself with an opportunity to prove myself, and this time I understand that I need to prove myself to myself. Before we all hug ourselves and sing campfire songs let me explain. When I started Dunk I viewed the production as a great way to show Abby how committed I was to getting healthy for our family. I wanted a video diary that showed my love to Kohen and Chloe, and how I wanted nothing more than to be a fit, active father. I wanted to show my dad that I could still be athletic, capable of hard work and a wondrous fete. What I have learned though over the last nine months is that none of that truly matters. Don’t get me wrong, I care very much what my wife, children and family think of me. But, in order to truly embrace what Dunk is about, which is changing your life for the better, I need to do it for myself. In the beginning I thought that Dunk was an exceptionally selfish thing to do, especially to a wife who had just birthed twins, but I don’t feel that way anymore. Dunk is for me, it’s to finally let go of my failed athletic past, but more importantly to get healthier and happier and feel better about myself when I look in the mirror. For a very wise trainer once told me, “if you aren’t happy with yourself how can you expect to make anyone else around you happy?” Thank you Heather for that.

After Heather told me that, I put Sky Fitness, (, on hold. I am taking a hiatus from my workouts there in order to be home with the kiddos and help bring Abby to the finish line with the LAST baby we are going to have. I will be making up my own workouts for the next 3 months with aspirations of starting up Sky again in January.

This is the perfect time for me to see what I can do on my own. This is normally the part when I talk about how much I am going to film and write in the upcoming weeks. Let’s get real, from now on I will do what I can do and hopefully it will be a lot and meaningful. Until next time, keep your nose to the grindstone (Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms).

ps-the picture deserves an explanation and I will give one a week from now.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I thought for this week I would let you read the emails that went back and forth between myself and Heather Heather after almost 8 months of working together knows me very well, and what you all need to learn is that there is much more to her and this process than just what we do in the gym 3 days a week. Enjoy-Charles

H, it is safe to say i am at the cross roads of dunk. when we starte i weighed 275 lbs and now i am hovering at 243. and the crappy part is i know exactly why. i haven't changed my diet and i haven't sold out in the gym. i know you are not big on big shiny dudes. But i am heading to San Diego and need some of your patented motivational words in order for us to charge into the final stage of dunk.

why haven't you changed your diet?
why haven't you sold out in the gym?


Wait are you mad at me? Because that seems kind of angry. Now I feel a little nervous about this entire email-post thingy?

not mad at all. "why" is the only question you need to answer first (even though yoda says there is no, it's there is no try - just do). anyway, you need to answer for yourself, not me, why you haven't changed your diet or really committed to the gym. do that.

With out boring you with all of the stories of my unfulfilled potential (at least in my eyes), I don't know if I am capable of selling out, and I am extremely capable of talking myself out of anything. In college I used to wait until the last minute always to finish a paper or study for a test, and after I would hand in said assignment or bomb said test, I always told myself "never again, next time I will be prepared". But I never prepared.

When I got engaged I told myself that I wanted to look good in the wedding photos and our engagement lasted a year. I never did it. I kept telling myself I would start on Monday, this month, etc.

It's the same shit with everything I do. I should be reading every book on screen writing I can get my hands on, or just flat out writing, but I find myself re-reading Pat Conroy or Dan Brown because it is easy and comfortable.

I know what I have to do to succeed. I have to change everything that I am, but I am terrified of trying my hardest and failing, because then what was it about anyways?

what do you determine to be a failure? do you consider not trying a failure? does that seem more safe? where do you think you got the message that it's best just to not try at all to avoid failure?

Don't think anyone ever delivered that message per say, just what if I give everything I have, and nothing happens?

i don't know. what would happen?

I would become the laughing stock of the village (north central phoenix) I already feel that I am getting labeled as the guy with "good ideas who can't back it up". I guess can you create work ethic if you've never had it. Can you get hungry if you're always fed?

so "people" are just waiting for you to fail? "people" were waiting for you to get a bad grade in college so they could laugh at you? "people" were waiting for you to not lose weight for your wedding so they could laugh at you? try again.

OK, I get it, I am not that important that "People" will relish in my perceived failures or incompetence in the class room, but how do you become un-lazy?

you make a change because you want things to be different more than you want them to be the same.

why aren't the things that you say you want very important to you?

They are H, I am just not a hard worker and I need to learn to be. I feel as though I am really starting to sound like a whiny bitch, so let's do this. I am leaving for Mission Beach this Saturday. You come up with a work out regime and I will tape a flip video of me doing the workout and submit to the Dunk site. I am going to draw my line in the sand. We have until November to do this, and I have to do it. Can't spend the rest of my life as nothing but an idea guy, action is action.

you didn't answer my question (which had a typo ):

why aren't the things that you say you want NOT very important to you?

They are very important to me, I am, I don't know a better way to say it, it's just I am not a hard worker, never have been, but would like to be. I feel that I have the motivation in Abby and the kids, I am just having a hard time manning up.

i think that using abby and the kids as motivation is helpful but you're inevitably going to have to do it for yourself. you have to think that you are worth making the changes. you need to look at why you haven't thought that so far. you also don't want to put yourself in a position of doing it all for them, end up not doing it then you feel like a bigger failure because you let them and yourself down. i think that it still comes back to making a commitment to the action part of your plan. you know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. all of the psycho b.s. reasons for inaction can't get you off your butt. at some point, you just have to do it. like it or lump it....just do it (such a catchy slogan). you have to commit, reconfigure and recommit on a regular basis.

i think the answer is that there is no easy answer.

change takes introspection, preparation and action. every day try to make as many good decisions for yourself. take the time to ask yourself why you continue to make decisions the derail you from your goal. quit dwelling on the mistakes and focus on the accomplishments. you are light years away from where you started physically. you have encouraged people to support you and they do. you got converse to give you free schwag and esquire to look at your writing. quit bellyaching about what you haven't done and just do more of what you know you should be doing.

peace out, homeskillet.

Later Skater.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Almost Dead in Flagstaff

I can’t breathe. Abby, the twins and I are in Flagstaff for the 4th, at my parents cabin, and it’s midnight on Saturday the 3rd. I wake up and cannot catch my breath. Abby assures me I am ok and not to wake the twins, so I down a couple Tylenol and go back to bed, taking very short breaths.

I get up at 5am with Abby, Chloe and Kohen and I still can’t take a full deep breath without coughing. We go for our morning walk and I am dripping sweat, which is not normal because it is 55 degrees outside. I have been hitting the gym hard recently, so I know for sure I am in good enough shape to walk. Abby thinks I am faking it, but in all fairness to Abby, I am a hypochondriac who constantly thinks he is about to die or has Motoba (damn that monkey from Outbreak). So now I am questioning myself as to what is going on with me.

By 3pm that day, after two failed attempts at napping, I go with my dad to the local fire station to get checked out by the paramedics. Of course when I say I can’t breathe, they interpret this as “Chest Pain”. While I do my best to assure them that I am not having a heart attack, they already have me packed into the ambulance on the way to the ER. On the way there, they notice that I am not getting enough O2 throughout my body. A normal person has 99% O2 and I am registering 79% to 80% O2. This is not good.

After they wheel me into the trauma center (I am sure some resident doc is hoping they get to crack my chest open and massage my heart back to life manually) I get a message from Heather. I am thinking, perfect…

No blog from Charles last week. I made an executive decision to publicize my pep talk to Charles. I do enjoy executive decisions.

I seem to say the same things all of the time regarding caring for yourself. People do not want to hear these same things (especially my children). There are two things that are a must to take good care of yourself: workout planning and meal planning. When you find yourself off-track and far away from your goals, go back to those two basics. Fitness and good health are not an accident. They are a result of pain-in-the-ass planning.

1. Schedule your workouts. Use Outlook, iCalendar or old school calendar with kittens of the month. Whatever works for you but write down when you plan on working out. I think it’s best to buffer with one more workout than your goal. If you’d be stoked with five, schedule six. Hit it harder at the beginning of the week because clearly, you’re going to run out of time at some point. Blowing off Monday, sets a tone for the whole next week. Just make it happen. I bet you’ll be tired, maybe hungover, feeling fat from eating too much over the weekend but I know that you’ll feel much better that you took a positive step to start out your week. No sense in carrying that crappy feeling into Tuesday.

2. Grasshopper Spannagel seems to resist meal planning the most. Seems nerdy and also another pain in the butt. It is. So what? After working all day, wrangling the kids, starting laundry and praying for bedtime, this is not the time to be parked in front of the fridge, staring down the nothingness or texting your spouse to bring something home for dinner. You can write meals on the kitten calendar on Saturday and shop on Sunday. If you’re feeling a little nutty, you can make some meals on Sunday that freeze so you just have to heat up during the week. Whoa.

Two things to put into motion. Two things that make you accountable to yourself. That’s not so bad. This will help you overcome the everyday “shiny balls” that distract you. As someone who can be a bit ADD and distracted by shiny balls that float my way (Hi Facebook and!), it takes some discipline and planning to dodge those balls (sorry). Do not schedule things during your workout time. Do not entertain other options during your workout time. Go workout. I promise you that there will always be many other things to do during that time. They might be more fun, too. Might not. It might involve working. Might involve cocktails or sleeping, two of my favorite things. Just doing it beats kicking yourself later when you realized you only managed two workouts during the week.

I totally get the setback. I have worked in a gym for twenty years. My weight has fluctuated with my level of dedication. I do not bound out of bed with the 1992 aerobics instructor’s woohoos. In the past couple of months, I have moved my home, taken care of my sons, survived baseball and t-ball seasons, tended to business matters, fired and hired employees, decided to upgrade and move the studio and taken care of my boyfriend after brain surgery. On most days, the last thing I want to do is workout. I would prefer rocking in the fetal position on a few days. Quite frankly, my workouts have sucked because I have chosen to juggle too many shiny balls and not schedule my workouts. Guess who feels crappier for it?

I am off to Safeway to fill my fridge and cabinets with healthy options for this week. One positive step. Tonight I will sit down with my calendar and schedule my workouts. Two positive steps. That’s all I’ll ask of myself today. Two things.

I read this as the doctors rule out any kind of cardiac problem, and I am again reminded that DUNK is not just about me. I made a promise to our readers and my sponsors (see Converse and Doclopedia) that I would post more blogs, more pictures, more videos and I haven’t done it because I keep telling everyone how busy I am.

When I re-read Heather’s pep talk I realize she is absolutely right. It’s as hard as and as simple as planning and execution. My weight loss isn’t where it needs to be because I am not dieting appropriately. DUNK is about changing your life for the better, metaphorically getting above the rim, and literally as well. I wouldn’t have titled this bad boy DUNK if I didn’t think I could do it.

After 10 hours in the emergency department, it turns out I have “A-Typical Pneumonia” which is a relief from “Blood Clots” in my lungs which they were throwing around for awhile. What this means for Heather and I is that I get to focus on 10 days of dieting because I am not allowed to workout.

So, let’s see if I can lose any weight with diet only for the next ten d

Monday, June 14, 2010


Yes it has gotten to that point in the filming that I am just flat out tired. I started at 272 pounds, got down to 239, and am now hovering at 245. Why the weight gain? I could give you any number of excuses, like I got sick (which I did), I am stressed and over eating (which I am, moving into a new house, renting out old place) or we can just continue our honesty streak and call it like it is. I am not a hard worker. Now, before my boss reads this and fires me, let me just say I know how to work hard, I just struggle doing it 17 hours a day, 7 day a week.

The problem with DUNK, isn't the concept, isn't the filming, isn't the crew, it's me. When I think about DUNK, all I think about is how much time I have until we are done. Let me rephrase that, when I think about DUNK all I think about is that I really don't have to work hard until I am in August because then we will be 4 months from finishing, and if I lost 10 pounds a month then I would reach my goal, yada, yada, yada. I am easily distracted and can continually convince myself that the easier road is the better.

What I am learning in this process, this self actualization, is that easier is not better. Every time I look at these little kids (they are getting so big now, my Chloe and Kohen) I realize that easier is not better, and if my children learn this from me it will start them off on a path of their choosing when the time is right (after Abby has safely navigated them through toddler, kid, teenager and young adult stages). I need to be pro-active, but I am just struggling to get there.

I thought that maybe, with your help readers, we could come up with a plan to see me through to the finish line. I don't know if you have any tips or suggestions, but I am open to all of them. I started this week out on the right foot, with a 5:30am work out. At the very least I am going to start checking in with you all weekly and let you know how many times I worked out, and what kind of food I have been eating.

This is no longer just my journey, but an invitation for you all to come along with me to a healthier life. Let's community this thing and see what we can do together. Heather ( is going to add to this blog today and chime in as we move forward. Who else is in?


Turning a Hare into a Tortoise

Oh, the sprint has lost it's luster. In my brief interviews with the camera (which better make the film), I have always said that this is a big picture adventure. This is not a shiny ball/ADD/dunk in my Converse outfit and get fat money for it type of adventure. There is not enough raw enthusiasm to woo-hoo yourself through moving, sleepless babies, illness, job stress and the realization that waking up at 5 a.m. to workout can really suck. Do not underestimate the pull of fluffy pillows and a good thread count. My thoughts for Charles and most of my clients and friends revolve around riding the wave. Life does not have a consistent upward trajectory. It is and will always be up and down. You have to adjust your expectations of yourself accordingly.

Supermom who is excelling at work, potty training her 18 month old, sizzling with her size 4 figure, volunteering for multiple charities, getting the kids to various practices, keeping up her important friendships, sexing up her husband five days a week and providing healthy and delicious hot meals for her smiling family is either getting ready to have a nervous breakdown or on meth. Most likely, she is a figment of our imagination. Life happens and balls get dropped all of the time. Does Charles need to miss a couple of workouts because the house needs to be ready for home inspection #2? Probably. Does he need to have takeout when he and Abby are far too exhausted to hit Safeway, cook dinner and clean up? Yes. There are choices that have to be made every day that don't coincide with our long-term goals.

The point (and you're hoping there is one)? Relax about it. When you are inundated and exhausted it is not the time to flog yourself for being such a lazy slug. It is the time to acknowledge that things are rough but you are going to make two good choices tomorrow that will help you take care of yourself. If you need to skip your workout, make sure you cut your calories a bit. If you need to get takeout, make sure it is a healthier choice. Take pride in the achievements rather than blistering yourself for your failures. Positive change does not come from negative motivation. You can't guilt or shame yourself into taking care of yourself. Feel good about yourself and keep thinking of yourself as a priority in your life. The finish line is an illusion. Sure Charles wants to dunk a basketball. More than that he wants to be a healthy role model. Seeing the value of taking care of himself is the bottom line. It will help you peel yourself out of the high thread count.

Heather Lehman, MS, NASM-CPT, CSCS
Sky Fitness Group and Personal Training
330 East Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85012

Friday, May 14, 2010

Coming Clean

I was not All State in anything in High School. Not second team, not honorable mention, and didn’t win any team awards on the Brophy teams I played for. I barely batted above my weight on the Varsity Baseball team (I weighed 195) and I had about 10 catches for 100+ yards as the Tight End for the football team (although as a side note I did have more catches than Baltimore Ravens Tight End Todd Heap in the state championship game of 1996). And, the biggest reveal is I didn’t even play Varsity Basketball. In fact I didn’t even try out, and for the life of me I can’t remember why. So there it is, all out in the open, I was a mediocre high school athlete.

The reason it is important for me to talk about this is because in my heart, as I type this, I know if I would have worked hard I could have done so much more. I’m not saying I should be in the Big Leagues right now, but I had all the tools to play the three main varsity sports (sorry soccer, volleyball, and track and field people). And, the reason that this is important is because my life has been lived in hindsight ever since I was 18 years old. Imagine being in conflict with yourself over the person you were and the person you were becoming in your late teens. So you take a 19 year old kid, who is not happy with his life and what he is doing with it and you end up with a person who constantly makes jokes and drinks too much to delude himself from the person he has become. The final product of this is a 26 year old pushing 300 pounds with blood pressure problems who absolutely hates himself for letting life pass him by.

My dad told me once, after college, on a golf course, that when I was 13 years old, high school coaches used to come watch me play baseball games. I was a catcher with the arm of an 18 year old, who could run like a leadoff hitter and hit with power to all sides of the field. 13 years old is when you finally play on the same dimensions that the big leaguers play on, and where you can separate yourself from the rest of the pack, and I did. When my family moved to Arizona, my 8th grade coach, who played college ball, told me I could play college ball right then and there, no questions asked. So what happened?

Brophy for all intensive purposes is a legitimate power in all sports. It’s not a Mater Dei football program but it is well on its way, and my freshman year I was one of two kids from our entire class of 330 kids who made all three sports teams (again football, basketball and baseball) the other three-sporter was none other than Matt Miller, a phenomenal athlete who ended up playing college baseball at Santa Clara and also a great friend.

I can’t remember when I stopped working hard, somewhere between sophomore and junior year I think, I started focusing on drinking and being more of a “partier” than an athlete. The moment things didn’t come easy for me on the field or court, the moment when I should have dug deep to see what I was made of, I turned and ran and thus took the low road. And, ever since, I have regretted it.

DUNK? isn’t just about getting into shape, and it’s certainly not about dunking a basketball. DUNK? is about knowing what I am made of, what I am truly made of. There are times when I look into my father’s eyes and I can see his mind playing the “What if” game. What if Charlie would have worked harder? My dad played football at NAU as an undersized linebacker. He was an over achiever. If my dad would have had half of the athletic ability I did he probably could have played at an Arizona State or University of Washington. My parents never pressured me to play anything, and my demise during high school actually forced them to reconsider their parenting skills. During college I brought them to their knees. And, as much as I would like to apologize to them for the stress and grief I caused them, I know they wouldn’t accept it. I was a kid, and I was a kid who was just having a hard time growing up. I am still a kid in many ways, but at least now I am trying to reach my potential.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Carpe Diem

I started dreaming big about Dunk. For the last two months I have been speaking with a very prominent magazine based out of New York and a very big Athletic Apparel company also on the East Coast about Dunk. I spoke with CMO’s, COO’s, Editors, and such, but I am not sure what will come out of it. Essentially I have been resting on my laurels because I thought I would be able to drop a bomb on you about how Dunk was blowing up, and we were going national with our little weight loss adventure. Honestly I don’t know what will happen, and while I am still hopeful that we can get some national press as well as a clothing-shoe endorsement, I have now realized that Dunk isn’t about waiting for something to happen, it’s about making something happen.

The reason I started the blog was so that I can share with you all, the journey that Abby and I are on. So far there have been some great ups, like Kohen and Chloe crawling, babbling, spitting out first words (not to mention we now have number 3 on the way, naming rights to be discussed). And, there have been some downs, like two sprained ankles, falling off the pizza and wing wagon, sleep deprivation, a rowdy boxer girl named Bella who is under the impression that my sole job in this world is to please her (there are only so many tennis balls I can hit).

Today, I am at my lowest weight since we started, 245 lbs. We started at 272 lbs, so that is definitely progress, but remember I have to get to 195 lbs and maybe even lower, and the only way I can get there is by making smart choices and eating healthier. I know now I can’t wait for something big to happen, like a magazine article or free shoes, to propel me into a weight loss frenzy. I have to do it myself, I have to work hard, and I need to do it now. So I am going to change the format a bit for these blogs. Starting on Monday I will be keeping a food journal for the blog and each Friday I will report what I have eaten for that week, as well as work outs and other trials and tribulations.

The picture above was taken this morning after Abby and I took the babies for a 2 mile walk. These are my money makers, or as Dave Renke and Joe Harper like to call them, my Kielbasa Sausages, my little smokies, my meat-cicyles. Truth be told these are Heather’s creation We have come so far with so much further to go, but these legs are strong and up to the challenge.

Friday, March 26, 2010

You're not pregnant are you?

Where the hell have I been? Well, I am sure you can tell by the picture above that we have a little bit of news to share. Yes, Abby is pregnant, and NO it was not planned. What you can also tell is that there is only one little baby in there, which is by far the most important aspect in all of this. Yes, I will be getting a vasectomy this year, and NO I will not enjoy it, but Yes it is time to shut down this baby producing team.

Let's be honest, it's all Heather's fault If she didn't take this Pillsbury Dough Boy and shave 25 pounds of me, turning me into a one double chinned sex machine we wouldn't be in this predicament. But, you add sleeping babies together with a little weight loss, topped with some Oregon Pinot Noir, and forget about it. It was baby making time. And, evidently we are good at making babies, because every time we have sex some more appear. So what does this all mean to DUNK? It means I better get my act together and drop this last 50 pounds before our condo is turned into a day care center.

Are we on target? Well, sort of, I guess. How is that for a convincing answer. I think I am definitely at the first hurdle, speed bump, caution sign, what have you. I am not losing as much weight as I need to and I suspect it is because I am eating too much bad food. Such is my plight as a cry baby who refuses to give anything up. Before we go further with the Charlie bashing, please know that I have kept up with my workouts and even added a weekly hoops game with my boys, which has been both extremely fun and sad. It's fun because all of my guy friends are together, running around, throwing behind the back passes to each other and having a great time. But, sad because this week I jumped as high as I could and only got to 9'6" which means I am at least 12-15 inches away from where I need to be to dunk a ball.

So you mix in my lack of strict dieting, with the news that Abby is pregnant and we need to buy a new house and move out of our little condo, you end up with a dude who doesn't write, which is not where you want to be when you are filming a documentary about changing your life and dunking a fricking basketball. I guess the real question is should I just quit and focus on the baby coming, and my selfish answer is NO. I can't quit. If I quit now it will be like every other thing I have done my entire life, which is quit when things get hard. I don't know if I will ever be a good dieter, but I certainly think I can hold my shit together for 7 months in order to finish this beast. So, let's see.

PS-next week I will hopefully have some news about some national press and maybe even a sponsor, and no the sponsor wouldn't be SPAM.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Diet Schmiet"

“The only time to eat diet food is when you are waiting for the steak to cook”. Julia Child. As told to me by my wife Abigail, although I do feel this is spot on.

I am at my most optimistic the day before I start a diet. I am high on life, indulging myself in whatever peaks my palette, living large and usually consuming profuse amounts of cheese all in the interest of hoping to satiate my desire to have such luxuries in the coming days of self deprivation. Inevitably I will tell everyone around me when I am starting my diet, what diet plan I will be following (South Beach, Atkins, etc) and how much weight they can expect to see falling off my body and inescapably, by the third day I am no longer dieting. In fact by the 3rd day I am so mad at the fact that I have to diet that I curse myself for ever discovering super nachos and Pale Ales. This is a vicious pattern I have repeated more times than I wish to admit. What is it about dieting that is so illusive to me? (I bet Dawson never had to deal with lack of motivation, then again Pacey was always trying to get his girl, and by the by, would have thought she would end up with Maverick anyways) Yet, I digress.

My consistent plan for eating seems to be eat lots of cheese, pizza and Mexican food, without giving consideration to portion. Is that bad? I’m kidding I know it’s bad, but it tastes so good. But here I am, well into the 2nd month and hovering right around the 15 pound weight loss, and I need to lose another 50-60 pounds, so I guess it’s time to climb the diet bandwagon again. The pressure of the documentary makes me certain that I will be able to follow through, but the doubts creep in and seem to find plenty of place to live. However it’s pretty linear right now and I just need to follow the line: I need to eat less in order to lose the weight, I know I have to lose the weight in order to jump higher, and I know I have to jump higher in order to dunk the basketball.

I am going to see Dr. Ida P. Crocker-Sabbagh next week which will begin the medically supervised portion of the documentary (hopefully she won’t want me to do anything crazy like cut cheese or sandwiches out of my life). March is my do or die month, I need to lose at least 20 pounds between now and the end of the month in order to stay on task. Heather has really upped the workouts, just flat out hammering my legs (why is it my double chin won’t go away? Probably the afore mentioned cheese dilemma). I am feeling better, just not looking it yet, and let’s be honest it’s all about looks now a days. I hope to, in several months, look back at the picture above (which will become the poster for Dunk) and not cringe. The goal of Dunk is to end up a better person than I was before I started in all facets of life (not just really-really good looking with flowing curly hair).

There is big news on the horizon, can’t wait to share it with you all but will have to wait until things are finalized. I would love to hear from anyone who has anything to say at all about DUNK? so please email me at

If you live in Phoenix and need a place to workout, go to Sky Fitness, honestly wouldn't have lasted these 7 weeks without the H-Track and her workouts. I am actually starting to feel like an athlete again.

If you need serious savory seasoning for any meal go to, it’s the fricking shiznit.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

“The good, the bad and the ehh”

The good – one month in, down 15 pounds, which has me feeling great. My body is starting to resemble a little something closer to an athlete (or if not athlete, an agile fat man), and the best news of all is I’m getting totally psyched when I see my reflection in the mirror (Abby manages to catch me staring at that more than I care to admit but it’s a life style-Nick Quan) but I’m seriously stoked, no more man boobs, a shrinking gut and I can keep an eye on my little guy now, which hasn’t always been the case.

The bad – I missed a blog week. I was chalking it up to laziness (as lazy as I can be with a full time job, a wife to catch up with and twins at home), but I fear it’s something more serious. I thought the one part that would be easy about this project was the writing. It’s what I love, what I’ve studied and what I think I’m best at – but truthfully, it’s been the hardest. Sitting down to chronicle each week has left me with a bit of loss for words. I feel pressure to make it engaging, funny and most of all do a good job of describing the experience. But what I find when I sit down to write is that I’m not as funny as I think I am (well that’s probably not true – I’m pretty funny, some say top 5), and my writing and vocabulary has gone in the pooper, which is not what an aspiring writer wants to realize. So I sought out a mentor from my past, my high school English teacher Papa Jack LaBonte. He brought me back to the awareness that to be good at something you have to practice it, and just like I neglected my body, I neglected my writing. This past week, after much thought, I have come back to one of the main reasons I am doing this project – I am story teller. And so tell the story I will. (On a side note, I will begin working with Papa Jack on “Lone Country Road” my debut novel, getting ready to cry your little hearts out you Dawson Creekers)

The ehh – one month in, but the project is just getting started and I have 8 more months left, but it’s already feeling daunting. Everyone has treated me and this project with open arms and well wishes, but now I have to see what I am made of (which up to this point hasn’t been hard work and dedication). I am 31 years old, with two 8 month olds, and something tells me that if I don’t accomplish this now, I will never do it. If you see me, rocking a Philly Cheese steak, a disapproving look is warranted. However, if you see me grabbing a salad and an iced tea go ahead and smack that ass.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Down But Not Out

It was the fall of 1991, I had just arrived at Madison Meadows from the harsh streets of Pleasanton, CA (whether or not I arrived in a Nike Flight Suit is still up for debate). Shortly into the fall school year, I had joined the basketball team, and was actually playing well and making some good friends (or terrible ones, depends on who you ask, yeah you Renke). During the beginning part of the season, on a breakaway layup attempt by our opponent, I came from behind and pinned the ball to the backboard, a clean block, but on the way down I landed on the player’s foot and snapped my ankle. My foot ballooned to the size of a grapefruit and I was shut down for 6 weeks. However, during this time I got my first Arizona girlfriend, (thank you Cameron Mercer), became best friends with Mike Martori, and settled nicely into the North Central life style.

This incident is what flashed in my mind this Sunday morning as I was icing what appeared to be fractured ankle (thankfully it wasn’t fractured, just badly sprained). Unfortunately, there wasn’t quite as much glory with the injury that I happened to come by this weekend. Innocently enough, I was playing a game of football with a couple of ferocious 10 year olds. The play I had devised was fantastic (fake hand off, end around, qb fly pattern) but 10 steps into my route, I hit a gopher hole – I dropped the pass, limped back to the huddle and settled in for all time QB with a rapidly swelling ankle. Immediately my thoughts turned to the production of DUNK. Had I injured my foot too badly to continue? Would I be sidelined for too long? How would this impact my workouts? Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long for the answer, on Monday the X-Ray came back negative and three days after the incident the icing and elevation has worked well.

Three days off from working out has me itching to get back, but right now my mind goes to all the horrible exercise routines Heather ( can devise for me with a bum leg. I have a feeling my arms and core and going to hurt a lot. This injury won’t keep me down, if anything it is a refocus, just around the time when everything is starting to feel mundane. There is a difference in wanting to exercise and not having the ability to, and having the ability and not having the desire. Fortunately I still have the desire and the ability will come back soon enough.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weekly Grind

I have received hundreds of requests (maybe not quite hundreds but at least 10) to detail what these hellacious work outs are like. So here is my work out from this past Monday (

Warm up consisted of prison squats with a weighted bar, side lunges and pushups (3 minutes). At the end of the warm up I am ready to cool down, but the fun is just beginning.

  1. 45 degree Incline walk (I kid you not my calves are en fuego by 45 seconds and we do this for 2 full minutes with no rest, and as I am often reminded – no holding on to the bar)
  2. Lunges with 15lbs curls (I had grabbed the 10lbs but was shamed into something a little more heavy, just like me) 2-50 sec sets with a 20 second break.
  3. Band work (take a enormous industrial strength rubber band, step on it, cross it over and pull up to your chest, then do 5 side steps in each direction for the first 50 second set, and rock back and forth for the second 50 second rep. It felt like someone was stabbing me with a dagger on my hips)
  4. Running, two minutes no breaks, I hate tread mills. My mood is often lifted when we only have one treadmill going, but today we get two, hooray.
  5. Squats with weights, then lunges with weights, 2-50 second sets with a 20 second break
  6. Jump rope, 2 minutes no breaks (I am awful at this; jumping rope surely can’t help me dunk, right?)
  7. Side crunches, 5x each side then switch for 50 seconds.
  8. Weighted Ball above the head bouncing off the wall for 50 seconds.

You repeat this three times (50 minutes total) and then you are finished for the day. I have already written about my first experience with these workouts, where I hurled half way through, and even though I am in week 3, they definitely don’t seem to be getting any easier. I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when I make it through, but I know at some point I am going to have to up my game, and then re-up and then re-up.

Until this week, I hadn’t changed my diet, per doctors’ orders mind you, but now I feel that I have to. There is only so far pizza, wings, and nachos can get you, so now I am onto fish, chicken, veggies and the like. If I can overcome being a baby and a whiner about food and my consumption limits, I should be alright. Last night Abby made Monk Fish, with fresh asparagus and whole wheat pasta (of course we added a little Slavo Salt for taste and it was so good. I feel great this morning and will be hitting the tennis courts tonight before back to Heather (trainer extraordinaire) tomorrow morning.

I think there are 3 people right now that believe I will be able to dunk a basketball at the end of this journey, Heather (my trainer), Abby (my wife), and me. Everyone else I have spoken with either tells me flat out that it’s impossible or I can see it in their eyes (this mofo is crazy). But if I am ever to look Kohen and Chloe in the eyes and preach the value of hard work, I’ll need proof to back me up. What better proof than a movie that will take top honor in the documentary category at Sundance next year.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

at a snails pace

I am tired. Yesterday I woke up at 4:15AM with Kohen (mind you, ‘waking up’ to me is telling Abby that Kohen is up and he is interrupting my sleep), out of bed at 4:50, made bottles for K and C, gave them to Abby, got dressed and headed over to Sky Fitness ( and was greeted by what appears to be a lovely person, my trainer Heather. But don’t be fooled, there is nothing lovely about a woman who asks you if you are wearing a crop top because your XL workout shirt is coming up and your gut is sticking out. Yet, I digress. Heather is exactly who I need to get me back in shape. None of my jokes work, and there is only so much cool you can pull off when you are about to pass out. She’ll see this to the end, or see me to my next life, which is a weird level of comfort and disturbance for me.

If I were to be brutally honest with myself, which is the purpose of DUNK, I am selfish and self centered (I’m writing a blog, about myself, I mean come on). I have always believed in myself but never followed that belief up with the virtues of hard work. It’s seems odd that I would find myself deciding now to go through this, because after all – what I am saying to my family is: “Hey Abby, I know we have two 7 month olds, but can I work out 6 days a week, so that I might be able to recapture some athletic ability and dunk a basketball. Good luck with those poopy diapers, I’ll be at the gym.” But the thing is – I couldn’t have started this and kept what has been constant motivation without my twins. Come on, I know I am a jerk, but I have to be, right? My parents and family have been sold the Kool Aid so much by me that they just nod now, and I can’t blame them. Right now I have to be a jerk to follow through on this one.

So far, the biggest accomplishments of my life are: one, married an unreal woman, who saw something in me that I still can’t figure out what it is, and two, we have two amazing little babies who I love so much, that I often find myself comparing them to Einstein when they pick up their binkies off the blanket and put them back in their mouths. That’s it, right there, not even a number 3. All of my other accomplishments fall somewhere between “Who gives a shit?” and “A Monkey could do that”.

So what am I saying in all of this? Drink the Kool Aid people, Senior Fats is down 10 pounds and picking up momentum.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Houston, we've got a problem...

The problem is, I’m fat and not with PH. What’s worse is that even though I knew I was overweight – I thought I was in decent enough shape. The consistent message I have received in the past from opponents in my tennis matches was ‘you’re fast..... for a fat guy’ (yes some actually said that and others politely implied it). So, when I weighed in at 264 pounds, I wasn’t surprised. Having topped out at 290, this was an improvement. As scary as it is to post your weight on line for the entire world to see (my group of 30 family and friends who read this), it is even scarier to know I must travel the road ahead to lose 65-75 pounds, so that I can get above the rim. However, now is not the time for pride nor excuses, and there is no time like the present to mark my line in the sand. This leads me to my first workout. I not only marked a line in the sand, I threw up on it.

Last night I was introduced to Heather’s world, and it was fricking brutal. I was pushed to my breaking point and I have to go back there this Wednesday and Friday to humble myself all over again. In between her workouts (high intensity ass kickers through ten different stations) I have to jog (my running partner is one hot bitch, see above) play tennis (all you skinny dudes now have my weight to put on the losses I’ve dealt you) play hoops, do anything, just be active. To be honest, I was a little surprised by throwing up, humbled and defeated by the time I got to minute 12 of the workout, but somehow stumbled through the rest of the 50 minute affair. Abby took one look at me when I got home and giggled. She knows I have signed up for something that is wonderful for our kids but she is also elated to see me get my ass kicked and to that she owes Heather.

The truth is, if I wasn’t making DUNK? there is no way I would have finished that first workout. I know what I have always known, that I let myself go, and I have never had the work ethic to push myself to get back into shape. But by coming clean, I know every person that I see who asks me how DUNK? is going, will expect me to see it through, and that is exactly what I need. So, if you see me with a cheeseburger, please throw some stink eye my direction.

During the workout Heather asked me some questions about my feelings towards myself and my current frame of mind, to which I replied “I used to be a great athlete....I could do this and that.......I can’t believe this happened.” Heather replied, “It did happen. Get over it and get positive.”

So, Fuck yeah Heather! Let’s see what this fat boy can do.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Away we go

I am fat. I have had a hard time admitting that for over a decade, but let’s face it the camera and mirrors don’t lie, and neither does my mother. I am one chunky monkey. My chins go 2-3 deep depending on what I am eating that week, I weez when I try to jog and by jog I mean walk at a fast pace. I am one big dude. And, that’s not ok, at least not anymore.

6 and ½ months ago I received 2 wake up calls by the names of Kohen and Chloe, my beautiful little babies (and lucky me...the wake up calls are finally sleeping through the night). Now, as 2010 has begun I have decided to get back into shape, drop 60-80 pounds, and do something I have always dreamed of doing: DUNK a basketball. My friend Elliott suggested it be DUNK? with a question mark because who knows if I will be able to do it, and appropriately enough the first question everyone asks is, ‘could you ever dunk a basketball?’ The answer depends on who you ask, but you'll have to wait for the flick to find out.

So welcome to DUNK? A Documentary that myself and David Quiroz Jr. will be shooting over the next 9-12 months. I am weighing in this morning with Dr. Sandy Garred a weight loss specialist at Arizona Center for Neurosurgery (, and meeting my new fabulous trainer Heather Sayers Lehman of Sky Fitness ( who is taxed with the duty of getting my very neglected body back into shape. My main man Michael “Slavo” Stephens ( will take me grocery shopping and show me great ways to prepare and cook healthy food.

I will be updating the blog once a week with photos and stories about the previous week. This will be the hardest thing I have done to date in my life, but I have an amazing wife, family, friends and two little inspirations that need a healthy old man to teach them how to surf. Please email with any comments, but don’t be surprised if what you say makes it in the documentary.

See you a little lighter than before.