Category Archives: Life

Projects Update Fall 2012

So I made myself a list of “current projects” that I wanted to complete this year. So far I haven’t really fully completed any of them. I have procrastinated on writing the books I wanted to write, haven’t met my physical goals, and got just a few things done on the house.

There are a couple of reasons I haven’t really done well at accomplishing my goals for the year. For one, my project to hike the Colorado Trail in June really took a lot of my time. Besides me not being around for the whole month of June, I also spent the months of March-May researching what I needed, and buying stuff to test out before I went. Book writing was put on the back burner.

My weight lifting goals suffered because I started putting emphasis on getting into running shape to break 50 minutes in the Bolder Boulder 10k. My training probably could have gotten me the time I wanted, but I had a severe side stitch the day of the race. I couldn’t believe it. Regardless, I think my days of achieving running related goals are over.

The rest of the summer till now is practically a blur. Between traveling and coming back to 60 hour work weeks I haven’t had the energy to put into my other projects.

Things are finally starting to calm down at work and I am looking at roughly a 2 month window to finish some of the projects I started. We have a few final things to do with the house before we sell it. Looks like we will be selling it without doing the bathroom remodel, but all the little things need done. I still want to finish my personal finance book which looks within reach if I can motivate myself to write just a bit each day. And my time frame is a bit too short to hit my weight lifting goals, but I am well on my way there.

And of course I am adding other projects as usual. The Drench Tees project I have been working on is finally up and running. You can go to our website @ http://www.drenchtees.com. My friend Haylee Powers started this as her senior thesis project and it just took off. We have been selling shirts like crazy and 50% of the profits go to a water related charity. It’s been fun helping her start the business and I am excited to see where it goes.

It has also inspired me to start doing more portrait photography to make a little money on the side. I just bought a new lens for portraits. It is Nikon’s 85mm 1.8G prime lens, and I am so excited to start using it because the test photos look awesome!

Anyhow, that’s the update for now. Lessons learned….

1. Try not to have competing or clashing goals. (i.e. running doesn’t complement weight lifting very well.)
2. Limit the number of simultaneous projects.
3. Split big projects up into chunks where you can accomplish a bit each day (i.e. book writing).
4. Love it all! If I don’t love running all that much, maybe I shouldn’t worry too much about doing it.
5. If they seem worth it, trade one project for another. Hiking the Colorado Trail and helping Haylee start Drench Tees are two of the best decisions I have made in my life. Got to follow your gut instinct and not be afraid to change goals or put aside certain goals till later so you can accomplish some important ones now.

Till next time…

Jeremy

Thru Hiking the Colorado Trail – Prologue

Growing up in a rural area of southwestern Pennsylvania certainly lends itself to these types of things. And by these things I am referring to what some might consider to be a crazy trek across 500 miles of mountainous terrain.

You see in southwestern Pennsylvania a lot of people don’t seem to mind standing out in the cold rainy snowy weather to watch a football game or hunt for deer. Maybe that doesn’t seem normal in your part of the country or world, but it was normal to me.

I grew up in a family full of hunters and my uncles actually owned an archery shop for awhile. My dad was a purist who used a recurve bow while my uncles embraced the latest technology that was to found in using compound bows. Needless to say we all spent a fair amount of time in the woods.

I was also a boy scout growing up. Besides racing pine wood derby cars we also spent a weekend every year at a local state park camping out and learning all kinds of cool outdoor skills like building fires. For some reason, the other boyscouts chose me to start a fire at the fire building station (you only got three tries to get an award for the station). You would think any boy would jump at the chance to start a fire, but maybe they just recognized that I spent a lot more time outdoors than they did. One of my proudest achievements came years later as I was starting a fire in some of the wettest coldest conditions possible. It took about an hour if I remember correctly, long after everyone else gave up, but our group really needed a fire that particular night.

The idea for this trek comes from another well known trek called the Appalachian Trail. Everyone knows someone that has done it, but no one had hiked the whole thing in one season themselves. It took on a mythical quality for me. I heard stories spoken about these people who hiked the whole thing and I figured they must be something really special.

It became a dream of mine to one day hike the AT (Appalachian Trail). But like most big ventures it got put aside for other priorities. You know the ones I speak of. Career, family commitments, etc. Nobody really gets 6 months off of work to hike a trail. So you do it when you are really young or old and retired. The “really young” part of my life has already passed me by, and the “retired” part of my life is a long way off, if it ever really comes.

Dreams don’t really die though. They take different forms. For instance, it has been a goal of mine to eventually visit all 50 states of the U.S. I am currently at 48 states with Hawaii and Alaska left over. To a certain degree this goal is easier than hiking the AT. I spent about 11 days driving up through Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. And I have visited the rest of the states for various degrees of time. Years spent in Colorado and Pennsylvania. Hours spent in South Carolina just to check it off the list. Sorry South Carolina…

Which brings me to this coming summer. Every year I usually spend about 2 weeks of the summer traveling. When I first arrived in Colorado I spent a lot of time exploring every part of it. Over the past couple years I have been neglecting it for other destinations.

Something else really got me thinking about hiking the Colorado Trail this year though. My job requires me to be present during the months of July and August (prime backpacking months) so June is my travel month. The problem with hiking the high country in Colorado in June is the leftover snowpack. Snowpack in high elevations makes crossing the area difficult and navigating the trail near impossible. June also carries with it a chance for snowstorms at higher elevations.

This year however, the snowpack has only been about 50-80% of the yearly average. I have been watching the snow depth gauges closely and this year’s snowpack makes it look like hiking some of the high country in May might even be possible.

Put it all together and you have a smaller, but perhaps more beautiful, cousin of the AT that is doable for me without quitting my job or taking an extended leave of absence.

For comparison the AT is almost 2,200 miles and takes most people 4-6 months to complete. The Colorado Trail is roughly 500 miles long and by going a little faster than normal I plan to finish in a month. To go a little faster I have started doing a lot of research into the lightweight backpacking philosophy…

This is part of the “Through Hiking the Colorado Trail” series…

Goals For 2012

Hard to believe we have another year behind us. While 2011 turned out pretty dull and average, 2012 is setting up to be anything but.

If anything, the 2012 U.S. election will prove to make this year exciting, as well as all the talk of the end of the Mayan Calendar. Most people I talk to believe something big is going to happen this year, but as always, we shall see.

Most years my goals revolve around learning….

Last year for instance my main goal revolved around compiling everything I have learned about personal finance, personal health, and personal development into a book. This was my main project for Insight Writer and I have to say I fell pretty short of the goal.

I ended up compiling most of the ways I have thought about personal finance into 52 posts over the past 5 months. The hard work of making it into a book is still before me.

I planned on making one book, but decided during the course of things to create three books about each topic, then eventually make a 4th book that incorporates everything I have ever written over at Insight Writer.

At the pace I am going, I’ll be lucky to produce two books next year, the personal finance and personal health ones. But that’s ok because Insight Writer has always been a legacy project for me.

I also started another blog called Lokolee.com to focus on local businesses, but after a month or two of serious effort put into my passion for it ran out. Currently, I am deciding on whether or not I want to renew the domain come May, which is when I originally started it. My passion just isn’t there.

This year I stumbled upon the permaculture movement and it has greatly intrigued me. This has rekindled my interest in renewable energy, farming, and simple living. I hope to continue learning a lot more in this area and apply the lessons learned in my life.

Related to this topic is the concept of how we engineer and design our lives. I probably shouldn’t start another blog project, but I think I am going to start an engineering related blog. Studying engineering has greatly interested me for awhile and I think it is time for me to delve a little more into the field.

While some of the above goals came up a little short this year, I pretty much had a grand slam of health and fitness related goals.

I completed the Tough Mudder event in June with three of my good friends. It was an absolute blast training for, and ultimately accomplishing the event! Every weekend we trained in some tough conditions. Running up sheer mountains and jumping into the iciest of rivers. It might just be a guy thing, but it is hard to explain the pride that comes with attaining a certain physical ability.

I also ran two 10k’s this year, shaving 7 minutes off my previous Bolder Boulder 10k run, dropping my time down to 52 minutes. I hope to destroy my best time again and drop it down into the 45 minute range.

I also ran a marathon this year with minimal training (3 weeks to be exact). I had an excellent 13.1 mile time of 2:03 in training, but then failed to get a 4:30 marathon time. This was my 2nd marathon and I doubt I will ever do one again. They are just too tough on the body.

And I have come a long way as a cook this year, mostly inspired by the Paleo Diet movement. I’ve learned the magic of vinegar in cooking meat among other things. I’ve started to master a lot of recipes like Pad Thai and Fish Tacos as well. Nothing like being able to cook better food than the restaurants can.

I also started weight training in September because I lost a lot of weight and probably some muscle mass doing all the endurance training. I planned to add 10 pounds of muscle and added 5.3 pounds of muscle along with 7 pounds of fat (yeah, ate just too many calories). I bought a year membership at Better Bodies which is only 10 dollars a month and is a pretty large gym so I will spend the rest of the year trying to add as much muscle mass as I can.

Since I plan on writing the health book this coming year, I figured I better really fine tune all the things it takes to be in good health. Exercise routines, eating habits, etc.

This year I plan to pay off my school loan, finish the last few projects on my house, and make more money than I have ever made before. And probably save more money than I ever have before. Basically make more money, and spend the same or less than I have been spending.

One thing I plan on doing is only drinking tea or water this year as an experiment. To save money and be in good health. No coffee, no soda, or any other caffeinated products. No alcohol. No fruit juice. No drink with any calories whatsoever. While each of the things listed above may have some benefits, I think the cons slightly edge them out.

I really want to dial in my diet. Basically by eating the least expensive whole foods I can. Save my money and my health. For instance, I plan on staying away from processed meats. More on that later…

Basically this seems to be a year where I plan on increasing my money and my health, both topics I plan on writing books on this year.

So as usual, this year will be a lot about learning, and a lot of growing.

And perhaps always in practice, but seldom mentioned up front. I want to learn more how to love and respect people for who they are. Sometimes it is hard to remember that there are more good people than bad in this world, but I truly believe it. I want to practice the remembrance of this idea daily. Perhaps my hardest goal, and perhaps my most worthy goal in the new year.

Happy New Year To ALL and To ALL a Wonderful, AMAZING, Great Night!!!

Permaculture Plus Paleo Diet = Greatness

This has been an idea brewing in a lot of people’s heads lately. These two movements just seem to come together naturally.

And I am excited to say that today two of the leaders of their respective movements came together to talk about how these two huge ideas merge.

Jack Spirko hosted Robb Wolf on his Survival Podcast and it was a great show. Here is the link…

Robb Wolf On Paleo Nutrition and Permaculture

They start out with some of the low level stuff and get to the “30,000 feet level” pretty quick, as Robb puts it.

I love thinking about how we can make our lives healthy and sustainable. And I think these two big concepts get the majority of things right.

We are all still learning how to best optimize our lives, but I think anyone can benefit from learning about these two big concepts. Enjoy!

An Interview With Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, Inc.

I just ran across this great interview of Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, Inc. and Food, Inc. fame that was orginally posted on Robb Wolf’s Paleo Diet website. Here is the link…

Interview With Joel Salatin

I like that he is a realist and really believes in economics and community. I learned a lot from this interview, especially how he came to be where he is today. Good stuff.

Gaining Muscle, Losing Fat, Looking Great

I have been doing tons of research lately.

Digging back into Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body…

Going through the archives at http://www.leangains.com and http://fitnessblackbook.com

Learning more about MMA training and the differences between big strong muscles and lean dense muscles from people like Eric Wong.

And finally digging through blogs of people who are losing weight to try and find common denominators between them. Found a good link listing 25 blogs to dig through here…

http://www.budgetlife.com/blog/best-weight-loss-blogs/

Also, one of my co-workers asked me to get him started on a plan to lose 30 pounds of fat. I am excited to apply all my knowledge to see just how effective it is.

So far I have gained about 8 pounds in 16 days with my weight training and diet program. My goal here is to gain most of my pounds in lean muscle muss and not fat. I do expect to gain some fat but it should be a minimum amount.

I started out weighing 139.2 lbs and plan to get up near 160 lbs in 2 months. My lean muscle mass started at 122lbs and I plan to bring that number up as close to 140 lbs as possible. Progress seems to be coming fast but some of that weight is probably just water weight from increased water retention.

My Basal Metabolic Rate (BMI), the rate at which I burn calories while resting is 1565.6. Every little activity you do during the day adds to your average calories burned per day. Unfortunately most people don’t add much more to the total amount because they are not doing anything too strenuous. For instance, walking only adds an average of 43 to 52 calories burned per mile. *Source

If all you do every day is walk around your home to get ready for work, then walk to your car, then visit a few co-workers at the office, come home, cook dinner, and plop down on the couch to watch tv before going to bed… Well, let’s just say you probably aren’t burning more than 2,000 calories a day. Even though my job requires more movement than most white collar jobs it probably doesn’t cause me to burn a whole lot more calories through the day.

By the way, You can calculate your BMI here… http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

For my current diet I am aiming for 3,000 to 4,000 kcal per day. I am also aiming for 1.25 grams of protein per pound of lean muscle mass that I am aiming for. I am aiming for 140 lbs of lean muscle mass so I need 175 grams of protein per day (140 x 1.25 = 175).

I am working out twice a week which allows for a lot of rest and recovery time. I also do a full body workout to failure both days. This means my whole body is requiring those nutrients to rebuild itself into something bigger and stronger. My calorie consumption probably only goes up to 2,500 kcal on workout days which leaves plenty of calories left over for rebuilding.

I currently take at least one or two protein shakes a day equaling roughly 300 calories per shake. Sometimes I mix the whey protein with Bolthouse Farms’ Protein Plus which is a blend of low-fat milk and soy milk, or I add it to orange juice depending on whether I want more carbs or more protein during that particular time.

On workout days I take Creatine AND a protein shake with OJ before working out. Then a protein shake with milk after the workout along with the biggest meal I can eat which is balanced between fat, protein, and carbs. Extra protein shakes and big meals help compensate for the extra calories I am burning during workout days.

I’ll talk more about my workouts later, but I will emphasize that it is really important to bring not only your physical game, but your mental game as well.

Until then…

On Fasting, Volume Workouts, & Alkaline/Acidic Diets

Just wanted to let you know that The Personal Finance Challenge is humming along quite nicely on Insight Writer. I have already published 12 articles with about 4 more already in the works. The goal is to get to 52 by Thanksgiving. And then work on editing and layout in December for a book release in January. In January I will start strong with 52 articles on health, diet, and exercise and have another book released by June. I will repeat the process again over the summer and fall to have a final personal development book released by Thanksgiving in time for the Christmas season.

My plan is to release an ebook for $2.99 and a paperback book for something like $7.95 up to $9.95.

My question to you is should I release the ebook for free, or should I charge the $2.99 as planned. When releasing something for free you have the potential to reach a wider audience. On the flip side, although I am passionate about these subjects, I would like to see some financial reward for the effort involved in putting together, marketing, and releasing an ebook.

What are your thoughts?

Onto my current research….

I am currently digging through the archives at Leangains.com and absolutely loving everything Martin has to say about nutrition and exercise.

The main subject I am digging into now is how intermittent fasting can help keep bodyfat low. Martin’s writing might cater a little more to bodybuilders and athletes, but what he has to say can be applied to anyone’s life. As you can guess by now, a lot of my current research will be published on Insight Writer in the New Year.

So I just had a personal trainer convince me it was a good idea to do a volume workout. While the verdict is still out about how much mass this will help me build, I am pretty sure it is going to help me increase my strength and endurance a lot. I have to do more research on it, but I think volume workouts could be helpful in building mass if you allow A LOT of recovery time after them. My current belief is that they are simply too destructive to do on a regular basis and still add muscle. I think if I do them once or twice a month at most though they will help me break through any plateaus I reach in the future.

Reading forums like this one on ironmagazineforums.com show the real debate among everyone on how volume workouts fit into your exercise routine.

This article makes the case for Low Volume Workouts, and cites numerous studies and examples to back it up.

For now I am sticking to the low volume, high intensity workout advocated by Tim Ferriss in his book the 4 Hour Body. It is alternatively called Geek to Freak, or Occam’s Protocol, named after the Occam’s Razor principal.

Finally I am starting to also research Alkaline vs. Acidic foods and how they should fit into your diet. The general idea is to gradually increase the amount of Alkaline foods you eat. The average American diet has about 60-70% acid forming foods in it. The idea is to switch your diet so you eat about 60-70% alkaline forming foods. This is mostly accomplished by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.

And, by food combining! Yep, it all ties in. A steak (which is acid forming) should be eaten with a hearty helping of vegetables (which are alkaline forming), such as broccoli or a salad, so they balance each other out.

There are a ton of myths about eating and exercise out there and I hope to help debunk as many as I can by showing you research that proves them otherwise.

One thing is for sure, of all diet plans out there, NONE of them have anything bad to say about adding more vegetables to your diet. So don’t forget to eat your veggies! 😉