BURN OUT

I am burned out. I am burned out from work, from training, from working out, from life’s ever continuous stresses. Combined I am beyond burned out. 

I do not have a vacation scheduled till summer. I do not have enough PTO to “take a day”, because of needing to use my free PTO to attend to my sick child when he was admitted to the hospital.
I do not get enough sleep a lot of nights, because I am attending to work emails or trying, TRYING, to find spiritual answers and Martial Arts instruction or learn from my teachers on my own. I spend hours doing stressful things for my job, growing ever more taxing and demanding.

I try to work out daily, either cardio from walking or kettlebells to help balance and PT injuries from years of lifting heavy weights.
Thanks to inadequate sleep, elevated stress, and recovering injuries, I am not losing weight like I want, leading to more estrogen and cortisol in my system.

This is a negative feedback loop, keeping me tired and fatter then I like and should be. I try to dedicate time to being a good and attentive father and husband, yet work and house needs keep me from being as present as I want to be.

I AM BURNED OUT.

SO – how do we fix this?

I am going about it this way:

Taikokyu – Mind Body Breath – Daily. I am stretching and meditating and breathing. Working my body’s musculoskeletal systems and organs. Focusing and clearing the mind of RELAXING .

Kettlebell workout 3 days a week – Complexes of sets and reps for time. Hitting all the major muscle groups, increasing strength, endurance and hyper trophy 25-30 minutes a day.

Ninpo/Aikido – I will train aikido 1.5 hours once a week, and I learn and read and practice basics of ninpo 10-30 minutes daily. Even if it is just kata for ichimonji no kata. I will also mentally drill Gyokko Ryu and Wing Chun/ JKD. I may consider even returning to Krav Maga once a week to keep my skills sharp against real opponents.

Be Present – I try to spend as much time as I can daily with my son while he is awake. Not always not stressful, but being there and experiencing him makes me happier and my heart fuller then I would have thought. I then spend evenings with my wife, even if its just spending time in the same room together, not doing the same activities, we get to unwind and talk.

Daily I try to be a “good” – fill in the blank for you, whatever that means. I think being rounded and trying to enjoy the here and now and continually try to better oneself is the core essence of growth.


This is how I intend to fix burnout. A few beers with friends and a trip to the shore doesn’t hurt either, but those are not as frequent as I need. I need to refocus on my Budo, my why, and also grow, be confident, and stop this constant struggle. Embrace the stresses, alleviate what you can, and proactively work on you. A stronger you is an anti-fragile you.

Getting leaner and lighter without giving up pizza ( or other food you love)

Do you want to eat foods you love but also lose weight at the same time?

It is easier then you think. Now, you can’t eat all the stuff you love at every meal in any quantity you want, but you can strategically do it without counting calories.

Make 2 out of your 3 ( if you choose to eat 3) meals a day healthier and lower calorie meals. How do you do that? Follow steps below:

Breakfast –
NO CEREAL ( looking at you fruity pebbles). These cereals are high in sugar and though they are fortied with vitamins and minerals, they over all don’t fill you up. Eat a protein like eggs, egg whites, sausage, ham, Scrapple. Eggs are a solid choice and you can add light cheese if you like. Avoid bacon and other higher fat meats – fat has more calories then protein or carbs. Try to have a good grain if you like having toast, whole grain or ancient grain breads with a jam or jelly. If going that route, use one with no added sugar.

Lunch –
Same theory as breakfast: Have a protein source, a good carb ( veggies – raw or cooked (steamed/baked), potato, sweet potato. Avoid adding tons of butter to everything, instead use and cook in olive oil. Add in some other heathy fats like avocado. Protein sources should be lean cuts of beef, pork, turkey, chicken, tofu, fish. Avoid sauces that are fat heavy. This doesn’t mean no fat, but pick better fats.

Dinner –
Eat what you like. Just keep the same ideas above. Do this most of the week. We are going for 60-70% adherence here.

Alcohol –
This is NOT a carb. Drinks can have carbs in them as drinks come from the fermentation of fruits and grains (wine and beer). The drier a beer or wine the less sugar (Carbs), but the alcohol is itself its own macronutrient.
What you need to remember here is that Liquor (vodka etc) is a grain alcohol that has been distilled and has no sugar left in it. Due to this fact, its got less calories than all other types of drinks.
So with that information, when drinking remember to drink lighter calories drinks like vodka soda, light beers, dry wines and avoid anything with added mixers ( soda, sugary mixes, etc.).

If you are going to drink, restrict it to 2 drinks daily, as alcohol slows or stops your body from burning other foods for energy and prioritizes the alcohol, because your body sees it as a poison and wants to get it out. Drink in the evening so your body has burned food and body fat all day for energy, then when you drink, it won’t affect your diet. Remember also – heavy alcohol consumption is bad for your liver and sleep and recovery and, well you fucking get it lol.


You don’t need a cheat day on this diet because as long as you follow the above most of the time, you can have a burger here, pizza there.

If you follow this way of eating you will lose weight.

Now – you won’t be skinny as a reed on this diet, but it will allow you to keep your weight down and if you are overweight it will help the pounds initially fall off. You will at some point get to a plateau where you will not lose any more weight. That’s because the amount of food you are eating possess enough calories that you no longer are eating in a deficit. To help you could: workout, eat less “bad” foods ( looking at you deep fried anything in sauces), or simply eat smaller food portions.

Here is the real secret: Workout by lifting weights 3 days a week, walk instead of driving (if you can), go for a walk 2-3 days a week, and use the stairs (not elevator). You do this AND eat mostly like above – You will see dramatic changes in your body and how you feel.

Thanks everyone – more posts like this and around weight lifting and engaging your kids to come.

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AFD

How to be a better father in 3 easy steps

Hope cliche is that title? In actuality its many many tiny steps every day, but we can sum them up into 3 broad ranging categories.

1. Be there and be aware –
When you are with your children, be there. Not just physically being there, but mentally engaged as well. Interact with them, ask questions, ask how they are doing, engage with them. Play with them. This will build good memories for the both of you, as well as allow you to have a more personal relationship. Think about what it is they are doing and saying, this will help you feel more connected and not regret later on in life.

2. Put down the phone
This seems pretty straightforward after our last point, but giving a phone or device to your kids to entertain them if not helping them develop. You have regressed socially thanks to your device, it is doing the same to them as well as creating a potential addiction. Studies are showing the degenerative effects these technologies have on our kids development as well as exacerbating things like ADD and ADHD. You have probably noticed it yourself, not being able to stay on track with a thought, or engaged in an activity without mindlessly looking at your phone. Put It Down.

3. Talk to them and think about them
Let you kids know you love them, you are thinking about them and are proud/sad/happy, whatever. This allows your child to know it’s ok to have emotions and that its safe to share them with you. You by communicating are leading by example. Now this isn’t a psychological cure all, but it will help. Plus, who doesn’t like hearing their parents tell them they love them, are proud of them, miss them, and are going through the same emotions we all go through, but don’t always vocalize. — This works great with your partner too, who would have guessed?!

Well gents, that’s all for now. Meditate on this and be proactive in executing the above. It will help make you happier and help your kids develop.

AFD

Live in the NOW – you won’t regret it!

We here all to often to not worry about the future or to wallow in the past. For many of us it seems unlikely we can focus on the “now”, this present time and what we are doing.

We all know that we should live in the now, experience our kids growing, bonding and spending time with our spouses, yet we waste the now thinking about the future and or the past. We don’t enjoy the now as we should, instead attributing excitement and joy to some point in the future, a future that may never come.

I know it is easy to say “live in the now”, but doing it is quite different within our society. I am guilty of it as anyone else. I will be sitting there thinking about my work day ahead or what will need to happen to go to somewhere in the future instead of observing and engaging with my son, watching him as he develops language and eats his breakfast. Making funny faces and learning as he plays with his toys or even when I wish he could just talk instead of use the 30 or so works he has now and how adorable it is

I think back to when he was an infant and how I was impatient for when he was awake more or doing more things. Now I miss the time spent feeding him his bottle or figuring out how to use his hands and how to roll over. I miss those times because I was thinking about the future, and I am missing the now and feeling bad, because I am focusing too much on the past. I remember a line from Kung-Fu panda from the old Turtle master Oogway that sums this up.
“ Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called a present.”

Enjoy the now because it is all you have and will give you memories in the future when you watch your family in different ways.
Be ever present in the present, get off your phone and enjoy your real life, in the now, because this is all you get.

AFD 1*

New Writer Incoming

Hey all

Happy 2022 – or you know 2020 part 3.
We have a new father coming on board to contribute to the site and bring in a fresh set of eyes as BPD and I have been up to ours in diapers!

MG is the new contributor and is also a new father. We share a love off Brewing, Sports and Fishing. We are friends and alumni of the same University ( WE ARE.. PENN STATE) as myself and BPD.

New stuff coming down the pike at you fast and hard for 2022.

Till then Keep Frosty

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AFD

Birthdays and other musings

Hello ALL

I apologize for the longer hiatus between posts recently – life is busy and gets in the way. Lots of new things going on that I will go into today as well as the joy/anxiety of another birthday for me.

So – where to begin? I guess it would have to be with the ending of Summer 2021 and beginning Fall ‘21. Got to spend a few days at the beach this summer, not as many as the past but my son seems to enjoy it. The beach naps aren’t as good and though he still requires 2 naps a day, it did put a certain limit on beach and “relaxing” time.

PSU football is back, and crowds are in full swing making this feel like we are getting back to normal. I am not a fan of people thinking “new normal” and want the real normal back.
We have also switched out our inflatable pool for a SoloStove Firepit and though it is still warm at night, nothing better then relaxing with a beer by the fire – after kids are in bed of course!

Stress and anxiety are still running a bit high as we adjust to having a walking, babbling toddler. We have yet to fully “ baby-proof” the house but we are getting there. We had storm damage to our home and the process of getting a new roof and, new fence, and vehicle damage repaired is anything but smooth, relaxing or carefree.
Compound daily struggles, stress, work obligations and potentially trying to move within the next year – puts a ton of pressure on your marriage, relationships and mind.

I have been looking to try to calm my mind. To look inside instead of out and ground myself. I have had a questioning of what I believe, spiritually, since the passing of my cousin in late 2020. I have returned to meditating more. Stretching more to focus that mind/body connection. Breathing deeply while trying not to think.
I have returned to using Reiki and other energy healing techniques, as well as Shinto philosophies from East Asia to bring me back to, well, me. It’s the only way I can think to be the best version of me I can.

I have reinvested in my fitness and martial training. This is all in attempts to continue to refine myself and have a sound body and sound mind. We are our biggest critics and enemies. I need to fix that in me, so I can be the best husband and father I can. I need to not be quick to anger or judge. To listen to my gut and intuition when I have spent so long ignoring it.

Due to all of the above, my upcoming birthday this year feels heavy. Another year gone and like everything else, some regrets with it. Who knows how many birthdays we will have? Who knows what comes after? Who knows what the future holds. I just hope to give myself the best hand I can to live the best life I can.

Also – I want to travel again. This lockdown and then movement restrictions is going to break the world – we are not meant to be slaves to fascists declaring they know better then I, on how to help me. We are a social animal, who needs discovery and adventure. The time is rapidly approaching for an adventure to help with my mental space as well.

New things will be coming to this page – assuming anyone actually reads this. More fitness, Spirituality, life skills and martial thoughts incoming!
I also will revisit brewing and other fun things. Till then.

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AFD

Changes are a-coming

Change. It is inevitable. The better we can accommodate and change to it, the better off and happier we will be. Or so that’s what the research says.

I have lived through much change. From the simple times of childhood in the 80s and 90s through my teens and 20s in the early 00s and 10s. I have lived abroad and traveled a lot. In that time life changes as I grew and matured were awkward but expected.

What changed and wasn’t expected was going to high school and watching the Twin Towers come down in NYC due to a terrorist attack.
What wasn’t expected was a second armed conflict in Iraq, or worst, the continued GWOT (Global War on Terror) in Afghanistan. Now, 20 years on from that September morning in 2001, The world, our adversaries and their capabilities are a lot different from the 80s and 90s.
Back then there was no “extreme” left or right wingers. If there was, most people identified them as almost radical. Today, trying to find a moderate if like trying to find a ride out of Kabul Airport.
Our enemies were known – Communism, Fascism, Genocide, the destruction of American morals and normalcy.

The world has made great strides and progress – American too – for LBGTQ and equal marriage as well as coming together to fight a pandemic – be it from a virus, or the corrupt tyrants who shut down states, economies, and ruined small business peoples lives.

Now we face another change – The world after Afghanistan falls. Will it be like when Taliban took over in ‘96? Now better equipped with US hardware and weapon systems – will it be even worse for that population and expanded global terror is Asia, Africa, and then advance to the EU and US?

I don’t know.

What I do know – I will do what I can to make this the best world possible for my child(ren?). My co-author on this site is expecting his 4th in a few days and I can not wait to meet them. That said , we must accept these changes and be the agents of change we wish to see in this world. It’s what drove my into Law Enforcement and now into medicine and working as a volunteer with the local fire company and my Masonic Lodge.

Thoughts to ponder and a final quote:

If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace” – Thomas Paine.

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Spirit – being more than yourself.

What is spirit? What is having spirituality? I don’t mean having religion, though for some those two thought processes go hand in hand.

What I am referring to is, as a father, believing in something bigger then yourself to help guide you, your intuition in situations, and having a comfort in something greater.

I know – this is sounding a little woowoo – but if you take all religion out of the picture and think to even a cosmic consciousness existing, and having a supreme consciousness or architect, then you know when you say to yourself and the universe, please let my kid be ok, please let me be a strong husband and father for my family, that something is listening. Be it Karma, or elemental atoms – something is there.

When you bring in theology things get more complicated as there are dogmas and taboos that are VERBOTEN. I think we all have a moral compass and as long as we try to be good, strong people, and teach our kids how to be compassionate, strong, independent people. There is not much more we can ask for.

Regardless of what you believe, having some spirituality will help you be a better version of you, which in turn will make your kids better people too. Have faith in that.

AFD 1*

How to deal with Sadness as a man.

Sadness, and emotions in general and not something we discuss very often as men outside of tragic events. When someone passes or other tragedy strikes, we give a small window where it is acceptable to feel sad before you are expected to then go back to normal.

But sometimes things in your life, including that loss, compound time over and you find yourself sad. What’s worse is sometimes we don’t know what is causing our sadness and we instead act angry or stressed out, because we are, but also because are sad and don’t know how to deal with it.

Firstly, we as men and fathers, need to identify if we are aggravated or angry because of a trigger or stimulus, or is it that we are saddened about other things that we are just not able to express? We hold in all these emotions all the time to be the strong rock of our families. Sometimes shit just piles up and then you lash out, or snap at those around you and that you love. This is not what a Versatile Dad strives to be.

Once you can identify what’s wrong, you can then attack it head on. Talk to someone, your spouse, your buddies, even to a long dead pet or relative, just to get it out and off your chest and mind. If you need to have a quick cry, do so, but out of sight of your children, because masculinity still needs to be preserved and crying about an issue won’t fix it, but it can help offload that tension from suppressing it.

Then do active steps to make things better. Clear your mind by meditating and working out. Go outside and get sun and fresh air and doing a walking meditation or simply blank out your mind and live in the moment as you walk or watch nature. Readjust you’re focus into what will help and benefit you and yours, instead of living in the past. Never forget it, but don’t ponder on it as it’s over and all you have is the now. Look for happiness in knowing you can affect change and course of your life and by being strong, mentally calm, violent if need be, but also compassionate and caring as the world and day dictates. Well rounded is not just in your education and training but also in introspection and mental health.

Take care of yourself brothers, look for the good amongst even the darkest of darkness and you will find it. Reach out if you need help or just someone to talk to. Healthy activities and goals will help. Professional help can also not be understated, but it also starts with your own iron will.

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AFD

Full Body fitness to support you while you carry your kids..or their stuff for them. Dad Life!

Hey All

It has been a hot second since we have had a chance to talk about the necessity for over all strength when dealing with your kids.

I know myself, I have let an injury and being a new Dad be an excuse to let my diet and exercise go out the window. Especially with a pandemic and no need to see other people.

That is not an excuse for the Dad Bod I was letting myself get. Too much beer/mead and sitting on my ass all day working or taking care of GAD (my son). I found that even with a herniated disk in my neck I could walk, I just chose not to. I had an excuse every time – Oh I am tired, my arm hurts, I didn’t sleep well, I’m so busy – What that was is me not owning the day, owning self, or my mental and physical well being.

I started getting weaker and not being able to hold my son as long before needing to transition him or sit him down on my lap. He was only 13 lbs and I couldn’t carry him more than 5 minutes. My back would hurt or my neck. It was because I was letting muscle atrophy by not using them. The same goes when I would carry him in his car carrier, or transport any of the crap you need when you go somewhere with a baby. I was getting weak and fat.

What did I do you ask to motivate myself and get back into shape? I had my wife tell me and be honest about how I looked. I wanted to be attractive to her and I wasn’t. I wanted to feel strong and confident, but I didn’t. I owned that I was being a lazy bitch and decided I needed to start working out again, and also get medical help with my neck injury.

8 weeks of not working out due to a herniated C5-6 in my neck led to nerve damage down my right arm. Physical Therapy twice weekly as well as Gabapentin helped me get back into the gym (my basement). I went back to 3 days a week, 3-5×5 reps of compound lifts, 3 times a week. I also did at home PT exercises. I limited myself to only 2-3 glasses of mead or wine a day and reduced all carbohydrate and sugar consumption to a minimum.

In 3 weeks I dropped 7 pounds. In the mirror you could see my gut getting smaller and my love handles going away. I was starting to feel stronger again even though all my weights had gone down.

Slowly but surely, I am almost back to my original weights. I do no cardio but I do stretch and meditate more. The big lifts – Squat, Bench, Deadlift, OHP and Weighted Pull Ups – have helped me rebuild functional strength carrying my son or his shit. It has helped and is continuing to help me bulletproof my body from the ravages that other poor lift choices and injuries try to impose upon you.

That all said here are the resources I used to change myself in a brief 2 month period that you too can implement and begin to see change.

Diet:
The Slow Carb Diet & The Drink Your Carbs Diet – Both the 4 hour body book and The Drink your Carbs Book are worth the read and will give you more insight into simple dieting that works.

Training:
Tactical Barbell & The Ageless Athlete. Simple & Sinister.
These 3 books will help you develop a daily routine (M-F) that will give you functional strength ( and size if you want it) while also giving you a condition program to keep your cardiovascular system operating well.

You can get Slow Carb Diet info here – 1 page cheat sheet
Everything else you can get on Amazon or somewhere else online.

Invest in yourself for you, and a longer healthier life with your family. Be the role model you want to be for your kids. Everyone knows Daddy is the strongest- now do what it takes to back that up.

AFD 1*

Quarantine Day 754

Well, not actually anyway but it does feel like that. Much like the movie Ground Hog Day, except I’m not Bill Murray. Instead I’m Ned Ryerson getting punched in the face daily. BING!

Ok, it hasn’t been THAT bad, but it’s been an adjustment. As this is my first blog post and I’ve yet to write my bio/introduction, which I promise is coming soon, I’ll give you a quick background on myself. I’m approaching 39 very quickly. I live with my 3 children, ages 12, 8 and 6, along with my girlfriend/common law wife at this point and her soon to be 7 year old daughter. That’s sixth, 2nd, 1st and kindergarten for those keeping track at home.

We’ve had to learn to adapt quick, as we just all moved in together in a new house and COVID put us in the pressure cooker. The first week or two was much like semi-controlled chaos. Kids and dogs everywhere. Dishes making other dishes. Crayons in your sock drawer. Put that down. Pick that up. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Since then we’ve started pulling things together. My partner luckily teaches 2nd grade and we’ve brought some order back to our isolated lives. So I’ll give you some ideas what is working for us.

Chores

I can’t stress this enough. Without it, we run in circles picking up after mini versions of ourselves. While the kids always had their typical responsibilities, we needed to get more organized since we are now spending every minute of the day in the house.

We have a chore chart now with a list of daily tasks. Every week the lists rotate and they must complete the tasks on the list every day.

Set Bed Times and Wake Up Times

The temptation is there because we aren’t bound to an alarm clock to live every day like it’s the weekend. Don’t. Keep them *and yourself* to a semi decent bed time and wake up time. My 12 year old daughter would stay up all night TicToc’ing and not wake up until 11 otherwise. Keeping a semi normal schedule is vital, not only for bedtime, but for other activities in general including…

Home School

Before this madness started I bought a new wireless laser printer for the house because I anticipated the volume we would likely be printing. *Insert plug for the Canon model I purchased from Walmart here* Our kids get their assignments daily and I print out their packets. 860 pages later and counting… Being blessed with having a 2nd grade teacher for a partner, this is going well for us. She’s done a great job not only with her own online teaching, but keeping the kids on task and schedule. We like to have their work done by mid afternoon and keep them engaged in as many educational activities as we can.

For All the Other Times…

Get out and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. We built a fire-pit in our backyard and love sitting around the fire listening to music and watching the kids roast marshmallows. We take daily walks around our development to get our mail and get our dogs out for a walk. We don’t want them wasting away on iPads and watching TV all day. We’ve had them do crafts, like painting some of the decorative rocks we have in our garden and just encourage them to get outside and play. My oldest daughter has learned to dribble a basketball between her legs and my youngest daughter found out she can throw a pretty good football spiral at 8 years old. My son runs around collecting magic wands and trying to conjure demons from the magical book of the Decedents. We do have family movie night often. We set up a relatively inexpensive projector and a blank wall and have our own Hi-Def movie theater with popcorn and the works. We’ve been watching a lot of Disney+ and classics like the Mighty Ducks and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids along with new releases like Onward.

Finally…

Make time for you and your partner if you’re lucky enough to have one. Kids, dogs, messes and isolation has divorce lawyers licking their chops I’m sure. Don’t let the chaos get between what brought you together in the first place. Have a special dinner one night. Plan activities just the both of you and don’t let the kids, dogs and quarantine divide you.

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