Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 122 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at resistance 10
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Deadlifts - 5 x 45, 110, 125, 150lbs
Overhead Squats to Box - 5 x 3/3 x 45lbs
Kneeling Ab Wheel - 5 x 3 x Part way out

Leg soreness has mostly subsided. I felt really good, until I failed to stand from my first overhead squat. Whoops. A little stretching let me force the sets, but everything is misaligned from my legs getting so sore. I need some soft tissue work and stretching before bed today and tomorrow.

I found my ab wheel while cleaning out the gym. I cannot even do it kneeling right now. I am going build up on my deadlift day for awhile. I pretty much NEVER do direct ab work, so this is going to hurt.

Having a rest day on Sunday is fitting my life really well. I'll definitely be up late tonight.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 121 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at resistance 10, then 2 minutes to cool down to under 130bpm
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 50, 60lbs
Renegade Rows - 5 x 3/3 x 16k
Get Ups - 5 x 1/1 x 16k

I have reached the first deload week. 70% of a normal workout, rounding down weight or reps when unsure.

The workout was easy. I am dealing with a lot of soreness in my legs, from the reverse lunges.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 119 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up
Elliptical - 16 minutes, 5 over 160bpm, stop at 130bpm
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squat to Box - 5 x BW, 45, 90; 3 x 100; 5 x 110lbs
DO Axle Deads (25lb plates) - 5 x 10 x 123lbs
Reverse Lunges - 4 x 8/8 x BW; 1 x 8/8 x 5lbs overhead

I focused on using my arms on the elliptical and hit 174bpm at one point. It messed me up a little while lifting. I think 5 minutes over 160bpm but under 170bpm might be the best for my warm up. 165bpm as the target, I suppose.

Squats felt good today.

Reverse lunges are difficult for me to coordinate. I kept them light, using a dumbbell overhead as an alignment cue on the last set. The toe on my left foot hurts if I step too far back. They were significantly harder than the forward lunges I have been doing.

Watched the Power Unlimited documentary on youtube this morning. Good times.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 118 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up
Go through some stuff around my house and gym, figuring out what I can donate or sell. Price it out and post it online.

Bench - 5 x 45, 88; 3 x 98; 10 x 108lbs

I am on vacation and wanted to spend my time playing on the internet and eating nachos. I am scheduled to lift. My compromise was to bench while my nachos cooked. They are delicious.

10 reps at 108 required a little effort on my part, maybe because I was not warmed up very well.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 115 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up
Elliptical - 15 minutes, 5 over 160bpm, stop at 130bpm
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Deadlift - 5 x 45, 132, 190; 3 x 215; 3 x 242lbs
Overhead Squats to Box - 5 x 5 x 45lbs
Barbell Hip Thrusts - 10 x BW, BW, 45lbs, 73lbs, BW

Using a heart rate based warm up is a good idea. It seems the incline setting has no effect on my heart rate. I learned something already!

Deadlifts went ok, not great. I was at least 2 reps short of my PR with this weight, though I was deadlifting 5 days a week when I set that PR.

Overhead squats are starting to come together. These sets were not that hard, and I did a 6th set with no box just fine. I'll try them with no box and just the bar next week during my deload. From there I'll either add reps or weight.

I see the appeal of hip thrusts for someone doing MMA, but my experience just classed them in the "stupid human trick" category. Supporting myself on the edge of the bench cramps my upper back and neck really bad. The bar does not feel very good rolling around down there either. I am looking for a swing substitute. Maybe single leg deadlifts will work...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 114 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up
Elliptical for 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 70; 3 x 80; 8 x 90
Renegade Rows 5 x 5/5 x 16k
Turkish Getup - 5 x 2/2 x 16k

I am staying on the elliptical until my heart rate gets back below 130bpm. I was actually on there for 15 minutes this morning. I'd like to move away from raw time measure to time spent above specific bpms. Something like "Elliptical - 5 minutes > 160bpm, cool down to below 130bpm." My body adapts quickly to this type of work, already the resistance I started the month with is a little too easy. Pure time based measures are poor.

My shoulder hurt while pressing, I think due to tight muscles in my upper back and neck. Stretching between sets helped some, but I need to consistently do mobility and soft tissue work before bed.

I was a little worried about having renegade rows and getups on the same day, but they work nicely against the tightness that developed on my day off. Given that this workout is normally preceded by two days off, I think the exercises are a good fit. 5 sets feels like a ton of volume right now, but my hips also felt really good by the 4th and 5th sets of the getups. My knee normally clicks coming up from half kneeling, but stopped doing that by the final sets.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 112 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up
Elliptical for 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squats to Box - 3 x BW, 45, 85, 95; 6 x 105lbs
DO Axle Deadlifts (25lb plates, band on knee) - 5 x 10 x 123lbs
Lunges - 5 x 5/5 x 12k overhead

I tried harder than last week's squat workout. It shows. The top of my left forearm is feeling better.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 111 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up
Elliptical for 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Bench Press - 3 x 45, 80, 90; 10 x 100lbs
One Arm Rows - 5 x 10 x 20k
KB Clean and Press - 5 x 8 x 16k's

Bench is limited entirely by how far I want to push my shoulder joints. I am not going to do more than 10 reps.

I forgot I was going to do renegade rows and ended up doing one arm rows instead.

Clean and presses were tiring and near the limits of my work capacity.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 108 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up
Elliptical for 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Deadlift - 3 x 45, 60k, 180lbs, 205lbs; 5 x 230lbs
Overhead Squats to Box - 5 x 5 x 20k barbell
Two Hand Swings - 5 x 10 x 28k

Only 16 hours between this session and the last one. It is all my schedule allows for. The top of my left forearm is still tender.

I think I had a major breakthrough on how to perform an overhead squat. It is a movement I have wanted to learn for years, but always failed at, even with just the bar. Normally I am fighting not to fall backwards. Normally when I squat I try to send the force through my heels. Today I let myself push through my toes as much as I wanted. The squats were far, far easier.  Promising...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 107 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up
Elliptical for 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Overhead Press - 3 x 45, 65, 75; 8 x 85lbs
One Arm Rows 5 x 10/10 x 20k
Turkish Getup - 3 x 2/2 x 16k

I sat too much yesterday and went to bed far too late. Last week's snatches gave me a splitting headache, so I opted for something a little easier today.

Switched to a dumbbell after the first set of getups. The top of my left forearm is aching. No idea why.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 104 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squats to Box - 5 x BW, 45, 70, 90, 100lbs
DO Axle Deadlifts - 5 x 8 x 123lbs
Lunges - 5 x 5/5 x 10lbs overhead

Four days straight of lifting has caught up with me. I did the bare minimum. Next week I will do better.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 103 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up
Elliptical for 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Bench Press - 5 x 45, 75, 85; 10 x 95lbs
Renegade Rows 5 x 5/5 x 16k
KB Clean and Press - 5 x 6 x 16k's

Bench was easy, but my shoulders are clicking and popping. My hope is that regular mobility work and practicing the movement will make it usable. I was repping with 145lbs in college. I cannot do 5 x 10 with my assistance exercises, using the weights I have.
 I will build up to it.

In other news, I locked in the rate I wanted for my refinance today. 3.25% for 10 years, no points. I'll be poor for awhile, but it will save me more than $30k total over the next 10 years. Score! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 102 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Deadlifts - 5 x 45lbs, 110lbs, 165lbs, 190lbs; 8 x 215lbs
Overhead Squats - 5 x 5/5 x 12k
Two Arm Swings - 5 x 10 x 24k in 5:00

This program is more work than I am used to. It seems having psyched up for my deadlift max ensures I need it for the hard set each time I deadlift. I am not sure if that is good or bad.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 101 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up
Elliptical for 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 65, 70; 8 x 80lbs
KB Snatch 5 x 10/10 x 16k - 4:15
Turkish Getup - 5 x 1/1 x 16k

First day of 5 3 1. My assistance work was harder than my main exercise. I am not sure what that means. I think, perhaps, that I am lazy...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 98 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up
Elliptical 10 minutes (2 workouts in a row!)
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

KB Press - 10 x 16k's, 16k's,
Renegade Rows - 5/5 x 16k, 16k
KB Snatch - 10/10 x 16k, 16k
Partial Getup to Half Kneeling - 3/3 x 16k

Lower back muscles are quite sore today. Kept the weights light and volume low as a result.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 97 of 365 - Lower

Warm up - elliptical 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility work with 12k kettlebell
Deadlifts - 5 x 20k, 60k, 90k; 1 x 110k, 282lbs
Front Squats to 12" Box - 5 x BW, 20k, 85lbs; 1 x 110lbs, 130lbs

I got back on the elliptical. I really ought to do that every time. I paid enough for it.

Today was all about finding some maxes to start 5 3 1. The deadlift was better than I expected (within 10lbs of my all time PR) and entirely mental. I'll probably have a hard time falling asleep tonight because of it.

The front squats might have been better without deadlifting first, but this is what I had time for. My heaviest front squat ever was only 155, so 130 is close enough to whatever my current true max is.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 95 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up - Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell
Overhead Press - 8 x 45lbs; 5 x 65lbs, 85lbs, 95lbs
Renegade Rows - 5/5 x 16k, 16k, 16k
Close Bench - 5 x 88lbs, 5 x 108lbs, 3 x 118lbs
Half Getup - 5/5 x 12k, 16k
Grippers between sets - 3/3 x T, T, T, #1, #1

I am thinking about making a run at Wendler's 5 3 1 program. It is pretty close to the upper/lower split that works for me mentally. Maybe I can actually get stronger following it.

I need to loosen my body up this week and set maxes to start the program next week.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 94 of 365 - Lower

Warmup - foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell
Box Squats - 10 x BW, 12k; 5 x 16k's, 16k's
Single leg deadlifts - 5/5 x 16k, 16k's, 16k's
Lunges - 5/5 x BW, 12k overhead, 16k overhead

I am all tight from sitting around. Yikes! Maybe I'll do something again tomorrow.

Day 94 of 365 - November in Review

November was not a good month for progress against my goals. Stress at home has me distracted and escaping into non-productive activities.
1. Lifting - The month started out ok, but fell apart in the last two weeks. Poor diet led to low energy and skipped workouts.

2. Eat on $4 a day - Stress led to low quality, expensive eating habits. I am trying to get back on the menu I laid out at the start of November. About all I learned is that corn flour and corn meal are very different ingredients, that yield very different results. I did make my best pizza to date.

3. Become competitive at pool - This goal remains on hold.

4. Maintain my home - This goal received no attention in November and is likely to remain on hold for December.

5. Excel as a quality engineer - So far adapting to the new developer has been a non-issue. I discovered I can get my agile books for free via interlibrary loan, which is fantastic. I am 2/3 of the way through the book Product Development Flow. The author provides solutions to and reasons for many of the problems I have experienced with traditional project management. Very cool. I also have the book _Agile Testing_ sitting on my kitchen table. I expect to start it in the next week and to see continued strong progress in December.

Other than doing well with my career (which I am getting paid for), I really took things easy. I cannot decide if this is an appropriate response to stress or simply poor coping ability on my part. December may be more of the same. I have put my Netflix on hold in an effort to direct my energy productively. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 83 of 365 - Full Body Kettlebells

Foam roller and mobility work with 12k kettlebell

KB Clean and Press super set with - 8/8 x 16k, 20k; 5/5 x 24k, 24k
Lunges - 8/8 x BW, 12k overhead; 5/5 x 16k overhead, 16k overhead

KB Snatch super set with - 8/8 x 16k, 20k; 3/3 x 24k, 24k
Renegade Rows - 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 20k, NA

There, I did some exercise. That was my only goal for today.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 81 of 365 - Full Body Kettlebells

Foam roller and mobility work with 12k kettlebell
KB Clean and Press followed by Lunges with 12k kettlebell - 4 sets
Single Leg Deadlifts follwed by Renegade Rows - 2 sets

I have not been lifting. I am distracted and tired. This morning I enough to prevent losing ground. I will need more of these over the next month.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 76 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up - 12 minutes on elliptical
Foam roller, stretching, and mobility with 12k kettlebell
KB Press - 8 x 16k's, 5 x 20k's, 20k's, 20k's, 20k's
Renegade Rows - 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 20k, 20k
KB Snatch - 10/10 x 16k, 16k, 16k
Grippers - 5/5 x T, #1; 3/3 x BBSA

I have been extremely tired. This morning I opted to lift anyway, but I am dragging. I was up past 1am on Friday night for a production release that went wrong, and it seems to have really thrown my sleep off.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 72 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up - Elliptical 12 minutes
Foam roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell
Box Squats - 10 x BW, 16k, 16k's; 3 x 20k's, 20k's, 20k's, 20k's, 20k's
DO Axle Deads - 10 x 33k; 5 x 73k, 3 x 83k, 83k, 83k
Lunges - 8/8 x BW, 5/5 x 12k racked, 12k overhead, 12k overhead

I was tired this evening, so I opted to keep the weights a little lighter and focus on adding volume. I think it's time to build my warm up to 15 minutes on the elliptical. I am not making time for cardio. A little longer warm up will help to compensate for that.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 70 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up - Walk a mile with 20lb back pack
Farmers walk with 16k's
Stretch and mobility work with 16k
Overhead Press - 6 x 16k's, 16k's; 4 x 16k's, 16k's
Renegade Rows - 6/6 x 16k, 16k, 16k, 16k
One Arm Snatch - 8/8 x 16k, 16k, 16k
Half Getup to Sitting - 6/6 x 16k, 16k
Farmers walk with 16k's

Tired tonight and sat a lot today, so I went with light weights and more volume.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 69 of 365 - Lower 2

Warm Up - Do the dishes
Foam roller and mobility work with 12k kettlebell
DO Axle Deadlifts - 5 x 73lbs, 161lbs, 161lbs, 161lbs, 161lbs, 161lbs

This is the nice part about lifting at home. After work I went into my gym to finish this morning's abandoned workout. Given how I felt earlier, I opted to keep the weight light and just get some reps done.

Today I used the cast iron skillet and the pizza stone. It's fun having new toys.

Day 69 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up - Elliptical 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility work with 12k kettlebell
Squat to Box - 10 x BW, 8 x 12k, 5 x 16k, 3 x 24k's, 24k's

I have not been sleeping or eating well. My lifting is suffering as a result. Given my impaired state, I did not think it was a good idea to add deadlifts on top of this workout early in the morning.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 66 of 365 - Healthy Living is Expensive

MealDescriptionReference FoodsCaloriesProteinCost
Meal 1Breakfast with nutritional supplementsWeekday - Oatmeal with Flax, Nuts, Tea, Vitamin
Weekend - Pancakes with Fake Meat, Tea, Vitamin
Meal 2Bean based mealChili with Brown Rice and Frozen Vegetables
Dal Makhani with Brown Rice and Frozen Vegetables
Tostadas with Salad and Dressing
Soft Tacos with Guacamole
Hummus Plate with Fresh Vegs, Fruit and Nuts
Frozen Burrito with Salad and Dressing
Meal 3Grain based mealWhole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli and Cheese
Teriyaki Stir Fry - Brown Rice with Broccoli and Tofu
Homemade Vegetable Pizza
Cheese Plate with Fresh Vegs, Fruit and Nuts
Snack 1High protein dairy with active culturesCottage Cheese and Whole Wheat Crackers
Greek Yogurt
Snack 2FruitApple
1/3lb pineapple
1/4lb strawberries
1/4lb grapes
Snack 3Junk food (optional)1/4 cup popcorn kernels, popped in oil
Ramen Noodles
3oz Chips
2 Homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Homemade brownie
3 Aldi little schoolboy cookies
TOTAL  2675925.89

This morning I did a more intensive analysis of my $4 a day food goal. It is achievable, if I am willing to cut all snacks and live on 2000 calories a day, with only 68 grams of protein. Of course, when I want to lose weight (1-2lbs a week), I eat 2000 calories a day. 68 grams of protein a day is plenty, for a sedentary 120lb woman...

My affinity for weight training, coupled with a vegetarian diet, requires I eat a little more. The table above is more realistic (though still pretty low in protein) and reflects the cost cutting measures I have made over the last year. I think there is room to cut a few % here and there, maybe 15% at the high end. $5 a day might be attainable without nutritional compromise. $4 a day? No way.

In my defense, it seems like every time I go to the store, food prices have gone up. The references I was using to establish this goal certainly did not account for the food inflation we have seen over the past few years. I also doubt the diets were as nutritionally sound as what I am eating. I believe the long term health benefits of eating this way are substantial.

I am going to continue working on that 15%, but I am no longer chasing $4 a day. Health comes first.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 65 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up - Foam Roller and Mobility with 12k Kettlebell
KB Press - 5 x 16k's, 20k's; 2 x 24k's, 24k's, 24k's
KB Snatch - 10/10 x 16k; 5/5 x 24k, 24k; 10/10 x 16k; 8/8 x 20k;

Tired today, so I cut this one short.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 64 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up - Foam roller and mobility work with 12k kettlebell
Box Squat - 10 x BW, 6 x 16k, 16k's, 3 x 24k's, 2 x 24ks; 6 x 20k's
Wide Grip Deadlift w/ Band on Knee - 8 x 20k; 5 x 60k, 80k; 6 x 90k; 1 x 218lbs

My strength is getting pretty close to my prior peak. I need to start building volume up around it - cardio and accessory work. I will back off on adding weight for a little why to support this.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 63 of 365 - October in Review

October started off poorly but ended with a few high spots. I am positioned to make real progress against my goals during November.
1. Lifting - My strength and conditioning is coming back from when I was sick. I estimate I will be pushing into new territory by the end of the month. I did well fitting my workouts in even when extremely busy.

2. Eat on $4 a day - During October I gained a more accurate picture of what it means to eat on $4 a day. Based on my analysis of my typical meals, hitting this while getting enough protein and produce is going to be very hard.

I did make more foundational progress. Flax oil is part of my standard morning breakfast, as is a vitamin when I remember. Sesame oil is going great in my stir fry. The pizza stone and cast iron skillet were both total wins.

My attempt at deep dish pizza was a total fail. My initial reaction was to put the deep dish on hold, but I have trouble with accepting failure. I ordered a 6.5" skillet so I can practice with less than a third of the ingredients I wasted on the 12" pizza. One other set back was Aldi discontinuing their guacamole.

This goal has received a lot of attention in the last two months. I'll probably get the deep dish pizza dialed in and put a little more into my analysis, but I do not expect any serious progress during November.
3. Become competitive at pool - This goal will remain on hold for November. The unexpected demand on my time that appeared in September is still present. It is more predictable now, but something has to be replaced by it, and pool is the victim.

4. Maintain my home - Not a good month here. The refinance fell through. Before I could get my rate locked, rates went up. I am watching for them to cycle back down. My heat broke. After a repair visit and $133, I learned where my circuit breaker is... I did not make time for any other repair efforts.

It is possible we will get the fireplace setup in November. If rates come back down, we will lock in for the refinance. The house is due for another housekeeper visit. The deck's going to be waiting until next year.

5. Excel as a quality engineer - I made a substantial time investment in training this month. It will take some time for the results to show, but I consider October a strong win here.

We have another developer coming on staff during November, so adapting to the additional load will be a big part of my focus this month. I also expect to get started going through books on agile testing and lean software development.

October was a rewarding month. I am mostly over being sick and positioned well for progress against my goals during November.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 62 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up - Walk around neighborhood
Foam roller and mobility work with 12k kettlebell
KB Press - 5 x 16k's, 20k's, 20k's; 1 x 24k's, 24k's
KB Snatch - 8/8 x 16k; 5/5 x 20k; 4/4 x 24k, 24k; 1/1 x 28k
Renegade Rows - 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 20k
Half Getup to step before Kneeling - 3/3 x 16k; 1/1 x 24k
Grippers - 5/5 x T, #1; 3/3 x BBSA; F/F x BBM

My strength continues to return. This one felt good.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 61 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up - Foam roller and mobility work with 12k kettlebell
Box Squat - 10 x BW, 5 x 12k, 24k, 16k's, 20k's; 1 x 24k's, 24k's
Wide Grip Deadlift w/ Band on Knee - 10 x 20k; 5 x 60k, 80k; 3/3 x 90k, 90k

I felt pretty good today, but I know my volume tolerance is low, so I opted to try some heavier weights. The high intensity made me a little dizzy, but that is to be expected. Alignment is gradually returning to my body, and the strength is following.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 60 of 365 - Deep Dish Pizza Attempt

Tonight I made an attempt at deep dish pizza using the 12” cast iron skillet. While the skillet did its job well, I did not.

What went well:

1. The crust is crispy and tastes pretty good

2. The pizza sauce made from scratch is not terrible, better than tomato sauce, not as good as jarred pizza sauce

3. The pizza came out of the pan without cracking

4. The pizza looked kind of like a real deep dish pizza (before it was cut anyway)

What went poorly:

1. The cheese. It didn't melt through, there was not enough. Some of the shredded cheese mixed into the sauce. The cut pizza looks like dough with sauce on it.

2. The uncooked dough was too wet and springy. This resulted in a bowl shaped crust, which caused what cheese there was to slide to the center of the pizza during cooking. The wet dough was also very difficult to get to stay on the edges of the pan.

3. My stomach feels a little upset. I eat regular deep dish with no problems, so I think this along with the dough being too wet implies there was far too much oil in my dough recipe.

When it comes down to it, deep dish pizza is a vehicle for cheese. With a total fail there, the pizza left a lot to be desired. I believe in eating what I make, so I'll finish it, but it may be awhile before I try again. Using a 12" pan for learning just requires too many ingredients. A 6” pan would be much more appropriate.

Given the room I have for improvement with my thin crust pizza, I think it's better to stay focused there. Thin crust uses far fewer ingredients, is healthier, cooks faster and is more forgiving of mistakes. Maybe if I get a smaller pan, I’ll give the deep dish another try.

I did use the cast iron skillet to make breakfast again this morning. It worked really well. I can cook about 1/3 faster with the pan. My food tastes a little better too, probably because the pan is oiled.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 59 of 365 - Upper

Walk 2 miles at brisk pace
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell
KB Clean and Press - 8/8 x 16k; 5/5 x 20k; 3/3 x 24k, 24k
KB Snatch - 8/8 x 16k; 5/5 x 20k; 3/3 x 24k, 24k
Renegade Rows - 5/5 x 16k; 5/5 x 20k
Grippers - 5/5 x T; 3/3 x #1; 1/1 x BBSA

My strength is coming back slowly, but my tolerance for volume is quite low. I stuck with single arm work to make this one systemically easier.

I used the cast iron frying pan for breakfast this morning. I ate, but there is definitely a learning curve. I will give it another go tomorrow. I might also use it for a first run at deep dish pizza tomorrow night. That is, if I make dough this evening.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 58 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up - Elliptical 10 minutes
Foam Roller and Mobility work with 12k kettlebell
Deadlifts w/ Band on Knee - 5 x 20k, 60k, 80k, 80k, 80k
Box Squats - 10 x BW; misaligned, time to stop

When I deadlift, the tension makes me need to cough. If I cough, I lose my tension and cannot support the weight. This made for some interesting sets. It's good I have bumper plates and lift on a stall matt.

I did a full stretching and foam roller session two nights ago. Yesterday I tried to lift, but after my warm up and mobility work decided it was not a good idea. I went it to today's session with very little motivation, but opted to just do something.

I will give the cast iron skillet a try with my pancakes this weekend. I have made some progress breaking down the data for my $4 a day food goal. It looks like breakfast is pretty well optimized, at $1 per day. That includes my tea, flax oil and a vitamin.

Getting my other two meals plus a snack or two into the remaining $3 is proving tough. I have broken down some my typical meals but have around half a dozen more to go. The core issue is produce. It is expensive fresh and buying it frozen is not much cheaper. I need to free up money from other food to splurge there.

I think a pressure cooker might be the key. From what I have read online it would let me:

1. Get good results with non-premium brown rice. More like $0.75/lb instead of 1.49/lb.
2. Use dried beans instead of canned. Dried beans are $0.99/lb and cooked are equivalent to 4 cans of beans. Canned beans are $0.55/can or $2.10 for 4. Using dried beans is supposed to be healthier and tastier as well.

If these things are true, a pressure cooker could get me awfully close to the $4 mark. The payback period would be awhile, so I am not rushing off to buy one just yet. I will wait for a deal. Maybe my parents can find a used one at an estate sale.

The $4 a day is definitely a game at this point. It is leading me to learn how to cook and eat healthier though, so I will continue playing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 55 of 365 - Upper

Walk a few miles
Warm Up - Farmers walk with 16k's, Mobility with 16k
Overhead Press - 6 x 16k's, 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
Renegade Rows - 6/6 x 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
Dead Snatch - 8/8 x 16k, 16k
Half Getup - 6/6 x 16k to step after high bridge position
Cool Down - Farmers walk with 16k's
Walk 1-2 miles

On each exercise, I talked myself into one less set. I am mentally and physically exhausted. Time for recovery.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 54 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up - Walk a few miles through the day
Farmers walk with 16k's; Mobility work with 16k
Single Leg Deadlifts - 6/6 x 16k, 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
Lunges - 5/5 x BW, 16k racked, 16k overhead, 16k overhead
Cool Down - Farmers walk with 16k's, walk 1-2 miles

Brief but intense. No squats. I have been sitting for 12-14 hours a day lately. I have not been stretching. I have no business squatting.

I expect another short one tomorrow.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 51 of 365 - Upper

Walk a few miles
Warm Up - Farmers walk with 16k's, Mobility with 16k
Overhead Press - 5 x 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
Renegade Rows - 5/5 x 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
Dead Snatch - 5/5 x 16k, 16k
Half Getup - 5/5 x 16k to Seated; 5/5 x 16k to High Bridge
Cool Down - Farmers walk with 16k's
Walk 1-2 miles

Yesterday's session took more out of me than I expected. I also failed to stretch. Today's session was pretty average as a result, but that's ok with me. I'll keep my strength up at least.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 50 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up - Walk a few miles through the day
Farmers walk with 16k's; Mobility work with 16k
Single Leg Deadlifts - 5/5 x 16k, 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
Front Squats - 5 x BW, 16k, 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
Lunges - 12/12 x BW
Cool Down - Farmers walk with 16k's, walk 1-2 miles

Very short on sleep today. Opted for a limited equipment workout. It was actually pretty hard, probably as a result of the poor sleep quality. My right knee started to hurt on the lunges, so I called it a day.

I might stretch this evening, depending how the night goes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 49 of 365 - Recovery and Planning

Walked 2-3 miles
45 minutes of stretching and mobility

I will lift this week, but the sessions will be compromised.

I have been thinking about my $4 a day meal goal. I may have enough experience at cooking inexpensively that my limiting factor is just planning. I need to price out a selection of my common meals and figure out how or if the $4 days fit together.

My recent decision to include healthy fats makes the goal much harder. Guac is 50 cents a serving, flax oil 25 cents, sesame oil 50 cents, extra virgin olive oil 25 cents. My rough estimate is 33 cents additional per meal, potentially getting down to 25 cents per meal if I focus on flax, olive and canola oil. That leaves a little over a buck a meal for the remaining ingredients.

I think the key is going to be a pattern that looks like:

Breakfast - Oatmeal + Tea during the week; Pancakes + Fake bacon + Tea on weekends
Lunch - Batch cooked bean meal w/ TVP for protein + frozen veg
Dinner - Stir fry, pasta, scratch pizza or tostadas + salad;
Snacks - Popcorn, mixed nuts, fruit
Drinks - Water and Tea. Alcohol very sparingly.

The main challenge is fitting in one of my favorite meals - a plate of assorted fresh vegs, nuts, fruit, and hummus with whole wheat naan or wheat crackers with cheese. The meal runs $2-3. Buying it at the store requires comitting to enough ingredients for 4-5 meals. I have to run under on the other meals to balance this one out. It's not getting cut.

Beer is a similar story. I like to have one or two a week. I've learned most times MGD at 50 cents a can makes me as happy as Belgian ale at $3 a bottle. More MGD, less Belgain ale is a start, but I'm not going go entirely without exceptional quality beer.

I know people are eating on well $80 a month. I still think $120 is a generous goal. Once I pull all the levers I can figure out, if I am not there, I will reach out to some of those people for advice specific to my personal situation.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 48 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up - Elliptical 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility work with 12k kettlebell
Double KB Press - 5 x 16k's, 20k's, 20k's; 3 x 20k's
Renegade Rows - 1/1 x 20k; 3/3 x 20k, 20k; 1/1 x 20k

This one was brief. I am short on will power after yesterday's session, and short on time due to a half day of extra stuff to do.

It's going to be hard to fit lifting in over the next week, but then life gets much easier.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 47 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up - Elliptical 10 minutes
Foam Roller and Mobility work with 12k kettlebell
KB Squats to Box - 5 x BW, 12k, 24k, 24k racked R, 24k racked L, 16k's
Wide Grip Deadlifts w/ Band on Knee + Fat Gripz - 8 x 20k; 5 x 60k;
Wide Grip Deadlifts w/ Band on Knee - 5 x 80k, 80k

HR is only getting to 165bpm during the warm up now.

This one was primarily about working on my imbalances from being inactive. Fortunately I stretched Saturday, walked and stretched on Sunday. That has me moving freely enough to use compound exercises while fixing things.

Deadlifts had my weak side activating like crazy, but also made me dizzy. 176lbs feels awfully heavy right now. Given that and time constraints, I opted to skip lunges. If I can't focus, they do me no good.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 45 of 365 - Upper

Walk 1/2 mile
Elliptical 10 minutes
Foam roller and mobility work with 12k kettlebell
KB Clean and Press - 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 20k
KB Snatch - 8/8 x 16k, 20k, 20k
Renegade Row - 8/8 x 16k; 5/5 x 20k, 20k
Half Getup to Kneeling - 3/3 x 16k
Grippers - 5/5 x T; 3/3 x #1, BBSA; 1/1 x BBSA

Very tired at the end.

The cast iron skillet and pizza stone arrived today. I'll season the stone tomorrow.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 44 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up - Elliptical for 10 Minutes
Stretching, Foam Roller and Mobility Work with 12k Kettlebell
DO Axle Deadlifts - 5 x 73lbs, 161lbs, 161lbs
Lunges - 8/8 x BW; 5/5 x 12k racked, w/ press when kneeling

My normal warm up had my HR at 170bpm. My hips are still misaligned from inactivity. I need to walk and stretch this weekend.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 39 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up - Foam Roller and 12k Kettlebell

KB Circuit - Cycle 1, Cycle 2
KB Press - 8/8 x 16k, 16k
KB Snatch - 8/8 x 16k, 16k
Renegade Rows - 4/4 x 16k, 16k
Grippers - 8/8 x T; 4/4 x #1
Half Getup - 4/4 x 16k, 16k

The weights are very humbling right now.

With everything else I have to do tonight, this one has cost me a little sleep, but it will pay off long term.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 38 of 365 - Lower

Warm Up - Foam Roller and 12k Kettlebell Work
KB Squats to Box - 8 x BW, 16k goblet, 16k racked, 16k bottoms up
Lunges - 8/8 x BW, BW
DO Axle Deadlifts - 8 x 73lbs, 3 x 161lbs, 161lbs, 161lbs

I am finally sleeping through the night, but my cough is still hanging on. The plan for now is light work to get my body moving properly. I'd like to add cardio back within the next week.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 30 of 365 - September in Review

September was not a great month for progress on my goals. The exceptional events from the start of the month remain ongoing. My days have consisted of little more than working, doing chores and resting. I have little to show for my time.


1. Lifting - yeah, right. My last two weeks of nights have been spent upright on the couch, hoping my cough will stop long enough that I fall asleep for a few hours. I am weak and de-conditioned. The doctor says all I can do is wait it out.


I'll be lucky if by the end of October, I am back to my condition from the start of September. At least I have the elliptical to help me along now.


2. Eat on $4 a day - September averaged more like $5-$6 a day, largely because I did most of my grocery shopping at Walgreens for the last half of the month. Jack's pizzas are $4 each, so...


I did make some foundational progress here:


- Proved shopping at Aldi and Meijer my most affordable grocery option

- Incorporated Aldi guacamole into a few of my staple meals, adding an inexpensive and healthy fat to my diet

- Finally learned to prepare tofu for stir frys. It is half the price of frozen fake meat.

- Discovered basmati brown rice. It is 50% more expensive than Riceland long grain brown rice, but it actually tastes good.  It is also much cheaper than the corn bread or frozen brown rice I have been pairing bean heavy meals with.

- Became confident in my ability to successfully prepare dried beans

- Changed a pattern around work that ensures I eat out two less meals a month


October is an unusual month for me schedule wise. I'm not even going to try to track dollars spent on groceries. I do expect to make some more foundational progress that will benefit my long-term health and maybe my monthly grocery budget. Flax oil, sesame oil, and homemade deep-dish pizza are all in the queue. It’s also finally cool enough for me to look into a pizza stone.


3. Become competitive at pool - Nope. I regressed for sure. I can't bend over without having a coughing fit. I don't expect much progress here in October either. I'm going to have to prioritize my time carefully and pool is not at the top of the list.


4. Maintain my home - I've set the process in motion for a refinance. It should cut 1% or so off my mortgage rate and shorten the duration by 3 years. I've done nothing else. I have to come up with enough money that I have 20% equity in the home (again, I did this two years ago...), so I am poor now.


I expect to finish the refinance in October. I'd like to at least try some screen repair in the mean time. The housekeeper hasn't been here for more than a month, I guess changing that will count for home maintenance at this point... It would be smart to get the deck and attic taken care of professionally, but I’m not sure I’ll have the time or cash flow to coordinate it.


5. Excel as a quality engineer - I missed 3.5 days of work last month. That's the 15% I might normally spend on process improvement, so nothing major to show here. I did get some training approved that will make me more effective long term.


October is going to be rough on my work schedule and any potential process improvement around software quality. Nothing I can do about it though.


September was pretty lame. October might be better, but I am really just trying to get back on my feet. I have high hopes for November though!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 15 of 365 - Hello Valley

Thanks to the stress of the past week, I am now sick. I also had the pleasure of a dentist visit today.

I know life is cyclical, but the valleys stink!  Maybe I can do some light lifting tomorrow and make the climb back out a little easier.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 13 of 365 - Upper

Warm Up - Precor 10 minutes
Stretch and Foam Roller
Double KB Press - 5/5 x 16k, 20; 2/2 x 24k, 24k, 24k; 5/5 x 20k
KB Snatch - 8/8 x 16k, 20k, 24k; 5/5 x 28k
Renegade Rows - 5/5 x 20k, 20k
Grippers - 5/5 x T, #1; 3/3 x BBSA

Weak and tired this morning. I am losing 3-4 hours a day to the issue that took over last week.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 12 of 365 - Lower and Mobility

Warm Up - Precor 10 minutes, 10 resistance, cross ramp from 10-20
30 minutes stretching and mobility
DO Axle Deadlifts 5 x 73lbs, 161lbs
, 161lbs, 161lbs, 161lbs
Box Squats - 5 x BW, 5/5 x 12k racked bottoms up, 5/5 x 12k overhead

This workout was about moving better after getting so tight. It worked.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 11 of 365 - Recovering

This past week did not go as planned. I got too little sleep, did waaay too much sitting and found myself unable to attend the RKC today. My body was so misaligned this morning, that just walking around cramped up the muscles in my lower back. That's never a good sign, so I settled for just light walking and a little stretching today.

Most of the walking was done in Sams club, investigating if shopping there would lower my grocery bill. It was a total fail. Despite the "exclusive" membership and massive containers, the prices aren't any better than what I find at Aldi or on sale at Meijer.  Add in the membership fees and poor selection, and it turns out warehouse stores aren't for me.

I expect to lift tomorrow and maybe even shoot some pool. No tournaments until at least next Monday though. I have too many unexpected demands on my time and the pool tournament is one of the easiest things to drop.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 6 of 365 - Shaky

Warm Up - Elliptical 10 minutes, Resistance 10, Crossramp from 10 to 20
Stretch and Foam Roller
KB Clean and Press - 5/5 x 16k, 24k; 2/2 x 28k, 28k, 28k; 5/5 x 24k
Snatch (finger catch) - 5/5 x 16k, 24k, 24k
Snatch (palm catch) - 5/5 x 24k; 2/2 x 36k (PR); 1/1 x 28k
Half Getup to High Bridge - 3/3 x 16k, 20k, 20k
Grippers - 5/5 x T, #1; 4/4 x BBSA; 1/1 x BBM, BBM; Miss / Miss x Easy #2

This one had to happen later in the day. With no rest days recently, I needed every possible advantage.

Doubling the 36k snatch left me trembling after the workout. I am good at focusing myself, but not so good at calming back down. The reps were a little sloppy, but most PRs are.

Progress on my other goals is slow. I am going to need the whole year...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 5 of 365 - Lazy Day

Warm Up - 20 minute walk in the morning, shoot some pool before lifting
Stretching, mobility work and foam roller
Goblet Squats - 5 x 1C1, 24k
KB Front Squats - 5 x 16k's; 2 x 24k's,
 24k's, 24k's, 24k's, 24k's
Single Leg Deadlifts - 5/5 x 16k, 24k, 16k's, 20k's
, 20k's, 20k's
Dynamic Pinch - 5/5 x 5lbs, 10lbs, 10lbs

I woke up tight this morning and couldn't get started after my warm up. I ate breakfast instead, hung out around the house, shot some pool and then got at it. Lucky for me, the holiday means lots of free time.

Since I was struggling, I kept away from the heavy deadlifts. It was a good chance to get some volume on the squats, which will ultimately lead to more reps per set.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 4 of 365 - Time for Breakfast

Elliptical - 20 Minutes
Cross Ramp - 10
Resistance (5 minute intervals) - 10, 12, 14, 10

HR in the 160's. Stretched and used the foam roller for awhile afterwards.

Off to make some cornmeal pancakes and veggie bacon for breakfast. Since cutting my grocery bill requires cooking, I eat better than ever!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 3 of 365 - More from Less

Warm Up - Elliptical 10 minutes
Stretch and Foam Roller
KB Press - 5/5 x 16k's, 20k's; 4/4 x 24k's; 3/3 x 24k's, 24k's, 24k's
Renedgade Rows - 5/5 x 20k's, 20k's, 20k's
Double KB Snatch (Lower to shoulders)- 5/5 x 16k's, 20k's, 16k's
Grippers - 5/5 x T, #1; 5R/3L BBSA; 2/2 BBM Attempts; 1/1 BBM Attempts
KB Windmills - 3/3 x 12k, 16k

The lighter weights and lower volume in yesterday's session left me strong for this one, despite poor sleep.

Double KB snatches are new and hard on my shoulders. I'll have to use them sparingly.

I know I will miss some workouts towards the end of the coming week. I just have too much going on. I'll hit it hard the next couple of sessions, then use the busy time for active rest and recovery.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 2 of 365 - Even Earlier

Warm Up - 10 minutes on Elliptical, 10 resistance, Cross ramp from 10 to 20
Stretch and Foam Roller
Wide Grip Deadlifts - 5 x 20k, 60k, 80k, 80k; 3 x 196lbs, 216lbs
Goblet Squats - 5 x BW, 12k, 24k
KB Front Squats - 5 x 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
Dynamic Pinch 5/5 x 9.25, 9.25, 9.25

My schedule for today required getting up at 6 to fit my lifting in. If not for the fact that I am working towards my goals, I would've just pushed this one to tomorrow.

I had to skip the pool tournament last night to make this work. It's just as well, I did a 10-ball test instead. I normally score around 15-20 out of 100, last night I got 9. I did try breaking with a rail bridge on the last rack. It's the only one where I actually sunk balls on the break, so I'll try it some more next time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 1 of 365 - Finally Working

25 Minutes on the Elliptical
Resistance at 10
Cross Ramp adjusted at 5 minute intervals - 10, 15, 10, 20, 10
HR ranging from 165 to 175

Got warm and then stretched out. The high cross ramp is going to improve my ankle mobility.

The techs for the precor didn't get here until almost 9 last night, but they got it working. I made them stick around and fix noises while I took the cross ramp and resistance through all the settings. 20 cross ramp at 20 resistance is hard! I think it's solid now though.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Singles Only

Warm Up - 20 minute walk
One Arm KB Clean and Press - 5/5 x 16k, 20k, 24k; 2/2 x 28k; 5/5 x 24k
One Arm Swings - 10/10 x 16k, 20k, 24k, 28k, 28k
Half Getup to High Bridge - 5/5 x 16k
Grippers - 5/5 x T; 3/3 x #1; 1/1 x BBSA

No double kettlebells today. My body is not ready for heavy weights in the morning yet.

Other updates:
1. A tech is coming to service the elliptical today. Once I can use it, my warm up time will be cut in half.

2. I signed up to be a victim at next Sunday's RKC. I am going get feedback on my snatch grip, as well as to see if taking the RKC is something I might ultimately want to do. I considered training up for it this year, but Dragon Door's recent marketing ventures (MLM of nutritional products / affiliation with a "lifestyle design" guru) really discouraged me from giving them more money.

3. I'm going to play in the 10-ball tournament tomorrow night.

4. The potatoes I got for $0.20 / lb are excellent. $4 a day is totally happening on my next grocery shopping cycle.

2011-2012 Goals

1. Master the 24k kettlebell

Loosely based on the strength standards for the RKC:


1.1 Double presses - 5x5

1.2 Double front squats - 5x5

1.3 Double Swings 5x10

1.4 Turkish Getup - 3x3/3

1.5 100 snatches in 5 minutes

1.6 Unweighted pullups 1x5


I am starting at 3x3 on the presses, 3x2 on the squats, 1x10 on the swings, 1x1/1 on the getups, 100 snatches in 10 minutes, and no pullups. Body weight is 215. Video of met goals will be posted.


2. Eat on $4 a day 

The $4 includes all groceries and alcohol. It excludes eating out, typically 1-2x a week. I am starting just above $4 a day. Averages will be calculated with every major grocery shop.


3. Become competitive in the local pool tournament 

The local pool hall hosts double elimination tournaments every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. I consider competitive as winning matches against at least 2 people in a night. I play once or twice a month and am starting with zero wins over 4 tournaments. I did take one match down to a final shot on the eight, where I scratched.


4. Maintain my home 

4.1 Caulk the shower

4.2 Repair the screens

4.3 Power wash and stain the deck

4.4 Fix the bedroom pocket door

4.5 Setup the fireplace

4.6 Clean the dryer vent hose

4.7 Inspect the attic


My house is gradually falling apart. I need to learn how to take care of it, hiring professional help when appropriate. Starting out, about all I can do is unclog a drain. I did replace the kitchen faucet, but it took me 4 hours.


5. Excel as a software quality engineer

5.1 Script system wide regression tests

5.2 Automate system wide regression tests

5.3 Introduce targeted security vulnerability assessments

5.4 Accelerate existing automated vulnerability scans

5.5 Evaluate automated vulnerability scanner website integration

5.6 Support at least one additional developer

5.7 Adopt use of join syntax in SQL queries

5.8 Introduce regular monitoring of unhandled system exceptions


Project manager at a small company is an encompassing title. While I do run projects and design the majority of our system changes, I am also responsible for quality. My boss values improvements here the most, so I will focus on them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An Early Start

Warm Up - 20 minute walk
Wide Grip Deadlifts - 5 x 20k, 60k, 80k, 80k, 80k
Goblet Squats - 5 x BW, 12k, 24k
Kettlebell Squat - 3 x 16k's, 16k's, 16k's
Lunges - 5x BW, 12k racked, 12k overhead + kneeling press
Dynamic Pinch - 5 x 8.5, 8.5, 9

My goal year doesn't technically start until 9/1, but I need to get back into morning workouts if everything I have planned is going to get done.

Right now, I am weak and tight early in the day. That will change with a couple weeks of morning sessions.

The ellipitcal is finally here, but broken. The delivery guys had to take it apart to get it in the basement. It only worked long enough to get my sign off. I've got a call in for a tech. The decision to pay for delivery and a two year warranty is proving smart...

So What Happened??? - Part 2 of 2

On the verge of burn out, eyes newly opened to economic reality, I received a welcome email from an old coworker. "We're hiring, it's work from home, and you know the team..."


I reviewed the company against my new standards:


1. High value sector? Yep.

2. Niche focus? Check.

3. Intrinsic competitive advantage? Definitely.


September of 2010, I started a new job - 40 hours a week, working from home.


Between a return to normal working hours and elimination of my commute, I found myself with an extra 15-20 hours a week. After a few months of decompression, I was able to use this extra time for all sorts of fun stuff. A few of the highlights:


1. A week visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

2. 6 weeks attending a 6am kettlebell boot camp class

3. Cutting my grocery bills from $100+ a week $150 a month

4. Completely automating my personal finances

5. Hosting a friend from out of the country

6. Finally attending my wife's family functions

7. Helping my wife to foster the biggest group of cats yet - 7 kittens!

8. Rediscovering my interests in video games, lifting and shooting pool


Amusingly, the net effect on my career has been improved professional growth. While I do not spend as many hours working, the time is more creative and the tasks are extremely well aligned with my strengths. Over the course of a year, I've learned quite a few new tricks and helped deliver some sweet projects.


Most importantly, my work and home lives are finally well integrated. With that foundation, I have regained the enthusiasm to set and pursue long term goals. It's going to be a fun year!

Monday, August 29, 2011

So What Happened??? - Part 1 of 2

October of 2009, I shifted focus almost entirely to my career. The economy had tanked, my clients were unhappy with their project returns, and I resolved to change it through sheer force of will. I ramped up to 55+ hour work weeks, skipped lunches, worked weekends, and spent most of my waking hours trying to solve the problem.


My efforts were a runaway success and I was rewarded handsomely. At least, that's what I wish I could say. The reality is, I learned an important lesson about fighting economic tides. By July of 2010, my best efforts had merely helped us tread water, and I was burning out.


Meanwhile, my wife had made the switch from consulting to a corporation. I watched jealously as she matched my hours Monday through Thursday, then had Fridays off. I shook my head in disbelief at massive IT project budgets. I listened in amazement to stories of corporate networking events and bonuses for personal development.


The differences made my mind race. There I was working furiously with exceptionally smart people (the hiring interview literally included an IQ test), yet we struggled. Her company was too big to keep our exacting standards, yet they flourished. Along came the answer in a book:

The Little Book That Builds Wealth

Her company had an intrinsic competitive advantage and held a specialized niche in a high value sector. My company, well, our people were really smart...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Return to Goals

By the end of August, 2012 I will:


1. Master the 24k kettlebell

2. Eat on $4 a day

3. Become competitive in the local pool tournament

4. Maintain my home

5. Excel as a software quality engineer


After a 2 year hiatus, goal driven personal development has resumed.