So what is “12 weeks the hard way”?
The title of my first 3 months at CNN? No, there are challenges, but I am loving the new team and opportunity.

I write for Men’s Health mag occasionally because it motivates me to keep at my wellness and to try and keep getting better in different ways and fight the aging process.

The m.o is for me to be a test dummy of different fads and techniques so you, the reasonably fit, looking for a better or new way to approach training, can go to school on my efforts.

“12 weeks” is about how much lean muscle we can build without risk or gimmicks. More to follow, but first, the idea was born from an unexpectedly easy cut down in fat for me. Just before Xmas I cut out dairy and bad sugar and cut back booze, then added green drinks to diet and started doing more crossfit. In less than two months I went from an ok 218, to a pretty lean 200-ish. And my body fat plummeted to 12% as muscle increased.

The results were actually atypically large which was an indication of my own sensitivity to dairy as an inflammatory agent and how lousy my diet was. So, I didn’t see much value in writing that one up. Instead my buddy and coach at EVF performance, Eric Von Froelich (you know you got skilz when you put your name on the place) suggested that cutting down is actually easier than building up for someone my age who is already in decent shape.

He provoked a common dilemma: Many want to build more lean muscle but say: I have job and a life, time is limited as is desire to do anything extreme, and I don’t want to take risky supplements. As a result we may stagnate. So, can you build any/10lbs or more muscle in 12 weeks while doing it in a way that is reasonable?

Eric and I and Men’s Health say: MAYBE. The challenge is to design a program and nutrition that ups strength, and adds bulk without it being just water or bad weight. And no extremes. No more than 4 workouts a week, no steroids or dicey supps and no extreme stress on the body like super heavy lifting or gorging calories. Basically, a way you could integrate this goal into your regular life.

My life will throw some curve balls. Rest and recovery is an issue as is consistency because of my job and busy family life with 3 kiddies. But life is about adapting, right?

The main ingredient that you have to bring to this is commitment to stay with the program because it will involve an evolution, a progression in resistance work that will be hard if you skip too often.

So, leaning on Eric’s many years of excellence and some consultancy with nutrition experts, we came up with “12 weeks the hard way” and are currently testing it out on me…your willing lab rat. After a couple weeks refining what we need to do, our early process is basically a mix of sprint work and heavy emphasis on crossfit, such as progressive increases in traditional lifts. We also added a 4th meal a day and a couple extra protein shakes and probiotics. Stretching and meditation as regenerative and focus tools are also important because they allow physical and mental preparation for training – and life. So, that’s why I am training after skiing at altitude…which is definitely the hard way. By the way, thanks for the New Day love and offers for a lift from the nice people in Jackson, Wy who saw me running hills.

The goal is growth and efficiency as well as some insight into what a 40+ reasonably fit person can do without going to extremes. We will see what works and what does not and where I stay with and where I do not. We will start blogging on the Men’s Health site next week, showing food and workout tips and progress.

My last point is what may matter most. So far, this has not been easy. But that is okay. This desire to get things the easy way yields only one long term result: disappointment. Nothing in life that’s worthwhile is easy, right. At least with your body you can have a measure of control of the outcome. As we all know, what you can control becomes more precious as life goes on.
The word diet means “daily” so then idea of a sprint to skinny without staying the course will only set you up for a rebound. We all know this but we often avoid the reality in our habits.

I am not afraid of hard work. I pride myself on it. In fact, I feel I am obligated to work hard because of the blessings and opportunities I have. I am so lucky that I feel I have to make the most of my life to justify what I was gifted from above.

So I will do “12 weeks the hard way”. No shortcuts. No cheating. And we will see what we can achieve. We will let you in on the process and then write it up for Men’s Health.

I don’t know if you will see any of this on NewDay. I think that a show that speaks intelligently on what matters should include wellness, beyond the latest health scares. But that is an ongoing debate. There is a lot of new to cover as it is and we have to make choices.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences along the way. My hope is that we discover a system you can use to boost your body and overall wellness

Wish us luck !







Amanda Knox

Tonight at 10pm and TOMORROW MORNING ON NEW DAY, CNN has Amanda Knox’s reaction to the new theories of why she is guilty of murder according to the Italian judge who just released his decision. He says she is the one who delivered the fatal cut to the neck of Meredith Kercher; that Knox let Rudy Guede, the convicted killer of Kercher, into the apartment that night and that the death arose from a fight between Kercher and Knox over stolen money. All of this is new or goes further than past judgments. Knox is pressed to respond to each and does so.

I will let you value her responses. She knows the case very well – that is not unusual. She is forced to make the case for her innocence and that is unusual, and it is difficult. That said, the latest decision makes some bold suggestions that test the bounds of known fact and forensic support to say the least. Knox will seize on this.

CNN also provides something you have bit had before: comments on the case from the judge who acquitted her. He actually went a step further exercising a ruling we do not have in the US: finding her and her co-defendant acquitted with grounds for innocence. It is u usual for a judge to speak about a case, let alone the handling of the same case by another judge. But you will hear what he thinks about the new ruling and prospects for Knox going forward.

As for Knox, her demeanor is different a year later. She is more mature but still stunted by the anxiety and the apparent trauma involved. I suspect people will struggle with “how she comes across”. There is something different about her, to be sure. But could that distinction be a process of trauma and years of being under fire? Or just a heritage of being emotionally guarded? To be sure Italian authorities had a harsh first impression that has stained their judgment ever since.
However, as much as the answers to the charges, her descriptions about spending her 20’s embroiled in a murder case are fascinating to me. Remember, this happened in 2007, when Knox was 20. Her life has been mainly this fight with little else that can distract from her legal battles.

Some were surprised to hear Knox was giving her only interview to CNN. I interviewed Knox about a year ago and tested her story against the prosecution’s theory at the time, which was all in large part about her alleged sexual perversion. (Interestingly the prosecutor just dropped that rationale in this latest round and picked up a new one – that Knox and Kercher had a bad relationship and wound up fighting). Many thought the last interview was too severe. The truth is Knox asked to be tested with all of the harshest and most damning suggestions, specifically. I agreed that was necessary at the time and questioned her accordingly. Her decision to interview with me again should speak to whether she felt the interview was unduly harsh or unfair the last time.

Much of the case is shrouded in the unknown, for good and bad reason. We often say, the US justice system is the worst, until you compare it to any other. This case was arguably poorly handled by Italian authorities and the prosecution has received criticism. While the story offered by Knox and Sollecito, her co-defendant, is imperfect in several ways, the evidence and case against them has always seemed deficient to many legal experts. It is not uncommon for experts here to suspect there would have been no trial for Knox, let alone a conviction in the US under similar circumstances.

Her story may be unsatisfying but the prosecution needs more than that…much more: it needs a story that makes more sense than anything else. The current judge says he has arrived at that story.

Many lives were changed forever. If this decision stands (and there is likely only one final appeal allowed) Sollecito will be in prison for 20+yrs. Knox will face possible extradition if she loses the next appeal and a life with the cloud of being a killer over her head at the least. And of course, Meredith is gone forever and her family will never be the same. No winners here and judging by the varied and bizarre nature of the decisions…perhaps no justice either.

Your attention and thoughts are welcome…as always.