Man Fights Back

The Big Mortgage Payoff

A letter.

Dear Body:

We’ve been together for the past 29 years, you and I, and around 20 years of that time I have something to apologize to you for. I have been poisoning you since I’ve been 9 years old, and have never allowed you to reach your potential. In fact, I’ve done worse, I have limited your ability to do anything at all, and I have been killing you, slowly. Thankfully, you adapted, you regenerated, and you put up with my providing you garbage amazingly well. You have never gone on strike, and you hardly ever complained. Over the past few years, I thought I had been doing you good, been feeding you correctly, and been pushing your limits without hurting you. I feel that I have been mistaken. Recently, you may have noticed that I have drastically changed my diet, and you have been able to start repairing damage I’ve done to you over the course of my life, and that you have been able to start burning the fat that you’ve been storing for me, in case I ever had the need. You may have noticed I’ve been pushing you to your limits as well, in fact, I know you have, because there have been times you’ve said to me “woah, slow down, I’ll catch up, just give me a sec!” and I’ve noticed you’ve enjoyed it. You may have noticed, also, during this time, on occasion, I have gone back to my ways of overloading you with poison, only to return to a more pleasant intake of food soon after. You’ve let me know you are not happy with this cycle, and do not appreciate being poisoned anymore. I ignored you for 2 weeks, believing that I could simply eat you into quiet submission on some occasions. Yesterday was one of those days, and you finally said “enough is enough” and you went on strike. It carried over this morning when I tried to take you out for your morning exercise when you clearly let me know that if I was not going to feed you correctly, you were no longer under obligation to perform. Message received loud and clear. However, I have needs too, so we must find a compromise. I propose the following: I will immensely reduce the amount of garbage that gets put into you, and attempt to make it somewhat useful to you. In return, you will perform your duties in an optimal fashion and realize that occasionally, you will have to filter out things you may not enjoy. I will attempt to keep these things to a minimum, as I understand you’ve put up with it for longer than your fair share. I think you will find these conditions acceptable, and I believe with them in place, we can achieve great things. I look forward to continuing our relationship over the next several decades.

Yours Truly,

The Mind.

Rawr. Weigh in!

It’s been a pretty hectic week, but I’m happy to report a few things. First, I made my 6 days training goal! I just got back from the 7-8am Saturday trainng session, and was surprised that I was, in fact, the only one there! One on one time with a real (ie: not a gym paid) trainer is worth every penny. It was a pretty cool experience, and while I get 1 on 2 time Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that’s nice, it’s nothing like being the center of focus. I only was there for 45 minutes, but HRM says I burned 545 calories, that’s CRAZY awesome! Ok. Second, my progress: when I started this, I weighed in at 198 pounds (and some ounces), with 24% body fat. That was May 29th. After committing completely and immediately to the nutrition program given, I was weighed in on June 16th (this past Tuesday) and had gone down to 196, which was good, but more importantly I had dropped 8 POUNDS of body fat, to 20%! Holy. Shit. I also dropped 5 pounds of muscle, but I was told to tweak the nutrition program that day, and was re-weighed Friday. By Friday, I had dropped another 3 pounds of fat, and gained 2 pounds of muscle back, also, I was down to 18.7%. Jesus this is awesome. My original goal of being 12% BF and 175 at the end of July is in reach!

Week 2. It’s super dynamic workout time!

So I’m starting my second week of training today. Saturday was my first cheat day of this diet, and well, suffice to say I took advantage. Donuts, Pizza, Onion Rings, a Sundae, Pudding, Chipotle burrito. Yah, I over did it a little, I felt pretty pukey, so I’m going to try and control myself a little more this next cheat day. I don’t feel bad about eating everything, because it was said that we could eat anything we wanted all day. All day Sunday, I felt like I was on FIRE. I equate this to my metabolism trying to catch up with all of the food I had eaten the day before. Also, I had the shits. Nothing surprising. We went hiking on Sunday, and about ½ way up Piestawa Peak before my choking anxiety over heights kicked in and I could go no farther. Still, up and down, it took 2 hours, and on the way down, literally, the entire way, all the way to my car, I was stalked by a bee. My two man phobias are heights and bees. Epic day complete. So anyway, a good cardio workout. Not exactly high intensity, but it got the job done. So back to this week… I’m completely over being sore, I felt great last night, and am anxious to go in today and work out pretty hard. I feel that even though I worked out on Friday, I feel like I got off easy because my arms were sore. This week, my goal is to go all 6 days and get all of the cardio exercise homework in. I get weighed on Tuesday, so I’m expecting good results. My goal for the end of the month is to be able to run 3 miles in 30 minutes again. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to do that. I’m going to work very hard to do this.

Training Week 1, Complete.

Rawr. 5th day in a row today for training. Did a good 50 minutes of ab and leg work. Felt really good, actually, and I’m a lot less sore than I’ve been all week. I think I’ll be sore in the core tomorrow, but nothing like what I’d been through this week. Told Andrew he needed to lay off the arms today so I could eat and he obliged. Got on the scale this morning, but nothing to report. I will take a picture tomorrow, and I’ll do weekly pictures until the last week of the training. Cool. They told us to wait 2 weeks before our first cheat day, and tomorrow will be mine. I’ve got the day planned out, which will include Joe’s Farm and Grill for Pizza, a movie with Popcorn and Soda, and SOMEWHERE for some Ice Cream and hot fudge. I’m going to try not to overdo it though. Don’t want to get sick. Much. I was asked if I was coming in tomorrow for more, but I simply replied that I am not a masochist. I need the weekend to heal, so I’m going to get my cardio in, on Sunday, we’re going hiking! I feel good about this. I can’t wait to weigh in. I can’t wait to see the picture comparison. My goal for next week will be to do Cardio after work, after I’ve trained, I’ve been too sore this week to put it to the pavement, next week should be much better.

Rawrouch.

Well, it’s Thursday now, 4th day in a row I’ve been in for personal training I’m pretty convinced Andrew hates my triceps. I can’t bend my right arm tonight, because of all of the work it’s been through this week. One more day before I get a break from the beatings. Have to say, I’m definitely getting stronger, I was able to do a plank for a minute today, so not bad! I’ve been icing the muscle for a while and that seems to help. Going to try and get some walking/running done outside tonight when it cools off a little more. I’ve been told that helps clear out the crap that builds up in the body while working out. Couldn’t hurt. I’m getting on the scale tomorrow morning, and getting “officially” weighed on Tuesday. Neat.

Personal Training Fun!

They say weightloss is a journey, and for the past several years, it has lived up to that title for me. At my heaviest, and defining moment in my decision to live a healthier life, I was at 215 pounds. With hard work, I was able to cut down to 180. I looked much better after that drop. However, I stalled, and creeped back up to 190, and I staggered there for a long while. While it was nice to be able to say I had stabilized, I wasn’t happy, still, with the way I looked. I turned to several sources for new information and guides to how I was doing. The Daily Plate/Livestrong.com was a goldmine of information on nutirition and exercise, and allowed me to expand my knowledge on the subject. Through their advice, I tried a multitude of new things, including how to track my food and how to “clean” up my diet. This worked for a bit, but I wasn’t losing anything, still. I started to include weight training, and I upped my calorie intake, and I managed to gain 10 more pounds. All the while, I was being urged by Michael to get a personal trainer to help. Being the stubborn guy I am, I wanted to be able to do this on my own, so I gave myself an ultimatum. I would design a strenuous workout schedule, stick to it for 6 weeks, and if nothing happened, I’d get a trainer. 4 weeks into the stretch without results, I was ready to ask for help.

Lo! Fitness by Andrew LLC was running a Lose Big To Win Big contest for 300 dollars! In the course of 2 months, I would be given access to 3 trainers at various times 6 days a week, a nutrition program, and guaranteed results. The cherry on the top but far less important was a $1000 grand prize for the most body fat lost. Michael had been using Andrew as a personal trainer for around a week, and results were already starting to become apparent, the testimonials were there, and so I decided to bite the bullet. I decided to go in with a can do attitude, this was going to work, and to surrender to the system. I went in Saturday, May 29th, and was introduced to the trainers and to the Stax Nutrition system. Our pictures were taken, and we were weighed. The game was on.

I weighed in at 198 pounds and 24% bodyfat. By my calculations, that means I was carrying around about 50 pounds of fat. Yech. That day, we came home, tossed out everything we couldn’t eat on the Stax program, and went shopping for the foods we could eat. The switch was actually more drastic than I had imagined. Basically, it was a call to get rid of everything processed, and eat only whole natural foods. Oh, and swap all liquids to water. No juice, no milk. Odd, but I’m in for the long haul! I stuck to it for the first week, and it was tough. I had really bad cravings for foods I was eating before, even though I wasn’t hungry, and the food I was eating actually tasted good. However, by Tuesday, I had lost 3 pounds. I felt awesome, even though I imagined it to be water weight. By Friday, I had lost 5 pounds. I couldn’t believe it. This was the first weight I’d dropped in a year, and I cut back significantly on exercise to 30-50 minutes of cardio a day. Nice!

On Monday, I had my first training session at lunch. It was pretty crazy, and while I managed to finish everything asked of me, I was sore as all heck on Tuesday in my midsection and back. I trekked on back in on Tuesday for more abuse, and Tuesday was like Monday’s session except about 100 times more intense. I could barely roll over in bed Tuesday night. My plan is to take advantage of training 5-6 times a week over these 2 months, and today, when I woke up, I could barely move. I was tempted to cancel for today to give myself and my body a bit of a break, but after going back and forth all morning and discussing it with some online friends, I was able to stretch and shower out the pain somewhat, and have decided to go in today and take my beating like a man. It’s been a struggle today to stay off the scale, but I’ve decided to wait until Friday. I think a week between weigh ins will be more rewarding, but there is that back part of my brain that is terrified there will be no changes. I keep toying with the idea of asking my trainer to weigh me just so I can have a little less worry time about “is this working?”. I know, however, that it is, and change does not happen over-night. That said, I’m going to try and keep this updated for my own personal record and anyone else who’s interested in following along!

The cost of boredom.

Money I have but that has been allocated for other things has been burning a slow, smoldering hole in my pocket for some time, so I figured I’d write about it to see if that helps. I’ve been kind of lack-a-dasical on the updates on the “GREAT MORTGAGE PAYOFF” and how that’s going anyway, so what the hell.

Things have been going pretty well on the whole front, although the whole not spending money on frivolous things sure does take one heck of an emotional toll on me. Cutting out cable, as we’ve done, hasn’t actually been too bad, surprisingly, as we purchased a 15$ antenna from Fry’s Electronics, and can pick up quite a few HD Digital channels in really awesome clear quality! I still miss the hell out of The Food Network, but still not worth $80 a month for one TV show, so I survive. Internet TV is also working out really well.

Eating out is one big thing I miss, more than I thought, and while I know it’s infinitely more healthy to cook at home (not to mention cheaper), I feel like giving up that luxury to be lazy is just draining for some reason. We do go out to eat once a month, and to be fair, the two of us have both cheated occasionally. There are a few days it’s just easier for me to leave for work without packing a lunch, but it’s not adding up to 100’s of dollars a month anymore, so significant savings are coming into play anyway. I am finding out I do like to cook new things though, and I love the crock pot, it’d be nice to be able to use it more, but I have perfected cooking pork loin using it to the point it melts in your mouth. OM NOM NOM NOM. Have me make it for you if you come visit me in Phoenix.

Not buying things is killer. We’re starting to realize how much we spent on useless SHIT in the past that we don’t buy anymore. Now we have to go to a store to look at something and think about wanting it, but then passing it up for the greater good of paying off the mortgage. Again, draining, mainly, I think, because when you work for your money, the mentaility is to be able to reward yourself with trinkets, no matter how useless they seem to be. For example, a HD-Player for the Xbox 360 is $40 and movies can be had for $5 each. Normally, I’d jump all over this, but not being able too has forced me to examine the situation and realize not only do I not need it, I don’t really WANT it. I’m struggling with the concept of not actually wanting something and my brain interpreting it as “can’t have it”. I need some form of filter, I think. In being smarter financially, my mindset is making that slow but stable transition to wanting less things and more financial freedom. It’s a good stance to have. I find myself more and more wanting to be able to live worry free, financially, should anything happen.

The Emergency fund is growing, quickly. More quickly than I thought it would, to the point that we are slightly ahead of schedule in that regard. At this point, it should be topped off during the first pay period in May. I’d like to devise a pay scheme to continue to grow it, even if it means slightly delaying (by a matter of a few months, rather than a year) the Mortgage Payoff. Maybe $100 a month or something. Maybe a revolving CD. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back on track: The mortgage has dropped significantly as well. We are now down to 126,500, which means we’ve paid off $9000 in 3 years and 3 months. The interest rate dropping from 8.5% to 4.5% doesn’t hurt either. Combined with a lower principal, that means we can pay even more towards the balance every month than we’d been doing. That’s good.

One of the things that not spending money has shown me is that there are (other) hobbies outside my door I am really quite interested in. Photography is one of them, and frankly, all arrogance aside (but never forgotten), I’m quite good at it. Hiking is pretty fun too, I didn’t realize Arizona had so much to offer in the neat category. Putting those two together seems like a match made in heaven, especially since my nature photography really lacks in skills. I’m much better at events.

Photography is an expensive love though. I’ve got my eye on a 5D Mark II Camera and a 70-200mm USM F/2.8L Lens. Roughly translated, that’s about $4000 in equipment. I have expensive taste. I just have to find a way to make some money doing this. I’m working on it. Until then, if anyone is feeling generous, I’m feeling especially accepting.

Their loss, My Good Fortune

The housing market is a mess! No one can get loans! Prices are falling like a rock! I’m making out like a bandit! Wait, what? Well, you see, when I say I’m making out like a bandit, I have to admit that it’s due in part by a gamble we took with the mortgage we used to buy the condo we’re now trying to pay off as quickly as possible. I used to fear reading headlines like “Housing Crisis, Market Set to Collapse” and “Mortgage Meltdown leaves cities in Peril” and “Godzilla Eats Mothra, Shits Remains all over New York”. Now that the mortgage bailout has gone through, and the fed keeps cutting rates, my APR continues to drop like a rock, and according to some financial experts out there (ref: MSN), they’re not done yet. Which means MY interest only payments continue to plummet as mortgage rates fall. Since our loan won’t readjust for well into the future, long after we’re scheduled to make our final payment, we continue to save a ton of money. It’s not the best situation, but it certainly is the best scenario for the situation we’re in. Re-finance? Hell no! I don’t think anyone who’s currently in an APR that isn’t set to adjust until 2010 should even be thinking about it for 2009, unless they’re getting pre-approved, to pounce as soon as this trend turns around.

There is huge oppertunity for those people who’re willing to look for it.

2008. A look back…?

I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but I’ve had quite a few weeks. My car was broken into at the gym, I had to cancel my Christmas vacation plans, and then I got sick with a massive sinus infection. Blarg. So now we can continue the scheduled craziness.

Actually, I’m done with 2008. I will say it had it’s moments, both good and bad, but you all know what happened and how everything went down, and how you responded to it. We’ve all made it through one more year together, and 2009 looms ahead as our next challenge. I will say that between the housing market, the bust of the 401(k)’s, and the extreme job loss, all of which I could have been affected by immensely, I came out relatively unscathed, because I wasn’t stupid about the way I chose to live. I feel fortunate about that. In fact, I did better in 2008 than I did in 2007. Good for me.

2009. Wow. 9 years into the new millennium, and I’m still not sure where the time went. It seems like just yesterday that I was spending the 1999-2000 new year in my friends basement having a lan party, bridging networks over the cable modem, playing Quake 2, and downloading at incredible 100k speeds through napster with cross-over cables because “what’s a router?”.

Time flies, I guess, and a lot of us have accomplished a lot of things in the time that has passed. I’m looking forward to 2009, which is going to propel me to the big 30 in 2010. It seems so close too, when I’ll be entering my “prime earning years”, and yet, I’ve already got a lot of things I wasn’t supposed to have for a few more years yet. I would like to be a bit better off, but I’m learning now how to do that.
I expect great things in 2009, because I’m going to make them happen. Good luck everyone.

Yellscream.

Haven’t posted much. Haven’t had the heart to, really. Lets see… this week..

I got hit with the flu:

I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest:

And then tonight I had my wallet, phone and stereo stolen out of my car.

Needless to say, I’m starting to find I like mspaint. It’s very theraputic.

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