Day 211

It’s day 211 of my 100 Day Challenge. Habits are improved, tho still poor. But as I’ve said, discipline done poorly is better than none.

How are things going?

Read Every Day

This is the one I’ve sucked the most at. I’ve been reading Gym Launch Secrets and stuck on it for a while. I lost a bit of steam because of other life factors. I also don’t like how the book feels a little… slimy sales. I mean, I get it. The information in there is actually pretty solid. It does signal the reality that if I did, sales would be life. I have to figure how to sell well without feeling sales-y, y’know?

But I’m basically done reading the book. I think of my stack, The Effective Executive is most appropriate to read next.

“Yoga” Every Day

I’m better at this.

You’d be surprised how much your posture affects your… everything, really. If you don’t move your body, stretch it, put it through its paces, it will “shrivel up” and that does cause you problems.

I need to do more for my adductors, in addition to neck and upper back.

One thing I think I must finally do is update my office/desk layout for better ergonomics. I just need to figure out now what, given my needs and constraints. I know my wrist pain/issues are due in part to typing and suboptimal ergos and habits.

Workout Every Day

Gym, no problem.

Dry fire. Problem. The wrist injury has kept me from doing anything; yeah I could practice SHO, but the injury took some steam out of me too. But I did start to poke at that LCR .22. I picked up a PHLster City Special for it. The velcro backing just got delivered so I can put a little wedge/cushion behind it.

Eating – and being less fat

This is improving too. I’m doing more meal prep, which is helping with compliance. If I make sure I get at least 200g of protein every day (by rough calculations), I’m good. Biggest trick is making sure I get that protein shake in the early afternoon.

I still snack more than I should, but it’s reduced. Using Macrofactor in a semi-bastardized way, which is helping at least bring visibility. My weight is slowly trending downwards. On that tho, bodyweight is not the only factor because with my switch to a more intensive hypertrophy lifting style (heavily influenced by some recent “preachings” by Paul Carter on effective reps). There is obvious hypertrophy – which means I’m gaining muscle… I’m gaining weight. I mean, if I’m at least hanging at a bodyweight, yet I see bigger muscles and more showing through? I think that’s a sign of recomp, which is cool. Vincent Dizenzo remains an inspiration and reminder of (consistent) progress over time is what matters. Plus, I also saw something from Nick Shaw of RP that showed he had less than 100% meal/diet compliance, working towards being in the best shape of his life.

Besides, if I want to do what I want to do, I need to look the look and walk the walk. So, that’s providing me with purpose.

I’m working to become comfortable with being hungry.

Onwards

Onwards…

Slow progress is still progress.
Slow progress is still progress.

100 Day Challenge – 100 days later

In April 2022 I stated I was going to undertake a 100 Day Challenge. It’s July 2022 and those 100 days are now over. I’ve had some time to reflect. I wanted to capture my preliminary thinking, reaction, and response to the exercise. Strap in.

Where it started

Best to start with the original post: click/tap here.

tl;dr – This year I turned 50, and I wanted to do something for it because why not. Truth be told, I may be 50 but I’m the best I’ve ever been in many areas of life. I felt like celebrating that – to keep climbing. Originally I wanted to diet down, finally get really lean, and post a rockin’ pic on my birthday. Well… that didn’t happen as diet continues to be a struggle for me (more on this later). But I did decide instead to try 100 days of more discipline.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that if the bite looks too big to take, you won’t take it. It’s why in software development we take 1 13-point story and break it down into 13 1-point stories that logically support and provide a path towards the desired outcome. If you just then follow the path/plan/process, it just works and you will arrive at your desired outcome. It may not happen in your preferred timeline, and your level of satisfaction in the outcome (if it even happens) is all TBD. But what’s important to remember is:

Slow progress is still progress.
Slow progress is still progress.

Slow progress is still progress. Even if all I did today was take 1 step… I took 1 step. In 100 days, I will have taken 100 steps. Sure it took me 100 days, but I’m still 100 steps ahead of where I was.

I think it was just serendipity that when I came back to think about “what to do for my 50th?”, it happened to be just a bit more than 100 days out. We dumb apes like nice round things, including numbers like 100 (plus it adds another “place”: hundreds… ooo! ahh!). So a 100 day challenge sounds good.

The challenges

I chose 4 small areas for the challenge: read, yoga, workout, eating.

Read

Every day I had to read something meaningful, useful, towards growth (so reading Slack all day doesn’t count). It has to be something that expands me, grows me, educates me, or just… makes me smile. It could be haiku – talk about a low barrier of entry, as it takes almost no time to read that. Or I could read a page in a book. Or a chapter… well, that’s too ambitious, but for sure there’s no ceiling on how much is read.

I just want to make sure I read SOMETHING every day.

“Yoga”

This isn’t real yoga. By “yoga” I mean just moving my body through a full range every day (if there’s a better 1-word term for what I’m doing, suggestions welcome). I sit at a desk at a computer all day typing. I need to get up, stand up, stretch, bend, squat, deep breathe, etc. The gym stuff is good, but it can leave me sore and tight, which then just compounds when you sit crunched over a computer all day.

Use it or lose it is real.

Workout

Of course the gym. But also, more dry fire practice. If I’m going to get good at this red dot thing…

Eating – and being less fat

Yes, fat. I don’t want to lose weight. I don’t want to lose muscle mass/tissue. I want to lose fatty tissue from my body. It serves me no purpose: it’s summer in Texas and I don’t need the insulation.🥵 It’s just weight I carry around that contributes more wear and tear to joints and other things. Plus, I just don’t like the way I look naked in the mirror, y’know? I reckon I could stand to drop at least 40# of fat tissue to get acceptably lean.

All this work in the gym – I’ve built something, and I wish to carve off this cream cheese and see it. I’ve long wished, I’ve long tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed. But… try again I must. At least each time I learn something that gets me 1 step further.

Diary

Well, spreadsheet. I launched Numbers, new spreadsheet, 100 rows of dates, 4 columns one for each challenge. I had to make an entry for each day about what I did. I kept the spreadsheet open, window visible, on my personal computer’s 2nd monitor so it was always visible and present to me. What’s the opposite of “out of sight, out of mind”? “in sight, in mind”?

I gave myself grace about not being 100% successful every day. Yes, I wanted an entry for every day and THAT needs to be 100% (even if I fill in yesterday’s entry during today, vs as I go along today). But if what I put in was “Forgot to read…” or “Ate like an asshole”, thats ok. I want to record my failure days, those days when I’m less than stellar and didn’t live up to my own expectations. I mean, it happens, we’re human: we falter. What purpose is served by me suddenly “cheating” and cramming in a haiku before bed, just so I can fill in a “positive” note on the cell? What am I gaming, for whom, and why? Naw… just record what did happen, even if I’m embarrassed about it, learn, and move on. It’s cool, and as well I thought it’d be interesting to see what it looked like for reals looking back on the track record 100 days later. So, be honest.

100 Days Later…

It was good. I am glad I did it. I learned about myself, and about a few things that I believe will serve me well. The big lessons I got out of it are: to continue to embrace process focus, and that discipline done poorly is better than none.

Embracing process-focus

Even if you’re process-focused you ultimately still care about the outcome. Both process-focus and outcome-focus care about the outcome. The difference is what you are focusing on. Where is your attention? Where is your mind? Is it on that thing over there in the future (outcome-focus)? or this thing right here right now (process-focus)? The outcome matters – it’s about how you get there, about where you put your effort.

As a software developer, process is king. We talk about agile vs. waterfall, scrum, kanban, standups – all of these are processes. We apply process and promote process to our teams and clients all day every day. And that if we just do the process and do it right, it works! It just works! (to paraphrase JonTron)

If I follow 5/3/1, Westside/conjugate, Starting Strength, Texas Method, StrongLifts 5×5, Bill Starr 5×5, Mountain Dog, Renaissance Periodization, Barbell Medicine, Garage Gangsters, RPE, RIR, etc… it’s all processes. If you just do the things and you do it right, it works… you’ll get bigger and stronger.

In shooting a handgun, you have to acquire grip, hold well, align sights, press trigger without disturbing the sights, manage recoil, follow-through, repeat if necessary. Again, there’s a process. Heck, unloading a semi-automatic pistol requires a particular order: 1. remove magazine, 2. rack slide (3. verify). If you rack then remove, it may not be unloaded. Process.

Now, there’s always a process, there’s always an outcome; what do you focus your attention on? Back in 2019 when I took Gabe White’s Pistol Shooting Solutions class, a huge lightbulb came on regarding the effectiveness of process-focus. Of being in the moment of this shot now. That shot, it’s in the past. That other shot? it’s in the future. But this shot? Be here: grip, sights, trigger, viola. And the results of that weekend were beyond my expectations. Then there’s my performance a month later at the Rangemaster Master Instructor class in November 2019. High? Revolver day, perfect score on qual tied with Weems and Labonte (Labonte won the shootoff). Low? Completely fucking the Casino Drill (Tom ran the timer) in front of Tom and a poor showing on the qual (passed, but 91%). I was so outcome-focused that weekend – “Daub, don’t fuck this up.” – and so what did I nearly do?

And so here in the 100 days, I get to a new level of process-focus understanding.

Workout

This is pretty simple: just keep lifting. I’ve been lifting since I was a teenager, most seriously from 2011 to today; after 11 years, I think it’s habit and “part of me”. I have to continue to adjust what and how I lift to manage fatigue, wear-and-tear, progress, and quite simply – enjoyment. I gotta enjoy the lifting. I like lifting heavy, but I have to take an even longer road to get there now. But I think it’ll be good – because of something I heard Dave Hoff said about “owning the weight” regarding progression. Yeah… I need more of that.

A number of people have expressed concern over my lifting. I appreciate that I have so many people in my life that care about my well-being. Know that my long-term motivation around lifting is: to not be decrepit. There’s far more to my lifting and workouts than I show on Instagram, and everything is ultimately guided by my lifetime desire to not be decrepit. I want to be like Sonny:

Dry fire… I have been doing more of it. I trailed off a bit towards the end because of other life things, but I’m coming back to it. I don’t get too bent out of shape over those things, because often I find stepping away from something for a moment to let things simmer, I find when I come back to it the notion I was working on will be more refined. It’s all good. But that said, I do need to pick up my game.

Eating / Defatting

This remains a struggle for me. However I did have one solid outcome from the 100 days.

I was able to get a more refined look at how “eating outside my windows” costs me, and THAT is the thing I need to give attention to before anything else. And once I get that managed, then I can truly let it rip.

See, I might leave my office around 6 PM. Supper’s in the works but not yet ready. Glorious smells and “taste this” stimulate the appetite. I snack on something. I keep snacking. I’m probably 500 cals in, and then supper consumed on top of that. And that doesn’t do me good.

If I keep to my time windows (pre, breakfast, lunch, shake, supper) and eat ONLY then, that’s what I need to do. Then it’s just “do the math” and “prep according to the math for a week of meals” and do it to the right cal total and macros and boom… just do the thing and do it right and don’t eat like an asshole outside of windows, and it will just work.

Here’s the twist! I monitor my bodyweight. I see how what I consume affects that aspect, as well as how I look in the mirror (e.g. size/swell of my gut). If eating between windows is helping me maintain, those extra 500 cals (or whatever) are necessary – which means when I DO eat within my windows, those window meals MUST account for that 500 cals somehow so I can still maintain! So I have to eat at particular times AND I have to eat more when it’s time to eat… and I gotta tell you, sometimes all the eating is a chore (look up Blaine Sumner chicken shakes).

So that’s the trick for me now: windows. Mrs. Hsoi has been wonderful in helping with meal preps. That I get to eat her cooking AND do the meal stuff is… wonderful. ❤️

I’ll get there. I do see finally #BecomingLean being within reach.

Discipline done poorly is better than none

If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.

“Worth doing poorly? Why would you want to do something shitily?” That saying just irked my sensibilities. But then I came to understand it. It’s more like: if it’s worth doing, it’s ok to do it poorly. Like one of those it doesn’t matter if you can’t dance, dance anyways sort of things, dig?

It’s that something is better than nothing. Now of course it’s not just any something, it still has to be something correct and directed towards desired outcomes. But done poorly is still done. And so, something is better than nothing. It’s not about going from 100 down to 10, rather it’s about being at 0 and going up to 10.

What’s magical is that even if say all you can give is a 3, if you keep giving that 3 every day, those 3’s add up. And then maybe one day, you’ll do 4. I recall one night wanting to go straight to bed. That means I skip brushing my teeth, but I tell myself to just go dry brush each surface once and be done. I do. Next thing I know, I’ve brushed every surface a few times, wondering why I didn’t just put paste on the thing… it’s not like it would have taken much more effort. And so next time, I do that. 3 becomes 4.

Reading

I managed to read 3 (almost) books.

I am most happy about this. I love books… I have 3 large bookcases in my office stacked with books. I love going to the bookstore and coming home with neat finds. But, I don’t always get to read the books… I want to, I intend to, but time isn’t always there. However, I know it’s not that the time isn’t there; it’s more about how I am spending the time I have. Like I don’t need to scroll social media, I can read a book.

YANSS was a great start, because it’s a lot of little chapters. It’s an easy read, and once you get started it’s only a few pages to finish a chapter. So you make faster progress than 1 page per day. It’s a fun and enlightening book too.

The other two books were just things for fun. I didn’t want to have to read something serious, but they were both enriching. Andrew really hates hair metal. 🤘 And Aaron knows meat. I’ve been putting some of his teachings into practice to good outcome.

If there’s anything I’m really most proud of from this 100 days it’s this – that I’m getting books read. It may have been only 3, but that’s more than before. It feels really good, and I want to keep it up. I’m already into my next book.

“Yoga”

I’m standing more. I need to stand moreer.

I also realized something… when I take a break at work, I kick my feet up in my chair and scroll media to kinda tune out my brain searching for a dopamine hit. Why am I not instead starting by doing some stretches and even getting on the floor and stretching and moving stuff. Do that just 5 minutes… then you can scroll or whatever.

Will start doing that.

I’ve been watching my squat, especially as I get into the hole and what happens with my upper back and hips. In part, it’s due to “being tight” because I get to a certain point and the tightness wins, tho I can continue to be mobile by bending, which isn’t quite optimal. So doing things like Asian squat-sits on the reg should help me open things up a bit, including my hip adductors. This’ll just be good for me all around.

I also think, with increased intention around my yoga times, I do some of the knee PT stuff and stretches. That will not only be good for the knees, but my entire lower body.

100 more days?

I did notice that within a few days of finishing the 100, I trailed off in keeping the diary. That’s ok as that’s not really needed long term (I think…). But I have been working to keep up with all the things. I do need to work on reframing my work breaks at least partially into “yoga” sessions. Heck, after I stretch I could do 5 minutes of dry fire practice. 🤔

I did think about trying to extend it out another 100 days, but I didn’t see much of the point. I got what I needed from the rigidity of this exercise, and what I really need is to just maintain the momentum towards it becoming just a part of me, just a normal everyday way of being. To maintain the structure of the 100 day challenge would feel artificial. But could it just feel that way because it’s novel and not yet a habit? Maybe. I’ll see. I have a Reminder repeating on a monthly basis to at least reflect on my performance in these areas.

Try it yourself

Seriously. Try it yourself.

After 2 microcycles…

If you enjoy reading about my lifting weights, read on.

I’ve completed 2 microcycles (3 micros in a meso-block) of my “move away from 5/3/1”. I wanted to capture my current state of things.

Summing up the microcycle

  • 3 days a week, 4 sessions per micro (micro thus is 9-10 days long; gym 3x/week is a good balance between stimulus and recovery for me).
  • Fundamentally upper/lower A/B split
    • Squat (lower A)
    • Bench (upper A)
    • Deadlift (lower B)
    • Press (upper B)
  • Each session starts with a main lift: squat, bench press, deadlift, press.
    • This will be worked for strength. Work up to a crisp single.
    • Might do 1 backoff set for AMRAP; maybe.
  • Shifting supplemental and accessory work to more bodybuilding style, with increasing intensity per micro, and changing up every meso-block.
  • Some accessory upper worked on lower day: accumulate volume over the micro (vs. within the session); helps manage time-in-gym-vs-i-gotta-get-to-work-but-want-to-ensure-I-give-some-bodyparts-the-attention-they-need-over-the-micro. 🙂
  • I adopted a few conventions
    • Be conservative. I have goals, and I can’t meet them if I’m injured. Slow progress is still progress.
    • For a lot of accessory (and some supplemental) work, do 3 sets driving each set to failure. Over the “3 weeks” (3 micros of the meso), it’ll be like this (do you even conjugate, bro?):
      • Week 1: start dialing in weight and reps, each set to failure. Won’t be a killer 3 sets but it’ll be novel stimulus.
      • Week 2: weight and reps should be fairly dialed in, so just hit it again the same as week 1, just kinda “straight set pushing it” aiming to get a few more reps/work than week 1, still to failure.
      • Week 3: weight and reps are dialed in. Hit it hard for 3 sets all to failure, then finish with some sort of intensity technique: drop sets, iso-holds, rest-pause, partials, etc. Whatever is appropriate for the movement, e.g. selectorized machines easily support drop sets, John Meadows loved iso-holds and partials at the end of lying leg curls).
    • If I work a body part additionally on “a different day”, try to find some alternative approach. For example, if on same day you went heavy weight low reps, different day might be medium-weight moderate reps or light weight higher reps. A little variety just for interest.

So it has looked something like this:

  • Lower A
    • Squat. 5-4-3-2-1 rep workup to a crisp single. Backoff: 1×60%
    • Leg press. 1 warm-up, then 3×20. On 3rd micro, finish with -30% drop set
    • (I’d add Leg extensions if I needed it, but so far this has been a lot of quad stimulus).
    • Calves on (selectorized) leg press. 3×8-12, pyramiding up. 3rd mirco, finish with drop set.
    • Rope-handle cable hammer curls. 350 Method. 3rd micro finish with drop set.
    • Benched barbell wrist extensions. 3×20
    • Treadmill
  • Upper A
    • Bench press. I started this “move away” on 5/3/1 3s week so: micro 1, 3s week; micro 2, 1s week + 1 Joker rep; micro 3, 54321 workup plus a Joker single.
    • Incline DB flies. Slight incline a la John Meadows. 3×15, 3rd micro finish with 2 rest-pause sets. Get that stretch.
    • Seated DB Press. 4×6-10. 3rd micro finish with drop set
    • Incline DB Y raise. 3×10-15, 3rd micro finish with partial swings
    • PJR Pullovers. 3×12-15, 3rd micro finish with 2 rest-pause sets
    • Cable Row. 4×8-15, pyramiding up in weight. 3rd micro finish with 2 drop sets
    • Treadmill
  • Lower B
    • Deadlift. 54321 workup.
    • SLDL. 3×6-10.
    • Seated leg curl. 4×8-10. 3rd micro finish with drop set
    • Seated calf raises. 350 method. 3rd micro finish with partials/bounce
    • EZ-Bar pushdowns. 3×8-15. 3rd micro finish with drop set.
    • Benched barbell wrist extensions. 3×20
    • Treadmill
  • Upper B
    • Press. Executed same as bench.
    • Dips. 3×5+. Easing my shoulder/body back into these, so start with 3×5 and 1+ each week.
    • Barbell row. 4×5-8, pyramid up in weight. 3rd micro finish with 135xAMRAP
    • Dante row. 3×8-15 pyramid up in weight. 3rd micro finish with drop set.
    • Face pulls. 3×12-15. 3rd micro finish with drop set
    • Wide grip EZ bar curls. 4×6-8, 3rd micro finish with partials
    • Spider curls. 3×12-25 – just rep the fuck out. 3rd micro finish with iso-hold
    • Treadmill

Results so far

Again, I just finished micro 2.

Gut response: I like it. I’m getting strength work in, and the hypertrophy work is really cranking the shit out of my muscles – I am SORE! I am glad to see hypertrophy happening, because I’m aiming to use this programming to support my cut.

Another big thing for me here is the meso supplemental/accessory progression and rotation. Where week over week it ups the intensity, then next meso you switch to a similar movement. Oh the DOMS! Good pumps have been had too. I think this approach will support where I want to go. We shall see.

Where I want to go

I need to focus on dropping my body fat once and for all. I reckon I could drop 40# of flab and be happy. I really love strength training, and I need to find a way to keep that around during the cut, minimizing (or at least tracking) its state and progress or loss. I need to retain as much muscle as possible, and the best way to do that is to work to build muscle. I need to have a gym program that will support this dietary and lifestyle shift I need to undertake.

I will move the strength work to being a more “54321 workup” sort of thing, maybe with 1 backoff for some reps. I want the 1 to be crisp (I love Paul Carter for that term; it’s razor accurate). If it’s not crisp, I stay there micro over micro until it is. Which direction things move (even if it takes a few weeks) will be informative. I would adore progression, even if slow. So I will attempt a fairly slow progression. Like week over week just increase by maybe 5#. Then step back and do it again. To illustrate, let’s take squat:

  • Week/micro 1: squat 325
  • Week 2: squat 330
  • Week 3: 335
  • Week 4/meso 2: 330 (hopefully crisper than week 2)
  • Week 5: 335 (hopefully crisper than week 3)
  • Week 6: 340 (cool)
  • Week 7/meso 3: 335, etc.

Again, illustration. Subsequent weeks depend how preceding weeks go. But generally some sort of periodized undulation.

Point tho is strength work is just kinda this sort of thing. As well, I have thought about adopting an RPE-based and/or kinda sorta that Simmons/Tate “max effort” shit; that sort of approach got me to my strongest ever. 🤔 And there’s a part of me that wants to squat 405 again…

Accessory work is hypertrophy oriented. I’m working to ensure stimulus is constantly novel. Can you get it done in 3 sets? You betcha, if you push that shit hard. First week you basically know what you can do, so crank that. Because of novelty, it’ll be good stimulus. Week 2, you have the weight and reps more dialed in, so simply due to that you’ll be able to push a little harder with an appropriate weight. That will be sufficient stimulus. But if you keep just “doing straight sets”, you adapt. So to prevent that, week 3 you again can push a little harder, and then we finish with some sort of intensity technique. Week 1 is novel, week 2 is adapting, week 3 pushes beyond. Always pushing towards failure, increasing intensity each micro. THEN, in the next micro you switch to a new movement and start over again. So maybe you did barbell curls, now you do ez-bar curls; wide then narrow, narrow then wide, cable curls, whatever… just pick a variation (conjugate bro). Lather, rinse, repeat over the mesos.

Plus, the fact I change up every 3 weeks means I never really know how much strength I’m losing. LOL. Yes, I’ll probably stop doing SBDP eventually and replace with similar movements (e.g. return to front squat). But, if my strength stalls, that tells me something regarding my diet/loss progress too. So, it’s all good, telling, diagnostic. I may be able to do things like when I see the stall, have diet go maintenance, achieve new set point (perhaps strength increases slightly like my reps start to go back up 1 per micro), then start a new cut. It may be cycles like this… 🤔

I have seen some decent musculature appearing in just 2 weeks – it’s not huge, but there’s a difference. This bodes well for supporting weight/fat loss.

And that’s… what is next.

18 of 100 Days

It’s day 18 of my 100 Day Challenge.

I’ve skipped the gym this week. I’ve used the time to get caught up on lots of little things. That feels good. When you have a lot of shit on your plate, especially shit that’s been there for a while? It’s harder to clear off. I’m working on clearing that shit.

I’m still shitty about my posture, especially when sitting, but I’m being more aware of it. I think I need to do some computer/desk adjustment (e.g. more external monitors on adjustable swing-arms). I am still trying to be good about “doing my yoga” every day – some days it’s a “worth doing poorly” sort of thing, but at least I did something. For sure, my body is feeling better.

I did some things I didn’t expect. My day job instituted an unlimited PTO policy; I’m taking proper advantage of it. I took last Friday off, went to the A-Zone Range. I just wanted to do some shooting – but I wound up starting a YouTube channel. It was not necessarily planned, but it was a logical next step and I just rolled with the momentum. I have no idea what I’ll do with this, but I’ll walk the road a bit.

I’m getting shit done. I still have a lot of shit ahead of me, but I’m making headway. That feels fucking good.

I remember reading something. My memory says it’s from Steven Spielberg. Something like: if it’s important, do it first. That may seem self-evident, but upon deeper reflection it’s not; and it’s something we can always improve at. Consider how much in our lives we consider important but we put it off until later: calling your mom and dad; telling people how much you love and appreciate them; all those things you lament not doing with someone after you learn they passed away. When I wake up, I don’t rush to work – “work/day job” isn’t the first major portion of my day. I wake up, I go to the gym or I spend time in my office working on my things (e.g. Daub, Hsoi, KRT). What is important? Me. My family. I have to take care of me, and the better me is cared for, the better me can care for others. So, me is important, I do me first. Gym, dad/husband/household things, second-life stuff… I try to do “before work”.

So if I have to sacrifice a little gym time to clearing my queue? Worth it.

On the gym, I do think my body isn’t looking forward the heavy 5s as I’ve noticed the days I’m cool with skipping are squat days. I don’t hate squats as much any more – and I would love to squat 4 plates again. But as much as I love 5/3/1, eventually it beats me up. I’ve got a few things that I have to work around (pec, hamstring), so being “strict to 5/3/1” really isn’t in the cards any more (it was good while it lasted). I can remain principled to it but take a different approach. I may do something like the Paul Carter 54321-50% thing, then onto more bodybuilding-style stuff.

I’ve noticed an improvement in dot acquisition and body index. Playing around with grip pressure vs. trigger finger.

The video/YouTube was a diversion, but it happened so I needed to just get it done. Part of the challenge is finding the right timebox for doing videos, including the production work (if I can get it done over a weekend, great). I need to get back to and finish writing/editing the “Minimum Competency” update – including the Minimum Competency Assessment (v3) that I mentioned in the red dot video.

After that, I can do my income taxes. Yes, filed an extension. This is the next big thing for me.

Diet. Mrs. Hsoi has been wonderful in her support, helping with meal prep. It’s helping. Still, I think I’m going through an extinction burst here. Makes sense – it’s about time for the body to complain a bit. I still struggle here. I like getting big, but I hate getting fat.

I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet with small updates in my 4 challenge areas. It’s been an interesting exercise to write/record my progress.

It’s enlightening to see what’s changing in and around me. Not sure what to make of anything yet, but I’m enjoying the ride.

100 Day Challenge

In about 100 days, I will turn 50 years old.

I remember being a teenager and thinking “shit… 30? That’s fucking OLD.” And I couldn’t fathom what it meant to be “thirtysomething“. And here I am, about to turn 50.

About a year ago I thought to myself how it’d be cool to diet down, get lean, and post a thirst trap for my 50th birthday.

That won’t be happening.

I continue to fail at diet. But I continue to work at it. A few months ago I came to realize part of my problem is I’ve been very outcome-focused with my diet work – I should be process-focused. I am and can be process-focused in many other areas of my life, but diet for whatever reason escaped me. I’ve been focusing on process in my diet and while it’s not making a difference in my scale weight, it’s building habit – the habit that I will need when I start taking specific steps to drop weight (e.g. reduce caloric intake). So, it remains a struggle, but I struggle on.

The discomfort of the past few months is behind me. I’m settling into my new position at the primary job. And ahead I have no hard things to prepare for, like in 2019 when I had to stash off the Sig P365 adventure because I had to prep for Gabe White and Rangemaster Master Instructor. I mean, I shot my franken-P365 at the TacCon22 match – no qualms about sucking in public (much anymore). Seems now’s the time to make the switch to the red dot. I’ll suck for a while, and that’s fine.

There’s some other things about myself that I want to unfuck.

But that’s often the thing. People see all these things, big things, many things, monumental things. They dive headlong in with only so much plan and direction, or even manageability – and it often leads to failure. In software development we don’t implement a HUGE new feature (a “13 point story”) in one fell shot. No, we analyze the big and work to break it down into smaller, more workable, more consumable chunks (break it into 13 1-point stories). It’s also easier to pivot mid-way, if necessary.

I have big places I want to be with and for myself – but I need to start small. As I’ve been saying lately (inspired by Jim Wendler):

Slow progress is still progress.

That whole “journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” thing. A lot of baby steps consistently over time add up into some big changes. It’s easier to take baby steps every day.

“It’s always been one of my goals to standing press 300 pounds. In the summer of 2008, I did just that. When someone asked me what my next goal was, my response was simple: “305 pounds.” If you bench press 225 pounds and want to get 275, you have to bench 230 first.”

Jim Wendler

So here’s what I’m planning to do:

Read every day

I must read something every day. It doesn’t matter what, just so long as it’s meaningful, useful, growth-oriented. It doesn’t matter how much, tho keep it reasonable (I’d rather read 2 pages than fail to read 20… that whole “if a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly” thing). It can be a blog post (e.g. anything by Claude Werner), it can be a chapter or passage of a book. It can even be a YouTube video if it’s educational (e.g. I watched a Scott Jedlinski instructional video while on the treadmill earlier this week).

I want to ensure I consume something meaningful and growth-oriented every day. Not just the scroll of the feed and what the algorithms put in front of me. I want to build my tolerance for “sitting and staring at dead trees” and just be reading more.

“Yoga” every day

It’s not really yoga. Rather, it’s me making sure I move and use my body fully every day. I sit (curl into a ball) in front of a computer every day. I need to stand, I need to stretch, I need to squat and bend and twist and extend and flex and all those things. I want to ensure that every day I USE my body and all its muscles, joints, and parts.

I know what my body needs (e.g. right now it’s a lot of door stretches to open up my pec minor). So I am devising my own routine. I might even make 2, like a quick in-between-meeting thing or a longer session thing… a morning, an evening… I dunno, and I’ll see how it evolves.

I want to move my body every day. I would love to increase my mobility/flexibility. I don’t have to be a gymnast, but I know some improvement would help with some body alignments, issues, etc.

Workout every day

Basically this is that I go to the gym. If it’s a no-gym day, then I must dry fire.

While it’s not hard to motivate me to get to the gym, somedays I don’t want to go and must do it because discipline. This is pretty core to my habits and behavior and “who I am”. So while I don’t expect problems here, I also must use this as a tempering – I cannot afford to get injured, so I must curb my enthusiasm and play the long game.

I need to dry fire more, especially if I want to move to the red dot. I want to carry/shoot the P365XL (with Wilson Combat grip module, curved trigger, Holosun 507K-X2 2 MOA Dot or 32 MOA Circle Miniature Red Dot Sight – Red). Givens is coming in June and that’ll be a nice checkpoint. So… I better put in the dry and live work.

I want to grow stronger in these two disciplines.

Eating – and being less fat

I’m tired of being fat. I’m tired of carrying this around. I’ve been tired for a long time, but it’s been a struggle. As I wrote above, I’ve adopted a more process-focused mindset and approach. I think it’s helping, but it’s going to take time. As someone said, it took you years to get fat; don’t think you’ll become lean overnight. It’s about getting the habits in place, really. I’ve been evolving habit for a long time, and it’s good, just slow. But again, slow progress is still progress.

One huge change? Mrs. Hsoi is helping. I love her cooking. I think that’s been the missing ingredient. I can make macro-correct food, but there’s no love. She’s been doing this for a few weeks now and it’s making a HUGE difference. Sure the food repeats every day, but it’s still something SHE made – and it’s just wonderful. For someone who has emotion and eating tied together, Mrs. Hsoi’s cooking hits the spot. I’m still focusing on just building habit right now (there’s more to it than this), but so far so good.

Ultimately I do want to be lean. I look at Vincent Dizenzo and his 11 years of progress. Process. That will give me progress. It’s also been wonderfully freeing to not stress so hard about the “scale weight” (and how I look naked); truly go through the process and don’t sweat it – it will come.

Here I go…

So there we are. Four things. I have a few other things, but those are private. To me, the “ask/demand/expectation” within each day is reasonable and small. But even if I only read 1 page a day, when I turn 50 I’ll have read 100 pages.

That’s pretty cool.

I’m keeping a spreadsheet. Provides a bit of a diary, but also some accountability.

Let’s see what happens.