The Blog of Brandon G Parker

2015 Fitness Goals: March Update

This was an interesting month for these fitness goals. Many days were nice enough to do things outdoors during the afternoon but too cold or rainy to do much in the morning or evening, which is when most of my bike riding comes into play.

Weekly Goals

Bike Over 125 Minutes per Week

I didn’t meet this goal a single time this month. The only week I even came close was for almost 84 minutes of bike riding. I wasn’t riding outdoors but wasn’t motivated to ride indoors because it was so nice out.

0 times goal was met / 5 weeks available

Monthly Goals

Bike Over 100 Miles per Month

Chances are if I don’t meet the weekly cycling time goal at all I won’t make this monthly cycling goal, either, and I didn’t. I had only a few rides in the month of March.

36.83 / 100 miles – 36.83% complete

Annual Goals

Bike Over 1,000 Miles this Year

Even though I didn’t have a huge increase in my distance I did make it close to the quarter mark for annual distance. Not real impressed with this number but it was still a weather month so I can justify the lack of distance some.

207 / 1,000 miles – 20.7% complete / 79.3% remaining

Hike Over 50 Miles this Year

Weather didn’t lend itself to allow me to hike this month. Next month for sure.

0 / 50 miles – 0% complete – 100% remaining

Take Over 1,500,000 Steps this Year

I got a pretty good amount of steps this month. The weather wasn’t so cold I wasn’t able to walk to the train instead of taking the bus, so I was able to walk more. This is probably one of the only victories in regards to these fitness goals for the entire month.

492,865 / 1,500,000 steps – 32.9% complete / 67.1% remaining

Walk Over 500 Miles this Year

A quarter of the way through the year and I’m already half way completed with this goal. While I appreciate that over the summer months I’ll walk less due to the riding I’ll be doing, it’s now clear to me I under-estimated this goal significantly.

261 / 500 miles – 52.2% complete / 47.8% remaining

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2015 Fitness Goals: February Update

This was a tough month to get in bike rides and such to meet my goals. Work was extremely busy which meant I had to put in more hours than normal. Many days I’d work until 9 or 10 at night and by that point was too tired to ride.

I also started to get bored with riding every day. When you ride outside it’s normally very fun but indoors gets boring pretty quick. So on Saturday I started doing strength training and yoga. Most of the strength training worked on my core muscles and upper body since my lower body is being worked most days

Weekly Goals

Bike Over 125 Minutes per Week

I was pretty happy with how I was able to hit this as many times as I did. Unfortunately this past week was really hard and I was only able to ride on Monday and Saturday. I could have met it had I known that I was only able to ride 3 times but I wasn’t aware that I wouldn’t ride Tuesday-Friday which meant having to make up for nearly 100 hours of missed riding time. I just can’t do that much on the indoor trainer.

3 times goal was met / 4 weeks available

Monthly Goals

Bike Over 100 Miles per Month

I blew this out of the water, even without being able to ride as much as I wanted. I predict this will probably be closer to my monthly average while indoor riding is occurring, although March Madness starts up in a few weeks which will make t more difficult to ride consistently.

138.08 / 100 miles – 138% complete

Annual Goals

Bike Over 1,000 Miles this Year

My overage on monthly miles this month helped offset the deficit I had from starting this late in January. Another month like that and I’ll be right on track. March I’ll probably be at around 30% which would be a great position to be a third of the way to my goal with only a quarter of the year gone.

170.1 / 1,000 miles – 17% complete / 83% remaining

Hike Over 50 Miles this Year

Just as in January it is far too cold to go hiking yet. Hopefully in April this will be better. Until then this goal remains 0% complete. I sat down and planned out some of my hiking trips and they start in April. If the weather gets nicer early (which it won’t) then I might try to go earlier.

0 / 50 miles – 0% complete – 100% remaining

Take Over 1,500,000 Steps this Year

Overall I’m happy with the progress on this goal. It’s been bitter cold out so I haven’t been able to walk to the train, I take the bus most places right now, so to have this already be at 20% is outstanding.

305,788 / 1,500,000 steps – 20.3% complete / 79.6% remaining

Walk Over 500 Miles this Year

Given how little I’ve been able to walk this year so far, and how many steps I’ve taken, to be this far into the goal at the start of March is interesting. I think I under-estimated how many miles I’d walk by the end of the year.

161.2 / 500 miles – 32.2% complete / 67.8% remaining

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2015 Fitness Goals: January Update

In my 2014 year in review post I set some goals for various activities. Well, I’d like to give a quick status update on those goals. Starting in February I am riding the indoor trainer every day instead of every other for January. Starting in March I will start doing longer duration for my rides on Saturdays. Hopefully in April there will be a few good days here and there for some outdoor riding. Indoor riding isn’t much fun and gets boring pretty quick.

Weekly Goals

Bike Over 125 Minutes per Week

When I started back in mid-January this goal was only 60 minutes per week. Since I’ve built my endurance back up I’ve increased this goal to 125 minutes for February. This allows me to ride six times a week (which is helpful because I normally can’t once a week) and even if I miss two days it’s not much more time in the saddle the remaining days to make this goal.

Because I changed this goal I’ll go ahead and count the weeks in January as not being met for the new weekly goal.

0 times goal was met / 4 weeks available

Monthly Goals

Bike Over 100 Miles per Month

Because my primary goal is to bike over 1,000 miles this year I only need to bike around 85 miles a month to accomplish. January was started mid-month and I only rode every other day so that I could build my endurance. Therefore my numbers for January aren’t very good compared to this goal.  I rounded out the month with just 35.1 miles – or just 35.1% of my monthly goal. I’m not too concerned about this number though given that I started mid-month.

35.1 / 100 miles – 35.1% complete

Annual Goals

Bike Over 1,000 Miles this Year

Since I had a shortened month and I only managed to get 35.1 miles this month this moved the needle just a little bit for this goal.

35.1 / 1,000 miles – 3.51% complete / 96.49% remaining

Hike Over 50 Miles this Year

I haven’t been able to start on this goal yet because of the bitter cold weather we are having. This was expected. I currently anticipate being able to work on this goal starting in May.

0 / 50 miles – 0% complete – 100% remaining

Take Over 1,500,000 Steps this Year

I don’t walk the recommended 10,000 steps per day but I also do other activities to give me a better fitness level so this isn’t as critical. However, I do walk a lot so I anticipated setting this goal, which was about double what I did last year (I started tracking mid-year) to be an obtainable goal. So far I see steady progress and shouldn’t have an issue reaching this goal. I rounded out January with 179,224 steps for the month.

179,224 / 1,500,000 steps – 11.9% complete / 88.1% remaining

Walk Over 500 Miles this Year

This goal goes hand-in-hand with the steps goal I set for the year. I don’t walk as much over the summer months but I also no longer track walks individually because I track using an activity monitor. Seeing what I managed to take this month tells me I probably underestimated the challenge to this goal, I think this will start to become more difficult in the summer months when I ride to work instead of walking to public transit.

94.9 / 500 miles – 19% complete / 81.0% remaining

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2014 Year in Review

What a year 2014 has been! Some crazy and fun things have happened. I got a promotion at work, am responsible for larger (and very important) upcoming projects, and all in all have had a pretty decent year. I’ve done some cool stuff.  I got more into tracking my fitness and activity levels, and came up with some pretty helpful side projects to work on. Since I like statistics, I’d care to share a few of these:

  • According to Spotify I listened to over 75,000 minutes of music this year. That number continues to grow by hundreds of minutes a day.
  • Around September I started tracking my steps using a new feature on my phone. In that short amount of time I’ve taken around 700,000 steps. Yes, I walk a lot. You might also be surprised to learn that even with that many steps, I rarely hit the 10,000 steps per day recommended amounts. But that’s ok because of the following statistics.
  • This year I rode 558.7 miles on my bicycle. That’s over 50 hours spent in the saddle. Not too bad for someone who got a late start on riding around Chicago. By riding that amount I also was able to burn nearly 43,000 calories.
  • I do walk a lot, but I don’t always track the walks, so this number is much lower than my actual walk distance. This year I walked 277.3 miles. That number will continue to increase until the new year, however, so around 300 miles would be expected in 2014. According to my tracker, that’s over 80 hours spent walking.
  • In order to maintain my car battery I started taking local trips starting late summer of this year. From that I managed to hike for 12.1 miles, nearly 5 hours of hiking under my belt this year.
  • I went fishing 1 time this year.

So, what about 2015? What’s in store? Well, I have some exciting things coming up. Work will be busier than ever. I have some exciting, yet not ready to be broadcast, life events approaching early next year. I’m approaching four years at work and four years living in Chicago. Next year should be every bit as exciting and busy as this year was.  Here are some predictions for 2015 (call them goals if you wish):

  • I will listen to 100,000 minutes of music on Spotify
  • I’ll ride my bike over 1,000 miles by the end of next year
  • My walking distance won’t be as high as years past because of more riding, but I can expect 500 miles because of the difference in how walking distances are tracked now. Also, a much more realistic goal, I will take 1.5 million (1,500,000) steps next year.
  • Continuing with the car maintainence adventures around the area, I will hike 50 miles next year. I only went hiking a few times last year, and I predict I’ll go at least 5 times next year.
  • I will fish at least 5 times next year. During my hiking trips I found some pretty good fishing spots, and fishing makes me happy and allows me to clear my head, so I certainly want to go do more fishing next year.

What else do I predict will happen for me in 2015? Well, I want to start experimenting with brewing beer. I predict I’ll be able to brew a few times in the year, depending on the interest and the recycled bottles that I have lying around. I refuse to buy bottles. I’ll also finalize my current personal project I have been working on and release that to the public. That will be an exciting time. I don’t predict to make money on it but I think it fills a real need with myself (and hopefully others) so if nothing else I’ll have it for myself.

I’m sure there will be more growing up, too. I’m slated to finalize paying off my student loan debt in December 2015, five years ahead of schedule. I’m still in the process of finalizing my 2015 budget and want to try my hardest to stick to that budget. I’d love to be able to give numbers for a goal for that but it’s hard to predict something like that, and the type of goal is also important (total net worth, total saved in a year, reduction of spending in X category, etc.)

I’ll also continue to grow vegetables. I want to get more used to processing and using the food I grow. I now know how to pickle cucumbers. Next up? I want to make creamed corn to jar and store for later. Of course eating more fruits and vegetables and eating less fats and meats. I’d love to continue the $35 a week on groceries thing I was doing earlier this year. That was fun and also forced me to eat healthier. Of course bringing my lunch at work more often and drinking less beer would also be helpful.

Otherwise I’ll just keep on keeping on. I’m sure I’ll figure out more ways to track various aspects of my life. Because the best way to see how you do in life is to compare numbers, and that’s what I’m establishing right now. So next year around this same time expect to see a comparison chart seeing how I did compared to these predictions.

Oh, and updating this blog more frequently is not a goal of mine. Updates will happen as they happen.

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Thirty Five Dollars A Week: Week 1

So as expected I was too busy and not at home enough this last week that I wasn’t able to prepare any meals.  I was dog-sitting for a few days and had leftovers from that as well as leftovers from the previous week.  So this week is the first real week of this challenge.  Below is what I have purchased for the week.

Emerald Sweet & Salty Mixed Nuts             $4.79
Taco shells                                  $1.69
1 can Great Northern beans                   $0.95
1 lb ground turkey breast                    $5.49
4x bananas                                   $0.46
2x yellow peaches                            $2.05
1/2 lb green beans                           $0.50
2x jalapenos                                 $0.18
Half-dozen large eggs                        $0.99
Salad bar                                    $5.00
Lettuce shreds                               $1.75
Total:                                      $24.65

 

I have plans to make turkey tacos with these items as well as vegetable fried rice.  I’m going to cook some of my fresh frozen fish from Lake Michigan this week also, so I’ll use these ingredients for sides for that dish, as well.  As I stated, if any recipes strike me as really tasty and cheap I’ll post them.  I feel confident that this week I’ll be able to accomplish eating at home for only $35.

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