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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guest Post: Another Father-Son Relationship Story


Hey everyone, your favorite Buckler is back! Totally joking, Christian is letting me use his blog for a class project. Hopefully you find me as entertaining as him!

Let me start by saying one thing: I’ve always loved my dad, and I always will. This post is not meant to disparage him in any way; it is merely meant to acknowledge both the differences and the constants in our relationship since I moved away from our house and to college.

            To understand the differences, you must first understand my family and my background. I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas with my mom, dad, brother, and sister. I’m the oldest of the siblings; my younger brother is a senior in high school this year and my younger sister is a freshman. As children, both my brother and I were brought into the world of sports by my dad. He grew up the same way despite his diminutive stature (he graduated high school a little over five feet tall and right around 100 pounds), wrestling as well as playing football, soccer, and baseball. Because of his passion for sports throughout his childhood, he was able to convince me and Paul to play soccer when we were just starting school. Although I’m positive he wouldn’t have been very happy had we not wanted to play, we never had that issue. Both Paul and I excelled on our respective teams because of our extensive practice. Rather than watch cartoons like some of our friends, we begged our dad to take us to the park and play soccer with us. Our dining room at home doubled as a soccer field with a small rubber Fisher Price basketball, despite our mother’s insistence that something would be broken (the chandelier lights frequently did, but she was usually quick to forgive). Soccer soon gave way to basketball (also indoors on a Fisher Price hoop, I should probably thank my mother after this), football, and baseball. My dad joined in on almost everything we played, happy to have an outlet in which to interact with us. It is through this outlet that I grew with my brother and my dad. My family background is not defined by a love of sports, but it can easily be described in such terms.

            In high school, the sports connection I had with my dad continued. He went to all of my games (basketball, soccer, hockey, and track meets), frequently yelling encouragement despite my objections. He ensured that I was a model student athlete; attending all team events (mandatory and non) while remaining an honors student. I was kicked out of a hockey practice once because of a miscommunication with my coach, who thought I was playing with a puck when I shouldn’t have been. I was adamant that I was in the right, to the point that I was willing to skip the next day’s game because I didn’t want to apologize. My dad informed me that there were no options; I was apologizing to both the coach and my teammates for my behavior. While I rarely strayed this far from my dad’s motto of leading by example, he put me back in my place when it was necessary.

            Outside of sports, however, our relationship was sometimes strained. As teenagers are wont to do, I frequently spent entire days in my room with the door closed, watching TV and spending hours online. My dad, the ultimate family man, hated it. His idea of a family consisted of spending free time together whenever possible, something my brother and I rarely wanted to do. Why would I want to watch a marginal TV show or play a board game with them when I could watch hours of YouTube videos or Scrubs marathons in the privacy of my room? My dad and I frequently fought about what he described as my new “hermit” lifestyle. He was much more strict than my mother (my siblings and I were always grateful when my mom was the only one around to discipline us), who only became bothered when I was in my room neglecting my chores. As the son of a military man, my dad grew up in many different places. My Uncle Marty was actually born in Japan, to go along with multiple others born in Canada and different areas around the United States. He moved so much that his brothers and sisters had to be his best friends, as he always had to leave his old friends behind. This is what (in my opinion) led my dad to discourage our desire for endless independence. He obviously wanted us to lead our own lives and above all be happy, but he believed that our happiness depended on a close knit family. None of this is to say that I resented my dad in high school. I loved him just as he loved me, and we got along perfectly fine more often than not.

            As I moved on to my next chapter in life, I felt that I would begin to drift away from my family and especially my dad. As high school valedictorian and a graduate of Texas A&M with a 3.9 GPA, my mom was able to give me tips and helping points to help succeed in college. As a student of only a few years of community college, I wondered if my dad would think that we were growing apart. Luckily, our relationship has only strengthened. I talk to him at least two or three times a week, usually more. We talk about sports, school, work, and family. My brother, who has made a living doing things at a far lower level than he is capable of (a story for another day) is a frequent topic of discussion. My dad has embraced TCU as if he went here himself, watching every football game and talking smack to coworkers who graduated from Baylor or UT. Golfing, a tradition that began late in high school, has bloomed into something truly special for me. Because TCU is so close to home, I get the chance to spend a day golfing with my dad (and sometimes brother) every few weeks.

As a freshman and sophomore, I was only involved in Intramural sports at TCU. Therefore, my dad and I were only able to discuss our golf outings and professional sports. After I joined TCU’s reignited club ice hockey team, my dad returned to his hobby of being a youth hockey fanatic. He asks me about the hockey team at least as often as he does my classes, if not more. As grateful as I am to have hockey as an outlet in my life again, I’m just as grateful to have another opportunity to have my dad cheer for me.

This project was easy for me because of the way two of my strongest values interact with each other. My family is ultimately my greatest value, and our shared love of sports (and really, any competition) is something that has made me the man I am today.
 
 
From left to right: my girlfriend Jordan, me, my dad, my friend David, and my sister Emily 
 
 
 

 

 

 
 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

PASIC 2012: A Dream Come True

When I was looking at colleges during my junior and senior years of high school, the importance of a great drumline was one of the few things I was sure about. I didn't know whether I'd prefer public or private, urban or rural, liberal arts or hard sciences, small pond or big pond, etc. Heck, I didn't even have the first clue of what I wanted to major in! But one of the few things I knew (other than pretty girls were a plus) was that I would love to be a part of a great, well-respected college drumline. An odd requirement for a non-music major, but hey, it mattered.

So when I began looking, I went to youtube and searched for videos with PASIC in the name. For the non-percussionists in the audience, PASIC stands for the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. Basically, it's a weekend or so of nothing but percussion - marching percussion competition, educational clinics, industry trade show, and concerts galore. I knew that any group that took ensembles to PASIC was very serious about percussion and drumming, and groups that did well were of the highest caliber in the nation, if not the world. So I watched countless videos of awe-inspiring musicianship and youthful performance antics. After watching these videos, a few schools stood out - UNT, OSU (Oklahoma State), TCU, Texas State, etc. As you may have read, I wound up at TCU. And this year, I wound up in one of those videos.


I'd recommend watching in high quality. Ps, I'm a cymbal player.


Our "project" led us to rehearsals of 20-30 hours per week working on the most demanding performance I've ever experienced. It put all of us through a gauntlet of emotions — frustration, exhilaration, exhaustion and inspiration — but was, hands down, one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I learned a lot about music, marching, responsibility and work ethic, and made deep relationships and memories along the way. Thank you to anyone and everyone who encouraged or supported us along the way — we needed you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Getting Back on Track AGAIN

It seems as if 50% of the content on this blog is made up of apologies for not keeping up with the 52 Weeks of Fitness series. I left off after the midpoint, where I summed up what I've learned so far and what I plan to do in the future. Here's another lesson: keeping track of my fitness progress via blog posts is a chore. I don't like doing it. Hence why I conveniently *forget* to post updates for a long time. Like a looooooooong time. So here's what's been going on since the last time I typed here (two months ago, as I look at my calendar):

  • I finished out the Strength II phase of the NROL (FUN workouts, by the way)
  • I then progressed to Hypertrophy III, but stopped because a week and a half of 12-14 hour days with the drumline.
  • I also slacked off for the first week and a half-ish of school, saying that I was "getting my bearings." Well guess what? I'm about as ready as I'll ever be for this school year, so it's time to dive in and make the best of things.

So now I'm at an interesting point: I don't have much time at all for workouts, and I need to avoid serious anterior stress while marching season is going on (cymbals are a highly chest and anterior deltoid-requiring instrument). In light of these constraints, I'm going to try programming my own workouts again. It'll be a two-day split, and look something like this:

A

Pullups - 3 sets of 10 reps
Weighted Dip - 4 x 3
Row - 3 x 10
One-arm DB Row (if time permits) - 3 x 8
Rowing Machine (if time permits) - 1 Tabata (with warmup and cooldown)
Plank - 2 x 30 sec
Weighted Crunch - 3 x 10
Back extension/Hyperextension - 3 x 10 

B

Deadlift - 3 x 5
Step-up - 3 x 10
KB Swing - 3 x 25 reps
Woodchop (on cable station) - 3 x 10
Side plank - 2 x 30 sec
1 Tabata on spin bike, followed by constant-rate cardio on the bike until time runs out

I'm banking on this simple routine, plus plenty of low-level activity during marching band/drumline rehearsals, to get me through this semester in pretty good shape. I want need this to be as flexible as possible, since my schedule is NUTS. I'll keep you posted - and that's a promise.

After this week, only 16 weeks to go!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness, The Midpoint: Looking Back and Looking Forward.

You may not have noticed the obscene amount of blog posts about it yet, but in January I made a New Year's resolution that this year (2012) was to be the Year of Fitness. Sounds impressive, doesn't it?

At first I wanted it to consist of a lot of things:
  • Weightlifting workouts from The New Rules of Lifting
  • HIIT sprint/bike workouts for "cardio"
  • Tracking (and changing) nutrition through the Lose It! App
  • Giving back to my body through MWODs
This plan was an awesome idea, truly something that would (and still could!) catapult me to levels of fitness I've never seen before. But there was an issue - I wasn't ready for it. I tried to go 0 - 60 in all of these awesome health changes when I was barely used to keeping a consistent workout regimen. So I started suffering from guilt (poor nutrition or skipped workouts), flagging motivation, and an overall desire to throw in the towel.

But instead of giving up, I decided to trim down my expectations and push harder at the things I knew I could consistently do well - Weightlifting and keeping track of my nutrition. Since that moment, I've been relieved from a lot of the guilt and I feel much more in control of my healthy future. I still need to get in better cardiovascular shape and I have plenty of issues that MWODs could address, don't get me wrong. But saying I wanted to do things wasn't going to make me actually do them. That's just one of several lessons I've learned so far from trying to walk the walk this year. Here are some others:
  • Consistently showing up and doing something is better than killing yourself in the gym on occasion or binge dieting in a moment of panic. Slow (or fast) and steady always wins the race.
  • Everyone has a different take on every facet of health and fitness, and we all love to debate minutiae. You will be far better off picking something, trying it for a period of time, and then evaluating whether or not it works for you than you will ever be keeping your ear to the ground for the next health debate.
  • The best workout in the world is the one you'll actually do. Cliché, isn't it? But it's so true. For instance, I finally realized that I had a poor track record with squat-based workouts because I don't feel comfortable squatting (for a variety of reasons). Rather than playing mental gymnastics and skipping workouts, I switched the lift to leg press and added other accessory exercises to try to make up for some of the loss in workout efficacy. Voila! I now can enjoy lower-body workouts again.
  • Another cliché: the real results come from the kitchen, not the gym. Figure out what your nutritional sticking points are, and address them one-by-one, gradually, over an extended period. You'll be shocked at the way you feel in a matter of months, let alone an entire year.
  • Stop. Looking. In. The. Mirror. Your muscles will look more impressive for 1-3 days after a good workout. Then they will magically disappear, only to reappear after the next good workout. If you let your motivation ride on mirror poses, you'll give up before you even start to see lasting change.
  • General activity levels are so underappreciated in the health and fitness world, but they can make an enormous difference. I'm convinced that the average person could get in great shape (even in the mirror) with decent nutrition, a pedometer, and a willingness to trust in the process.
I've only been able to learn those lessons and several others, like more concrete conclusions about health and fitness tactics, exercises and science, from actually putting rubber to the road this year. It's been an amazing process, and I've been blessed to go through it without major setbacks or issues.

So where to from here? My main goal will be to skip as few workouts as possible, because I know I can get a lot of great results if I stay on the path I'm following. I will keep trying to eat well - more real foods, less binging, and a better awareness of moderation in all things. I would also like to embrace a more active lifestyle - taking advantage of opportunities to play sports with friends, take long walks with my roommates, explore trails and natural areas, and do a lot more.

And in the near future, I have a philanthropy 5k to run in a month or two. It's time to start running again!

This is the point where I close with something philosophical and inspiring, but I find that I can't offer much of anything. What I can offer is this: from personal experience, the road to better health can be confusing, long and painful. But every step, every drop of sweat, every twang of processed food withdrawal is a blessing in disguise - it's a step toward who you could be, who you want to be, and who you were meant to be. Life is a blessing — put down the Oreos.

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 26 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week One of Four in the New Rules' "Strength II" Phase. The Strength point is where the focus shifts to the improving the weights instead of what you see in the mirror. 

The "A" workout this week used the Squat (I substituted the Leg Press). I used 250 for sets of 4 reps, but I think I can do more!

"B" is an upper-body workout of Bent-over row and Bench Press. Nothing exciting to report here, other than I'm maintaining my ability to use heavier weights on Bench Press!

"C"was an interesting workout - Deadlift, followed by Rack Deadlift at a higher weight. I think I might see some cool gains here.

"D" is made up of shoulders and back-dominated lifts for an upper-body bonanza. Fun stuff. Wide-grip Lat pulldowns are one of the main lifts, and I really overestimated my abilities there. Nothing like an ego check!

Nutrition:

Nutrition wasn't so hot this week. Binged three times on calories, but at least my protein is still there!.

That's all for Week 26, only 26 more to go!

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 25 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Four of Four in the New Rules' "Strength I" Phase. The Strength point is where the focus shifts to the improving the weights instead of what you see in the mirror. 

Monday was the "A" workout, which was a decent Leg Press workout. Trashed my legs pretty well, which was fun.

Tuesday was "B," which is an upper-body workout. Something cool happened here - I matched weight on regular bench press on something I had previously done on the smith machine!

Thursday was "C," the deadlift workout I had done only once before. My ego inflated so much when I pulled 225 pounds off the floor!

Friday was the Upper-body "D" workout, with chin-ups and shoulder presses serving as the main lifts. I really need to get my shoulders checked sometime, to be honest. I think the position is pretty far out of whack, and it shows when I attempt shoulder presses.


Nutrition:
One binge of over 500 calories, but everything was mostly healthier. My protein counts are starting to come up again!

That's all for Week 25, only 27 more to go!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 24 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Three of Four in the New Rules' "Strength I" Phase. The Strength point is where the focus shifts to the improving the weights instead of what you see in the mirror. 

This week I only managed to complete the "C" workout, which is a deadlift-based workout. I swapped out a couple of lifts for a hamstring curl and kettlebell swing.

Nutrition:
One binge of 500 calories this week. Pretty solid.

That's all for Week 24, only 28 more to go!

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 23 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Two of Four in the New Rules' "Strength I" Phase. The Strength point is where the focus shifts to the improving the weights instead of what you see in the mirror. 

Monday was a lower-body day. Again, I used the leg press instead of squatting.

Tuesday was an upper-body day. Bench Press and Bent-over Row with close-grip lat pulldown and dumbbell shoulder press.

C and D workouts were replaced with a thrown-together workout in my cousin's basement. Worked up a good sweat and got myself nice and sore!

Nutrition:
This was TOUGH since I was at a wedding Thursday-Sunday. But I only binged once!

That's all for Week 23, only 29 more to go!

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 22 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week One of Four in the New Rules' "Strength I" Phase. The Strength point is where the focus shifts to the improving the weights instead of what you see in the mirror. 

Monday was a lower-body day. Squats are prescribed, but I opted for the leg press instead because I suck at squats, and therefore dislike them. One of the lessons I've learned so far from trying to go to the gym more often is that I'm far more likely to skip workouts I dislike - e.g., squat-based workouts.

I had to skip the B and C workouts of this week.

Friday was a lower-body day. Chip ups and Barbell Shoulder Press with Dumbbell Bench Press and Wide-Grip Seated Row.

Nutrition:

Only one small binge of calories this week. I'm starting to get my eating back under control.

That's all for Week 22, only 30 more to go!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Greatest speeches?

Apparently the online world has been driven into a speech-watching frenzy, possibly brought on by commencement addresses as colleges all over the US send off a new generation of bright-eyed graduates into the world. Here are some of the speeches, new and old, that I've seen others posting. As I've done before, this is just as much a resource for me as it is for you!


Salman Khan's Commencement Address to Rice University's Class of 2012

Andy Samburg's College Class Day Speech at Harvard University

Jim Valvano's "Never Give Up" Speech


Barack Obama's 2004 Democratic National Convention Speech


Oprah Winfrey's Commencement Address to Stanford University's Class of 2008


Winston Churchill's "We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches" Speech (Excerpt)

 
Randy Pausch on Time Management


Ronald Reagan's Address following the Challenger disaster


Atticus Finch's Courtroom Speech from To Kill a Mockingbird


The St. Crispin's Day Speech from Henry V


Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

 

Steve Jobs's Commencement Address to Stanford University's Class of 2005

 


Neil Gaiman's Commencement Address to University of the Arts' Class of 2012

David Foster Wallace's Commencement Address to Kenyon College's Class of 2005
 

 


If you come across a speech that you find insightful, powerful or just plain interesting, feel free to share it in the comments!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 21 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was originally supposed to be a rest week, but I worked out on Friday just for the heck of it. I made it an upper body workout of pullup, dip, cable row, fly, bent-over row, and resistance band curls.

Nutrition:

Nutrition was decent, with only one tiny little binge on calories. Protein intake is severely lacking, though.

That's all for Week 21, just 31 more to go!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Weels 17-20 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Since I need to play catch-up to recap the end of the school year and get a fresh start on summer, I decided to bundle 4 weeks of recap posts into one. Here's how I've fared since my last check-in:

Lifting:

In Weeks 17-20, I closed out the last 4 weeks of the New Rules' "Hypertrophy B" Phase. The Hypertrophy point is where muscle-building takes center stage, so it's time to pack it on. Gym attendance was, unfortunately, pretty spotty due to end-of-the-year commitments.

- Week 17:

Monday I tried to re-start on the 4th week of Hypertrophy B, and did a mid-point workout of 5 x 6 lifts with longer rest periods. Some decent progress here, not much to report.

Wednesday was a solid endurance-based lower body workout. Good effort and good results.

- Week 18:

Friday was, honestly, one of the roughest workouts of my life. I think I just went into it extremely dehydrated, and soon got pale and light-headed. I stuck with the workout, but unfortunately was unable to push it too hard.

- Week 19 was exams week. I took it off from the gym for some much-needed studying, which REALLY paid off academically.

- Week 20 was the first week of summer!

Monday was a decent workout, for being so de-trained. 5 x 6 lifts with 115 in the Yates row, which is pretty good for me.

Friday was a fun pull-based workout. I was feeling good, and really pushed myself on a lot of lifts.

Nutrition:

- Week 17 had two tiny binges, nothing too harmful.

- Week 18 I only had one big binge - again, not too bad.

- Week 19 (finals week) was rough. Definitely ate my heart out with 3 big binges and one small one.

- Week 20 was all under budget as I tried to reign myself back in.


So where to from here? Well, I need to get my nutrition back in check, and stay consistent in the gym. And now that I really have a lot more free time, I'd like to look into really working on my barefoot running form in my Five Fingers.

Only 32 more weeks to go!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Great video, and quick update

Rory Sutherland is the VP of Ogilvy UK, and is quite a hotshot in the advertising/branding world. A lot of his expertise comes from an innate understanding of human psychology - quite simply, Rory understands what makes people tick. In the video above, he shares some entertaining and thought-provoking insights into psychology, perspective and happiness.

Also, I've just recently managed to surface for some air after finals week. I'll gloat about grades here within the next few days. And yes, I KNOW I'm running behind on the 52fit posts - I'll get on it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 16 recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was supposed Week Four of Eight in the New Rules' "Hypertrophy II" Phase. The Hypertrophy point is where muscle-building takes center stage, so I'm getting YOKED. 


So why no lifting? Well honestly, I didn't really have the time to get to the gym this week. I had multiple projects coming due at the same time, and work requirements piling up left and right. I made it through alive and with good school/work performance, but I binged my way through it. This is a pretty bad precedent to be setting for my life, and I would like to see what I can do to mitigate situations like this in the future.

Nutrition:

I ate really poorly this week in terms of clean eating, but I only binged once - so hooray on that front!

That's all for Week 16, only 36 more to go!

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 15 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Four of Eight in the New Rules' "Hypertrophy II" Phase. The Hypertrophy point is where muscle-building takes center stage, so I'm getting YOKED. 

Monday was a mixed strength/hypertrophy workout for upper body push movements. I worked out with my friend Alex today, and walked her through my workout. It was a blast getting to teach these movements to another person, and a great workout for the both of us

Wednesday was a pure hypertrophy for the lower body. My grip strength actually kept up this time!

Friday's workout was put off and skipped due to company coming into town. Or at least that's how I'm rationalizing it!

Nutrition:

Nutrition cleaned up a bit, and not a single binge. A pat on the back for me, indeed.

Other Stuff:
I ended up working out with Alex on Monday and Wednesday, and had a GREAT time. I loved teaching her some things, and it's always nice to have company on these workouts. I'm going to try to work out with her more often in the future, to feed my need to teach others and to spur me on to better workouts.

That's all for Week 15, only 37 more to go!

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 14 recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Three of Eight in the New Rules' "Hypertrophy II" Phase. The Hypertrophy point is where muscle-building takes center stage, so I'm getting YOKED. 

Monday was a pure hypertrophy workout for upper body push movements. Nothing eventful to report here, other than not being able to complete my third set of bodyweight dips (8 reps instead of 12).

Wednesday was a high-rep, low set day for the lower body. Made it through two sets of 25 on the deadlift feeling like a boss, and then was quickly humbled yet again by failing grip strength. Made up for it by really dragging out and punishing myself on that day's core exercise: Incline reverse crunches.

Friday's workout was put off, and skipped. For shame.

Nutrition:

Still dirty nutrition this week, but again only one calorie binge!

That's all for Week 14, only 38 more to go!

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 13 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, and try out plenty of fun healthy activities along the way. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Two of Eight in the New Rules' "Hypertrophy II" Phase. The Hypertrophy point is where muscle-building takes center stage, so I'm getting YOKED. 

Monday was an low-set, high-rep workout focusing on upper-body push movements. Sets of 25 reps get you tired FAST. Overall a pretty solid workout, quick and easy.

Wednesday was, sadly, a skip day for me. I think I could have actually found time to fit this workout in, but after last week's lower-body failure I didn't have much motivation to jump in.

Friday was a mid-range strength/hypertrophy workout for upper body pulling muscles. Fun stuff! I need to improve my chin-up numbers though - couldn't finish all 5 sets of 6 reps (last two sets were of 4 reps and 5 reps, respectively). Also, I don't know how I feel about Towel bicep curls. The awkward grip caused my forearms to get fatigued far before anything else.

Nutrition:

A decently balanced nutrition week - only one minor binge. However, despite my solid calorie counts, my meals have begun to get dirtier and dirtier. Gotta fix that.

That's all for Week 13, only 39 more to go!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Updates to the 52 Weeks of Fitness

As you may have noticed, I've generally been running 1-2 weeks behind on my check-ins for 52 Weeks of Fitness here at the blog. This doesn't mean that I'm not trying to get fit, however my focus has changed slightly.

At the outset, I tried to create health change in my life through four basic domains: lifting, nutrition, HIIT/Sprinting/Running, and the MWOD. While I still think these are important and would all yield great results, it's kind of a joke to go on acting as if I'm making an equal effort in all four domains.

So from this point forward (until the next change?), I'll only really be reporting what goes on in the two domains I've actually kept up with: lifting and nutrition. Anything else will be treated as a bonus, and reported as so.

My hope is that this will cut down on the psychological barrier to posting more often, by removing the "shame" of not doing 1/2 of my planned changes. Tomorrow will mark my being 3 weeks (!) behind on the check-ins, so I'll try to get those in in the VERY near future.

Until then, know that I have been working at the workouts in Hypertrophy II, and maintaining a decent (but not great) diet.

Friday, March 30, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 12 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week One of Eight in the New Rules' "Hypertrophy II" Phase. The Hypertrophy point is where muscle-building takes center stage, so it's time to GET SWOLE.. 

Mondays are Upper Body workouts with a Push emphasis. This one was interesting: Every exercise called for 6 sets of 3 reps.

Wednesdays are Lower Body workouts, surprisingly without a bilateral squat exercise of any kind. 5 sets of 6 reps for a nice feeling of exhaustion. Interesting note here: my grip strength on the dumbells started to fail before the strength of my legs did. I hope that will improve in the future!

Fridays are Upper Body days focusing on Pulling exercises. I get to do curls, which is pretty odd for NROL. But hey, I'm not complaining! My guns are very grateful.


Nutrition:

During this week I decided to stop focusing so much on a calorie and protein bulk, and constrain my focus just down to protein. Unfortunately, I was on spring break eating many not-so-clean foods and getting 30-50 g less protein per day. Calling it a protein cycle and moving on.

Running/HIIT:

Didn't get any of these activities in, sadly. I'm thinking I may call them off until I get out of school for the summer - as my unintentional two-week break  shows, I've put myself into a very busy life. And busy lives call for sacrifices.


Mobility WOD:

No mobility WOD, either. However, I have been chilling out in K-Starr's squat more often, and have seen some extended hip mobility as a result. Cheers!

That's all for Week 11, just 40 more to go!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Weeks 9, 10, and 11 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I've fared recently:

... Not too well. I didn't do any lifting, running, or anything two physical over the past two weeks. I've also been upping my protein intake and calorie intake to bulk up a bit.

So where do I go from here? Well next week (Week 12) is technically the start of Hypertrophy II. Even though I really fell off the bandwagon here, I'm jumping right back on at as prescribed.

So with that in mind, tomorrow brings my first workout of Hypertrophy II - and I am unbelievably stoked to see how it goes!

(Only 41 more weeks to go!)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

What I'm reading: Social Media Madness

The six elements of human behavior that drive social media

Three Social Media Lessons from Dell: It's Not All About Sales

Why social audience measurement hasn't delivered yet

1,000 True Fans (Seth Godin)

Three Fundamentals of Great Social Media Measurement

40 Twitter Power Tips That Turn Newbies Into Students, Experts Into Pros

Are You As Busy As You Think?

A bunch of Public Relations (especially social media), Marketing, and Productivity stuff - these are just the most relevant bits!

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 8 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Four of Six in the New Rules' "Hypertrophy I" Phase. The Hypertrophy point is where muscle-building takes center stage, so it's time to GET SWOLE. 

On Monday I had to skip a workout, but I still managed to squeeze in some bodyweight stuff at home (moving between explosive and superslow pushups, bodyweight rows, handstand walkouts, etc).

Wednesday I threw up more weight than I have before on a "B" workout. Feels good to squat and deadlift just 10 pounds more!

Friday I got to hit the gym for an "A" workout again. No progress to report here.

Nutrition:


I decided to start bulking a bit, since this is the hypertrophy phase. Chocolate milk is my new best friend.

Running/HIIT:

Did some sprinting on Wednesday with the sloppiest form EVER. Not sure if it's my crappy form in general (likely) or just the way I was feeling after working out (also likely)

I also did a Tabata style workout (20 sec all-out, 10 sec low intensity "working rest") on the rower on Friday.


Mobility WOD:

Still not keeping up with these... I have had a bunch of random expenses crop up, and I need to purchase some basic equipment to continue through the MWOD workouts. So I'll have to jump back on after I weather this storm.

That's all for Week 8, just 44 more to go!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Video: "Matt Halpern - Improvised Grooves"

 A few things that make this video awesome:

- Matt's hilarious drumming face.
- The enjoyment he's clearly experiencing - this dude is having a BLAST.
- The sick grooves.
- The improvisational process in action (check out right around 2:00 for a clear example - watch how he explores that jump from the floor tom and the cymbal)


Keep drumming, folks!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 7 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Three of Six in the New Rules' "Hypertrophy I" Phase. The Hypertrophy point is where muscle-building takes center stage, so it's time to GET SWOLE. 


Monday marked a full cycle of the different rep changes in this workout phase! Now I can hopefully progress a bit easier because I know what weights I have worked with in these rep ranges before.

Wednesday's workout was brutal. I really pushed myself through 4x10 or squat and deadlift, but really didn't have much energy left to deal with split-squats or step-ups. I still did them, of course; just not as quickly or effectively as I would have liked.

Friday and Saturday had to be skipped due to a conference. I'm beginning to wonder whether I should consider Saturday workouts optional or not.

Nutrition:

Still working on getting protein up to par, but I did eat a bit cleaner this week. One thing I've noticed is that eating clean comes a bit easier if I eat a bit of oatmeal (roughly 3/4 cup, I'd guess) with breakfast. Keeps me fuller and keeps the desires for grains at bay.

Running/HIIT:

Running went downhill again this week, sadly. Still not top priority, so I'm not terribly concerned. I am looking into whether or not it would be beneficial to add a brief HIIT interval after my workouts, since HIIT can cause the body to release far more HGH than normal.


Mobility WOD:

Still not keeping up with these... I have had a bunch of random expenses crop up, and I need to purchase some basic equipment to continue through the MWOD workouts. So I'll have to jump back on after I weather this storm.

That's all for Week 7, just 45 more to go!

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 6 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Two of Six in the New Rules' "Hypertrophy I" Phase. The Hypertrophy point is where muscle-building takes center stage, so it's time to GET SWOLE. 


Monday and Wednesday passed by with little concern, although the leg-focused workouts (squat, deadlift, split-squats, and step ups) are KILLING me.

Friday had to be cut short because my roommate and I were in a huge hurry to drive out to Louisiana.

Saturday had to be skipped again because we were out of town. Shame.

Nutrition:

I'm very proud of my nutrition, calories-wise. Only two small binges. However I do need to get my protein intake up (average was 103.9 g daily) about 30-40 g per day on average.


Running/HIIT:

Running went downhill again this week, sadly. Still not top priority, so I'm not terribly concerned.


Mobility WOD:

Still not keeping up with these... I have had a bunch of random expenses crop up, and I need to purchase some basic equipment to continue through the MWOD workouts. So I'll have to jump back on after I weather this storm.

That's all for Week 6, just 46 more to go!


p.s. This post is SO late that I'm posting it just minutes before the week that follows it. Sorry to anyone following!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 5 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week One of Six in the New Rules' "Hypertrophy I" Phase. The Hypertrophy point is where muscle-building takes center stage, so it's time to GET SWOLE. 

I didn't start off too hard. Due to excessive life busyness, I had to skip Monday's workout. Not. Cool.

Wednesday I jumped in with both feet. Fun workout with plenty of lower-body torture.

Friday I had a decent workout as well, but poor choices in weight selection meant that my form and reps suffered. I've learned from this, and I'll do better next time.

Saturday (Year, this is a four-day per week workout) I had to skip as well due to a fluke drumline gig. Oh well, I had a good time seeing the drumline bros again, so it wasn't too big a burden.

Nutrition:

I recovered my nutrition this week, and only binged twice (though I did flirt with the line numerous times)


Running/HIIT:

I FINALLY got in a bit of jogging in my Vibrams. Doing it as an easy pace at the end of my warmups, so there's no mileage worth recording.


Mobility WOD:

Still not keeping up with these... I have had a bunch of random expenses crop up, and I need to purchase some basic equipment to continue through the MWOD workouts. So I'll have to jump back on after I weather this storm.

That's all for Week 5, just 47 more to go!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 4 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Four of Four in the New Rules' "Break-In" Phase. The Break-In point is where baseline strength standards will supposedly be established. Since this is one of the lighter parts of the year, I added in Doberman Dan's 31 Days to Bigger Arms arm workouts.

Monday went well! I finally got up to 1 "plate" per side on the deadlift (135lbs) for 15 reps. I bumped up weights pretty much everywhere else as well, so I had a good day.

Wednesday marked my last "A" workout for this phase. I maintained weight on the squat, but I'm not too sad about it since I maintained a new weight from the last workout (a weight that took a LONG time to get to). I maintained pretty much everything else as well, but had a solid workout.

Friday was the last workout for this phase! 10 more lbs on the deadlift, and progress everywhere! Great way to finish out the Break-In phase.

Nutrition:

Not my best week for nutrition - I binged almost every single night this week. Although my calorie counts were above the line, I ate mostly healthy until I hit this weekend and pigged out on junk food. I'm not proud of the pigging, but I did keep everything in check more than I normally would.


Running/HIIT:

I did a bit of running in the Vibrams this week to see how they felt. No milage whatsoever, but I did get a feel for running in them - a little rougher than running in regular shoes, but I felt good in them! 


Mobility WOD:

Still not keeping up with these... I have had a bunch of random expenses crop up, and I need to purchase some basic equipment to continue through the MWOD workouts. So I'll have to jump back on after I weather this storm.

That's all for Week 4, just 48 more to go!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 3 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:


This was Week Three of Four in the New Rules' "Break-In" Phase. The Break-In point is where baseline strength standards will supposedly be established. Since this is one of the lighter parts of the year, I'm adding in Doberman Dan's 31 Days to Bigger Arms arm workouts.

Monday went alright. I maintained weights at the levels from the previous workout, and only moved up in added weight on the crunch. I also moved up in the Bigger Arms weights too.

Wednesday went MUCH better. I bumped up weight on almost all of the lifts (the exception to this was the one-arm DB shoulder press, which I just removed a counter-balancing weight). In the "Bigger Arms" workouts, Wednesdays are the heavy days, which usually is less fun. I couldn't get my hands on an ez bar, so I had to do those standing curls and lying skullcrushers with a straight bar (which is definitely not fun for my wrists).

Friday was the first awesome day for the "A" workout in a while - I finally broke 95lbs on the squat! I also moved up weight on all of the other exercises, which was exciting.


Nutrition:


This week went surprisingly well on the nutrition front. I kept my main numbers in check, and only binged on Sunday for 250 extra calories!




Running/HIIT:

Nope!


Mobility WOD:



Still not keeping up with these... I have had a bunch of random expenses crop up, and I need to purchase some basic equipment to continue through the MWOD workouts. So I'll have to jump back on after I weather this storm.

That's all for Week 3, just 49 more to go!


ps: I know this post is way late, sorry for the wait!

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK on Welfare in America

Heard this quote being discussed on TV today:

"Whenever the government provides opportunities and privileges for white people and rich people they call it ‘subsidies.’ When they do it for Negro and poor people they call it ‘welfare.’ The fact is that everybody in this country lives on welfare. Suburbia was built with federally subsidized credit. And highways that take our white brothers out to the suburbs were built with federally subsidized money to the tune of ninety percent. Everybody is on welfare in this country. The problem is that we all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free enterprise capitalism for the poor. That’s the problem."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr

On MLK Day everyone likes to align alongside Dr. King's ideals, but the truth is that he held beliefs that cannot be casually endorsed by everyone - particularly politicians. It's always funny to see major political figures dance around honoring Dr. King's memory while avoiding many of the beliefs that contributed to his accomplishments.

So that quote is food for thought on Martin Luther King Day, and I hope everyone reading this had a great day - hopefully by making it a day on, not a day off.

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 2 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:


This was Week Two of Four in the New Rules' "Break-In" Phase. This is the point where baseline strength standards will supposedly be established. Since this is one of the lighter parts of the year, I'm adding in Doberman Dan's 31 Days to Bigger Arms arm workouts.

Monday was a lot of fun. I added weight to everything I did, including moving from 95 lbs to 105 lbs on the deadlift (2 x 15). I also moved up in the Bigger Arms weights too.

Wednesday was not as much fun, although it did bring progress. This time around I managed to Squat 95 lbs at 2 x 15 again, and also bumped up weight on the Static Lunge, DB Row, and Swiss-Ball Crunch.

Friday was another solid weightlifting session. I bumped up ten more pounds on the deadlift without any issues, and moved up weight on the shoulder press and lat pulldown as well. During this session I met a new trainer at my home gym, who does a lot of Martial Arts and Crossfit work. I would LOVE to train with this dude sometime, but it will probably have to wait until after the completion of the NROL program.


Nutrition:


Nutrition went better this week. I improved my protein intake and again only binged twice on my net calories. I noticed a pattern for my binges based on the Loseit! data for the first two weeks. I tend to binge once a week for about 250 extra calories, and then a second time for about 750 extra calories.



Running/HIIT:


Again, no Running or HIIT for me. However, I did get to do some more walking in my Vibrams, which will help my feet acclimate quicker.



Mobility WOD:


I kinda fell off the bandwagon in Mobility this week. I did 3 sessions in one day on Sunday (not wise, but alright), and one more on Monday. However, I forgot to purchase the necessary supplies that KStarr told us to get! So I'm officially "that guy" until I get some supplies. On a more positive note, KStarr posted a new video for the first time in a while, which is great!



* I just returned to TCU, so it will be interesting to see how I can accommodate for great health in my typically busy schedule. I expect a small, short dip in progress, but we'll see.


That's all for Week 2, just 50 more to go!