About – OLD

Updated 120924

Bio.I am a forty-four year-old family man with 5 kids young kids and a wife who is definitely my better half. THESE are the reasons I do this to myself in the first place; I want to be around for them for the long haul and don’t want my health to rob me of my years with them. In less important matters, I work in corporate communications.

As an approach to life, I make sure that my job is not my focus in life: rather, my focus is my life. A job is something I do but my life is what I am. I will not be one of those people who looks back on their life from their deathbed and thinks, “I wish I’d spent more time playing with the kids / enjoying a date with my wife / making good memories with friends / etc.”

Turns out, I’ve got a pretty good life because of who I have to share it with and what I choose to do with it.

Blogging. I blog here and on a few other sites. This one is about my pursuit of health and fitness. The others — 30 Days to Liberty and Freedom at 5 AM — cover political philosophy and politics, respectively. Freedom at 5 AM is now an up and coming Facebook page rather than a blog. Stop by and join the conversation.

Mrs. New John has a mommy/homeschooling blog over at Full House, Boys High.

Dieting in Public. I started this project on January 1, 2011 after reading Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body. Part of his approach is to hold yourself accountable by purposely “dieting in public.” I am using you guys to keep me honest and to give me the feedback I need (both positive and negative) to stay on track and “just keep swimming.”

To that end, I blog about my adventures at here at New John for a New Year. For the first year, I posted something every day. Since the beginning of 2012, however, I’ve dropped back to posting my weekly plans/results, my workout info, and maybe one or two other posts each week as the mood and topic hit me.

What I Do. See the My Approach page for a description of what I do each week.

Goals. Believe it or not, after more than 1.5 2 years of running this blog, this update is the first time I’ve thought to add my goals to this page. I can’t believe I overlooked this for so long. Without further ado . . .

  1. Get my bodyfat % down to 15% or less
  2. Be fit (as measured by how much work I can do before I get winded and/or fatigued)
  3. Enjoy life.

===== Below this line is Older “About Me” text =====

It no longer necessarily represents what I’m doing but I kept it just to keep my record public.

DAILYBURN.COM. It’s similar to why I visit the DB.com 4HB group so often and post when I can. The motivation, the tips, the resources, etc., that I have gained through the people there have been a real help in my journey to a healthier me.

I use the weight and bodyfat tracker on DB because I like the graphs they produce. I also track my weight and bodyfat on my weekly results posts and on my Results to Date page, using Excel to produce the graphs.

I did use the exercise tracker when I was doing Occam’s Protocol (see below) but have since stopped when I switched over to using Max Capacity Training. (Which I heartily recommend!)

I never did use the nutrition tracker on DB (though I did use the one on SparkPeople for a while).

MY PROGRAM. I started with normal SCD. Soon, I added PAGG. Then I started experimenting.

I’ve tried all sorts of 1- to 2-week experiments:

  • Zero artificial sweeteners
  • Adding artificial sweeteners back
  • No caffeine
  • Occam’s Protocol
  • Max Capacity Training
  • No Free Day
  • Free Meals instead of Free Days
  • Intermittent Fasting (both Eat Stop Eat and Lean Gain styles)
  • Kombucha
  • Whey protein powder breakfasts
  • Purple Wraath and Jack3d as supplements
  • Using Cissus for my Free Days/Meals
  • Using Cissus for every meal, every day
  • Running 2-3 times per week
  • Barefoot running
  • New running shoes

For now, I have settled on what seems to be a pretty good system for me:

  • SCD for any meal not a Free Meal
  • 20- to 21-hour intermittent fasting 4-6 days per week
  • Max Capacity Training workouts, three times per week
  • (I sometimes workout fasted and it has proved not to be a problem)
  • Running 1-3 times per week in well-fitted running shoes; a 5- to 6-mile route during the week before work and a 7- to 10-mile route on the weekends
  • (If I can work in a second weekend run on the weekend, I do)
  • Purple Wraath and Jack3d before I run in the mornings (they are non-caloric and so don’t mess up my IF)
  • I stopped taking PAGG about two weeks ago and will likely not start up again
  • I use Cissus for Free Meals but not otherwise
  • Artificial sweeteners are allowed in moderation; Stevia when possible

RESULTS. Since January 1, I am down 26+ pounds and about 4.5% bodyfat.

I feel great. I look better than I have in a long time. And I am confident that I can continue this program for as long as I want to. =)

Work smart and work strong!

New John


We will either find a way . . . or make one. — Hannibal


Original. I am a 42-year-old guy living in North Texas trying to improve my health.

I’ve had a weight problem ever since high school and have ranged as high as 260 pounds (twice) on my 6′ 1″ frame. Right now I am… (this will take you to my Results to Date page)

I add muscle fairly easily when I put my mind to it but have usually found other things to get in the way and quit working out after showing the first results. Stupid of me, I know. (I coulda been Ahnald by now!)

I lose weight terribly slowly after the first week or two of any diet; usually no more than a pound or so per week with (often significant) plateaus and stalls mixed in for fun. Ugh.

My guess is that this is often due to learning how to game the diet — adding snacks and treats which are “allowed” on the diet but then I abuse the privilege, so to speak. Too many Atkins bars during my low carb days for example. So I compensate by doing something else (usually exercising) to make up for my weakness. It doesn’t always work.

Speaking of weakness, “Hi, my name’s John and I’m a diet soda junkie.” I find this the hardest thing to give up so I finally wised up and don’t try. I’ll slow down a bit but I have a tough enough time following all the other rules. If I also have to give up my cokes I have found that I get frustrated and have trouble sticking to the other, more important aspects of the program. That’s not to say that I don’t do things like increase my water intake or start taking my coffee black — I do— but don’t mess with my diet sodas and we’ll all live through this, ok? 😉

Update 110509: I gave up artificial sweeteners completely for about a month a while back and noticed no significant increase in fat loss. In fact, this was during one of my famous stalls and it didn’t seem to help at all. Since then, I have added them back, a little, and found out that the studies which people cite to justify never eating artificial sweeteners again are inconclusive. Overall, I don’t stress about this aspect of things anymore but I limit my consumption just because I have found I can survive without ingesting massive amounts of sweet stuff all the time. There’s just o need for it for me.

To accomplish my goals for improving my health and conditioning I:

  1. Eat according to the 4 Hour Body weight loss program (slow carb + cheat days).
  2. Exercise according to the 4 Hour Body Occam’s Protocol regimen
  3. Run 2-3 times per week (short and fast on weekdays [1-2 miles with 1/3 to 1/2 of that as sprints], long and slow on weekends [5-10 miles at an ugly slow pace])
    • Update 110509: I’ve switched to running to and from my workouts. That means doing almost 6 miles twice a week. I am working on doing some fartleks during these runs and need do more of them. When I get the chance, I run once on the weekend as well.
  4. Do mud runs (Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, DFW Mud Run, Jailbreak, etc.) as often as possible

To keep me honest and live up to the standards I have set for myself, I track my food and exercise activity on this blog, participate in online forums when I can, and track my runs with RunKeeper.com (and their app on my Droid), posting the results (and my blog posts) to my Facebook page to get feedback, encouragement, etc.

In non-diet-related aspects of my life, I am husband to a wonderful woman who treats me well (though my dieting sometimes drives her crazy). We have three kids together (6 years, 4 years, and 21 mos.) with two more coming in July. THESE are the reasons I do this to myself in the first place; I want to be around for them for the long haul and don’t want my health to rob me of my years with them. In less important matters, I work as a Communications Savant for a private financial company.


8 responses to “About – OLD

  1. Kudos to you!
    ‘Another 40-something male here just trying to stay healthy and fit. I am not really in what you may call bad shape but I am perpetually striving to increase my health and fitness potential.

  2. Pingback: Day 169 (Sa, 110618) — Results for Week 24; Max Capacity Training Day 15 | New John for a New Year·

  3. Pingback: Day 179 (T, 110628) — Reflections on Half a Year of Transformation, Part 1 | New John for a New Year·

  4. John,

    First off – awesome blog. I applaud what you’ve accomplished as I know how hard it can be!
    I am pretty sure, based on the meticulous program you’ve outlined for yourself, that you have already considered this but just in case: have you considered trying a truly low carb way of eating? Contrary to popular belief/misconception, humans do not need to eat carbohydrate. The body (liver and kidneys) produce all of the carbs needed on their own.

    I started a program back in January of 2011. I’m 5’10” and weighed in at 258 lb. I’ve been fat or obese ever since I was 10 years old. I’m now 40. In only 9 months I’m now down to 199.6 lbs. And believe it or not, the majority of that weight was lost in the first 4 months. Once I started working out (I didn’t workout the first 4 months), the weight loss slowed down tremendously. I still kept losing, just not as quickly.

    Anyway – I urge you to consider it. In fact, I recommend you check out a book – “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes. That book goes through the research on bodyfat and diet over the past couple hundred years, and explains why popular opinion is wrong on just about all accounts. Working out has absolutely nothing to do with losing weight, and in fact typically causes people to want to eat more to compensate for the energy expended. We’ve all been fed a lot of lies by the USDA (did you know the food pyramid (and now ‘My Plate’) are not based on any research at all?). Don’t take it from me – read the book. (No, I have no financial stake in the book, and my name’s not Gary).

    That said, if you’re happy with your progress and enjoy working out and *enjoy* your way of eating, then do what works for you. But you owe it to yourself, given the amount of hard work you’ve put in, to read that book.


    • Thanks for the comment, Mark. Sorry it took a while to reply: your comment got caught in my spam filter and I didn’t see it.

      Luckily, I decided to review my spam messages today (instead of deleting them wholesale), and came across it.

      I have done Atkins pure low-carb diet several times in the past. While I agree that it might help me lose the last 15 pounds or so I’d like to get rid of, I have repeatedly found that I have a tough time sticking with a pure low-carb routine. (Hells, right now I’m having trouble sticking with my slow-carb regimen which allows cheating.) Still, I might consider going back to Atkins for a little while. Maybe after the holidays. We’ll see.

      I’ve read Good Calories Bad Calories by Taubes and enjoyed it. I even got my wife to read a bit and now I’m trying to get her to start s/low-carbing. Boy would that be a big help.

      Also, I checked out your site and enjoyed it. I especially liked the bit about Fabio cutting of his hair and saying if he can regrow it, anyone can. 😉

      I’ll give you a link in my sidebar shortly.

      Thanks for the note and the compliments.

      Work smart and work strong,

      New John

  5. Hey John,

    I saw that you stopped taking the PAGG Stack a while back. What was the reason for this? I can’t say I noticed improvements with it, but then again it is difficult to measure the results because it would have to be a variable in a series of constants. Constants meaning diet and exercise, and we all know that it can be very difficult to sustain a consistent program week to week. There will always be those variations which can lead to mixed results and thus the true effect of a PAGG stack cannot be readily quantified. I am going to get back on PAGG once I stabalize my routine so I am interested and hearing your thoughts on it.


    • K, I stopped because of the cost, the hassle remembering to take it, and the uncertain results. I think it might have helped a little, but not enough to make it worth it.

      Also, in rereading parts of the 4 Hour Body, I was reminded that PAGG is optional; you should see results from diet and exercise alone.

      If it works for you, that’s great. It’s always nice to have another arrow in your quiver. It wasn’t worth it for me.

      Cheers! =)

  6. Pingback: Day 356 (R, 111222) — Under the Hood | New John for a New Year·

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