Operation Sexy Body

Every so often I like to stray from the typical financial mumbo jumbo and write about some stuff I’m sure none of you really care about. As the title alludes, I am currently on a mission of utmost importance… getting sexified for my wedding.

The wedding is tenatively scheduled for August 8th, which leaves me with approximately 8 months to get totally ripped. Just like I got my financial life in order (or at least am trying to) I need to set up a game plan for Operation Sexy Body.

Fortunately my roommate is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach/Personal Trainer so if I need any help or resources he can whip my butt in to shape. I originally planned on joining a gym to help get in shape, but I’m just too darn frugal to pay for the membership (How many of you actually use your gym memberships consistently?). Plus my roomie has a bunch of workout supplies like free weights, pull up bars, bands, and a big giant rubber ball thingy.

Here’s what I think I will be looking to accomplish…

1) Run three to five miles three times per week

2) Be able to do 20 pullups

3) Work on a 6-pack, currently have a 2.5-pack 😉

4) Run 2 miles in under 14 minutes

5) Reach goal of 50 consecutive push ups

6) Not look like this guy…

You’ll notice I did not include a weight loss goal in my list. I’m 6’1 and weigh 175lbs so I am not overweight, so I don’t really need to drop weight as much as I just want to make sure I am lookin hot as H-E-double-hockey sticks come wedding day.

It’s one thing to have a stated goal to get in shape, it’s a whole other thing to actually do it. So mark my words bloggers, I WILL BE SEXIFIED BY AUGUST 8TH. Are you a sporadic worker-outer like myself? How frequently do you break a sweat? Do you practice what you preach when it comes to your health?

Willpower is genetic?

A few weeks ago, I briefly mentioned an article at I Will Teach You To Be Rich. It was titled Ugh,why don’t fat people just eat less? I have wanted to talk about my opinions in reference to the article for a while, so I do so today. Here’s a brief passage from the article.

Most importantly, behavioral change is not simply about trying harder. Yes, effort is important, but whether it’s passive barriers or the variety of other reasons that illustrate how personal finance is not about more willpower, let’s be real: Behavioral change is incredibly complex and difficult.
Anyone who believes people overeat and overspend simply because of a lack of willpower is simplistically ignoring decades of research so they can ideologically mislead themselves.

Although I do agree that both nature and nurture play huge parts in human development, I am still skeptical of blaming genetics for all our problems. Few would say DNA has no role in our development, but, and this is a big but, I do think we have allowed our DNA to limit us. It’s become a crutch that too many use as a reason to underperform.

I’m just not buying the “My DNA has cursed debt upon me” argument. People get caught up in the “This research shows….blah blah blah” and never think past it. I would like to remind them of Newton’s third law of statistics...For every statistic there is an equal and opposite statistic (that’s what it was right?) You can also find stats that show saturated fat and high fructose corn syrup are beneficial to the human body. Don’t live a life bound by how statistics tell you to live.

Maybe I am ignorant, but I refuse to subscribe to science that says I am forced in to medocrity. For anyone that disagrees, take a good look at Barack Obama, little (if anything) in his upbringing, would lead anyone to believe he was going to be President. I say, “Be the exception, not the rule.” Do you think I’m ignorant for ignoring scientific research? Well, ignorance is bliss and I’m one happy ninja.

Mini Fridge Hell

I now can say I have experienced a little taste of hell. As you all are aware, I am currently on a business trip on a very tiny island in far east Asia. I have blogged a few times about my food setbacks when I wrote about packing a lunch and how awkward eating out alone can be on business trips.

Consider those issues trivial compared to the issue I now face. There are only a handful of food options where I’m staying. There’s a burger king, subway, pizza place, one buffet style cafeteria, and a grocery store. After two weeks of whopper juniors, 12 inch subs, and medium pizzas, I’m pretty sure my stomach wants to punch me in the face.

My hotel room is equipped with a mini-fridge and a microwave. I’ve done the peanut butter and jelly thing a handful of times, but I am in need of some nutritional meals that don’t require an oven or a stove. The meals I typically make for myself, back home, all require some type of cooking.

Imagine your oven/stove broke down today and you couldn’t get it fixed for six weeks. What would you work in to your diet? I’ve flirted with the idea of making a salad, but would get pretty sick of it after about two meals. Right now my “mini fridge diet” consists of PB&J, cereal, apples, pears, oranges, and yogurt. That’s all I got. I’m freaked out by cooking things in the microwave (I feel like it makes my food toxic….crazy I know) so frozen dinners and the like aren’t really an option.

Anyone have any crazy delicious sandwich combinations that are easy and never get old? My culinary skills are quite elementary so try and keep it to recipes you would trust a 3rd grader with 🙂 I may be a Debt Ninja, but I am in no way any kind of Chef Ninja. Oh, and keep in mind the grocery store on this island is pretty ghetto so pre-made sandwiches/salads/soups don’t exist here.

I’m a happy camper

What is the deal with sad people? I am thoroughly convinced some people choose to be miserable. Well maybe they don’t wake up and think “I hope today is a terrible day” but they definitely let little things bother them more than the average ninja.

I had to take a three hour, seven hundred question, psychological exam the other day and it made me realize something. I’m a pretty freakin’ content individual. Now I know that I have a lot to be thankful for: steady job, good income, loving family, and blue eyes, but I don’t know why some people prefer negativity.

I got friends that complain about their job, school, love life, finances, etc. I realize some people’s lives are more difficult, but that doesn’t mean they have to choose misery.  After all, as bad as you may think your life is, there’s probably someone out there thats got it worse.

I’ll just be honest. I don’t really like being around negative people at all. Now I’m assuming most of us probably prefer to avoid Negative Nancy, but how do you deal with them if you are around them frequently? I have tried talking with them, but they seem to just bring me down. They don’t want advice ’cause they say things like “You don’t understand.” Do you cut them out of your life? Do you remain patient and try and preach happiness? Do you slap them across the face and say “Quit your whining sucker!” If I see Nancy again, I’m gonna kick her in the elbow. 

Sometimes the best investments return no money

Can ya guess where this article is going? It’s time to get all sentimental up in hurr and take a step away from money… kind of. If you’re like me, it’s probably not uncommon for you to make everything become a monumental financial decision. I have been trying to balance my priorities and make sure my journey to being freaking rich doesn’t prevent me from having fun and making “investments” in other areas of my life.

As much as we value money, I’m sure we all value friends, family, fun, happiness, beer?, sleep, laughter more. As a means of accountability (to myself) I am going to lay out the various parts of my life that I want to continually be investing in.

The girlfriend (aka The Girf): Let’s face it, dating is expensive. I don’t reap the benefits of combined housing, joint checking accounts, dual income like I will when there is a ring around my finger. As the boyfriend, I personally believe I should pay for virtually all meals. That’s not because I feel obligated too, but because I want to. But as we all know, dining out can get expensive real quick. I have actually caught myself avoiding dates with my girlfriend to spare a couple bucks…dumb. There is nothing wrong with paying a little extra for an “investment” in our relationship. The date isn’t just about the food we shove in our face, but about the quality time we get together, trying something new, and getting away from distractions. I’d way rather pay $20 for a meal with my Girf than $20 to go a movie theatre and not get to talk to her. I will temper my uber frugal nature with a little bit of love and common sense.

Family/Friends: I live in San Deezy. The majority of my family and friends live in Seattle. A round trip ticket usually costs around $250. It’s been a while since I have gone home just to go home. That’s not to say that I haven’t been lately (was there in January, March and April), but each trip had a specific purpose. January was Xmas time and March and April were both for weddings. It’s been a while since I have just taken a vacation for the sole purpose of enjoying the company of my parents, siblings, and friends. I think about heading up there every summer for a week long get away, but haven’t done it since college. Even if I can’t make it back to the Pacific Northwest I can sure try and call/email/tweet/facebook/instant message/text my friends and family more often.

Food: Eating healthy is easier said than done for me. I just can’t get over how expensive it is to eat organic, non preserved, no sugar, etc. I have cruised to the grocery store and made it a mission to buy healthier choices. Needless to say, the bill is noticeably higher. I use to be frustrated with a larger grocery bill, but then I thought to myself “Is more expensive ALWAYS a bad thing?” I enjoy life and want to extend my time on earth as long as possible. Eating twinkies, Jack in the Box, and ice cream wont help accomplish that goal. Over the last year I have drastically changed my eating habits and I try to cook (from scratch) the majority of my meals. Although, I still don’t buy strictly “organic” I have definitely improved the sexiness of my grocery cart.

Fitness: I think we all know that running, yoga, weights, sit-ups, and just about any other type of physical activity is good for us, but few actually do anything about it. Don’t pull the “I hate running” or the “I have a bad back and can’t lift weights” excuse. Everyone can do something to improve their physical fitness. You know, and I know, that we should dedicate at least 30 minutes of our day to some type of activity (no going to the fridge to grab a popsicle doesn’t count as an activity). When’s the last time you broke a sweat? I hope it wasn’t when you were trying to squeeze in to a pair of jeans you use to wear 6 months ago. It takes discipline to get healthy, just as it takes discipline to get out of debt.

These are just a few of the areas of my life that I want to make a conscientious daily investment in. These returns will far exceed those of my 401k and Roth IRA. Where are you investing your time? What are some important things that you have let get away from you? What are you gonna do to better your quality of life?

Physical and financial fitness

I hopped on the scale the other day and saw that I have gained ten pounds in the last year. Yuck! I’m 6’1 and went from 170 to 180. Now some of you are probably thinking “180lbs is still underweight for your height.” I totally agree, I have actually always wanted to weigh around 180lbs so I wouldn’t be the awkwardly skinny kid, but there is a difference between weighing 180lbs and weighing a healthy 180lbs.

My ten pound weight gain is directly correlated to my pathetic exercise schedule over the last year. In college I ran four to six times per week and was probably in the best shape of my life. I was able to keep up with my running for the first year post college, but have seriously sucked it up for the last twelve months. I have only been running about once a month. I noticed my weight increased a couple pounds about four months ago and didn’t really think much of it, but after weighing myself a week ago and seeing the big 1-8-0 on the scale I was not happy. Again, I’m not anorexic and I would not mind weighing 180lbs, but I only want to do so because I am super active and exercising regularly.

So how the heck does my obesity relate to personal finance? It would have been a helluva lot easier for me to never gain the weight in the first place, and always maintain a healthy level of exercise in my daily schedule, but instead I got lazy and as a result gained weight. Sound familiar? Finances are no different. It is a bajillion times easier to never get in to debt than it is trying to dig your way out of it.

Are you financially overweight? Do your bank accounts reflect poor spending habits and a lack of saving? If so, get your obese butt on the financial treadmill and shed some pounds, or in this case debt! If your young, start forming healthy financial habits now. Learn everything you can about how to make your dollar work for you. Don’t be tempted by material objects. Don’t buy that new car. If you find yourself in a heap of debt, who cares! It’s never to late to start exercising. You don’t have to be in shape to exercise, and you don’t have to be rich to save. You have to make becoming financially fit a priority. Start a budget, pay yourself first, pay off debt, and you will start to see the benefits of a little financial workout.

Don’t be that guy that sits on his couch watching American Idol, eating a microwave dinner, that says “I’ve tried dieting and exercise, but it’s impossible to lose weight.” Or that girl that says “I can’t afford to pay my rent” because she just went to the mall and dropped a G at Nordies. You are in control and it is imperative that you exhibit financial discipline. There is so much more that I want to say, but I’ve probably offended a hand full of people and will leave it here for the time being.

Yo mommas so poor, she had to take out a second mortgage on her cardboard box.

Discipline or Regret

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.” – Jim Rohn.

Yes, YES, YESSS!!!!

Be DISCIPLINED with your fitness and finance now or REGRET that you weren’t later.

Which do you think is more uncomfortable?

So why should you be disciplined about fitness now?

Well, get ready for this tasty nugget of information

Physically fit individuals experience a greater than 50% reduction in risk of death from any cause!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This includes the leading cause of death in America, cardiovascular disease. Exercise and nutrition fight cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, age-related decline in mental function and memory, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, cardiovascular disease, and even accidental death.

And if you don’t believe me check out the references.

The bottom line is that the lives of those who utilize exercise and nutrition are increased in both quality and quantity.

A short post, I know. But what else do you need to know to motivate your discipline and start exercising. You CAN do it!

Don’t REGRET not reaping the rewards of a healthy lifestyle

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2. McDowell I. Alzheimer’s disease: insights from epidemiology. Aging (Milano). 2001 Jun;13(3):143-62.
3. Hu G, Jousilahti P, Nissinen A, et al. Body mass index and the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Neurology. 2006 Dec 12;67(11):1955-9.
4. “Eliminate Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).” CDC.gov. May 11, 2007. Center for Disease Control. October 07, 2007.
5. O’dwyer ST, Burton NW, Pachana NA, et al. Protocol for Fit Bodies, Fine Minds: a randomized controlled trial on the affect of exercise and cognitive training on cognitive functioning in older adults. BMC Geriatric. 2007 Oct 4;7(1):23.
6. Brown DW, Brown DR, Heath GW, et al. Associations between physical activity dose and health-related quality of life. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 May;36(5):890-6.
7. Galper DI, Trivedi MH, Barlow CE, et al. Inverse association between physical inactivity and mental health in men and women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Jan;38(1):173-8.
8. Strawbridge WJ, Deleger S, Roberts RE, et al. Physical activity reduces the risk of subsequent depression for older adults. Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Aug 15;156(4):328-34.