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Matt
 Matt
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01/10/2019 8:53 pm  

Ok, here we go. I’ve got a lot of goals for myself over the next few months, with many of those relating to the site. With everything else going on in my life both personally and professionally, I still want to squeeze out an article every week and a podcast every other week. It’s a lot of work to get there. And then there’s the social media promotion aspect, which I’m honestly not very good at. 

But to be honest, those are kind of secondary to the goal I want to write down here. There’s a lot of bad health in my family history, especially with diabetes and heart disease. Since leaving the military, there’s nobody standing over my shoulder anymore to make sure I’m exercising and controlling weight. 

To be fair, I actually got in better shape a couple of years after leaving the military than I ever was while in. But the arrival of the little guy has brought back a lot of poor habits and lack of exercise.

So my goal is to change that. I alluded to this on the podcast episode about goals, so now it’s time to flesh it out.

Goal: Using a bodyfat-measuring scale after a shower and before breakfast, drop to 20% bodyfat or less by January 1st 2020.

Payoff: At nearly 36, I can’t keep hiding from bad habits and pretending that the health tendencies of my family are “years and years away.” With the arrival of my son, I want to make sure that I’m around for a long long time for my family. Even more, I want to make sure I’m setting a positive example for him to follow for life.

Process: I’ll get to this in the subgoals, but I’ll talk about the process here. This goal is primarily achieved through nutrition, not exercise. Working out is definitely high on my list of things to do, but it’s less a factor for losing fat than a good nutritional plan. I’ve done a lot of eating plans in the past, and they’ve all done their job to some degree. But the bottom line is, “Don’t eat like an asshole.” So let’s cover the pitfalls for me.

Hazards: There are a lot of things that working against me here, and getting over them will require a lot of discipline.

  • Eating too much- I tend to be a “plate cleaner” out of habit. I eat quickly because I dislike cold food, and that means I don’t give myself time to feel satisfied before the plate is empty.
  • Alcohol- a single drink of alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to burn fat for up to 72 hours. My recent habit of one-beer-per-day is incompatible with my goals
  • Sleep - I have a wife, a two-month-old, a 9-5 day job, and a website to run
  • Lack of exercise - while not a primary factor, exercise still helps. I’ve been unable to get to the gym since early August.
  • Free work snacks - My office provides an endless supply of free snacks ranging from trail mix to yogurt covered pretzels. There’s usually a steady stream of free catered food and desserts. The temptations are strong
  • Water consumption → I don’t drink enough water. By all accounts, I should have nearly a gallon per day, but it keeps slipping my mind.

Countermeasures: For each hazard, this is how I plan to deal with it.

  • Eating too much → My wife is already helping with pre-portioning meals into containers for lunch and dinner. Even if I eat fast and clean the plate, this is the right amount of food. If I eat out, then I will automatically place half the meal in a to-go box before even starting to eat.
  • Alcohol → I’m out cold turkey for this. I’ve given it up for stints before, and it’s no big deal now. 
  • Sleep → I can’t do much about the 9-5 (plus one hour commute each way in DC traffic), nor can I do anything about the times kiddo wakes up. What I can do is hold myself to a reasonable bedtime schedule and get more efficient with the website work in the intervening hours.
  • Lack of exercise → At a minimum, I need to be in the gym at least one day each weekend. I can eventually work up to rowing again a few days per week in the morning. My office also has a moderately sized gym free to use for employees, and it’s complete with rowing equipment, squat racks, and other strength implements. I have not been taking advantage of this.
  • Free work snacks → Do not indulge. Bring my own healthier alternatives.
  • Water consumption → Bring a large water bottle with me each day that contains nearly the entire day’s worth of water. Consume it all before bed.

Ok, I’ll stop there. I’ve got som sub-goals for getting at least one gym workout in per week by October 20th, and at least two row sessions per week by November 1st. But really the goal here is steady fat loss. The deadline I set for myself is pretty aggressive, but doable.

Starting Point: 234 lbs, 26% BF

Ugh, those numbers make me cringe. That's a 30 lb / 5% gain since the spring.

"Man is still the first weapon of war" - Field Marshal Montgomery


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Pete
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02/10/2019 1:36 pm  
Posted by: @matt

Since leaving the military, there’s nobody standing over my shoulder anymore to make sure I’m exercising and controlling weight.

I said something similar to my thereapist (who is also a veteran) and she laughed. She said said that she has heard that so often from veterans. It seems to almost be a rule (second only to growing a beard) after you get out.

Your starting point could be my goal. 😔

Good luck! Even if you slip you're not a failure. You will get back up and move forward.

"It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind." -Ludwig von Mises (Theory and History)
"I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do." -Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress)
"Those who are in love with practice without knowledge are like the sailor who gets into a ship without rudder or compass and who never can be certain [where] he is going. Practice must always be founded on sound theory." -Leonardo da Vinci (#19 Of the Mistakes made By Those Who Practice Without Knowledge)


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Matt
 Matt
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02/10/2019 2:13 pm  

@pete

Oh yeah, I’m rocking the beard too. Not having to shave every day simplified my morning routine so much that I don’t know if I would go back.

bonus points that Mrs. Marksman also really enjoys the beard.

"Man is still the first weapon of war" - Field Marshal Montgomery


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Sunshine Shooter
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02/10/2019 5:02 pm  
Posted by: @matt

Eating too much- I tend to be a “plate cleaner” out of habit. I eat quickly because I dislike cold food, and that means I don’t give myself time to feel satisfied before the plate is empty.

At least you have a reason to eat fast.  I'm a plate cleaner because I have the palette sophistication of a half-starved raccoon, and the self control to match.

Good luck!

"Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement"

progunmillennial.wordpress.com


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Matt
 Matt
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07/10/2019 4:47 pm  

It's been just short of a week, so it's time for an accountability check-in.

Over the past week, I've cut out alcohol and stopped snacking on the free stuff available around the office. I've been bringing my own snack from home, as well as eating mostly home-cooked pre-portioned meals for lunch and dinner. I've also been making a concerted effort to drink more water. A gallon per day still seems a bit out of reach, but 80-100 oz is pretty easy.

This past weekend was also my first real workout in two months. Since I'm limited to a single weight training workout per week, I want to hit the highlights. So, for now, my weekly weight training workout consists of the following movements:

  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Barbell back squat
  • Barbell row
  • Dumbbell overhead press
  • Negative chinups

The reason I use dumbbells for the bench press and overhead press is because I have a natural strength imbalance that favors my left side. I broke my right collar bone in college. It's healed, but I naturally favor my left because of it. In the past, when I've done a lot of barbell work for bench and overhead, I started getting back and shoulder pain because of the imbalance growing even starker. Dumbbells isolate the weight to each arm, so it keeps them more or less in line.

As of this morning, per my starting condition of after a shower and before breakfast, progress is happening.

Current Stats: 230 lbs, 25.1% BF

I would wager that the starting weight and BF percentage were skewed by hydration levels. I don't think I've actually dropped nearly a percent of BF in a week, and cutting 5 lbs of water weight in the first week is pretty common for me. But, progress is progress.

"Man is still the first weapon of war" - Field Marshal Montgomery


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Sunshine Shooter
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08/10/2019 11:41 am  

Good job on cutting out the snacks.  Working out is kinda fun and always makes you feel awesome.  You also only have to choose to do it once a day.  There's nothing Instagram-worthy about not grabbing a snack, and you have to choose to not snack again and again throughout the day.  It's no small acheivement!

"Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement"

progunmillennial.wordpress.com


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Pete
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08/10/2019 1:22 pm  

Dammit, now I want a snack.

"It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind." -Ludwig von Mises (Theory and History)
"I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do." -Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress)
"Those who are in love with practice without knowledge are like the sailor who gets into a ship without rudder or compass and who never can be certain [where] he is going. Practice must always be founded on sound theory." -Leonardo da Vinci (#19 Of the Mistakes made By Those Who Practice Without Knowledge)


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Matt
 Matt
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14/10/2019 7:10 am  

Weekly update.

My legs were sore all week from performing squats after such a hiatus. I hit the gym again yesterday, and now included deadlifts. My whole body is fatigued, but not sore yet. I plan on incorporating two days of rowing this week, one day for low hear trate training and another day for interval work.

Nutrition-wise, I've been on the ball with eating prepared meals made from real food. While I've avoided the free snacks at work, I fear I may have traded them for readily available items at home. My water intake is also way down from the first week. I'll have to step it back up this week.

In all, the needle hasn't moved- still 230 and 25.1%, but I'm feeling better.

"Man is still the first weapon of war" - Field Marshal Montgomery


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Matt
 Matt
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21/10/2019 9:40 pm  

Honestly, the last week went too fast. I fell off the wagon, as it were. I thought I was still on track with eating, but the lack of movement on the scale says otherwise.

I also caved to social pressure and had a beer on Friday at an after-work event. I also missed my workout. Gah.

This week I'm refocusing back on water intake and exercise.

"Man is still the first weapon of war" - Field Marshal Montgomery


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Matt
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31/10/2019 9:37 pm  

Alright, time for an update.

I now have two months left on this thing. I started off strong, and then rebounded back up. Weight and BF % are holding pretty much exactly where they were. It feels good to get back in the church of iron, home of lord brodin swolfather, but just the working out isn't enough. I've gotten back to rowing as well after a long hiatus- but it's definitely kicking my rear end. My cardio definitely fell off in the last several months.

Sigh.

The main thing I need to focus on is food. I've been better, but not great. This week I also started tracking meals again via My Fitness Pal, just to see what an average day looks like. IN all, it seems fine- but I do need to focus on water intake.

"Man is still the first weapon of war" - Field Marshal Montgomery


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Thank you for coming by The Everyday Marksman. This site and its community are a labor of love. I hope you stick around for a while, and maybe even join us.

-Matt

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