Updates...

The force is not with you

Today is May 4th. Star Wars day. May the 4th be with you.. get it ? Lets talk about the force, not the force like in Jedi powers but forces that work against us in our lives, every single day.

I didn't work out this past week, I never even made it to the gym after my last post. I was busy with work, I was on a business trip, and to be honest I was just overwhelmed. Just an excuse ? Maybe, I mean lets be real for a minute. We all have times in our lives where we just have way too much going on, maybe it is stress, maybe it is working crazy hours or with family obligations. People will tell you that you need to make time for yourself. You do.

I starting working out again tonight, at 10pm, a little different time than normal. I quit my regular gym because It was simply too difficult to get to, it was 25-25 minutes away before traffic, and it cost me another $50 a month in tolls going 3-5 times a week. Everything was working against me.

  • 30 minutes avg drive to the gym
  • 60minutes to work out
  • 10 minute warm down
  • 30 minute ride home
  • 10-15 minute shower

Almost 2.5 hours. That was not realistic, it was not something that I could do long term. So I quit.

Back to the Beach

A few years back I did p90x at home, I have to say that after 90 days I was proabably in the best shape of my life. But, I fell off the wagon, ate bad, and stopped working out. Not sure why I didn't just get right back into it again. But I didn't. Fast forward a few years and I am back, not with p90x but another program by Beachbody, Body Beast. This is in no way an endorsement for the program, I am not a coach and I am not trying to sell anyone anything. So Day 0 is in the books, wait, day 0? Ok so I didn't actually start officially today, I am not going to "officially" start my program until Saturday simply for convenience sake. But I wanted to get a workout in today and not say I am going to "start tomorrow" or any other day in the future, it had to be today. So I did the thursday routine to kick things off.

Food accountability

I am thinking about adding some food photos here. Mostly to keep myself accountable. So I apologize if in advance if they are boring. I am not a chef :)

One Last Note

I apologize if this post is all over the place tonight, I had a long week, long flight back form Chicago and I just finished working out. I just really needed to blog tonight...

Back To The Gym

HiiT It !

I am finally heading back to the gym today after about a month off. I will be honest I am a little nervous. I mentioned a while ago that I was doing D1 fitness, a pretty bad ass training facility here in Raleigh. It is probably the most exhausting and challenging workout that I have every done.  I was slowly starting to get into the groove of the HiiT style workout, then I stopped.  My body is going to hate me today.

Rethinking My "Diet"

Wild, Paleo, low card, high carb, carb cycling IFFYM, the list goes on and on. So what is the best "diet" for me ? Not sure. I am a firm believer that every single person is different when it comes to eating. One diet may work well for one person but not another.  What has worked for me in the past? Hmmm good question.  I would have to say Paleo worked well, a low carb approach, and eating "wild" all seemed to show some promise.  The thing that worries me the most about low carb, higher fat/protein approach is the affect that it will have on bad cholesterol and my body. I know, I know, the research is out there saying this or that, but it still worries me. I am not going to jump on the bandwagon just yet because someone wrote a book or I read it on the internet. I am going to research the heck out of it myself.....on the internet.  :)  

 

What happened ?

I stopped blogging. But why ?

It was been about a year since my last post. Kinda funny that it was almost a full year give or take a few days.  Today I woke up with some type of weird clarity.  The kind that I started having last year when I decided to start blogging in the first place. Ok, so what has been going on the last year ? Plenty.

A New Home

Last summer we built a new home in Apex, NC. Such a big change from New York, but I love it here.  Don't get me wrong, there are so many great things about New York, but my family and I needed a change. Fast forward more than a year and we are living in an amazing neighborhood with great new friends and a beautiful new home. Not everything was easy though. The stress of moving took a toll on me, it affected my job, my family, everything. It was not about missing New York, it was about taking on more that I could handle. New job location and building a new house proved more stressful that I was wiling to admit.

The Job 

Ok let me start by saying I don't blame everything on my company, I was no doubt distracted. But I learned the difference between a leader and a boss in the last year and a 8 months. I had a boss. I guess it would be easy to just blame everything on him, but like I said, I take half the blame. 

During the last few months I was worried I was going to get fired, heck, I was positive. I was given a verbal warning which I was shocked by, even though I was distracted, I did my job and was successful. There was no real discussion, no mentoring.  Just a list of everything he thought I could do better. He was clearly making a case.  I am not going to make this post about my old job, I could write a book about it. As I said so many times before, I eat when I am stressed and that, is what I did.

The Grass Is Sometimes Greener

People will tell you the grass is not always greener on the other side, for me so far, it is. This month I started a new job, it almost seems too good to be true. My manager is awesome, everyone is there awesome (insert the lego song here.) It has been a few weeks now and I am hoping that everything stays this way.  Things are starting to look up.

Eating Struggles And Workout Woes

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My diet has been crap. Mindless eating. There is no other way to explain it.  Heavy meals containing breads, pastas, wings, snacks and whatever else I wanted. I didn't event think, I just ate it. All of it.  Working out has been a struggle too, I have not been to the gym for about a month. No energy, no drive, nada. I wish This was a rah-rah moment where I tell you that I have made this big change, but to be honest, I just ate a Kit-Kat.  I feel like I need a change. I need to make this happy. I always said that I need to do it for the right reasons, that I need to be ready. Wish me luck.

 

 

Being ready

I am not doing well on this journey so far. I am pretty sick this week with a bad cold, I also have been eating bad, obviously not working out. Seems like I take two steps forward and eight steps back. There have just been so many distractions.  My mind is not in the game. This really got me thinking back to the times that I did well, the times I ate well, the times I felt great. I had laser focus.  I was ready to take on the world. Today I am sitting here feeling defeated once again. I don't have the drive, I feel like it is going to take too long, be too hard. I am just not ready.  

Wait, ready for what ?

I am not sure I even know what I want to do or why I am doing it anymore. I have so many things that are going on right now personally. I have a photography business that I am struggling to find the time to re-start in North Carolina.  My children are young and need their dad to be a part of their lives. My wife needs me to be there to help out as well. Plus I have a full time job that has been more than stressful.  I am taking on too much, my brain can't possibly handle all of this. I have brain fog, I am tired, gaining more weight and just feel blah. 

What I need to do....

I think I need to put my photography on hold. I don't want to though. In the photography industry if you are not actively shooting, then you are not allowed to sit at the cool kids table. I know I sound like a dick saying that, but its my feelings. But I can't seem to dedicate the time I need to it right now. People say I am good photographer. So If it is meant to be, then it will be.  I need to get my life in order first.

I started this blog to keep myself accountable, I want to document my failures, my successes, when I am feeling like crap and what is keeping me up at night. Hopefully, people reading this can relate and understand that they are not alone.

I am not giving up. 

Invisible

As I mentioned previously, D1 Athletics is a group training facility that does sports training, it also does adult boot camps, that is my new workout and I love it.  I noticed something last night though at my class that made me realize something. Disclaimer: This is my perception, it may not be the way it is at all,  but, it is my feelings and it is the way I see it.  I felt that all of the fit people  kind of stuck together, they talked, they encouraged each other, they were in their own "click".  At the end of the workout I sat on the floor and tried to catch my breath while stretching and I looked around. No one made eye contact with me, as they left no-one said good bye to me, nothing not even the trainer said a word. They did however say goodbye to pretty much everyone else. I felt, invisible. I know that is a totally stupid thing to even say, but like I said that is the way it felt. The funny thing is that I was always a popular guy growing up, happy, joked around a lot, and I was fit. Was that a coincidence ?  Do I really need to be fit and attractive to make new friends here in my new state?  Will people accept me for who I am ?  Am I overthinking this whole thing ?  I probably am.  

I know I promised that I would write every day without fail, but the truth is I have been a little down. I ate like crap over the weekend and I just wanted to lay down and sulk.  Today, I feel a little bit better andI brought my lunch into my office today.  

10:30am update

It is only 10:30am and I am already stressed out. I won't go into too many details online, but this should be a good test of how I handle my eating etc.....

Not a failure.

I didn't post yesterday. I had a crazy day. A stressfully one. I didn't eat well, I didn't excersice, and I made the mistake of stepping on the scale.  I felt like a failure, up 4 lbs. Yeah maybe it is water weight from muscle repair, after all, I have been working out. But, more that likely it is because I am still not eating 100% the way I should. I am eating fairly well, but too much of it. 

Part One

I feel awful today, I am sluggish and kind of depressed.  I was supposed to write about my new cool gym tools but I just didn't have the energy. This is why I started this blog. I didn't want to fill it with fluff and fake positive quotes. I want it to be real. The good and the bad. I want to be 100% honest and lay everything out. I am writing this a few minutes before I sit down with my team at work and to be honest I am just not motivated.  There WILL be a part two today after I get to the gym. I normally shut down and don't go, or have a really bad workout. Fingers crossed. 

A Gym Success, Bad Habits, and More !

A Gym Success

I spent most of last Thursday with a pretty bad migraine. The tree pollen in the south is a little worse than I expected, and working out in a open gym environment with the giant doors open had me a little worried for Friday's workout. But, it worked out better than expected. It was a killer routine once again, and it was lower body day.  I won't go through each and every workout, but I CAN say that I left the gym excited and exhausted. I made it through the workout without a headache. I finished all of the exercises, kept up with all of the fit people and felt great. I had an extra bounce in my step when I left the gym, followed by a slow limp, followed by a wobble. Damn you leg day.

Bad Habits

This morning I woke up and as I always do, I checked my phone. I had 5-6 alerts and about 20-30 emails. The surge of panic went through my body and immediately felt the stress of 'Monday'. Why do so many of us start out morning checking our devices first thing in the morning? Emails, texts, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. So much visual and cognitive stimulation and you are only up for less than 5 minutes! I remember a time when our day started at a given time. You got up had your coffee, read the paper, comics first of course (Oh that silly Marmaduke and Family Circus,) and then you headed out for work. You eased into your day. Today, it is so different. I can almost feel the cortisol gushing through my body in the mornings. So much so that It actually puts me in a virtual panic every single day. Thank you technology for making us so much more efficient.  My promise to myself is that I will try to ease into my morning. While I can't really ignore my emails and texts since it is just not the world we live in anymore. I can however, put it off until after I wake up a little. Little victories.

Cool Toys

My 10lb Mace from Onnit came in the mail the other day. I will write more about it this week. I also   will update everyone on the Neurolink supplement I was taking. They will be added to another section on the blog. Any reviews that I write about will be 100% my thoughts and feelings, the good and the bad. 

I hope everyone is enjoying my little blog. Right now, I have really only been posting on the Fat Burning Tribe, but I am going to open it up to Instagram and Facebook as well. So feel free to share any article or post :)

 

 

Finding Balance

Dualtiy

Duality: An instance of opposition or contrast between two concepts or two aspects of something.
— The Oxford Dictionary

I have a tattoo, It is pretty complex, it is a Japanese scene with a dragon bursting out of a waterfall clutching another ancient symbol, the Chinese Yin Yang Symbol. It is bursting with multi-cultural symbolism.  The water dragon is a symbol of power, energy, creativity, and masculinity. It is also known to be a protector. Hence the reason it is clutching a symbol for balance and duality.

The Yin Yang  

There is no more perfect symbol for balance. The circle represents the universe, then there is an 'S' shape symbol in the center dividing the light and dark. Within each side there is another small circle of opposing color. For me, this is balance, and to reaffirm the belief that in life there is no single way of living, there is no one way of thinking. In the darkness there is always a little bit of light. And in the light, there is always some darkness. In happiness, there can be a little sadness, In condeming there can be forgiveness, and so on. It keeps us balanced. For a deeper definition and understanding, head on over to  http://feng-shui.lovetoknow.com/Ying_Yang_Meaning

Deep.. I know right ?

So what does this have to do with eating right or fitness ? I have always beat myself up for small failures, or not working out.  If I had a bad day, I would feel like the whole world was against me. I could do no right. I would never let happiness in.  I simply shut down. Give me food, let me sit on the couch. I failed. A week would go by where I ate junk,  or did not exercise simply because I feel like I needed to be 100% perfect, so I stopped to prepare myself to start again on a different day or week. I didn't need to do that. I need to remind myself that it is ok to feel this way. It is normal and honestly, healthy to have little setbacks or to not be perfect every single day.  Having a baseline of feelings in which to base the opposing feeling is not a bad thing. I didn't fail. I am living. No more punishing myself for not being perfect. 

D1 Part Deux

Today I am heading out for my second D1 torture session. I did my first workout on Monday, but I wanted to not rush into this type of killer workout again. Last time, as I mentioned before, was Crossfit. I overtrained and got injured.  Wish me luck ! I will post an update tomorrow. 

Let's do this

I guess I can call yesterday a success. I didn't eat any junk food, I didn't have any soda (or 'pop' now that I live in the south,)  and for my birthday dinner I skipped the bread, crackers and appetizers and dessert. Win. 

Today, I want to share something I wrote a few years ago.  It was titled "It's not just you." I think I was on to something there but I never really went beyond that article. Maybe It was because I published it on my photography blog under my "personal" section, or maybe it was because I was not ready. Either way, reading through it I can see how little has actually changed regarding my feelings toward myself. I had great intentions but it remained the same. Eventually I fell down again. But It is time to try to pick myself up again. They say diet is 90-95% of the battle. I am going to say that your state of mind is 99%, diet and exercise are the remainder. Unless you are ready to do this, you will fail. I am ready. Let's do this


The Article

Ken and Barbie. Oh and He-Man too

I was reading a blog post the other day about Barbie. Someone created a doll who has a body shape represents REAL WOMEN!  Wow, finally. After all we don't need our daughters playing with a doll that creates unrealistic expectations of what women should look like. And when she is in her Barbie dream car with the perfectly fit and chiseled Ken doll, she is will be smiling from ear to ear. One thing that I find interesting, no one seems to be outraged by Ken.  I guess most boys are too busy with other toys, like He-Man. Not too unrealistic I guess. I mean most guys have massive muscularity like him, right ?  Well thank goodness I outgrew He-Man quickly for WWF (now WWE) wrestling.  Wait, those guys are pretty fit (for the most part) as well.   I guess my point it that men and women are not so different after all.

Body Issues

Fact: Men have body issues. Myself included. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I don't like what I see.  Maybe its my hair, or maybe I put on a few pounds this year.  Either way something is not right.  But I am a guy,  guys don't say those kinds of things, do they ? After all, we are supported to be the stereotypical alpha male. I mean, that is what society says we should be, isn't it ?   Well it turns out I am not alone.  There are so many men out there that feel that same way, but you almost never hear about it.  It makes us sound weak, like we are less of a man. Ridiculous.  Because we are men, we are always expected to be confident , strong,  and masculine.  Again, ridiculous.  

FACT: I am photographer. I hate photos of myself. 

Except selfies of course. Laugh if you will.  Those are the photos I can control. I know exactly how I am going to look. I know the right angle, the right lighting and the right expression.  Anything else is unacceptable.   And it only takes 10-15 tries.   Although over the past few weeks, I realized I would rather have amazing photos with friends than sit and worry about how bad I look in them. Progress.

What I am slowly starting to understand.

  • The mirror is not a reflection of who I really am. It is not a reflection of how people see me.   

  • I have confidence. (At least that is what other people tell me.)

  • I am a product of my environment. People affect who I am and how I feel. Negativity is a virus.

  • As a photographer I am proud of the images I create. Every single image is important to me.  

So why am I writing about this ? What made me feel so strong about this topic that I put it out there for the world to see ? I feel there are just too many men like me. Men who keep everything to themselves, or maybe share their feelings with just a select few people.  It does not make you less of a man to feel this way.  Just understand that you are not alone.  And for those guys out there that have all confidence in the world. I applaud you. Maybe it’s not you that I am writing about. Maybe it’s your brother, your best friend, or even your son.  

Every day I learn a little more about myself.  Every day I understand what really makes me happy.  Those are the things that I am learning to dominate my thoughts.  Eventually, that reflection in the mirror won’t matter at all.

#ConfidentMan

Birthday Blog, Update and More

Happy Birthday .. to me..

Ok, Now that that is out of the way, back to business. Lets talk about being bloated. I ate fairly well yesterday, until dinner. We went out. Wings and burger without a bun. Oh and Fries. My belly swelled up like a hot air balloon. Why do I do that to myself? Looking back to my day, It was stress related eating, again. I have had a really stressful week so far. With that being said, I will call it a success. Why ? I didn't go for pizza, booze, mozzarella sticks, or bread. I didn't binge and I didn't give up today and say, "Oh well screw it, I will eat what I want now and start tomorrow." That is the way I used to think. I need to get those thoughts and that way of thinking and kick them to the curb.

Point of Success

Ok so one little success from yesterday. I worked out even though I felt like poo (I know bad words right ? No one said this was a kid's blog folks.)  Ok so my workout was only 20 minutes on the elliptical. For me though, it was more. I didn't sit home and feel defeated because I didn't eat well. I am trying to change my mindset. That is the most important thing I can do for myself. Not every day will be a success. It is how I handle those unsuccessful days that will guide me down the right path. I am really excited about heading back to D1 this week as well. I decided not to go all type "A" on my workouts. Two times this week and next week at D1 and then add a third as I feel I am ready. I don't want to burn out or get injured.  I also ordered a cool piece of workout gear that I will post about as soon as it arrives!!! 

Introducing Tony,  My New Mascot

I would like to introduce you to my new trainer, coach and mascot, Tony. Tony is going to keep me accountable on this little journey of mine.  He may pop up form time to time on a few blog posts ! :)  Ok so Tony may not be real. in fact Tony is a stick figure (who often skips leg day.) But more importantly, Tony is named after my dad. Who I miss very much.  He was not into fitness, or an athletic guy, but I know he would be keeping me accountable, and proud of me for all that I have accomplished, and what I will accomplish on this Journey. 

 

 

D1 Athletics, I hate you

Ok maybe its not you.. its me

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OK, I maybe hate is a strong word. But I really dislike you right now. You pushed my body to the breaking point.  I sweat harder than I ever have, was sucking wind like I was breathing through a straw and I had a massive headache after.  So I guess you can say I had a great workout. 

I arrived at D1 and for some reason I was actually nervous. There were fit people all around including a few that were getting ready to do the 5pm class with me.  I felt intimidated. "I shouldn't be here," I kept thinking. I am going to do this class and quit (I signed up for a two month special BTW.)  But, I was there so I figured what the heck.  

The class started out easy enough, warm ups, ahhhhhh I can handle this. The warm up included some a 200 yard jog followed by sprints, then on to some dynamic stretching and so on. Next, we went into some push ups to sprints, burpees to sprints and I think some other exhausting routines that I cant remember because at that point my brain was already shutting down.  Next, on to the weight room, that I did remember sine we had a few minutes to catch our breath and take in some oxygen. The weight routine was not bad. It has been about a month or so since I touched a weight, which in workout terms might as well be a year. But I got through it. So I am done right ? Great workout, lets high five and go home .... Not so fast we have more to do. hammer curls, to shoulder press, to sprints.. more friggen sprints.....

A few quick lessons

Lesson 1: Always listen close to your instructor. Especially when you think you hear one more round and immediately think that the workout is over.  It is not over.  One more round means, one more round until the next time I say one more round, so don't be a jackass and give your all out effort on round two. Who every does two rounds in a workout ? It is three.. it is always three. I didn't listen

Lesson 2: If you think you want to quit. Don't. This is not easy. I didn't think It would be. (Ok maybe I thought it would be a little easier.) My body will get conditioned. My mind will be less cloudy. So this is a message to my future self for when I go back and read these posts. Especially when I am ready to give up, again. Don't do it. Small setbacks do not mean failure. They are just a small speed bump on your journey.  I am going to give this my best effort. 

I will leave you all with one note. A reward. My 8 year-old daughter says she is my trainer. So after my workout she gave me a reward.  :)

 

Day 2

I can do this..I hope

 

 

Update: Yesterday was a semi-successful day, most the day I was able to eat fairly well, I did struggle a little bit last night. It mostly came from being a little bit stressed out over the weekend, As I normally do when I am stressed out I eat, so this time I reached for a bag of tortilla chips(but hey at least they were organic.) 

 

 


I didn't think I would be able to just turn the switch start eating healthy, exercise, and become an athlete. I knew it would be difficult, that's why I decided to start this blog. I want to be able to look back and see the struggles, setbacks and the successes that I had on this journey.  I also decided that I would start off each new day with update on how my previous day went. 

So today is going to be an interesting one, today I start my new training regimen. I opted for something that was very similar to CrossFit, But was not Crossfit. Don't get me wrong, I loved CrossFit, until I got injured. I am not to go on and on about the good or the bad of CrossFit, I'm just going to say that it's not for me.  So today I'm going to try D1 sports in Raleigh, North Carolina. I signed up for two months to make sure that it is something I will be able to stick with in the long run.  It's almost a little bit scary to get started, that feeling of being out of breath, the pain, your body feeling like it can't possibly complete an exercise. But I've been through all of this before. I can do it. I will give a little update this evening on my workout.

 

The Journey Begins

Chapter One

It starts today, for the 100th time. How many times have I said that to myself ? You know there was a time I felt amazing, full of life. I had so much energy, I was happy. So what  is it that changed ? I am just simply not living a healthy lifestyle. At all.

As of right now I am about 30-40lbs overweight. I don't have THAT much to lose, so it is all cosmetic right ? I wish that was the case.  I feel horrible all of the time. I am tired, depressed, I don't want to leave the house. I am embarrassed to be seen in public. I feel like everyone is looking at me, judging me. It is all a vicious cycle, I am an emotional eater. I hate the way I look and feel, so I get depressed and I eat. But food can literally make you feel better. This is a scientific fact. Ok so I know what the problem is, so I can fix it right ? I wish it were that easy.  

If you are reading this and struggling to lose weight, you will understand the internal battle that comes with trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Is it about looking good ? Yeah maybe a little. I am not going to lie, for me that is what it was always about.  Not anymore.  I want my life back. I want the brain fog to go away. I want energy to play with my kids. I dont want to feel so depressed. I simply don't want to feel like this anymore.

So today I am making a commitment, no more saying things like "I will start tomorrow," I will not wait. I can't. I am going to use this site to keep me accountable. I will blog everyday, Even if it just a single sentence. I will write about my struggles, or simply whatever I am feeling.  

I know it is a Cliché to say that this is a journey. But for me it really is. I have to make sure that I remind myself of that, every single day, otherwise I will fail. I know because I have failed before, and I don't want to fail again.

My Diet Is Going Wild

So what am I doing ? I am planning on eating better obviously, I will be following the "Wild Diet." by the Fat Burning Man, Abel James. What a bunch of crap right ? I mean its a diet and the dude just wants to sell books right ? Yeah maybe, but we all need to make a living. The principals are sound though. You cant argue with the philosophy he preaches. He has a great podcast, with great guests that I always seem to learn a little bit more from each episode.  The other reason is the community he is building around the program. The Fat Burning Tribe is a great community of people who are all looking to feel better, look better and be healthy. But more importantly, they want to help others. That is what I need. Support for this journey. 

Division 1 Training

For my training I will be trying out a new gym called D1 in Raleigh, NC. I will be writing about my first day tomorrow, if I can move my arms.

 

One quick note: I am not a good writer, so be gentle on the comments :)