It Hurts to Look this Good

Matias and the Plyo Box

Simple DIY Plyo Box built with Instructions from EndOfThreeFitness.com

Ohh how I ache this morning..  Currently I am recovering from last night’s workout of: three rounds of  24 Switch Lunges,  110 lb Farmer Walk @ 200 feet and a 264 yard backwards run, but that’s not the story, lets talk about my garage gym that helped me feel these ‘growing pains’

About 18 months ago, I joined TNL CrossFit Tampa.  I lost my cookies on the first visit and I was hooked.  It was a bit pricey compared to a regular gym and the only time I could fit in the schedule was butt-crack early in the morning.  Anna was only a few months old, Natalie was just starting back to work, and right in the midst of it all, I changed to a job that required constant travel, so I stopped.

Last year I was running late at night, making quite the habit of it for some time.  I would help put the kids to bed, and go for a run.  It was good, I was feeling great, continually increasing my pace and endurance, then life happened and that habit died as well.

Earlier this year I hit a number on the scale that is OK for most guys my age and height, but for me, it was a high point I’ve never seen, and I wasn’t particularly comfortable with.  My clothes were tight, carrying the kids got me winded, and then I realized, this is not how you age gracefully.

A few months ago I started watching what I ate which helped me get back to a more reasonable weight, but still not to ‘sexy beast’ level that I was aiming for.  Since I am the worst person in the world to keep to my diet, I knew I had to find something to compensate the occasional doughnut or the late night cereal cravings, I had to get active again.

After evaluating the gym options, pricing, and location I decided that I should just build my own gym in my empty garage.  Since CrossFit style workouts work well for me, that was the type of equipment I would need.

Craigslist Weights

Go a good deal on a couple bars, kettle bells, and 250 lbs of weight from CraigsList

After coercing my brother-in-law, Wes, to join in my adventure, I started to procure equipment.  I found some on Craigslist, built a few items, and picked up a few  items from a local gym supplier.   For me, the accountability of having someone show up at your house makes it hard to allow myself to skip a day, and working out with friends/family is a good enough motivator not to slack during the workout.  It is a good setup for me.

So far I have built 2 PlyoBoxes, Pair of Parallettes, and a Pull up Bar.  I bought a set of weights, bars, and heavy kettle bells from a guy on Craigslist (pictured here) and we stole got a really good deal on a squat rack from Craigslist, and to round out the initial collection, I picked up some odds and ends from a local retailer called Valor Fitness (their prices are MUCH more reasonable when you go to their warehouse than those listed on their website)

So far, we’ve been going at it for three nights a week, for about a month or so.  There are a few other piece of equipment I want to pickup, but none are essential at this point.  We have a friend who does power lifting who joins us on Sunday morning workouts, as well as a friend who is a CrossFit coach who is scheduled to start joining us soon as well.  I get to squeeze in some people time during our workouts in great, as occasionally forget to do with our busy schedules. Life its good.

As an added bonus to being in better shape, I have met a few neighbors who also workout in their garages; building the community bonds through sweaty garages is awesome.

 

When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation. – Arsene Wenger

Arsenal football coach Arsene Wenger shared these simple, yet clear words about motivation.  This simple statement describes what I’m doing wrong in my search for greatness, consistency. I often have great ideas that I should pursue, or an angle to attract new opportunities, yet the follow through, or consistency in my motivation is what lacks.

As I’ve been mulling over the ebbs and flows of my motivation, I recalled wavy lines of a biorhythm chart; you put in your date of birth and today’s date, and it magically knows where your emotional, physical, and intellectual highs and lows are.  I’m not sure how this magic works, or even how scientific the 1990′s website used to generate the below biorhythm actually is, but it’s fun. I’m not sure which one of those lines my motivation is tied to, but if I had to guess, its must be the physical one, as I’m definitely not on the top of my game these last few days, and I don’t have the motivation to figure it out right now, maybe in a few weeks when it comes back to me.

Biorhythm for Jason Carter

 

Winston Churchill on Change

To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often. Winston Churchill

 

I’ve had change in the past few years, mostly of my own accord, mostly for the better, but not always comfortable. I am currently at a comfortably idle position in my career which my trusted advisors say is not always a bad thing; something I should take advantage of to do things for me, like blog more. For me, it is a change that puts me out of my comfort zone, makes me antsy and I don’t like it, but all my advisors say I need to stick with it, as too much change is no so good for the resume.

Lets see where it takes us.

Overdrive.com – Liberating the Public Library

Overdrive Logo

In my house, we’ve started being very diligent about ready to the kids every night before bedtime. One night I sit at Anna’s bedside and she gets to see the pictures while Matias listens and the next night we switch. After a few weeks of this, we ran out of books. Rather than buy more used kids books on Amazon.com which I’ve done in the past, I decided it was time to introduce the kids to an unlimited selection of books of all subjects, the public library.

After work one day, I picked up the kids as usual.  Knowing that my wife was running late leaving work, I figured the kids and I had enough time to stop in to the library before dinner. Although standing in line quietly is not their forte’, I managed to leave the front desk with a library card, which we promptly took to the children section and grabbed six books that would sustain us for a week or so. Getting a library card was easy, didn’t cost me anything, and now we have a new adventure we can go on together.

Later that evening I got around to reading the information packet the library provided about the various summer programs and services they offer, and I ran across a section about Overdrive.com, their online lending platform. With overdrive you could borrow eBooks and audio books, my preferred format, all from the comfort of your own home. Nice!

How do I?

After downloading the Overdrive app on my Android, I searched and found my local library which I added to my account. After the account was setup, I was able to search, filter, and borrow books up to my limit of fifteen, which the library had set. Since my brain isn’t complex enough to listen to more than one audio book in parallel, I keep my borrowing down to one or two audio books at a time.

Once you find the book you want to borrow, the process is pretty straight forward, enter your library card number, and click ‘Borrow’. If the book is unavailable you will be presented with a ‘Place Hold’ button which, just like a traditional library, put your name on the list to receive the book once it is returned. Since all audio books are automatically checked back in at their due date, the longest you should have to wait is 21 days, if you are first in the hold queue. Twenty-one days is my library’s max checkout time for digital media, your’s may vary.

One thing to watch for is when placing a hold, you are provided with an option to ‘Check out immediately once available’ which is nice, unless you already have a few checked out, then you’re just wasting time with it in your account, which could be used by someone else actually ready for the book.  This is more of a ‘be kind to other readers’ tip, rather than ‘do not do this it is evil’ type tip.

Added Bonus

I really like the fact that I can cancel my $14.95 a month Audible.com membership and get the same similar benefits for free from my local library.  Edit: I actually downgraded to the $9.95 a year plan rather than a full cancellation ,which allows me to share books with other Audible.com members.  This plan is not present on their membership page, but was presented during cancellation.  This plan allows for continued discounts on purchases as well as for continued borrowing of books among members, which is nice for books the library doesn’t have.

If you aren’t a member of your local library, by all means, get down there and say hi.  While you’re there, ask if they have Overdrive for online lending, your commute will thank you.

 

Life Happened… and it was Good

Having led a care-free existence since birth, I always assumed that kids were for everyone else.  While skilled in the art of making said creatures, I never settled on the idea of having my own.  Occasionally I would have the thoughts, but never really had the partner I thought would be compatible enough to attempt on that epic journey.

Just shy of five years ago, I met a young lady that would change my life, reel me in and make me the happiest I’ve ever been.  In that time we’ve made not one, but two of the little creatures referenced above.  We’ve been through good times, scary times, joyful times and just daily life times, all of those times I cherish.

What is so amazing to me, is what appears to a single man to be a complete upheaval of everything you consider normal in your life with the introduction of a child, is just that.  It is an upheaval, a madness, things completely new, but as it turns out, most of what was filling your time before was nothing more than empty fluff.  The true joy of life the people we choose to surround ourselves with.  It is watching my baby girl turn two today.  A little girl whom I struggle to say no to, a little girl whom I wasn’t sure I could handle two years ago, a little girl who holds every piece of my heart in her devilish little hands. This is life, and it is good.

While being  father does not define my existence, it complete me.  It has made me a better man, a better friend, and a better partner. Thank you Natalie for accompanying me into the next level of  adulthood.  I can’t wait to grow old with you to see what our little creatures have in store for us next.  Thank you Matias for all that you have and will teach me. Thank you Anna for spicing up our lives just a little more than we expected.