Anvil or Hammer

Help me get a plan and process

Posted in Diet and Bodyweight,Goals,Rant,Toys and tools by Mike on June 11, 2007

Sorry for the long delay.
So I gained. Not much but I gained when I need to be going down. I’ve been thinking about this a fair bit the last week or two, cause it’s not a new thing. I’ve thought of half a dozen excuses and possible reasons. In the end I decided that my diet and exercise PLANS are sound it’s the stuff outside the plans that is breaking me. It’s fairly obviously that when I get busy or get derailed from my plan is when I hold steady or gain. When I’m on, I’m on. One could argue it’s weak will but I don’t think that is really the case. I do think that I use the abnormalities of life as an excuse to deviate.
As I thought more about it, I decided it is symptom of a bigger issue. I tend to have that issue at large. I can have a heavy schedule and as long as it flows, I’m mostly good but throw a couple curveballs and I get all messed up. I tend to just stop, maybe I’m pouting I don’t know but I just stop doing anything. The more I looked at the diet and the bigger problem, I decided it came down to writing it down. I have this blog where I keep the after effects of my goings on but I don’t write it down before it happens.
I think I do that for a reason but not a good reason. Writing it down before hand means expectations and requirements. Writing it down before hand means I thought about it, knew what I needed to do. That also means owning up when you just don’t do it. Basically it’s an added layer of responsibility to yourself.

So I have decided, I need a tool. I don’t know what it is yet but I need a tool. I need something that I can use to write down what I am supposed to be doing. My first thought goes to a planner. I need more than just a calendar though. A calendar is nice but just scratchs the surface. I would need persistent lists that I could follow through and temporary lists for one day or another. It would have to be flexible enough to hold long chunks of text (like a blog does) but also to be able to hold tables of information. I know that most modern planners come with scratch paper and junk so maybe that could do it.
I tried to keep thinking though. Im not sure paper is as dynamic as I want. Now, bear in mind, I am a computer geek through and through. I don’t think I have explained this to you all but I spend about half of my work day designing Access databases. I’m by no means a master of the art but I’m getting much better. Knowing I’m a DB geek, my mind goes to the idea of making it a database project, it could be tons of fun. Infinitely flexibleand dynamic.
There is a problem with that though too, actually a couple. I need something that is ultimately cross platform. I can’t be limited by the fact that my laptop is XP but my desktop is VISTA or by the fact that I might be running it on Ubuntu. That almost implies that it needs to be a web thing, but I don’t know enough of the dynamic web stuff to create this. Another issue is that I need it now. I can’t invest a year in building this thing. I need to have it here this week.
So that brings me back to paper, which I’m still not sold on.
I did consider a PDA. I have had two in my life. One, I had a long time ago and it was when they were new. It was a piece of junk. I used it to download games so I could play checkers or something while I was in the car. I got a better one recently. It died in less than month. It’s still in my pile of computer junk I’m not using. It froze up and I can’t seem to unfreeze. It wasn’t sad to see it go. I tried to use it but it really didn’t seem to intergrate with anything well. It wasn’t any good at bringing in my email, I couldn’t look at my feeds on it. The list keeping ability was totally one dimensional. I felt like it was worse than paper. Although, supposedly it could play MP3s 🙂 .

So I am coming to you all. Suggestions.
What is the killerapp to organize your diet, workout, goals, education and life?
I realize that
A) no one system will probably be able to do all that so working across multiple systems is likely.
B) No system of organization can be effective without the human component.

Now to give you and idea of how I organize now.
Diet – There is no organization. I have a basic template of how I think I should eat and I just try to follow it. I don’t document the plan and I don’t document the deviations
Workout – Most of the time I make it up on my way to the gym. Half the time I document it while I am there. The other half the time I just try to remember it for later. In all cases, I try to write it down in the blog. It could be 2 hours later, it could be 48 hours.
Work – My work email calendar is Very up to date, with work stuff only. I organize by doing the oldest email first or whatever is actively burning.
Websites – not much, I just sit down and try to remember what it was I was trying to do last
Other – none
I don’t keep persistent lists like shopping or large budgetary items.
I keep temporary lists and notes on scraps of paper. Little corners or the back of something. I keep the scrap under my keyboard but sticking out until the task is done, then I thow it away, usually.


Two in a row

Posted in Rant by Mike on May 23, 2007

That’s two nights in a row I missed. I tried to work myself up to doing kettlebells about 9pm but couldn’t do it. I did have big plans for the gym but it jsut wasn’t possible. I decided I would comp the time at work and take off early today and get to the gym.

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The New York Times talks about inervals

Posted in Cardio,Diet and Bodyweight,Rant by Mike on May 3, 2007

I just thought this article was cool. I dugg it but wanted to reinforce it here. Looks like regular intervals will be a part of my new regimen in a couple weeks.

I’ve been considering Alwyn Cosgrove’s Afterburn, has anyone read it?

Time to catch up

Posted in Rant,Rest and Recovery by Mike on April 30, 2007

The family is gone. I guess that means vacation time is over. I put on roughly half a pound per day but that comes from eating so incredibly far off my usual diet that it’s not funny. No worries there it’ll come back down. I know it’s purely psychological but there are times where I would swear I can feel it.

Tonight will be walkies with the dog, not so bad there. She may hate me though because I think a longer than usual walk is in order. Tomorrow I will get in and do double kettlebells, we’ll see where it goes from there. I have just under two weeks before the strongman contest. I probably should have passed on this spring one like I had considered. I have not prepared myself. I’ll go and do what I can a so be it.

After the contest I’m taking about 6 months to try and lose this other 15 lbs for the year. I’ll get some heavy lifting and stuff in there but I need to shed the weight. There will be outside stuff, kettlebells, sandbags and tire and some heavy inside stuff.

I didn’t have a lot of spare time during the vacation but I did learn a thing or two about RSS feeds, I think they are largely misunderstood. I’ll leave it at that until I know more. I’m also trying to work up a dynamic blogroll for the trainingsyndicate members, something I can update that will auto update down to all the sites.

I’m several hundred blog posts behind on my reading. Please don’t be offended if I miss something you were talking about. I may have to just mark them all as read and move on. I’m thinking about making a page that just shows what I’m reading and putting it out there.

With all that, I have an assignment due in 36 hours that I found out about during vacation but didn’t have time to work on and 124 126 work emails to take care of.

In short, I’m back but I won’t be around a whole lot for at least a couple days.

The great debate

Posted in Rant,Rest and Recovery by Mike on April 13, 2007

I woke at 3:30 am yesterday morning. I had a big, nasty meal the night before with greasey onion rings. The rings decided they had had enough of this digestion business and they wanted out. It was pouring out, so I figured the outdoor workout I had planned was out.

At noon I walked the block from my office to the main hospital campus. It was beautiful out. I figured my outdoor workout was on.

As I drove home it was cooling and the clouds threatening. I figured I would try and do the outdoor workout but the dog needed walking first. Since it might rain later I needed to get he longer walk in.

I started walking the dog and it rained. The workout was off.

So I thought I might do Providence but by this point I was tired of the debate and just tired in general.

So the workout was off.

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Lift Strong pt 2

Posted in Rant by Mike on April 12, 2007

Dave Tate, a guy I have some serious respect for is also behind the Lift Strong push. So I just wanna bump this again. I’m not a part of the club or anything but I think it is an awesome idea and an awesome cause. They have raised $10,000 for cancer/leukemia research in one week.


Lift Strong

Posted in Rant by Mike on April 6, 2007

Alwyn Cosgrove has compiled 800 pages of writing from some of the most popular strength countries on the net these days. He’s bundled it all into PDF and is selling it, cheap. What’s more, the proceeds are being donated for Cancer research. I would encourage you to buy a copy for any of the reasons listed above.

Me, I might buy two, one for me and one for my dad who died a year a go from cancer.

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New Training Partner

Posted in Rant,Rest and Recovery by Mike on March 14, 2007

TrainingPartner Meet my new training partner, Bernie. She’s gonna force me to take walks everyday, rain or shine. She’s really into anabolic training. She’s got me sprinting across the park for reps. I haven’t yet taught her how to say Tabata. How do you say Tabata?

Another reason why I’m a jerk

Posted in Kettlebells,Rant by Mike on February 25, 2007

I was asked who one the Art of Strength kettlebell painting contest. I searched and didn’t find the answer so I went to the Art of Strength forums to ask. The answer shocked me.

We didn’t get any takers on the contest… which I found surprising since this is on of the top 10 questions we get!

So, I responded by asking for the prize, ’cause I’m a jerk. I also did it because I watched some clips from their stuff today and was totally impressed and want to buy one of their DVDs soon but can’t afford it right now.
Oh, I did make one other request. If I can’t have it, can the first guy (or gal) who submits a photo to me have it? I’m hoping they bite. Scott, you better get painting man. Cause if they say yes, I’m painting mine next weekend, screw the weather.

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How do you answer a question?

Posted in Rant by Mike on February 23, 2007

In particular: How much can you lift?

I don’t conceal my training lifestyle, if anything I flaunt it. I’m kinda proud of it and proud that I stick too it. I also figure it’s and extra level of back up, if everyone knows, then I figure I have to tell them if I quit too. As a result, though, I get asked to help people move, training advice (that always gets ignored) and occasionally “How much can you lift?”.

This is a decieving question because I can lift about 1000 pounds, as long as I only”lift”it about 1/2″ on a clear day that begins with S and the wind is out of the north. However, if you pose the challenge correctly, I can be stopped with 35 pounds too. So how much can I lift? Most of the people who as  a question like this are uninitiated so I can’t tell them, “My power total is around 1300 lbs while my Olympic total is about 175 – 200 kilos”.

I’ve found that they are usually asking the question to see if I am up to a particular challenge. So more often than not it works best if I try to divine their goal. I was asked this question yesterday to find out that they wanted me to help move a computer/cabinet (called a Pyxis) that weighs about 200lbs but is akward as can be, but it wasn’t from the floor. So my answer to “How much can you lift?” was  “Yeah, I can lift that”.

How much can you lift?
More important, how do you answer?

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