Sunday, November 7, 2010

Phase 1 Post-mortem: The Walking Dead

If you haven't seen the new AMC Original Series based on the award-winning comic book written by Robert Kirkman, you should.  In fact, take $20 to your local comic book store and buy the first collection, then read it.  Then watch the show.  Or vise versa.  Do it.

Today officially ended Phase 1 of the P90X Extreme Home Fitness Program.  When I started, I weighed 281, down from my hefty 306 when I started heavy into martial arts.  I wore a size 46 jeans, and *could* wear XL, but honestly, 2X was more comfortable.

Today, I weigh 265 lbs, down 16 lbs, 41 pounds in total.  I wear a size 38 in jeans, and I fit comfortably into Large shirts now.  16 pounds was a little less than I anticipated losing in phase 1, but then I realized that I've packed on some well developed muscle as well, which may tend to skew my weight loss results.  So, I'm feeling pretty good about that.

I completely obliterated my fitness milestones; I wanted to be able to fit into my "Skinny Jeans" again, and I wanted to be able to wear some very nice large-size shirts that were given to me for Christmas last year, two goals that I had planned to reach by the end of Phase 2.  I'm happy to report that I have achieved both before the end of Phase 1.

That in mind, I'm having to set some new goals.  I turn 30 on November 24th.  As it stands, I plan on weighing less than I did in High School, and being in better shape by the time the big day rolls around, two things I never thought I'd say.  Ever.

Phase 2 is going to prove no less challenging.  I've had a nice recovery week, despite missing a few of the stretch workouts this week due to feeling like poop.  Tomorrow beings a somewhat similar yet different set of workouts; it still covers all the different sets of muscles, but it covers them in different pairs, and in different orders (the Muscle Confusion thing, I guess).  Its going to be tough, and I'm probably going to whine about it hurting, but I'm so close I can't stop now.  :)

Career-wise, things are still slow.  I've put in for some jobs, but I'm still gainfully unemployed at the moment.  In a couple weeks, I'll have to resort to working anywhere that will have me.  I'm hoping things turn up before then, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  :)

I'm particpating in the 30 Characters Challenge; basically, you create one new character for every day in the month of November.  I'm having a lot of fun with it, despite the fact that I'm behind a day or two.  Going to try catching up tonight, and broadcasting it live over the interwebs.

Finally, I end with a warning; watch out, ladies...I'm gettin' HAWT.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 4: Recovery

Howdy Everyone!

This past week was pretty intense and busy, despite me freeing up some time by not having to study my Gomaru Ryu Bukendo stuff for testing. This past week was the last week of workouts, now I go into a recovery week to finish out phase 1; its basically a week concentrating on cardiovascular fitness, allowing the body to recover from the hard resistance training I've endured over the past three weeks. Yoga, Core Synergistics, and a bit of martial arts rounds out this next week.

The end of this next week also marks my Day 30 mark on the program. So, next Monday, I'll give you guys a post mortem on what I've accomplished in the first 30 Days of the Program.

Then, its on to Phase 2, where I'm thinking about upping my workout weight to enough to max out in 8-10 reps, or sticking to the 12-15 rep maxout for developing lean muscle and stuff. Here's what Phase 2 Brings for the first three weeks:

- Chest, Shoulders and Triceps, Ab Ripper X
- Plyometrics
- Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper X
- Yoga X
- Legs and Back, Ab Ripper X
- Kenpo X
- Rest/X Stretch

Everyday, for weeks 5-7, then another Recovery and Ab Focus for Week 8. That will be my 60 day mark! Seems so far away!

Anywho, tonight was Halloween. I snuggled up on the couch with Sarah and watched the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I really enjoyed the heck out of it. I loved the occasional cinematic and visual tips of the hat to the original. I really like Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach in Watchmen, and outside of Robert Englund, I don't think they could have gotten a better person to play Freddy.

Also, this week finished out my work for my buddy's clothing company; I designed some fun, cartoony takes on some Halloween Classics for several of their products, and now I can finally show off some of the work I did for them:

Happy Halloween everyone, hope it was great, and some more updates soon!  Enjoy and have a great week!

====Kaishin Chado====

Monday, October 25, 2010

Week 3: Its ALIVE!

So, I kinda let the ball drop when it came to daily posting, but I'm going to endeavor to make sure I put SOMETHING up here each day. Last week was kinda hectic, between trying to make headway on a project for a friend of mine, studying for my Bukendo test, and finally this past Saturday taking the written and physical tests. Now, I get the chance to knock something else off my list of commitments, and reorganize my priorities and get back to a less crowded but no-less intense week 3.

Today started the third week of Phase 1. Today was kind of a wonky day, though. I worked my way through the exercises, but today is just a low-energy blah blah day, waning into not feeling so hot in the evening. So, I'm going to chill out this evening, and try to get my energy up to continue with this final week of physical pseudo-hell before the recovery week.

Weight-wise I'm more or less the same, between 265 and 270, but I've shaved a couple inches off of my waist, and able to fit nicely into a size 38 jeans; a endeavor I'm quite proud of, considering the last pair of pants I bought were in the 44-46 range.

Coming up on a month on the program, and I'm still doing it. Sticking with it will be tough, but I have the feeling that as I work on my health and well being, the other aspects of life will begin to fall in place; or, hopefully, reveal themselves somewhat.

Here's to the great debate!
Chado, the Way of Tea

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 10: Settling into a Busy Week

Disclaimer: I know that I said that I was going to try blogging in the mornings, doing a post mortem, but I felt the last entry was kind of uninspired. So, I'm going to endeavor to put down my thoughts at the conclusion of the day.

Today was a long day. A good day, but a long day nonetheless. Some plans went awry due to allergies (DAMN YOU, SCUBA STEVE!), but I managed to keep pretty busy nonetheless.

I really enjoy the hell out of today's P90X workout, Arms and Shoulders. Its a repeated set of Biceps, Triceps, and Shoulders, cycled through five rounds with varying exercises that work the same set of muscles. To up my results, I increased the weight that I was working with, but maintained 12-15 reps throughout the exercises. My goal is to lean out; some bulk will come with it, I'm sure, but working with a weight where I feel the burn on reps 6,7, and 8 will bring more size than toning. But yeah, it totally rocks; its probably my favorite workout of the program.

Still chipping away on the personal project for my friend. I think they are turning out well. Taking this time while working on this project to really make some internal decisions about how I want to tackle my career. Things like, what do I really want to draw, how do I want to do it, workflow, etc. I think I'm going to try and use this project to do some experimentation on my cartooning workflow.

Also, in addition to these artsy-fartsy things, I've been doing a lot of soul searching, reading a lot of philosophy stuff. A Twitter friend linked me to a really interesting article called "As a Man Thinketh," by James Allen. I'm not through with it, but its definitely a thought provoking read. I highly suggest giving it a good read.

Until next time, as a friend of mine says...

Peace, Love, and Chicken Grease.
Chadimus Maximus

Day 9: Hallways & Humans

Going to try something a bit different, today. I'm going to try blogging about the events of the day the next morning, so as to treat it as a post mortem of sorts. This will also mean that I don't feel obligated to write as soon as I get home when I come home late (like last night).

Yesterday was a good day. I got off to a really late start (surprise, surprise!) but managed to get a lot done. Still concentrating on the single project at the moment, but I'm gearing up for hitting the 12 Week Challenge hard as soon as I'm finished with this hefty time filler.

Last night was "Boy's Night," where we used to just get together and play HeroQuest. Sarah really liked HeroQuest, so she started coming to play as well. Over a period of time, this transformed into a want to play Dungeons and Dragons. So, up until about a month and a half ago, I was DM of our 5 person group, and all was well, until I needed to start concentrating on other stuff and being DM got to be too much. Luckily, everyone was willing to help out, and Geoff took over DMing duties, and we started a really sweet Asian-inspired campaign last night, where for the first time in years, I got to play a regular character. Had a blast with everyone last night.

Afterward, had some much wanted hangout time with Sarah, as we went to Wally-World and walked around a while, then grabbed a few grocery items. Yeah, not the most exciting date, but its the company that matters.

That put me home a little after midnight, so I had a relatively late night. Today I'm trying something different. I'm eating breakfast, then chilling out for a bit before hitting the workout. We'll see how the flow of the day goes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 8: A Long Day's Night

I got up way later than I really wanted to this morning, but that aside, this was a pretty good day. I could have gotten a lot more done today, but I'm happy with the work I've accomplished.

Today's P90X Workout rolled back around to Chest and Back, and the Ab Ripper X Routine. Its a lot of push a pull for the first round then changes things up for round two to pull then push. So, starting with some Standard-width pushups then going to wide grip pull-ups, in round two they would swap, which surprisingly made it feel like a different routine. All good stuff.

I really needed the morning to get some stuff done on a project I'm working on for a friend, so to make headway, I put the Ab Ripper X Video on my iPhone, and decided I'd bring it with me to my afternoon workout at Tulsa Martial Arts.

After a thorough defunking, I got dressed for work, and sat down at my desk to begin the day's tasks. I briefly checked email and Twitter, then moved on into Photoshop to begin flatting colors for the project (more on that later in the week).

From a productivity standpoint, I try to refrain from watching movies or TV while working. There are a few exceptions, but I find that I watch what I think are really good movies and TV. So, I end up watching more than working. As an alternative, I've turned to podcasts that help broaden my artistic horizons and make me think creatively. Here they are, for those artists and creatives that follow the blog:

- Chris Oatley's Artcast: Absolutely love this man. He's an artist and writer working in the entertainment industry for Walt Disney Toon Studios, working a lot on the Tinkerbell/Fairie Properties that I've been hearing good things about. Thought provoking and chock-full of good advice for anyone even remotely creative, definitely worth a look.

- Sidebar: These guys rock. I've just started listening to these guys, and I'm not too sure about how they connect with the community (are they art nerds, are they artists, do they draw or do they just appreciate and cultivate interest in comics and pop culture?) but they definitely ask thought provoking questions, and really get down to the root of what drives their guests. I'd personally check out their interview with Brad Rigney (aka, Cryptcrawler on DeviantArt) for one of the most inspiring interviews I've ever heard.

- Illustration Island: I started with this podcast back at about Episode 12, and I immediately downloaded and listened to the first 11. Great interviews with illustrators, art directors, and Thomas James, host and great illustrator in his own right, asks all the right questions you want to know as a newly forged freelancer. A great time for any creative, but a must listen for anyone wanting to get into the illustration field.

These are but a few that I listen to. Check out The Visual Artist Podcast Network for more great shows to check out while you're working.

Finished flatting most of the artwork today, which was my main goal, so I'm happy about that. I'm going to be devoting about an hour a day to bettering myself as an artist, using some great books on the subject:

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
The Illusion of Life
The Animator's Survival Kit
Creative Illustration
Figure Drawing for All its Worth

...among a few others. Right now, I'm working with Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, as I feel I really need to work on my observation and how I see the world to get more out of my figure drawing.

Afternoon Workout: I did the Ab Ripper X, much faster than I did last week. A week from today, I wasn't even physically capable of doing some of the moves in the routine. But today, its still tough, but I'm feeling the results, even if its not really noticeable physically just yet.

After the workout, grabbed a small sandwich at Subway, and studied for the test until class started. Tonight's Kenpo/Kendo classes were great. Worked on Combination Series 1-3 (4, I'm comin' for ya!) and polished stuff for the Bukendo test on Saturday.

Now, I'm tired. Long day's night. Shower. Sleep. Repeat.

Chadimus Maximus

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 7: Rest

Nothing much to report for today. I'm just going to hang out, and do as little as possible physically. Today's routine is the X Stretch P90X workout, that I will do later this evening. After that, resting up, because the whole process starts right over again tomorrow morning.

Going to go hang at Barnes & Nobles for a bit, grab a cup of tea, and study for my Bukendo test this Saturday. Then, Dinner with Sarah and her family, then home to do some more of nothing.

Having been run through the Gridiron once already, time for some reflection and goal setting for the next week:

- Early Bird: I really need to go to bed at a decent hour, and get up in the morning so I can be sure I have the time and resources to do my workouts uninhibited, and get a good breakfast under my belt and begin the day well. So, my goals for next week are to be in bed between 9:30 to 10, and be up in the morning by 6-6:30 am.

- Artsy-Fartsy: Having really been concentrating on my health this week (quitting smoking, working out, etc) I've admittedly let my career-goals fall by the wayside this week. This coming week, part of getting up early will ensure that I have plenty of time during the day to work on my portfolio, look for a job, and continue my self-study artistic education.

- Martial Arts: As I have mentioned, my Bukendo testing for Kukyu (Yellow Belt) is this Saturday. I'm currently studying hard, and making flash cards as a visual aid. I actually had so much vocabulary that I ran out of index cards, and had to grab another pack. I normally work out every afternoon with my instructor/friend Geoff, and I love the camaraderie in the afternoons. Its nice having someone help you with accountability when you're trying to work out. I slacked off last week, needing to recover from the P90X stuff. So, I'm going to endeavor to work on my Bukendo every afternoon this week, in addition to my early morning workouts. There will come a time when I will, for sake of time, need to slow down, but with the test coming up so soon, next week is definitely not the time.

- Meditation: It sounds hokey, but discovering the power of just sitting down and breathing, and doing nothing else, has an uncanny ability to center your mind and clear it of the garbage that gets shoved in there on a daily basis. I'd like to take 20-30 minutes every evening and just sit and reflect on the day's events, and clear the mind for the next day. An old Tao Zen philosophy popularized by Bruce Lee was to become a vessel, to empty yourself; how can you learn anything when your mind is already so full? So, prepare the vessel.

That's it for this week folks. Thanks for hanging around and reading, and helping me on what is an extremely difficult and challenging journey for me. I know I couldn't do it alone. Thanks for the kind words and thoughts you guys have given me.

Thanks for the fuel.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 6: Social Disorder and Crawpappy's

Last night, I went and hung out with my buddy David, and his friend Ben for a while, had a few drinks, and shot the breeze. Later, when Sarah got home from work, David, Sarah and I went to a bar called Crawpappy's, had some brews, and engaged in much revelry. It was a nice evening after spending the day punishing myself with a workout, and then sitting infront of the computer drawing my life away.

Today's installment of the P90X Program was Kenpo X. I took a look at it just to see what it was like last week, and for the most part, it looks to be a great workout. However, I happen to study Gomaru Ryu Kenpo (the martial art the workout is based on), so I traded my P90X workout for today's Noon to nearly 4pm back to back Kenpo/Bukendo classes. Worked up a great sweat, and I thanked everyone for beating me up with a long wooden stick (per usual).

Tonight is the Benefit Concert for the Admiral Twin Theater. Geoff and I are meeting Sarah in a bit to meet up for some dinner, and head on over to catch Caroline's Spine when they finally get up on stage.

*GASP!* Chad, getting out of the house and doing stuff? Two nights in a row? Wow, I might have a social life (just a small one).

Slow Starts, Fulfilling Journeys,
Chadimus Maximus

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 5: If you get a late start, then start strong.

Good afternoon!

I stayed up pretty late last night, due to the Charlie Foxtrot that yesterday turned out to be, to get some work done on a line of Halloween shirts I'm doing for a friend of mine. Got all the sketches approved, so I burned a little bit of the midnight oil in order to make some headway on the inking portion. Almost done, so I'm proud of the work that I was able to do last night, despite the shaky start of the day.

That being said, I slept in today until about 11 or so, trying to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep for the P90X program. Today was a late start, so I decided I'd start off strong.

I thought about doing todays Legs and Back workout first, then doing Ab Ripper X later in the day (MON/WED/FRI for Resistance Training and Ab Ripper) but decided that I'd go ahead an "Bring it," and burn through both of them, as intended.

And yeap, it hurt so good.

It took me about two hours to finish both routines, and then de-funk myself. Went downstairs, grabbed a late breakfast (Whole Grain Wheat Toast, a wee bit of sugar-free Grape Jelly, a bowl of Total Honey Almond Flax with a healthy amount of protien, and a 1/2 cup of milk) which was just the right size.

Then, its off to work! I went up to the studio and bid on a couple freelance projects that popped up on Guru that I thought I might be interested in. I'll let you guys know how those pan out, because I haven't had much luck when it comes to the freelancer websites. But, I figured I have some strong samples, and I'm working on more, so my luck might change.

Now, its off to finish cleaning out my Hulu queue, and finish up inking on the Halloween product line. I'll post some Work in Progress images once I get the ok from the Boss. ;)

Slow Starts, Fulfilling Journeys,

UPDATE: Exhausted, I finally finished all the inking for my latest project. Now, I have to color the lil' creatures, which is going to be a chore and half! I have my work cut out for me this weekend.

All work and no play make for a dull and cranky Chad, though. So, I'm going to a benefit concert with Geoff and Sarah where Caroline's Spine is playing. Its going to be fun!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 4: Getting Shit Done

UPDATE: After a nice dinner with a friend, and running a few more errands, I ended up back at my place a little before 7. I came in to wind down for a bit, and then changed into some comfortable clothes with which to do some wicked Yoga.

And boy, was it wicked.

Some of the moves I just wasn't physically capable of doing (Yet!). But I stuck with it through a hefty hour and a half routine, complete with balance poses (which I was surprisingly good at, thanks to the stance training we do in Kenpo), and a lengthy stretch afterward. As with all the other workouts, I'm trying to leave as much of myself on the mat as I can manage. The program does a good job of letting you recover from the beating you just took, with just the right medicine at the end.

However, I still need to work a lot on my flexibility; I farted during the routine, and then promptly racked myself with my own thigh. It'll come with time!

So despite the extremely unproductive yet extremely busy day I had, I made time for the workout, even if it wasn't early in the morning like I'd prefer. Roll with the punches, and stick with it; that's the plan.

GTD (or Getting Things Done) is a pretty popular philosophy among today's self-development specialists and Life Coaches. However, a lot of it really sounds super new-agey to me, which unfortunately kind of detracts from the good items that I'm sure are buried in some of these articles and books.

That in mind, I've been reading Craig Harper's blog for a while now, ever since it was suggested reading by ZenHabits' Leo Baubuta. Today's entry, entitled "Twelve Steps to Get Shit Done," is a pretty practical and entertaining guide, pulling no punches and stripping the principles down to their simplest, bare bones concepts. I like it.

I weighed yesterday so I could have a nice starting number as my "Before" weight, rolling in at a nice 274, with another 4 pounds ticked off. Feeling good about that this morning, while getting dressed for lunch with friends today, I decided to whip out the skinny jeans, and see how they were fitting. Lo and behold, not only do they fit nicely, but I've got some room to spare. I need a new belt.

Today was kind of a slow start for me, just not being able to get out of bed. I'm sure its the combination of the weird dreams as a result of the Chantix, the extensive increase in workout, on top of a lower calorie diet. Today, I'm going to try eating a bit more for my in between meal snacks, and see if that gives me enough energy to get through the day, and into tomorrow.

Today has been a busy day all around, with lots of errand running. So, I've had to push my morning workout to late afternoon/early evening. But, I'm committed to the schedule, and the next 90 days, so even if its midnight, you better believe my ass is doing some wicked Yoga today.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Slow Start Indeed!

My my, its been quite a while since I created the first post on this blog. A slow start indeed! I guess all that's left is to make for a fulfilling journey.

A lot of life changes have happened since I made that last post. I successfully quit smoking, balooned in size to a hefty 306 lbs, relationship woes with all its quick turns and unexpected corners, got tired of being big again and worked hard to loose a total of 31 lbs as of my last weigh in (which was a couple weeks ago). I picked up smoking again due to family and relationship stress, and, proudly unprompted, picked a quit date and stuck with it. This is my first week smoke free (again).

On top of all the health stuff, I've been struggling career wise as well. I know I should be somewhere better in my chosen creative fields, but feel like I'm just treading water, waiting for the fast-food shark to bite into me and drag me kicking and gargling into the food service industry just to make ends meet.

Truthfully, it scares the hell out of me. And that's a good thing.

I've decided to use the Dark Side of the Force, to quote the philosophy of Concept Artist Brad Rigney. I'm using all my fear, all my insecurity, all my angst and hate, and I'm turning it into fuel for a total body, mind and soul transformation.

I love martial arts. Having taken it since I was a kid, and holding a 1st Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, I find it a fun way to increase my flexibility and get regular exercise. It is due to my good friends, teachers and mentors Geoffrey Beeson and Brannon Bain, that I started more heavily studying Tasamaru Ryu Bujutsu, namely the Modal Arts of Gomaru Ryu Kenpo and Gomaru Ryu Bukendo, and lost my initial 30 or so pounds in weight.

One of my buddies up here in Oklahoma (David, thanks bud!) lent me his copy of Beach Body's P90X Total Body Transformation workout probably close to a year ago. I kinda lazily sat on it, not really being motivated to better my health. At the time, I was fully on in the process of quitting, after being a smoker for about 15 years, so my fragile little mind was a bit preoccupied.

After feeling the rush of being able to put on a shirt that I haven't been able to wear for going on a year, I felt compelled to kick it up a notch. The P90X program is not kidding around. I did a few of the workouts last week just to see how things would progress in the first few weeks, and man, is it tough.

I'm currently on Day 3 of my 90 days, and I'm trying to leave as much of my self on the exercise mat that I can manage, on top of working Bukendo in the afternoons for my test for Kukyu (Yellow Belt) in a couple weeks.

I mentioned some career stress as well, something I need to remedy. Finding work is hard, so I've decided that while trying to find a day job in the creative field out here, I'll be trying to strike up a spark as a freelance illustrator using the Zero2Illo 12 Week Challenge, and Thomas James' 15 Steps to Freelance Illustration. I started the 12 Week Challenge a while back, but I was never really committed to it like I should have been. With this new found motivation, I'm really going to stick to it, and forge my new career out of the ashes of the life I'm leaving behind.

Hells to the yeah. I hope ya join me on this journey. Its going to hurt so good!

Cheers! Here's to Slow Starts and Fulfilling Journeys.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Slow Starts make for Fulfilling Journeys

No, I have no clue where the title came from. I just made it up, and it sounds appropriate to me.

As I continue though this thoughtful journey I'm happily calling life at the moment, I realized that one of my biggest downfalls is accountability and how to maintain it. I just move to a new area (temporary as that may be) so I don't have an particularly close friends that I can turn to for help in the accountability department. ON top of that, if I could find someone that I could count on to help keep me on track locally, there's another move even FURTHER away coming up in the next year.

Therefore, welcome to Chad's Accountability Blog. You, the interwebs, will keep me accountable. At least, that's the idea.

So, here's to slow starts and fulfilling journeys. Cheers!