Journal Entry 330 – Snowed In / Workout Update

Another week in the books. We had some winter weather come through this weekend, so Sarah and I went out early on Saturday to knock out our running for the week. Grocery stores were, of course, packed beyond belief and there was a serious meat shortage. The only meat that was readily available was 80/20 or fattier cuts. Aldi is great for buying a ton of groceries for cheap, but there is always the risk there that they don’t have an important item that you need.  This means you need to run to another store and this week happened to be meat. So we ran to Kroger and got some lean beef for some chili we are going to make. Besides the insane amount of people we had to deal with, I think it will be worth it. A cold day with the NFL Playoffs on, chili sounds great. Not that I’m knocking Aldi. I love that place and we also got a ton of groceries for about $60. We have saved countless amounts of money shopping there on a regular basis. It’s also hardly ever packed and very easy to get in and out.

The gym has been decent even with “New Years Resolutioners” coming in. The only day that sucked was Monday because all of the benches were taken. When one of your only moves is Bench Press, that kind of presents a problem! I ended up doing a high rep upper body workout. My routine going forward is to do a 3-day workout on M, W, F and rest TU, TR. I want to be at full strength for my main workouts. I will have a Workout A and Workout B as shown below:

  • Workout A
    • Barbell Bench Press 3 x 6-8
    • Chinups 3 x Max with Bodyweight
    • Cable Crunch 3 x 8-12
  • Workout B – Wednesday
    • Dumbbell Incline Press 4 x 8-10 reps
    • Chinups 3 x Max with Bodyweight
    • Cable Crunch 3 x 8-12
  • Rest Days
    • 100 Pushups throughout the day
    • Stretching

Simple just how I like it. If all of the benches are taken on Monday again, I will likely just do chinups first or maybe do Workout B twice that week and do Workout A on Wednesday. Simple adjustment. Rest days are going to be exactly that. I will do some pushups and maybe go to the gym to do an incline walk, but that is optional. My bench is currently at 235lbs for 6 reps. I would like to get this up to at least 250lbs for 6 reps. I mainly just don’t want my rest days to interfere with my recovery from heavy benching.

Diet is going to going to be high protein and lower carb as always. This is my go to and always seems to work for me. Protein high, carbs around 50g to 150g on a higher day (I would say 80g on average) and fat falls wherever. I don’t really worry about fat. I will easily eat higher fat foods, but prefer leaner meats most of the time. I reread “How Many Carbs Do You Need?” by Lyle Mcdonald this week. He said even just eating 15g-50g of carbs can severely limit (if not completely limit) the body’s need to pull from protein as an energy source. What a huge advantage you have in knowing this. Not only for protecting muscle mass when losing weight, but also as a daily eating strategy to know that the protein you are eating is not getting burnt off as an energy source for the brain and can do its main job. I love Lyle Mcdonald’s work and he is one of my favorite nutritionists.

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Journal Entry 329 – New Year

Even though it was a Holiday last weekend, it really didn’t feel like it. My good friend had a bachelor party and a small wedding. Sarah and I also held a small party after the wedding for a small reception/New Years Eve party. We had a great time and it was fun meeting his family and also hanging out with close friends. But it was a lot of work setting up the house and then cleaning the house after both the bachelor party and reception on New Years. Worth it, but 5 days off never felt so quick!

Luckily the work week was short the first week back. Went back on Wednesday and it was a pretty steady week overall. The only problem was I had a hell of a time falling asleep last week. I think it had a lot to do with the drinking and messed up sleep schedule of the previous weekend. I would literally almost get an adrenaline rush as soon as I went to bed. I think this was almost a panic reaction of realizing that I would not be able to fall asleep as quickly as I wanted. Every single morning last week, I literally felt like a zombie going to work. My eyes felt half open. Not a fun feeling. I slept in this weekend both days so far to try and recoup some sleep. I hope this doesn’t happen again next week.

My gym performance wasn’t too bad this week. I’m benching 235lbs for my top set of 6 reps. I then drop down to 225lbs for about 8 reps and finished with 135lbs for as many reps as possible. Usually end up somewhere in the ’20s for this. I then finished with either lat pulldowns or chinups. I would really like to get my chinups rolling this year. 3 sets of 15 reps is my goal for the end of the year. Chinups are also a whole lot easier the less weight/fat you have on your body. Especially if your strength levels stay the same.

Little Luke got fixed this weekend and that requires some periods of low activity to ensure nothing messes up the stitching. We took it easy this weekend both to recoup from last weekend and to watch Luke. We haven’t eaten out at all since Wednesday, which is a long time for us. My parents are coming over here this weekend instead of vice versa due to Luke not being able to play with the other dogs. They are bringing over Grapevine, which is hands down my favorite restaurant currently. Besides Chipotle and Mezeh of course. 😉

 

 

 

Journal Entry 328 – 2018 Recap

This was by far the busiest year of my life. Let me try to make this in a list format in chronological order:

  • Shifted departments at work.
  • Traveled to Greensboro for an epic Rehearsal Dinner and Wedding.
  • Marriage!
  • Honeymoon to St. Lucia.
  • Moved out of the apartment of 1.5 years.
  • Bought a house!
  • Moved into that house. (A lot of work)
  • Bought a Shicon (Shih-tzu and Bichon) and named him Luke! (After Luke Skywalker)
  • Became a Wine Club members at Cooper’s Hawk. (Free bottle of wine each month.)
  • Benched 225lbs for the first time in years.
  • My niece Abby was born!
  • Bought a PS4. My first game system in 5 years.
  • Bachelor Party for my friend David.
  • David gets married in October.
  • Washington DC trip.
  • Coming soon this year:
  • Bachelor Party for a good friend of mine.
  • Another very good friend of mine will be married at years end.

This is a long list. I’m really hoping this year is much more laid back. Now that we are in the house and settled, I think it will be a much less chaotic year. I do have a few personal goals I would like to achieve this year. Again not in any particular order:

  • Learn to play the guitar. Aiming for 30 minutes a day.
  • Bench 250lbs by years end and get 225lbs for 3 sets of 8 reps easily.
  • Drop down to 175lbs again.
  • Stress less and relax more. Should be easier this year.
  • Listen to music more often.
  • Read more books. I like books where I feel like I’m learning something.

There is probably more than I am thinking of here, but this is all that is coming to mind. I have always wanted to know how to play the guitar, especially the electric guitar. It is not an easy instrument to learn, but if I do it every day for 30 minutes to maybe an hour I think I’ll make good progress. Sarah has a list of goals as well. She definitely wants to start eating better more consistently, so that is another goal for 2019.

Journal Entry 327 – Christmas Shopping / Low Fiber

The end of the year is approaching quickly. It has been a very busy year for sure, but a good one. I’ve done a lot more Christmas shopping this year than in years past. I decided to buy something for each member of my team (6 people) and also have the family to buy for as well. I got a nice Amazon Gift Card recently though, so that should come in handy.

It is actually snowing here pretty good today. We are expected to get around 3 inches or so, so maybe working from home tomorrow. I only had a 1.5 day weekend, since this was my long work week. However, this was the last long week I will ever have as our hours have shifted back to Monday thru Friday. 🙂 No more rolling weekends.

I plan on shifting to somewhat of a Carnivore / low fiber diet for the time being. My diet has been good for the most part, but somewhat too chaotic for my liking. I tend to overdo it on fiber sometimes and rely too heavily on green vegetables and beans. These foods taste good, but it leaves a weird sensation of having a full stomach (and bloated stomach), but not really being satisfied in terms of hunger. I’ve been eating a very high fiber diet for a long time and I think the low fiber will act as somewhat of a “Gut Reset.” I plan on keeping the carbs low as well, however, I really don’t think white rice or low fiber bread will cause much of a problem if I did eat it. For example, a good Chipotle order would be a bowl with white rice, chicken, veggies, and salsa. No beans. The fiber would be pretty minimal in this meal. For meals made at home, I’m shooting for half a bag of greens max. The rest would be meat. I also plan to minimize Quest Bars and other “Low Carb Products” that tend to be jacked up with excess fiber. Coffee, jerky, hard-boiled eggs and protein powder during the day.

The main reason for trying this is sometimes when I go long periods without food, I really like the way I feel. I feel light and my stomach is super flat. However, when I eat a lot of carbs or fiber after (this is often for me), I lose that feeling. It takes a long time of no food to get rid of that “heavy” feeling. I noticed if I keep the fiber low, especially low carb, I can eat without the feeling. This diet is definitely worth a shot. The low carbs also flush excess water weight and inflammation that too many carbs can bring. It’s also minimalist in nature, which suits me well.

Costco steak jerky is where it’s at. Very good value tastes great and it has much lower sugar than other brands. I also got some Bison from Aldi which was $7.99 a pound. That is about as cheap as it gets.

The Giants almost blew it again last week, but we managed to get the win. Although it still probably doesn’t matter at this point as we have lost too many games. I’m also playing Uncharted 4 on PS4. So far so good!

 

Journal Entry 326 – Date Night

It’s going to be a short post this week. I had a very busy week at work, even though it was only a four day week. It tends to slow down after the Holidays, but not so far. We probably had our busiest week to date recently so hopefully, it slows down a little for the rest of the year.

Sarah and I had a date night this Friday at Cooper’s Hawk. The wine tasting at Cooper’s Hawk is great. They pour a stout amount from each wine and it is always at least 8 wines you may try and can even try a couple more if you ask for it. I also had a $15 birthday credit from my wine club membership that you can use on food or alcohol. We decided to go to the bar after and get some sparkling wine. I went with Almond and she went Raspberry. Muy bien. Due to the perks of being a wine club member, you get a free bottle of wine each month, so I picked a Blueberry based wine, which tasted amazing.

The Hokies had a great game yesterday and earned a bowl game. A little last minute “season-saving” on their part. The Giants snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the Eagles. Unbelievable. They had the game wrapped up in the first half and then decided to stop playing a little early. There goes our season. However, the Cowboys SOMEHOW beat New Orleans, so they are likely to win the division regardless at this point, so it may not have ever mattered anyway.

Another week of training plateaus. I plan to maybe back off strength training to 2 times a week with 3 days between each day. This way I can hit it at full strength. The days in between I plan on doing stretching and bodyweight movements, but nothing overly stressful. I plan on taking at least one day completely off as well.

Journal Entry 325 – Thanksgiving 2018

Had a nice 4 day weekend for Thanksgiving this year. I took some extra PTO on Wednesday and Saturday (4 and 5 hours respectively) because my brother Justin flew into Richmond with his wife Rebecca and my little niece Abby. We don’t get to see them often, so it’s always fun when they come to visit. We did a lot of eating this weekend and looking forward to getting back to my normal diet. I did a pretty good job of not overdoing it too much and ended up making 3 recipes that were lower calorie but tasted really good. Went with a greenbean casserole, brussel sprouts and pumpkin crisp (Splenda). I also had some Turkey but tried to focus on the volume from these foods without getting into the higher calorie foods. Not going to lie though, I’m not a big Thanksgiving food person. I mean the foods are okay, but not my favorites. If I’m going to spend that many calories on eating something, it is not going to be on those foods. I did drink a decent amount, since my brother was there, so that also increased the calorie load quite a bit.

I have browsed some Black Friday deals and ended up getting some new sweatpants for the gym. As a minimalist, I look at some of the things being sold on Amazon and laugh. It really is amazing how much crap is out there, yet people keep buying it. There is one thing I really want to find though and that is a pair of wireless headphones. I listen to headphones every day and really just want a pair that will last all day without having to be charged and also a pair I can adjust the setting right from my ear. I will keep you posted on these.

Hokies somehow pulled it out of their a$$ on Friday against UVA. I thought we were going to lose for sure. The playcalling was HORRIBLE down the stretch. It’s like our coach wanted us to lose by being ultra conservative against a much better offensive team. We got lucky by stripping the fumble in overtime. That is the only reason we won, but I will take it!

Giants play against the Eagles today, which is a borderline playoff game for the rest of their season. If we can win today, I think we will carry this momentum for the rest of the season and somehow sneak into the playoffs by winning the division and overcoming our disastrous start. Our division is garbage and an 8-8 or 9-7 record could easily win it.

The only training I did this weekend was pushups, squats and stretching. I plan on getting back on low carbs the rest of the week and try to push past my plateau on bench.

PS – Costco Steak Jerky is by far one of the best deals on Jerky you are going to find. It is a 12oz bag of $9.99 or if you are lucky enough $6.99 on sale. It has very high protein and low sugar compared to most Jerky’s. I stocked up yesterday. Costco was also empty after the Holiday. Best time to go.

Journal Entry 324 – 28th Birthday

I turned 28 years old on Wednesday, November 14th. For some reason, this age sounds old to me and I don’t feel that old haha. That being said it was a great birthday that I’m pretty much celebrating over 4 days. On my actual birthday, Sarah and I just hung at the house and got some Chipotle and Halo Top. Thursday night we went out to Grapevine (favorite restaurant) with my parents and Friday we had some sushi from a local place. To finish off, we are having a party tonight at our house with some close friends. It should be good times. I should rename it “birth week” haha.

The Giants finally won on Monday night to get to 2-7. It was an interesting game though because the team chemistry felt great. The players were acting like they won the Superbowl afterward. This could be a great thing moving forward for the rest of the season. There may be a slim chance, we could win the division if we win out and the other teams drop a few more games. The Redskins are 6-3, so they would have to go 3-4 for us to beat them. Which is possible because their remaining schedule is not a cakewalk. Same for the Eagles. That just leaves the Cowboys, who have an easier schedule than the other teams, but honestly are not that far ahead of us believe or not.

I finally matched my previous bench press PR on my birthday. 225lbs for 8, 7, 5 reps.  My parents gave me some Orgain Protein Powder from Costco both Chocolate and Vanilla, per my request for a gift. This protein is impressive in terms of micronutrient content. It also mixes pretty thick, which I have missed in my protein powder.  The Chocolate is better than the Vanilla as the Vanilla tastes like it has too much greens powder in it. I’m not sure I’m going to make these a staple though, as the taste just isn’t strong enough, but we will see.

Until next time!