Getting my act together

Today is the first day of my new plan for getting my act together that I mentioned earlier. I’ve been slacking off at the gym and at my meals. I’ve been very lazy and haven’t been doing much writing. This plan attempts to address all of these issues with two goals:

1. Be in the best physical condition of your life by July 1, 2007. Why July 1? Well, that is the day that I begin my month-long vacation, much of which will be in Europe. It’s a little less than seven months off and I think I can make a lot of progress in 7 months. What does “best physical condition” mean? This is a little bit harder to describe, but I’ll know it when I feel it. I’m not talking about just cardio, I’m going to tone up a bit, add some muscle mass, eat right, and overall be in great condition.

2. Write every day of the work week. This was a goal last year, although I didn’t formulate it as clearly, which sometimes helps. The idea here is that I’ll spend at least 1 hour Monday through Friday doing some writing.

The first step was to put together a reasonable schedule. The only thing I have to do here is stick to the schedule. I enjoy strength training in the mornings more than the afternoons. For cardio, it’s the opposite. I’ve taken that into consideration. I’ve got early bed times during the week so I can get a good night’s rest for the next day. This means no TV during the week, but my DVRs can cover me and I can catch up on Sundays (and even save time because I can skip the commercials). Sunday is my “free day” with no specific plan. But the remaining six days of the week are scheduled out. Here is what the schedules look like:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday (cardio days)

5:30 AM Wakeup
5:35 AM Breakfast
8:30 AM Morning snack
12:00 PM Lunch
3:00 PM Afternoon snack
4:00 PM Cardio workout
6:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Writing
8:00 PM Evening snack
8:30 PM Bedtime (10:30 PM on Friday)

Tuesday, Thursday (strength training)

4:30 AM Wakeup
4:35 AM Breakfast
6:00 AM Strength training
8:30 AM Morning snack
12:00 PM Lunch
3:00 PM Afternoon snack
6:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Writing
9:00 PM Evening snack
9:30 PM Bedtime

Saturday (strength training)

7:30 AM Wakeup
7:35 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Strength training
10:30 AM Morning snack
1:30 PM Lunch
4:30 PM Afternoon snack
7:00 PM Dinner
9:00 PM Evening snack

The early bedtime on Friday (for a weekend) is a sacrifice I am willing to make in order to stick as closely to this plan as I can.

As far as the meals throughout the day go, here is what typical daily meal log looks like for me. I am a creature of habit and while there can be some variation here, I am more less fine sticking to what’s on the list:

Breakfast:       Cereal (Cheerios) and milk, toast, OJ
Morning snack:   Celery stalks w/peanut butter (x6)
Lunch:           Peanut butter & jelly on whole wheat; soda; fruit (apple 
or sliced orange)
Afternoon snack: Turkey & cheese sandwich on whole wheat
Dinner:          Chicken (3 pieces), vegetables (mixed, broccoli, etc.)
Evening snack:   Carrots or fruit

Not listed on the meal plan is water which I will be drinking throughout the day. I am initially aiming for 2.5 liters/day. (1.5 liters of bottled water drinking throughout the day and another liter during workouts.)

I bought a couple of 9×5 notes books to keep track of my progress. Each double-page entry contains my meal log for that day on the left page, and a list of my workout plan (and results) on the right-facing page (see picture).

I have scattered motivational notes and reminders throughout my house. Things like “Bored? Go to the gym!” and “July 1, 2007” and “Try harder! Add an extra 5 kg today!”. I’ve also got my calendar posted on the fridge, in my home office, work office, and in my bedroom.

Eventually, this material will find its way online in some form so that those who want to keep track of my progress (including my writing progress) can do so independent of the blog.

I was up a 5:30 AM as scheduled today, had cereal and milk, toast, and OJ for breakfast, and had celery and PB for my morning snack. As of this writing I’m about halfway through a 1.5 liter bottle of water. I’m scheduled to do cardio at 4 PM (40 minutes on the elliptical). I am added one set of strength and abs to each of my cardio workouts to fill out the hour. Tonight it will be upper body (bicep curls, leg lift and crunches).

And I have a brand new workout play list which I will test during my workout this evening.

Let the games begin!