Routine Creates Less Thinking

Every morning or right after I get home, I add my socks, underwear, shorts, and a sleeveless shirt into my gym bag in preparation for another mid-day gym routine.  Through this routine, I occasionally forget to pack one thing or another, typically socks.  It’s a bad day when you have to put on dirty socks again after your routine.  Yet worse, I’ve forgot to pack an extra pair of underwear on a day that I’ve casually ran a 5K on the treadmill…. WHOOPS!  I will spare you the gory details.

My gym bag has some pretty typical items in it for the listening to music, workout clothing, and shower time.  Below I list the items I keep in my bag.



For me, it’s typically been black mesh shorts.  I’m in favor of Nike or Under Armor brand shorts.  They have always been the most comfortable.


This is typically some sort of sleeveless moisture-wicking shirt.  Luckily these are pretty inexpensive if you want to pick them up.


I prefer boxer briefs.  Boxers can be a bit too restrictive in movements such as a lunges, squats, or Bulgarian squats being one of the worst.  I’ve have the misfortune of tearing my boxers from waist to asshole doing some of these movements.


I typically wear running shoes, unless someone convinces me otherwise, and I only use these shoes for the gym.  Like I said in the Week 2 Report, I do take them off for certain lifts where running shoes can wobble your knees making them vulnerable to injury.  Mine are not the hideously colored shoes you see below.  Mine are a loud red, so maybe worse?

For Shower Time

Oh Your Gym has a Towel Program?

I’ve been part of a couple gyms that have had towel programs.  The first gym actually had real towels.  Towels that would actually dry you off.  The second and current gym has towels that you feel like you’re drying yourself off with a piece of high grit sand paper.  They are also the size of a wet nap.  So I recommend bringing your own towel to the gym.  I may look like an outcast with my own towel in the locker room, but I can also say me or someone in my household are the only ones to have used it.

Listening to Music

Avantree Jogger Bluetooth Headphones

These are by far my favorite headphones out of large number of headphones I’ve owned and used while in the gym.  Having no cord keeps them out of the way during certain lifts and doesn’t get tangled up with a weight belt should you be wearing one.


Maybe this isn’t always in my gym bag, but it serves multiple purposes for me.  It serves as a timer to count down between my sets, tracking my workouts, and finally my random slew of terrible music that gets me fired up and ready to lift weights.

iPhone Six Arm Band

While I don’t necessarily use the arm band much, I find it useful for when I’m doing HIIT so my phone is flying around in my pocket and potentially breaking my phone.  I would say my best use for it so far has been the 5/3 Riverbank Run for the 10K I ran the past couple of years.

Those are the consistent items in my gym bag.  I may have skipped the body wash and deodorant, as I’m sure you have your own preference.  What do you consistently keep in your gym bag?


Feeling Good Week 2

After getting my diet dialed in this past weekend, I’m feeling a bit more energized in the mornings.  I haven’t felt nearly as tired as I have some mornings in the past.  The trips to the bathroom have also been a bit more pleasant.  I can mostly say, I haven’t felt crazy urges to drink alcohol, eat overly sugary food, or eat way more than I need.  I have felt hungry at times, but it comes with the territory of losing some extra pounds.  Typically I just fill those voids with water.

Where Did I Start Week 2

Last week, I was weighing in at 173 lbs.  Ideally, I should be losing 0.5-1 lb/week.  Below is the progress I made this past week.

How Were My Lifts for Week 2

Monday – Legs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
 Deadlift  275 x 6 +2 reps  275 x 5 +2 reps  275 x 4
 Squat *  135 x 6 -90lbs  185 x 6 -40lbs  205 x 6 -20lbs
 Barbell Lunges  155 x 6  155 x 6 155 x 6
 Leg Press Calf Raise  180 x 18  180 x 18 180 x 18

*I was concentrating exclusively on form even to the point where I took off my shoes. The shoes I typically wear to the gym are running shoes and can make the knee wobble.

Tuesday – Chest/Triceps
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Incline Barbell Press 175 x 6 +10lbs 175 x 6 180 x 5 +10lbs-1rep
Bench Press 190 x 6 +5lbs 195 x 6 +10lbs 195 x 5 +10lbs +1rep
Skull Crushers 90 x 6 +10lbs 90 x 6 +10lbs 90 x 6 +10lbs
Weighted Dips 45 x 6 +1rep 45 x 5 -1rep 45 x 5 -1rep
HIIT 10:00 – Sprint for 15 seconds and moderate job for 45 +7:00
Wednesday – Back/Shoulders
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Weight Wide Grip Pullups 25 x 6 25 x 6 -5lbs+1rep 25 x 6+1rep
Bent Over Barbell Rows 155 x 6 +20lbs 155 x 6 155 x 6
Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 115 x 6 +10lbs 115 x 6 115 x 4
Front Raise 35 x 6 40 x 6 +5lbs 40 x 6 +5lbs
Dumbbell Reverse Fly 20 x 7 -5lbs+1rep 25 x 6 25 x 6
Dumbbell Shurgs 180 x 8 -2reps 190 x 6 -1reps+10lbs 180 x 6 +10lbs
Thursday – Biceps/Abs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Hammer Bar Curl 85 x 6 +20lbs 85 x 6+10lbs 85 x 6
Incline Dumbbell Curl* 35 x 6 35 x 6 35 x 6
Preacher Curl 80 x 6 90 x 6 90 x 6 +1rep
Ab Circuit** 10 15 20
HIIT 10minutes – Sprint 15 seconds moderate at 45 seconds

*I switched to incline dumbbell curl from standing dumbbell curls from the week 1.


HIIT Training – 25 minutes on the Elliptical

Below is a picture of my post-HIIT Elliptical workout.


Self Assessment

  • Concentrating on the form of the squats and going in just socks was great
  • Other than dinner time, meals that are planned are easy to keep in a routine
  • Elliptical felt just as good as running
What I’ll Do Differently
  • Start Running for HIIT training and possibly add a couple of minutes

Conclusion of Week 2

I feel I had a great week, and did well enough that it showed on the scale.  This week I lost 1.8 lbs weighing in at 171.2 lbs.

What Are the Basics of the Workout?

If you’re familiar with Max-OT training, this is similar.  It’ll be four to six repetitions with three sets.  I use low repetitions with heavy, for me, weight.  I lift four days/week with about three HIIT sessions, two directly after lifting.

My warm up consists of walking at 3.5/mph and doing warm up sets on my first exercise.  The warm up sets typically include 12 repetitions for the first set, 10 repetitions for the second set, and finally 8 reps for the final non-working set with a minute rest between each of these sets.  Between each working set, I take 1.5 minutes – 2.5 minutes of rest.

How I Performed Week 1

I’ll say it wasn’t necessarily the best, as I came off a couple of rest weeks.  One of those weeks was forced, the second was a needed mental, physical, and family time break.  Below are my stats for week one, here’s to improvement over the next five.

Monday – Legs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
 Deadlift  275 x 4  275 x 4  275 x 4
 Squat  245 x 6  225 x 6  225 x 6
 Barbell Lunges  155 x 6  155 x 6 155 x 6
 Leg Press Calf Raise  180 x 18  180 x 18 180 x 18
Tuesday – Chest/Triceps
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Incline Barbell Press 165 x 6 175 x 6 175 x 6
Bench Press 185 x 6 185 x 6 185 x 4
Skull Crushers 80 x 6 80 x 6 80 x 6
Weighted Dips 45 x 5 45 x 6 45 x 6
HIIT 3:00 – Sprint for 15 seconds and moderate job for 45*

*Typically I do ten minutes of these, but I was feeling pretty empty by the time I got around to these.

Wednesday – Back/Shoulders
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Weight Wide Grip Pullups 25 x 6 30 x 5 25 x 5
Bent Over Barbell Rows 135 x 6 155 x 6 155 x 6
Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 105 x 6 115 x 6 115 x 4
Front Raise 35 x 6 35 x 6 35 x 6
Dumbbell Reverse Fly 25 x 6 25 x 6 25 x 6
Dumbbell Shurgs 180 x 8 180 x 7 180 x 6
Thursday – Biceps/Abs
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Hammer Bar Curl 65 x 6 75 x 6 85 x 6
Standing Dumbbell Curl 40 x 6 45 x 6 45 x 6
Preacher Curl 80 x 6 90 x 6 90 x 5
Ab Circuit** 10 15 20
HIIT 10minutes – Sprint 15 seconds moderate at 45 seconds

**Ab Circuit consists of ab roller, medicine ball twist, and crunches. The number listed in the columns are the reps I did for each exercise and then took a minute break between each set.

Friday – HIIT

For this day, I do 25 minutes of 15 seconds box jumps and 45 seconds of jumping rope. You can get a hell of a sweat worked up from this despite what this guy says about box jumps. I still find him funny.  Below is what I looked like after completing it.


Self Assessment

  • I needed to concentrate on form a bit more as it came to my squats and deadlifts.
  • While HIIT training looks like a good idea on paper, performing this after lifting weights can feel a bit draining.  What I need to keep in mind is how it feels to accomplish a goal.
What I’ll Do Differently
  • Squat and Deadlift Issue – Ask my dad to help me out checking my form and make sure I’m coming down far enough.  I’m also going to lift just in socks as I typically wear running shoes and that can make my knees a bit wobbly while performing these lifts.
  • Just remember that HIIT Training doesn’t just have to be running.  I might mix in the stationary bike, elliptical, or even more box jumps.  I also need to keep in mind, those would just be ten minutes closer I’d be getting back to work.

Get Direction to Meet Your Goal

Rather than trying to gain muscle at the moment, I’m currently trying to cut down on the waistline a bit.  A couple of months back, I read the book Bigger Leaner Stronger.  The author provides plenty of insight on working through your goals and exactly what they should be based on your current body type.  Being that I’m a little on the heavier/fatter side of my goals before I start putting on muscle, he suggested that I cut before I start my build.  So there are a few goals in mind for the type of dieting I need to work:

  • Keep my strength up
  • Avoid excessive weight loss, looking for 0.5 – 1lb/week
  • Not drive myself crazy by eating foods that are bland and uninteresting.  Hot sauce could be my go to for awhile.

In order to accomplish these goals he recommends a few macro-nutrient breakdown per my weight at 173lbs.  Below are those numbers.

  1. 1.2g of Protein/lb of weight – 207g
  2. 1g of Carbohydrates/lb of weight – 173g
  3. 0.2g of Fat/lb of weight – 35g

Finally, per my weight, my caloric intake will be about ~1833calories/day.

Now I know My Macros and Calories, Where Now?

Figure out foods that you like so you’re not driving yourself nuts trying to figure out what you should and shouldn’t eat.  As the author of BLS suggests, treat yourself within the means of your goals every day.  This will help fight off temptation of eating a box of ice cream sandwiches, or having a Dwayne Johnson cheat day numerous times a week.

Do you smell what the ROCK is cooking?  It smells fucking delicious.

Dwayne Johnson Cheat Meal

Also to keep you on track of your caloric and macro-nutrient goals, make a spreadsheet of your food with a breakdown of your food, calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  Here’s a sample of my spreadsheet for your reference.  This helped me breakdown what I enjoy and can tolerate eating.  While being a dad, and one that doesn’t cook well, my wife handles the cooking.  Being as that is, I left about ~600 calories for dinner time in hopes that I will hit my goals.  I’ll let you know how this goes as I chug along.

What Foods I Am Eating

If you downloaded my spreadsheet, you’ll see the types of food I’m eating.  This morning, I followed my spreadsheet pretty well.  I just added a couple of things to my four egg scramble, green pepper and sauteed (in olive oil) mushrooms.  On Saturday and Sunday I made a couple of things I found in The Shredded Chef.  I made a batch of protein sweet potato muffins and a batch of protein pudding bars.  If there is one thing to note about this book, you will need to purchase flavored whey protein.  These two recipes alone took about eleven scoops of protein.  While that’s not the only thing I use here’s a list of other foods/ingredients that I frequently eat.

This isn’t to say I’ll consume all those fruits within the week, but they make a rotation once in awhile.

Dialing It In

Now that I’ve spent the time to create a food list, make muffins and bars, create a spread sheets, and drive my wife bonkers, it’s time to remain disciplined.  You’ll often hear that 90% of the work is done in the kitchen, so hopefully in the future I’ll be writing about how everything has prospered; otherwise, I’ll keep running the same cycle.

In my final goal for my six week workout, I hope to be down to between 168-170lbs.


I Was Feeling DRAINED

My last workout was a couple of Wednesday’s ago.  I followed my normal routine heading to the gym, but starting my workout I was beginning to feel uneasy.  My energy levels were lower than normal.

I ran into my dad, and asked him if he wanted to lift.  I was able to lift slightly more on my dumbbell incline than normal, but towards the end, I was drained.

When I got back to the office, all my joints ached, particularly in the knuckles of my fingers.  My energy levels sank lower and I had to leave work early.

The Effects of Not Resting

After I got home, I went up to bed to rest.  I tried to sleep but the fluctuations in my temperature were making me sweat and have body chills.  I was getting sick, fuck!  Five days I found myself in the bathroom, my body ridding itself of sickness.

I haven’t rested from my workouts in quite some time, about three months.  Apparently this can stress your nervous system.  Not only that, but I’ve had an issue with my left wrist that left me in physical therapy for a few sessions.  While my wrist case was minor, it’s still nagging a bit. I’ve been told it’s De Quarvians, which was initially thought to be a wrist sprain.  For a couple of days I wasn’t able to fully grip my hockey stick.  I even ended up missing a couple of weekly hockey games.

Rest and Recover

This brings us to my final point, recovery.  I had a slew of issues and I wasn’t listening to what my body told me.  I stupidly powered through some 285 lbs dead lifts with a sore wrist and then tried to do dumbbell curls.

I did finish through that workout with my dad when I should’ve been resting and fighting off a bug.  Since all this has happened, I’m making a conscious effort to keep my program to a six weeks, rather than the eight I wanted, and spend a week recovering.  This could involve sleeping in, using my lunches to actually eat at that time, resting, sharpening my programming skills, and reading books of interest.  Luckily this past week I got to spend time with my family on vacation, and I can’t say I was necessarily the best on the diet side of things, but I’ll have to work on those kinks later.


On the Daily

My alarm is buzzing at 6:15 and I follow the same a routine of shower, make a high protein egg breakfast, put the dishes away from the dishwasher, collect clothes for my gym bag, brush my teeth, tell my family I love them, and head out the door.  This routine became part of my daily ritual after I was married and a father.  My nights and mornings have variable based on how many times I’m disturbed in the middle of the night by my kids, but I try to stick to the 6:15 wake up.  The one constant I receive in the day is lunch time.  While most people actually would eat lunch during this time, I use it as my opportunity to work out.

At 10:45, I get up from my desk at work and head to the kitchen to grab my protein bar.  I know within 30 minutes I’m going to get my recess from sitting down and programming.  I’ve carved out the 11:15 time to head to the gym.  At this point, I’m game to head to the gym and make a better version of myself.  I’ve carved this time out and kept with the routine for the past four years.  I may miss lunches with co-workers, may be viewed as anti-social, but this is MY time.

So what’s kept me routine and sticking with it the past four years?

I find selfish to not be there for your kids because you don’t take care of yourself.  I was recently sick the past five days, and I hated not being able to play with my kids.  I knew at the time rest was the best option at the time, missing opportunities to go outside on the prettiest days of the summer made me ill content.  Do I want to be sick more often while I can be preventing these issues with diet and exercise?  Hell No!  If you don’t take care of your body, someone or something else will have to take care of it for you.  Do you want to be dependent on people or medications to you through life or helping curb preventable disease?  What type of example are you setting for your kids if you’re not taking care of yourself?  When you take that time to invest into your body with exercise and good food, you’re investing into life and into your quality of life.

Carve that time out and stick to it!

While I’m not suggesting you have to get into the gym lift weights and run like you robbed a bank, I suggest you find something that gets you moving.  The investment you can make is into you and your health.  Remember your body is the one asset you’ve been given.  Carve out the time take care of it before you regret it.