Weekly Ramblings – Journal Series – Exercise Journal


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The Exercise Journal

Hello, readers!

This week we’ll discuss the exercise journal. The exercise journal is nothing more than tracking what you do when you work out. This is an important facet of any exercise program, because it is crucial that you track what you are doing in the gym. It is equally important to set goals to strive for, so your body continues to improve.

What to track

If you are lifting weights you’ll want to track the exercise, the weight you are lifting, and the number of repetitions you accomplish for each set. The nomenclature for this is simple. It looks like this:

Bench Press 20 x 100lbs; 15 x 120lbs; 10 x 150lbs; 7 x 200lbs

If you are doing cardio, you could track your progress like this:

Treadmill 25 minutes, Hill Program, Level 3

What about goals?

Let’s say you’ve been lifting weights and doing cardio for a few weeks. Now you want to set some goals—something to work towards. So, you look at your bench press and your treadmill work and decide you want to be able to lift 220lbs in 4 months. You also decide that you’d like to do cardio for 30 minutes using the Hill program at level 5.

Now you have some goals. Now it’s nothing more than tracking your progress toward these goals as you fill out your exercise journal.

Digital Versions

Personally, I like to track my workouts using MS One Note. It’s in the cloud, so I can access it on my phone, my laptop, and my desktop. You can use commercial exercise trackers, but I’ve discovered there’s always a glitch or some other issue to deal with. You can also use pen and paper. I chose to go digital with mine because I carry my phone anyways for the music I like to listen to. This is solely up to you.

Next week, we’ll discuss the food journal.

Hope this has been informative.

See you next week!



Workout Routine – Shoulder Day!


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Ok folks!

Here was today’s workout for shoulders. For my shoulder workouts I try to hit all of the deltoid heads (front, side, and rear) and traps.

  • Machine Shoulder Press (full pyramid)
  • Cable Front Raises (4 static sets)
  • Cable Lateral Raises (4 static sets)
  • Dumbbell Rear Delt Flys (half-pyramid)
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Shrugs (4 static sets)
  • Cable Internal rotations (4 static sets)
  • Cable External rotations (4 static sets)

Good shoulder workout today. Hope everyone is having a great week so far.

See you tomorrow for Arm and Forearm day.


Workout Routine – Leg Day!


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Well, folks, another leg day has come and gone. Today’s workout involved full pyramids. Here is the exercise routine:

  • Leg Press Machine
  • Leg Extension Machine
  • Seated Leg Curl Machine
  • Calf Press Machine

Each set was for 8 reps and rest between sets was minimal. The time between sets involved moving the pin and grinding through another set. I worked up the weight until I could not do 8 reps with good form and then dropped plate by plate until I reached the beginning set. On the last set I worked to failure (as many reps as possible).

See you tomorrow!


Weekly Ramblings – Journal Series – The Gratitude Journal


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The Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journals are a great way to remain content, pick yourself up, and learn to appreciate the important things in life. Some of these things could be a relationship, your pet, some of the things you enjoy doing, a great restaurant, or literally anything that makes you feel good.

There are a whole host of benefits associated with gratitude journaling. Writing about things that you are grateful for will reduce stress, help you focus on the important things, and feel calm at night (Jessen, 2015). Focusing on what we are grateful for, minimizes our focus on what we do not like and cheers us up naturally by focusing on the good in our lives.

Jessen (2015) suggests writing in your gratitude journal at night for about 10-15 minutes, but I have found writing down what I’m grateful for in the morning is also a great way to start the day. I call these my grateful 3. In the morning I write down three things I am grateful for and I do the same thing in the evening. I came up with the number three after I purchased the 5-minute journal from intelligent change (www.intelligentchange.com). The 5-minute journal is where I started my gratitude journaling.

I highly recommend the journal if you really don’t know where to start. They give you an introduction to gratitude journaling in the front of the book and explain the benefits of this type of journaling. Each day you have three entries in the evening, three entries in the morning, a daily affirmation section (more on this in a later journal series article), and what you could do to even have a better day tomorrow.

I stopped using the book form of the 5-minute journal for a while and went to their iPhone version, but found it lacking. I like writing with pen and ink because I feel more connected to the words. Subsequently, I decided to create my own journal. I will discuss building your own journal at the end of my journal series.

Gratitude journaling is a great way to start and end your day because it causes you to find those things that you are grateful for each day. Some weeks you’ll use the same items over and over, but from time-to-time, you’ll be surprised at what you find yourself smiling about. For me a good cup of coffee at the local Starbucks, a good workout at my gym, or a serendipitous meeting with someone that was a joy to meet are all examples of what I find myself expressing gratitude for.

If you are not currently journaling, you may want to try starting a gratitude journal. It is easy to do, not too time intensive, and really does provide the benefits Jessen (2015) explains. It does provide a lot of benefits. I love journaling, now that I’ve been doing it for over a year. I want this journaling series to help others find the benefits of journaling like I have. It truly is a great gift and one that will help you clarify, refine, and enjoy the experiences you may have taken for granted.

I hope you have a great week ahead!

Until next time…



Jessen, L. (2015). The benefits of a gratitude journal and how to maintain one. The Blog. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lauren-jessen/gratitude-journal_b_7745854.html

Workout Routine


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Today was lower-back and abdominal day. I’m enjoying the one body part workouts. The simplicity is awesome. Here’s the workout.

  • Hip adductor machine
  • Hip abductor machine
  • Lower back machine
  • Ab crunch machine
  • Ab-x machine
  • Cable Oblique Crunches

Today, I mixed it up a bit. I did half-pyramids on the hip work, starting light and working to heavy, with each set for 8-12 reps. Lower back I did a full pyramid starting light working all the way up to heavy and then back down to starting weight (no rest between sets, other than to move the pin). The abs I did half-pyramids on the machine and the Ab-x machine 4 sets of 12. My Oblique work was a half-pyramid light to heavy.

If you are one that likes more variety in your workout routines, feel free to use any of my daily routines and combining them together. My plan this year is to continue this one body part a day routine for another month or so. Then, to increase intensity, I’ll move to an upper body/lower body/cardio split, hitting the whole body twice a week and getting in 3 cardio sessions of 20+ minutes each.

See you tomorrow!


Daily Ramblings – Workout Routine


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Howdy folks!

I hope your day is going well. I just finished today’s workout. The focus for today was biceps, triceps, and forearms. Here’s the routine:

  • Machine Curls
  • Machine Dips
  • Barbell Curls
  • Cable Overhead Triceps Extensions
  • Forearm curls
  • Reverse forearm curls

That was it for today. My arms are smoked. Tomorrow will be a cardio day. I use this day as a day off, but still hit the gym to keep my habitual workouts going.

See you tomorrow!


Workout Diary


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I’ve been using a new routine since getting back to the gym in February. I work one body part per day. So far, so good. Today was a shoulder workout.

  • Cable Front Rows
  • Cable Face Pulls
  • Cable Reverse Delt Flys
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises
  • Dumbbell Rear Delt Raises
  • Machine Shoulder Presses

For each of the above, I do 8-12 reps and 4 sets. I’ll increase the intensity as I go forward, but not bad for week 4 back in the gym. For those of you who didn’t see my reasons, I avoid the gym between January and February. I’m not a big fan of the New Year’s Resolution crowds that pack the gym in these months. Now that they have moved on, the gym is at tolerable population levels.

I’ll continue this routine for another month to get back into gym shape, then adjust. I hit the gym 7 days a week, with one day being a straight cardio day.

That’s it for today folks!


Weekly Ramblings – Journal Series – Your Dream Journal


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Journaling Series

For this week’s rambling, I wanted to start a series of articles about journaling. This article will discuss what I call a dream journal. Follow on articles will deal with gratitude journals, diaries, journals for reflection, and so on. I hope this helps you decide what journals will serve you best.

I have tried a great deal of the commercial journals on the market and have found that each has its benefits and disadvantages. I’ll give you a review of each of these journals at the end of the series to save you some time or at least some foresight before you spend your money on them.


The Dream Journal

Like other journals, the dream journal should be something that you use daily. Obviously, you’ll have some nights where you can’t sleep. These nights you won’t dream. On other nights you’ll have no recollection of your dreams whatsoever. These are both ok.

The purpose of the dream journal is to give our inner experiences reverence. The dream worlds we explore are just as real as our daily reality is, if we give them the respect we give our daily existence. When you have a dream, write it down as soon as you can. They tend to leave us quickly when we awake and become reoriented to our present reality.

I use the recorder on my iPhone sometimes. Other times, I will have such a strong impression when I awake that I can write it down as soon as I’m up and about. You’ll be the best judge of that as you move along with your journaling.

At other times you will awake with an impression. An impression is a feeling, nothing more. This feeling, however, does give us some clue as to what we may have experienced inwardly.

There are all types of dreams. Some are affected by what we did that day. Others are random and confusing. Still, others are with people we seem to know and others involving our family, friends, coworkers, etc. If you believe in past lives and reincarnation, some of your dreams could be a glimpse of the future or even some recall of a past life.

How to Start

Simply get yourself a writing pad or journal (you can buy them on Amazon for about $6). Write down the date and write down what the dream was or the impression you had when you awoke. Initially, you won’t have any clue about what your dream means. That’s ok. You’ll start to get an intuition about them over time. You’ll also discover that your dreams become more detailed. You’ll remember more about these inner experiences the more importance you place on them. By writing them down, this part will be taken care of.

Once you’ve gone a few months, go back and review your dream journal. I tend to look at my dreams at the end of the month. This review will help you identify different objects, colors, sounds, and other specifics to your dream world that are unique to you. If you see specific objects come up over and over, you may want to jot these down in another part of your journal we’ll call your dream dictionary. Simply write down the object, color, sound, or other description. Then write down what you think this “symbol” means.

You can also look up this “dream symbol” online to see if there is any particular relation to what you believe the symbol means. Go with your gut. Over time you’ll refine their meaning or even change it.

Why a Dream Journal?

What benefit is a dream journal? The dream journal will unlock a special part of you. Dreams have been recorded by many people throughout history. Some people give their dreams specific importance, particularly when they are making big life decisions. You can too, if you believe there is some guidance you are receiving.

We spend a good portion of our lives sleeping, why not record some of your adventures? You’ll find that recording your dreams in your journal will help you learn more about yourself. You’ll also find that the attention you pay to your inner worlds, the more focused and attentive you’ll be in the waking state. The reverse is also true.

Let’s say you are having trouble with details in your dreams. You can do a quick exercise everyday to help out in this arena. Pick a room or place and simply record all of the things you see. Pay particular attention to colors, things that appear out of place, or even the smells, sounds, and colors. You’ll find this little exercise will pay off in your dream worlds.

Dreams Provide Answers

Have you ever read an article that proposes the act of asking or contemplating a question you have before going to sleep? It works! Now, whether you believe your subconscious mind is working on these answers while you sleep, or the answers come to you from a higher power is best left to you. I believe we receive answers to our questions or hints how to live a better life from a higher power, but that’s my belief. If it works or if it could work, why not try it out.

Past Lives

Again, another sticky area if you do not believe in reincarnation. I believe reincarnation is real. This article was not designed to convince you one way or another. Some believe that are dreams contain pieces of our past, sometimes our present, and sometimes our future. Look through history at any number of people that journaled or wrote about their dreams and you’ll see the importance these historical icons gave to their sleeping hours.

Again, believe this if you want or don’t. I have come to know that past lives are real, through some of the inner experiences I have had throughout my life. I had one dream during my attendance at the U.S. Army’s Ranger School. The dream was literally a depiction of me graduating from the school. From that day forth I had no doubt I would graduate. I did. This is just one example of dreams and their relevance to our waking lives.

I hope this helps you discover your inner worlds.

Until next time…



Weekly Ramblings – Remaining Centered Despite Life’s Little Surprises


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I just got back from my Sister’s home after being there for a few days. It’s always a nice change of pace from the day-to-day. I visit my sister each month for a long weekend to hang out, get some good food and binge-watching TV shows or whatever she wants to do. This last trip we went to a comedy show, featuring Rocky LaPorte and Ron White. It was hilarious.

During this short stay, we also experienced a vehicle break down, which resulted in the replacement of a tire on my car. I was wondering how to react to these little-unexpected experiences. How do we stay in balance when something out of the ordinary happens we had no warning of?

I think the best way to handle the unexpected is to be proactive about those things we know may happen but may not. How do we prepare? We have insurance to protect against an accident, insurance for our health, even insurance for our life. We make sure we have an emergency kit in our car and home in case someone gets hurt. We make sure we have a good spare, jack, and other equipment needed to change the tire. We save some of our money to prepare for any potential emergency.

I contemplated about this over the weekend, after it happened, and realized that the key to dealing with the unexpected is to remain calm and balanced as well. It is so easy to be thrown off balance when the boss hands us a job we aren’t ready for, we get sick unexpectedly, or a car breaks down. Any number of things can happen to us or the things we own with little or no notice. Remain calm. Remain balanced. There is no reason to get out of whack when one of these things come to pass. Use your creative imagination to solve the problem once you’re hit with it. Remain calm. Remain balanced.

I practice meditation daily. My religious path calls this practice a spiritual exercise. Spiritual exercises come in all shapes and sizes as most meditation practices. The key is consistency and to have a purpose or goal when doing them. In Eckankar, we strive to practice these spiritual exercises with an open, loving heart. Sometimes, this is hard, particularly when one of these out-of-the-blue emergencies happen. We are freaked out, scared, nervous, the whole emotional gambit. The practice of meditating or spiritual exercises counter these feelings by slowly building a foundation of calmness and centeredness, both of which allow us to remain in control, despite what is happening around us.

Have you ever heard the statement: “He was so angry, he couldn’t think.” Thinking or mentalizing on something is really difficult if your emotions are out of control. The calmness allows us to think, to critically analyze our situation and get to work on solving the current dilemma. What happens when we have internalized solving the kind of problem we are hit with? This solving goes to a higher level. It is literally unconscious, which is what happens when we know how to solve a particular problem without thinking about it. Do you see?

Emotions, come before intellect, which comes before unconscious execution. If one of these is out of balance and control, they make the others that follow impossible to use. If we are too emotional we won’t be able to think about a solution—the emotions won’t allow that. If we are too caught up in mentalizing or thinking about a problem, our ability to apply what we already know is impossible.

By meditating or doing a spiritual exercise every day, we build up an internal centeredness and calmness that becomes more and more difficult to upset our natural balance. Thus, we have access to the creative imagination that would normally be blocked off by a stressful situation. You can find a great wealth of material available about meditation online or read about spiritual exercises at www.eckankar.org.

Have a great week!!

See you next week…