the spoiled, ungrateful 20-something.

I’m spoiled. I’m lucky. I have every great thing a 25-year-old kid from the suburbs of Metro Detroit could ever want. And for most of the year, I strive for more. Like what I have is not enough. Sometimes my health, my family, my life that’s so easy to live? I expect those things every day I wake up. I think we all do. That’s part of life. It’s as if those components of my life should remain perfectly in tact and everything else revolves around them.

But, that’s not the case.

Health can spike. Family can implode. Life can turn very, very quickly.

So rather than waiting to learn a life lesson from a tragic life event, I’m taking the day to really focus on the comfort and ease that is my life. How thankful I am for being given everything that I am. Every year on my blog, I talk about what I’m thankful for and what means the most to me. I’m all about traditions, as you can see.

THE PEOPLE

My grandfather is my ultimate hero, the person who sits in the back of my mind no matter where I am or what I’m doing. He constantly reminds me of where I came from, the childhood I so fortunately had and where I’m capable of going with hard work. He’s been all over the world and experienced so much in his 80+ years on Earth and, without probably even knowing it, inspires me with his every word.

My mom and dad are very different people, but they share a few common similarities that have made me who I am. First of all, they’re loving. They care more about my brother and me than anything else in the world, and that shows. Secondly, they’re funny. Without trying to be, they are comedians in their own rights and I think that’s soaked through to me. And lastly, they’re hard working. They take pride in what they do and they have showed me that sitting around is for losers, to put it bluntly.

My brother is my best friend. The kid that has sat next to me — whether we’re in the same part of the country or not — for the past 22 years. He’s tough, he’s intelligent and he’s as sharp as a freakin’ tack. His quick-witted humor is the most impressive thing about him and he refuses to ever back down from anything. I love the kid so much. What do people do without siblings?

My girlfriend is this tiny, stunningly-beautiful creature that balances me out, therefore making me a better human being. She never lets me take life too seriously and she’s always focusing on the little things that make life so worth living. She’s helped me realize that relationships aren’t all about smiling and being happy. Life sucks sometimes and the couples that can piss each other off yet turn around and grow from it? That says something. We’re continuing to build what we have and I’m glad we’ve done so. She’s the greatest.

My closest friends are few. I say that because I’ve always been one for keeping specific friends extremely close to me; individuals who know what I’m thinking when something happen in my life, without ever having to actually ask me. I’ve also realized that I only cling to hard workers. I can’t stand laziness or people who don’t make something for themselves. I thank these people for pushing me and never letting me sit still.

THE THINGS

Beer because a life without hops is a life without smiles, happiness and skipping.

Legs because a life without the rush of finishing a race is a sad, cold one.

Video cameras because life is too precious not to capture on film.

Lionel Bean because true happiness comes from the love of a puppy

There are — quite obviously — a million other things and people (specifically) that I’m thankful for, but this post had to end sometime today, right?

This year has been a whirlwind, but I’ll hold off on all that for now. A year-in-summary post is inevitable for late December. I’m thinking a video will appropriately be made to summarize all that.

For now? I’m thankful for this life and continuing to move forward.

—-

Want more? 

Vault: Thanksgiving 2011’s “thankful (for the ability) to be thankful" post

thanksgiving legs!

It’s a post-college tradition: Run a race early on the morning of Thanksgiving.

And just because we moved to the beach didn’t mean we’d be giving up on that promise to ourselves. Last Saturday, we completed the Native Sun Mandarin Run 10K. Brit’s neck injury was in full force, but the competitor inside of her refused to quit. She still powered through it despite pulsating pain around mile 3.

Look at that smile! The hurt sure vanishes once you cross that finish line. I can certainly relate. Proud of this chick.

So when Thanksgiving rolled around, Brit knew 13.1 miles and 2 hours of suffering wouldn’t exactly make for a great holiday. So she sat this one out and banged out a weight workout after cheering me on for the Subaru Distance Classic Half Marathon. “Can’t run comfortably? Gimme some free weights.” 

For the half, my goal was between 1:47-1:53, as I haven’t been running for speed much lately. I felt phenomenal for the first 8 miles, until mile 9 not-so-politely introduced itself to me. My legs felt like they were filled with rocks for 20 minutes or so. By mile 11, I was so amped on finishing, that the pain faded.

My official time was 1:43:33, putting a smile on my face for the day. Under 8 minute miles? I have to be happy with that at this point.

 

See? Classic ginger smile.

Also, if you’re a runner and you need something to keep track of your stats: Time, calories burned, lap time, pace, heart rate … well you need to buy a Garmin Forerunner 305, or even the newest model. I’ve endorsed this product a dozen times already, but it’s proved its worth once again this week. The thing does it all. I’ve been getting into Nike+ a little bit, too. More updates on that as I use it more.

Thanksgiving was a memorable one, as Brittany and I spent it alone (we called it the #ParentlessGiving) for the first time. She whipped up some new recipes, including a Sunrise Baked Potato she discovered on Pinterest. The girl can cook. I am not worthy, I am not worthy.

This photo proves it.

Tired from running. Pinned down by 2 dogs. Help!

Let’s go drink some beer, shall we?

exercise! beer! late night! sound familiar?!

In case you were wondering whether or not I matured and learned how to go to bed at a normal hour, the answer is, quite obviously, no (See timestamp).

But hey, I’mma be alright.

My lifestyle leads to evenings (or…late nights) like these and honestly, I’ve embraced it. Traveling to West Palm Beach for a 20-hour time period to shoot 3 videos, cruise back to Jacksonville to visit with my dad, shooting more video across this area and revising video edits at odd hours of the night so the client has a fresh version ready to go by 9 a.m. when they roll into “work” during “business hours.” Funny how those words in quotations feel so foreign to me.

I’ve been eating way too healthy lately, so I’m not in the best mood at the end of the day. Physically? I’m a $1M. Mentally? Ugh. My taste buds think I’m a basket-case. Stringing together a week of fresh dieting depresses me. But I know it’s what makes me feel best in the long run. I’ve stuck with my normal routine of working out daily (4 miles today!), eating 5 meals a day of 350 calories each and staying away from beer (craft, sir). And as you know, that last one REALLY makes me hate it all. And you. Go away. Well, not really.

FARMER’S TAN and LAME FILTERS in the GYM. Who’s got two typing hands and is a total lame ass? THIS GUY! To reward myself for what I consider “hard work” lately, I stocked my fridge with a new lineup of craft brews (thanks to BeerMeOut.com, as always). Reviews of those coming later on, but a little sneak peak sits atop this post. Cigar City’s Good Gourd! My goodness I’ve found it (finally) and all is right in the world. I’m not popping the bottle cap on that baby until the Tigers get their sh*% together.

Oh, and if I ever sound like I’m not enjoying what’s right in front of my face, please slap me and tell me. I swear I’m not as much of a pessimist as I may sound. It’s easier to write like a non-appreciative jerkface than it is to be sincere. For me anyway.

This is the view from my hotel room at The Omphoy in West Palm Beach last week. Not a bad place to relax after a long day of video, right? Wish I coulda moved in.

That’s the important thing … enjoy the journey.

And I’ll keep doing that.

Being Efficient in the Weight Room

For the remainder of the week, I’ll blog about a specific topic every day, rather than simply summarizing my workouts, food I ate and so on. I am a rather opinionated person, and for the past week, I’ve given you all the “G” version of my fitness life.

I’ll still post my results on my journey back down to 160 pounds, but focus on specific things that have popped into my head during the process. I rarely think of something and just let it go. I normally overanalyze and dissect it completely.

Today? Inefficiency in the weight room.

I’m an observer. I find great joy in watching other people (discretely, of course) in the weight room. What muscle groups they’re working, how much time they spend between sets, how often they break for water, how hard they’re breathing, how many times they check their iPhone for text messages … the list goes on.

The reason I minored in sociology was because I enjoy predicting — or assuming, I guess — what someone is thinking. I can tell how comfortable, or uncomfortable, someone is when around free weights. I look for key “tells” and my mind begins to churn. Maybe it’s a gift or maybe it’s the creepiest thing you’ve heard. The latter, I’m sure. Oh well.

The past week, I’ve shared the fitness center with a large range of individuals, from people my age to men and women in their 80’s. Maybe 90’s. Actually, possibly even their 100’s. After all, I do live in Florida. In short, it’s been more crowded than usual.

I’ve noticed a lot of uncertainty. One guy — probably 25-26 years old — rode the stationary bike for 5 minutes, got up, drank water in the corner, resumed for 3 more minutes on the bike, got up, curled 10 pounds dumbbells for 6 reps, drank water, rode the bike for 5 more minutes, got up, drank water and left. He was in the weight room for less than 15 minutes, doing some light stretching before he started his bike tour.

Honestly, I was dumbfounded.

Another man came in barefoot and shirtless from the pool, did three sets of tricep kickbacks, slammed some water and left.

Who are these people? What is going on?

I understand a lack of knowledge when working out, I get that. But how does someone do 9 minutes of exercise and then say to themselves, “That’s it for me for the day. I really don’t over to overextend myself.”

For years, I have worked at being extremely efficient in the weight room. I spend 45 to 60 minutes never stopping movement. One exercise to the next, a quick breather and it’s back to another lift. Prolonging your moves not only takes up more time, but it allows your muscles to cool down, making it harder for you to start up again. Which leads to less reps. Which leads to less of a workout. Which leads to inefficiency.

My tip? Whether it means anything or not? Go hard for 45 minutes. Even weight workouts should be cardio workouts, in a sense. Heart rate up. Sweating. Body never getting a chance to shut off.

Today I’m down to 171.2, trying to consistently confuse my body, working different muscles and focusing on new ways to burn calories.

I did 65 minutes at a 10.5% incline at 3.8 mph on the treadmill this morning, pouring sweat by the time I stepped off the machine. For an evening workout, I shot hoops for a half hour, running up and down the court to get my heart rate up. A nice day of cardio.

Tomorrow is weights. Here is the rundown, again:

  • Sunday (Day 1): 183.4 pounds
  • Monday: 179.6 pounds
  • Tuesday: 176.4 pounds
  • Wednesday: 175.0 pounds
  • Thursday: 174.8 pounds
  • Friday: 174.0 pounds
  • Saturday:173.2 pounds
  • Sunday (Day 8): 173.0 pounds
  • Monday: 171.2 pounds

See ya tomorrow!

Day 5: A Pesky Scale & the Little Shrimp Salad That Could

Spinach, chopped romaine, grilled shrimp, sliced avocado, carrots, mushrooms, kiwi and a little Italian dressing made up last night’s feast, or dinner, if you’re old-fashioned like that.

Yesterday was a productive day overall. At one point, however, I found myself holding the refrigerator door open staring at my current beer collection. Dammit. I promised myself no beer during this short little journey, which has turned out to be just a bummer. Sacrifies though, right? Stick to the plan.

As expected, the scale lashed back a little. Or maybe it’s my body? After 4 days of remarkable weight loss, the 5th set me back into my reality.

Just 0.2 pounds came off from yesterday morning. But as I already know, weight loss is never perfectly consistent despite a clean diet and grueling exercise regimen. You just have to keep at it, and keep at it I will.

The 5-day roundup thus far:

  • Sunday: 183.4 pounds
  • Monday: 179.6 pounds
  • Tuesday: 176.4 pounds
  • Wednesday: 175.0 pounds
  • Thursday: 174.8 pounds

In other news, Lionel has started a new trend of falling asleep while chewing on his toys. Midchew, his giant brown eyes slowly close as he props his head on whatever he was working away on.

This morning, The Green Squeak Monster (as I call it) got a break when Lionel got tired. After all, he has been awake for nearly an hour already. Time for a nap, right?