Ireland and Everton, Finally

Next month I’ll be traveling to Ireland for a story.

I’ll keep the details of the story under my hat for now. But needless to say, I’m thrilled to finally get the chance to visit Ireland. It is a place I’ve wanted to visit my entire life, and I’m very happy that I get to do so (and that the company is paying for it, to boot).

But here’s the best part: I’ll wrap up my reporting for that story on April 24th. Early April 25th, I’ll be taking a short (hopefully non-crappy RyanAir) flight to Liverpool. I’ll spend the day doing the Beatles tour and other things around the city. That night, I plan on meeting up with some of my Twitter followers for a few pints, as they say.

On Sunday morning, I’ll get up early. I’ll go to Goodison Park, home of my beloved Everton squad since the 1800’s. I’ll visit the official Everton store and buy some stuff. I’ll walk across the street to the iconic Everton pub The Winslow Hotel and have far too many pints. And then I’ll walk over to Goodison Park, hand them my ticket and walk inside to see Everton play Manchester United!


Needless to say, I’m thrilled about this trip. I didn’t know if I’d ever get to see Everton play at home, and now I do, and it’s happening in a month. I could not be more excited.

Belated Health Update!

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile. I guess I’ve settled into a routine, and with routine comes overlooking things like updating my blog about my routine. But I need to make an effort to update this more often, or at least settle into the habit of writing once a week, because I have some very cool things coming up over the next few months and I’ll want to write about them. More about those when I can lift the veil of secrecy.

So, health. As you might remember, I started this fitness/nutrition odyssey at 216 pounds and 34% bodyfat. Today (I weigh in each and every Sunday, and only on Sundays), I am 178 pounds and 19.7% bodyfat. I used to wear size 38 jeans, and now my 34’s are so loose that I’ll probably need to buy 32’s soon. My bench press has gone from roughly 115 pounds to (an estimated) 190 for one max rep, though I am not entire sure that is accurate since I haven’t maxed out yet. But I did four sets of four reps yesterday with 165 pounds, any my trusty little iPhone app tells me that means I can probably do one rep of 185 without killing myself.

More importantly, I can see drastic changes in my body. Like, huge. My shoulders are developing. My back is gaining a nice v-shape. My pecs are, well, pecs, as opposed to the boobs they used to be. My legs are stronger from front to back and top to bottom.

And I’m not the only one who can see the changes. When people who haven’t seen me in awhile see me now, they usually react. Two days ago, a buddy of mine said “dude, where’s the rest of you?” And on the same day, another said “how much weight have you lost, about 60 pounds?” And while that is flattering, I’ve only actually lost 38 pounds. But I am also aware that 38 pounds is something special.

But my weight is no longer my driving goal. My ultimate goal now? Get my bodyfat under 10%. Once I get there, I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it there. That takes a lot of work. It’ll take a lot of work to get there. But I want to get there at least once, just to be able to say I did it. I started at 34% and as of today I’m at 19.7%. Another 9.8% shouldn’t be too difficult. And my trusty app (BodySpace from, and seriously, it is the best) says I should be able to get there by January at the pace I’m going. It would be nice to be under 10% for the summertime. That won’t happen this year. But I can tell you that, where I’m currently at, I won’t feel stupid taking my shirt off at a pool this summer. Correction: I won’t feel stupid taking my shirt off at a pool, so long as I’ve manicured my chest hair into something tolerable.¬†

Here’s what I’m currently doing to try and achieve those results.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that I wasn’t recovering from lifting the way I needed to. I was so sore, in fact, that it made me want to not work out. And that was not acceptable, so I started doing some research and talking to smart people, and that research and those smart people told me I probably needed to up my daily intake of carbs and protein. Before, I was really only getting my carbs from veggies, because I avoided grains like a good paleo boy should. But something wasn’t working, and so I took their advice. And my sister was doing the macro thing and experiencing good results, and the people at my old Crossfit gym in Katy are doing the macro thing and experiencing good results. So I figured, yeah, I’ll give this a shot.

So I measured my current bodyfat and weight lean muscle mass using the InBody machine at Lifetime Fitness (an awesome machine if there ever was one). I calculated my macros and figured out my daily targets for carbs, fats and protein. I started eating with the intention of coming as close to those numbers as I could, and I came close. Within two days, I noticed that my post-workout soreness was dramatically reduced. I could tell that I’d worked out, but I wasn’t confined to the couch in agony.

Changing up the diet meant adding grains back into my meal plans, which I did in the form of English muffins as an afternoon snack. Because, let’s face it, English muffins are delicious. I toast them and top them with 1 tbsp of fat free strawberry cream cheese.

I also wanted to start getting a majority of my targeted 2,034 calories in before dinner, to help with recovery and so that I’ve burned most of the carbs by the time I go to bed. For breakfast, I do a bowl of oat bran with 1 tbsp of Justin’s honey peanut butter, a small handful of blueberries and a few drops of liquid Stevia for sweetening. I also do one cup of green tea with no sweetener and 16oz of black coffee.

Lunch is where I get most of my calories, carbs, etc. I work out mid-morning nearly every day, and so I want lots of fuel for my body. I typically make something I’m calling my “power salad,” which consists of: 8oz chicken breast, kale, cucumber, avocado, quinoa and a touch of Trader Joe’s cilantro salad dressing. It has roughly 900 calories, lots of carbs, fat and protein.

For dinner, I go lighter: usually either a chicken breast or thigh and some veggies.

My snacks throughout the day are apples, string cheese, carrots and the aforementioned English muffin.

As far as supplements go, I take 5g of BCAA 45 minutes prior to my workout and then another 5g halfway through my workout. After the workout, I do a protein shake. That’s it. No more supplements.

The workout program I’m doing is Marc Megna’s AMP program, which is both awesome and the devil at the same time. It’s “aesthetics meets performance” and is an 8-week program designed to make you look good while also increasing functional strength. I am starting week 6 tomorrow. I love this program.

That’s about it, I think. That’s a full update on my quest, along with everything I’m doing to get there. I don’t know if it will help anyone else out there, but if it does, I will be glad. Because, look: if I can do this, anybody can. I have spent an entire lifetime not doing anything remotely physical or healthy. Over the course of six months, I have changed that quite drastically, and changed the rest of my life in the process. If you’re out there and thinking about starting something like this, or thinking about getting your health in order, I just have one thing to say: Just. Do. It. Go to the gym and do it. Right now. Don’t put it off. Because if you put it off for a day, you can easily put it off for over 20 years like I did.

My Top Ten Films of 2014

I do this at the beginning of every year: I post my list of my favorite films from the previous year here on the blog. And then, almost immediately, I change my list. I change it 50 times. And that’s what will happen here: I’ll post this list, and then I’ll change it 50 times between now and the Academy Awards. I know this because I’ve already changed this list twice in the last hour.

Some notes: I haven’t seen everything yet. Still have to see Foxcatcher, Unbroken, Cake, Under the Skin, Still Alice and a few more. Once I see them, I’ll update my list. But I’ve seen most of the best films from 2014, so it’s time to rank them.

Here we go.

1. The Theory of Everything
2. Birdman
3. Boyhood
4. The Imitation Game
5. American Sniper
6. Interstellar
7. Chef
8. Wild
9. Nightcrawler
10. Gone Girl

What Am I Up To?

I haven’t written anything on here in awhile. That’s my bad. I could tell you that I’ve been busy, that I haven’t had time. But the truth is that I have had time. I just haven’t written.

When the breakup happened in August, I went through a phase where I wrote down my feelings. All of them. And at first, I published them here for the world to read. But then I realized that was probably a bad idea, so I put them behind password protection. I wrote for therapy and to make myself feel better. It was a suggestion from my therapist, and it worked to an extent. I did feel better after venting my feelings.

But then I realized I was probably oversharing. I also realized that my intentions behind the writing I did were something like: my ex will read these posts, and then she will get back together with me. It seemed so simple at the time.

Life is not so simple.

So I decided to stop letting everyone in the world read about my heartache. I kept talking to those close to me. I kept a handwritten journal. I kept seeing my therapist. And, wonder of wonders, I got better. I started focusing on my health and the food I take in. I turned daily visits to the gym into a habit. In doing so, I dropped all the way to 184 pounds. I started at 216 pounds in August. I’ve lost 10% body fat.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come. My body looks drastically different than it did three months ago. I have visible muscles, and I can feel strength I’ve never had.

I feel like the changes in my body are a visible reminder of the changes that occurred inside of me, too. I have gone through a lot over the past three months, but I came out the other side stronger than ever. I am happy and I smile and I laugh a lot. My friends have noticed the change in me, and that makes me happy. And I have made one new close friend, and I value her greatly.

I finished the Whole Life Challenge. That’s where the majority of my weight loss happened. Brandy and I tied for first place, and our team finished in the top 80 in the entire world. I enjoyed it so much that I’ll be doing it again in January.

Yesterday, I started a three week weight cut. It’s the same cut used by Mike Dolce when he’s helping fighters cut. My goal is to get down to 170 pounds by December 16. I’m going home for Christmas on December 17, and I’d like to be as small as I can possibly be. I also want to see what fighters experience when they’re going through weight cuts, because I feel like it will give me some perspective. And thus far, I feel great; I’m eating 100% clean foods, and I have tons of energy throughout the day. We’ll see how I feel on December 16 when I get ready to weigh in; for now, I am happy.

And that’s the thing. I’m happy. I have come a long, long way. There have been painful moments over the past three months. I am sure there will be painful moments in the future. But I know I’m equipped to handle them now.