Journal Entry 369 – Cobra Kai / Attack on Titan

Been a while since my last entry. Virginia has finally lifted its “Stay At Home” Order, but not much has really changed as a result. We are both still working remotely, restaurants are still really limited and most stores require a mask. However, Sarah and I did travel to South Carolina to head to the beach during Memorial Day weekend. Basically went from driving zero times in 2 months, to driving 6 hours one way haha. Not going to lie, it feels a little strange to drive when you have not done it in awhile. It was good to get out of the house though.

Work has kept me busy recently. That is for sure. I have not been reading much this month, since I’m a little exhausted mentally after work, but I did buy another book on Kindle. It’s called No Self, No Problem: How Neuropsychology Is Catching Up to Buddhism. It’s about a neuroscientist who lost his father and became very depressed. He wanted a way to escape his negative thoughts and this prompted him to become a brain expert. However, he also took an interest in meditation and Eastern Religion/Philosophy during this time and noticed that there were several parallels between the two. Almost as if Science is catching up to what was already known from Eastern schools of thought. I have only just begun reading it, but it certainly sounded interesting to me.

I’ve also finished two more shows. Cobra Kai and Attack on Titan. Both of them immediately became integrated into my favorites. Cobra Kai is about the Karate Kid characters, but 34 years after the movies. The show focuses on Johnny Lawrence (the bad guy in the movies) and shows things from his perspective. He has fallen on hard times and decides to open a dojo named Cobra Kai to teach kids karate. His rival and the hero of the movies, Daniel LaRusso, is very successful and has a family. He becomes inspired to open his own dojo after he sees that Johnny opened one though. The two then re-open their rivalry and the kids they teach frequently get into fights. The character interactions are great and it was highly enjoyable. 9 out of 10

Attack on Titan is an anime that was very well done. Great animation, soundtrack and characters. It was a much more serious anime than most, which I like a lot. However, it was also pretty brutal as well haha. Essentially, humans are on the verge of extinction as they are being hunted by massive humanoid looking titans. Humans are forced to live behind huge walls as the outside world is too dangerous to explore. However, humans have a military unit called the Scouts, which is what the story focuses on. Scouts are incredibly good fighters and are able to fight back against titans very effectively. This show is very action-oriented and has some of the best fight scenes I have ever seen. Levi is hands-down the best character in the show. 9.5 out of 10.

In terms of working out, I do pushups one day and chin-ups the next and then repeat. I’m able to get 40 pushups / 15 chin-ups in a row without a lot of effort. Definitely seeing improvement. I also throw in some squats and stretching every day as well. Sarah and I also still try to walk with Luke at least once a day as long as the weather holds out. Weight is around 175-176 lbs, which is right where I want to be.

 

Journal Entry 366 – Low Key / Final Fantasy VII

Coronavirus is still in full effect in the U.S. and is still causing a nationwide Quarantine. We usually check it every day and the numbers just keep rising, especially in the U.S. Our local county has also been hit pretty hard as well, so I’ve been keeping it pretty low key and really have no need to leave the house. Sarah and I have still been working from home and have enjoyed doing so. This quarantine has allowed us to spend much more time together and we usually try to go on a daily walk just to get out of the house and away from technology.  I predict the quarantine to be and stay in effect for at least 2 more months.

This quarantine has also upped my entertainment game. Been into a variety of shows recently. One show I’ve been watching is an anime called My Hero Academia, which I have almost finished. It is not nearly as good as my other favorite animes (Berserk, Hunter X Hunter and Dragonball Z), but it was still a really good show. Also, been watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. This show is great and I’ve certainly been enjoying it. Also, one of my childhood favorite games, Final Fantasy VII, was just remade for the PS4. It originally came out on the original Playstation about 23 years ago. The game has been amazing and I have some serious nostalgia playing though it. It’s nice to see what characters and settings look like in real-time now that technology is powerful enough to show it.

I’ve also been working out every single day. Day one is 50 squats and 50 chin-ups. Day 2 is 50 squats and 100-200 pushups. I rotate these each day. It gives a good energy boost and helps to maintain strength as much as I can at the moment. We usually go on a walk with Luke at some point as well.

As for diet, if anything the quarantine has improved my eating habits. I have more time to make food and been throwing together meals will cheaper foods. Since we don’t really have the option to go out, it forces you to be more creative with the foods you do have. I would say a quarantine favorite is peanut butter and banana. Peanut butter is one of the few foods to cure me of my addiction to protein bars, which we are not eating a ton of right now. I was also getting a ton of “protein chips” which I’ve recently replaced with food. Feeling good. We just stocked up at Aldi for two weeks worth of food.

I’m also sticking to my book a month goal for the year. I’m in the middle reading this book called:

“Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks)”

Now, why the hell would I read a study guide for middle school students? – Don’t let the title fool you, it covers way more information than what is covered in middle school. The point of this reading project I started at the beginning of the year was to learn more. This book is a giant review of everything I have ever learned in school (including high school). It covers almost every single topic you can think of in Science and is highly enjoyable and easy to read/comprehend. It also kind of shows, how information that you don’t use, you lose. There are large parts of the book, where I remember learning topics in school, but have long forgotten about. These book types also have one for American History, World History and even Coding. Since I’ve enjoyed this one so much, I plan on reading these other titles as well. Highly enjoyable and would rate a 10 out of 10.

 

Journal Entry 365 – Quarantine

Due to the Coronavirus, I have basically been a hermit for the past week as I have been working from home and had no real reason to go out. Time has somewhat changed meaning a bit for me. I go to sleep later, wake up later, save money on gas (although all of it went to food), but it almost just feels like the past week was just one really long day haha. I have enjoyed working from home though for a change. I’ve been working for the past 6 years of my life and never had the experience of working from home daily for that long of a stretch of time.  The whole situation still feels a bit unreal. Almost like its a movie or something. The more people that quarantine though, the less it spreads. This basically means the duration of this virus is really dependent upon people doing what they are supposed to.

I will admit though, one thing about this whole situation has been really annoying. Celebrities are getting tested with ZERO symptoms. These tests are hard enough to come by already and they are wasting tests on the famous elite for literally no reason. It’s like why are you getting tested if you’re not sick? Why not save for it the people that are checking into the hospital with it? – LAME

Sarah, unfortunately, had to go into the office a few days last week, because she is the only one that can do a particular function. She has been racking up the OT in the meantime. She actually went to the grocery store on Friday after work and stocked up. Luckily most everything we were looking for was in stock. I’ve been eating a lot healthier at home than I normally do haha. I eat way more fruit and have been eating salads or eggs every day for lunch instead of those convenient protein chips. I actually have time to do a short workout on my lunch break and then have enough time to make lunch right after for the latter half of my day. Since the gym is closed, I have been doing home workouts. Mainly just calisthenics but it has been enjoyable.

In my free time, I’ve been watching Hunter X Hunter. This is the first anime I’ve watched in awhile and after a slow start, this show has been GOLD. Some of the best and most intense fights that I’ve seen. My friend did not let me down on this recommendation. I’m almost done with it though and once I finish, plan on knocking out another book.

Journal Entry 363 – Silicon Valley / D&W Update

Sarah and I recently finished a show called Silicon Valley on HBO.  It’s about coders in Silicon Valley that are trying to make it big, based on their idea of middle-out compression. This basically allows data to be stored in way less space and also makes software faster.  The idea comes from the show’s main character, Richard, but his buddies are also very talented in their own right. This group of friends constantly encounter ethical dilemmas and try to navigate a largely corrupt industry where the rich corporations buy out any innovative ideas that these young geniuses come up with and add it to their own company. (This is basically how it works in reality.) Richard and his friends, fight back and try not to sell out, so they can be both ethically sound and successful with their own company Pied Piper. Long story short, it was a hilarious show and very enjoyable to watch. However, I did NOT like the ending. It was rushed and the ending, while maybe being a metaphor for the entire show, was not good. Not going to spoil it, but personally, I didn’t like it. My favorite character was Erlich and Gilfoyle. Erlich left the show in season 4 😦 and man it just was not the same. Erlich was not the smartest guy in the world but was hilarious and really made for some great scenes.

Recently, I’ve been reading a book called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Certainly, been a slower read and I have found myself checking out a bit reading it. The author is very liberal, which is fine, but he seems to be an idealist as if everyone in the world is nothing but angels being manipulated by evil governments. Come on man. Let’s get back to reality here. While your ideas sound great in theory, we don’t live in fantasyland. So far I’m not really impressed, but I do want to finish.

As for Diet and Workouts, I did want to provide an update. My workouts have been great recently and short and sweet as well:

Current Diet:

  • Coffee / Protein Pudding
  • Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps
  • 2-3 drinks of Kraken
  • Large Dinner – Varies
  • Chocolate Protein Pudding

High Protein / Mod Fat / Low Carb (around 50-150g a day)

Current Workout:

  • Push Workouts (Twice a week)
    • 3 sets of 10 reps each move
    • Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
    • Dumbbell Lateral Raise
    • EZ-bar Skullcrushers
  • Pull Workouts (Twice a week)
    • 3 sets of 10 reps each move
    • Dumbbell Rows or Chins
    • Smith Machine Shrugs
    • EZ- bar Curls
  • X Workouts (Optional)
    • Legs and AbsSquats or Lunges
    • Weighted Crunch
    • Weighted Obliques
  • Cardio
    • Light Jog
    • Incline Walk

Journal Entry 354 – Labor Day / Football Returns

Another week in the books. Been a long week for me to be honest. I was just itching for the weekend to start and now its finally here. Virginia Tech (VT) Football finally comes back today at 4 PM EDT against Boston College. I expect a win here. Next week, my brother and a couple of friends are meeting in Blacksburg to see our first actual game in years. Should be an easy one, but it’s the experience that counts. I just hope my liver is ready! 😉

After the game today, Sarah and I also plan to have some friends over for Labor Day. Technically, the holiday is on Monday, but no one wants to throw a party then haha. It’s nice to have some days to chill and relax and since you have to go back to work the next day, I think Saturday is a much better choice.

I’ve been sticking to the my workouts outlined in my last post, but I’m not sure I’m feeling it anymore. The trap-bar deadlift is ALWAYS begin used OR there is nowhere to set it up in my gym because the squat racks are constantly being used. Let me put it this way, if 5 total people were in the gym, 4 of them would be in the squat racks. These people don’t like to leave either. That makes programming anything in the squat rack a real chore. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the 4 rest days. I actually almost forced myself to do ZERO lifting outside of those 3 workouts and I hated it. My workouts were almost too heavy and the second movement was considerably weaker than my first movement. I decided to shift it once again to daily bodyweight movements. The energy and mood boost I get from these moves is incredible. Honestly, feel like a zombie coming back to life after a pretty quaint set of pushups and squats. I don’t really have evidence to back this up, but the energy boost between doing heavy moves for low reps vs high reps of bodyweight movements is really different. The higher reps feel therapeutic.

 

 

Journal Entry 353 – New Split, Giants Pre-season, Stranger Things

Another week in the books. I was off this Monday because Sarah and I went to visit family in Greensboro, North Carolina. Always good to see everybody.

I have once again adjusted my routine in the gym so that I’m really only expecting to lift 3 days a week. I only have two workouts: Workout A and Workout B. Check it out:

  • Workout A
    • Bench Press 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
    • Chinups (Weighed)  – 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
    • Cable Crunch – 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Workout B
    • Dumbbell Incline Press 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
    • Trap-bar Deadlift 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
    • Cable Crunch 3 sets of 8 reps

Getting back on the progressive overload grind. These workouts are rotated every other workout. Meaning: A, B, A, B, A, B…. I have already run both of these workouts and it may appear simple, but the heavy loads are not easy. The trap-bar deadlift made me brutally sore for the next two days. Mainly my upper back more than my legs which surprised me. The trap-bar deadlift works every single muscle in your body, except maybe chest. Love it. The heavy cable crunches at the end are for core strength. My rest days will be the weekends and Tuesday and Thursday. Rest days I plan to do 100 pushups, stretching and light cardio.

I have watched both Giants pre-season games so far this year. I like what I see. The defense is still a bit of a concern, but not all the starters have been playing. Eli looks good and so does Daniel Jones. A lot of fans are jumping the gun and are all over Daniel Jones, but I think he needs to sit at first. Only if Eli is really playing bad (not likely) would he start. Without Odell (Drama Queen) Beckham, I think this team is much better off. We have Saquon Barkley, who is literally amazing at running back, a really improved offensive line (the most important upgrade) and average wide receivers. I think the average wide receivers is kind of a good thing though. You don’t have to force the ball to these people, which creates turnovers and awkward experience for everyone. Without Odell on the team, this is not going to be an issue.

Sarah and I have also been started watching Stranger Things recently. I really like it so far. It is kind of hard to describe though. I think it has something to do with LSD experiments, mind control and contact with aliens. It is a darker show, than I thought it would be and certainly has that overtone when watching. The show also focuses on kids, which is a new one for me.

Journal Entry 352 – Company Party

Another couple of weeks in the books. Missed my post last weekend because we had our annual Company Party in Downtown, Richmond. My company goes all out for these parties and spends a lot of money. This year was an 80s / 90s theme and there was no shortage of food or drinks. I would say a good 80% of all employees show up to this party each year. This year there were a ton of games set up including Flip Cup (drinking game), Ping Pong, Arcade Games, Jenga, and many others. My favorite game was Flip Cup and my favorite feature they had there was a Speakeasy setup, where you would order your drink from an IPAD and 15 seconds later, a bartender would slide the drink out to you behind a wall. We all had a lot to drink and were up til about 2 AM.  I did try to preempt my hangover by chugging a huge container of Pedialyte, but it did not help the next morning. 😦 We drove back Sunday morning and Sarah and I went to IHOP to get some pancakes, but it was so crowded we couldn’t even park. We decided just to go home and make something instead. Sarah and I never go out for breakfast, so the one time we did, that had to happen. Not fun.

Other than the party, things have been pretty normal over the past two weeks. My desire for alcohol dropped to almost zero after the party until this Saturday afternoon (So literally an entire week). Sarah and I went back to Cooper’s Hawk for the monthly wine tasting and honestly, this month was not that great. We were walking around the mall before we went and it was really hot yesterday, so I don’t know if the dry wine just wasn’t doing it for me at that point in time. The White Sangria was really good though, so we ended up picking that for the bottle.

Workouts have been about 3-4 days a week. It varies every time I go though. My bench press is still roughly 225lbs for a solid 6 reps on average over 3 sets. I’m still trying to do Push/Pull in the same workout. I have not been incline walking as much after though because I just sweat too much now. I think this has to do with the very hot temperatures outside.

Diet has been very consistent. I pretty much eat the same way every day and then my dinners vary each night, eating whatever I want. Dinner is always the bulk of my food.

  • Coffee
  • Orgain Superfoods Powder (It’s a protein and superfood powder)
  • Our Little Rebellion Chips (No preparation snack before and after the gym)
  • Snacks – Carrots Sticks / Egg Whites / Hummus
  • Dinner – Anything I want / Biggest meal of the day
  • Orgain (Chocolate) with berries

That is my diet almost every single day except for the weekends. I like the idea of eating “Superfoods” powder every morning. I get Orgain from Costco and its a really good deal. To consume on a daily basis (5 out of 7 days anyway) I think its better than slamming down normal protein powder as I’m getting a billion Probiotics and thousands of micronutrients.

Sarah and I have recently started watching “The Boys” on Amazon Prime. Really awesome show so far. It’s about Superheroes that basically commit crimes and a large corporation called Vought, basically sweeps it under the rug. The Superheros also do some good, but collateral damage and hurting innocent people largely get ignored by the media and public opinion. The Superheros are also insanely selfish and don’t really care about people. They mainly save people to make themselves look good in front of the public. The Boys are a group of rebels that lost a loved one to the careless actions of the Superheros and are now fighting back against them in a careful and controlled way. Only one season out so far, but has been great so far.

Journal Entry 351 – Stony Point Wine Festival

Another week in the books. Very stressful start of the week, but a really nice end to it. Yesterday, we went to Stony Point Wine Festival with a group of friends. Most wine festivals are outside but luckily this one was at a mall and they put it inside. Considering it was 100 degrees yesterday, we were all pretty happy to learn that once we arrived. We got there about 1 PM and it ended at about 5 PM, but dear god that day flew by. Directly after we went to Mexican to sober up a bit and Sarah and I shared some Chicken Fajitas. After this we went back to our place to pick up Luke, then we all went over to a friends place. Busy day and a lot of drinking, but it was a lot of fun.

In terms of or working out, I have really been enjoying incline walking recently. Something about the blood flow just feels really good on my lunch break. Most days I also lift doing 4 sets of 10-12 reps for a Push movement (any move I feel like) and 4 sets of 10-12 reps for a Pull movement (any move I feel like) then I just finish off with incline walking. I also do 100 Pushups a day almost every day in addition to these workouts.

Diet has beeen more of an intuitive approach recently with a balance of all macros. More or less just eating how I feel based on the day. Protein has probably been on average a little over 100 grams each day but nothing super high. During weekdays, I was always like eating light during the day and then having a big dinner. My dinner is always different but I like the flexibility of having whatever for dinner and being able to pretty much eat whatever. Weekends are not structured at all. Again pretty intuitive overall.

Next weekend, we have my annual company party in Downtown Richmond, so definitely looking forward to that.

Journal Entry 348 – Cookout

Another week in the books. It was a pretty stressful week at work and was really looking forward to the weekend. We finally used the grill on Thursday, two 12oz steaks, mainly because the weather was perfect outside. The steaks came out really good other the fact that I cooked mine a bit long. Grilling is definitely a different style of cooking that I have not done in a long time. As we were grilling, Sarah said she would like to have people over for a cookout, so we ended up having some friends over on Saturday night. I love having friends over, so it was fun as always. We got 88% lean burgers at Costco for like $16. There was a ton of meat. I also got turkey franks from Aldi, which were actually pretty good. I think I once again cooked them a bit too long, but it still tasted really good at the time. I also made some Guac dip, which not going to lie was pretty damn good. I like it chunky, so I mash mine with a fork and always leave it so that several chunks of avocado are still in the dip. Also, salt is the key ingredient. Sarah bought ingredients for Smores at the end of the night, which were also really good. So a lot of good eating last night!

Still eating pretty low carb at the moment and decided to try the Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bar – Cookie Dough flavor. I can say without doubt it was one of the worst protein bars, I have ever had. 1 out of 10. I consider myself a “Protein Bar Connoisseur” and this bar was a disgrace to other protein bars. It was a keto style bar so more fat and less protein and of course low carbs. It was extremely dry and was falling apart before I even ate it. It tasted like chemical chalk. Just really bad. I also tried some Legendary Almonds. These are much better, but still a little pricey for the amount you get. Also, the Buffalo Wing flavor was not great. The Pizza and Ranch flavor (go figure these are my favorite) were much better. I like to eat these during my work week since I don’t really stop for lunch.

My workouts recently have been consistently inconsistent. I had a great workout on Friday though that consisted of Bench Press and Chinups. 4 sets of each. Got up to 235lbs for Bench Press for 5 reps. Chinups was 4 sets to failure with bodyweight. I love simple workouts. Going forward will likely do 3 days a week in the gym with a similar setup of just Bench and Chins.

Journal Entry 347 – Tired

Another week in the books. For whatever reason, I was really tired all week. I would basically go to bed around 9:45 to 10PM and I usually don’t go to sleep til 11-11:30PM. I also bonked out pretty bad in the gym this week. Again not sure what it was by I was NOT feeling it. Even light weights felt heavy.

This weekend has been great so far though. Sarah and I went to one of my good friend’s house warming party.  He recently bought and fixed up a house nearby where we live. He had about 10 people over to drink and we all had a good time. He also won an event on Instagram, that featured a newly created Ukrops Food Truck to come to his place for an hour and we could order as much food as we wanted. Good eating. One thing I really liked about his house was the screen porch. I used to love sitting out there when I was young and it’s a great way to always sit outside no matter the weather or season. The biggest benefit is, of course, keeping out the insects. Definitely, something I would like to have again in the future.

Later today, Sarah and I are going to see John Wick 3. Been wanting to see this movie for awhile now and it’s kind of been a sh**ty weekend in terms of weather, so I think its a good day for it.