The Fran Plan

First off, sorry October was a slow month blogging.  Grad school and my internship turned into a bit more of a commitment than I bargained for, but I have been working on some back-end projects that will hopefully make this site a better place.  Here’s a quick post to tide us all over until then.

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Happy Second Birthday!

second birthday, creative, gift, ideas, child, son, daughter

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!?!

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

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.

karate, kids, book, children's book, childrens book, martial arts, shohei-ryu

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How Not to Shop for Father’s Day

father's day, elmo, ice-t, gift

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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Notes from the John

nutrition, supplements, health, diet, exercise, bulletproof coffee, joe rogan

Maybe Kim and Kanye are on to something?

With end-of-the-semester grad school deadlines looming, grades due at school, and a crazy one-and-a-half year old to keep up with, I haven’t had much time to post lately. Sorry about that. To top it off, I just got over a stomach bug that dropped me for a week. Jeez! Now that I’m in recovery mode, I thought I’d finally post and share some things I thought about over the past few days with you.

Getting sick sucks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the time to improve your mindset for when you’re well and back to your normal routine!

These thoughts range from health, nutrition, exercise, and self-improvment. I guess I had a lot on my mind! Some people spend good money for a retreat to spend time alone and meditate, or for a full body cleanse. I got to do both for free! And the Saltines and ginger ale diet is going great!

For what it’s worth, here are some notes from the john. They’re written like advice, but I mean to use “the general you” and you could take all of this lightly. I just wrote what came to mind at the time.

Some people might think I’m full of it, but I maintain I do my best thinking in the bathroom! Continue reading

Sadiv’s Sadistic Sets for Power and Explosive Strength

I’ve been away from the big weights for a while now, since I don’t have barbells at home and don’t have gym access at present. Maybe you’re in the same position! But that doesn’t mean we can’t train to become stronger. I’ve been doing a lot of research on how to build strength and power using lighter weights and with bodyweight exercises. I was lucky to stumble upon this article by Martin Rooney, head trainer at the Parisi Speed School. There are some pretty great workouts in here, but my favorite for developing strength and power is the Sadiv Set. One of the head coaches at the school, champion power lifter Rich Sadiv, designed the following workout to improve the deadlift:

  • Load a barbell with 60% of your deadlift 1RM and set a timer for 12 minutes.
  • Perform as many single reps as possible in 12 minutes, shooting for a minimum of 20 reps.
  • Each rep should be performed with maximal speed from the floor.
  • Release the bar completely between reps; rest until you’re ready, and repeat.
  • Once 12 minutes are up, retrieve that lung you expelled around minute 9 and record your score.

The whole point is to work on muscle recruitment and to be explosive.  Here’s a video demonstration by Rooney and Sadiv themselves!

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