Saturday, March 29, 2014

March Fitness is Coming to a Close-How Did I Do You Ask

I started on a journey and just a short 40 days ago and along the way I have been making weekly goals.  I have reached some and failed on a couple others.  The end goal is weight loss and better health and fitness, here's a summary.

My end of March goals look like this.  While I have a couple days left, not much is happening in these 2 days to make or break me.  Let's go through them.

Goal #1 Biggest Loser Competition.   I have lost exactly 0 pounds, so this is major failure on my end, I have maintained along the way.  Along the way I have tried a couple things including extra walking and push-ups.  I have tried a week of skipping breakfast with intermittent fasting and recently going back to my bacon and eggs in the morning.  All in all, I have ate well, but more like a 70/30 Paleo lifestyle, with some epic failures on St. Patrick's Day.

End of March Goals
  • Lose 8 lbs which should put me right around 215 lbs
  • Walk a total of 60 miles(keep track on Nike app) this is Mon-Fri after work and all day Sat-Sun, morning walks will not count since it's 5:30 am and I'm lucky to know I'm wearing clothes to go outside
  • Add in 2 sets of (push ups, sit ups, body squats)

Photo Courtesy of

Goal #2 And I Would Walk 100 hundred Miles and I would Walk 100 More(that's a song kids).  I did it!  I reached my goal, actually I have been doing great on my goal.  I am currently at 62.73 miles and climbing, that's with forgetting to use my Nike running app.  If walking were the only way to weight loss I would have lost 50 pounds.  I am the old man on the right in the picture if anyone is curious.

Photo courtesy of
Goal #3 Do as many push-ups and squats to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had my ups and downs but I have done an estimated 550 push-ups and squats throughout the month, which breaks down to about 20 push-ups/sits each day.  I cannot say this is the 2 sets of exercise daily, but I can say I am closer to look like this handsome young Arnold on the right.

So what now?  Should I just give up because I haven't lost weight, can I get a he-double hockey sticks NO!  I used to weigh 265 pounds, honestly it could have been more who knows, I wasn't exactly jumping to get on the scale.  The things that worked best for me was cutting out as much sugar as possible, living in Miami where I sweated out 2 pounds a day by just breathing, and riding by bike everywhere and working out more.  Well I'm not ready yet for biking everywhere especially right now, but I am keeping track of my sugar intake and looking to reduce any added sugars and even keep the natural sugars as low as possible.  I'm not that familiar with what regular sugar intake should be, but over the last 3 days I'm averaging 60-70g a day.  According to an article here, it says to get your sugar intake to below 40g total, which seems very reasonable for what I have been doing since a nutty bar and gelato were included in the last 3 days.  For this week I am also weighing myself every morning trying to make weight loss a conscious effort.  I am going to keep this going for 2 weeks, so here's to losing a few pounds and being proud to share it with everyone.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sometimes Fitness Friday Falls on a Saturday


So a week of struggle followed by a St. Paddy's Weekend that I did not fair to well.   The goals for day 15-22 went well, even lost 1.5 pounds, short of my 3 pound goal, but I was walking more and eating right so I felt great.  Then came the goals for days 22-29!  I went with intermittent fasting and skipping breakfast(coffee only), adding some more pushups, and drinking gluten free beer on St Paddy's Day weekend.  Success!(actually a fail), Fail, and Fail is how that all went.

While I did follow the no breakfast for the 7 days, I noticed that I was still on the up side of my weekly weight( I measured Friday morning), so it caused me to overeat and add in nightly snacks that I wasn't eating as much before.  Then add on my Saturday of a few Gluten filled beers, burgers, and pizza and this week was on the wrong side.  Sunday I ate whatever I felt like and despite playing basketball for fitness, I still ate poorly, I was better on Monday as far as the items I ate, but still overate the healthy items.  So with all of that great stuff going on in my body, I'm sure you guessed it, I gained weight, from the scales perspective, I went back to the 228 mark, so an overall 4 pound gain from the previous Tuesday.

So I made 3 goals to get back to when I felt best the previous week.  1 goal was to eat Breakfast each morning.  I put down bacon and eggs, but any paleo filled breakfast should do the trick.  I also wanted to include my 25 pushups again, since I'm not doing any weight work, I need to have some push and pull exercise besides my dog pulling my arm off while we "walk".  Lastly, I decided that I was getting to dependent on coffee, so a 7 day hiatus was the ticket.  I started Tuesday expecting to be tired and have a headache, well only 1 happened and I was in bed immediately after I ate my dinner.  So I am changing my coffee plans to at least mix it up this week, maybe some tea, a fruit and veggie smoothie, just not the same thing every morning before work.  

Here's to reaching goals and getting back on track, because like finance, fitness is all about behaviors, and here's to improving mine!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Post 101-What Rich and Poor People Do With Tax Returns

Good Morning to the Millions and Millions of Readers out there, I always like to laugh in the morning!

I first want to congratulate myself for sticking with this and getting to my 101st post.  It was almost 3 years to the day since I started my first post.  I was not as consistent as I could have been, skipping 2011 entirely and a 6 month stretch in 2012-2013, but life and priorities happen, but I'm certainly glad I'm here today.  I just want to thank those who read or comment, I hope it has helped or made you think about finance and fitness along the way.

I think the post below is the question that everyone asks as I did in my first post, well the journey continues.

                      What do I need to do to get fit and wealthy?


TAXES-The Rich and the Poor

Let me first start by saying I don't know what the Rich or Poor do with the money they receive from a refund from there tax returns.  Here's a few things from friends and family that I have seen along the way(no judging....yet)

  • I'm buying a new big screen TV(I have seen more empty big screen boxes on my daily walks now than I have seen during black Friday/Christmas time)
  • Buying a new/different car(Chances are your refund isn't big enough for a new car, so they are putting some money down and financing the rest)
  • I'm not sure what I'm going to do, probably just save it(doesn't seem like a bad idea at all)
  • I'm paying down my debt(I'm sick of paying the regular payment for what feels like the rest of my life.)
I look at the first 2 and think a couple things.  One is you know what I paid the government this whole year and I deserve this money, I have been saving the whole year I deserve something nice.  Another part of me thinks that's got to be the stupidest thing you can do with your money right now!  You have been paying the government extra all year long not earning any interest or paying down any extra debt and what did you do with the money, you couldn't get it out of your hands fast enough.  It's called delayed gratification.  I'm sure you want a new phone, new TV, new computer, new car, trip to Vegas.

As you can see by the length of each rant, I'm not a huge fan of the first 2 bullet points.  What do I think about the last 2 bullet points?

One is that this person must be making the right choices they are getting a return and saving the money or at least trying to eliminate some of there debt.  This person must be rich or know about how to handle there money and will be rich one day.  Another part of me says this person only thinks they know what is going on, why are they getting a refund, they decided it was a good idea for the government to hold on to there money while they had credit card debt at 19%, a car loan of $500 month, and eating ramen noodles so they didn't go over there grocery budget, they might be as blind as the person buying the new car!  

While this rant was similar to the above, I think they are making "weatlhy" decisions in the end.  While in theory I do think that it is a poor decision to loan the government money at 0% return, I believe that most Americans including myself find it a struggle to save money, so even though we are giving the money to the government to hold on to, we know they are pretty reliable and will give us what we have saved and feel pretty good about ourselves.

So in the end if you are waiting on your tax refund or already spent it on a big screen TV, keep this post in mind on your decision today and for the future.  If you think I'm crazy here's a post over at Get Rich Slowly that has a couple ideas as well.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fitness Friday-Go Eat a Steak

So I promised myself and all the millions and millions of readers out there, that I would start a Fitness Friday post, well time flies and guess what it's FRIDAY, so throw out the diets, gym time you put in and make sure you are eating out at work today, grazing on the cupcakes and cookies and chocolate your co-worker brought in.  Well if we did all that I personally would have to change my plan to Fat Friday and I've already been on the 265 side, I like this side better.

So an update so far for the week on my Fitness Goals for the week.
  • Lose 3 lbs
  • Walk a total of 15 miles
  • Cook a Paleo/Gluten Free Dessert
  • Eat Paleo Dinner when going out March 8th
I usually don't like to include weight loss as one of my goals for the week, but I wanted to get a head start on my March goals and this is the head start i needed and I don't weigh myself daily so this is a tbd, this coming Tuesday.

I am on a good pace to walk 15 miles for the week, I'm currently standing at 9.29 miles on my after work walks and my usually long walks are on Saturday and Sunday.  

Cook a Paleo/Gluten Free Dessert.  My wife has requested the Coconut Cream Pie I did last time, but I want to mix it up.  I just bought Almond Flour(the most expensive thing in the world) so I want to try and include that in the mix, but I'm planning on probably doing this on Sunday with my extra time from not having a basketball game this week.

Eat Paleo when we go out for my wife's birthday on March 8th, time will tell.  Which should be fine,  I'm sticking to meat and veggies and my drinks will be wine, water, or tea.  My breakdown might be "helping the wife" with dessert.

Just a quick recap for the week so far, I happy to be working towards the Fitness Friday Goal.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fitness Goals-100 Days at a Time

A friend from high school which I used to play basketball with, commented recently that I don't talk about Fitness very much and mostly talk about Finance......truer words have never been spoken.  So here we go, Fitness Real Talk. 

Let me start out by saying I stopped(canceled membership) going to the gym June 2013, so 8 or 9 months ago, I then took the $54 I was paying in gym fees and put that toward buying Nike stock, the irony on this is simply priceless.  I stopped going to the gym for a number of reasons. 

  • I wasn't seeing results.  I was lifting heavier weights, but I'm not entering any Strongman competitions anytime soon, I want to be lean and fit circa 2000, just so I'm at least in this century at least.
  • Because of the results, I showed up less and less.  The gym was in my building and sure it was nice to go before work or during lunch, it was a process.
  • Summer was coming and I knew I wasn't going to be hitting the gym, I was going to be running and biking more than anything.
  • Angel, my dog.  I walk my dog every day, 2x a day, a quick 15-20 min walk in the morning and a 30-60 min walk when I get home.  So I was already getting my walking exercise and I could see results just from walking daily.
Good news as of October 2013 I was lightest(227lbs) I've been since probably when I graduated college.  This was all without working out during this time, just walking the dog and eating right, throw in a Sunday basketball game and call it a week.  

In October my parents came and I told myself I was going to ease up a little because I wanted to have a beer and whatever my parents were going to cook during this time, I was also easing back in butter and cheese(gluten free or grass-fed only, usually Kerrygold)  I was doing my best to stick with this and try to add items that were at least gluten free.  Since October-February I have been a roller coaster of eating, going completely rogue and eating what I wanted to strict Paleo for a week or gluten free additions.  I have included intermediate fasting to balance some of the heavy eating days. 

The fact remained I was all over the place with weight, going up a little more than I was going down, just happy to be under the 230 mark was a success.  I am able to walk daily usually 1-2 miles with my dog, so that has been the Winter Workout in a nutshell, throw in some Sunday basketball aka the only day I sweat throughout the week.  So thanks Angelita(my Siberian Husky).
If you live in the Midwest.......
I am a believer in Paleo and over the last 2 weeks have been working to get back to my Paleo ways, not as strict  as my 30 day Paleo challenge, but working my way back to that point.  I have started a 100 day transformation. Over this time period I am working on getting my diet and my fitness level at a constant level and where I feel like I need to be. 

As many have you have seen, taking a large time frame and attempting to be successful is one of the most difficult things in the world for many and definitely for myself.  So along the way I am creating goals along the way in 7 day increments.  For example Days 8-15 were adding a set of push ups each day to the week, making sure I reached my month long goal of reaching 42 miles walking for the month, and bringing my lunch every day to work.  I also created 2 items, 1 is my Duke notebook where I am open and honest of what I ate, what went well and what I didn't do so well.  The other is a calendar of those 100 days, only putting positive comments on each day, if I did the push ups, ate Paleo, walked extra, it's the Positive Only Calendar.  

As I'm putting words to computer I'm realizing my short term goals are great and I'm doing well with following and living up to those goals, doing my best to be held accountable.  What I failed to do was create an end goal and goals along the way to show my progress, if you want to reach a goal you have to have measuring points.  So I'm going to start listing out my goals below.  I'm also going to be dedicated to posting 1 Fitness blog a week to show my progress and what I've been working on throughout the week, It will be Fitness Friday post.  

End of March Goals
  • Lose 8 lbs which should put me right around 215 lbs
  • Walk a total of 60 miles(keep track on Nike app) this is Mon-Fri after work and all day Sat-Sun, morning walks will not count since it's 5:30 am and I'm lucky to know I'm wearing clothes to go outside
  • Add in 2 sets of (push ups, sit ups, body squats)
End of April Goals
  • Lose 8 lbs which should put me right around 207 lbs
  • Add in 2 weekly runs in place of the walks, still keeping a total of 60 miles for the month
  • An additional day of a sport per week( this could be an additional day of basketball, volleyball, flag football, anything to keep active)
100 Day Goals
  • Hit 199 lbs
  • Create a summer workout at the park/beach 2-3 days a week
  • Have a 80/20 Paleo program, which will include a list of items I tolerate(IE grass fed butter) with my Paleo standards
  • Complete 12 Fitness Friday Blog Posts

Around this time I was right around the 240 mark, plus or minus 2 pounds.  I had definitely dropped from being my 265 when I was in Florida and switched to cutting out the evil sugar from my diet, but gained a solid 10 lbs since being in Chicago and eating hot-dog's and drinking beers. I took the summer off to walking daily and occasionally running and biking and playing basketball on Sunday, results were not there.  Although neither was my focus, I think in my head I thought if I do these things the pounds will come off.  My eating was "normal", I wasn't eating fast food every day, but I also wasn't shying away from eating how I wanted either. 

Fast forward to September.  I read and listen to alot of informational items, mostly about money and health and fitness.  After listening to Robb Wolf and his podcasts, Fat Burning Man, I finally got off my arse and did a 30 day Paleo Challenge.  To my surprise it was easy and I really liked the principals behind it.  Eat meat, veggies, and fruit, I was able to lose 10-15lbs and my Achilles pain that I was waking up with every morning(I was walking around like I was 60) went away.  Pretty great intro to eating Paleo and feeling great, I had thoughts and hopes of getting down to 185-190, about what I was in high school during basketball season.  Of course this was when I'd eat Burger King before a late basketball practice and just run it off during practice.  That doesn't exactly happen, It's 9-5 and cook and clean and walk the dog and watch some TV to finish up the night.

So I have issued a challenge to myself and to anyone who reads this, tell me what you are doing to avoid that winter weight, what do you do when your work out?  

I want to get a kettle bell to add some weights into my workout, have any thoughts on this?  What's your goals, does weight or fitness matter? 

Are you the same as you were in high school or college or whenever you were your fittest?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

You Can't be Financially Independent in Debt

So I was thinking the other day how fast I would be able to pay off my debt . I knew that the only way I'd be able to be financially independent is that I paid off each and every loan it's not something I'm proud of but I am in debt and the only way that I'm coming out of it is by hard work and making each and every payment till they're gone.

I have a student loan that's with Discover(bought from Citibank aka the Satan of banks) and this loan is keeping me from being $250 closer to financial independence . The loan is $250 a month that means that every single f****** month, I have to pay the bill they charge me interest,they even send me a statement and I open it and read over the numbers and usually it's depressing.

As previously mentioned this is my old Citibank student loan, I used this for extra money to go to the university of Syracuse, because I wanted to study abroad. This is my pain for living in small mansion in London, getting on a plane to go see how many countries, spring break in Spain, this is a private tuition to Syracuse this is even get in including a $5000 scholarship that barely even put a dent in it. But it's not a that I didn't have a great experience or meet some great people, this is the extra holding me back of getting rid of debt, I am to $250 month closer to never having to pay a single payment ever again to Discover/Citibank, what a powerful statement, what a great feeling. Who knew that paying off debt or the anticipation of paying off debt would be so exciting, must be because I am that closer to financial independence.

I think about my money all time whether it's my job salary, investments, paying off loans, credit cards, cash, I really do think about it all the time. I think you have to, I believe if you want to excel at something you have to obsess over it, always be working towards your goal. If you have read the blog over time you have seen that consistency is one of the things I struggle with and my strategy of defeating this is not making this a marathon, but making each part of my life a sprint and then relax. During that sprint, I'm intense I have a goal, I have a destination that I am climbing towards. You have to want it, simple as that. I go through phases with music and listening to different items, well a while back I couldn't' get enough of motivation videos, they are great for when you are pursuing something and you want a boost.

I think that's where I'm at, I really think that I'm come to the point where I I'll do whatever it takes to get rid of debt and get closer to financial independence, closer to Warren Buffett and that's why I write about this stuff Finance Fitness and Dreams.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why I hate Mr Money Mustache Part II Cable and Internet Edition

Here's the latest Why I hate Mr Money Mustache Series.  Disclaimer I don't hate anyone, I'm jealous in a couple ways, but I also am not a Mustachian.......Here you Go 

I always read Financial Bloggers alike and many people for that matter scream to the heavens, STOP WATCHING TV, cut your cable cord and save money.    They will then go on to talk about how they stopped spending so much money and in Mr Money Mustache's case "Cut your Cash-Leaking Umbilical Cord". 

Well Guess What?  I want to watch TV!  I want to watch sports, NFL, College Basketball, and any other show that I want to see right this minute!  There I said it, I think the reasoning is completely logic.  Here's goes: 

For example let's say you spend $50 month on the Internet for example, maybe $9/month for Netflix and another $9 for HuluPlus, i don't know, humor me for one second.  So there you are spending $68 for "Cutting the Cord"  Congratulations to ummm saving money? 

Don't get me wrong if you are able to get rid of TV and Wait for It......The Internet then good work, you are Frugal beyond your years and can put that $68 in a monthly account and make 10K in 20 years(no calculations actually done).  But every time I read an article about saving money on Cable TV it still involves the Internet.  So I skoff(not spell checking this word).   

I do think there are many out there spending too much for cable and Internet.  If you are spending $200/month and you are not getting paid to be Movie critic on the Internet, I think you have a cable and Internet problem. However if you are paying the small amounts of $40 or $60 month to have the luxury of watching the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football then this seems reasonable.   



The goal like with Cell Phones and my favorite Republic Wireless and for many across the board is to save as much money while still getting the highest quality product possible.  So I skoff(yep one more time for good measure) at the idea of cutting Cable TV, because most of the time it's not really true anyway and you are using the Internet to stream TV.  Like every purchase, it's important to do the research and get the most for your money.  $480/year is a lot of money to many people and don't get suckered into that $70/month $840 year after the 12 months are up, look for a deal with other providers, reach out to the customer service and get that bill lowered.  Just Remember It's OK to have Cable and the Internet which most seem to lull over. 


We made a decision to cancel our DirecTV service and go with the above mentioned Internet Plus option through Comcast, we are fairly new into the conversion, so I want to do a separate blog post explaining the cost breakdowns and if it actually works for us.