Journal Entry 340 – Taxes

Unfortunately, I missed my weekly post last week due to filing taxes. I try not to get out of the habit of blogging at least once a week, because I feel like this creates inconsistency. If you skip one week, next thing you know you are skipping several weeks. Taxes this year has been interesting and not fun. I switched my filing method to Married Filing Jointly and Sarah has some investments that can honestly be described as an out of state headache to file. We actually owe money to the state, which is the first time that has happened to me. I can usually knock out taxes in 30 minutes when it was just me, but not this time. Almost done with it currently and we should still net a nice federal return, but the state return is a payment. Just what I wanted to do, pay more taxes!

Anyway, not much I can do about it. Last weekend we had a nice dinner with Sarah’s Grandpa who was in town. He went to the Duke game the next day and unfortunately, they lost. Duke losing also ruined my bracket. However, Duke has gotten pretty lucky the two games prior to the one they lost, so I honestly think it was just a matter of time.

At the time of writing this, I can honestly say I’m not feeling too good. Came home yesterday with pretty low energy levels and have been sneezing a ton. The weather here is not very good either which doesn’t help.

My workouts still need some tweaking. As for diet, I still aim for 10X bodyweight during the week in calories and maintenance calories (13X Bodyweight) Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This puts me roughly at 2000 calories a day each week, which is about right for what I do. I do drink most weekends, so I also factor that into my calories for the day.

Journal Entry 337 – YouTube Rabbit Holes

Last week was far better than the previous week in terms of my energy levels. This week also seemed to fly by, which is a nice positive. Unfortunately, this weekend has also flown by as well and we lose an hour this morning to daylight savings time. Oh well; not much we can do about it. Sarah and I rented Creed II on Friday night. Highly recommended. I love the old Rocky movies and these are great additions to it. The storyline really flows nicely from the old movies to these.

Last night, Sarah and I threw a party for my friend Cameron’s 28th birthday. We invited some good friends over for some drinks and Kickback Jacks. According to my friend Cameron, the Chicken Philly is the best thing on the menu. I would probably agree with that. The chicken fingers and wings are close behind though.

Recently, I have found myself going down “YouTube Rabbit Holes.” YouTube has a built-in algorithm that recommends videos based on the one you are currently watching. It also has a “Recommended Videos” that will update every single time you watch a different topic of interest. Recently, I have found myself very interested in Simulation Theory videos. I blame Joe Rogan for this one. I will frequently look up various topics that Joe and his guest talk about during the show. This includes Politics, Current Events, Astronomy, Physics, DMT and so on. It’s a great way to learn for sure, but this Simulation Theory is kind of frightening. Mainly because it literally can’t be disproven and some of the arguments behind it make a lot of sense. However, a lot of theories can make sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

I like to keep an open mind with things such as this as well as important topics like consciousness, religion, and spirituality. I label myself as an Agnostic Christian. Religion has always been of interest to me and I really do think that there is a benevolent Supreme Being or at least something far greater than ourselves. I also believe in the spirit and life after death. As big as the universe is, there almost has to be something more than this. The main problem I have with religion though is that it pits people against one another based on a belief that may or not be true. There are good-hearted people that practice every religion and when you really look at other religions, the message is largely the same. This is why I like to keep an open mind. Even though people believe in certain things, no one really knows for sure.

As you can tell from the above, you know what I have been doing in my free time haha. As for lifting this week, I went back to a 3-day split. I like having a couple days off without feeling like I need to run to the gym. I usually run to Kroger and get a pack of deli meat for lunch and then listen to a podcast and chill for an hour instead of lifting. The rest days actually make me look forward to working out the next day though. I still do 100 pushups throughout the day on rest days though. Diet has continued to be low in carbs and high in protein.

Journal Entry 335 – Zelda

Zelda

After a week of what felt like non-stop game playing, I finally beat Zelda. Zelda is one of the biggest games I have ever played. The world is massive and the story is open-ended and completed at your own pace. You can literally ignore the main story and just do whatever you want and you still wouldn’t be bored. There was a lot I loved about this game and some things that drove me insane. Overall it was one of the best games I have ever played.

The Good: 

  • I really liked the fighting style with defense, melee and bow attacks all very useful in different fights.
  • The weapons and armor were great. Especially the Master Sword and Hyrule Shield.
  • The world was great and may have been too big.
  • The small attention to detail was definitely on a different level than any other game I have played. When it was raining, you would slip trying to climb, currents in water when swimming, fire getting extinguished in the rain, cooking meals.
  • Collecting items and exploration.

The Bad:

  • Weapons breaking. Dear god, this was annoying. You got some really powerful weapons in that game and most of the time when at of your way to do so and then it would shatter after using on a few enemies.
  • Shrines. These were like puzzles throughout the game and they got old fast. I loved the exploration of this game, but these became a chore and it was the only way to level up.
  • Navigating the four Guardians. The same reason above.
  • No post-game play. 😦 After spending that much time playing, it would have been awesome to see what the world would have looked like after everything had been destroyed.

The Average:

  • The Plot. I really liked the idea behind the plot, but it was a little lacking. It’s like the idea was great, but there wasn’t enough substance behind it.
  • The final boss was not the hardest fight in the game. There was a boss named Thunderblight Ganon that was twice as hard. That guy was a nightmare haha.

I feel like I’m leaving things out here, but as a whole, I may have gotten mildly obsessed with this game haha. Overall I would say 9 out of 10. Remove the shrines, remove the weapons breaking constantly and change the leveling system and I would have rated this 15 out of 10.

Sarah is getting into Zelda now, so that should be fun. Next up we have to unlock characters in SuperSmash.

Diet and Workout

This week I have been going borderline Keto. Carbs have been really low. Been eating steak and greens almost every night. I do tend to feel best when my carbs are lower than 100 grams.

Workouts have been good.  I’ve been doing lat pulldowns instead of chinups after bench press recently. Not sure why, but lat pulldowns are becoming one of my favorite moves. The recovery day was also nice. No heavy moves just isolation moves for bloodflow.

Journal Entry 334 – Sarah Trip / Nintendo Switch

Thanks to President’s Day, Sarah and I are off from work on Monday. Long weekend! Sarah went skiing with her dad and brother in Colorado for the next 5 days. I have no experience with skiing and really had zero interest in going. A friend of mine had an accident where he broke his neck snowboarding about 10 years ago. Sure it was a freak accident, but since it happened, I really just never wanted to try it.

I bought a Nintendo Switch on Thursday after some peer pressure from my friends, who thought I would enjoy it. They were correct! I’m currently playing Zelda Breath of the Wild and it’s one of the best games I have ever played. The handheld console is nice. I don’t remember the last handheld I have owned, but the Switch deserves its very high reviews. Sarah was even stealing it from me one night and played it before she left for her trip. I also bought Super Smash Bros but have barely played it. I’m way too into Zelda right now.

As for my workouts, I plan to adjust my benching down to two times a week instead of three. I also play to supplement with two recovery days, which will be chest flys, reverse flys and some extra back work that is higher in reps. One day will be off in the middle of the week and the weekend will be bodyweight days.

  • Heavy Day – Bench and Chinups / Stretching
  • Recovery Day – Flys/ Reverse Flys / Back Hypertrophy / Stretching
  • Off
  • Heavy Day – Same as above
  • Recovery Day – Same as above
  • Bodyweight Day
  • Bodyweight Day

 

 

Journal Entry 332 – Glass

For the second week in a row, I have seen a movie in theaters. Before last week, I have seen maybe one movie in the past 2 years. Now I have seen two back to back! I used to go all the time, but that was a long time ago. This week Sarah and I met up with a couple of friends to see Glass.  Glass is a sequel to both Unbreakable and Split. We watched Split earlier this week and it was great. Psychological thriller type of movie. I had no clue that Unbreakable and Split were linked until the end of the movie. To make a long story short, the movie is about undiscovered superheroes/villains that have certain features that make them superhuman. Glass (Samuel L Jackson) is a mastermind, Dunn (Bruce Willis) is incredibly strong and perceptive and Kevin (James McCavoy) has multiple personalities, including “The Beast” which is essentially a very powerful man/animal hybrid. They all have a huge weakness though, which are brittle bones for Glass, water for Dunn and compassion for Kevin. The movie is about an organization that puts these characters in a psych ward and tries to convince them they are insane and have no special powers. The movie has several twists, but I enjoyed it. There were parts I didn’t like, but overall it was great. It has a very realistic take on how superhumans would look in real life. Just like everyone else, but boosted somehow. It’s not a movie with a superhero in spandex fighting a bunch of aliens. This realistic take is one of my favorite things about this movie/series.

Sarah and I had some friends over last night to drink. We busted out some Mulled Wine, which is heavily spiced wine that you are supposed to serve warm. It tasted great. I had it cold and it may have been better than warm.

My workouts were good last week. I’m going to stick with the 3 days a week setup. I notice everytime I back off and just take a rest day, I feel really good the next day in the gym. This would support the idea of really only lifting every other day. I feel like my strength may take off with this approach. I switched to a pyramid scheme with my bench and added a set with 185lbs. I repped that 15 times on Friday after two heavy sets of 235lbs and 225lbs. It felt super light. I’m thinking about benching 3 times a week. I already bench twice, but may take out the Incline Press day and see what happens. I’m also adding in some fluff work at the end of each lifting day for whatever move I want. Usually, it is something for arms like curls, skull crushers or dips.

Also, we tried Qdoba for the first time in a long time this week. Dear god was it nasty. 1 out of 10. Half the ingredients felt uncooked and extremely dry. There was no flavor, except for maybe the chicken. After that horrible experience, not going there again. I’m sorry Chipotle. You are still my favorite!

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.

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!