My “Back on Track” Workout

I took about 6 weeks off of lifting weights in the months of July and August. I started lifting again at the beginning of September and it took a few weeks to get my body used to the stresses again. Last week, I finally felt like I used to and decided to ramp up my workouts a little bit. This past week has been a bit of a challenge, but I’m happy with the way things worked out and will be reusing this workout for at least the next 3 weeks.

There’s a few important things to note about my workout:

  • It is a hybrid split-body workout – most days get their own body part
  • I do intense cardio every day but Thursday
  • I don’t lift weights on the weekends
  • I decided on the weights I would use ahead of time so I wasn’t thinking during the workout

I felt like this week went really well. I feel stronger than I did at the beginning of the week and I feel accomplished because of what I did. I think the plan I followed could be used by pretty much anyone (with modifications to the weight based on your strength levels, obviously). Here’s what I did for cardio and on each day:

Cardio

Every day except Thurdsay, I do 15 rounds of jump rope. Each round is 60 seconds of work followed by a 45 second rest period. I jump as fast as I can and try to mix it up by jumping on one foot, jogging while jumping rope, jumping in a staggered stance, etc.

Monday – Shoulders

  • Barbell Overhead Press: 95×8, 115×8, 135×8, 155×8
  • Barbell Upright Row: 95×8, 95×8, 95×8
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 20×12, 20×12, 30×8
  • Barbell Front Raise: 45×12, 45×12, 65×8
  • Shrug: 135×12, 135×12, 185×8

Tuesday – Legs

  • Back Squat: 135×8, 185×8, 225×8, 275×8
  • Front Squat: 95×8, 115×8, 135×8
  • Overhead Squat: 95×8, 95×8, 95×8
  • Romanian Deadlift: 145×8, 145×8, 145×8
  • Good Mornings: 135×8, 135×8, 135×8

Wednesday – Chest and Back

  • Barbell Bench Press: 135×8, 185×8, 205×8, 225×8
  • Dumbbell Chest Flyes: 30×12, 30×12, 30×12
  • Pull Up (strict form): 4 sets to failure (between 8 and 15, usually)
  • Bent Over Barbell Row: 95×12, 95×12, 135×8

Thursday – Olympic-esque

  • Kettlebell Swings: 53×20, 53×20, 53×20, 53×20
  • Hang Clean: 135×8, 135×8, 135×8
  • Hang Snatch: 95×8, 95×8, 95×8
  • Deadlift: 225×8, 225×8, 225×8
  • Lateral Bench Jumps: 20, 20, 20

Friday – Arms

  • Dumbbell Curl: 20×12, 20×12, 30×8
  • Barbell Curl: 95×8, 95×8, 95×8
  • Dumbbell Lying Tricep Extension (Skull Crushers): 30×8, 30×8, 30×8
  • Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks: 20×8, 20×8, 20×8

Andre’s Las Vegas

Last week, Angela and I went to Andre’s Las Vegas for dinner. We purchased a TravelZoo Local deal for a 3-course meal (appetizer, entree, desert) at Andre’s because it seemed like a good deal and would be a good way to get out of the house and have a nice date night.

Andre’s is located inside of the Monte Carlo Casino. It is off the beaten path a little bit, located in a corner that you wouldn’t see unless you were looking for it. We had a reservation for 5:30 PM and arrived a few minutes before that time. We were immediately seated at a table.

The first thing I noticed was that there were only four other people in the restaurant – they looked like a group of businessmen attending a conference or something, so definitely not local. I wasn’t a big fan of the decor and just felt like there was a kind of weird ambiance. I didn’t take any pictures of our food because there wasn’t a way to do it inconspicuously where we were seated.

Our waiter was polite and prompt. He asked for our voucher and then provided us with a limited menu from which we could pick our courses. I chose Caesar salad, sauteed chicken breast, and a chocolate souffle. Angela chose French onion soup, potato crusted sea bass, and banana ice cream profiteroles. She also ordered a glass of Riesling wine.

After placing our order, we were provided with an amuse-bouche. The small plate had a fried pork belly sphere with a red pepper drizzle and a goat cheese and beet tart. Angela enjoyed both of the selections while I didn’t like either one. For me, the pork belly was too fatty and the tart was way too tangy. Not my style, honestly.

Our appetizers came out shortly thereafter. The Caesar salad was well dressed and had a parmesan flower instead of the usual parmesan strips. That was kind of neat. Angela’s soup was way too hot. She had to wait until I was almost done with my salad before she could even start eating it. She said the flavor was good but wasn’t happy that she burnt her mouth with her first taste.

Our entrees came out next. I was surprised to find that I didn’t get served a chicken breast, instead being provided with a wing and thigh. The flavor was OK, but the chicken seemed a little bit more fried than I thought it would be given that it was described as sauteed on the menu. Angela’s sea bass was done well and she enjoyed the flavor. The noodles that were served alongside the fish, however, were much too buttery. She let me have a taste and all I could taste was butter.

We each enjoyed desert, but we weren’t offered the option to order a la carte coffee or drinks to go with our dessert, which I thought was really weird. After dessert and before paying the check we were provided with a selection of four chocolate truffles. They were pretty good and a nice touch.

Overall, Andre’s isn’t somewhere we’d go again. The service was good but the food was just OK. The thing that really, really displeased me was not getting a chicken breast when that is what I ordered. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that before. If it is because we were using a TravelZoo deal, then they just shouldn’t put it on the menu. We would not recommend going to Andre’s when there are so many other good restaurants in Las Vegas in general. If you really want to eat at the Monte Carlo, just head to Brand.

NFL Picks – 2013, Week 4

This is the third week of our season long pick ’em contest. Last week was absolutely brutal for me whereas Angela made up 3 games in our season long record contest. Here’s our record from last week:

  • Angela: 9-7
  • Nick: 6-10

And our overall records:

  • Angela: 17-14
  • Nick: 18-13

We’re also picking the Monday night score and whoever gets closer gets one tiebreaker point. I won last week so our current tiebreaker record is:

  • Angela: 1-1
  • Nick: 1-1

Here’s our picks for Week 4:

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams
Angela: 49ers
Nick: 49ers
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
Angela: Ravens
Nick: Ravens
Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Angela: Cardinal
Nick: Cardinals
Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings
Angela: Steelers
Nick: Steelers
N.Y. Giants at Kansas City Chiefs
Angela: Chiefs
Nick: Chiefs
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Angela: Colts
Nick: Colts
Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans
Angela: Seahawks
Nick: Seahawks
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Angela: Bengals
Nick: Bengals
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Angela: Bears
Nick: Bears
N.Y. Jets at Tennessee Titans
Angela: Titans
Nick: Titans
Washington Indigenous Persons at Oakland Raiders
Angela: Indigenous Persons
Nick: Indigenous Persons
Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos
Angela: Broncos
Nick: Broncos
Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers
Angela: Cowboys
Nick: Cowboys
New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons
Angela: Falcons
Nick: Falcons
Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints
Angela: Dolphins
Nick: Saints
Monday Night Score
Angela: 35
Nick: 32

NFL Picks – 2013, Week 3

This is the second week of our season long pick ’em contest. We each had a fair bit of success in the first week, although I came out ahead because two of my four picks won by a single point. Lucky me! Our current records:

  • Angela: 8-7
  • Nick: 12-3

We’re also picking the Monday night score and whoever gets closer gets one tiebreaker point. For our tiebreaker, the current record is:

  • Angela: 1-0
  • Nick: 0-1

Here’s our picks for Week 3:

Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles
Angela: Eagles
Nick: Eagles
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
Angela: Texans
Nick: Texans
Detroit Lions at Washington Indigenous Persons
Angela: Lions
Nick: Lions
San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans
Angela: Titans
Nick: Chargers
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints
Angela: Saints
Nick: Cardinals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots
Angela: Patriots
Nick: Patriots
Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings
Angela: Vikings
Nick: Vikings
N.Y. Giants at Carolina Panthers
Angela: Giants
Nick: Giants
Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals
Angela: Packers
Nick: Packers
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys
Angela: Cowboys
Nick: Cowboys
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins
Angela: Dolphins
Nick: Falcons
Buffalo Bills at N.Y. Jets
Angela: Bills
Nick: Bills
Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks
Angela: Seahawks
Nick: Seahawks
Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers
Angela: 49ers
Nick: 49ers
Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers
Angela: Bears
Nick: Bears
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
Angela: Broncos
Nick: Broncos
Monday Night Points
Angela: 45
Nick: 49

NFL Picks – 2013, Week 2

Angela and I have decided we’re going to do a pick ’em every weekend for the rest of the NFL season, just for fun between ourselves. Our current record:

  • Angela: 0-0
  • Nick: 0-0

Here’s our picks for Week 2:

New York Jets vs New England Patriots
Angela: Did not pick
Nick: Did not pick
Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore Ravens
Angela: Ravens
Nick: Ravens
Minnesota Vikings vs Chicago Bears
Angela: Bears
Nick: Bears
Tennessee Titans vs Houston Texans
Angela: Texans
Nick: Texans
Carolina Panthers vs Buffalo Bills
Angela: Panthers
Nick: Bills
St. Louis Rams vs Arizona Falcons
Angela: Falcons
Nick: Falcons
San Diego Chargers vs Philadelphia Eagles
Angela: Eagles
Nick: Eagles
Washington Redskins vs Green Bay Packers
Angela: Packers
Nick: Packers
Miami Dolphins vs Indianapolis Colts
Angela: Colts
Nick: Colts
Dallas Cowboys vs Kansas City Chiefs
Angela: Cowboys
Nick: Chiefs
Detroit Lions vs Arizona Cardinals
Angela: Lions
Nick: Cardinals
New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Angela: Saints
Nick: Saints
Denver Broncos vs New York Giants
Angela: Giants
Nick: Broncos
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Oakland Raiders
Angela: Raiders
Nick: Raiders
San Francisco 49ers vs Sevstle Seahawks
Angela: 49ers
Nick: 49ers
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnvsi Bengals
Angela: Bengals
Nick: Bengals

My Birthday!

I can’t believe I’m 27. I can tell I’m old now that my outlook on time is “Where has it gone?” as opposed to when I was much younger and it seemed like time dragged on and milestones were a forever away.

27 has been pretty amazing so far – Mom came to visit; saw Bruno Mars in concert; ate an amazing dinner at Craftsteak; lots of shopping; dinner at Mesa Grill; and my first ever experience with coin slots!

Bruno Mars
At the Bruno Mars concert

One of the nights we were out, Mom and I stopped at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill (because I could never get Nick to go – he’s not interested in “Southwest flavors”) and I had rabbit as a main dish for the first time! (Tastes like chicken. Seriously.) It was the Cascabel Chile Crusted Rabbit with spring pea cous cous, green chiles, mint, Marcona almonds and a smoked red pepper sauce – if you want to get all technical. It was pretty tasty and I especially loved the cous cous. Note to self: smokey pepper flavor is not my favorite. I like my peppers unsmoked – thankyouverymuch.

Sorry Bugs and Thumper
Sorry Bugs and Thumper

Another night we ventured downtown (eek!) and I had done some research and found that the new hotel, The D (don’t even get me started on that name), had an area of the casino that still had real coin slots. Mom and Grams always talked about coming to Vegas and playing the slots and using the buckets for their coins, getting their hands all gross and filthy from the dirty money, but by the time I was 21, those slot machines were pretty much history. I was so excited to experience a part of Vegas history myself – it was even more exciting that I ended up leaving with more money than I put in. PS – $27 in nickels is pretty dang heavy. (I didn’t say I was a high roller.)

 

Thanks to everyone who made my birthday extra special! I’m excited to see what the rest of 27 has in store.

 

 

 

Grieving My Sister – Renee Ohrn

Today would have been my sister Renee’s 21st birthday. Unfortunately, she’s not alive to enjoy it – she died in an apartment fire about two years ago.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been going through the grieving process and it has been really, really tough. In this post, I’m going to talk about some of the things that I’ve felt along the way and some of the effects it has had on me and my family. I’m mostly writing this post because I’m hoping it will be therapeutic for me. That being said, maybe someone who is experiencing similar things will find this post in the future and me sharing my feelings and the effects this tragic event has had on me will help that person. Before I get into all that, though, a few words about my sister.

Renee Ohrn – My Awesome Sister

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Renee was everything you could want a young woman to be. She was kind, intelligent, and outgoing. She went out of her way to make others feel comfortable and safe. She loved and laughed and lived as hard as anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life. She was a true beauty and an amazing athlete. I swear she squatted and benched better than most men I’ve met.

When I think of my sister, I can’t help but feel she was basically the best of my brother and me. I also think about the impact she had on the people who met her. She was only 19 years old when she died and close to 1,000 people showed up to pay their respects. I could hardly believe it.

My Grief

Modern psychology says there are five stages of grief that a person goes through in order: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. I can’t say that I ever denied what happened to my sister, but I can definitely say that I’ve experienced both anger and depression over the last year and a half.

I was angry that my sister died due to something that had an improbably small chance of occurring. I was pissed that she was the only one who died (not that I wanted other people to die, I just didn’t want Renee to die). I continue to be upset that she didn’t get to experience the rest of what promised to be a full and exciting life. I’m still angry about these and other things from time to time.

I have been depressed on and off since Renee died. I don’t believe it is a clinical depression, but it has lead to me laying in bed and thinking things like:

  • Why even get up? Nothing you do today will matter because you could die at any moment.
  • Who cares if you get work done today? There’s always tomorrow – unless there isn’t.
  • Why do you even care about doing your best? You shouldn’t care – no one will ever remember you anyways.

The depression I’ve experienced has made me cynical and has lead to me being negative almost all the time. I don’t want to think about the future, don’t want to make plans, and I don’t get excited about the things that I used to look forward to. For example, Angela and I are saving for a house right now and I find it really hard to get pumped up about that. Before this happened, I couldn’t imagine thinking the way I do a lot of time.

Sometimes I can’t work because I’m just paralyzed thinking of the unfairness of life. My sister didn’t deserve to die, but she did.

I don’t want to go out and do anything fun. I mean, why is it fair that I get to live this life and Renee didn’t get to?

Effects on My Family

I have a great family, but when I say “My Family” at this point I mostly mean Angela. She’s the one I live with. She knew Renee and loved her.

My grief has made me an asshole sometimes. I know it has, and I know when I’m being one, but I find it really hard to snap out of it. Angela is the one who has had to deal with that.

In spite of all my negativity and the sullen attitude I tend to adopt, Angela has been my rock. She has supported me and loved me even in the moments where I have just been unbearable to be around. I cannot imagine going through this process alone and I feel so lucky to have a supportive wife who I can lean on.

What I’ve Found

Over the last year and a half, I’ve come to the realization that you can’t really control how you feel sometimes. This came as a huge shock to me because I’m a big control freak and I had convinced myself that I was totally and completely in control of my feelings all the time. Newsflash: that’s not true at all.

I don’t want to be sad or angry or depressed, but sometimes I literally cannot help but feel that way. There are things I can do to mitigate those feelings, but they’re often just temporary fixes (and unhealthy, at that, like eating a box of donuts).

I’ve also found that you can’t do everything on your own. You have to talk to people and ask for their help – even if you really don’t want to. I’ve never really been one to ask for help, but over the last year and a half I’ve learned that I have had to, otherwise, I will never get better.

From Here, Where Do I Go?

Honestly, I’m not really sure. I know that I have to go on living my life – enjoying it while I’ve got it. There’s nothing really else to do.

I’m relearning how to relax. For the first 6-7 months after Renee died all I did was work. I’d wake up at 5AM, workout for an hour, and then I’d work until 10PM. I made a ton of money, but the stress was eating me alive. The positive thing for me, or so I thought at the time, was that I didn’t have to sit idly and think about my sister. What I learned is that you have to idle your brain sometimes. I’m learning how to do that again.

I’ll be fine, though. I have a loving wife and an awesome puppy. I live a good life and don’t really want for much. I’ll keep on living and trying to take advantage of the life that I do have and I’ll encourage others to do the same.

CraftSteak at the MGM Grand Resort

Angela, her mother Theresa, and I ate at Tom Colicchio’s CraftSteak last night at the MGM Grand in celebration of Angela’s birthday. Angela and I agree that it is definitely the best place we’ve eaten at in Las Vegas. The food was delicious, the service was excellent, and the experience was great. We would definitely go back for another special occasion.

After sitting down and getting the lay of the land, Angela and her mom ordered drinks. Angela ordered a raspberry martini and Theresa opted for a glass of Merlot. I was told both were delicious.

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After procuring the drinks, it was time for our starters. Angela and Theresa opted for lobster bisque and I chose the Caesar salad. The bisque was actually poured at the table over chilled lobster. I thought that was a nice touch. My Caesar came with pickled anchovies on top. They weren’t the best thing in the world, but it was nice to try them.

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For our main course, Angela and I split the 32 oz. porterhouse (medium rare) and Theresa got the surf and turf, which consisted of scallops and a 6 oz. filet (medium). We shared three sides: potato puree with olive oil and chives, mushroom assortment with four different kinds of mushrooms, and roasted asparagus. We also got delicious rolls which melted in your mouth. They were probably the best rolls I’ve ever had.

Everything was amazing. Gaze upon the delicious meal:

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We were almost too full for dessert, but I just couldn’t resist the deliciousness that chocolate souffle promised. Theresa had a cup of coffee and Angela got a fancy little birthday desert with yogurt and berries.

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So, to summarize. Everything at CraftSteak is delicious. We highly recommend you go there if you can. We had a great night out celebrating Angela’s birthday, and I’ll leave you with this awesome picture of us.

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James Came to Visit!

A couple weeks ago, James came to visit us and attend an NSCA conference down on the strip. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together as he was mostly in town for the conference getting his CEUs to keep his CSCS cert current. We pretty much only had a couple evenings together.

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On his last day, we had some Mexican food at the Cabo Wabo Cantina at Planet Hollywood/Miracle Mile Shops. Honestly, the food was pretty good but the atmosphere left much to be desired.

Then it was dessert time at Serendipity! I had been wanting to go to this place since it opened years ago but we never managed to get there. It was extra nomtastic and a special treat since we don’t usually eat such decadent desserts.

 

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy Ohrn

A few days ago, our little puppy turned 6 months old. As such, it is probably a good time to introduce him to the world. Here’s the main points:

  • Our little puppy is super cute
  • Sometimes he is a huge pain in the ass
  • I have taken more pictures of this little dog than of anything else, ever

Sometimes Fitz is a terror, but most of the time he is super lovey. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. Now, here’s a gazillion pictures.