2015, The Year In Review.

So with 2015 drawing to a close in the near future, there’s inevitably some introspection on the past year, and planning for the new year that comes along with it.

2015 started off slowly for me, but is ending with so much momentum that at this point, I never want to change course.

I started off the year with a simple resolution.

I’m not going to drink alcohol for 30 days.

I threw my plastic cup in the trash at the New Years’ party, and that was that. 30 days later, at the end of January, I had breezed through.

30 days was too easy. I’m not going to drink for all of 2015.

And so it began. Spring turned into Summer. It was barbecue season, and hard to resist a Corona with lime, or a post-ride IPA. Vacation was different this time around, sitting on the beach drinking water instead of 10+ beers.

Interestingly enough, it turned out to be a much more relaxing trip than the ones I had taken when I was drunk or hung over for the majority of the week.

quit-drinking-alcohol-24

Fuck it. I think I’m just done with alcohol, period.

I have yet to regret it at all. In the past 12 months, I’ve been to weddings and parties where I’ve watched rational people turn into slobbering dipshits, stumbling around and slamming into furniture before getting in their cars and driving home. I’ve witnessed 50-year old women drinking whole pitchers of Kamikazes, then being held back from voluntarily jumping from a 25-foot balcony. Ethanol-stink vomit, drunk texts,  wondering if I’m too drunk to be driving, hangovers, and the feeling of “holy fuck… WHAT did I do last night?” are all a thing of the past for me, and it feels incredible. If you are on the fence, considering dropping alcohol, just do it.

In June, I decided I would move away from Pittsburgh within the next two years.

Why? Because I want to, and I can. Pittsburgh is an ugly, unpleasant town in the winter. It’s bitter cold, gray, and brown. Area Bike Parks are either small and poorly run, or too far away. I’ve lived here for 34 years. After seeing the vast majority of the country, it’s hard to justify staying. If nothing else, I want to get out of my comfort zone. 

I’ve settled on Northern San Diego County, California. 

  • It’s been a while since I’ve been to the area, and I enjoyed it more than anywhere else I visited. The people were incredible, too.
  • It has better weather than anywhere else in the country (for me, at least. I have exercise-induced asthma in cold temperatures and prefer a warm climate).
  • It’s on the Pacific Ocean.
  • If I want winter, I can drive two hours inland, to Big Bear.
  • Snow Summit has a great Bike Park that suits my riding style, also two hours away.
  • Mammoth is six hours away, Tahoe is nine. Virgin, UT is six as well, and Whistler is 24 hours straight north. Not exactly close, but closer than they are now. All do-able for road trips.
  • It’s significantly less expensive than San Diego proper, or anything in the LA area.
  • It’s far less crowded than LA. I like living in the city, but I don’t need it. I’d sooner take a large town.
  • If I hate it, I can move to wherever I want.
pghvoceanside

Hmm… decisions, decisions.

I have a lot to do between now and the time I move from a business standpoint, and my girlfriend is still finishing up grad school. If I moved without a solid financial foundation and plan, I would end up flying back to Pittsburgh, broken, within a year. And as far as my girlfriend is concerned, I am happy to bring her with me. She has positively enriched my life, unlike most of my past girlfriends, who served only to chip away at my resources, finances, energy, and emotional stability. She is feminine, attractive, positive, and pleasant. As an example: I was on the go for ten hours yesterday. When I got home, did I hear bitching and complaining about how she was left home alone all day? No. Instead, she rubbed my feet for 45 minutes. I didn’t ask. She volunteered. This type of behavior happens regularly. Yes. She can come with me.

I have made astonishing progress in the related realms of mindset, discipline, and mental focus.

Credit where credit is due: This was possible due to information I absorbed from the the books, blogs, videos and podcasts of Good Looking Loser, Mike Cernovich, and Victor Pride. Their material has been an invaluable tool in becoming a better, fitter, smarter, happier, better looking, and more successful man.

I used to beat myself up, be overly critical of myself, stress out, panic, and inevitably just “give up”. For days, I would sit around the house eating junk food, being depressed, watching episode after episode of Top Gear and Seinfeld to kill time. Those days are long gone. I can’t sum it up in one paragraph, but the material produced by those guys has irreversibly changed my life for the better. 

I have reversed my backslide, and re-dedicated a large portion of my energy towards my fitness, health, and physical appearance.

I went from fat to much less fat in 2012, and expanded upon that in 2013-2014, getting moderately fit. From mid-2014 until mid-2015, I took it very easy, going to the gym occasionally, and eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. The results of that lifestyle were disastrous, and I re-focused my efforts in August. My nutrition, supplementation, weight training, and cardio are all in place and I’ve reached my 2015 goal of deadlifting 400 pounds. It has been a tough road, but progress is starting to become more and more apparent. I’m on the road to 10%, and won’t stop until I get there.

2015PROG3

I have said my final goodbye to working for other people.

Right now, things are on the upswing. I’m learning how to run a business properly, and like most things that  are worth the journey, it’s much harder than I expected. I still fall into the “fake it ’till you make it” category, but I’m learning more every day. I’m working hard, and taking bits of information from those who have accomplished the goals I’ve set for myself. Six months ago, I would be shocked to look this far into the future and see what I’ve managed to plow through.

I have seen Mountain Biking slide out of the limelight and further into the background.

There’s two reasons for this. First of all, my current location. Yes, there’s riding here. But I’m tired of riding the same moderate-quality trails every day. The second reason is everything else I’ve mentioned. It’s hard to fit a ride into your schedule when your days consist of:

  • Going to the gym (sometimes twice a day) and sitting in traffic to and from.
  • Preparing fresh, healthy food.
  • Writing on this blog or working on my book for 10-14 hours at a time.
  • Connecting with like-minded people on social media.
  • Researching and working on my other business.
  • Keeping my home, body, and mind clean and uncluttered.
  • Reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching videos on relevant topics.
20150811_161421

One of the two days I spent on my DH bike this season.

At this point, going out and riding the same 10-mile loop I’ve done twenty times would just be a time-killer. A takeaway from something more productive that wasn’t being done. For the last half of the summer, my bikes sat idle most of the time. I simply didn’t have the time to go and ride them very often. My priorities changed. Riding was fun, but improving every aspect of myself is more fun, and more rewarding. I can always re-integrate riding once I move.

2015 has been a year of growth, discovery, and momentum. It can be summed up in one sentence, the sentence I say to myself many times every day:

“Tonight, I will go to sleep a better man than the one who woke up this morning”

 

 

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Progress Update

I posted a recent progress picture, and in the mirror, there isn’t much to report. From a distance, things have not really changed in the past week.

But there’s something notable that has happened over the past three or four days.

I saw a hint of it for the first time early this week, but today, it’s there every time I look in the mirror. It’s now plain as day.

My shoulders are quickly shedding their fat sheath, and are becoming more defined by the day.

As I was at my leanest in the Spring of 2014, my shoulders popped quite a bit more than they have over the last year (when my tricep and shoulder, although big, was sort of an amorphous, undefined blob of muscle under fat). I could see striations, and identify the different heads of my deltoid.

BLOBSHOULDERS

2015: Blobs, not muscles.

It’s identifiable, measurable progress, and although not a radical one, it is the small victories that snowball themselves into what becomes significant change.

 

How I Do Intervals

I get on the elliptical.

0:00 to 5:00: Level 8. HR 120.
5:00 to 10:00: Level 11. HR 130.
10:00 to 10:30: Level 15. HR 140.
10:30 to 11:30: Level 12. HR 135.
11:30 to 12:00: Level 16. HR 150.
12:00 to 13:00: Level 13. HR 135.
13:00 to 14:00: Level 17. HR 160.
14:00 to 15:00: Level 13. HR 140.
15:00 to 16:00: Level 18. HR 165.
16:00 to 17:00: Level 13. HR 150.
17:00 to 18:00: Level 19. HR 170.
18:00 to 18:30: Level 13. HR 160.
18:30 to 19:30: Level 20. HR 180.
19:30 to 20:30: Level 10. HR 170.

First cycle complete.

20:30 to 30:00: Level 12. HR 130.
30:00 to 31:00: Level 17. HR 160.
31:00 to 32:00: Level 13. HR 150.
32:00 to 33:00: Level 18. HR 170.
33:00 to 33:30: Level 14. HR 160.
33:30 to 34:30: Level 19. HR 180.
34:30 to 35:00: Level 14. HR 165.
35:00 to 36:00: Level 20. HR 183.
36:00 to 37:00: Level 14. HR 165.
37:00 to 38:00: Level 20. HR 183.
38:00 to 39:00: Level 14. HR 165.
39:00 to 40:00: Level 20. HR 183.

Second cycle complete.

40:00 to 45:00: Level 16. HR 170.
45:00 to 50:00: Level 9. HR 120.
50:00 to 55:00: Level 17. HR 175.
55:00 to 60:00: Level 9. HR 120.

Third cycle complete.

image

This is how I prefer to do an hour of intervals in the the morning.

Doubles and Accountability

This week has been a huge success so far, especially in terms of my training.

  • Monday: Shoulders PM, 20 minutes steady-state directly after.
  • Tuesday: 1 hour intervals AM, Legs PM.
  • Wednesday: Chest PM.
  • Thursday: 1 hour intervals AM, 50 minutes steady-state PM.
  • Friday (today): 1 hour intervals AM, Deadlifts and Lats PM.
  • Saturday (tomorrow): 1 hour intervals AM, 1 hour steady-state PM.
  • Sunday: Off, 24-hour fast.

My diet has been (mostly) on point as well, but I’m going to discuss my “doubles” routine instead of going too in depth about my food intake this week (mostly steak, eggs, spinach, some green juice, and two of my three weekly cheat meals).

Why Doubles (two trips to the gym in one day)?

First and foremost, it allows me to hammer out more fasted cardio. AM Cardio is ALWAYS at 9:30 AM. At the absolute minimum, I won’t have had anything to eat for 11 or 12 hours when I start. I never feel faint or dizzy when I do this, rather I start to feel energized as soon as the session hits the ten minute mark, almost always introducing intervals at this point.

Intervals versus steady-state, simplified:

Intervals, or (HIIT): on the elliptical: 1 minute at level 10 followed by 45 seconds at level 18. Go back to level 10 and repeat the cycle as many times as you can in 10 minutes. My heart rate rises from approximately 150 (75%) to approximately 185 (99%) and back down to 150-160 during intervals. Burns more calories and benefits cardiovascular health more than steady-state, but workouts are grueling and leave the body more fatigued. I love intervals.

Steady state: on the elliptical: continued effort at a sustained level. I start at level 12, set it and forget it. Heart rate will remain steady in 130-150 range throughout session. Typically less taxing than intervals, but burns less overall calories.

But why am I going back to the gym later at night?

Two reasons: The first is calories in, calories out. I’m at a deficit, and doing a second (lower intensity steady-state) cardio session (on cardio-only days) burns more calories. Often, much more than I’m taking in during the day. Throwing in a steady-state session at night usually doesn’t beat me up too much, as it doesn’t really require a ton of effort. The second reason is that on strength training days, my body has some time to recover after the morning interval session before giving it 100% in the squat rack or the bench. I’m usually feeling as though my batteries are at almost a full charge when I get back in the gym later in the evening. I’ve also eaten at that point as well.

There’s no sugar-coating it, doing doubles is fucking brutal. There’s a good deal mental toughness and discipline that goes into it. Walking out of the gym in the morning knowing that you have to go back to do it all over again in just ten hours is not an easy thought to process, and if you’re not disciplined, it’s not going to happen. I now have a great support system for this, though.

 

Accountability from an unexpected source

When I moved back to my old hometown, I ran into a lot of friends from my high school and college years. One was Josh, who I ran into on the street one day. We both hung out with the same group for years, drinking and partying, playing in bands and touring. We started talking that afternoon and it turned out he had gotten into powerlifting a few years prior. After a few weeks, I guest-passed him into my gym once or twice. Eventually he switched to my gym, and we started lifting together.

It’s a good match. We lift at nearly the same weight on the basic lifts, and we have the same current goal of losing fat. It’s nice to have someone watching your form, but the big benefit is the fact that we are now accountable to another person.

On Tuesday, he texted me when I was on my way to our squat session. He was tired for work and wasn’t feeling it, he would be staying home. As one would expect, I called him a pussy and told him how stoked I was to throw some heavy squats.

Fifteen minutes later, he showed up. After the workout, he told me how glad he was that I had called him out.

He has done the same for me. It’s a lot harder to justify rotting on the couch when someone is waiting for you. It isn’t “I can wait 20 more minutes… then I’ll go”. It’s “I am expected to be there. I have to get up and go NOW”.

I do not want to let my friend down. I don’t want him to let me down. Going into this war as a team makes the enemy that much easier to take down.

It’s 9:08 AM, and I need to be at the gym in 20 minutes to do my AM cardio session.

Until next time.

My Transformations, 2012-Present

This is the big one. This post is a long read, has taken me six (so far) hours to compile, and outlines everything about my recompositions, transformations, whatever you want to call them. My battles with body fat, if you will. It’s detailed, there’s a ton of new pictures, my workouts, my foods, what worked and what didn’t.

So here we go.

If you’ve read the introduction and some of my older posts, you know my back-story, but here’s the extremely abridged version of my adolescence and early adulthood:

I was a stick-thin cross-country runner in high school, developed terrible eating and exercise habits around the time of my Senior year, and ballooned up to (an estimated) 240 pounds in ten years. This was a gain of almost 100 pounds from my weight at age 17 (at the same height). I started smoking and drinking during that time, eventually quitting smoking (and much more recently, drinking). I made numerous weak attempts to get myself into better shape over those years but I had no idea what I was doing, and ultimately failed. I quit mountain biking in 1999, but started riding Downhill again in 2008. I made a commitment to change in late 2012 and joined a gym with little understanding of what would be needed to recomposition myself. That’s the very short version, as I said.

2012: Recomposition #1.

I started on September 18, 2012, joining a small gym in the town I lived at the time. I had a rudimentary understanding that amounted to “eat clean, lift weights, and do cardio”. I used a basic upper/lower split-based three-set program from a popular website for this period of time, tweaking my exercises based on how much “burn” I felt I was getting. I no longer have any of my records from this transformation, as they were completed with a software that wasn’t very good, and I inevitably deleted.

phys

The first gym I ever regularly went to. I miss this place.

Around the third or fourth week I shifted my diet from beer, hamburgers and chicken wings to multiple small meals comprised mainly of:

  • Eggs, usually 2 or 3 at a time, over medium or hard-boiled
  • Pre-cooked, pre-cut frozen Tyson chicken breast fillets
  • Almonds
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Beef Jerky
  • Water
  • Peanut Butter

I rarely cheated. At the time, I was generally eating the aforementioned small meals, and inadvertently did some intermittent fasting from time to time, occasionally going on an empty stomach until late in the afternoon. My caloric intake was always quite small, sometimes not eclipsing 1000 calories.

I also started supplementing with Lean-Out, Scivation Xtend and Optimum Nutrition protein powder. I may have used green tea extract around this time, but the details are fuzzy. I was drinking a lot back then.

I introduced cardio around the same time as the nutrition and supplementation, usually doing 30-45 minutes post-workout, and sometimes doing another hour later in the evening, as I was going to a 24-hour gym.

This probably isn’t 100% accurate, but it’s what I can remember:

oldestworkout

And the results? The fat melted off. Absolutely melted. From mid-September through early December, I dropped from a size XL tee-shirt to a Medium, and my pants went from 38 to 32. I weighed 188 at my absolute lowest. I have to attribute this to a dangerously low caloric intake, tons of cardio, and some “noob gains”

2012transform

 

December 2012 – October 2013: Life Changes

I moved twice in this time period, and didn’t have a gym I liked, or the ability to lock into a solid routine until October. I was still eating reasonably well and lifting occasionally at a friend’s home gym during this time, at least. I gained about 15 pounds back. It was during this stretch that I was lifting heavier than ever before, learned to deadlift and squat, and bench-pressed 200 pounds for the first time.

 

October 2013-June 2014: Recomposition #2

In October of 2013, I had settled into my new living space and new job, which had a nice gym on the premises. I started using my lunch break to lift four, sometimes five days a week. I went with a more bodypart-focused split. I started off doing a chest day, a back and traps day, a shoulder day, a leg day, and an arm day.

A few weeks in, I realized I was always skipping leg day (of course) as we simply didn’t have the equipment I thought I needed to perform a solid leg workout (leg press machine, specifically). I added deadlifts to my back day as a result. We also didn’t have a squat rack in this facility, and I was not confident that I was doing them with proper form, so I simply neglected this movement.

1314workout

How my week looked in January of 2014.

I had great momentum through the winter of 2013-2014, but as I was lifting alone, and getting more serious about the weights I was putting up, I started to develop some poor form, doing only half-reps on the bench in order to boost my ego. I loved being able to “lift” 230 pounds, even though I wasn’t even coming close to hitting my full range of motion.

I got involved with Intermittent Fasting at the suggestion of my friend Dave, who had also taught me how to deadlift and squat. He was, and continues to be in exemplary shape, and I took his information to heart. I stopped eating breakfast in early October, substituting with only coffee and tea. I started off by having a 2:00 PM post-workout buffalo chicken breast and a protein/creatine shake. After the first two months or so, I dropped the chicken and only had the shake. It would usually be followed by dinner at around 7:00 PM, consisting of:

  • 12 oz of New York Strip Steak
  • Spinach
  • Four Eggs
  • Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Four pieces of Turkey Bacon
  • Avocado
  • An Apple
  • Cottage Cheese with Honey and Cinnamon
ifdinners1314

A typical dinner 10/2013-6/2014

Sometimes, though, I would go out with co-workers for wings after work. Other times I would stop at a Mexican restaurant to get a breakfast burrito and loaded nachos. I always ate within my window, though. Even on “cheat days” which sometimes turned into “cheat weekends” filled with pizza, ice cream, doughnuts, Chinese food and double bacon cheeseburgers.

After a few months, I started coming to work early in order to do an hour of fasted cardio. This wasn’t a regular ocurrance, as I probably only did this five or six times throughout the entire eight months.

At this time, I was living alone in a new town where I only knew two people. I didn’t have much of a social life during the week (aside from the occasional wing night), and didn’t particularly want one. I was for the most part, focused on my physique.

By Spring, I was leaner and more defined than I had ever been, even with my sporadic cardio. I was also much stronger than I was on my initial 2012 cut.

image

March 2014

Bad news was around the corner, though. My job moved to Connecticut, and unable to find an affordable apartment there, I moved back to my hometown, where I was offered a job in early June of 2014.

For the next month, I managed to stay at least partially on track, moving back in with my parents while I was looking for an apartment. I found a gym nearby and joined immediately, not even skipping a beat. I stuck to my intermittent fasting routine… briefly.

 

July 2014 – December 2014: Distractions, Coasting and Roadblocks

I was suddenly back in my hometown, after being gone for nine years. I was re-connecting with old friends, newly single, and ready to enjoy myself a bit after the somewhat lonely life I had led over the past year. I started dating around, going out and partying with friends, found the apartment I live in right now, and joined my current gym. I started rock climbing, riding my Downhill bike a lot more regularly, and putting in time on my XC bike while the weather was still good. I was focused on the objective of winning a major Downhill race in September, and ended up accomplishing it. It felt great to achieve something I had wanted for years.

cleganes

Photo created before I was comfortable sticking my face on the internet. I don’t know how the other guys feel about it, so we’re all Sandor Clegane.

Afterwards, I planned to “coast” for a month, until late October, when I would re-enter a period of heavy training and dietary restriction. “I’ve earned a month off” I thought to myself, not really comprehending the fact that I had basically taken all of July, August, and September “off” already, eating lunch every day at Taco Bell, Chipotle, or a locally-famous artery-clogging sandwich chain. I was only just beginning to pack some fat back on.

I had zeroed in on Kris Gethin’s 12-week daily video trainer as my planned method of getting back in the swing of things, having never been on such a structured plan (or one incorporating any sort of carbs), I figured this would take me to the next level. I set November 1, 2014 as my re-start date.

On October 28, I was hit with the hardest sinus infection I had ever experienced. My nose and ears were swollen shut, and I was leaking green mucus from every orifice in my face. I pushed back the start date by a few weeks.

sinus

Feelin’ good.

I had planned on November 14 as my go-to date, but the infection re-surfaced, putting me out of commission yet again. I decided to hold tight until my birthday in early December to give it another shot.

nosebreak

Snap. Broken nose, December 6, 2014, and the aftermath.

On December 6, I broke my nose and gave myself a light concussion at an indoor park, AGAIN pushing back my re-start date. December proved to be too busy for me to really get anything done, as I was settling into the responsibilities of my current job, diving headfirst into a new relationship with a great girl, and coping with the trivialities of the holiday season. I would have to wait until early 2015 to get back on track.

January 2015-April 2015: The Failed Restart

January 1 brought an off-the-cuff resolution I thought up on New Year’s Eve. I decided to stop drinking altogether. I’ll have more to say about this at a later date, but it’s almost twelve months later and I still haven’t had a sip of alcohol.

The new year also brought some other changes. Jaime and I were having a great time together, and inevitably going out and sampling restaurants all over the city, ordering pizza, take-out Chinese, and doing the type of things most happy couples do together (when both of them like food). I set another re-start date for February 1, and this time, I thought, nothing would stop me. I’d get on Gethin’s program for good, and finish the whole twelve weeks.

On February 1, I actually started the program as planned, and ate as he suggested in his daily videos. I weighed myself at the beginning (I believe I was 206) and hoped for a steady decline in body fat for the whole twelve weeks. The problem, however, came in the form of my work schedule and the supplementary cardio that Kris required. My work days were up to ten hours long, and would fluctuate wildly. Sometimes I would start at 5:00 in the morning, other times I wouldn’t have to be at work until noon. At times I would be called in, other times I would go home early. Doing the supplemental cardio was simply too much of a scheduling challenge for me at this point, and I all but stopped doing it.

Six weeks had gone by, and I was performing most of the strength workouts, and eating as was prescribed. I noticed that I was almost always full, and never had the “running on empty” feeling I did when I was fasting back in 2013-2014. I didn’t notice that my clothes fit me any differently, and I didn’t look any different in the mirror.

When I weighed myself, though, I was stunned. 204. I had only lost two pounds, and didn’t seem to have recompositioned myself at all. I looked the same. I got immediately frustrated, said “fuck it” and gave up. I spent the next month eating indiscriminately and only visiting the gym on average of once a week.

14TO15

Sup fat, welcome back to the party.

By April of 2015, I was panicking. I was well on my way to being as fat as I was when I started my first recomposition back in 2012.

April 2015-August 2015: Another Failed Restart, More Distractions, and Reorganization.

Jaime and I were (and are) quite happy together. I don’t want to say I was blinded to the fact that I was putting fat back on my body, but it didn’t bother me too much. I wasn’t exactly okay with it, but it wasn’t (and still isn’t) the absolute most important thing in my life.

We went on vacation in May, and we spent our time eating poorly, lying on the beach, and doing other things that couples generally do on vacation (banging constantly). I was excited to get back on my XC bike when I got back, as the weather in Pennsylvania had finally broken. I had a simple plan for whipping myself back into shape over the summer:

Ride my single-speed road bike to and from the gym, ride XC three times a week, and lift heavy.

Ultimately, this turned out to be a pipe dream. It rained every day in June. I got stuck in it often. July brought consistent temperatures in the 90’s. I was disillusioned with the bike industry, and more or less put my bikes away, deciding to take a break from the sport until 2016, and then focus on Downhill, and Downhill alone. Some other significant events were set in motion over the next few months:

  • I walked away from my job in the bike industry with no fall-back for income
  • My car started having serious problems (wonderful timing)
  • Jaime and I decided we would relocate to the other side of the country in mid-2017
  • Jaime started Nursing School while working full-time

The summer months slipped away as quickly as they had arrived, I was still eating like a pig and lifting inconsistently. By mid-August, I was undoubtedly in my worst shape since 2012. I was quite strong, but shaped like a refrigerator.

2015PROG

I started this blog in August, with the sole purpose of getting my writing “out there”, intending for it to be an outlet. Instead, it found a new purpose almost immediately: Chronicling my 2015-2016 Recomposition.

August 2015-Present: A Fresh Start and a New Tool

I spent weeks playing with different protocols. I slipped up and got lazy. I still ate like a jackass on weekends, but I had to be accountable to my blog. For the first three months, no one looked at it but me. That was fine, though. It was there to remind me that if I fucked up, I had to write about it. If I skipped a workout, I had to write about it. If I spent a day sitting on the couch being lazy and eating tacos, I had to write about it. 

My approach has gotten more refined. It’s gotten simplified.

  • Intermittent fasting every day, even on cheat days.
  • Warrior Protocol when possible.
  • Fasted cardio five days a week.
  • Fasted lifting when possible (never on squat day).
  • Basically no carbs unless it’s fiber.
  • Two-a-day cardio when possible.
  • Varied cardio (elliptical, treadmill, exercise bike, P90X, and starting next week, our gym is getting a heavy bag).

2015PROG3

I’ve made progress. I am seeing results. I will not stop until they’re what I want to achieve, and then I’ll keep going to maintain it. I’ve come a long way and then let it slip through my fingers. I know the cost of this. I’ve learned many valuable lessons over the past three years, and not applying them now would be a massive mistake.

Thanks for reading. Until next time,

Brian at RH/LH

December And What Comes With It

My last post was quite a while ago.

I’ve been silent on Twitter, and I haven’t been active on any of the forums I generally frequent. My house is a mess, and I haven’t been sticking to a reasonable schedule for lifting and cardio.

Why?

I’ve been extremely busy, and not with the things I should be busy with:

  • New Posts in this Blog
  • Re-structuring and Organizing this Blog
  • Social Media and Networking
  • My Dropshipping Business
  • My Book
  • Training
  • Nutrition

 

Instead, I’ve spent almost all of my time in the past week and a half on trivialities:

  • Driving all over the place for two Thanksgiving dinners.
  • Helping out a friend at his business for what has become far too much time.
  • Driving back and forth to my parents house to cut down some trees.
  • Getting my car inspected (in Pennsylvania, this is always far more complicated than it has to be).
  • A Supply-Chain Networking conference, which was not nearly as productive as I had hoped it would be.
  • Events related to my birthday. As much as I appreciate these gestures, it made the past week even busier.

 

The most difficult part of the equation with all of these things is this: when I am engaged in them, I lose focus. When I lose focus, I cannot give 100%. When I cannot give 100%, I don’t bother.

No one wants to read rambling, half-cocked posts on here. I’ve been down that road and have deleted numerous articles that don’t meet my current standards.

And so I found myself, when I wasn’t busy, caving in to the “Average guy” approach of zoning out in front of the TV or internet, because I was simply too sapped of resources to put any effort towards my goals.

Even now, my thoughts are drifting towards the “how and when” I’m going to drive out to my credit union, hit the gym, stop at the grocery store, and clean up my now-messy apartment today.

** At this point in the post, I had to leave, drive to my girlfriend’s workplace, and pick her up, as she got sick. I understand that these sort of things happen, but it was still a time-suck that put me an hour and a half behind schedule for today. So now, it’s not extremely likely that I’ll make it to the gym during my preferred window of time in the early afternoon when it’s practically empty.

So the real problem here: How do I eliminate these sort of problems, increase productivity, and make every day a victory?

The truth is, there’s basically no way to eliminate these time-sucks, there’s only ways to minimize their impact.

Today could be a total loss, but that’s not how I roll. What will I do today?

  • Eliminate multitasking, other than listening to some of Chris from Good Looking Loser’s podcasts on my way to and from my bank (almost an hour away).
  • Utilizing an interactive checklist (I now use Evernote) to bash out everything I need to accomplish, in order.
  • Put distractions out of my mind until the tasks at hand are finished. Only at this point will I allow myself to read a book or watch some Game of Thrones. Time is ticking away, and there’s no space in my day for goofy arguments on Pinkbike, perusing Twitter, or getting lost in aimless web browsing.

Today, I am determined to count my waking hours as a victory. Every day, I look for measurable, quantifiable evidence that I am continuing on the right track. I will go to sleep a better man than I was when I woke up. I honestly feel as though an unchanging, daily “Master Checklist” would be a great tool for this, and I may expand on this subject in the very near future.

Remember:

When you are trying to improve yourself, you are always “on the clock”.