Last summer, my awesome wife switched jobs after more than two decades. Normally, we train together for endurance events throughout the summer and compete in the early fall. Triathlons, half-marathons, century rides–sports that require lean muscle and more cardio. But with the new job came an uncertain schedule, so we decided to forgo any training or events for 2015. Being somewhat goal-driven, I knew I had to do something, but I didn’t want to break the deal my awesome wife and I had. So I decided to switch my weight routine from a general workout to a mass-building one, since I didn’t need to stay slim. Originally I was just going to bulk up, but that was unsatisfying. Why was I doing it? To what end? I needed a goal. It’s how I got into endurance events: I couldn’t just go for a jog. There’s no motivation there. What if I skip it? Am I trying to farther or faster? So I quickly decided to chase a goal I’ve had vaguely floating out there since my days in the Marines. I was going to raise my bench press one-rep max to 405 lbs. That’s four 45 lb plates on each side of the bar. In August, when I decided on this goal, I weighed about 240 lbs and could bench somewhere north of 315 lbs (or 3 plates on each side). 

Research told me that I would have to add some “supporting mass” to be able to handle that weight. Meaning, I would need to bulk up, which I’d planned on doing already. Then I had to figure out a strategy. The bulking up strategy was easy enough: eat more, though I really increased my protein intake. I would have to redesign my workout. That’s when I found what’s called the Russsian Method or the Soviet Method, depending on who you asked. Basically, it’s five sets of five reps, with each set increasing the weight. If you can do all 5 reps on the fifth set, the next time you do the exercise, the weight moves up.

It was amazing! And it was easy to see progress in my log. Slowly, week by week, I saw improvements. My original timetable was to bench 405 by my birthday, but I didn’t make it. It took another couple weeks. But I got it! It was so gratifying to watch the progress as I worked toward the goal. 

The lesson I learned is to set goals where progress is obvious and measurable. And then to track it. That way, you can look back and see how far you’ve come and how far you have to go. The other lesson, which is more important, is to figure out a strategy to get you there. Now I’m refining my business goals for the year with this in mind. Simplify and measure.

By the time I hit 405 this weekend (twice!) I weighed 257 lbs–I had gained almost 20 lbs of body weight. Some was muscle, of course, but some was not. Now, with my awesome wife settled in her job, and me having achieved my goal, I need to figure out a plan to take off some of this “supporting mass!”


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I appeared on the podcast “eMediaChat” and discussed Voiceovers.


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With waves pounding as hard and fast as explosions in a Stallone flick, I jumped into the Atlantic and took nearly 5 minutes to swim out 50 meters! A friend of mine wasn’t so lucky: he got slammed into another swimmer and broke his nose and wrenched his shoulder. My awesome wife fared better. After half an hour, I finally made it back to shore, exhausted but happy to be done and running toward my bike. The last two legs of the race were simple by comparisons: 14 miles of cycling and a 5k run. Next weekend, we’re doing a half-marathon. Keep moving forward!

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Sometimes, being a narrator for a cool show has its perks! To wit: my family and I got to ride along with the US Coast Guard! It was fantastic! And educational. Old Marine that I am, I was impressed by the other “Semper” service.

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The world is fast becoming more transient and less pinned down. To wit: I have an iPad that will make recording voice overs while traveling much simpler.

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Of course it is. I drew this picture the other day because I really haven’t had any experience drawing animals. To be fair, I drew it from a calendar of horses. I liked the composition and the horse. So in a real sense, I didn’t do any of the heavy lifting. The photographer did most of it in this case. Selected a subject, lightning, position, background (which I didn’t draw), size in the frame, etc. As I was drawing, a light went off. It occurred to me by analogy. I recall someone saying that most popular literature today isn’t crafted by great writers, who can deftly turn phrases and use the English language to its full expression. Most popular books are by people whose talents are in storytelling. The mechanics of their writing may not be perfect, but it all comes together to create something engaging. In the arena of comicbook drawing (which I aspired to be a member of in my youth), the design of the page (or how the story is told) can overcome a lot of lacking talent in actual drawing of figures and scenery (Rob Liefeld springs to mind). And so, I think it is true in just about any field. How you as the artist make the decisions to tell the story is probably the most important thing. I’ve heard it said that a great voiceover talent can make the phonebook sound great (though I’ve never heard it done), and I think that’s true. Though I have to say, good writing can make the VO talent’s job a lot easier. But as long as the story is successful, as long (more…)


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Just testing. Here’s a cat

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As you can see by the picture, it was a balmy 7 degrees F when I got up this morning. Besides coffee, I had a gig waiting from a client in Australia and one from a client in Ireland. Yesterday I narrated a commercial for a client in Israel–all from my basement studio!

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Where will this appear

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Here’s a video demo I put together from narration and promo spots I did.

 


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