Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 304 of 365 - Deadlift

Warm Up
Walk around the mall for hours
Foam roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Deadlifts - 5 x 132, 176, 200lbs; 10 x 225lbs
Overhead Squats - 10 x BW, Hollow Bar, 45, 50, 60lbs

In a big hurry, just banged out my reps to music. Funny how that improves my performance over Netflix, despite the fact that I am under-fed and over-tired today. Too bad the intensity level is not sustainable.


Day 304 of 365 - June in Review

June went well. Admittedly I am not positioned to meet all the goals I set for the year ending in August, but I am happy with my general direction. At this point I am focused on habitualizing my exercise and diet, so they form a foundation of mental and physical health. I’ll build my other goals on that in 2012-2013.

1. Lifting - Coming off of last month's peak, lifting went ok, not great. I did not reduce the weights far enough on my squats or bench to accommodate renewed forward progress. I have adjusted for this cycle and expect July to go well. Calculating out my accessory lifts has worked perfectly. I am performing all of my scheduled sets, just as planned. I never feel wiped out and incapable of doing the accessory work, which was a problem before.

I returned to lifting 4x a week (opposed to last month's 3x a week experiment). 4 days a week just suits me better mentally and physically. Even with yoga 2-3 days a week, I still need the weights. I think I have my lifting plan on almost full, sustainable auto-pilot at this point.

2. Eat on $4 a Day - For June, I tried $30 a week at the store and $15 a week eating out. It was not enough. I would squeeze on one side, then over spend on the other. When I managed to hit both, my diet was short on real food and I supplemented with empty calories. It seems $35/$20 is the right spending level for me. I finally found a vinegar and oil dressing I like at Aldi. It is lower cost, healthier and easier to get than the Ranch I was eating.

I did learn to use my pressure cooker this month. It has earned a permanent spot in my cooking. I see the path to feeding myself on $4 a day, but mentally, I am not prepared to follow an almost vegan diet, based primarily on rice and beans. I had a general feeling of discontent this month, and I think sustaining $4 a day would leave me really unhappy.

The dollar target for this goal has run its course. I can eat well on $6 per day from the grocery store. That gets me a healthy, varied diet. I eat out 2x per week, at an average cost of $10 per meal. That basically replaces a day of groceries, leaving me at the $35/$20 budget. So in the end, I am eating on $8 a day, including dining out. 200% of goal, but I am satisfied...

Chasing $4 a day did produce the behavior changes I sought. I do not believe there is a lower cost source for the diet I eat. I consume almost no boxed foods. Just about everything is either dairy, fresh produce, or a dried grain. I can base my entire diet on food from Aldi - which is the smallest, least expensive, closest grocery store. I supplement with a few fun treats from other stores, but I am not driving all over for the best deals. I get enough calories, protein and fiber to support my lifestyle.

The next step is to put my eating on auto-pilot, similar to my lifting. I have a good understanding of the pattern I want my diet to follow - low cost and nutritious. I have put a daily menu checklist on my erase board and will just eat from it, marking off the meals each day. This will minimize the mental energy of feeding myself, while defaulting my behavior to the healthiest diet I know.

3. Be social - Yoga is on full auto-pilot now, 2-3 days a week, depending on my work schedule. I survived the worst heat wave of the summer and see the pattern is sustainable. It forms a great baseline for my mental health. Outside of that, I saw my parents most weekends, went to 2 parties, a wedding, lunch with friends, a couple lunches with coworkers and even saw some friends on a random work night. My social schedule is full and varied. I have plans for July. My wife is fully bought in to socializing and arranges many of the things we do. This goal is a total success.

4. Maintain my home - Little progress was made here. Almost entirely due to my wife, we got a picture framed and hung. I did follow through on getting last month's "stuff I don't need" out of the garage. Otherwise, I did nothing. I have resigned myself to paying for the little stuff, but have yet to find the motivation to hire someone.

5. Excel as a quality engineer - Most of my work in June was focused on security audits and documentation. I was bored and unhappy. I like design, testing and improving our SDLC. Answering audit surveys and revising documentation is mentally painful.

I did get permission to run my deployment process off of an internal server, opposed to my local machine, which will improve efficiency with manual deployments. The team is still bought in to a build server, but the timeline looks more like 6 months than 6 weeks. We are going to move the security scanner to a hosted machine (opposed to my local PC), which should make that part of my job easier and more productive. Minor, incremental improvements are still progress.

I also got my PMP renewed through 2016. Between the conference last fall, my follow up self directed study and the credits for working, meeting the requirements was pretty easy. I debate with myself whether keeping the cert current is a good investment in my career, or if I am just being a sucker for their marketing. So far investment barely wins. I may feel differently by 2016, especially if PMI fails to stay relevant against the challenge of lean / agile.

All together not a bad month, but I am tired of security audits. Unfortunately, July looks like it will offer more of the same. I do think we are making some process changes that will reduce the time I spend on security and documentation long term.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 303 of 365 - Overhead Press

Warm Up
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 70, 85; 7 x 95lbs
Renegade Rows - 3 x 9/9 x 16k
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer; 3 x 6/6 x #1

Pressing was WEAK tonight. I blame last night's yoga class. The teacher took us through the vinyasa a lot. It wore me out.

I had more on the grippers, but am trying not to wipe myself out on accessory work. I'll probably increase the weight on renegade rows next cycle. 9 reps per set is miserable.

I need to get back on using the elliptical to warm up, but I just did not feel like it today.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 302 of 365 - Yoga

Despite today's heat, yoga class was excellent. The studio was a little cooler than outside, at a perfect temperature. The instructor did a great job sequencing. I finished the class exhausted from working hard, but not sick from the heat. Other than getting a little further into half pigeon, I did not do anything new.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 301 of 365 - Front Squat

Warm Up
Foam roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squat - 5 x BW, 55, 65, 80lbs
Axle Deadlift - 5 x 85, 105, 125lbs

This is my last deload workout for the cycle. I will hit the weights hard again starting Friday. It is a good thing today was a deload, because work had me up way too late last night with an emergency production change. I am wiped out today.

I steamed fresh corn on the cob in my pressure cooker this evening. It was good, but took too much work. Frozen corn remains my first choice.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 300 of 365 - Yoga

I opted for the 7:45pm class this evening, hoping to beat the heat. Unfortunately, the earlier class did their part to ensure the studio was hot and humid. I had to really scale down to avoid getting sick. It is frustrating to be held back by something so simple. For now I am going to give the studio the benefit of the doubt and assume I can adapt over the next few weeks. If that fails, I'll have to take a break in August.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 299 of 365 - Bench Press

Warm Up
Foam roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Bench Press - 5 x 45, 65, 80lbs
One Arm Rows - 3 x 5/5 x 20k
KB Clean and Press - 3 x 4 x 16k's

Deload week, short and easy.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 297 of 365 - Deadlift

Warm Up
Foam roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Deadlifts - 5 x 110, 130, 155lbs
Overhead Squats - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar; 5 x 45, 45, 45lbs

Deload week felt especially easy after yoga. I doubled up workouts today, so I could keep my deadlifts on Saturday. This is my favorite day to deadlift.

Day 297 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga came a day early this week, since I expect a late evening tonight. Class was taught by Sophia - she was calm, kept the room relatively cool and counted fast. I was very happy. Since I had not been since Tuesday, this session was just about re-opening my body. I did a lot of sitting and walking around in my sandals this week, and my calves were especially tight as a result.

Coming off the yoga high, I ate some breakfast in my car and headed over to Aldi for groceries. I ran a dollar over my $30 budget, but am stocked up. I did blow my eating out budget last week ($39 vs. the $15 target), so I am going to try and watch it this week.

I have black bean soup going in the pressure cooker right now, with no salt. Assuming the beans cook properly, this should be very good. I used fresh garlic for the first time ever - my wife had to show my how  I did finish last weeks marginal navy bean soup last night. Adding some peas when reheating helped, by balancing the texture of the crunchy beans.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 296 of 365 - Overhead Press

Warm Up
Foam roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 55, 65lbs
Renegade Rows - 3 x 4/4 x 16k
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer; 3 x 4/4 x #1

Deload week, like a boss!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 293 of 365 - Yoga

The yoga studio was too hot today. I guess turning the AC on is not in the spirit of yoga in a warm room, but I could not handle the heat. I had to dial way back on my intensity and was still totally drained at the end of class. Now that I know what the heat means, I may have to adjust my schedule on the warmest days - taking either the latest class or an early morning one.

I cooked navy bean soup in the pressure cooker yesterday. Unfortunately it is terrible. The soup mix said to add the seasoning packet at the start of cooking if using a crock pot. I figured a pressure cooker is just a really fast crock pot, so I followed those instructions. It turns out you never want to add salt to beans before cooking them. The skin hardens and the beans never absorb enough water to soften, ending up wtih a grainy texture. The soup is tolerable enough that I can get it down, but I am looking forward to when it is finished.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 292 of 365 - Front Squat

Warm Up
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squats - 5 x BW, 45, 100; 3 x 110; 1 x 125lbs
Axle Deadlifts - 5 x 140, 160, 180lbs

I was not in the mood to lift weights, but I did it anyway. I need improve my recovery and time management. Lifting "because I should" is the fast path to not lifting at all.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 291 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga went well. I found an easier transition between down dog and warrior 1. I made a few smaller improvements on other moves. Before class started, I did wheel. I still cannot do it at the end of class though.

I am going to setup a private lesson for July. My vinyasa transitions and balance movements need serious help.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day 290 of 365 - Bench Press

Warm Up
Walk half a mile
Foam roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Bench Press - 5 x 45; 5 x 100, 3 x 110; 5 x 125lbs
One Arm Rows - 3 x 5/5 x 28k
KB Clean and Press - 3 x 3 x 24k's

My right shoulder was extra crunchy on the heavy set of bench. I opted to cut it short even though I probably had the strength. There is a series of stretches to help my shoulder that I usually do in the evening. I have slacked off on them lately.

My thought was yoga 3 times a week would take care of things. Unfortunately, it does not. I went through the series this evening, and my shoulder immediately started feeling better. I am going to see if I can fit the stretches in at the start of yoga, prior to class.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 289 of 365 - Deadlift

Warm Up
Foam roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Deadlifts - 5 x 132, 198; 3 x 220, 245lbs
Overhead Squats - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar; 5 x 55, 60, 70lbs

I did not feel like warming up on the elliptical. Fortunately skipping it once in awhile does not create any problems. I skipped yoga last night as well. I am tired and looking forward to deload week.

My eating out budget ran over by $7 this week. I was confused about lunch plans today and ended up over spending as a result.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 287 of 365 - Overhead Press

Warm Up
Walk 3.5 miles
Foam roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 80; 3 x 90; 5 x 100lbs
Renegade Rows - 3 x 4/4 x 20k
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer; 3 x 1/1 x BBM

Low rep weeks are my favorite.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 286 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga went well. I pushed a little further on a few movements, and I got to do a few new things. The teacher switched up our sequence pretty heavily as well.

Since I washed my mat yesterday, I tried using it without the towel for my hands. That only worked for about 20 minutes, at which point the mat was so slippery, I had no choice but to go back to the towel. I think it is probably time to invest in some cooler clothes. Maybe if I can find a way to sweat less during class, I will slip less.

It turns out my pressure cooker chili is quite bland. Given that I used the same amount of spices but made twice as much food as normal, I am not surprised. The beans and rice are good though...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Day 285 of 365 - Front Squat

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 120bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squats - 5 x BW, 45; 3 x 90, 105, 120lbs
Axle Deadlifts - 8 x 140, 140; 6 x 165lbs

Front squats are harder for me without the box. As a result, I started this cycle too heavy to get any momentum going for the lift. I'll jump back by 10% or so next cycle.

Deadlifts were pretty easy.

I used the pressure cooker to make chili this evening, starting from dried beans. It worked out even better than I had hoped. A pound of dried beans makes a massive amount of food, way more than I expected. The beans are tender and soft, much preferable to what comes out of a can. They are also far, far superior to any beans I ever cooked in a pot on the stove.

I finally cleaned my yoga mat and have it airing out. I am interested to see if it is less slippery during tomorrow's class.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 284 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga class served its purpose today. My shoulder was bothering me yesterday. It felt pretty good by the time I left class this morning. I call that a win.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Day 283 of 365 - Bench Press

Warm Up
Walk a few miles
Foam Roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Bench Press - 5 x 45; 3 x 90, 105lbs; 12 x 115lbs
One Arm Rows - 3 x 10/10 x 24k
KB Clean and Press - 3 x 6 x 20k's

Nothing special about this one. Got my reps.

Groceries actually ran $3 under my $30 budget this week. It was not on purpose, I added wrong. I think I have enough food for 2 weeks. It's crazy how much I used to over pay for groceries.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Day 282 of 365 - Deadlift

Warm Up
Walk 2 miles outside
Foam Roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Deadlifts - 5 x 132; 3 x 180, 205lbs; 6 x 230lbs
Overhead Squats - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar; 10 x 50, 55; 6 x 65lbs

I have a hard time with high rep deadlifts. If I psyched up, I probably could have done more reps.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 281 of 365 - Yoga

Class went well, but we had a sub teacher who was relatively new. I was not able to sync my breathing with my movement and follow her instructions at the same time. I'll try again on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day 280 of 365 - Overhead Press

Warm Up
Walk 2 miles
Mobility with 12k kettlebell

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 3 x 75, 85; 8 x 95lbs
Renegade Rows - 3 x 6/6 x 20k
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer; 3 x 3/3 x BBSA

Nothing remarkable with the weights. My legs are still extremely sore.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 279 of 365 - Yoga

I tried breathing with my movement like the teacher tells us too and managed to get into a groove for the first 20 minutes of class or so. After that, I was back to huffing and puffing all over the place. I can see how keeping my breath in sync the entire time wolud be better.

I tried a few harder options on a couple moves, but overall, was limited by sore legs from yesterday's squats. Class was rather painful.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 278 of 365 - Front Squat

Warm Up
Walk 2 miles early in the day
Foam Roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squats - 5 x BW, 45, 85, 100, 110lbs
Axle Deadlifts - 10 x 105, 125, 145lbs

This was harder than I expected. I am not sure if losing the box on my front squats is the cause of it, or if I am just feeling the effects of not squatting in two weeks. We'll see how next week goes.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Day 277 of 365 - Yoga

This morning's yoga class was very busy. The normal instructor was back though, which makes me happy. Her sequence was the easiest of any I did in the last two weeks. It meant I could actually keep up and try to focus on the details.

The biggest miss I have right now is syncing my breathing with my movement. It is a fundamental part of doing yoga (vs. exercising), and I am just ignoring it. I am going to make breathing a focus during the classes where I can keep up.

I gave wheel another try at the end of class. Not yet. I was able to do it an hour later on the floor of my parents house. Go figure.

This evening I made my first attempt at cooking rice in the pressure cooker. I say attempt, because I almost turned it into paste. I think it will be firm enough to eat mixed in my lentils, but it would be really gross in a stir fry. I should have cooked it for 15 minutes instead of 20 or done a better job controlling the pressure. I'll do better next time.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Day 276 of 365 - Bench Press

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 125bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Bench Press - 5 x 45, 85, 100lbs; 12 x 110lbs
One Arm Rows - 3 x 10/10 x 20k
KB Clean and Press - 3 x 7 x 16k's

Had a HUGE lunch, took a nap and then got up around 7pm to fit this one in. It was not the most energetic workout. I did get my reps though.

Shipped the stuff I sold and went with my wife to get a picture framed today. I think those both count as home improvement.

I got groceries and kept it to my new $30 a week budget. I had to put a few things back that I wanted, but I actually have far more food than I'll be able to finish this week. I am getting used to the idea that just because I know how to make something, it does not mean I always need to have the ingredients on hand.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Day 275 of 365 - Deadlift

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 120bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Deadlifts - 5 x 132, 165, 198lbs; 8 x 220lbs
Overhead Squats - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar; 10 x 45, 50, 55lbs

It has been two weeks since my last deadlifts or overhead squats. I could tell, since 220 felt quite heavy. I was very happy to be do so many reps on the squats. Yoga is paying off.

I sold the extra lifting stuff today. I'll ship it out tomorrow, then sit around counting my money. I've raised about $230 towards squat stands. That only gets me a cheap pair, unless I get lucky on craigslist.

Day 275 of 365 - May in Review

May in Review

May was spent grinding towards my goals.

1. Lifting - I finished my 6th cycle of 5/3/1. I do not see myself deviating from this program for a very long time. I ordered the 2nd edition of the book and tweaked my plan based on the updated content. Nothing remarkable, but it's great to have my lifting on autopilot. I sold $80 of old lifting stuff on craigslist, and have another $150 or so up for sale. Once it's gone, I am likely to use the proceeds towards squat / bench stands.

2. Eat on $4 a day - Yoga seems to impair my appetite. I easily hit my planned $35/week at the store, $20/week eating out. This went so well, in fact, that I was able to use most of last week's store budget on junk food. The week before, I spent the whole store budget on eating out... Clearly I am spending more than I need. I am going to drop both budgets by $5/week for June. Assuming the change sticks, it frees up $520/yr in my budget. The pressure cooker arrived, but I still need to learn to use it. That will also happen in June. I am slowly working through old food that has accumulated in the kitchen. When I finish a week with no food left in the kitchen, then I'll know my grocery budget is spot on

3. Be social - Now that I am in the habit, this is proving easy and rewarding. Yoga will increase to 3x a week in June. My wife and I are attending one of her coworker's weddings at the end of the month. We're trying to setup a trip to Shedd with some friends. I ought to see my parents a few times through the month. I expect a couple lunches to come up. Socializing takes effort, but it is working out well.

4. Maintain my home - The ripped screen got repaired, thanks to the local hardware store. I swept the basement for the first time in several years. I identified about 50 things I no longer need, moved them to the garage and started getting rid of them. That's about it. Who knows what will happen in June. We really ought to get the deck resealed, the bathroom tub re-caulked and the attic inspected. I hate this stuff though.

5. Excel as a quality engineer - This month was focused on foundation work. The environment sync finished. A few members of my team went to training on build servers. I handed over some non-QA related tasks to another team, which will free 1-2 days a month up in my schedule. A new IT team member was hired, who I am pretty sure can only make my life easier. June looks like it will be heavy on the security and documentation side of things. In other words - boooring. The important stuff is not always fun though.

Another decent month. More is fitting into my weeks, even though I do not feel any busier. I am fortunate.