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

 

 

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Journal Entry 333 – Sickness / Kingdom Hearts 3 / Diet and Workout Update

I missed my post last week due to being sick all week with a cold/sinus infection. I’m actually still dealing with a few symptoms from it to be honest, especially in the morning and when I lay down at night. I took off Friday last week and took it easy for the whole weekend. Luckily, Kingdom Hearts 3 has finally come out so I had something to do.

Kingdom Hearts 3 has been in development of the last 10 years. The original game came out when I was like 13. I have played both Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 and I enjoyed this game. Several features of the game are tailored towards a younger generation for sure, but I would say over half of the people that played the first two games are my age or older. KH3 is heavily skewed towards Disney and way less towards Final Fantasy. The mix of the two is what drew my interest in the first place. That was a huge negative of this game in my opinion. They had 9-10 worlds focusing on a different Disney movie, but couldn’t allocate at least one to Final Fantasy? This game is made by Square Enix not Disney. Square Enix (used to be Square Soft) is the creator of Final Fantasy, so it had every right to jam as much Final Fantasy as humanly possible into this game. Other than that I found it to be an enjoyable game. The graphics were great, you got your money’s worth in terms of content, good characters and most of the game was fun. I would probably rate it 8 out of 10. I will admit, I definitely got absorbed into this game. This does not happen to me often anymore. Also, not to spoil anything but there definitely seems like another one coming out in the future. Hopefully not 10 years from now.

My workout schedule has been very simplistic as of late, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying it. Here it is below:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
    • Bench Press (Pyramid)
      • Warmup – 135lbs (10 reps)
      • Top set 240lbs 4-6 reps
      • 2nd Work Set 225lbs 6-10 reps
      • 3rd Work Set 185lbs for 10-15 reps
      • Burnout Set 135lbs for AMAP (usually get between 20-30 reps)
    • Chinups
      • 4 sets of AMAP with bodyweight
    • Stretching
  • Tuesday and Thursday
    • Rest Day
      • Optional Incline Walk
      • Optional Pushups
      • Stretching
  • Saturday and Sunday
    • 150 Pushups
    • 50 Chinups
    • Stretching

Nothing groundbreaking here. My bench continues to rise. I have noticed if I overdo the pushups during the week, my shoulders can hurt on bench press the next day. I usually just take a rest day completely off from the gym on Tuesday and Thursday. Typically, I’ll run errands that I don’t want to do on the weekend or I’ll go get a light lunch. Also, I usually only do that bodyweight workout one of those weekend days. Not both.

Calories fall around 1700-2000 calories during the weekdays with most of those being eaten at night. Then on the weekends, I’m around the 2000-2500 calorie range. I still keep track, but I really don’t care where they fall. I seem to be in a good place with an intuitive style approach right now. My vice is alcohol on the weekends that can get high pretty quickly. :0 Protein is where it needs to be, fat is moderate and carbs are the same. So balanced!

During the week my diet layout looks like this most of the time:

  • Head to Work
  • Coffee – 50 cals
  • Protein Pudding – 150 cals
  • Enlightened Beans – 450 cals
  • Home from Work
  • Vegetables with Ranch or Hummus / Chips and Salsa – 200-300 cals
  • Dinner – Varies – 5-800 cals
  • Protein Pudding with berries- 200 cals

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 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 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.