Working and Working out

I’ve been working a lot lately. I mean, typical working hours, but it takes a lot out of you. You put in an eight hour day, sometimes 9 or 10 or 12 or whenever you’re done your work and caught up on deadlines, then you commute home and if there isn’t traffic, you make it back within a half hour. Then you lift for an hour or so. Then you eat a meal. Then you have four hours to “relax” or unwind, or reflect… what a joke! There’s no real time to do anything. I read for about fifteen minutes and my mind starts blurring. I need to focus on goals. I plan on moving to NYC by February, do or die. That gives me 6 months to find a job, an apartment, and save a good chunk of change to afford the move, if the company doesn’t pay for it. If I can’t find a good, solid job, I’m moving anyway, so I better have enough saved to allow me to live in NYC and afford their exorbitant rent.

I’ve been working out consistently lately. Five days a week, rest days, intense days, lazy days. But always on a routine, and always eating healthy. Never miss a day. And if I must, I always make it up. I weigh 200lbs at the moment at around 12% bf, and my body strength and size are the greatest they’ve ever been, which is great.

I have a new philosophy regarding working out. I’ve been lifting since about the 6th grade when I told my dad I needed to get bigger so older kids wouldn’t pick on me. We worked out in our pretty impressive basement gym for a good majority of my sixth and seventh grade around 5:30am every morning before school, then he began taking me to Billy Manzo’s gym at the same time.

Anyway, allow me to ramble a bit: I believe that if you want to gain muscle, you need to eat like a Neanderthal and lift like a cave man. What I mean is that you just need to eat tons of whole foods, solid fresh meats and all the grassy and leafy stuff, and lift heavy weights. Graze throughout the day. When you get in the gym, just lift the weight. Lift heavy, and lift often. Pretend you’re moving stones. Just lift the weights up, and then set them down. Practice good form, but don’t go crazy. And don’t go to failure every time you step in the gym. Save it for every third workout or so. Just lift heavy weight you can lift for two or four or six times, no more. It’s not a race. It’s strength training. Do that for a ton of sets every other day for your body, and pretty soon you’ll be strong. When you’re strong, you can up the reps and start going to failure.

My philosophy is this: you need to strengthen your Central Nervous System (CNS) in order to grow muscle. Your CNS stimulates muscle contraction. When you lift heavy weight, more of your CNS is taxed at once, and more muscle fibers are firing, with each one like an on switch. The heavier the weight, the more fibers are on, and the more stimulation is occurring, and stimulation is KEY to muscle growth. If you have a weak CNS, your CNS will fail before your muscles do, and you won’t be stimulating as many. So lift heavy, stimulate as many as possible, strengthen those connections. It’s all about mind-body. What you don’t stimulate doesn’t get worked out. Once you fortify the CNS you’ll be able to up the reps to eight to twelve to fifteen, and your muscles will explode. You’ll be able to push past failure and destroy the muscle fibers before the CNS is totally taxed and fatigued. Make sense?

You’re body adapts to whatever stress you throw at it, so don’t get consumed with the same workout, the same routine, the same exercises, the same old stuff. The only habit you need to get into is going to the gym and lifting heavy weight. Other than that, you shouldn’t get into any habits. You’re body wants to reach an equilibrium. Don’t let it. Change it up. Stop doing exercises for a week or two. Do lighter weight, do heavier weight, do it slow, do it fast. Just make sure you’re stimulating the muscles, and NOT going to failure. Be a little lazy. I mean, don’t leave the gym totally exhausted. Leave just under exhausted. The muscles will grow. It’s all about fast twitch muscles, they’re the big ones, and they’re anaerobic, so make sure you’re not detracting energy away from the muscles and towards your cardio.

And eat protein and carbs 30 min. before your workout, and tons of protein and carbs immediately after. Not till you feel like puking, but just enough to feed the muscles and replenish nutrients. Eat breakfast because your body is recovering from eight hours of starvation. . Eat dinner because your body repairs itself while you sleep. That’s where most growth occurs, so make sure you have plenty of protein, good fats, complex carbs, and nutrients for your last meal.

Anyway. Here is a summary of my current diet routine:

Daily Meal Regime

8:30am Meal 1:  Raw eggs: 4 whole, 4 whites. 2 scoops of weight gainers, 1 scoop protein. 2 cups of coffee

Snack

12:00pm Meal 2: 2 cans of tuna, 2 tbsps. Mayo, 1 can of black beans, 1 potato w/ 2 tbsp. sour cream OR 1 sweet potato. 2 cups of coffee

Snack

5:30pm Pre-workout Meal 3: 2 scoop protein, 1 scoop protein, vitamins, supplements

6:30pm Gym: 45 min – 90 min. Alternate weeks of 3 “low-rep strength workouts” to 1 “high-rep muscle building workout”

8:00pm Meal 4, Post-workout meal: Raw eggs: 4 whole, 4 white, 2 scoops weight gainer, 1 scoop protein.

9:30pm Meal
5A:  1x 8oz. chicken breast OR 10oz steak OR 6oz salmon. 1X 32oz Kale or Spinach salad w/ ½ bell pepper, ½ carton of grape tomatoes, 2 carrots, 1 cup broccoli, dressed w/ extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, parmesan.
5B: 1x 8oz. chicken breast OR 10oz steak OR 6oz salmon. 1x 12oz side salad dressed w/ extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, parmesan. 1 potato, 2 tbsps. sour cream, 2 bacon strips OR 1 sweet potato, 3 tbsps. Peanut butter

Snack

11:30pm Bed.

Snacks

Cottage Cheese, Canned Pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Apples

Fig Newton’s

Peanut butter and honey

Triscuits

Almonds and nuts

Raspberries

Carrots

Blueberries

 

Waverly

I’m tired. My sleeping patterns have wavered the past week or so. It all started with those books. Books. I buy books, then I read for hours, well into the night and the early hours of the morning, then I wake up for class, pound a coffee and do it all over again. It’s wearing on me, I think.

My eyes are burning. I feel used. Spent. Maybe I thought way too much today. Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe I’ve been thinking too much lately. It’s just that I’ve been over joyed with learning. I feel like I’ve been so honest with myself, with my progress and shortcomings that everything seems clearer. I know this is likely a short lived phenomenon, but I appreciate it none the less. I love feeling enthusiastic. I love possessing the stamina to read or write twelve, sometimes fifteen hours a day. But I know it’s not sustainable. I’m likely to crash. But I suppose that’s avoidable if I just sleep when I’m suppose to and get my enthusiasm under wraps. I just can’t help myself. When I get excited about a topic I become utterly possessed by the idea, it prevades every aspect of my thought and feelings. It literally consumes me. I read about it, I study it, I meditate on it, I talk about it with just about anyone that will listen. Then I write it out, in my journal, in this here blog, in notebooks or post its or napkins or my iphone. I just let ideas pour out of me, and they’re seemingly endless. It’s an amazing feeling and it goes on just about as long as I continue letting myself read and think about it. If I get distracted or drink excessively or do dull monotonous things, my brain slows down and my interests dampen and everyting seems to squeal to a halt.

Anyway. I’ve been thinking about so much lately, so so much. I’ve been feeling extra perceptive and I love it. I must have read four or five books this month, in addition to my eighteen credits of class.

I’m going on road trip for Spring break. My room mates and I are trucking it clear across the country. Destination: Venice beach. But we plan on taking numerous stops along the way, state parks, dive bars, exotic wonders, with plenty of local lore hunting. We’re borrowing a top notch camera so that we can document and capture all the thrilling adventures. It’ll make it more of a fun project in addition to just being memorable.

I’m tired. I’m feeling… alright. Mentally, I feel fantastic. I literally can’t get enough of life. I love it. Physically, well, usually I feel great.  It’s… holy shit. 2:30 in the morning. I need to sleep. I also need to exercise.

I haven’t spent a tremendous amount of time reflecting generally. My thoughts have mostly been preoccupied with sociological phenomenon, cultural ills, or economic problems. I’ve been trying to figure them all out, trying to crack the code, as they say, and arrive at some brilliant insight. We’ll see. I just keep reading and thinking and focusing and it’s bound to do me some good.

Many people would look at me and ask themselves what it is I’m looking for. They would try to pin point some feature in my past that would explain my eccentric, erratic, passionate, and sometimes crazed obsessions with various ideas. And they’re bound to come up with something. I mean, Freud did an awfully good job coming up with plenty of theories. Granted, they’re completely unscientific and mostly crap. But entertaining.

So to those who think I’m “looking” for something, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to disappoint you because, honestly, I’m not. I have found what I am looking for: my self. What you are observing is me getting to know myself through the process of learning, of mind expansion, or fervent feeling. We all spin our wheels some how or some way, whether it’s watching TV or exercising or pursuing careers. In the end the result is all the same. The difference is, however, learning expands the consciousness, it allows the mind to unfold and emerge in a wholly original way. My exploration is not in the world, it is within me. With or without the books this will take place. I will continue reading, continue writing, continue challenging assumptions, continue gleaning understanding of the facts and more importantly, of the relationships that govern interaction among things and people.

My eyes feel heavy. Not my eye lids. The actual globe, the fleshy pocket of purple fluid suspending my vision. It sinks into the socket as I lay here, gravity’s grip, that unrelenting force.

I watch myself age. Twenty five years old. Twenty five years on this planet. There is no arriving, there is only passing. Life passes us by. Some of us are busy moving, some busy thinking, some busy sitting or waiting or watching. The effect is all the same.  Society is cruel to some, especially the uneducated. The have no power, no language to leverage, no assets with which to will, to assail others with. But education takes place in reflection, not in brick and mortar mortuaries, what we call schools, but in the citadel of our mind, where language resides, the seat of being. And we educate by having discourse with ourselves, by practicing that proven mark of higher order consciousness: reflection. Text may facilitate some thoughts, and I would argue that it is one of the best ways, but books don’t do the work for you. They don’t make the connections for you. They don’t synthesize with past information and learning and make new material in the mind. That is reserved for reason. So I argue, any man can be educated so long as he reflects, so long as he meditates on his thoughts, not the new age nothingness, but dwell in substance so that new connections and relationships arise and are strengthened.

 

Good Company and Discourse

At the start of the semester I told myself that I will no longer be preoccupied with parerga and meandering thoughts of no immediate consequence, but focus solely on what’s most important, namely school and career hunting. I’ve been diligent with this commitment and it’s left me feeling significantly less tormented by my thoughts. On the flip side, I feel fairly superficial and empty, like I’m gliding and skimming along only the surface of life. I understand that now isn’t the place to get deep about existential questions. I’m not a professional social critic. I’m not a paid philosopher. I’m a student looking for a job, and that should be my priority.

But, as a human, it sucks not thinking. Reflection makes life vastly more interesting and curious. As much as it’s tormenting to continually swat at every biting thought, it’s an activity that keeps your keenly aware and awake.

I haven’t been writing. Writing. Writing. Writing. What is it about writing? this act of making thoughts visible and known to yourself and the world? It’s fascinating.

I had a late night last night. After I was through studying at a local cafe, my room mate and I visited a close friend of ours to indulge in red wine and friendly discourse, my two favorite postprandial activities. Nothing is better than open discussion with fellow oenophiles whom you love and love you. There’s never animosity or resentment or pride or fear to keep you from opening up and sharing yourself; just a plenum of mirth saturated with mutually authentic appreciation for courageous and novel thought.

It is in these moments and minutes and hours where you can really get to know yourself, sometimes even more than you get to know about your interlocutors.  These friendly games of discourse allow you to bask in the luminosity of unexplored streams of understanding, streams flowing with ideas long incubating, just waiting to hatch in the calescent glow of the right company. This is why a close coterie of friends is so vital, for they act as midwives who aid in the birth of fledgling ideas which we then pry and coax to fly with open discussion.

A good cadre provides an invitation for exploration, a warming refuge where the teguments of belief can be peeled back and catechized.  Discussion properly exorcises the most nascent conceptions and undeveloped beliefs, pulling them to the surface as it were, so they are rendered bare and vulnerable for inspection. Anyway.

Wittgenstein said “A new word is like a fresh seed sown on the ground of the discussion.” How wonderfully pleasant is that? It invokes fresh imagery that flowers like spring. Introducing new words into a discussion that has tossed around the same for long enough livens the debate and renews the flame that lights understanding. New words are like new keys which open new rooms, or new seeds that add blooming colors to variegate the garden of discourse.

Update

I’d like to write about this weekend, preferably sooner than later. The past two weeks have been good. Papers and essays will begin flooding into my routine with the guarantee effect of additional stress. Speaking of papers… I just finished reading a book for History of Economic Thought and I need to write a paper by tomorrow. Fun!

I bought a motorcycle two weeks ago. It was a 1982 Kawasaki KZ750H3 LTD with 29k miles. It ran well but it needed a lot of work. I decided to take it apart and rebuild it piece by piece into something that resembles a cafe racer. Much cooler than the original look.

I love mechanics and working with my hands. Plus I needed a project. Every semester I give myself some ADD project to work on. Whether its research, writing a book, forming a club or doing fund raising, I need to stay busy. Not that I’m not already, but I feel like I need self guided projects to maintain the sanity of my will. So the bike is in pieces in my basement. All that’s left is the frame and the engine. I had a disaster draining the oil. I had a pan I thought would accommodated it all, a thought that would later be to my dismay.  So I flooded a good deal of my garage with oil. I hope the landlord doesn’t mind. I’ll get kitty liter and try absorbing as much as possible.

I went on a date with a girl this Saturday.  I wanna write all about that, expunge some thoughts. Dating is interesting. So yea. I’ll save it and write about the details in my next update, hopefully within the next day or two. I suppose the date went great, I mean I had a good time. And we made plans to have dinner tomorrow night so I suppose that’s a good sign. Anyway. Write more later. Need to start this essay. And another before classes at 10 tomorrow.

Cheers to being a student!

Living Anew

I have just started living. Every moment I catch myself with a renewed sense of wonder. I want to continue catching myself all of my days.

Brief recap on end of December and beginning of January:

2011 has begun. The holidays have come and gone and provided much time for reflection and contemplation. It’s good to let things settle in the mind before swirling them up again.

Finals ended, for the most part, well. I came home to Jupiter Florida and traveled with my family to St. Augustine Florida where we spent Christmas in a small cottage a block from the historic district. The cottage itself was quaint, two bedrooms, a fire place, a christmas tree, a small bar and kitchen. It was definitely a dated home. There was a bed and breakfast adjacent to the cottage where we indulged in home made breakfast every morning. It was great. I felt spoiled this year. I am blessed.

St. Augustine is a great little town chocked full of interesting things to do and see.  It was founded in 1565 by the Spanish and is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United States. Cool little fact.

After Christmas I swung back into Jupiter and had the opportunity to spend new years with a lot of my old friends, which was nice. I went out a good deal. Drank a lot. It was good.  New years was great. I need to call some people and thank them for hanging out with me and showing me such a good time.

On January 1st, the afternoon of new years day, I got in my car with my sister and continuously traveled fourteen hours back to Nashville to convene with my Alternative Winter Break group. I arrived at 8:30, packed my bags, and met up with all twelve of them at 10:00am. The next eight hours I slept until I arrived in Natchez Mississippi.

I believe in volunteer work. I believe in giving yourself freely to people. Sharing yourself is so important. If we don’t give, we become too attached- to our time, to our things, to our money. You are not free if you cannot part with things and become attached. The more things you own, the more those things own you. Anyway.

In Natchez we woke at 830am and began work at the Sunshine Shelter, a place for children of abuse to reside between foster homes and what not. Its a safe haven where rehabilitation can begin taking place. We painted walls, cleaned up the yard and garden, did repairs, and talked with some of the children and teens there. It was extremely rewarding. As anyone can imagine, the shelter wasn’t exactly the finest of facilities. Most shelters and places like this struggle with funding and maintenance. They barely get by with state support. Yet, they place such a crucial role for rehabilitating victims within a community.

Anyway. We also worked at the Boys and Girls Club and Kyle’s House by painting and doing repairs. Kyle’s House was a day care facility for toddlers and children with special needs such as downs syndrome and cerebral palsy. It was a wonderful experience seeing those children and knowing that laying tile, applying fresh paint to grimy walls, and cleaning the yard was making a direct impact on their lives.

Natchez was a great little town with a ton of history. The weather hovered in the mid to upper sixties throughout the entirety of the week so we did a great deal of exploring the historic and more picturesque landscapes of the town.

The twelve students comprising the site were a phenomenal group. I don’t think I could have asked for a more dynamic, funny, and caring group. It was amazing how close we all became by the end of the trip. I sincerely hope we keep in touch throughout our time at Vandy. They are all incredible people, and brilliant in each their own way. Big things in their future.

One of the best aspects of the AWB trip is the relationships that are made within the group. This is facilitated by the life maps which are shared each night. A life map is the story of your life, from birth until present, that details every conceivable detail and event that have shaped you and the world view you have today. It offers a unique glimpse into the inner workings of your mind in a way that not many people have the priviledge of hearing despite how close they seem. The life map takes anywhere from one to two hours, but some last even longer. They are surprisingly emotional and usually deeply moving as you implore your depths and share the findings with this group of strangers. The vulnerability is exactly what brings the group together in such a unique way.

Although its not exactly realistic, I almost wish that life maps were a standard convention of our culture. It’d be cool to share your life story with every new acquaintance. We’d have such a greater appreciation for those around us. It really shows that appearances are deceiving and that we should always withhold superficial judgements about people until we hear their story and walk in their shoes.

Anyway.

Classes begin on Wednesday. I will be taking the following classes this semester, and I can barely wait!:

  • Philosophy of Knowledge (Epistemology)
  • Philosophy and the Natural Sciences
  • Philosophy of Psychology (Advanced Philosophy of Mind)
  • Existential Philosophy
  • Modern Philosophy
  • History of Economic Thought

Eighteen credits right there, and worth every one. I decided that I like school, and that I want it bad enough. That I am done being inactive. I need to be busy. Beyond busy.

History of Economic Thought is the only economics class I’ll be taking this semester. It deals with  the evolution of economic ideas from the ancient Greeks to the contemporary world with attention to the seminal thoughts of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, J. S. Mill, Alfred Marshall, and J. M. Keynes.

I’m not exactly keen on resolutions, but I do like renewing commitments and redefining goals according to priorities. These include:

  • Eat better
  • Work out 4 days a week
  • Lose fat/ gain muscle
  • Be positive and optimistic
  • Smile more
  • Promptly answer phone calls and return messages
  • Budget my money/ spend less!
  • Read more! Diversify!
  • Schedule time efficiently
  • 4.0 GPA -> Study: 1 hour in class=2 hours outside of class
  • Eliminate distractions!-> no procrastination!
  • Develop “Do it now!” philosophy of action
  • Blog minimum of one page per week.
  • Finish book additions, revisions.
  • Wake up/ go to bed early: Never sleep in or stay up late!
  • No more drinking (Can I? Yes. Should I? Hm…)
  • No smoking
  • Look at goals daily
  • Create a purpose: long term, mid and short term.
  • Stay organized and clean

These are just a handful, but extremely important nonetheless. I’ve thought or struggled with one of these recently and need to make a point to stick to it. Anyway. Sleepy. More thoughts tomorrow.

“When you want something bad enough, you make the time – regardless of your other obligations. The truth is most people just don’t want it enough. Then they protect their ego with the excuse of time.” – Rework

cognitive diarrhea

My thoughts have been flittering lately (is that a word?). Fragmented. It’s late right now. I have nothing worthwhile to say. Nothing to describe and articulate on. I have the very average sense of whats going on. Not too much I’d like to get out of me. I feel okay not expanding on it.

I wish my thoughts were elongated (does that make sense?). I wish I had more to say or think. I haven’t always been this way. And its funny… I’m constantly cycling through these periods of inspiration and dullness. I always look back for assurance to tell myself that life’s been better or worse. I can make the best appear however I choose looking back on it. Its not static in my world. Typically I look at my past as a thing thats hard to measure up to. That many people would have a tough time living a life as exciting and risky and fun filled as mine. Ofcourse I only remember the best days, or worst days that I triumphantly overcame. The days in between filled with confusion and listlessness almost don’t exist. But I know they did. In the case that my memory starts failing in my old age I still have my daily paper journals. The journals with the black covers and blank lineless pages that I fill with updates on the mood, particular attitude for the day, hopes, vexations, daily goals and routines. All that stuff. Its my log. Not so much of a poetic archive as it is a record. A record to remind myself of my average self over the years. Like I said, I always remember the past like its an immeasurable accomplishment. Those daily logs keep me grounded in that fantasy.

I was thinking back today on a lot. Highschool specifically (I always spell high school as one word…dunno why, but i won’t correct it this time). The days in highschool where life was this weird thing that you were born into… and it happened to you. the expectations were drawn up and you just grew into them. I thought I was broken when I didn’t ever measure up. when, in my junior year of highschool I had a hard time comprehending what college was for… who the hell knew what they wanted to do the rest of their life at this age? It hadn’t hit me yet. How do all these other people know?!? My senior year was the same… but this time trying was unfathomable. I was still waiting for my life to happen to me. Somehow I would start accomplishing great things and measure up to society’s standards… or my familys expectations. I waited and it never happened… I waited so long that I became bored… and a little anxious… so anxious and bored that i began seeking out activities to fill my time. Activities such as binging of all sorts of magical substances. I thought these would jump start my perceptions. That some how these substances would provide me with a newer and clearer understanding of lifes purpose. I can now say I was wrong. And if i was still actively doing them i would still be wrong. and every time i drink I realize how wrong I am. They offer nothing. eh. Fun for the moment but thats about it. Listen to me… I sound like a pathetic recovering alcoholic. The truth was… I wasn’t messed up at all. A little confused but thats about it. And as soon as i began believing in myself… and in results… life got real easy.

so i’m pretty much amazing. no really. I am great. I mean.. as a living breathing thing… I am irreplaceable. ha… just talking like that makes me feel good. hehe. Talking like I’m some god. Though I often entertain the idea that I’m pretty much flawless and godlike. I wonder if thats normal. I wonder if other people think thoughts like that? hm… don’t care. i know I’m not but what I think gets me a little closer than the rest is knowing I will never be there. Thats when acceptance and all that comes in. I’m bein crazy again.

I read this quote…
“Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.” —V.S. Naipaul.

Its pretty much amazing. Its also scary. I’m concerned I’m not living. Of course we all think we’re living it up. Doing all we can do. The truth is… YOUR NOT. I’m not. No one is. We’re all disillusioned. BUT.. we do choose the illusion. I’d like to improve it. I can. It takes will… believing… all that stuff.

I need to wake up early, go to the library… and study for like… an infinite amount of hours. I need to bang my head up against the wall and snap out of it. I want to crawl outta the niche I’ve carved for myself. Too comfortable. Thats the problem with this world.. me and you and everyone… we’re too damn comfortable (thats why i like working out). Pain means gain. I BELIEVE THAT. no pain, no gain. If your green your growin, if your red your ripe (whatever that really means.. i like it anyway). I need pain in my life… eventually.. and i know this from experience… it gets easier and less painful. Why do I second guess myself? Why do i think lifes soooo easy?… why do I always… and i mean… ALWAYS wait for it to get a little easier? All i do is cheat myself out of time… precious time.. and I only have so much… and opportunity… cause there is only so much opportunity that time can provide. UTILIZE YOUR TIME. err my time.