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!

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Journal Entry 331 – Long Weekend / Dragonball Super / NFL

Had the first nice long weekend after a very busy work week. To say I was stressed would be an understatement. Anyway, the weekend proved to be very good so far and I got a lot of things done.

Sarah and I had a date night on Friday night. Started at Cooper’s Hawk and then went to Plaza Azteca for dinner. Both were great. Straight up feasted at Plaza. Food was so good it was hard not too. We got back that night and stayed up for another hour and then went to bed. I fall asleep almost immediately but woke up at 2 AM drenched in sweat and couldn’t go back to sleep. I was up for another 3 hours and then went downstairs to watch TV and luckily fell asleep for about 3 hours. I was worried that the lack of sleep would tank my energy levels on Saturday, but I was fine for the most part.

Saturday I went and saw Dragonball Super Broly with a few good friends. It was awesome! The animation was really good and it was actually a good movie. Dragonball movies tend to be pretty bad overall in terms of plot. Not this one. I would say 8.5 out of 10. Probably the first movie I have seen in over a year.

I, unfortunately, watched the NFL Playoffs last night and was really confused about the lack of eyesight and intelligence by the NFL referees. There was a penalty in the Saints vs Rams game that was so obvious, a blind man could have seen it and yet no flag was thrown. There were three separate offenses on that play. Pass Interference, head to head contact and hitting a defenseless receiver. NONE OF THEM WERE CALLED. You look at these plays and really start to wonder if these games are rigged. I mean the whole season should be branded as lost in my opinion with the amount of god awful officiating. They need to clean house, bring in new refs and teach them how the rules work from start to finish. Really annoying. The Chiefs vs Patriots officiating wasn’t as bad, but there were a few calls where you really scratched your head. I know the rules well since I have been watching football every week for the last 15 years. I then see how these refs reverse calls on challenges that clearly don’t have 100% evidence to overturn the call on the field and they do it regardless. I could sit here and rant all day and just thinking about it pisses me off haha. Change needs to come. Enough said. Oh yeah, and did I mention I hate the Patriots with every facet of my being. Another year of watching this godforsaken team in the Superbowl. Let’s go Rams!

Rant is over. 😉 Training was no bueno this week. Due to the stress at work, I went into my workouts and in a pretty low mood and just was not feeling it. I plan on this week being better. This weekend I have started doing 50 chinups, 100 situps and 100 pushups a day in addition to stretching. I plan on keeping this going for the next week.

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 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 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!

 

Journal Entry 323 – Finance

The end of the year is approaching very quickly. I can’t believe the Holidays are almost here. Very busy year overall and I have spent more money this year than any year to date. A first house will do that to you. That being said my Net Worth is still looking pretty good. Similar to writing this blog, working out and eating well, personal finance is a huge topic of interest for me. My interest in personal finance is what led me to my current job, to begin with. My current job has taught me a tremendous amount about the financial industry. I’m not an expert compared to some people but consider myself strongly inside of intermediate territory. I could compile all you would need to know into finance in a few simple tips:

  • Get out and stay out of debt. 
    • This one is probably the most important. If you understand this, then you likely have your ducks in a row. Don’t get behind on credit card payments, don’t buy a car you can’t afford and have $3-400 a month payments with interest or any other instrument of debt. Many places offer financing on just about any expensive item and you want to be wary of this. Financing implies you will be paying interest and this means more money you have to pay then the initial cost of the item. BEWARE.
    • A mortgage is somewhat of an exception because paying off a house is unrealistic for most people.
    • I have talked to some very smart people and some of them still haven’t grasped this concept, which is shocking to me. Do you really need a $40000 SUV with huge tires when all you do with it is commute to work or the store? – Probably not.
  • Invest in a 401(k) ESPECIALLY if you have company match (free money)
    • Be a loyal employee. It costs a lot of money to hire people and the longer you work somewhere, show up and do a great job, the more the company likes and invests in you.
  • Invest in a Taxable Account
    • Taxable accounts are the new savings accounts in my opinion. You can withdraw the cost basis (the money you put in the account – after-tax) tax-free and the money will grow far more (investment earnings) than it would sitting in a checking/savings account.
  • Keep 3-6 months of savings in your checking and savings and move the rest to a taxable account or other savings account
    • The value of your money in checking and savings accounts actually loses money each year due to inflation. Keep an amount that feels comfortable to you here, but save the rest.
  • Beware Lifestyle Inflation
    • This is a tough one, because it kind of happens automatically. Lifestyle inflation is basically earning more and spending more to match it. For example, say I got a $25000 annual raise. Most people would go “Hell Yeah” and spend it all by getting a bigger house and a nicer car even though they were fine with what they had before. Some of this is just the way society is set up as it is highly materialistic. Smart people take this money, pay off debt, invest it (which essentially means you will earn more money down the road) and live the same way they were living before. Quality of life is the same before the raise, but their wealth would increase tremendously.
    • Image result for fight club you are not the thing you own
  • Get rid of things you no longer use.
    • This is actually a very underrated tip for saving money. I shudder at the thought of hoarding. I’m possibly the only person in my family that is a minimalist or non-materialist. When your house becomes piled up so high with crap, you don’t even realize what you have any more. We don’t live in a third world country, therefore, we do not need to collect goods as if our life depended on it. Clean out your house and really go through everything you have to see if you truly need that item. Odds are if you don’t use it every day and haven’t seen it in years then you don’t need it. This doesn’t apply to pictures or family heirlooms, but mainly to excessive clothing that you don’t wear or any material goods, decorations that you would be better served getting rid of.
  • Buy Quality over Quantity
    • This may sound like I’m recommending never to buy anything. This is not so. I mainly recommend getting all of your debt paid off and your savings in place (investments or savings should be automatic. There should never be an excuse not save each month. Set up savings like you would an automatic bill payment). When you do buy something, make sure it is a quality item. This is something you would use daily or use for a long time before replacing, but it is also something you can afford. Never use financing to pay for a small item. Obviously, I don’t recommend buying too much quantity of anything, unless you actually need the volume of what you are buying. Buy nice things within your means, not a lot of things.
  • Appreciate Money
    • At an early age, I learned to appreciate food. As a fat child, I learned that it was through food that I was grossly overweight for my age and height. From that day forward, I manipulated food to achieve my desired effect. Which for me was to be slim. I have gone through one hell of a learning curve with food and can honestly tell you that when I eat something I appreciate what it is doing for me. I look at cheat meals as something I have earned and the rest of the time I choose foods that I know are benefiting me. (Protein, healthier fats, low sugar, green vegetables etc..) I only learned to appreciate food after it became scarce, however. The same is true of money for most people. Most kids or people even have no concept of what it means to appreciate money. Personal finance is not even a required class in school. (frightening thought) So when most kids graduate college in mountains of debt, then get a job that can barely pay the bills, money then becomes scarce. THEN they appreciate money. Unfortunately, it takes going through this for most people to “wake up” and truly appreciate it what money is and how to manage it.
    • Other people that don’t follow the rules above are in the same boat. They could make plenty of money and still be broke because they are truly idiotic with their spending habits.
    • You also have people on the other side of the coin that are so rich, money is no longer appreciated. It just becomes what Leonardo Di Caprio coins “Fun Coupons) in Wolf of Wall Street. Something to waste on material goods. This mindset can lead you to ruin down the road if you are not careful.

This actually ended up being a lot longer than I thought haha. I may add this under a new article. Ideas just kept hitting me as I was writing.

My strength is stuck in a plateau. Going to bump up the protein and calories by 2-300 to see if this helps. Other than that been keeping it pretty low carb still and my weight is hovering around the 178lb mark.

Sarah and I went to DC last week, which is why I didn’t post. We met up with my brother and his wife, as it was my sister-in-law Rebecca’s birthday, Sarah’s birthday and little Abby’s birthday on Halloween. She was much bigger than the last time I saw her! It was a fun time though. Sarah and I went to a few museums and then ate out at some local restaurants. On Sunday, we drove back and chilled most of the day and then went to Red Salt Chophouse and Sushi with Sarah’s parents for her Birthday dinner. The Sushi was great. I got Batman roll and Black Russian roll, mainly because I like the names.