A post by my good friend Marla today got me thinking a bit. There is a quote from her post that struck me, and I really liked it. She said “Because in the end, no matter how deep the love, another person can actually only give us support, but it is we who must fix ourselves.” I thought that was beautiful, and so very true. It is similar to things I’ve said before, such as you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, or you can only do so much but ultimately it’s up to them to make the change, etc. But this one struck me a little different, and it helped me in some of my thought processes lately. Funny, because when Marla and I first met it was through each others blogs and eventually I started helping her with her fitness goals. What started as me helping her turned into a great friendship and now she probably helps me as much or more as I help her, just like she did today without even knowing it!
Hey gang, I guess it’s time for a update on my life don’t you think? It’s been about a month since I broke the news about the big move and career change so I figured it’s time. Things are hectic as to be expected but going well. I’m studying when I can, getting most of my writing for lifestyleandstrength.com done on the weekends, doing housework here and there, still plenty to do! I’m about halfway through the NASM book, which is over 600 pages. The real question is how well this stuff is sticking, there is a lot! I did take the practice test for funsies when I was less than 150 pages into it and got 59%, so considering you need 70% and I wasn’t even a quarter into the book that was a little more comforting. I was pretty worried as a lot of this stuff is pretty difficult. At points it felt like I was studying to be a doctor instead of a personal trainer!
Training has been AWESOME! This new training program is bringing in some pretty dramatic results, also thanks to being pretty locked in with my nutrition. Last year when I went through my bulking phase it was a free for all. Not as in eating anything and everything. I ate the healthy stuff but I just stuffed as much in as I could and didn’t track anything at all. This year I’m tracking everything and keeping calories around 300 calories above maintenance plus training calories and it’s paying dividends (along with the new training.) I’ve already gained as much weight in two months that I did in the 3+ months I did last year but with way less fat gain. One can only assume it’s mostly muscle, which I will talk about below. I weigh the same now (193) as I did at the end of that bulk but I’m still looking pretty lean and my face hasn’t started filling out like it did last time when I started to become a little “puffy.”
So that’s all pretty exciting. Hitting everything twice per week has really sparked some new muscle growth like I haven’t seen in a long time. It almost feels like I’m getting those newbie gains again. In about two months I’ve put on 1.25″ on my thighs, a little over 1/2″ on my arms and even close to 1/2″ on my notoriously slow growing calves. To put that into perspective in an ENTIRE YEAR last year doing the each muscle once per week program to avoid “overtraining” I only put on 1″ on my legs, 1/2″ on my arms and 1/4″ on my calves. Add to that very dramatic increases of strength and I’m sold. When I started I was getting 295 4 times on squat (talking DEEP squats to or below parallel here) and now I’m getting 365 x 4. My bench has gone from 245 x 4 to 275 x 4 and I just hit a new PR with a solid 315 bench (touch and go.) I had done 315 once before but I never really counted it because the bar never hit my chest. Many other lifts have also increased dramatically. Before I could only do 10 rack chins with my body weight, now I’m doing 10 with 55 lbs on my chest. Dumbbell shoulder press I was getting 10 at 50 lbs and now hitting 75 lbs for 10. The list goes on and on.
Layne Norton is a genius! He is always talking about how people are so worried about overtraining that they in fact are undertraining for the type of results they want. He was right, our bodies adapt to the workload we give them. It’s all about learning the difference between being tired and being to the point where you are overreaching (short term overtraining) and then deloading to let your body recover and actualize the gains. When I got to the first point of knowing I needed to deload I was about 6 weeks into the program and it was clear as day I needed a break. I took that week off with just some light lifting a couple of days and came back with one of the greatest weeks of training in my life. I was stronger across the board and had boundless energy. Each and every workout was absolutely destroyed, so much fun.
The plan was to go 7-8 months of bulking this time, and I’m only a little over two months into this. I’m not sure how long I’ll actually go, it will really all depend on how many body continues to respond. Either way I’m excited and loving the results of everything I’m doing now, especially with my legs that have always been lagging behind for me (not from lack of effort I work legs harder than anything.) They are still small in comparison to the rest of me, but I’m working on that!
Well that’s it for now, I’ll leave you with selfies! Hope everyone is doing well.
New video! Today I talk about what happens when people always want health and fitness to be easy, or really anything in life for that matter… Also if you missed my last blog be sure to check it out for some major changes coming up in my life. Hope everyone is doing well!
Well guys this is it. This is the blog that reveals exactly why I’ve been so busy lately and unable to blog much. This is the blog that if you are interested in my life at all, you can’t miss. It will probably get long, but there is a lot to talk about and it’s all very exciting (and terrifying all at the same time.) My life is about to change forever in multiple ways, as my family and I are about to take some serious leaps of faith. I’ve hinted a little bit, not about what we will be doing, but that I was about to embark on the next chapter of my life, this blog will tell it all. It’s seriously huge news, so let’s get into it shall we?
As you may or may not know I live in Minnesota and have my whole life. We live in a suburb of the Twin Cities and I have to say, the area is awesome. This is a fantastic place to live and is so very diverse. No matter what you are into there is plenty of what you like and the people are as friendly as can be. Minnesota nice is not just a saying, it’s the truth. There is, however, one major downfall of living in Minnesota, and that’s the winter weather. Some people love the cold and snow, but not this guy. I hate the snow, I hate the cold, and when I say I hate the cold I mean I REALLY hate the cold. I can’t even put into words how much I hate the bitter cold of a MN winter. I like heat, I’ve always liked heat. I don’t even care if it’s 90 some degrees and humid, I’ll take it over cold any day of the week. Okay you get it, I don’t like to be cold, you are putting two and two together (that’s four for those of you counting at home) and you realize we are “getting out of Dodge.” But where are we going?
Well obviously somewhere warm, somewhere there is no cold and snow. Yes we are “taking our talents” to the Sunshine State, Florida. Not quite following the footsteps of LeBron but pretty close don’t you think? Instead of South Beach, however, we will likely be relocating somewhere in the Clearwater area. We have been to Florida on vacation many, many times and we absolutely love it there. So many vacations you go and by the end of your trip you are ready to go home and back to your routine. That’s never been the case when we go to Florida. We never want to come back, it just feels like home. It’s beautiful, it’s warm, the ocean, the beaches, and did I mention Disney? Man this family loves Disney! Obviously when living there we aren’t on vacation and can’t just do all this stuff whenever we want, but you get the point.
This was a very difficult decision for us to come to. We’ve lived here for 34 years, everything we know is here. Obviously the thing that weighed the heaviest on us when trying to decide if we’d make this move was leaving our friends and family. The thought of not being near them kills us, especially taking Cy away from his grandparents. That was honestly the hardest part of everything. But at the end of the day you have to do what you feel is best for you and your family and you have to chase your dreams. Living in Florida has always felt like this wild dream that could never really be all that possible. After our trip there in the spring we thought about it though and thought “why can’t we?” The timing for this just seems so perfect. Theresa got a new role with her company this summer, and one of the perks with this role is after she’s been in it for 6 months she can telecommute so she is able to work from home. So since she can basically up and move anywhere and keep her job, that makes things much easier. Cy just turned 5 and will be starting kindergarten next fall. So if we move now we won’t be pulling him out of school and we are doing it before he’s made any strong bonds and friends (outside of you know, the ever important grandparents.)
The only other thing to figure out was what about me and my job? I’m a bindery supervisor at a print company I’ve been working at for 13 years. There are no options for me to keep my job and move down there. I could look for a similar job down there or honestly I could probably get into just about any business looking for a leadership / management position with the 9 years I’ve had in supervision and about 15 total years in some form of a leadership role. Not that it wouldn’t be tough to find a job, but I’m confident I could find something and make at least okay money. BUT since we are making major life changes and chasing dreams and all that, why not really go for broke? So with the awesome support and encouragement from my amazing wife I am finally going to take the plunge and do what I want to with my life. That’s right I will be getting into personal training. I truly believe this is what I was meant to do with my life and am extremely excited to give this a shot.
This is a major step and a huge plunge for me. I’ve worked very hard the last 13 years (okay everyone I work with you can stop laughing now!) to get where I’m at. I’ve invested a lot into this job and I make pretty decent money. Nothing to write home about but enough to not have big worries about being able to pay bills and living check to check and we can afford to take vacations and all that. Now I go all the way back to square one. I’ll be brand new to the business and I have to start at the bottom. I’ll be making less money than I did when I was 20 years old. Pretty much we’ll be living off of Theresa’s salary and anything I make will be bonus money, at least at first. I know being supported financially by your wife is a tough thing for many men to accept, but I’m honestly just fine with it. I’m very gracious to have such a loving and supporting wife who encourages me to do this at the sacrifice of our family’s finance.
Besides moving away from all of our loved ones the other thing that made it tough was that thought of starting over. I mean I know I’m still relatively young at 34 but I’ve also put a lot into getting where we are. If we kept things going we could probably have our house paid off by the time we were 50 or possibly even sooner. Debt free and able to really start saving for retirement. Now we have to sell our home, get a 2 bedroom apartment and start all over again. That’s a pretty tough pill to swallow. We also bought our home in 2005 when the market was high and are surely to lose a lot of money there. Honestly the house is the only thing at this point that I can see stopping us from moving. We at least need to be able to sell it at a high enough price to not have to show up to closing with a ton of cash. Even if that means losing $40-50,000 on what we initially invested. At this point money is not a motivator.
We have to do this because we want to chase our dreams and do what we want with our lives. It’s time to let go of the thought of money. Sure I could work another 30 years doing what I’m doing, not really being happy so I could live more comfortably when I get old and maybe have some more toys. But I like the idea of spending the next 30 years doing what I love and being happy and potentially not having as much money as we get old. But hey, at least we’ll already be living in our retirement spot right? I really feel like I was born to help people with their fitness. I’m very passionate about this and the thought of having a job that not only I will enjoy but will make an ACTUAL difference in the world seems so rewarding. To make a real difference in someone’s life, you can’t put a price tag on that. Making this change will probably also make me a better husband and father because I will be happier all the time.
That’s the plan anyway, you never know how things will actually turn out but you have to give it a shot to find out. How many times have you guys heard me talk about not living with regrets? I preach it all the time over and over. So we have to take this chance and see what happens. If it doesn’t work out or it’s not what we expected and we like it better here we can always move back. I wouldn’t regret moving there and trying my hand at personal training and it not working, but I sure as heck would regret staying here in my current job and in time wondering what if? What if we had tried what would my life be like? How would things have turned out if we had just tried? I refuse for that to be a thought, if you want something go after it. Life is too short to be complacent and not try to make yourself as happy as possible.
I did tell my boss (who also happens to be a good friend) on Monday what my plans were. The few people who did know about this before he did really questioned whether it was a wise move to tell him so early in advance. I wanted to for several reasons. For one I honestly do want to give them plenty of time to prepare for me being gone to figure out what they want to do. My company has been good to me over the years and I owe that to them. I’m not worried about getting fired at all. But even if I did get fired that would probably be the best thing that could happen to me right now anyway. With all the things I have to do right now I sure could use all that extra time. The last reason was I really wanted to start talking about this transition with everyone. My friends and family around here, my friends online from the blog and on social networks. I just wanted to get it out there and be excited about it and talk about it. If I was to keep it from my boss I’d have to keep it from just about everyone because word would get around. So I did it and it went well. Both him and the president of the company expressed disappointment that I was leaving because they really want me there and had nothing but great things to say about what I do, but at the same time were understanding that I had to do what I thought was best for me and my family. They want me to be a part of finding a replacement and all that. I don’t think I’m getting fired anytime soon…
We are going to Florida at the end of February which will be just after we put our house on the market. While there we will be looking at apartments (we could maybe buy a smaller home for a similar payment but we want to get there and make sure it’s what we want before we invest) as well as schools and I will probably try to get some job interviews as well even though we won’t really know when we can move. Actually if you remember we went there in July too, and the main point of that trip was too look at some areas and also compare what was worse the summer heat of Florida or the winter cold of Minnesota…. No contest. When we actually will move will pretty much all depend on how the house goes. Ideally we would like to go down there in the summer but hey if someone comes in with a great offer and says we have to be in right away, we’d be gone. On the flip side it could take months and months to sell, you just never know. Cy is very excited too, not just for this trip but the move down there. We weren’t sure how he’d react but we did know he loves Florida (he had actually been asking when we were going again) just as much as the rest of us. He is so thrilled about it, which makes me very happy. I think he’s a little young to know EXACTLY what this means, but we are doing the best we can to prepare him and tell him what it means including what and who we’d be leaving behind.
Well there you have it, this is why I haven’t blogged much lately and why I probably won’t be blogging much for a while. I’ve had to really prioritize my life and unfortunately blogging is the thing that gets the back seat. There are so many other things I really HAVE to do now such as needing to study for my certification through NASM (much more difficult than I was expecting,) work on updating the house, get things cleared out of the house, continue with my training (this is a must and I will not sacrifice, heck sometimes it seems like it’s all that keeps me sane right now,) family time, and I want to continue to write for lifestyleandstrength.com. Not only has my writing there helped me with my study process, seriously all the research that goes into my articles now days plays a big role, but I truly believe there is potential in it to become something and between Matt, Dara and myself I think we have a killer team looking to do big things. I believe in it and I’m going to see it through.
Anyway life is all about priorities, and those things are a bigger priority than my blog now, as much as I do love blogging. It all goes right in line with my blog about the key to success, you succeed at the things you work on the most, and right now it’s time to work on starting my new life! If you want something bad enough and don’t give up on it, you make it happen. Just like I tell people who say they want to be fit but then keep prioritizing everything else over it, how bad do you really want it? Well, you have no clue how bad I want to make this move, not just in location but in careers, work and I will not let anything stand in my way. Watch me succeed!
Alright guys it’s time for the post you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to talk about my new training program I’m on. It’s one I’m very excited about, and about 3 weeks into now. I’ve been on your typical 1 muscle group per week bodybuilding program for some time now. I’m not even certain how long but I’m thinking maybe around 3 years. I’ve had success with it but progress now days is very slow. This of course is to be expected when you’ve been training for a long time. The more progress you make the slower results will be to come. I’m hoping this new program can accelerate some new growth.
What I had been looking hard into and doing a lot of research on was starting a non-linear periodization training split. Basically working each muscle group twice per week. Once for power/heavy weight and once for hypertrophy/light weight. The thought process is so many people worry so much about overtraining that in a sense they are undertrained. At least in terms of how much progress they could be making. Honestly I’ve never been a big believer in overtraining myself. Not that it doesn’t exist, it certainly does, but I’ve always felt like unless you are an Olympic athlete or someone in very extreme cases you probably don’t have to worry too much. The best quote I heard was imagine your family was kidnapped and the ransom was you had to add 100 lbs to your max squat in 12 weeks, would you squat once per week? Would you think you don’t want to overtrain your legs or you won’t make gains so you would only do it once? No way you’d squat almost every day, and you’d get results too! Really when you train past that point to where you start to overreach, as long as you deload when it makes sense that’s when you realize your gains anyway. The important point to this training program is listening to your body and taking a break when it needs it.
So this is what I have been doing lately, lifting 5 days per week. It breaks down into upper body power, lower body power, rest, back and shoulder hypertrophy, lower body hypertrophy, chest and arms hypertrophy, and another rest day. We’ll see how it goes but I’m excited about it. I was ready for something new and with me in a muscle gaining phase I’ll have all the right nutrition and carbs to put up some nice weight and fuel the body. I’ve also started a training notebook to track my weight lifted and progress and write notes for my next workout. Can’t believe this isn’t something I started long ago, but I don’t see myself going back after starting.
As I mentioned I am about 3 weeks into this. I think I came in a little too cautious as from what I read I was to expect for the first 3-6 weeks to be very sore and tired as my body adapts to the extra load but so far it hasn’t been at all. In fact I’ve been less sore and tired than usual. I need to up the volume and intensity a bit so I’m adjusting to that. The good news though is my strength is going up fast. It could be the training program but I think it’s more likely the combination of the increase in carbs, starting creatine back up and the chest being fully healed and back for a while now obviously helps as well. Lifting heavier more often obviously helps as well.
Anyway it’s a work in progress and I’ll keep adjusting as I go. I took measurements before I started so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I hope everyone is doing well with their goals. Unfortunately as you have probably noticed I haven’t been blogging much and probably won’t be for some time. Life is crazy busy right now and something has to give, so for the time being my blog is kind of the odd man out. Don’t worry all good things!
Okay I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting my new training regimen I’ve been telling you I would be starting after baseball was done (that should be read with a healthy dose of sarcasm) but you have to wait one more post! Today I want to talk all about baseball, which has been such a big part of my life. As I’ve been alluding to this year was likely to be my last. I’ve been playing in baseball leagues for 25 years now, so it’s pretty crazy to think about not playing anymore. But the time just feels right and priorities in my life have changed. I’m not retiring because I’m not able to play anymore or anything like that, it’s just that the passion has died a bit and there are other things in my life I’d rather focus on. That said it was still pretty sad to play in my last game. It was especially sad because my dream ending almost came true, but not quite.
We made it all the way to the championship game yesterday. What better way to end your career than winning the championship? That would have been a dream come true. But alas it was not to be as we got absolutely smoked. I don’t remember the exact score but it was something like 17-7. That team could hit man, wow could they hit. Best hitting team I ever remember seeing, at least on that day. They just flat out beat us, although it was hard to be happy for them as they were a bunch of pricks. Makes it that much harder to lose but it is what it is as the saying goes. Sure would rather lose to a bunch of classy, nice guys… The good news, besides the fact that I didn’t die playing in 98 degree weather, was I had a good final at-bat. For whatever reason I really wanted my last at-bat to be a good one. Not like a bad at-bat would have taken away from everything I’ve ever done, but I just wanted to go out with a good hit. The situation was turning potentially bad for me too. Here I come up for my final at-bat with 2 outs in the 9th inning. If I get out, my last ever at-bat would be the one to lose the championship, no thanks! Thankfully I roped a double to the right center gap, leaving the last out to the guy behind me. haha So it was kind nice to have a good hit to end my career, even though I’d much rather have gone 0 for with all strike outs and have actually won.
After the game I told everyone my plans, which wasn’t exactly a popular one to the team. Some pretty well knew already but not all of them. They were understanding and there were a lot of hand shakes and hugs, it was pretty nice. Had a nice chat with our coach who brought me on the team 8 years ago and has been such a great support for not just me but the team as a whole. He showed faith in me right from the get go hitting me lead-off as soon as I joined the team, and he’s had me hitting there and playing center field ever since. He’s done a ton for us and I really wanted to thank him for everything. He was going to pinch hit for me late in the game when we were getting blown out which every other time if that were to happen I wouldn’t say a thing or have any problem with it, but I begged him to let me stay in to get another at-bat or two to end my career, knowing it was coming to a close. He’s a great man and respected my wish, which is great because it changed my last ever at-bat from a ground out to a double. I can’t lie after chatting with him after the game we both got just a tad choked up. It’s just amateur baseball you wouldn’t think much about it, but you really bond with your teammates and they become more than just teammates after time. You go to war with these guys and you have to trust each other and have each others backs. Those who never played would never understand.
It’s been about 30 hours since we lost that game now and being done has kind of hit me strange. I’ve of course had second guesses but that had to be expected. Each of the last few seasons I thought about quitting but didn’t. Each year once I started playing again I loved it and thought to myself how could I ever give this up I’m so glad I didn’t quit. That didn’t happen this year. All year I was kind of wishing I hadn’t played, that there were so many other things I’d rather be doing. Even up until the playoffs were starting I just wasn’t excited. I was still ready for it to be done. I wanted to win, but if we didn’t that was okay too. Well as we got deeper into the playoffs that started to change. Then I was getting really excited and REALLY wanted to win. I was back to being excited to play and loving it again. Honestly I think getting to the championship is what had me second guessing. If we had just lost right away things would have felt different. Coming so close, it makes you stop and think. But I know I’m not invested the way I used to be and it’s just this brief moment that will pass. It was obvious I was not mentally invested the way I should have been and the time to step away is right. I know this, but at the same time it still makes me sad to think about it being over too. I’ve spent most of my life playing the game I love and will always love. Is this the absolute final end to my baseball career? Who knows, you never know what the future holds. For right now though, this is the end. Is it sad? Yes. It’s not bad though, I’m ready for the next chapter of my life.
Hey guys how’s everyone doing? Life is a little crazy right now, but when isn’t it for anyone right? Baseball will finally be over this weekend. I’m looking forward to being done with it but at the same time I’m pumped for the weekend. We won our first two playoff games including a really tough one Sunday. We need to win this Saturday and Sunday to win the championship. Our league has 2 divisions of 10 teams, we finished 2nd in our division but to win the whole thing we are going to need to beat both #1 seeds (unless there is a pretty big upset in the other game Saturday.) We can do it though, we beat the team we play Saturday both times we played them in the regular season but they have one hell of a pitcher we’ll be facing. With this likely being my last season, I sure would love to go out on top!
Once baseball is done I’ll be starting my new training split, which as I promised I will explain in more detail soon, but today is not the day. What has been pretty fun recently is since I started bulking a couple weeks ago adding in all the extra carbs has already proven to increase my strength quite a bit. It’s going to be fun watching my numbers go up and up during this bulk. Last week I hit a new PR on deadlifts pulling a clean 405. I had done 410 before but that was with straps, this was nothing but chalk. My chest seems to finally be totally healed <knock on wood> so my chest strength is steadily climbing as well. Before my injury I was able to bench 225 – 12 times. When I finally starting lifting again it was all the way down to 4. Yesterday I was able to get 9 so I’m on my way back.
While my strength is going up, my weight is not. I need to be more diligent with getting all my calories in. I set my initial goal as 2900 plus whatever I get from training which usually means somewhere between 3500-3800 calories. I keep ending up a couple hundred short of that. I want to keep from going too crazy off the bat to leave room to increase down the road since I’ll be doing this for 8 months, but at the same time I need to be gaining some weight too. I’ll get there. Just gotta find the sweet spot. Baseball makes it tough especially when it’s twice a week. I don’t want to eat too much before playing so I eat some carbs and protein like a snack before right away in the morning and then it will be a good 5 hours before I eat again and I burn a bunch of calories playing. So I really need to pound calories the rest of the day, not ideal. Like I said though, win or lose this weekend is it. I’m very much looking forward to turning the dial to “extra super-duper serious mode.” haha
Well that’s it for now. Hope everyone is doing well with their goals, let me know how you are doing!