Thanks, Pete. I would say I'm an in-between stage of you and your wife.
I love statistics about myself (2.03 peak K/D in Call of Duty!) so I enjoy tracking calories on Myfitness. I use it as a rough guide and it has helped me to 'eyeball' portions and accurately estimate calories but I do it every day day in day out. I also use runkeeper to track my runs and rides.
For exercise, I've always been about cardio as I'm not physically very strong and hate lifting weight. My goal is always to get trimmed down, burn through the miles at a decent pace (for me) when I run and develop a super strong cardio engine.
Given your appreciation of statistics, performance tracking, etc, I would strongly urge you to give Fitocracy a shot (or another shot if you've tried it and lost interest). You input workouts and receive XP based upon your performance. You earn badges for leveling up and can even go for achievements, for example benching your own weight (as you've mentioned later in your post). Cycling, running, P90X, strength training, it is all included on the site. If you decide to give it a try, I'm PeteRock over there as well. Just click the "follow" button and you'll have access to all of my workouts, stats, achievements, etc.
Now that I'm into biking it has compounded the exercise benefits as I cannot consistently run with joy (seriously, one bad outing can make me quit) and because of the punishment it causes. So I have rotated cycling in to keep me motivated and fresh. I only have to run 2x or 3x per week now and I mix in one or two giant bike rides (for me 18-25 miles at approx 3:50 to 4:10 per min pace) per week.
It's great to mix it up. It keeps exercise from becoming a chore, and cycling allows you to cover far more ground than running. Plus it's much lower impact on your joints.
The problem, like you described, is I'm either ON or I'm OFF. If I'm in, I count calories and make exercise a point. If I'm off, I am a glutton who eats at all hours a day just to do it and I don't do anything. This leads to depression and eventually disgust which gets me started on the road back until I get there and quit or quit along the way.
I know this cycle all too well. Usually it's an injury that sidelines me, and when it does I immediately want to hork down cheeseburgers and garbage and fall into that "if I can't lift then what's the point" mindset. I like to consider myself of strong will and determination, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am with fitness, school, etc, but I still sometimes fall victim to lapses in drive or consistency. The key is being aware of it, and rather than giving in, the hard part is saying, "No, not this time."
Maybe the solution is there's no middle ground and I always have to be ON, but not punish myself if I have a bad run or a day where I consume more than I want to.
I've tried to take that to heart as I've had two very bad runs that I've persevered through with the simple truth of: the goal is not your time on this run. Your goal is to get back to 180lbs (and be fit and live longer etc). And it worked. The nice thing though is that this time around I've layered in something new: biking.
Think of it this way. Are you always on your game at work? Are professional athletes always flawless in their competitions? Are you always top dog in COD? No. Everyone has bad days, whether at work, on the softball field, on the basketball court, in a COD match, and some people are occasionally surprised to learn that the same goes for workouts. It's simply a fact of life. It is impossible to turn in your best workout for each and every workout. There are just too many variables. Did you eat enough, or too much, did you get enough rest the night before, is your body sore, did you train too hard the previous day, is your mind wandering, are you stressed, did something upset you, are you distracted............These ALL influence your workout. And that is in no way grounds for discouragement. Hell, before neck surgery I was deadlifting 265lbs. Now? I have yet to get past 185, especially after a severe back strain in late April. Before my trip to Costa Rica I was squatting 225. Now 205 is tough (for reference I'm not talking one-rep-max, I'm talking 5 working sets of 6-8 reps on all this).
We all have bad days, in almost anything you can think of (video games, work, relationships, etc). Workouts are no different, and surprisingly a lot of people for some reason don't make that connection. You can't be at the top of your game 100% of the time. The key is not to get discouraged, to understand this fact, and overall a shitty workout is better than no workout at all. There's always the next one. And the next one. And the next one.
When I get back to the 180s (I'm 6'0) I am hoping to find the time and $$ to join a gym for lifting.
There are also some cool books on bodyweight exercises for strength training, eliminating the need for a gym altogether. I just prefer to use weights as I enjoy strength training. I track every single workout, every pound lifted, every exercise completed, both in a journal and on Fitocracy. I get to track my progress, to see where I left off last workout to push me to lift more this workout, I see what exercises I've done and perhaps decide to change things up on occasion, and I'd be lying if I said the XP on Fitocracy wasn't a strong motivator.
My one great fitness goal (I've done two marathons and am eyeing triathlons but am a terrible swimmer) is to benchpress my own weight. I've never even come close, not even when I was getting really strong in college. If I can do it by 40, (18 mos from now) I'd be completely over the moon.
A very realistic and achievable goal. Most of my life I wasn't able to do so. The day I finally did was an achievement I had pursued for years. Then it became squatting and deadlifting more than my weight as well. Then it became benching my weight in dumbbells rather than just barbell. Then it was 1.5 times my weight in deadlifts and squats. There is always a goal, always something to work toward achieving, and the best part? Throughout the process you're always making yourself better. You get stronger, improve your health, improve your appearance (people who insist they ONLY exercise for good health are typically lying, we all want to look better because it improves confidence and how you feel about yourself), you become more confident, your self worth improves, and you perform better in other areas of your life.
Don't let bad days discourage you. They happen. Just like in COD, sports, etc. I always feel that a bad workout is better than no workout, and my next workout usually improves considerably. My first week back after two weeks of vacation was rough. This week? It's good I dressed in black because I killed it.
After holding steady last week, this week's weigh in this morning showed a 4lb drop.
Just 1 lb away from being 50% to goal and 1.2 lbs to being back in the 100s.
My question is, as always, how does one make this a lifestyle?
I'm great at losing weight. I'm great at gaining it back. I'm terrible at maintaining.
I'm less than two years from 40 and I'd like this to be the last time I have to lose weight.
Tips for you folks who have lost it and kept it off or have always been fit?
The way in which someone makes it a lifestyle is entirely personal, fitting into that specific person's strengths, lifestyle habits, interests, and preferences. What works for one will not necessarily work for another.
Let me provide two real-world examples, myself and my wife.
Despite some friends insisting that I've "always been fit," I would argue otherwise. In the past I followed a fairly predictable cycle. I'd lose weight for summer, and then gain it all back during the winter. I'd be consistent with going to the gym when the weather was nice, but I'd fall right off the horse as soon as cold weather and dark mornings became the norm. Also, numerous injuries have sidelined me through the years and when I am physically unable to go to the gym I regress into eating poorly and sitting around depressed. When I am consistent with the gym, I am consistent with healthy eating habits. And when I fall off the horse, whether it be due to injury, a break from lifting, or a hectic schedule, my eating habits follow suit.
But, back in 2009 when I lost my job and started down the pharmacy path I managed to make fitness a lifestyle, not merely a seasonal thing. I had ballooned up to just under 200lbs. I managed to drop down to my current weight of 155lbs and I've stayed there for the past 4 years, even with surgeries, injuries, and a ridiculous pharmacy schedule. I strength train four to five times a week (sometimes six), I play softball two nights a week, I fit in 25 minutes of interval training post-workout when I can, I play intramural soccer, and intramural basketball. I only drink coffee in the morning, then have some kind of lean protein with green vegetables for lunch, drink a ton of water throughout the day, and for dinner I try to stick with some kind of protein, veggies, and I occasionally have some rice (one of my primary vices, but I'm okay with that). I drink more beer than I should on a regular basis, but my eating habits and gym frequency offset the empty calories.
This works for me. I love strength training, I love being active, and I simply feel better when I eat right. I definitely have my cheat days, and that's necessary to remain consistent with a routine. Complete denial of personal vices makes healthy habits feel like a job or hindrance rather than a desired lifestyle. But I limit days of complete indulgence to maybe once a week. The rest of the time I cook meals from scratch and limit the garbage I put in my system and make sure to keep consistent with the gym. Plus I feel like crap when I eat crap. I do love late-night pizza after drinking with friends or the occasional greasy Chinese take-out, but 90% of the time I cook for myself (and my wife when I'm in town) and can therefore control all I put in my system. And the easiest way to make sure to keep things healthy, I grill a LOT. Meats, veggies, it all goes on the grill with some olive oil and seasoning.
My wife, on the other hand, despises the gym. She prefers to monitor all calories she consumes with a phone app she likes and her only exercise is softball three nights a week. She's lost a TON of weight, feels and looks fantastic, but has ZERO interest in exercise for the sake of exercise. And her weight loss has been entirely through limiting caloric intake. She still allows herself the occasional cheat day, but overall she has seen such great progress that she continues to develop more motivation to maintain her current habits. Because of her hectic schedule she utilizes prepared meals like Top Chef Healthy Choice frozen entrees or their salad-maker line, but mainly for lunch so she doesn't eat out. Then for dinner I make us healthy meals like grilled chicken with grilled asparagus with a side of whole wheat couscous or something along those lines.
You're going to have to find something that works for you. Also, you have to WANT to. You can't do it out of obligation, or it won't last. If you WANT to live a healthy lifestyle, then you simply have to make the conscious decision to do so. You also have to be aware of times when you start to fall off the horse. When I came back from being away for two weeks in Costa Rica it would have been easy to take a few days to decompress, especially since we didn't get in until around 11pm. Yet the very next morning I was back in the gym forcing my body back into my usual routine. Even after two weeks it was rough, but it only took a week to get back in to form and today I had a MUCH better workout.
I personally don't track calories, I just eyeball portions, always include some kind of protein (chicken, turkey, pork, etc), and eat a lot of veggies. I also drink water non-stop throughout the day and am a complete gym rat. If I'm not pressed for time my typical workout takes around 2 hours if I include 20 to 30 min of interval cardio. If pressed for time I can cut it back to 90 min. My wife is a calorie tracker, and it works for her. But you will NEVER find her in a gym.
In your case, if what you've been doing is "easy" in the sense that it's not to complex or labor-intensive, you should be able to stick with it, maybe with a few modifications once you reach your goal weight. But, if it's a crash diet to get to your goal as quick as possible, those types of programs aren't maintainable. Lose weight slowly, be patient, and make choices you can stick with long-term. That's probably the best advice I can offer. And pick heavy shit up. Strength training gets fantastic, maintainable results. It's simply more effective than spending hours a day wandering aimlessly on a treadmill. I also utilize Fitocracy to help with motivation. I enjoy the points-tracking system, achievements, and leveling up, plus as I have a number of friends on the site, there's some level of friendly competition in terms of earning XP, and if I skip a workout but a friend scores big points, it drives me crazy. Fitocracy holds me accountable. As do the friends I lift with here in Phoenix and down in Tucson during the school year. When you skip a workout you only hurt yourself, no one else.
Nice job so far and good luck with your long-term plans.
Quote from: Eco-Logic on May 11, 2013, 01:16:49 AM
Pete, Thanks for the heads up on the new Ledger novel. I had no idea.
Finished Extinction Machine while traveling to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The dialogue, character interactions, and emotional impact all continue to meet and often exceed all expectations associated with the series, but I wasn't quite as enamored with the overall story arc. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy the story, but it falls a little short of the bar set by Assassin's Code. Still another great entry in the Joe Ledger series.
If The Dark Knight Rises is a "black mark" on Nolan's career, then even his worst surpasses many of Hollywood's best. I'm more than just a little excited for his potential involvement in the Bond franchise. Any time I see his name attached to a project, whether it be as director, producer, or even simply a fan, I'm always in without any further consideration.
The portion about "owning genes" is also misleading. Companies can patent gene sequences for diagnostic purposes, but those genes are not "owned" by the company.
There are definitely major issues with corporate ownership of gene sequence diagnostics, but to present the issue as "corporate ownership of human genes" is merely meant to be incendiary. Also, BRCA1 testing ranges from $300 to $3000 depending on the extent of genetic mapping, so the cost point fits within the general costs of genetic testing which typically fall in the $200 to few thousand range. Once again the author(s) has presented skewed information. I'm not arguing in favor of corporate ownership or patenting of certain gene sequence diagnostics, but I am in favor of private research and technology. The problem lies in appropriate regulation.
Quote from: Isgrimnur on May 16, 2013, 09:12:05 PM
I'm glad you liked it, Pete. It truly is a thing to experience something like that cold. The ending is a bit odd, but I have yet to hear anyone come up with something that's still in that vein that wouldn't have seemed like a cop-out.
Spoiler for Hiden:
I think the biggest "fuck you" moment from the filmmakers (in an amusing way of course), or at least it felt as such, was when "the fool" commented that it would have been cool to see the gods. I think in his words it went something along the lines of "now that would have been a fun weekend." When the film ended and you don't get to see them, that left me thinking son of a bitch. I would have liked to see them too.
Having just completed a semester with a course entirely devoted to genetic testing and pharmacogenomics, I would suggest that medical treatment based upon an individual's genome is the way of the future, and not too terribly far away. The mapping of the human genome has allowed for very specific genetic mutations clearly linked to certain medical maladies to be identified and addressed long before disease manifests. It not only provides opportunities for preventative treatment, but also for individualized drug care (patients can be tested to determine responsiveness to certain medications, risk of severe adverse reactions, or the need for alternative considerations).
Unfortunately the current testing industry requires a fair bit of regulation as well as properly trained medical professionals for accurate interpretation, not to mention better public education on what is being tested for, potential incidental findings (some genes are not only linked to medicinal effectiveness, but also increased likelihood of developing a serious illness), or what medical statistics mean, but the technology exists and allows for an amazing step forward in preemptive treatment.
Finally got a chance to watch this on Netflix. Absolutely loved most of it, but felt that the ending was a bit anticlimactic. But overall it was a hell of a fun ride. It's just too bad that the final destination left a little to be desired. Fortunately it didn't ruin the film for me, as the rest of it was an absolute blast. I'm just glad I managed to avoid any and all spoilers. I sat with both a grin and a look of complete bewilderment all the way through to the end.
It's a rare thing to see something so unique anymore. Sure, it played with material that has been done 1000 times before, but somehow did so in a completely unique and refreshing manner.
Quote from: TheEgoWhip on May 07, 2013, 08:47:57 PM
Quote from: PeteRock on May 07, 2013, 02:30:10 AM
I really wish I didn't have a pharmacogenomics cumulative final exam tomorrow, although as I only need to score a 67% to keep my current grade
Nothing like floating thru grad school with a 67% average... I assume that's what you meant.
No. I need a 67% on the final exam to keep my A average. In pharmacy school anything less than a C is considered "failing". And to earn a residency I need to keep as close to a 4.0 as possible. Trust me. There's no "floating."
13/13, but it felt a little "fixed" as a number of questions dealt with geology and pharmacy, ironically two subjects I have a bit of experience with.
If only today's pharmacogenomics final would be along similar lines as the questions in this quiz.
You almost DONE done, Pete?
After Thursday's final in chemotherapy of infectious disease I'll have finished my first year of the Doctor of Pharmacy program. Three more years to go. Then hopes of completing a residency in clinical care for a year (although that will at least be paid, albeit at a lower salary point until completion).
I know there are a few Joe Ledger fans here, and I'm surprised to see no mention of Jonathan Maberry's newest addition to the series Extinction Machine. It was released at the end of March and I have a copy sitting on the kitchen bar at home, but I first need to make it through finals before I take the full plunge. My wife already tore through it and I can't wait to spend the first few days of my summer "vacation" relaxing by the pool with Ledger's next mission.
Quote from: Blackjack on May 06, 2013, 09:56:16 PM
I've noticed Tucker and Dale, but the little Netflix summary makes it sound like the worst thing or the best thing ever. And often when I roll the dice, I end up with stuff like ATM and The Frankenstein Theory. If you guys swear by Tucker and Dale, perhaps I'll give it a try.
I typically don't enjoy horror movies at all, but was thoroughly entertained by Tucker and Dale. A strong cast combined with the sheer absurdity of it all make it an absolute blast.
For the first 5 minutes of Tucker and Dale I thought I had made a big mistake in watching it. Then it switches narratives rather abruptly and it went from horrible to just plain fun. I highly recommend it.
I used to be a big horror fan as a kid. I've since grown away from the genre, but am well-versed in horror tropes and really enjoyed Tucker and Dale.
Quote from: hepcat on May 06, 2013, 05:18:36 PM
You haven't seen it yet, Pete? If so, I envy you. Such a fun movie.
Nope, haven't seen it yet as I've been anxiously waiting for it to make its way onto Netflix. And I've somehow managed to avoid every possible spoiler, so I am going in COMPLETELY blind. I really wish I didn't have a pharmacogenomics cumulative final exam tomorrow, although as I only need to score a 67% to keep my current grade, watching Cabin tonight is looking more and more likely.
Unfortunately just when I was hitting my stride I suffered a severe lower back strain a few weeks ago. It was so bad that coughing would have to come out as a sad whimper, and if a sneeze made an unexpected appearance I'd be lucky not to black out from the pain. But I continue to improve and have managed three reasonable workouts this first week back following my injury, slowly increasing weight little by little to see what my back can handle. But it looks like deadlifts will be on the side burner for a while until I'm certain my back can handle the strain again. Even the stretch from pull-ups was too much, at least this week, but we'll see where things stand in another few days.
Tonight's softball game will be the toughest test, as twisting will be the real indicator of where I stand. Here's to hoping that I don't take one swing of the bat and wake up in traction.
Yep. But is it a good idea? There's a lot of debate over the issue. I have a friend who swears by it for both of his dogs. I go the more standard route with store-bought food, albeit a few steps up from Dog Chow or the like. Think of it as a sort of paleo diet, for dogs.
Quote from: Teggy on February 24, 2013, 08:48:53 PM
I watched both Drive and Haywire today. Very different movies but I would highly recommend both. I think Drive is sort of love/hate around here but I found it incredibly compelling. Haywire was just fun. Gina Carano was pretty awesome.
I did the same double-feature a while back. I wanted to enjoy Drive, and for the most part I did, but it got a little...I guess I would say...odd...in the final 1/3 of the film. I'm glad to have seen it, but more in a way that I'm glad I saw Oldboy, in terms of having experienced it, but don't really feel compelled to again.
Haywire, on the other hand, had decent action, but overall it felt rushed, disorganized, and seemed almost as if it suffered from ADD. I'm glad to have watched it, but equally glad I never made it a blind purchase.
I checked out Lockout a few weeks ago, and Guy Pearce was fun to watch. It was fine for what it was, a mindless action flick stuffed with one-liners. Not a quality movie by any critical standards, but I don't feel like I need to try to get those two hours back as restitution.
Two nights ago I decided to give Middle Men a try. I had always been curious about it since its release as I typically enjoy Luke Wilson. It's about the rise of internet porn in the 90's, detailing the ingenuity of two drugged-out entrepreneurs and their partnership with business-savvy Jack Harris. It is "inspired by a true story", so some of the events can likely be taken with a grain of salt, but I found myself compelled to watch the film to its conclusion.
Quote from: CeeKay on March 03, 2013, 09:02:41 AM
just watched Get the Gringo, which was a nice return to form for Mel Gibson. like mentioned before, it was kinda like Payback in Mexico, but it felt different enough to be fresh.
I've been curious about that one. I enjoyed Payback for what it was, and wondered if this was a comparable style of film. Perhaps I'll give it a try.
Started the week with five tests today alone, three in three different classes, and then an exam AND another test in the SAME class.
Statistical validity exam Wednesday, patient assessment exam Friday, and then on to preparing for pharmacogenomics next Tuesday. I'll be hitting the gym hard as usual, and revisiting the tattoo studio tomorrow to finish what was started last Thursday.
Odds are alcoholism will be interspersed throughout.
I'll go out on a limb and say that finshing my new tattoo will be the highlight of the week.
Everything is still a little red and raw from a five-hour session, and the color will be a lot lighter after it heals, but here's the progress so far, with another 3 hours to take place on Tuesday to hopefully finish it all. Still have to do the other ghost hand wrapping around my neck, plus more shading around the tiger, onto my shoulder, above the cala lilly, etc. After 5 hours my body just started rejecting the ink despite feeling physically capable of continuing. We'll also adding subtle pops of purple and blue to set off certain areas. To be continued...
It has been a LONG time since I had any reason to come in here. But I must say, it feels so GOOD to be back.
For the first time since I got my last tattoo in 2005, I am about to revisit the chair this coming Thursday. My current work is all from my days living in Philadelphia, but since starting the next phase of my life in Arizona I just haven't quite been ready to begin a new phase of tattooing. I knew that one day I would be ready, and I would "just know" when that time finally came.
It is time.
The plan is to completely finish the work on my chest, filling in all empty space, tying it all together into one fluid piece. The artwork will go right up to my collar line, forming a distinct border around my neck, extend over my shoulders, around the back of my neck (well, just below my neck so I can still conceal it), up to the piece on my back, and it'll tie into the work on my shoulders as well.
It will all be custom, free-hand work that will evolve as we go, complete with detailed shading, pops of color, and subtle details like skulls, clouds, and smoke integrated into everything.
Here are the before photos:
I've included my back as well since the new artwork will extend over my traps and onto my back, filling in some of the open space above my current work.
I have a private appointment Thursday night and the plan is to start at 5pm and not leave until we're done. Could be 10pm, 11pm, or even later, but if my body continues to take ink, we'll continue to add until it all comes together into one major bad-ass piece. No limitations (outside of concealability), price is already set, and my artist can't wait to just do his thing.
The oldest adage in strength training? Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. Not to say that you're pining for a sixpack, but your diet is what will determine how your body composition transitions. Ultimately if you keep to the program and also do as you've done, adjusting your caloric intake breakdown, you'll continue to see progress. I'm not a big fan of drastic diet changes, at least for others, as it's easy for people to get discouraged or frustated. If you make small, manageable adjustments, and can stick with them, you will see better long-term progress.
I, on the other hand, have ridiculous discipline when it comes to training and managing my diet. Some might call it an obsession. But I never have trouble getting out of bed at 5am to head to the gym, I can easily say no to dessert, fast food, or unhealthy snacks, and when I want to make noticeable progress in a short period of time, I can do it with major diet changes and workout consistency. But I know that this approach rarely works for anyone else. Your adjustments sounds pretty reasonable to you, and that will lead to better long-term progress for you as you won't get discouraged from being shoe-horned into something you just can't get on board with.
In my case I still refuse to cut beer from my diet. Hence why my nutrition and training are that much more important to my progress. But after neck surgery, a separated shoulder, and 6 straight months of downtime, including drastic binge eating and drinking over the holidays, I had put on 12 pounds, plus lost muscle, making my body transformation look even more drastic due to both gaining fat AND losing muscle.
In about three weeks I've dropped 8 pounds, put back on some muscle, and already can see noticeable changes.
Have you been taking progress pics? For me weight doesn't matter all that much as I often hover around the same weight but based on training and diet can see noticeable changes in appearance with little to no change in weight. So for me the most honest representation of progress is comparing before, during, and after photos. Some might call it narcissistic. But I consider it to be the most honest assessment of workout progress. Pics don't lie (at least when avoiding photoshop).
I'm really happy to see some participation in the thread and hope for it to inspire people to keep at it. Living healthy isn't easy, but probably one of the most worthwhile things you can do for yourself, your family, your friends, and all who care about you. Take it from a student pharmacist. When considering medication therapy for Type II diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and hyperlipidemia, so many prescriptions could be abandoned simply with healthier living practices. And I would rather see someone NOT need my prescription services and instead utilize my diet, fitness, and healthier living expertise to improve and prolong their lives (yes, we are trained in all of this, I'm not just speaking about my personal experience).
It cannot be said enough. Healthier living is a lifestyle, not a once-a-year temporary thing to rehash every New Years.
Real-life example? My family has a history of hypertension throughout every branch of our lineage. I have been diagnosed with borderline hypertension and have been told that long-term medication is an inevitability. At only 36 years of age, 14% body fat, a 4-day per week high-volume strength training program, low-sodium diet, etc, I typically have a BP reading around 146/96, when 115/75 would be FAR more indicative of my lifestyle.
Recently? I've cut even MORE sodium from my diet, drastically limited my caffeine intake, returned to the gym following recovery, upped my protein intake, decreased my empty carbohydrate intake, and incorporated more fruits, green vegetables, and even more water into my diet, and my BP has gone from 146/96 to averaging around 128/82. Guess who's NOT going on long-term medication just yet.
Sorry for the rant. Today's BP testing provided some fantastic news. I have to monitor it daily, so seeing this downward trend and feeling like I have even better control over my health just feels fantastic.
I finally hit level 33 on Fitocracy! I checked to see the last time I leveled up, since it has been a while, and it was at the end of June, literally days before neck surgery. It had taken me 38 days to get from level 31 to 32. To get to 33? 215 days. Surgery, a separated shoulder, and all of the recovery that comes along with it seems to really cock up my workout schedule.
New perk class unlocked!
Although I also learned tonight that my shoulder isn't necessarily completely healed. Played ultimate frisbee as part of the college of pharmacy team, and while I seem to be able to lift pretty well, applied strength in terms of fighting for position, going up for catches, and diving all don't feel very good. Still, it feels good to be competing again.
Thanks for the tips Pete. My issue that is I am trying to save money, so I have been trying to eat as cheap as possible, so that's part of the reason I have such a carb heavy diet. But you are right, I need to replace some of those carbs with protein.
Being back in college and having both a mortgage in Chandler and an apartment in Tucson I am no stranger to having to budget appropriately. I primarily surf the grocery ads each week and determine that week's meals (or at least the foundations of those meals) based upon whatever is on sale that week. For example, when I first came back to Tucson my local grocery had buy-one-get-one free pork products, so I was able to stock up on lean pork loin steaks. This past week I found chicken breasts on sale for $1.65 a pound. It takes maybe 15 minutes for me to go through the local ads, make my list, and then I can hit the store. I often save as much as $30 to $40 in a grocery visit and might only pay $60 out of pocket. Vegetables are the priciest items I have to worry about, so I make sure to pick up zucchini when it's on sale for $0.99, or bell peppers when they drop from $1.89 to $0.99. Recently they had salad bags for $0.99 a bag, and they're usually $4.99. Responsible shopping can be done, and it doesn't take that much effort as long as you make a list and follow sale ads.
Also, I'm not saying you have to cut out carbs, especially since I am a steamed rice addict (and love my beer), but you can always try whole wheat/whole grain pasta instead of regular. It might be on sale for $0.99 instead of $0.89 per box, but you'll at least have an impact on empty carbs. A new dish I came up with recently is quick, easy, cheap, tasty, and incoporates both protein and healthy carbs.
Boil whole wheat pasta to package directions. While the pasta is boiling, crisp up some panchetta (when trying to save money, plain old lunchmeat ham works). Toss the crisped ham, some grated parmesean, and pasta together, then top with two over-easy or sunny-side-up eggs. The yolks become the sauce, you get protein and vitamins from the eggs, healthy carbs in the pasta, and together it all tastes fantastic. The whole dish takes the amount of time to boil the pasta.
A couple of years I used software to track calories, and that was by far the most effective way to lose weight. When entering the numbers in at the end of the day it really shows you where you are getting empty calories. It was a huge hassle though, especially with home cooking, which is why I am not going that route this time.
That can get tedious, so I don't fault you for not wanting to go that route again. Personally I don't track calories, protein, carbs, etc. I have learned to read my body and can tell when I've eaten too much, too little, need protein, or carbs, or more vegetables. I also don't weigh myself much as I don't care what I weigh, but how I look and how strong I am. So I gauge my progress in two ways. The mirror, and I track my lifting progress. Narcissistic? Anyone who tells you they ONLY go to the gym to feel better, not to look better, is lying. And I track every workout, always trying to move more weight.
I tried Fitocracy about a year ago, but found the interface confusing, so stopped using it. I should probably check it out again, because it really is a great idea.
If you want any tips or have questions about the site please let me know. Once you get the hang of it, tracking workouts and earning points can be an amazing motivator. There's also an OO group, a Pain Dome (although I haven't seen SmooveB or Trent in a LONG time), and while there's a GT group that got away from me (it was before we could make groups private), we could always start a new one for the GT community.
I'd love to see you guys give it a shot. I see rickfc over there constantly and it's nice to both have the support and be able to provide it as well. They also have a new "Welcome to Fitocracy" group to aid new members in adjusting to the format. But whenever you have questions, don't hesitate to ask. The site is a useful tool and has helped SO many people achieve their fitness goals.