Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Loaf

The good news is that I have lost some weight. While I admit it should be a ton more, I am definitely alright with any weight loss at this point. I am down to 243, which puts me 5 pounds from my all-time low (weighted against my all-time high of course). I just can’t beat myself up anymore for being on this journey and making miniscule strides with multiple setbacks (damn you football season and chicken wings!). So, even if it took me 2 years to realize this, I am right where I need to be. There is no need to make grandiose promises to my audience, fans, and sponsors (Converse). I just have to keep working at it and if I am made to make it happen, so it will be.

This past weekend we celebrated Henry’s first year on this planet and we marked the occasion with the cake he smeared all over his gorgeous little face (see above). This year has been the hardest, most frustrating, yet most rewarding year of my life. I grew as a father, husband, and most importantly a person. When I look at my wife now, more in love than ever before, I have to remind myself that we were once foot loose and fancy free. While I miss eating dinner at nice restaurants and playing tennis at the Village 3 nights a week, I am totally ok with being at home, curling up on the couch for 45 minutes before we go to bed, and watching the previous night’s Daily Show. Seriously, we seldom make it to 9pm anymore and that is totally fine with the both of us.

Last night or I should say yesterday at work, I finally did something I should have done 15 years ago, which was Google the tab to “Web in Front” by Archers of Loaf. Anyone who knows me well, knows that this was a song (introduced to me by Joe Harper) that I played over and over again in high school and college (along with Blink, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Hayden, etc) but I never learned how to play it on guitar (and Joe would say my drumming of it was very suspect). I played it yesterday. After baths we got everyone into the play room and I played it and sung my heart out to my kiddos. Chloe was somewhat interested but went back to her Princess book, Kohen wanted to hit the guitar with a plastic golf club which I interpreted as us jamming, and Henry just rocked out with his new head bob (to be fair though he does this when he hears any form of music).

Right now our kids are young and don’t know any better, but I imagine we seem pretty interesting and fun to them. I know this won’t last long but “All I ever wanted was to be your spine”.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weight and Weight

There is the weight I am trying to lose, the weight that I have to lose in order to propel myself far enough off the ground in order to dunk a basketball at 10 feet. And, right now further seems forever away, but I am starting again in earnest. I am starting for the last time, and this time if I don’t do it then I don’t do it and that is it.

However, there is another weight associated with not “doing it”. And, let’s be honest for one second, the odds of me losing another 50-60 pounds, training hard enough to jump high enough to dunk aren’t that great, especially considering my past efforts. The weight of me not trying though is something that will drag me down the rest of my life. I have said all of this before, but this time it has to be different, I have to be different and most importantly I have to be diligent. I firmly believe people will come on this ride with me but I have to be willing to take them and the only way I do that is by dieting and working out.

I am 252 pounds today. Abby and I filmed this morning and took photos of me (so not pretty) but every day I am going to be accountable, and every day I am going to show up. Tonight Bernie and I will start over again and I am going to do everything he tells me to.

Kohen, Chloe and Henry, I have been lazy but I am getting to work.

Friday, August 26, 2011

“Guest Speakers, Work Out Sample, Chicken Pox, and Puking”

What have I been up to, besides about 247 (yes weight is up a bit, again my Achilles Heel is dieting, but I am working my way back down). Since I last blogged, the kids came down with the Chicken Pox, not one kid but all three, and I spent all Sunday and Monday throwing up from a stomach bug.

The same problems exist that always have with this production, not enough filming, not enough dieting, but still working out pretty darn hard. I feel that I am stronger than ever and Bernie and I are working on filming all of the exercises to show the 30+ people out there who read this blog religiously. To give you an idea of what I did last night, it was Shifter Core, which are my toes on a yoga ball, my arms on the shifter pad, getting both pedals to go forward, then stopping and reversing them. My core is weak, so 5 seconds into this I am pouring sweat and trembling throughout my entire body. We did slide work, where I wear booties and slide from one side to the other while turning 180 degrees during the slide. I had to do 8 sets of 3 in order to score 1 point in Bernie’s scoring system. The system goes to 100 and there are 20 exercises where you can score a maximum of 5 points in each exercise. Right now I am at 19. Yes, I have quite a way to go. I am banging out 5-6 exercises which ends up taking an hour, 3 times a week, 2-3 times climbing per week, and 1 night doing nothing. Honest point, this is what I should be doing but it is more like 2 shifting, 1 climbing right now, 4 doing nothing. I have no doubt if I followed exactly what Bernie asked of me, if I ate reasonably, I would be where I need to be. I will get there, but the road is just tougher than I expected it to be. I thought by putting this out to the public it would motivate me more, but what I have realized is that I have to take this upon myself, and only when I do that do we have a real story to tell. This is a very common story of someone who diets 2 weeks, works out hard for 3 weeks, and then gives themselves a month off only to start all over. This common story is my story, and a lot of others, but again if I can just focus for 9 straight months, I will get above the rim.

I would like to introduce you to my new friends, Frank D from the Bay Area and Sean D from Oklahoma, who found the blog through his brother Todd. Both wrote me last week and allowed me to share with you their thoughts.

FRANK D: I'm still around too. I've been sick for a while with some kind of
flu. I have been busy looking for some work too. It is getting tough,
but I have to stay on track because reinventing myself will help with
some of my goals.

I started at 320 and now I am 280. I got the eating better thing down,
except when I am stressed out I go for the good stuff like a fast food
burger. I started using juicing to get in the habit of consuming more
fruit and vegetables. I have trouble swallowing so a good fresh juice
or smoothie helps me pack in the nutrition. I've been consuming about
2000 calories a day. I pretty much eat what I want except fried food
and fast food. I am eating more food but less calories. I had the most
success when I picked out specific foods to eat for breakfast, lunch
and dinner. I did that for two weeks. From my diet I have cut out milk
and sugary drinks. Removing those two things have helped reduce my

I haven't been in the gym for more than two weeks. My goal is to get
down to between 185 and 200 pounds. I don't have a timeline, but I
need to get there quick!

- Frank

SEAN D: Ok Chuck, how's it going since your July 5th blog? we go! I'm going to meet you at the rim brother...

We haven't met but we almost know one another. I enjoy your writing, am inspired by your journey and believe now is the time for you to get off of high center. I'm Todd's brother by the way. (used your golf clubs last time I was in town, "Thanks")

I too want to find the rim one last time. I found myself 50lbs over weight, having intermittent chest pain (our father died at 45 of a heart attack) and short of breath climbing stairs. On 7/28/2011 while getting ready for a sales call in my hotel room I looked up and saw the guy I never wanted to be. At 40 with whatever that does to your metabolism simply "cutting back" hasn't done a thing.

It's go time! I've gotten two products from Todd, SLIM and CARB RIGHT.(taking with every meal) Hard core cut sugar and white flour from my diet. Eating lots of eggs, tuna, grilled chicken and the like. Satisfying my enormous craving for bread with "Flatout" wheat wraps. Throw a little cheese and meat on one and toast it and it's really good. Wrap it around and meat and veggies and it totally satisfying.

I'm attaching this photo as accountability. It's in the bathroom mirror from the above mentioned hotel room...

I will be in Scottsdale the first week of November and would like to get together then.

I have dropped 18 pounds in 24 days and hope to continue this unrealistic pace for just a bit longer. Starting the elliptical machine this week hopefully with weights to follow soon.

Meet you at the rim!

The reason I bring these two into this blog at this time is that every time I feel like completely quitting, someone or something always brings me back in. I have not lived up to my end of the bargain and even though I am no longer close to 300 pounds I feel like I am still 300 pounds worth of effort away from completing this monstrous task. Can I do it?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Line in the Sand

I am still hovering at 240 pounds, which, when you were closing in on 300 is a great accomplishment. If you need to be down to 190 by December 18th then the numbers are not so bueno. Here I am almost 2 years into this journey and at the same point I have been twice before. The problem is I can’t diet effectively. I cannot tell myself no. I am fully capable of working out harder, more often and more effectively, but I can’t diet and this project will ultimately fail because of it.

No, I am not throwing in the towel, I am just being honest. I have found that I like to blog more when I am accomplishing my goals, and if you go back and look at all of my blog posts there is a very circuitous route. Start project, workout, drop some weight, write about it, write about it, hit stalling point, and disappear for awhile. My goal this time is to not disappear.

Bernie is pretty stoked right now with my physical effort. I am currently rock climbing 5.9 runs, which is the equivalent of skiing a black diamond (albeit very cautiously). I am fully progressed on the shifter and subsequently have not come close to spraining my ankles even though I have been in multiple moments where I normally would have. Where I am at now is the mental struggle against myself and the eating habits I have built up from my college days.

There is a very real chance that nothing ever comes of Dunk. My original goal was to figure out a way to break into Hollywood and use Dunk as my connector to production companies who then would allow me to pitch my screenplays. I don’t really care about acting but I viewed Dunk as a good way to tell of a heartfelt journey about a husband and father who wants to live an active productive life with his family. If my comedic talents come across so be it, if Dunk gets me into Sundance and eventually to the podium at the Oscars then great. But right now I need to diet and this is my last chance to do so.

I am not worried about numbers anymore, I just want to see myself diet for one solid month. Again, if anyone out there has some great diet tips please send them my way at

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hovering and Learning No

I’m still at 240 and I know exactly why. My dieting skills stink. Let me rephrase that, my dieting skills are non-existent. Even though I have put together the most solid month yet of working out, I am more or less stuck, and I only have my inability to tell myself no to blame. So, I am going to try to change. That is what this entire documentary thing is about, right? I am still 35 pounds down but I need to at least lose another 40 and the only way I can do that is by dieting, while continuing the workout regimen. Beginning Monday this is what most days will taste like.

Breakfast: Smoothie consisting of fresh kale, spinach, banana, orange juice, mixed frozen berries and ice

Morning Snack: raw almonds and cheese stick

Lunch: tuna and granola bar

Afternoon Snack: yogurt and apple

Dinner: something grilled and appropriately sized (sorry T-Bones and New Yorks) veggies and salad

I will blog next week about how the meals worked Monday-Friday, and why am I starting on Monday and not today. That is what I do, procrastinate.

The video below is me throwing a 50 yard pass because my boy Jeff Maynick said I couldn’t. While dunking a basketball is not remotely the same as throwing a 50 yard pass, it’s still super difficult. Not a lot of people think I will dunk, but I do.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Guest Speaker Time

Below is Frank Davis’ story, just like mine, just like millions of others who were once athletes and then life or their bellies got in their way. Frank is the first person to reach out to me and over the last month or so we have sent many emails and texts back and forth about where we are on this journey towards a healthier lifestyle and what we are doing to stay motivated. After Frank’s story I have a request. And, just like the pictures in Esquire of me in my high school uni’s, check out Frank’s pictures above, slim, fit, ready to ball.

It was matter of timing and opportunity that my new Esquire subscription came in the mail when it did. I usually throw away these subscription offers. What a waste of money, right? But a couple of months ago the offer did not reach the trash bin only because the cheap two-year subscription met my price point.

Extreme Health was the theme of the first issue I received. The first
article I read: The Regimen by Charles Spannagel. Seeing some guy’s
old high school pictures intrigued me. I hoped the story would be
about some fat guy like me. A guy who wanted to, in some small way,
resemble the man he had the potential to be.

I googled Charles in hopes of finding some back-story. What I found
was a blog and a twitter page. I realized this guy wanted to produce a
documentary called “Dunk?” and I instantly felt it was a great idea. A
30 something year old, overweight, former athlete who wanted to dunk?
The question was: Could he do it? But more intriguing to me was
another question: Is this about dunking a basketball or is it about
something more? I was unexpectedly inspired to do something.

Charles’ article and blog inspired me to contact him. I wanted to give
him the encouragement to continue the great idea of Dunk? and to let
him know he as the power to inspire guys like us to get back to our
physical and mental potential and better our lives. His positive
response to my email was encouraging. His story and the potential of
his project inspired me, so why can’t he help to encourage millions

My wife is encouraging. We both agreed to chase our dreams. I watched
her overcome challenges and accomplish her goals. She has grown
tremendously, but that hasn’t been the same story for me. I didn’t
keep up my end of our bargain. At some point within the past seven
years I forgot about continuing my aspirations. I got married, but
then I was hit with a bunch of serious health problems and was fearful
of what I would put my wife through. I can make excuses using personal
challenges, numerous surgeries and illnesses, or I could blame the
shame of not keeping it together under those pressures. Excuses are
most useful for me when I don’t step up to challenges when I
definitely should and I surely can.

This past week I joined a gym. I’m back at it and going hard. Everyday
is training day for me now. I’ve lost ten pounds. Hitting the breaks
on my old lifestyle of fast food burgers, a plethora of deliciously
fried quesadillas, tacos, burritos, frozen pizzas and not taking care
of my health is, even after just a few days, a distant memory. It
wasn’t instant of course. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for
years to regain something I’ve lost. I never seemed to quite get it
going. That was until I read about another 290 plus pound dude with
the same goals who was getting it done.

What inspired me most was Charles’ depiction of the physical weakness
he felt while holding his child. I’m not as brave as Charles. I’m too
afraid to become a father. I don’t want to have those feeling Charles
shared. I’m terrified of dying of a heart attack before a son or
daughter makes it to kindergarten. I am definitely terrified of
feeling weakness around my child because honestly, it would be more
terrifying to me than anything. I would never be able to share that
feeling as Charles did, certainly not in an internationally
distributed magazine. Charles and his idea are an inspiration. Who’s
he gonna inspire next?

By Frank L Davis
Follow at: &

So far this project has brought me closer to my wife, closer to my children, and now I have a friend in San Fran who is on the same journey. My request is that you send this blog out to everyone. I want as much pressure as I can get on myself from here on out. I need it. Please forward on to your family, friends, colleagues, enemies, who ever. Let’s get as many people involved in this production as possible.

Down to 240, 50 pounds to go before 12-18-2011.

Friday, April 29, 2011

244 and a Guest Speaker

I am down to 244, not a lot of weight lost, but enough to keep my spirits high and me moving forward. I peaked last year at 238, so the fact that I am only six pounds away gets me pretty pumped up. I have not been able to train with Bernie or the Shifter team for almost two weeks though, which I don’t like, but I am trying to focus on eating better. I am not eating great yet, but definitely going in the right direction. Working out at home, climbing the local mountains, lifting Kohen, it all helps.

I will be out of town next week for work which will also be a good test of dedication to the diet and working out. Currently when I am not able to rock climb or train with the shifter team, I am supposed to hike, run, play tennis or basketball (anything to test the stability of my weak ankle) and do pushups. However, not normal pushups you think of. These are pushups with my toes on top of a yoga ball, which is crazy hard. When I first started two weeks ago, I could do three sets of ten normal military style pushups. Then I moved to the yoga ball and I could do three sets of three. That was it, and by the end of the third set I was shaking and dripping sweat. Now, I can do three sets of ten before I absolutely feel like my arms will fall off.

I need to be climbing five nights a week and I am currently speaking with a couple different climbing gyms throughout the valley to be part of the production in exchange for a discounted rate. When you have no money to put into your project, you have to bring people into the fold. And this is exactly what I have done or what I am attempting to do. Everyone on the project right now (Bernie Darcy and the Shifter Team, Mike Notrica-Camera Guy, Jeff Maynick-Web, IT, and Video Editor) are all working for free. If we make it into the film festivals and some production company wants to purchase the true, yet funny, heart-warming story of how a father of three re-dedicated his life to fitness and health while slamming home a basketball happens, then everyone will get some dough. Until then we are all on this ride together.

Speaking of the ride and or journey, the next blog will be from a former athlete, who found the article in Esquire (here just in case you missed it Esquire Piece) wrote me, and we have now started a friendship. This is the first person to contact me whom I have never known and is not connected to my circle at all. If we can just get a million more people like him, production companies will be knocking down the door and Abby will finally be able to pay someone to color her hair instead of her having to do it on her own.

I will also send a couple of updates next week from Wisconsin, home of the cheese curd and boots filled with beer. Lord help me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Esquire, the Shifter Team, 3 Solids

For those of you that follow this blog, you are likely my friend or a fan of Dunk? on Facebook (and if you are not you can follow me on Twitter at cspann85, but friend me, all the cool kids are doing it). It should have come as no surprise that my article appeared in Esquire about the genesis of the Dunk? I talked about it enough. Esquire is an established and contemporary publication and working with their editorial team was humbling, exciting, and exhausting at the same time. I received my BA in English Literature from University of San Diego and my MFA from Falmouth College in Cornwall, United Kingdom, so actually writing something and having it published in a non-student run publication is as good as it gets. What started out as a 2,000 word saga of redemption and retribution was transformed into a chiseled 700 word clear cut message. Essentially what was once a bloated, over thought and stagnant existence would become a trimmer and better version of myself. You’ve heard all of this before. Esquire legitimizes what we are doing with Dunk?. My hope is that Esquire readers need to read installment after installment. If you haven’t had the chance, you can read it here Esquire Piece.

There has been one major change to the production and what I hinted at in the last blog. I am now and will be until the end of the documentary, trained by the entire Shifter Team (Bernie Darcy and Jase Graber). I can’t thank Heather Lehman enough for getting me started, and if the truth be told I didn’t give her a 100%. I am sure if Heather heard me say that she would say something like “I didn’t give myself a 100%”. However, if I lament on the past anymore my editor (Mom) will quit so onward we go.

The Shifter Team is training me for free and the training is much more than the actual Shifter machine. Here are some words from Bernie Darcy about what my training entails. “The basic outline is: Lots of rock climbing and some hiking uphill. Basically we're utilizing the SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) principle to get your body to adapt to you constantly raising your center of gravity (COG) above the ground. The more strenuous the activity used to raise the COG the faster your body increases your strength to weight ratio (and overall lightness) while you're getting a great dynamic functional workout.

Rock climbing will be the launching pad to getting you into a full functional training program designed to prevent injury while setting your body up with a strong foundation to help you train to jump. This program will put highest priority on balance, symmetry, stabilizing all joints, increasing accuracy, and heightening reflexes. The next priority level will be passive range of motion followed by active range of motion while continuing to build on the other priorities I listed above. After building that strong foundation we can start working on power (this is where plyometrics come into play).

At this point your body should be setup to perform very athletic movements with a minimal injury risk. This is where Jase and I will take our knowledge of jumping technique and coach you through the timing and strategy of a quick/powerful jump.

As far as a timeline, it all depends on how well you progress through the stages. Just like you're finding in the Shifter training, each level of progression is dependent on achieving the previous level. I'm very happy with the rate of your progression at this point, but each one of the progressions has the potential to expose dis-functions in your body. When we run across those it can take some extra time to get rid of it and move on to the next thing. You're really close to finishing the Shifter progressions so now your job is to climb your ass off. As you get better at climbing and the weight starts dropping, we'll be getting further into the functional training program.”
You can see Jase demonstrating the Shifter Jase Shifting

Let me translate. I will be hiking, rock climbing, and dieting. For the past three weeks I have worked out a total of 18 days out of 21. Since I started Shifting, climbing and hiking I am down 8 pounds to 248. I plateaued at 238 last June and I need to get to 185-190ish in order to dunk. Diet is my Achilles Heal, but Jase assures me the more I get my weight off the ground the less I will feel like eating. God, I hope he’s right.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Shifter

Raise your hand if the first thing you think of when you read the title was an adult toy? (Authors note: my editor put in adult toy, I originally had “sex toy”, my editor is my mom aka THE JANE, you can see the dilemma) If you raised your hand you are not alone. All of my friends and family members have asked the same question in a variety of different ways: “the shifter, what is that? Some kind of adult toy?” , is not an adult toy as far as I can tell, unless you are into being punished, wait a minute, what kind of audience am I looking for?

The Shifter was invented by Jase Graber, a former collegiate athlete and certified trainer through National Academy of Sports Medicine. The Shifter is a machine that essentially trains athletes how to not sprain their ankles. There is no way I can explain the machine the way Jase and Bernie Darcy (Head Trainer for The Shifter) can, so I suggest you visit the website linked above and read about the studies done at Colorado State University and Arizona State University.

This isn’t my first experience with the Shifter however. Back in 2005, when I graduated from grad school, I wanted to become a sports writer for my day job as I worked on novels and screen plays at night (anyone seen that first novel by the way?). The most important lesson I took from grad school was that if you have a story that no one else has, grab it, write it, and run with it. Someone will eventually want to publish it. And, that is what I tried to do with the “Shifter” piece which got wait listed by the staff at The Republic. Well, life sometimes gets in the way and instead of pursuing a career as a writer (and never trying to re-submit the Shifter piece) I took a job with a start up called Doclopedia and five years later I am still working in health care. Please feel free to read what I wrote about the Shifter back in the day The Shifter

So, all of this being said, you know my story (if you read the blog and thank you if you do) I got married, got extremely out of shape and fat (honestly well on the way to be uber fat before that but what evvs), had some babies, started a documentary, had another baby, couldn’t afford to work out at the gym anymore, so I racked my brain for ideas to work out at home and to not quit documentary, and I thought of Bernie and the Shifter. Then I wrote the longest sentence possible.

I am four hour long sessions into the Shifter training, and it is beyond hard. I will put up some video with the next blog, but imagine continually shifting your weight back and forth, while using your entire core to keep your balance. Your brain is telling your body to go one way and you are telling your body to go the opposite way. Sounds confusing, right, it is.

This machine, if it does what Bernie and Jase claim it will do, will train me to never sprain my ankle again. I always seem to sprain my ankles, so the idea of this is amazing. Time will tell. Dunk continues, and next week we will have our biggest announcement yet, and it’s definitely not another pregnancy .

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I know I keep talking about the importance of engaging my audience and keeping them informed with my struggles to get back above the rim. It seems that every time I think I have a spare moment to write or video log, I end up doing something else, like eating a bean and cheese burro from America's Taco Shop, or taking a nap, or watching the "Social Network", which was phenomenal by the way (although the best movie I have seen in a long time is "The Town" but even then it might be because of my man crush on Affleck). I need to be writing more, and I need to be eating less. For the most part, I have been abiding by these rules, sometimes I slip, sometimes a hot woman (hi Mandy) visits from Oklahoma and you end up eating chips and queso. I am in the same spot, more or less, I was a year ago, physically and athletic wise. I am here and I think I am ready to try again.

Let me preface this last statement with a story about my friend Mike and I during our freshman summer of high school. That year we were members of the freshman basketball team who went undefeated (which at the time was the first team to do so at BCP). Mike was our starting power forward and I was a combo 1-2 guard who came off the bench. The season was a blast, and I worked harder than I ever had before, so when summer came around my dad and I built some homemade plyometric boxes to help improve my vertical leap. Mike and I painted a "PT" on each box, which stood for Psycho Training, and each day in the hot Arizona summer we were going to sweat it out towards greatness. Well, that lasted a week and I never made it to the Varsity team. Although, I did get a technical for dunking in warm ups the following year on the JV (which by the by is the premise for this little journey).

That summer I killed myself for about a week, maybe 10 days, and then I resumed a life of Nintendo, pizza, chasing girls, and being a lazy teenager. The reason I bring this up is because of how it correlates to me being a dad. I am in the early stages of being a father. I had a decent freshman year, and as I started my sophomore season with Henry I began to cruise. Cruising isn't going to cut it, and although I have a team mate I can rely on or who will even let me coast, it just wouldn't be fair to let her carry the load.

You see there is not a day that goes by where I don't regret choices I made in the name of laziness during high school and college. I will never know what could have been, but I am able to control what I will be. So check me out, keep me honest, keep me focused, and let's see what I can do today and tomorrow because yesterday is over. The real journey begins with this post, and I will try my hardest to get you every single detail of what Abby, Kohen, Chloe, Henry and I go through.

Charlie dunks on 12-18-2011, my 33rd birthday.