Getting Fit with X24


You Gotta Clean Your Apartment Before You Move the Furniture Around

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get my life organized before I try to move forward. I have to figure out what in my life are goals, what are interests, and what are distractions. And I can tell you right now that I have a lot of distractions.

So I’m going to make a list of everything I do throughout the day, week, month, and then determine the importance of each. I know for a fact that Facebook and Netflix are my two biggest distractions. I get up, make coffee, have a pre-workout snack, check Facebook, and next thing I know an hour or two have disappeared. Or I’ll watch an episode of a TV series I like, and next thing I know I’ve watched three episodes.

Prioritizing my time is important, but I’m realizing how prioritizing my goals to fit into that time is just as important, if not more so. Otherwise, even a minor goal can detract from something more important.

So I’m going to scrap whatever I’ve had going, make my lists and get organized before I move forward.


A Month of TRX – Day 1

Today I started my month-long experiment to see what kind of results/gains I can get from using the TRX exclusively for strength training. Today I did the Strength workout. I haven’t done this one in a while and it showed.

A lot of the movements caused me to rethink how I move my body. Even the squats (single-leg and side-lateral) threw me off. The triceps movement was especially tricky as I basically had to do the exact opposite of a triceps kickback. (On your knees, hold the handles in each hand, then lean forward while trying to keep your elbows from moving.) The hip drop and prone rollout movements also tested me. Extending too far can actually do more harm than good.

All in all it seems to be effective. I feel it mostly in my back, rear deltoids, hamstrings, and quadriceps. I was going to do Asylum Back to Core tomorrow, which works many of these same muscles, but now I’ll have to rethink this. Perhaps I’ll just do some additional stretching or maybe some Plyo if I’m up for it. I don’t want to overwork my muscles.

Here’s a couple of day one shots to  track my progress. I’ll take additional shots at the end of each week.

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Side View

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Front view


Skeptics Are So Annoying

I’ve been doing my best this last week trying to avoid an argument in regards to the validity of Alpha Brain. The opposing party feels that my experience (and that of anyone else who has used this product or any other produced by Onnit Labs) is purely anecdotal; only clinical trials can prove that it works.

OK, first off, I know I should just keep my mouth shut and not get into it with this guy. But when I whole-heartedly believe in something, or when I’m faced with blatant, unabashed stupidity, I just can’t help myself. Secondly, what difference does it make if the people taking the stuff are paying customers or human lab rats? If it works, it works. The weird part is, they did their trials to get it right. So far I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t had good results. I have read a few reviews from people who didn’t benefit from it, but those reviews are few and far between.

It just annoys me that there are people who simply want to hate on something because they can’t understand it. I tend to be skeptical as well, but when there’s enough evidence (anecdotal or otherwise), I’m open-minded enough to give it a chance. Even when I don’t understand it. I just figure maybe one day I will get it, or more evidence will present itself.

Anyway, I just had to get this out so it doesn’t annoy me all night. I’ve got other, more important things to worry about.


Alpha Brain Dream

So I wound up going to bed about 5:30 or 6 this morning since I took a late nap and stayed up all night. No biggie since I work nights. I took an Alpha Brain pill about 3-3:30 to help me focus while watching some documentaries online, but inexplicably, even with two cups of coffee, I felt really distracted and wound up getting sleepy.

I just woke up about a half hour ago from a nap. Even though I slept about 2 hours, I felt like I’d slept maybe 4 or 5. I was disappointed because even though I knew I’d been dreaming a lot, I couldn’t remember fuck-all what I’d dreamt.

Then a bunch of shit hit me. Ohhhhh yeah! That’s right!

It’s late at night and I’m waiting at this Greyhound stop with a wooden bench outside a gas station. There’s no one else around. The bus shows up and someone gets off. I ask them something [maybe it’s if it’s if this is the right bus] and they give me reassurance.

So when it pulls up, I have a bunch of bags, but all my clothes and shit are scattered everywhere and I have to shove everything into them before the bus takes off. I’m like ten feet from the bus but I can tell the driver [or maybe the bus itself] is impatient.

I get on and the lady driving takes my pass. But as I hand it to her it dawns on me that I don’t have the ticket. Shit! I knew I was supposed to print it out, but I forgot!

We step off the bus and she asks me if this is the bus I want. I say I think so, or anyway I’m pretty sure. She asks which way my bus usually goes, but I realize I’m not quite sure. I don’t really pay attention. There’s two ways to go: one is up a hill and the other hooks around the station. She asks me if my regular bus goes around the station the way hers does. I say I think so, but I don’t really pay attention.

Eventually we get back on and I find a seat. I ask her to drop me downtown and I’ll find my way from there. She can’t quite hear me, so I yell louder. Drop. Me. Off. Downtown. Down. Town. She still doesn’t get it. I cup my hands around my mouth and practically scream it. My throat and eyes hurt from it, yet I might as well have just spoken loudly for all the good it does.

The other passengers chuckle and laugh at my struggle, but they commiserate their own experiences. They all had trouble getting the driver to hear them, but you know. They make it clear that I’ll get where I need to go. I can just sit back and relax.

Behind me are some black people. They’re joking around about some thing or another. I turn around and listen to them, eventually being drawn into their conversation. I crack some jokes of my own, and the main funny guy mimicks me. His style reminds me of Katy Williams for some reason, even though I’ve only seen ads for his specials. I think he’s mocking me, but he makes it clear he just thinks I’m funny. Everyone else agrees so I carry on.

We’re having a really good time, but eventually my stop shows up and I have to get off. I can’t remember what happens from there. Or if I even got where I was going. I suspect it wasn’t even downtown.


TRX Fitness Challenge

I’ve decided to workout for at least 30 days with just the TRX for strength training. In the past I’ve done P90X, Insanity, Asylum, Chalean Extreme, and other Beachbody programs. They’re all great in their own way, but I’m getting to a point where I want to branch out. I’ve tried a few TRX workouts, and I like that it travels easily and can be done pretty much anywhere.

Now, I’ve looked around for results. Before and after photos, assessments where people trained with this thing exclusively. I can’t find shit! Sure, there’s tons of YouTube clips showing exercises or routines using the thing, and reviews where people augmented their workouts with it. But who has gone from 0 to 60 using just the TRX?

This is a plan so it’s subject to change. I have no intention of injuring myself or going so hard that I overtrain. Will I bulk up? Lean out? I don’t know. That’s why it’s an experiment.

I will be using some other programs to target the other areas of my fitness. (Schedule to follow.) The three TRX programs I will use are Essentials: Strength (strength training), Boot Camp: Ropes & Straps (sets broken up with cardio intervals), and Performance: Train Like the Pros (Strength training with upper body focus). An optional fourth workout will be Essentials: Cardio Circuit. All other programs mentioned are available through Beachbody. And no, I’m not an independent coach, so I could care less if you buy anything. 😉

I don’t want to get TOO lean. My body fat percentage is currently about 12%, so I’d like it to drop, but I’m more interested in mass gains. I’ve heard lots of arguments about how weightlifting is the best way to go for that, but what have you. I’m primarily considering going with the P90X structure, but since I don’t want too much cardio, I’m going to switch it up a bit. Nutrition-wise I try to eat pretty healthy. Not too many bad carbs, plenty of veggies, and natural ingredients as much as possible.

OK, so here’s the schedule. I’ll follow it for three weeks, then have one week off for recovery. I’ll take pictures and report my stats and progress as I go.

SCHEDULE
Weeks 1-3
Mon TRX Strength
Tues Asylum Back to Core
Wed TRX Ropes & Straps
Thurs P90X2 Yoga
Fri TRX Performance
Sat Cardio
Sun P90X XStretch

The fun begins on Monday!


30 Day Challenge – Day 4/5

I’ve been doing some thinking about my priorities and goals, and I’ve come to the realization that I need to rework them. Again. It sucks that things keep changing on me, but I know that a plan is a work in progress. And it’s better to work everything out before I set things in motion than it is to jump in with both feet and fuck up before I get anywhere. Like I haven’t done that a hundred times already….

I had a nice long conversation with my girlfriend last night. We both expressed our desire to be closer to each other, even move in together some day. But we both know that our relationship is relatively new (officially two months old and going strong! Yay!), and we’re still getting to know each other and learning to be together. So, while the desire to rush forward and live life together is strong (and not unreasonable), we both feel that doing that now would be a mistake. I mean, heck, we’re still trying to get through a weekend without an argument! (Though we’re able to resolve the conflicts peaceably.)

So….. Where does that leave my goals in relation to my priorities? My main priorities are spending more time with friends and family, and developing my relationship with Kelly. Now, I also want to focus on writing regularly, finding a more rewarding job with better hours (and hopefully better pay), and ensure (even improve) my fitness.

I figure that if I can write on a daily basis (even if it’s only these blog entries), then that will improve my skills, help me build up work that I can show to prospective employers, and perhaps put towards assignments and work that actually pays. Examples include publishing stories, writing ad copy, and hopefully completing a novel by next summer. The money I would gain from these endeavours would go toward saving up to move, travel, buy a car, and maybe even lead to supporting myself through writing alone!

Staying healthy is detrimental to my physical and mental well-being, and to my overall longevity. By eating right and exercising regularly, I’ll have more energy, stay positive, ensure focus, and be able to spend time with Kelly, family, and friends for decades to come!

In the end, it seems that these are my primary goals. I’m not sure which to make my Push Goal for the Challenge, but I figure everything will iron itself out in the weeks to come.

Now, am I confident enough to tell the people closest to me that this is what I’ve decided? I’ve made wild proclamations in the past that never came to fruition. Of course, in the past I basically talked away my goals. I guess we’ll just see what happens!


30 Day Challenge Day 3

Today I created my Top Ten Goals. The idea is to come up with ten things I want to accomplish by this time next year. I’ll go over the list again tomorrow, and rewrite it once a week for the next three weeks as I continue to focus on my objectives.

I was surprised to find that my initial goals conflict with my top priority from yesterday. My top priority is to spend more quality time with family and friends, yet my goal list focuses on creating a life with my girlfriend and focusing on my interests.

Is my top priority wrong? Should I make creating a home and happy life with my girlfriend my top priority? Or, do I need to adjust my goals to focus on my priorities? Hmmmm…..

I find this predicament ironic. I just started reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. He points out many resistances we have or create towards creativity or achieving what we want. One of these is Distraction. I’m very good at this: endless hours of TV, hanging out with friends, comic books, even relationships have kept me from focusing my energy on figuring out and then going after my dreams.

So now I find myself in a position where I’ve met an amazing gal whose company I enjoy, who I never get bored with, and can’t wait to hang with. I’m not daydreaming or laying in bed pining for romance, but imagining how great life would be if we lived together, had a home, etc. And what’s really nice is, she feels the same way. It’s just a matter of making it happen.

So my issue is, I want a life with her to be a major goal, even a top priority. I don’t want to sacrifice my other interests or goals, nor do I want to sacrifice ensuring or strengthening my other relationships. And I certainly don’t want to get so focused and obsessed that I wind up focusing all my needs and desires for happiness onto her. I’ve done that in the past. It’s unrealistic and unhealthy.

So maybe it’s just fear talking, maybe I’m too early in the Challenge process to see clearly. I’ll sleep on it and see how my goal list looks in two or three weeks.


Chalene Johnson’s 30 Day Challenge – Day 2

Soooooo…… in my ongoing search to improve myself, I finally cracked down and started Chalene Johnson’s 30 Day Challenge (check it out here). I signed up for it a few months back as part of my New Year’s resolution, but as is want to happen, I never followed through with it.

Now, thanks in part to Alpha Brain (but mostly due to my innate desire and choice to improve the quality of all aspects of my life), I’ve decided to take the plunge and get focused on specifying my priorities, goals, and desires. I’ve wasted too much of my life being wishy-washy about what I want or how I’d like my life to be: if I’m going to get things in order and turn those pipe dreams into reality, I’d better start now.

It didn’t take much time figuring out what I want most in life. Nor organizing those priorities in order of importance. It seems odd to me how, as I get older, my need for praise and devotion from the masses becomes less important while my desire for family and good company (which has always existed) takes increasing dominance.

For the record, my Top Three Priorities are:
1. Spend more quality time for family and friends.
2. Create a happy, solid life with my girlfriend.
3. Pursue interests and hobbies which I enjoy, including writing and fitness.

More to come tomorrow!


Week One in Review

So it’s been roughly seven days of using Alpha Brain. I haven’t turned into Tobey Maguire in “Wonder Boys,” but I do find my desire for watching hours of mindless entertainment has dropped significantly. I’ve taken to watching more documentaries, and my ability to.watch a program without spacing out or thinking of something else has diminished. I’m also getting into researching topics that interest me. (Although my go-to site tends to be Wikipedia; I find it’s a good place to.start, but I’m also inclined to check other sources to verify what’s mentioned.)

I haven’t really done anything practical since taking Alpha Brain. Perhaps it’s the adjustment period. I am inherently lazy, though, and given a choice, I’ll so anything that isn’t a tedious chore. But, I intend to get into writing on a consistent basis (I’m back into writing stuff out as inspiration hits, but not so good at following an idea through to completion). I’ve been studying for my driver’s license and need to crack down on finishing that. I also need to get more organized, and clean on a more consistent basis. Dust abounds…..

However, while I was hoping for a whirlwind change (but when am I NOT expecting overnight success), the changes and improvements so far have been pretty great. I hope this productive and energetic mode will continue.

By the way, while my total recall of dreams dropped, I am consistently having dreams, and I will find I remember much more than I normally do. Lately, they’ve been pretty spotty and random and there seems to be little significance to what I dream, but the fact is I AM dreaming, so I think there’s something to be said for that.


Random thought…..

Are kids becoming sexually active earlier in life these days? Passed by the pool on the way to the grocery store and saw some girls who couldn’t be anymore than 12 or 13 laying out in bikinis, wearing makeup and looking far older than they ought to. I wasn’t checking them out, don’t get me wrong. That would just be creepy….

I hate to say “when I was their age” because it makes me feel old and aware that I’m already 33 and how the fuck did I get this old, but, hey, when I was their age I wasn’t even aware of sex, or attracted to girls or any of that. I recall a kid in the 4th grade joking about fucking a girl in the pool and getting water in her pussy. I laughed along with everyone else and instinctually I was aware that girls had pussies and were different from boys, but other than that I didn’t have a clue what he meant.

And I don’t recall anyone being sexually active or kissing or showing any interest that way. I mean, I had a crush on a girl in the 3rd grade without really knowing what it meant, and the next year I was drawn to her best friend, but mostly because of her hair. No one talked about sex or girls or anything. That random kid I mentioned? I never saw him before or since.

Yet now, the stories I hear of 8 and 10 and 12 year holds getting caught by teachers or bus drivers for fucking….it just makes me wonder if this sort of thing went on and I just had my head so far in the clouds that I never noticed. Or maybe its the artificial preservatives and growth hormones in meat and shampoos and shit that are causing kids to go into puberty sooner. I certainly don’t recall any of the girls I went to school with wearing makeup or low-cut shirts and otherwise sexy clothes. Later on in high school I noticed, and since then my head was like a lawn sprinkler the way I checked girls out. But who knows…..maybe they did and I just didn’t notice.

It does seem like our culture has changed a lot since the 80s when I was a kid. Or maybe I’m just more aware of what’s going on. Either way, it doesn’t seem appropriate for prepubescent girls to dress like sex symbols. I’m all for freedom of expression and finding out who you are regardless of what the populous thinks, but with the pedophiles and creeps that roam around, it doesn’t seem right to give them easy targets.

Just my thoughts for now…..