Seven More Invitations

Looks like I earned a few more invitations to join Leave a message if you’d like one!

John has added the nifty ability to email your diary entries at MT over to your own blog if it supports posting by email. So now you can just make one post over at MT and your personal blog will be automatically updated with the same information.

The integration with the John Stone Fitness forum is also working very well. More features and tweaks are being added everyday. So far it’s the most user-friendly profile site I’ve tried out.

Clockwork Maggie

I’ve been using free weights for so many months that I’d forgotten what it was like to do exercises like the chest press on a lever machine. It certainly works different muscle groups, because this morning I am already feeling the soreness set in from yesterday’s back, chest, and ab workout. I’m glad I started hooking up the Creastack yesterday, because I have a feeling I’ll be needing the glutamine these next few weeks.

I previewed a bit of the P90X leg and back workout DVD last night after work and decided that it was doable without a pull-up bar if I hooked up my heavy resistance band to the door and faked the pull-ups with some pull downs with my butt planted on the carpet. So this morning I did my first official P90X leg and back workout. I wasn’t looking to really work my back too hard this morning after yesterday’s heavy sets and high volume, so the wimpy resistance band action was fine. I actually bailed on the last two back sets so I could start up my omelette and do the dishes. 😆

The tabby twins weren’t too happy about the closed door between the bedroom and living room and kept yowling at each other through the wood and tearing up cheap beige carpet, so I had to take down the band and crack open the door after each back set. 🙄

The leg workout was actually pretty decent considering that most of it was body weight driven. There were a lot of creative lunges and squats, isometric holds, plenty of slow, controlled movements, and a few plyometric style exercises. I had a mirror up in the living room so I could check my positioning, and I could clearly see my leg muscles engaging in almost all of the lower body exercises. I’m going to revise my schedule to alternate between the dvd and a regular leg day at the gym just for the sake of variety.

One-legged wall squats absolutely suck, by the way. 😯

Imagine this move below with only one leg down and the other one held straight out at a 90 degree angle to the wall. Hold for 10 seconds and then switch. Repeat for 2 minutes. It’s just unpleasant as hell.

Wall Squat

Reading over my posts over the past few weeks of work crunch, I’ve come to realize that while my workouts and meals are scheduled and planned down to the last minute, the other things I need to do are just haphazardly done when I feel like it without any sort of order or organization. This is not good, because when I don’t have things planned, I tend to revert to my natural lazy state and just sit around playing with the cats, zoning out with video games, or following random threads on the Internet instead of cleaning the bathroom, organizing my sewing/drafting table, and working on new illustrations.

Recognizing your own weakness is the first step in fixing the problem. So I admitted I needed to schedule my other weekly tasks and goals just like my meals and workouts, fired up Palm Desktop, and came up with a schedule that should take me through the Oasis show in May with minimal wasted time. Wake up, meals, workouts, grocery shopping, bill paying, drawing time, cooking time, laundry time, social time, etc–it ALL has a slot on my schedule now, oh yes.

I know a lot of people hate living on a regimented schedule like this, but I’ve found that I’m just more efficient at doing things when they have their own little pockets of time.

Just call me Clockwork Maggie.

Nutrition: 1800-2000 calorie high zig zag day
1: 1/4 c. dextrose, 1 scoop whey, 1 t. GNC Creastack
2: 3×1 omelette, 1/2 c. oatmeal, 1 c. spinach
3: 3 oz chicken breast/2 c. veggie stir fry with 6 oz. sweet potato
4: Peanut butter banana shake w/ 1 T. flaxseed oil
5: Thai chicken salad with orange
6: 3/4 c. fat free cottage cheese and 1 banana

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D
Water for yesterday: 17 cups

7:00 AM P90X Legs and Back workout

The Awful Truth:
1. Ate clean yesterday.
2. Made a very detailed schedule / timesheet for workouts, meals, drawing time, and other important weekly tasks so I can get my $#!+ done without falling behind.

Brownie Points:
1. Put away sorted/folded laundry.
2. Did the dishes.
3. Switched off Jade Empire before midnight.

Short-term Goals:
1. Defrost chicken.
2. Print out new 50/30/20 recipes.
3. Go to the bank.
4. Pick up more fruit and eggs at the grocery store.
5. Saute’ broccoli.
6. Wash and chop up salad greens.
7. Grill some chicken and fish.
8. Work on paper doll project.
9. Take picture of self in pink shirt from Joe’s shop for him to use in promo.

Today’s workout

Chest/Back/Abs (Start: 12:05 pm / End: 12:43 pm)
(Cable and Lever Machines at the fitness center at my apartment complex)

Warm-up – Treadmill walk at 4.5 mph / 0% incline / 5 minutes

3 sets x 6 reps w/6 plates – Seated Chest Press
3 sets x 6 reps w/6 plates – Flyes
3 sets x 6 reps w/6 plates – Incline Chest Press

3 sets x 8 reps w/7 plates – Seated Row
3 sets x 10 reps w/6 plates – Cable Front Pulldown
3 sets x 10 reps w/9 plates – Straight Arm Cable Pulldown

3 sets x 20 reps – Vertical Leg Hip Raise
3 sets x 20 reps – Twisting Crunch
3 sets x 20 reps – Stability Ball Crunch

6 sets x 25 reps – Jumping Jacks

Lifting Time

Thoughts: I slacked off last night instead of doing my chest/back workout after work. I tackled the massive heap of clean laundry that had taken over half of my bed instead, and helped Joe Pekar migrate his blog, gallery, and email over to Dreamhost when his art was noticed by a Hungarian fan site and his bandwidth requirements suddenly spiked above his 15 GB quota. After that, I got my workout schedule done in Excel and fell asleep around 1 am.

As a consequence, I woke up feeling extremely dull and low in energy, which made sleeping in seem like a very good idea indeed. This in turn pushed my workout to lunch at noon, at which point I finally made it to a location with heavy things to push and pull for 45 minutes.

I feel much better now, especially after slamming down my PWO dextrose, whey, and Creastack shake. It might be all in my head, but I can feel the nutrients soaking into my muscle fibers.

I expect to put on two or three pounds this week at a minimum from the reintroduction of creatine, but I don’t care. I’m in the mood to pack on more muscle, and as long as I don’t look like a stuffed sausage in my clothes or a jiggly mound of human jello in my swimsuits, the scale can say whatever it likes for the next few weeks. Looking at my planned workouts, there is going to be a LOT of PWO dextrose and creatine in my life in the near future.

New workout schedule: 3 days on, 1 day off, relatively high volume. Cardio is going to be limited to one day a week and will NOT be HIIT. I’ll be doing a 45 minute moderate steady-state session in SGX style or one of the P90X cardio workouts. If I have the time and inclination, I will toss in some yoga or the NYC ballet tape in the evenings, but that will not be my focus. I’ll be using this routine for just 4 weeks. After that I will hopefully have my Jungle Jam bar and the rest of my resistance bands and can start up P90X. If not, I’m going to do a few weeks of BFL classic or a mix of P90X Kenpo, Cardio, and Plyo with my own lifting split just for fun. That should be a nice break. 😉

This week’s split:
M: Chest/Back/Abs
T: Quads/Hams/Calves
W: Shoulders/Triceps/Biceps
Th: Off/Cardio
F: Chest/Back/Abs
Sa: Quads/Hams/Calves
Su: Shoulders/Triceps/Biceps

I’m sticking with my original plan to zigzag between 1600 and 2000 during the week, but may raise them closer to 1800-2100 if I feel that I need more fuel for my workouts.

Nutrition: 1600-1700 calorie low zig zag day
1: Whey shake with 1 oz. mixed nuts
2: 1/4 c. dextrose, 1 scoop whey, 1 t. GNC Creastack
3: 3×1 omelette, 1/2 c. oatmeal, 1 c. spinach
4: Chocolate banana shake w/1 T. flaxseed oil
5: 3″x3″ roast beef sandwich with 1/2 bread, 2 c. raw veggies, 1.5 c. mixed fruit
6: 1.5 c. plain FF yogurt, 1/4 scoop strawberry whey, 1/2 banana

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D
Water for yesterday: 10 cups

12:00 PM Chest / Back Workout at Fitness Center

The Awful Truth:
1. Caved in and had KFC with the rest of the company last night. Bleah. Yuck. No more company dinners, methinks.
2. Stayed in and made workout plan instead of working out, LOL. 🙄

Brownie Points:
1. Came up with my interim workout plan.

Short-term Goals:
1. Put away sorted/folded laundry.
2. Print out new 50/30/20 recipes.
3. Go to the bank.
4. Pick up more fruit at the grocery store.
5. Saute’ broccoli.
6. Wash and chop up salad greens.
7. Grill some chicken and fish.
8. Work on paper doll project.

Article: Eating on a Budget

I spotted this article on the Young Money site today. 🙂 It’s a nice companion to the Cost of Eating In vs. Dining Out article I posted earlier.


Eating on a Budget

By Emily Olson, Virginia Tech University

Whether it’s work, school, the gym or any other activity to fill the day, young adults can always make an excuse to find food anywhere but their own kitchens.

Being young and uncommitted is the perfect time to enjoy such luxuries as dining out, because before long a spouse and kids will keep you dining in nearly every night. But maybe these simple luxuries today are worth passing up for the larger luxuries in the future – quite possibly a million dollars worth of luxuries.

According to the National Restaurant Association, households headed by persons under age 25 spent 46.8 percent of their total food dollar away from home, which is nearly half of all meals. The restaurants in the business have certainly wreaked the benefits of this outrageous spending with a predicted $440 billion in sales last year, according to the NRA’s 2004 Restaurant Industry Forecast. Simply put, the restaurant industry’s huge profits are turning out to be our major loss.

Ruby Tuesday’s vs. Your Cooking

I set out to do a few comparisons to see just how much these meals were truly costing us. Since young adults spend nearly half their meals out, I selected three lunch meals and three dinner meals to compare against the same meals made at home.

If it’s assumed that most people eat three meals a day (21 meals a week), half of all weekly meals should come out to about 10 meals. The six meals I selected will come in slightly below that figure, which means there is potential to earn even more money, but we’ll start with these numbers.

The three dinner meals came from Ruby Tuesday, a restaurant known for reasonable dinner prices, however once you see the mark-up it won’t seem so sensible. Ruby Tuesday charges $12 for their Top Sirloin steak, which can be made at home for $5—a savings of $7. The Creole Catch made with Tilapia fillets comes in at $10 but can be made at home for $3 —another $7 in savings. Finally, Ruby Tuesday’s Church Street Chicken will run you $10 at the restaurant, but when made at home it will only cost $4—a savings of $6.

Better Than Hardees

The lunch items came from Hardees, which had fairly low prices to begin with, but there was still room for savings. The Charbroiled Chicken Sandwich costs $4 in the restaurant, but could be made at home for $2.50, which comes to savings of $1.50. You could purchase a Western Thickburger for $4 or make it at home for $2, which would save you $2. Finally, the Roast Beef Sandwich made by Hardees will cost $3.29, but will only run you $2 at home, saving you $1.29.

The savings from these six meals totals $24.80, which averages about $3.50 per day. This may seem like pocket change these days, but $3.50 a day paired with the power of compound interest has the potential to become much more than a few paltry dollars.

According to Robert Allen’s book “Easy Money: Financial Freedom on a Dollar a Day,” if you started investing that $3.50 a day at the age of 20, at an average rate of 10 percent interest, and continued to invest that same amount until you reach retirement at 65 you would total just over $1 million.

“Too many young professionals say, ‘Retirement can wait, I want X today,’ not realizing that the earlier they start saving, the greater the pay off in the end,” said Ruth Lytton, a registered financial consultant and financial resource management professor at Virginia Tech. “Early investments are highly leveraged dollars.”

If you squander those dollars now and wait to start investing, it will be a lot tougher to reach that $1 million goal. If you decided to forego investing until the age of 30, you would have to bump up your daily contribution to $8 a day, which is more than double the $3.50 in order to have a million by the time you reach 65.

So the next time you are hungry and tempted to grab a bite out to eat, think about the potential $1 million you could be missing out on—it might just be worth it to make a date with your kitchen.

Copyright © 2005. YOUNG MONEY®

Student Banking

Cron Jobs are nifty and other random things

I learned how to manually set up cron jobs via my shell account today in order to hook up some new features in WordPress. The other scripts I run either set up cron jobs automatically or don’t require them, so this was the first time I had a chance to read about the crontab function and how to use it.


This is really too nifty, possibly the niftiest thing I’ve learned this week.

I want to go out and find other scripts that take advantage of cron jobs now, just so I can set up some more automated tasks on my site.

I don’t know what’s more exciting–learning a new shell command or finally receiving my copy of Jade Empire for Xbox. I’m feeling so magnanimous at the moment that I am going to generously allow ONE more day to figure out what happened to my Jungle Jam order before I call them up and resume my justified (but civil) harassment of their customer service department.

Stop snickering. I already know I’m a nerd.

I also want to announce that once again has the Spri Xertubes resistance tubes with door adapter on sale for $7.99 each. They are eligible for free shipping, as well, as long as you get $25 worth of stuff.

This is a pretty good opportunity to pick up three different resistances (I plan on acquiring a light/green and medium/red to go with my heavy/blue) for the price of two. They are normally $12.99 at your local Target store. Just add something from this helpful user’s list of super cheap filler items, and you are qualified for free shipping.

Chilling Out

Thoughts: This summer challenge isn’t really going to be a challenge. I’m not setting any specific goals in regards to weight loss or body fat percentages. I’m not going to be a macronutrient Nazi demanding a perfect 50/30/20 every day. Some days I might wind up a bit off, but as long as I’m in the right ball park, it’s all good.

I’m still going to track overall calories and aim for my 50/30/20 of course. And I’ll be working out as hard as usual, too.

I’m just not going for any kind of miraculous transformation, because, let’s face it, I’m not fluffy enough nowadays to see those kinds of dramatic changes. I almost WISH I had 20 lbs of flabbage to lose; it’s a lot more fun to cut when you can shoot for 5 lb increments of loss.

On the other hand, there is nothing at all wrong with being in shape already. I can confidently jump on a treadmill and know I can haul ass for 20-30 minutes of HIIT at decent speeds. When I lift weights at the gym, most of my upper body exercises are done with 20-35 lb dumbbells instead of the 5-15 lbs that I see most of the other women tote. I’m usually the only woman in the squat rack. Between sets I can drop and knock out 20 push-ups without any signs of strain. I carry 50 lbs of groceries up to my third floor apartment and don’t feel winded. My butt fits into size 4/6 pants, and my arms never jiggle. Obviously, these are all good things.

Given my current work schedule and the upcoming art show, I’ll be happy just to maintain. If I lose a pound or two, great. I’m certainly not going to gain eating 1600-2000 calories a day and working out six days a week, so I’m willing to relax my vigilance a bit and just let things take their natural course. I know I wrote about this before, but I think after a while, all of the things that seemed so difficult when you first start a workout and healthy nutrition plan eventually just become normal and everyday. There’s no real need for the artificial deadline of a challenge when you hit this point.

The challenge format actually irritates me now. It makes the whole meal planning and workout scheduling thing seem like a time-limited, temporary chore instead of the everyday pleasure it should be: “This is so tedious, but at least I only have to do this for 12 weeks.” “Only 6 weeks left of this drudgery.”

If these changes are for LIFE and no external motivators like a wedding, reunion, contest, or show are at stake, why are we setting 3 month deadlines for everything?

Personally, I’m over it. Unless I’m testing out a particular system like BFFM, BFL, SGX, etc. again and NEED to monitor progress in relation to time, I’m not going to bother tracking “challenge” weeks and days anymore. I’m just going to do what’s become second nature to me now: eat 6 healthy meals a day within a range of 40-50 c/ 30-40 p / 20 f and 1400-2000 calories, put in six maximum effort workouts a week, and then get on with the business of living.

Nutrition: 1600-1700 calorie low zig zag day
1: Caramel apple Luna bar, 1 slice Roman Meal WW bread
2: 3×1 omelette, 3/4 oz mixed nuts, 1/3 c. baked beans
3: 3/4 c. FF cottage cheese, 1 large navel orange
4: 3 slices Roman Meal WW bread, 2 T. low sugar strawberry preserves
5: 3 oz tuna, 1 c. spinach, 1 banana
6: 4 oz. sauteed haddock filet, 1 c. brown rice, 1 c. sauteed broccoli

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D
Water for yesterday: 13 cups

10:30 pm Chest / Back /Abs at the gym or P90X Chest/Back and Ab Ripper X at home…decisions, decisions

The Awful Truth:
1. Still haven’t decided if I’m going to do P90X without the pull-up bar for now, or my own weightlifting/cardio routine until the bar thing has been resolved.

Brownie Points:
1. Got to CVS during lunch and picked up laundry and dish detergent (buy one get one free!), cleaning supplies, and plastic wrap.
2. Used the $25 gift card I got for free when I transferred my prescription from Walgreens to pay for it. :mrgreen:

Short-term Goals:
1. Write up new workout schedule.
2. Run the dishwasher as I am out of normal dishwashing detergent.
3. Prepare meals for the week.
4. Buy some more oranges and bananas.
5. Fold laundry.
6. Don’t open Jade Empire and pop it into the Xbox until the above is completed. 😛

50/30/20 Menu

As I’ve mentioned before, for my the next few weeks, I’m going to be hitting 1600-1700 calories a day at a 50% carb / 30% protein / 20% fat ratio.

For those of you who are interested, I’ll be using recipes from my EFL eDiets plan (set to 1600-1700).

I’ll be avoiding meal replacements, including my sister’s yummy bar recipes, as much as possible, simply because most of them are too high in lactose (from the dried milk ingredient). I learned during SGX that my stomach is a lot happier with me when I don’t try to feed it milk. I can handle CC and yogurt because they are relatively low in lactose, but dried milk is now on the verboten list.

Another item that will be a staple during this time is my post-workout shake, which will consist of the following:

Maggie’s PWO Shake

  • 1/4 c. dextrose (corn sugar)
  • 1 scoop whey protein
  • 1 t. GNC Creastack (5 g creatine, 2 g l-glutamine, and phosphates)
  • 2 c. water