- Bench Press 4 x 15 (135lbs)
- Reverse Grip Incline Dumbbell Press 4 x 15 (25lbs)
- Incline Dumbbell Fly 4 x 12 (30lbs)
- Cable Crossover High Pulley 4 x 15 (10lbs)
- Triceps Pushdown 3 x 15 (60lbs)
- One-Arm Overhead Triceps Extension Cable (low pulley) 3 x 15 (15lbs)
- Close Grip Bench Press 3 x 15 (105lbs)
- Seated Calf Raise 4 x 15 (168lbs)
- Standing Calf Raise 4 x 15 (168lbs)
Today’s workout is Day 19 Week 1 Phase 3 of Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size (www.jimstoppani.com). This workout works in three 4-week cycles starting on week 1 with rep ranges of 12-15.
Today’s workout hits the Chest, Triceps, and Calves.
My current weight is 240lbs and I am 6’ tall. The goal is to be around 245-250 by the end of this 12-week workout and maintaining my body fat percentage, which is around 20%. This is higher than I’d like, but during any bulking phase, it is quite common to gain some body fat or stay where you started because of a large amount of food a mass building program requires.
Carbohydrates 169g; Fat 89g; Protein 164g
I use my MyFitnessPal (I the iTunes App Store) to track my macros each day.
Supplements and Water intake
Water intake is more than a gallon a day. I drink a 1/2 gallon of water just with my pre-workout, during, and post-workout drinks. The rest of my water intake is around my meals (six in total each day). I currently feed every two hours.
- PreJym combined with flavorless Whey Protein (25g)
- BCAA drink during workouts with flavorless Whey Protein (24g)
- PostJym Dextrose and BCAA Matrix combined with flavorless Whey Protein (24g)
See you tomorrow!!
Each of us has encountered times of trouble. We have health problems, we lose our loved ones, we get hit with financial issues and all the rest. Sometimes you just have to let go, laugh, and enjoy the ride. The bad times will pass, just like the good ones do. In the end, it’s all about learning detachment and remaining centered, realizing that we are with God right now and all of these experiences here are one grand illusion, created mostly by ourselves.
Stay happy readers. Laugh, enjoy the richness of your day-to-day life, and remember that all of your experiences, good or bad, are lessons to teach you how to better serve and assist others.
“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” – Charles F. Kettering
“The envious man grows lean at the success of his neighbor.” – Horace
“Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.” – Horace
Today’s contributors to my Daily Quotes are Charles Kettering and Horace. Kettering offers advice about success. He explains that success is the result of failure. I’ve read this multiple times in the self-improvement literature and it’s true. You cannot be afraid to fail in order to achieve success.
Our second quote discusses jealousy. The reason jealousy, anger, lust, attachment, and fear are such horrific emotions is because they tend to focus our attention outside of us. Whenever we believe our problems are the result of someone or something else we give up our ability to fix them. We blame everything outside of us for our difficulties and refuse to take responsibility for anything–a horrible state to be in.
The final quote is about work ethic. One of the foundations of a satisfying life is hard work. Not work for the sake of it, but concentrated, goal-driven, determined work. This is one of the things I love about weight lifting. You only get results when you work hard, focus on the exercises, eat right, use proper supplementation, get proper rest, and drink plenty of water.
What do these quotes mean to you? Do you have any quotes you’d like to contribute? Do you have an example of how these quotes may apply to a past situation in your life? Please share here.
See you tomorrow…
Today’s workout was a non-template workout, but a good one. Since I’ve completed Week 1, Phase 2 of the Shortcut to Size Workout, I decided to do some weight-lifting, but for cardio purposes on Saturday and Sunday. Today’s target was lower body, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Abdominals, Obliques, and Lumbar muscles.
- Squats 4 x 30
- Leg Press 4 x 30
- Leg Extension 4 x 30
- One-leg Hamstring curls 4 x 30
- Romanian Deadlift 4 x 30
- Machine Crunches 4 x 30
- Wood Cutter 4 x 30
- Machine Back Extensions 4 x 30
Macros from yesterday:
Carbs 254g; Protein 216g; Fat 98g A little over on carbs.
Enjoy your Sunday. Week 2, Day 1, Shortcut to Size commences tomorrow.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at the 4 dimensions of life. Now, it’s time to discuss how to organize our lives around these 4 dimensions to ensure we stay balanced and improve our effectiveness by addressing each one of these dimensions on a weekly basis. Planning is something that can always be improved and if done correctly, will save you a lot of time and worry in the future, in relation to any activity you do.
First, let’s discuss the tools that we need before we begin. Obviously, you’ll need a calendar. You’ll also need a pen or pencil. Finally, a paper journal broke out by day or an electronic journal. Here’s what I use:
- I use Google Calendar for my calendar tool
- I use Todoist as my cloud-based to do list
- I use a journal called the Productivity Planner produced by Intelligent Change
- I use a blank composition book for brainstorming
Reviewing the Previous Week
This is something I learned from the author David Allen who wrote the book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. This practice is also provided in the Productivity Planner. It is literally a section in each week of your planner pages. Anyways, to begin, examine anything you’ve received in the last week that you have not processed. This could email you’ve received, voicemails you’ve received, missed calls, social networking responses, any mail you’ve received you haven’t opened or processed, etc. Literally, any input you have not looked at and made a decision about should be the first thing we tackle.
Next, you’ll want to look at your goals and see what steps you’ve completed and what steps are left. Typically, these are multi-step projects that we all track in our heads or on paper. Anyway, you’ll want to look at all the projects you have and what you are doing to move them forward.
Questions to ask during your review:
- What did I get done last week (wins)?
- What did I not get done last week?
- Did I learn anything new last week?
- What will I commit to this week that will allow me to finish my top 5 tasks?
Planning the upcoming Week
Now that you know what you have to do, it’s time to determine what is really important out of all the things on your to-do list, project list, and goals list. Now that you have determined what your top 5 things are, we next move to our dimensions.
- How will you schedule learning something new (Intellectual Dimension)?
- How will you schedule spending some time with your friends and loved ones (Social Dimension)?
- How will you schedule some time for exercise (physical dimension)?
- How will you schedule some time for your spiritual activities (spiritual dimension)?
- These should all be scheduled on your calendar.
Here’s how I’ll tackle my week:
Weight Lifting Mon-Tue; Thu-Fri
Cardio Wed – Sat – Sunday
Dinner with Mom and Dad each night; Chatting with my Sister and Brother at least 1 day this week
Continue to watch Game Theory on The Great Courses Website; continue reading Kissinger book; continue reading Brooks book
Meditate am 10 minutes; 20 minutes pm
Read my Bible morning and evening in conjunction with meditation
Character building – Courage is the character trait I want to work on this week (physical and moral)
Web sites referred to in this posting:
https://www.intelligentchange.com/ This website is the company that sells the Productivity Planner I referred to
www.todoist.com This is the cloud-based to do list I use. I can access on my PC or phone.
http://gettingthingsdone.com/ David Allen’s website for the GTD methodology.
Until next time…
What is the Mental Dimension?
It is the dimension of our lives that deals with the intellectual side of our lives. Today, the ability to learn new things and use these new concepts to survive has become paramount. Learning new things on a computer, a mobile phone, or a tablet. Learning new skills like programming, a language, or public speaking are all available now with a few mouse clicks or tapping on our phone or tablet.
How do we keep our mental dimension strong? Here are a few ways:
- Read daily
- Meditate Daily
- Sleep at least 7-8 hours per day
- Write daily
Reading is one area that all of us could do more of. Luckily there are apps like Kindle, Nook, Google Books, and Scribd. All of these are a quick download. You have to buy books or find free ones, but these are all fully accessible on your mobile, tablet, or computer. I enjoy reading broadly. This is one thing that Steven Covey recommends in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Reading broadly means we read about things that normally do not capture our attention. For example, I used to just read action, science fiction, and history books. Now I try to engage in love stories, poetry, mystery novels, non-fiction (everything) and a whole lot more. The key is to keep the intellect striving for new things, broad-minded topics, and concepts.
Meditation is the other area that will strengthen the mental dimension. Meditation has a whole bunch of benefits, one being a calming effect. Speaking of calming, you can get an app called Calm that will provide you with daily meditations, weekly meditations (each day for 7 days), and much more content. I’ve also tried Headspace but didn’t like their interface as much.
Meditation will also teach you how to focus. Focus is critical and a lot harder than you think. When you first begin meditating you’ll discover that your mind will wander quite a bit. Some who follow Zen Buddhism label the mind a “monkey”. So true. Anyways, the practice of meditation will help you calm this Monkey through various techniques, which is really beneficial. Just a few minutes of quiet each day can really prime you the rest of the day. That being said, mornings are not the only time to do this. You can meditate in the morning, lunch time, or even the evening before you head to bed. The key, just like exercising in the Physical Dimension posting, is consistency. It is much easier to establish a habit if you are doing the same things at the same time each day.
Sleeping is such a wonderful thing. It replenishes us, repairs us, resets the brain and allows it to collect, store, and assess all the inputs it received during the day. It also can be a time of high adventure when we wake up in one of our dream worlds. Sleep is really important for your mental health. The deep REM sleep that most doctors talk about is only achieved a few times throughout the evening. This is the key part of your sleep time when the brain receives the most benefit.
If you have difficulty sleeping, you may want to try a few things I’ve found across the web:
- Turn off and put down your electronic devices. These devices put out a lot of light and are really stimulating for the brain. Stay on these things too close to bedtime and you’ll have a hard time shutting down.
- Avoid Caffeine, Sugar, and Alcohol, after dinner. These are all highly stimulating and will reduce the quality of your sleep.
- Take a hot shower or bath.
- Read a chapter in your favorite book.
- Meditate or contemplate.
- Listen to relaxing music (ambient is one genre that is terrific for this).
Writing is the last topic I’ll cover, but frankly, if you’re reading this you are already writing for your own blog and understand the benefits of writing. Writing allows us to refine our thinking and refine the way we bring out that writing to the page. I always try to write things out on paper first, but today, I’m being lazy. The writing is going on the word document and will be pasted into my blog today.
There’s a reason I like to write by hand, however. I have two journals I keep up with twice a day. The first is my 5-minute journal, which is a gratitude journal. The second is my productivity journal, which is nothing more than a focused planner. Both are hardcover books and are written in by hand. You can investigate these journals for yourself at https://www.intelligentchange.com/
Writing by hand allows you to connect the physical with the mental. Writing by hand uses more muscles, tendons, and nerves than clacking away on a keyboard. This neuro-muscular connection actually impresses your writing into your mind more effectively. So, I write by hand in one of my 90 cent journals. I normally by 10 at a time and these last me a couple of months.
One area I don’t want to forget is learning. What do you want to know? What do you want to learn? Are there any areas you’d like to tackle that you feel weak in that could benefit your life tremendously? Want to learn how to cook? Want to learn to do accounting? Want to learn about a foreign country? Want to learn how to speed read? The possibilities are endless.
One website I’d recommend if you have 15 dollars to spare each month is Great Courses +. Here is their website: https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/home This service is also available for iPhone and Android devices. Currently, I’m taking a course on Game Theory. Why not right? Anyways, whatever you want to learn, you have the ability to learn more and find more information than at any other time in our history. Take advantage of it. Learning is the final linchpin of the Mental Dimension. Learning is the exercise our brains need to stay pliable and expand. Try to learn something new each day, regardless of how small that little bit of information is. The little things we do each day build up to really big things.
Until next time…
“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.” – Barbara Jordan
Today is Saturday and I love it. Out of the 7-day week, Saturday is my day to do whatever. I sleep in. I get a lot of reading done. I listen to a few good pieces of music while I lounge around and read my latest book. I think it is a good move to have a “do whatever” day. It gives us the freedom to really do what we want, when we want, or do nothing at all. There is a caveat to this “do whatever day”, however. Mine is my habits, which I am trying to build. These I do not miss.
For me, my current habits daily are writing, reading, working out, flossing, and meditating. With all of the advice of minimizing, some may say this list is a little big. Well, I guess it is, but some of these I’ve pretty much mastered and about ready to pull from my daily reminder list. I use an app called Habit Bull for my reminders. It is literally nothing more than a list of my habits that I click on when I’ve completed a task. I typically run them for 99 days. I know the research out there says 66, but 99 is my way of really making sure that the neuropathways in my brain are solidified before adding another habit.
I also start very small with my habits. When I started the writing habit, I stuck with about 300 words a day. When I started my reading habit, it was just one article online or a page in a book. When I began my workout routine a long time ago it was 10 minutes on an exercise bike.
Starting small is really crucial to the habit-building process. I start ridiculously small. Write a sentence. Read a paragraph or page, or doing one pushup is what I’m talking about. This may seem silly, but your brain doesn’t know the difference. All it knows is that you are doing something new. Once you’ve done this for a few weeks, the brain begins to “expect” to do this thing you do every day now. When this expectation occurs is dependent upon the individual. I tend to feel a shift in the habit’s solidity when I start feeling a need to do something. It’s almost like I become addicted to doing this one thing.
There are many folks who want to get rid of bad habits. You can apply the same process. Let’s say you want to minimize your caffeine or sugar intake. First, you have to know what level of consumption you are at. Once you do this, take a little bit away.
Let’s say you have 6 cups of coffee a day. Some may think this is a large amount, others may say, that doesn’t even dent my level of coffee consumption. Instead of having that 6 cups a day, chop it away to 5 or 5 ½ cups a day. Do this for a week. Write this one thing down on a pad, a journal, or some app reminder you use. Right before going to bed, check it off your list. Once you do this for a week, chop it down again to 4 or 4 ½ cups per day. Keep doing this until you have your coffee consumption down to where you want it. Believe it or not, I used to be a 10+ cup a day person. I’m down to two. My initial plan was never to quit coffee altogether, but to lower my consumption. Once I hit my goal of two (one in the morning and another mid-morning), I pulled this from my habit creation list and moved on to the next.
You can do this with anything you wish, but I would start with those really heartfelt goals you have for yourself. Start with the really impactful habits. Here’s a list you can start with:
Negative habits you want to remove:
- Lower nicotine intake to one cigarette a day
- Lower coffee consumption to one or two cups a day
- Lower your sugar intake to two cheat meals a week
Positive habits you want to add:
- Read a page a day
- Write a sentence a day
- Do one pushup a day
- Drink one glass of water a day
- Meditate for 5 minutes each day
- Plan or brainstorm for 5 minutes each day
Obviously, this list is not all-inclusive. Our habits are a very personal thing. Whether we want to remove things we don’t like or add things we are not doing is a personal choice. My advice would be to pick just one thing that would have an immediate and long-lasting impact on your life. My first habit ever was working out.
There’s another thing about habit building. Once you grow one habit, you’ll decide later that you want to improve that habit even more. Then you add that new habit to your list and continue to pursue others, which is why my list has 5 on it, instead of only one or two. My workout habit is pretty well established, along with my reading habit. My writing, meditation, and flossing habits are still in the infantile stages and ones that I am really focusing on to solidify.
If you want more advice on this habit-building regimen, you’ll want to take a look at a book called Mini Habits by Steven Guise. This is a great book and one that will explain why this mini habit process is founded in many psychological principles.
Some habits are beneficial, while others are really horrible for you. Think about the person you would like to become and utilize the steps listed in this book or here. It is really this simple. Here are some apps that can help you as well:
HabitBull (compatible for Android and iPhone) – simple habit-building
ToDoist (compatible for Android, iPhone, and The Web) – simple routine-building to-do list
Once you have established some good habits, you can begin building what has been called a routine or ritual. These are the things you do every day without fail in the morning and evening. The morning routine could be as simple as get up, make the bed, meditate, eat breakfast, brush teeth. Your evening routine could be as simple as take a shower, brush teeth, get out clothes for tomorrow, listen to calming music, read, and retire.
Routines solidify your habits into a regimen of activities, triggering one event after another. You can see my habit of brushing teeth (and flossing) in both routines. When I was working full time, I had a mid-day routine, which also included reading, eating lunch, and brushing teeth. Routines become a macro habit once you have done it for a while. The key again is to start simple. Yours maybe get up at this time, make the bed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, head to work. Whatever you decide for your daily rituals is up to you, but another great way to automate your day by building habits of activity structures that you automatically do every day without fail, using one habit to trigger another.
Well, I’m off to the enjoy the rest of my “do whatever day”. I hope you enjoy the picture of the cookies featured in this posting. They are my Mom’s Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.
Until next time…
“A mind stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
The mind is a collection of neural pathways forged by our senses, thoughts, and our experiences. The mind collects. The mind compares. The mind stores.
Each of us is unique because our senses and the neural pathways they create are forged by our circumstances. But is the mind all there is?
A mind is a tool. We exist beyond the mind but need the mind to negotiate the reality of this reality. We are our consciousness.
Think about emotions, memories, intellect, and subconscious. These collectively represent the mind, the combination of which are infinite when we deal with the world. When a particular experience is over you will come away from a collective experience with your own unique version of it. You interpret the event with your emotions, any memories that may provide some background, you evaluate the input with your intellect, and there may even be something in your subconscious that contributes to your experience. If you talk to others who experienced the event, there will be differences in each person’s unique way of interpreting the event.
Our consciousness allows us to be aware of things and to accept or reject them. Our consciousness is what allows us to think of things beyond what the mind has seen or collected. Our consciousness allows us to find new ways of doing things. How does this occur?
Consciousness is connected to a greater expanse. Some call this expanse God. Others call it the Universe. The name that is given to it is irrelevant. We can contact this expanse and find what already exists somewhere in infinity.
By doing so, we stretch. We become more aware each time we tap into this greater consciousness. The next time you have a problem to solve. Ask the question. Write your question down. Think about it before you go to sleep. The answer will come in some way. It could come while listening to a radio program, watching television, or surfing the Internet. You could see your answer on a billboard, in a book, or overhear someone in the coffee shop you frequent. The more aware you are, the easier it will be to find the answer to your question. The only caveat to this is to test the answer you receive. Ask for a confirmation. Sometimes the mind gets in the way. It doesn’t believe the answer it receives and will block some of it out. We will misinterpret the response we get to our question. The answer comes. They always come. What is important is becoming aware enough to receive them.
Until next time…
This is Black History Month in the United States. As of 1976, every U.S. President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Canada and the UK also celebrate their own Black History Months. One of the most prominent figures of American history is Frederick Douglass.
Frederick Douglass, born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, was a slave until he escaped his bondage at the age of twenty and grew up to become a propagandist of the Union cause and emancipation, a recruiter of black troops, and advisor to President Abraham Lincoln (www.history.com).
“The soul that is within me no man can degrade”, is one of Mr. Douglass’ quotes and is so important when considering the plight of his people. In a world where the Soul is possessed (e.g. my soul) this consideration of Soul as the true self provides one with a sense of freedom, regardless of the circumstances a person is experiencing. If Soul is residing in the physical body and considered the true self, it follows then that the physical body is merely a shell possessed by the Soul and not the other way around.
This point of view provides a freedom that is external to the physical senses and one I find interesting. If we are Soul and not the body Soul is occupying, it allows us to realize that though the physical body may be imprisoned, Soul is free. Free to go where it will and not subject to the abject horrors that slavery has wrought on so many throughout human history. There are many religious world-views that espouse Soul as the true self.
Frederick Douglass was an example and inspiration to all Americans. He rose from being a slave to become an advisor to the President of the United States on two separate occasions, demonstrating that the spirit is stronger than a person’s physical body or the terrible conditions one is born into. Each of us has the same ability if we use it. I challenge each of my readers to read stories about individuals like Frederick Douglass who overcame prejudice, fear, and great hardship to land a place in history, anytime you feel like life has dealt you a bad hand.
Frederick Douglass was one of our great American heroes. I applaud him and the many other African Americans that have blessed our American history.
History.com (n.d.). Frederick Douglass. Retrieved on February 4, 2017, from http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/frederick-douglass
Credit for Frederick Douglass’ image goes to bio.com
Until next time…