A respectable month, with some improvement. I did something physically demanding 20 days, same as last month, though below my record 25 days in November 2009. I am not counting three days, when I just did some push ups for a few minutes, as compared to 2-5 hours of tennis.

I played tennis 15 days, for only 32 1/4 hours, down from last month’s 16 days and 36 1/2 hours and below my record of 18 days set in June, and below my all-time record of 42 3/4 hours. Happily my tennis is at my best level ever, though my backhand is still poor. I have learned how to lob—a great weapon—serve more powerfully and accurately, and hit the sweet spot much more often on my forehand, thanks to a slight rotation in my grip.

I played squash twice for 3 1/4 hours, down from four times for 6 1/4 hours last month. My physical activity included two days of cross country skiing (only 1 1/2 hours), an hour of tiring snow shoveling, and a half hour of spinning to try it out for my upcoming charity ride in two weeks.

A second month of not one ab crunch, and as you can see in a recent picture, my abs are less visible. I did gain almost 7-8 pounds this last two months due to holiday food and major efforts to keep eating and not miss meals.

My challenge of reaching 100 push ups made some progress. For the third month in a row, I did some push ups on 11 different days. My maximum without stopping increased to 50, up from 46, which was my best in three previous months. The training program that supposedly takes six weeks is still impossible for me. I am stuck at the goal for the first day of the fourth week, which is five sets: 21, 25, 21, 21 and 32, each followed by a 60-second break. I remain unable to complete the fifth set, but did achieve 22 one time, up from last month’s record of 17.

Nevertheless all of this effort is strengthening my upper body muscles. I read about Jack LaLanne’s strategy of straining the muscle until it is exhausted. I am doing this, and it is very tiring. I also see that my triceps are growing substantially. No surprise. I just hope that my other chest muscles will enlarge as well.