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Days two and three

Day two didn’t really go as I had planned. Story of my life, I’m sure you will soon figure out, if you haven’t already. Anyway. I slept in again yesterday, so I had just enough time to get dressed and leave for work. Couldn’t make coffee, so I grabbed a soda. Strike one of the day. On my first break, while I did get a salad, I also got a couple chicken wings and a Starbucks drink from the cooler. The salad makes eating chicken wings ok, right? No? Damn. Strike two of the day. During my second break, I ate what I actually brought in for lunch. My grilled chicken, and I also grabbed a yogurt. So I was at least finishing my workday off ok food wise. Because Thursday was my mom’s birthday, and she had yesterday off, I chose to skip the gym to come home and spend a little bit of time with her. Reasonable excuse, but if you tuned in to figure out what I did at the gym, I’m sorry I disappointed you. I made up some mashed sweet potatoes and carrots to pack with my next days lunch, and I ate one of those Ben and jerry’s pint slices. Chocolate chip cookie dough, my absolute favorite ice cream. It probably wouldn’t have been bad if I had just left it at that. A little ice cream treat in the summer is perfectly fine, especially when celebrating a birthday. Although, I made the mistake of opening the pint of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough I had bought that day while I picked up groceries. That 1/3 of the pint I ate, that’s where I struck out for the day. I showered up, brushed teeth (that way I had to commit to not eating any other snacks before bed) watch an episode and a half on hulu, and finally fell asleep probably around 2am. Tomorrow is another day.

Day three actually went pretty well. I woke up with enough time to have some coffee, and eat a quest hero bar for breakfast before having to be out the door and on my way to work. (I still ended up running late, even with waking up earlier than normal) I only ate what I brought into work with me on my breaks, with the exception of a yogurt, a cheese stick, and a low carb monster. I needed some extra energy to roll through the day, the yogurt was free, and the cheese stick was less than $0.40.  There were some sever thunderstorms ripping through the area, so I decided to skip the gym, as I didn’t really feel like being there if there was a loss of power. Plus, the fire department in the town before my town got toned out to a tree in the road, so I headed home to be there in case we got toned out for anything storm related as well. I had a hot dog for dinner and a pint slice for a snack. While I may have strayed a bit after I got home, being able to not get any chicken wings today during either of my breaks was a good breakthrough. I hope I can report tomorrow that I did the same thing. It would also be nice to be able to report that I went to the gym as well.

Both days, I had some form of a snack, and didn’t 100% follow my diet plan, and you know what? That’s alright. It doesn’t do any good to beat yourself up over a snack or two, as long as you are trying to make changes. If you jump fully into a different diet, without somewhat easing yourself into it, your body will not only hate you, but you will start to plateau earlier on. Slow results are still results. The best thing you can do is just focus on making one or two changes each week, until you are fully adapted into a certain way of eating. Make progress at your own pace, as long as you are making progress. 

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Day one. 

Well, day one didn’t start as early as I had hoped, however none of my days tend to do that. I’m truly not what you would call a morning person. Unless the pager is going off, and we are getting toned out, I have a hard time getting up in the morning. So, morning fasted cardio, isn’t something that happens often. I was able to do it for a few weeks last summer, but mostly because I played around with lacrosse, other than running. This summer, despite living on a lake, I haven’t gotten up once to do anything for morning activity. 

Well, let’s get this day rolling, even though it started at noon instead of 6am. Before starting breakfast, I mixed up my rule 1 lean 5 drink. I’ve been slacking on my supplements lately as well, and I’m trying to get back into a routine with them. I’ll probably write a post in the near future on supplements, and maybe separate posts on the ones I take, but for now, I’ll take the supplements and you just keep reading. For breakfast I made two pieces of toast, two Eggo’s, and four over easy eggs. If there’s one piece of advice I can throw out there, is learn to love eggs, because you will be eating them. A lot. Learn different ways to cook eggs, and find what works for you. My go to is over easy, or I’ll make an omelette with veggies and cheese. It all depends on what process I’m in when it come to leaning out or bulking. Right now, because I’m on call, I’m focusing on eating a bit of a bigger breakfast, so I stay fuller throughout the day, that way if we get called out to a fire or an accident, I’m not starving for six hours on scene. After logging my breakfast on to myfitnesspal, it came out to be roughly 775 calories. 87 grams of carbs, 35 grams of fat and 34 grams of protein. Right now, I’m not as concerned with the macro counts and calorie counts as I am with getting back into the habit of tracking my meals. I definitely recommend myfitnesspal, and I’ll write more about that later on. 

Today is Thursday, which means it’s my Sunday. So today I have some work to get done, as well as meal prep for my upcoming work week. But before all that, I have to get a workout in. Because it’s Thursday, my workout consists of some simple lifts, with a couple of 15lb dumbbells. I use these mostly to focus on muscle endurance. I do low weight, high rep lifts with these. I did mostly upper body, bicep and triceps lifts, but threw in a few sets of goblet squats just to keep my legs moving. At the moment, I’m just working on getting back into a routine of working out vs having specific days for specific lifts. I’ll start that next week, or the following week. I also sampled a new pre-workout before starting my workout, I’ll save that review for another day. 

Surprisingly, my only snacks throughout the day were some halo top mint chocolate chip ice cream, and a Klondike bar. Which isn’t too bad compared to how I usually do on my days off. Doritos. Granola bars. The big breakfast definitely paid off. Or maybe it was the sleeping until noon? 

Meal prep is under way. This work weeks menu is some grilled chicken, with some chipotle garlic seasoning. Seasoning is the key to happiness when it comes to meal prep, because unless plain chicken is your absolute favorite meal, then get yourself some seasonings other wise you’re going to get bored and fail. (Just be sure to watch the sodium levels.) Plus, chicken will end up being a staple, so be ready to marry chicken. Get your vows written because it’s till death do you part, or so it feels. I usually will prep up some sort of vegetable for the week as well, but my grocery shopping the other night was cut short due to being toned out for a fire. I’ll probably grab something off the salad bar at my work tomorrow, and buy something that can be easily prepped for the rest of the week. Again, I’m not 100% focused one what exactly I’m eating currently, just on getting in the routine of prepping my meals, and making sure I set that time aside once a week to cook. (Have you noticed that routine is one of the main words used in this post? Routine is important in the fitness world.) The only concerns I have involving my diet right now, is just starting to make better food choices. Grilled chicken instead of buying chicken wings at work. Mashed cauliflower instead of fries. Those little mio water enhancers, a few of them even have some caffeine when I need a boost, instead of drinking a soda. I usually drink between a half gallon to a gallon of water a day, depending on my activity level, but sometimes I just need something with flavor. I’ve found that the mio drinks help with that craving. 

It’s now 8pm. It’s only been roughly eight hours since I got out of bed. I’m not proud of that. I wish I had gotten up and been productive earlier on, but it is what it is. Soon after I get dinner and meal prep dishes all taken care off, I’ll either be heading down to the lake for a camp fire and some swimming. Or, I’ll be heading to bed, watch an episode of a show on Hulu, and then prep myself for bed. With today being my moms birthday, I’ll probably go for the first option, so I can catch her when she gets home. Plus, some swimming sounds good right about now. 

Tomorrow I head back to work, and hopefully will be back at the gym after that. Leg day? Back and chest? Death by cardio? I guess you’ll have to come back tomorrow night and see what I decide on. Until then, chase gains, live life, and stay reckless. 

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The Backstory

Lets start at the beginning. Growing up I was an athlete. I started playing hockey in elementary school, and continued to play through high school. During my junior year in high school, I suffered a concussion that pretty much ended my shot at playing college hockey after high school. I played a few times here and there. Mostly just pick up games, and a yearly charity scholarship game. I took a few gap years between high school and college so I could focus on working, got into a few different relationships, and well, as I’m sure you guessed it, I gained weight. I was becoming one of those “wow, they gained some weight after high school” stories. I went from a normal weight of a somewhat skinny muscular 165, up to a fairly pudgy 185 at my heaviest. I’m only 5’6, so the height genetics sort of screwed me over on that, well lack of height I guess.

            Halfway through 2013, I went through a pretty shitty breakup, and I turned to alcohol and a tin of skoal to help fill the void in my heart, but enough about that depressing piece of irrelevance in my life and on to what really turned me around. Early 2014, I lost somebody who was like a second grandpa to me growing up. My grandparents owned a few businesses when I was younger, and while they were around and a huge part of my life, sometimes it was easier to just go next door and ask him for help with something. This man would make sledding trails and snowboarding jumps for the neighbor hood kids growing up. He even would mow his lawn in the shape of a baseball diamond for us in the summer, and built us a backstop out of an old satellite dish. So, when he lost his battle with cancer, I knew I needed to start making changes. While I was sitting at his funeral, I realized that he never got to see me live out my dream; he never got to see me grow into who I was supposed to be. Within a month I started making changes, and I ended up getting back into shape, and looked slightly better than I did in high school, although I’m sure that had more to do with my clothing choices than my weight loss.

That fall, I applied to our local community college, and took a semester of classes, took the spring semester off, and then applied to the state technical college, and began my journey as a fire science major in the fall of 2015. In the fall of 2016, I was voted on to the fire department that I am on today, and while we are a small town department, and only average 70 calls per year, I am proud to be a part of this amazing department.

However this journey that I have been on since the fall of 2014, hasn’t always been full of the positives that I just listed. While taking the spring semester off in 2015, I started hooking up with a girl from my work, that I ultimately ended up falling for. She chose another guy from her college, they’ve been together for roughly two years now, and now that they’re graduated, they will be moving in together. Luckily for me, they will be in a completely different state. Actually, even in a completely different time zone, so I wont have to see them together when I’m out and about or something like that. While I was hurt and a little salty when things didn’t work out, I still consider her a good friend, and wish her all the happiness in the world, even if its not with me. (I still have “fuck that guy” moments, but all in all, I know he’s a good dude, and will treat her well. At least he better) Damn. I really do love this girl. however, it wasn’t meant to be I guess and I’m moving on, so enough about her, and back to talking about me. After all, I’m the main character in this novel. 

When I started college back up in the fall of 2015, I was still in shape. I had been going to the gym a lot over the summer, and my diet had been relatively decent. I had hoped I would be able to keep everything up throughout my college career.  Let me tell you though, as soon as I found out that the campus snack bar served curly fries, I was completely fucked. Long story short, the freshman 15 is real, even when you don’t live on campus. I kept trying to workout, but the homework load on top of working part time to be able to be a bill-paying adult, made it difficult. I worked out a bit after the school year over the summer, but still didn’t fully lose that freshman 15.

Now, on to the fall 2016 semester. During that semester, I had decided that I would just work on bulking. After failing so hard at continuing to attempt to lean out, I figured I would just work on building up some muscle mass. The biggest problem, it became a dirty bulk. Buffalo chicken quesadillas, breakfast burritos, and even more curly fries ended up adding more to the problems. But, at least I was working out regularly, and I had started playing hockey again in October, so I was at least maintaining weight instead of gaining it. Towards the end of the fall 16 semester, just a couple weeks before exams, I got kicked out of college. So I had another spring semester off, and I continued to play hockey and lifting like I had been prior to going back to school. My diet didn’t follow with those good habits though, and once hockey season ended, I stopped training like I had been. While being a firefighter should be motivation enough to start throwing it down again in the gym and the kitchen, I’m finding that I’ve just been a little demotivated lately.

Last month I applied to return to the school that kicked me out, was rejected and told I needed some preparatory work before reapplying. Shit, that would’ve been nice to know after they kicked me out. But,  I was actually a little relieved, as I honestly wasn’t ready to go back to that school. I did however, get accepted back into the community college I started at, and am currently looking at some classes to take, half that would be useful for my major, and half that would be great GPA boosters. I plan on taking mostly online classes, so I don’t have to waste time sitting in a classroom, and can still work a decent work schedule and get homework done, while going to the gym. It’s easier to go to the gym after work at night when you don’t have to worry about getting up for an 8am lecture that you have to drive 30 minutes too, be showered, fed, and be wearing uniform for. (Yeah, my major required uniforms for most of the classes.)

So now that you’re all caught up on the past few years of my life, let me explain why I’m sitting here typing this entire thing out. I’m hoping that by, at the very least, typing everything out and posting on here, that I will stay motivated and follow my own advice. If I’m going to talk the talk, I better be able to walk the walk, right? Also, with any of my posts, if anybody even reads any of them, I’m also hoping for advice and tips for myself. While I have fitness experience and knowledge, especially being an athlete, I’m always looking to continue to learn. So whether you are working on being in better shape, but are intimidated, or you just need a little motivation, I hope to help. Even if it’s just me sitting here, typing to myself to keep on track. While there may be no I in team, there is one in fitness, so don’t worry about how athlete x looks, or how fitness model y looks, stay focused on your individual progress.

Welcome to my journey of balancing firefighting, hockey, fitness, and college. I anticipate that it will be a wild ride, so I would advise you stay prepared, and hang on. Let’s get started shall we?