2006 C1D48: Whew…

Sorry for the big gap in posts. Once again work has been rather busy with milestone builds for two major projects going out within a week of one another. I’m technically on the Winx Club project, but I also get tasks for the other handheld title, so my usual lunch break blogging time has been somewhat curtailed.

Workouts and diet have both been going on automatic for awhile now. It’s almost easier to keep on track when I have a lot of things to do. I guess when I’m busy, I have less time to think about all the stuff I can’t eat. I’ll have to give up the split morning/evening workouts for now, though, because I just have no idea when I’ll have to stay late at work. We have E3 builds to get ready for May, and alpha for both projects within 6-8 weeks after *that*, so I may have to switch to a more streamlined training schedule soon–hopefully not before I finish up my program with Kim, though.

Here’s a quick recap of the last week:
Tues, 3/21: Cardio/Weights, garden maintenance, worked late

Wed, 3/22: Cardio/Weights, garden maintenance, worked, karaoke with Ed, Damon, and Brad for 2 hours at local bar

Thur, 3/23: Cardio/Weights, garden Maintenance, worked late, planted more marigold and Swiss chard seeds, put two mango seeds into some pots for fun, filed my federal income taxes

Fri, 3/24: Cardio, garden maintenance, worked slightly late, income tax return was accepted by the IRS

Sat, 3/25: Rest, garden maintenance, drove out to Largo/St. Pete with Chris and bought two air-layered dwarf Emperor lychee trees from Jene’s Tropical Fruit Nursery, started spring cleaning, went out dancing at I-Bar downtown

Sun, 3/26: Cardio/Weights, garden maintenance, dug up more of mulched side yard and planted strawberries, transplanted tomatoes, started a bunch of lemon, key lime, and tangerine seeds in wet paper towels inside plastic bags, continued with spring cleaning, paid bills

Mon, 3/27: Cardio, garden maintenance, worked late, went to Costco to iron out some membership card issues, planted ornamental pepper seeds obtained from cool Yougrowgirl.com forum member Meighan in Canada

On the slate for this week:
– Order new contacts lenses because the current ones are giving me headaches
– Cook chicken (hehe…what else is new?)
– Organize fridge
– Clean living room
– Organize office/sewing table
– Review finances in MS Money
– Finish dress or skirt for Steve and Courtney’s wedding this Saturday

2006 C1D40: Garden Mania

After a six weeks of near-neglect, my birthday veggie garden has exploded to life. I spent several hours on Saturday and Sunday this weekend puttering around outside harvesting my first batch of radishes, replanting squares, staking climbing plants, transplanting some peppers and tomatoes, taking lots of pictures of green stuff, and getting my first minor sunburn of 2006.

Note to self–wear bikini top and plenty of sunscreen next time gardening fancy strikes to avoid unsightly tank top tan lines on my back, neck, and shoulders. :crazy:

Actually seeing something growing in that formerly barren patch of dirt got me fired up enough to finally planting some non-edible seeds around the yard. I pulled out the big shovel and dug up flower beds along the wall behind the vegetable garden and planted nasturtium, marigold, and moonflower seeds. I wasn’t quite motivated enough to prepare the strawberry patch location (currently covered in black netting and topped with a ton of old mulch) or plant the two thornless blackberry bareroot plants I just received from Jung Seed, but I did start 60 new seeds, mostly herbs and flowers I don’t already have going, in my bio-dome thingie from Park and recorded everything in an Excel spreadsheet that I set up to calculate expected germination date and other nifty little numbers about which my fitness blog readers probably couldn’t care less.

I also made a new version of my Excel seed starting chart that more closely resembles the revised Seed Starting Plan pdf chart designed by Gayla Trail, author of the very cool gardening book You Grow Girl and head garden chick at YouGrowGirl.com.

You can check out what’s going on in my work-in-progress square-foot vegetable gardening experiment here: http://maggiewang.com/photos/Spring2006

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3/19 Report
(*Diet and workout details omitted by agreement with trainer)
==========
Nutrition:

Meals – On plan
Water – 16 cups
Supplements – On plan

Regular (Non-Plan) Daily Supplements – multivitamin with iron, calcium 600 + D

39 days down, 45 more to go!

===========
Workout:
Weights – Legs – Done
Cardio – Rest

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Got sunburned working in the garden because I neglected to put on sunblock. :ouch:

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Brownie Points:
1. Transplant two tomato vines and plant Swiss Chard.
2. Sewed a new workout shirt from pieces of unwearable old t-shirts.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Work on paper doll sketches.
2. Sew Issey Miyake dress.
3. Upgrade WordPress to 2.0.
4. Finish taxes.
5. Create new logo for PDB shirts.

2006 C1D35: Suze Orman’s Equal Share Method for Merging Finances

I thought I’d take a break from racking my brain for fitness/nutrition-related babble to write here and discuss a personal finance strategy for couples that I got from Suze Orman’s Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke. (As an aside, if you are YFnB yourself or know someone who is graduating from college soon, this book is a great practical introduction and guide to managing your money, getting out of debt, saving for retirement, improving your credit score, and making large purchases like a car or home.)

To summarize, Suze says:

– Co-habitating couples need to be open about their finances, good or bad.
– Each person should keep their own credit cards and checking accounts in their own names, but a separate shared checking account should also be opened in both names.
– This shared account is used only for shared expenses such as housing, utiltities, food (groceries and dining out), home repairs and maintenance, and entertainment.
– The amount that each person contributes to the shared account is based on equal percentage share vs. equal dollar amount.
– Each person’s contribution needs to be transferred into the shared account several days before the bills are due.
– The couple sits down and pays their shared bills together so there won’t be any surprises.

Now let’s get down to the specifics of “Equal Shares.”

1. To calculate how much each person should contribute, add together your monthly take-home pay. This is the amount after taxes, personal and school loans, insurance premiums, retirement contributions, and other fixed personal expenses are taken out.

2. Next, add up your total shared monthly expenses: Rent or mortgage, insurance, utilities, groceries, dining out, home maintenance, entertainment, pet food and supplies for any shared furry kids, and anything else you use or do together.

3. Add an additional 10% (shortcut: Multiply the amount in Step 2 by 1.10) to your expenses for unexpected expenses.

4. Divide your amount in Step 3 by your total take-home pay (Step 1). Unless you are living way above your means, this number should be less than one. What you are basically doing is determining what percent of your take home pay needs to go towards shared living expenses.

5. Multiply each of your take home pay amounts individually by the result of Step 4. This is the amount each of you needs to contribute to the shared account.

——–
Let’s apply this to some actual numbers:

Step 1: Sue takes home $2500 each month. Her boyfriend Tom takes home $2000, giving them a total take-home of $4500 each month.

Step 2:
Their shared expenses are as follows:

Mortgage: $1300
Electricity: $80
Natural Gas: $75
Phone: $60
Water/Garbage: $30
Insurance: $200
Cable/Internet: $100
Groceries: $250
Dining Out: $50
Entertainment: $150
Home Maintenance: $100

Total: $2395

Step 3:
Total + 10% = $2395 * 1.10 = $2634.50

Step 4:
2634.50/4500 = 0.585

Step 5:
Sue’s share = $2500 * 0.585 = $1462.50
Tom’s share = $2000 * 0.585 = $1170.00

——–

Chris and I are giving this system a shot starting this month. We’ve already done the calculations and set up the shared checking account. We’ll both have our contributions automatically transferred into the shared account each month to streamline the process. Certain bills which are the same amount each month will also be automatically paid from the account without any action on our parts. Everything else will be paid using the free online billpay feature that comes with the Wachovia Free Checking accounts or with our Visa check cards in the case of groceries, restaurant meals, and other brick and mortar purchases.

I will report on how well it works out over the next few months.

========================================================
3/14 Report
(*Diet and workout details omitted by agreement with trainer)
==========
Nutrition:

Meals – On plan
Water – 16 cups
Supplements – On plan

Regular (Non-Plan) Daily Supplements – multivitamin with iron, calcium 600 + D

34 days down, 50 more to go!

===========
Workout:
Weights – Shoulders/Abs – Done
Cardio – Elliptical – Done

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Only got 5 hours of sleep. 😯

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Brownie Points:
1. Prepped lots of rice and chicken for company potluck.

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Short-term Goals:
1. Work on paper doll sketches.
2. Sew Issey Miyake dress.
3. Upgrade WordPress to 2.0.
4. Transplant two tomato vines and plant Swiss Chard.
5. Finish taxes.
6. Sew new workout shirts.
7. Create new logo for PDB shirts.

2006 C1D34: Week 5 Program Modification

I got my latest program changes from Kim this morning. My diet stays the same (so far I’ve only had one modification to the diet since I received my baseline program), but cardio duration has been increased slightly per session. Target intensity level remains the same.

I am relieved that I don’t need to make any changes to my nutrition and supplementation program for the next two weeks. Even the minor tweaks from my end of February update have been causing some latent rumblings of childish rebelliousness in my subconscious. While I can’t specify exactly what those tweaks are, you can get a general idea of what I’m talking about if you read Monica Brant’s Food Tips.

The increased cardio isn’t a problem. I’m still not anywhere near the double 30-60 minute sessions I was doing on my own while following Leanness Lifestyle in the fall of 2004.

My energy levels in my cardio and resistance workouts are still quite good right now, and I am not experiencing the fatigue and dullness during the work day that I felt on Swolegenix. I do have to fight off some carb cravings at night at this point, but I am nowhere near Amyella’s pre-competition state of ravenous hunger.

I’ve been mixing up my cardio much more than usual with this program in order to prevent my body from adapting too much to any one form and to keep myself from dying of boredom as my cardio sessions have gotten longer. On BFL and other previous programs, my primary cardio has always been running–usually three 20-30 minute high-intensity interval sessions and three semi-optional low-intensity steady state sessions per week–but this time around I’ve been hitting the stationary bike and elliptical machine nearly as often as I’ve been on the treadmill, and guess what?

My running has actually improved.

More specifically, my cardiovascular endurance has improved. BFL-style HIIT runs improved my speed, but I still had issues sustaining a run for more than 3 miles without feeling fatigue and shortness of breath. With all of these daily long steady-state sessions forcing my muscles, heart, and lungs to settle into comfortable rhythms for 40 minutes and more, however, I find that I can finally comfortably handle a five-mile run at a 9-minute mile pace. I’m not breaking any speed records, that’s for sure, but I am stupidly pleased about this unexpected byproduct of Kim’s cutting program.

========================================================
3/13 Report
(*Diet and workout details omitted by agreement with trainer)
==========
Nutrition:

Meals – On plan
Water – 16 cups
Supplements – On plan

Regular (Non-Plan) Daily Supplements – multivitamin with iron, calcium 600 + D

33 days down, 51 more to go!

===========
Workout:
Weights – Rest
Cardio – Elliptical – Done

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Nothing!

===========
Brownie Points:
1. Adjusted workout schedule in PDA.
2. Collected huge pile of unwearable t-shirts from races, promotions, college parties, and other miscellaneous events and used them as fabric for making workout tanks I’d actually use.
3. Came up with a few mock-ups for Pink Dumbbells shirts.

===========
Short-term Goals:
1. Work on paper doll sketches.
2. Sew Issey Miyake dress.
3. Upgrade WordPress to 2.0.
4. Transplant two tomato vines and plant Swiss Chard.
5. Finish taxes.
6. Sew new workout shirts.
7. Create new logo for PDB shirts.

2006 C1D33: Some Clarification

Since what I had meant to be a humorous depiction of my gym environment has managed to ruffle a few feathers (must try taking some empathy improvement courses one day…), I thought I’d clarify my position today by re-posting one of my comment responses here:

Hardbodies or not, I *do* respect everyone at my gym for putting in the effort to be there at all. In that they are already doing better than the majority of the people in this country. I hope I didn’t imply that the men and women at my gym were weak or lazy just because they don’t operate in single-minded robo-gym rat mode, but if anyone took my post that way, please believe me when I say that it was not intentional. As I’ve said before, I freely admit to being more than a little OCD and realize that it’s a combination of personality type, comfortable socio-economic status, life stage (single, no kids), etc. that allow me to devote as much time as I do to and set a high priority on eating well and working out. 😆

What I was actually trying (and have apparently failed) to convey is my frustration with the lack of knowledge about the basics of healthy nutrition and exercise in our supposedly advanced technological society. It seems that we can find out anything we want to know about how to fix a leaky sink or resolve a computer driver compatibility issue online, but when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy body, people are either too confused by all the conflicting information they’ve heard over the years (a friend of mine calls this “analysis paralysis”) or just default to the formula of cardio plus second-hand, media-filtered tenets of the fad diet of the moment.

I feel that someone–our government, our schools, our family doctors, our gyms (who are happy to take our money every month but usually fail to provide any further guidance without a high fee)–is letting all of us down by not giving us the specific knowledge we need in order to live healthy lives and stave off all the negative medical, social, and emotional consequences of being overweight.

As cheesy as it may sound, I’d really like to see Bill Phillips’s dream of a Great American Transformation come true, not because I see those who are not physically fit as “lesser,” but because once a person HAS discovered just how simple it is to lose weight and how wonderful it feels to KNOW their body can perform anything they ask of it with ease and efficiency, they can’t help but want everyone else to become enlightened, too.

I realize, as proposed in the article that Rob mentioned, that there are plenty of people who really don’t care one way or another about losing weight or getting fit, but I do feel that for those who DO want to change there should be some easy-to-access and FREE resources to help them on their way.

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3/11 and 3/12 Report
(*Diet and workout details omitted by agreement with trainer)
==========
Nutrition:

Meals – On plan
Water – 16 and 17 cups
Supplements – On plan

Regular (Non-Plan) Daily Supplements – multivitamin with iron, calcium 600 + D

32 days down, 52 more to go!

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Workout:
3/11
Weights – Back/Abs – Done
Cardio – Treadmill Walk/Run – Done

3/12
Weights – Legs – Done
Cardio – Rest

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Nothing!

===========
Brownie Points:
1. Got to gym in the morning on time.
2. Cleaned kitchen.

===========
Short-term Goals:
1. Work on paper doll sketches.
2. Set up archived version of The Training Journal forum at PDB from Hershey Girl’s backup.
3. Upgrade WordPress to 2.0.
4. Transplant two tomato vines and plant Swiss Chard.
5. Finish taxes.

2006 C1D31: Field Guide To Planet Fitness

When I signed up at my super-cheapies gym last month, I really didn’t pay much attention to the other inhabitants of Planet Fitness. When I am gym shopping, I care primarily about:

1) Price
2) Equipment condition and quantity
3) Distance from home or office
4) Price

Things like the availability of a smoothie bar, personal trainers, and the clientele are really tertiary concerns. (Secondary concerns are working showers, restrooms, and lockers.)

When it comes to my primary criteria for gym bliss, Planet Fitness gets thumbs up all around, but I have to admit that the client base is very different from the Dr. Phillips Gold’s Gym I used to frequent.

The most noticeable difference is that there are absolutely NO hardcore bodybuilder types at PF, male or female. Ridiculous as it may seem, I’m probably in the top five among female members in terms of visible musculature and lean body mass, and I am by no means She-Hulk at the moment.

The other major difference is the lack of spandex-clad cardio class bunnies. PF doesn’t offer group classes of any kind, so the herds of skinny cardio class junkies you normally see at gym franchises simply aren’t present. This leaves just the cardio bunnies who are content to stick with treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals ad infinitum. At any given time, there are only 2-3 of these in the gym, even during weekday evening peak hours.

As for the rest of the females…there are usually one or two like me who hit both the cardio deck and the weight area and look like they have some clue as to what they are doing with both diet and exercise. The non-bunny remainder (a good 90% of the females in the gym) are overweight to obese and seem to have no set plan. They putz around on the recumbent bikes or elliptical machines or tag along behind a red-shirted trainer for their free resistance training session. Their ages range from teens to late 50s, but what they all have in common is that none of them are getting any results, and no one at the gym seems to be interested in helping them without their hands stuck out for some hefty fees. 😐

The men are divided up into the following ratios: 10% experienced lifters who clearly aren’t watching their diets and therefore sport big bellies and little muscle definition, 5% lean but not bulky cardio/weights types who do watch their nutrition, 35% high school jocks who never touch the cardio deck or squat rack (can we say chicken legs?), 10% skinny little guys who aren’t following any program, and 40% overweight and obese men who mostly sit at the Nautilus machines and do a few desultory reps or walk on the treadmills.

I wonder how many of the “no visible results” members would turn things around if they had an opportunity to attend a class on proper nutrition and exercise?

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3/10 Report
(*Diet and workout details omitted by agreement with trainer)
==========
Nutrition:

Meals – On plan
Water – 16 cups
Supplements – On plan

Regular (Non-Plan) Daily Supplements – multivitamin with iron, calcium 600 + D

30 days down, 54 more to go!

===========
Workout:
Weights – Rest; Cardio – Elliptical – Done

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Nothing!

===========
Brownie Points:
1. Got to bed on time. It was a minor miracle.
2. Went grocery shopping and bought a ton of produce.

===========
Short-term Goals:
1. Work on paper doll sketches.
2. Set up archived version of The Training Journal forum at PDB from Hershey Girl’s backup.
3. Upgrade WordPress to 2.0.
4. Transplant two tomato vines and plant Swiss Chard.
5. Finish taxes.

2006 C1D30: Personality Thingie

Cathy had this personality test posted in her blog, and I couldn’t stop myself from clicking on the link and taking it myself. Once again I scored very low on femininity and pretty high on masculine personality traits and a bunch of other things that apparently make me an Independent Leader. :whistle:

DNA Results

My Personal DNA (Full report)

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3/9 Report
(*Diet and workout details omitted by agreement with trainer)
==========
Nutrition:

Meals – On plan
Water – 16 cups
Supplements – On plan

Regular (Non-Plan) Daily Supplements – multivitamin with iron, calcium 600 + D

29 days down, 55 more to go!

===========
Workout:
Weights – Done; Cardio – Done

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Nothing!

===========
Brownie Points:
1. Drank planned protein shake like a good fitness geek at the wine bar.
2. Almost enjoyed my morning cardio session.
3. Sang at least 6 songs last night, woohoo!

===========
Short-term Goals:
1. Work on paper doll sketches.
2. Set up archived version of The Training Journal forum at PDB from Hershey Girl’s backup.
3. Upgrade WordPress to 2.0.
4. Transplant two tomato vines and plant Swiss Chard.
5. Finish taxes.
6. Go grocery shopping.

2006 C1D29: Karaoke Night Again

It’s karaoke night again at Gran Cru. They’ve very considerately decided to start up at 7:30 pm instead of making me wait until 9:00 pm, so I will be able to get in quite a few songs and still get home in time to enjoy a full night’s sleep before cardio tomorrow morning.

Why can’t karaoke be held during my lunch break at, say, Sushi Tomi?

There’s nothing like enjoying a sushi lunch platter before jumping on stage and crooning Peggy Lee’s “Fever.”

:prop:

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3/8 Report
(*Diet and workout details omitted by agreement with trainer)
==========
Nutrition:

Meals – On plan
Water – 17 cups
Supplements – On plan

Regular (Non-Plan) Daily Supplements – multivitamin with iron, calcium 600 + D

28 days down, 56 more to go!

===========
Workout:
Weights – Done; Cardio – Done

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Nothing!

===========
Brownie Points:
1. Organized office.
2. Deposited checks at bank.
3. Finished up laundry.

===========
Short-term Goals:
1. Work on paper doll sketches.
2. Set up archived version of The Training Journal forum at PDB from Hershey Girl’s backup.
3. Upgrade WordPress to 2.0.
4. Transplant two tomato vines and plant Swiss Chard.
5. Finish taxes.
6. File receipts and statements.