Never Stop Improving: Exercise

I watched the fourth Transformers (Age of Extinction) movie over the weekend and the big thing that jumped out at me was Mark Wahlberg’s bi-ceps. He’s two years older than me and, while he has personal trainers and probably a live-in chef and probably has a Hollywood doctor serving him up the perfect blend of human growth hormone and testosterone injections, he’s in amazing shape.

I can’t afford the personal trainer, Hollywood doctor, and personal chef, but I homer-dohcan actually exercise, eat better, and sleep more.

But I gotta have a plan. I gotta lay out a road map each week with a day-by-day workout.

Every month I pay $10 to Planet Fitness and over the past 6 months, I think I’ve gone less than six times. Doh!

My current book obsession is The Brain Fog Fix and it says (I’m paraphrasing) I should increase my heart rate for 44-minutes each day. Hey. There’s that #. 44. I turn 44 this year. I invented #Project44.

The universe (which can be summed up by Mark Wahlberg’s biceps, the book I’m reading, my Planet Fitness membership, and my impending 44th birthday) is speaking to me and trying to give me a gentle nudge.

Plus, last week I attended the funeral of a 51-year-old father of four who certainly would’ve wanted more days, hours, and years with his family and it was a wake-up call. It’s not about living each day like it’s your last, but as I walked into Church with a friend, he said it’s about maximizing the moments we have. Then, the man’s brother read an incredible poem I’d never heard before about not dwelling on two things – yesterday and tomorrow. But, it suggested, focus on today.

TODAY: 12 Push-Ups; 24 Sit-Ups; 12 Burpees (Repeat four times); Stairs for 22 Minutes …and that should make for 44-minutes at Planet Fitness.

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Never Stop Improving: Laundry

Recently, I took over the laundry duties in our house. Why? Perhaps I’m the victim of the “long con”, but really, it’s because my wife is the smart one and helps the kids with organization-makes-sensehomework, school projects, keeps the family calendar (mostly in her head, which I marvel at), and does the grocery shopping, cooks the meals, balances the books, and I’m sure a few other things I’m leaving off the list.

So two things …one …adding “laundry” to my household chores is the least I can do and …two …my mother was the best at laundry, folding laundry, and making beds. I was spoiled because my laundry was always wrinkle free, folded with military precision, and my bed was always ready for me with hospital bed corners and hotel-style turndown service.

I often lent my mother a hand, or watched her fold laundry and talked her ear off, and along the way she taught me all her tricks (as she also did with wrapping presents) and so, while some might think I’m a sucker for doing the laundry, part of me just wants to pass along my mom’s perfect technique to my kids.

51m05fnuyyl-_sy355_It’s the little things in life that always seem to be the big things. From my dad, I’ve inherited the gene that makes a man obsess about his lawn and landscaping. From my mom, I like a well-folded shirt and properly made bed.

Odd. I know.

Here’s what I know to be true.

Laundry

  1. Separate lights and darks. Lights/whites are washed in hot. Light colors and dark colors in warm or cold.
  2. Most everything can go in the dryer, provided it was whipped and blocked before going in there. Low to medium heat.
  3. Everything should be folded immediately as it comes out of the dryer so it can be pressed by hand as it’s being folded.
  4. Dress shirts can be washed on the permanent press setting, and should be ironed when wet and right out of the washing machine and only then hung until dry. \
  5. Sheets should be washed each week. Blankets and mattress pads once a month. Comforters should be dry cleaned seasonally.

I don’t recall my mom using Borax, but I add it to whites and boy oh boy do they shine when they get outta the wash.

Why did I title this blog “never stop improving?” Oh. Because the redistribution of the laundry chore is going to drastically improve everyone’s life in my house.

Remember #Project44

Recall at the beginning of the year I was gung-ho about #Project44. The mission to make a better-Don before my 44th birthday in July. Oops. Sorta fell by the wayside, but I’d like to say it’s back on the agenda and I have 71-days until the big 4-4 (as they say …OK. Nobody says that).

Maybe I don’t weigh 144 pounds, yet. Maybe I don’t honor my 44-minutes of exercise per day. Maybe I don’t put myself to bed at 9:44 like I said I was going to. But it’s not like the year has been without self-improvement. Trust me.

The biggest thing I’ve done (in the past month) was revising my eating plan. I had been on an “intermittent fasting” kick and it was wreaking havoc on my body and brain. Enter the book The Brain Fog Fix and a reality check on why the hell I was eating like a hyper-endurance athlete, and suddenly the elimination of white bread and the addition of fish (salmon) and real food has been like I got a mood prescription pill. And now I’ve added exercise back into the routine.

What’s next?

  • Organizing my book project (in the 8p-12mid second job).
  • Re-Starting my Donnie Jalapeno business.
  • Writing. Writing. Writing.
  • Make this Blog a real thing with real readers and a solitary focus.

The rest of the year is about doing everything, where the first half of the year was about hiding from everything. At various points of my life, I thought I could do anything and everything and felt alive and energized and bold. I like that feeling. I want it back.

What’s your 2017 project? We’ve finished 33% of the year. You have 66% of the year remaining to do BIG THINGS. What will you do?

Leave a comment with your #Project2017 goals.

 

So Many Good Things

Ever have one of those days where you’ve got so many things to brag about, you don’t even know where to start?

81ejepaabql-_sl1500_Like, I could tell you about my Eurolux Stainless steel, Cool Touch Electric Kettle and how it’s changed my life. Or you can read my glowing Amazon review. Life. Changing.

Or I could talk about the most incredible book I’m reading called The Brain Fog Fix and I think everyone should read this book. It’s all about our modern lifestyle and diet and technology are making us anxious, stressed out, sleep-deprived, and more prone to bad choices. It talks about how eliminating certain types of foods and adding more good foods could help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s (which is my biggest fear). 418or9fkvflI am listening to the audio book, but I also just purchased the Kindle edition so I can read it a second time and make notes and an action plan. First the book educates the reader and then, lays out a 3-week action plan that addresses diet in week-1, exercise in week-2, and something else in week-3.

Then again, I could tell the tale of my vacation (some funny stories), or start to explain why I can’t resist my daughter and will be getting her a hamster this weekend (you have nooooooo idea how much research she’s done, all the notes she’s taken, and all the phone calls she’s made).

Or what about my daily commute tracking sheet? Look at how construction affected my commute today? Weep for me.

commute

For now, it feels good enough to lay out a Blogging plan. I’m way behind on Survivor so I’ve again failed for spunkybean.

It’s almost salsa season and I’m re-opening the Donnie Jalapeno salsa factory and I might be expanding (and when I say “expanding”, I mostly mean renting space at a commercial kitchen to make many batches at once).

OK. Gotta work. Gotta dance!

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Alzheimer’s

My biggest fear in life is Alzheimer’s disease. It runs in my family. It took my Grandma away from us. My Dad is involved in an ongoing study and he worries about it (and I think he shows he has a gene that makes him getting it more likely). I obsess about it. Every time I forget someone’s name, or when I can’t remember what the halls of my high school looked like, I start to think I’m suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s.

Hey. It’s my obsession. Give me this one thing (because I rarely obsess over anything …yes, that sentence was meant to be read sarcastically).

Enter the book The Brain Fog Fix by Dr. Mike Dow. I’ve read many self-help books in my day. I rarely read fiction or biographies, but instead I read self-help and self-improvement books, and never has a book spoke to me more directly than this book. Only 2-hours into it, and it’s like I’m sitting with a counselor/dietician/friend who “gets me.”

My early takeaways . . .

  1. Fix what I eat
  2. Fix how I sleep and exercise
  3. Make it my lifestyle

Why do I like this book? Isn’t it stuff I already know? Well, yes and no. I tend to eat in ways that are geared towards athletes or people who need to lose a massive amount of weight and the diets tend to be gimmicky and unsustainable. And I’m not obese or overweight, so eating like someone trying to lose 3o, 40, or 50 pounds is a little silly. I’m not saying to obese people they shouldn’t try silly or gimmicky diets – do everything you need to do to lose weight. My quick thought on being overweight – once I read about being 20, 30, or 40 pounds overweight and the author said, “imagine when you woke up in the morning I handed you a 25 pound bag of sand and told you to carry it around all day.”  The point was, you’d hate it. By the end of the day, your back would hurt, your knees would hurt. You would feel tired. You would want to sit down and rest. You might find yourself out of breath when walking up a flight of stairs or playing in the yard with your kids.

You see where the lesson is, right? If a person is 20+ pounds overweight, this is how they’re living every day. Most weight gain is gradual and we don’t feel much different because the weight gain came a pound or two at  a time, over many months and years, but if you’ve looked at the height-weight chart, lately, you and I both know how many bags of sand you’re carrying and what that’s doing to you.

OK. So “weight” is another thing I obsess about. Two things, OK. That’s not a problem. I could quit obsessing at any time.

I’m not here to scold anyone about their weight, but I wish anyone overweight would help themselves lose a little – obesity is as bad for you as smoking or drug use. Just my strong opinion.

Back to the “brain fog.” I’ll admit. I’ve been in a bit of a “fog” and it’s partly because of some crazy diet and eating pattern I’ve been doing.

Dumb. Well, no more!

And the point of this blog isn’t about “whoa is me”, but the main point it this – if you feel like you’re struggling a little with brain fog, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems, well, I’m not a doctor, but it could be partially (and I do want to make sure you notice I used the word “partially” because I know it’s not a quick fix and one-size-fits-all solution), but it’s a part.

Eating right and exercising isn’t a revolutionary concept, but this book puts it all together and maybe, just maybe, if I was (or am) going to get Alzheimer’s, maybe I can take some steps to delay it (or avoid it all together).

Thanks for reading.

 

The Pomodoro Technique and My Personal Q2

In the business world, you’re measured by months and quarters. Quarterly sales numbers. Quarterly reviews. Quarterly celebrations and bonuses. Oh how we love quarters. You only need 2-cents for this bit of coolness.

Q1, for me, wasn’t my best. I sucked at my New Year’s Resolutions. I sucked at doing my #Project44. My sales sucked. My hobbies weren’t given any attention. I didn’t exercise.  I didn’t lose weight.

Disaster.I’m glad Q1 is behind me and I’m moving onto Q2 which I predict will be a good one.

I’m glad Q1 is behind me and I’m moving onto Q2 which I predict will be a good one.

I have many excuses. I wasn’t living at home (moved into temporary housing with my family while we underwent a major home renovation). I think my diet was off (I was trying long stretches of fasting and intermittent fasting). I wasn’t exercising which certainly affected my mood. My sales were off.

Again, I have a long list of excuses. I’m not going to dwell on them. I’m going to treat Me Inc. (clever, yes?) like a small business (and technically I am) and analyze my Q1 and plan for Q2.

What a ridiculously long pre-amble.

Mainly, I’m going to play around with three things.

  1. The Pomodoro Technique for increased productivity
  2. Eating better (and like a normal person) with a diet centered around serotonin boosting foods (and eating them the right way)
  3. Exercise a little (a brisk walk or two, keep up with my son and his Lent40 commitment, maybe lift some weights or swing my kettle bell)

Today will start with analyzing #1.

The Pomodoro Technique

I’m most excited about the Pomodoro Technique.  A co-worker and I were discussing our endless to-do list, the inability to accomplish things, and how distracted our jobs make us. Then another co-worker said the same thing. It’s not enough to complain about it. It must be fixed. I’m not the only guy with my job, and not the only “sales guy” with a crazy to-do list. The Pomodoro Technique might be the perfect fix. Today was day-1. It’s a bit odd. It will take some time to adjust of not answering a phone the moment it rings and not using my e-mail as my to-do list.

Tired of reading? Watch this.