My Whirlwind Love Affair with MyFitnessPal

This is the time of year everyone makes (and quickly breaks) New Year’s diet resolutions.  Something I tried prior to doing both myself was the calorie-counting website/app, MyFitnessPal.  I’ve written a lot about diets in the past, and I’ve received a lot interest in the different diets I’ve tried such as Eco Atkins Diet, The Slow Carb Diet, The Warrior Diet, The Thrive Diet, The Paleo Diet, and The Bulletproof Diet (posts on 8/16 Intermittent Fasting are on the way!).  One commonality shared by all these ways of eating is that none require you to count calories.  I had never done so myself until a friend suggested I try MyFitnessPal, so I thought I’d give it a go.

myfitnesspal

MyFitnessPal is handy if you prescribe to the old dietary adage that to lose weight, you must eat less and move more.  You input food and exercise throughout the day, and the app presents your progress toward, or away from, a preset goal.  As with many health apps, MyFitnessPal has been “gameified”, meaning that it provides encouragement when you do something good and warnings if you’re eating the wrong way or skipping workouts. There’s a social component as well, so you can share your in-app achievements and real-world progress with friends.

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Jacked Dad 2014 Year in Review

WordPress does a nice write-up on site stats each year for blogs, and I’d thought I’d take a moment to share it with you.  Thanks for visiting this site and for making it great!  Click the link below to see the report, and check back soon for posts about the following:

  • My Fitness Pal
  • Finding and Sharing Wonder, Awe, and Delight
  • More Great Children’s Books

and without further ado, here are our site stats for 2014!

The CrossFit Fran Plan Part 2

I didn’t grow a mustache or write a novel last month, but I did complete about 16 Frans (or variations) during the month of November.  I started with a time of around six minutes, and I got it down to 4:31.  Not bad, but I missed my goal of three minutes by a long shot.  Here are some of the things I learned during the process.

1. Relax!

It took me until about November 25th to realize I was going way too hard–especially on my thrusters.  I was trying to put the weights through the ceiling!  While this is good for explosive training and overall fitness, it’s not conducive to a fast Fran time.  I was tiring myself out way too quickly!  I realized that when I was going for time, I needed to just get the weights up with good form.  I didn’t need to launch them so hard. Here’s a little something I always try to remember when practicing a fitness or martial arts technique:

Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.

The way to do that?  Relax!

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Remember, Fran is just like a baby lying in a field with puppies. Okay, maybe not…

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Happy Second Birthday!

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Happy birthday, little guy!

Here’s a poem I wrote to commemorate my son’s second birthday.  Coincidentally, it’s roughly the second birthday of the blog, too!  I hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you to create something special for your little ones.

If you’d like to share your ideas for sentimental birthday presents for your children, please do so in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

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Adventure Time!?!

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Now this is adventurous! (Or maybe it was just a trip to Cabela’s…)

Some of you whom browse the various categories on this blog may have noticed one entitled “Adventures”.  Some of you may have noticed the paucity of posts listed under this topic.  All of you–especially parents of young children–must understand why nothing was really posted there until now. It’s been nearly two years since I became a dad and started this blog.  And it wasn’t until this summer that I had the time and energy to make it outdoors for some adventuring.

I got in some hiking, biking, and kayaking while my little guy was napping each afternoon.  Nothing “epic” like camping and hiking in the White Mountains or fishing different state parks in the same weekend like I did in my teens and twenties.  Such is life.

For now, I’m just happy to sneak out once in a while, biding my time until I can drag my son along with me.  I hope my manic enthusiasm won’t scare him off.  We love playing outside now, and I’d really like make outdoor adventuring a father-son bonding experience.  Some of my favorite memories with my father include time in the wilderness or by a lake.  I hope to share these experiences and more with my son.

outdoor, adventure, hiking, kayaking, biking, mountain, cabela's, llban, garmin, fenix, yakima, sparetime, trek, llbean

Loaded up and ready to roll!

Keep reading for some of the new gear I used to get outdoors this summer and some shots of the fun I’m happy to share with you and, soon, with my son.

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My Last Meal

We talk a lot about eating healthy on this blog.  But every once in a while, we all need to indulge.  My wife and I were talking about what we would want as our Last Meal.  You know, like if we were on Death Row or something like that–not that we’re planning a Bonnie and Clyde sort of thing.

Here’s what I would eat as my Last Meal.

  • 2 (!) Five Guys Double Bacon Cheeseburgers
  • Regular Five Guys Fries
  • Large Diet Cherry Coke
  • Palate Wrecker IPA by Green Flash
  • Dynamite Stick Cannoli from Wholly Cannoli in Worcester, MA

And guess what, I just ate it!  Pictures of what will probably kill me later today follow after the jump!

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Children’s Book Update

Sorry I’ve been on a bit of an unplanned summer hiatus.  Finishing up the school year, wrapping my two summer grad classes, and prepping for a karate test during the first week of August have been a bit overwhelming.  Not to mention trying to spend as much time being a daddy as possible during my summer vacation from teaching high school English.  Well, balancing projects, self-improvement, and family time is what being a Jacked Dad (or Mom!) is all about!

I have been up to something you might be interested in, however.  A while ago, I posted about the best books for baby, and that lead to a project idea.  A local artist, Marissa Dziedzic, and I wrote and illustrated a children’s book all about Shohei-Ryu karate last year, and I’m in the process of ushering it through to self publication.  Here’s a preview scan of the title page.

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How Not to Shop for Father’s Day

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It’s hard out there for a red, furry monster!

Rappers like Big Daddy Kane, Snoop Dog, and Ice-T all agree that blogging ain’t easy.  We all work hard to put our ideas out there, hoping that people will read our posts, share them, and maybe even provide a few advertising dollars.  But like many bloggers (and women of the night) working it hard, all we really want is love.

That’s why when the Huffington Post reached out to me to provide a blurb about what I’d like as gift for Father’s Day, I responded.  They informed me it was a post sponsored by Best Buy and that I should write about something they actually sell.  My remittance?  Increase traffic to this site.

Does this make me a sell-out?  Should I feel used and cheap?  Am I, basically, prostituting myself as a writer?  If you read the comments left on HuffPost, you might think that I, and the other daddy bloggers consulted, are pretty dirty indeed.

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How Increasing Your Fat Intake Can Actually Make You Healthier

What Then, Shall I Eat?

Low-carb diets are nothing new.  Over the past two decades the Atkins Diet became the South Beach Diet, “low-carb” products like tiny bagels and gluten-free cupcakes flooded supermarket shelves, and millions of people had their gallbladders removed and went on statins after gorging on bacon and Big Macs.  After such a questionable run, it seems low-carb might not be so great after all.  Or is it?

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Low-carb diets. Is this all there is to them?

Enter the better researched, more sophisticated versions of Atkins like the Slow-Carb Diet, the Paleo Diet, and the Thrive Diet (Paleo for vegans).  These diets actually factor in the types of proteins and fats we ingest.  Grass-fed beef, organic nuts, beans, and legumes, avocados, and olive oil.  All are important in balancing cholesterol levels, improving metabolism, and ensuring health and longevity.

Basically, any diet that features real, unprocessed foods will improve your health and wellness, and these diets do deliver.  I’ve tried each and have experienced good results including better body composition, improved energy levels, strength and fitness gains, and clearer thinking throughout each busy day.  But there’s more to it than dropping sugars and artificial ingredients . . .

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