Flipping Homes: A Side Business

House Flippers

I’m a pretty handy guy, a few years ago I decided to spend some time flipping a few houses. I did a lot of the work myself, I framed the basement, did the HVAC and electrical work and installed the plumbing. There are a couple of tasks which I refuse to do though – painting and mudding & taping.

I’m significantly slower than a lot of contractors, for example it might take me twice the time as an HVAC guy to do all the ductwork. However, with that said I know they’re charging me anywhere between $80-$120/hr plus markup on the materials. So for me to charge out $35/hr for my own time it still makes sense for me to do the work myself. I also quite enjoy a lot of the work, it’s nice to get my hands dirty as I rarely do that these days. I spend most of my time running a business and very little time in the kitchen these days so to do something hands on is always a plus for me.

However, mudding & taping I’m incredibly slow and I know I can find a solid contractor at $30-$40/hr if I do my homework. Suddenly charging out $35/hr for my own time doesn’t make any sense. Not to mention if you’ve ever mudded and tapped you know it’s some of the most painful work going. Painting I can probably move as quick as a painting contractor, and they charge about $40/hr. Logically this would be a task that would make sense for me to do but I can’t bring myself to do it. After taking on the painting work during my first flip I knew I never would do that again. Since then I’ve always hired that work out.

So when I bought my first vacation property in Vancouver (I fell in love with Vancouver after visiting for the olympics), I decided to outsource that work. I found a quality Vancouver Painting Contractor who completed the job on time and was very professional, a rarity among that trade. If you’re looking to hire someone in Vancouver, try the North Shore Painter.

The only other task I ever outsource is flooring. Crawling around on the ground all day is too painful for this guy :). I admire guys that can do that because it’s a trade I would never wanted to get into. Not to mention, it’s a disaster whenever I have to grout tile. I make a bloody mess, the clean up is just as long as putting the tiles down. Scrubbing grout off the tiles for a solid few hours.

5 Popular & Awesome Fitness Food Trends of 2014

Making a New Year’s resolution to diet and exercise more often falls by the wayside as spring nears. Many find themselves falling back to a morning jog, grabbing a morning sweet, then falling away from diet and exercise entirely. Having a plan with a sound nutritional map including a proper diet and supplements (read more by clicking here) is the most beneficial way of reaching a healthy goal. Here are 5 popular fitness food trends for 2014, designed to experience steady weight loss and to keep your body functioning properly.

  • GMO Has Got to Go

Genetically modified organisms have been used in the US, for over 20 years, as a way to improve the yield of crops by making them disease and insect resistant. The problem lies with the introduction of bacteria into otherwise, stable and organic seeds. There is no proof of the long-term effects of playing with nature, but over 60 countries have banned their use. Anything that is strong enough to kill a resilient insect, has to be playing havoc on the human body. Using only organic seeds in growing foods has created quite a market for people looking to live GMO-free lives.

  • Gluten-Free Diets

Transitioning to a gluten-free diet is not for the faint at heart, but many are discovering the amazing power of lessening illness and disease with cutting gluten from meals. Gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley and is intolerable to much of the Western population. Stomach disorders and colon problems can be the result of regularly ingesting this contaminated substance. Some celebrities, like Chelsey Clinton, have found that life can be much more enjoyable without the constant fear of internal pain and illness.

  • Social Juicing

Juicing items like fresh fruit and vegetables is nothing new, but sharing a day around the pool with friends and a strawberry-melon cooler, is. By serving a burst of vitamins and energy, no one gets sluggish and tired. Juicing fresh vegetables is also an excellent way to make soups and sauces. Instead of using canned broth, filled with sodium and preservatives, vegetable juice will keep your body in balance.

  • Yoga and Brain Food

Yoga is growing popular for relaxing and expanding the mind. Almonds, cherries and green tea will stretch the molecular structure and keep the brain and hormones healthy. Shopping for foods that are low in the glycemic-index is forcing many food manufacturers to include on their labels.

  • 21-Day Challenge

Being able to withstand a change in routine is said to take an average of 21 days. Deciding to head into a healthier way of life is never easy, but using the right ingredients of fresh organic foods and a daily exercise program, the pain of change can turn into a better life. When change is made by incorporating protein, vitamins, minerals, and a goal, a positive outlook, trimmer figure, and less illness is the result. If you have problems with getting up and getting your workouts in the morning going, check out a good pre-workout supplement similar to these at this site.

The food trends of 2014 are not fads of starvation or cleansing means, but point to healthier ways of living, now and in the future for yourself and your family.

My New Passion: Guns & The Shooting Range

One thing most of my friends don’t know about is I’m an avid gun lover and collector. I really love old pistols and rifles I’ve amassed quite the collection over the years.

I’ve got rifles, shotguns, old hammer style guns. I’ve also got a few newer guns and recently I’ve taken a fancy to those as well.

American Standard .38

American Standard .38

It all started when a friend of mine noticed my collection of antique guns and asked if I ever go shooting. I told him no, and he quickly suggested that we should go to the range sometime. Now this guy is a gun lover, scratch that he’s a tactical equipment lover. He used to be in the military and has a ton of his old tactical gear from when he served. He has the best tactical flashlight I’ve ever seen, many of which are worth more then a number of my rifles. His assault rifle is one of the most intense weapons I’ve ever seen, it’s littered with scopes, weapon lights, extended mags. And of course he’s got all the small accessories as well, including one of the best tactical pen I’ve ever seen. These things could do a load of damage and of course they write beautifully.

Weapon Lights

 

Anyhow, he convinced me to go to an indoor shooting range initially. I was a bit skeptical, I loved collecting guns but I wasn’t a huge fan of firing them. I had only fired a fire arm on one other occasion and wasn’t exhilarated to the point where I couldn’t wait to do it again.

The first thing he taught me was how to hold a gun correctly, as he put it “don’t hold it like a thug” which simply meant with the gun cocked sideways. I was a little taken back by the remark at first but after thinking about it, it’s how it’s always depicted in movies and on TV. Two hands on the weapon, steady your breathing and squeeze. Block everything else out he told me. After firing four or five rounds I suddenly understood. When you hold a pistol (they’re my favorite) it becomes an extension of your hands. And I don’t mean this in a threatening way, I’m not the type who has a gun bedside in case of an intruder. Frankly, I don’t know if I’d want to have a gun if an intruder broke in. In fact I keep them locked away except when I’m going to the range or skeet shooting (which might be the funnest activity I’ve ever tried). It’s like duck hunter, but better.

 

If you’re not a gun person, do yourself a favour and go to the shooting range one day. You might be surprised how much fun it can be.

A Few Of My Top Chicago Food Trucks

With the summer coming up, it’s that time again. Us Chicagoans LOVE our food trucks in the summer. What a great idea! Sell premium food out of a truck at a decent price. If I had an SUV and not a bicycle, I would do it as well.
However, with all the food trucks out there, how do we choose which one? Is there comprehensive guide to all the food trucks out there in Chicago with all their delicious options?
Luckily, our friends at ChicagoMag made a list.
First, what are all of our options? They are: Haute Sausage, The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck, Getta Polpetta, E.Leaven, Tamale Spaceship, and Dokkaebi Tacos. Sure, there might be more out there. However, these are the most popular, and in my opinion, the most delicious. Unfortunately, there isn’t one specific place you are going to find one of these amazing trucks. They are like large yummy unicorns prancing around the city giving away tacos and tamales.
This summer, there are (at least) 18 trucks feeding the streets of Chicago, dishing out sandwiches, sausages, tamales, tacos, and even the odd plate of pancakes. It’s actually kind of the new thing in town. Until last July, incredibly, it was illegal to cook food on a truck in Chicago. The rule stated that food had to be prepared beforehand and kept warm. The old rule that a truck can’t park within 200 feet of a restaurant still stands, and now there are also designated food truck parking spaces.
Would you like to start a food truck of your own? Why not? If you have the recipe and a truck, or at least the money to buy a truck, it can be incredibly lucrative. You just have to make sure you abide by the local laws (I can’t help too much with that). However, they have become extremely laxed in the past year. Also, obviously, you are going to want a good recipe that is different and original. People come to these trucks because the food is unique and you can get it quickly. And if there is one thing that Cicagoans enjoy especially, that is unique food and quickly.
Here’s what you can expect them to hand you from the windows of your competitors (courtesy of ChicagoMag.com; all credit goes to them):

Brown Bag Lunch Truck (312-857-4221, @brownbagtruck)
Chef Joaquin Soler’s traveling barbecue spot mixes American (smoked brisket and pulled pork) and Korean (bibimbop and ddukbokki) traditions. Each order comes with two slices of white bread (not necessarily for sandwich construction).
Beavers Doughnuts (773-392-1300, @beaversdonuts)

This newcomer to the Chicago French Market is still holding on to its food truck roots with mini doughnuts doused in gourmet toppings such as s’mores, Nutella, and PB&J.
Haute Sausage (312-269-5300, @hautesausage)
You won’t find these sausages at the local deli. Rich Levy blends African flavors (beef and lamb sausage with chakalaka, a South African vegetable relish) and exotic meats (alligator and wild boar) for a unique sandwich experience. Update: This truck is temporarily out of commission and its plans are up in the air.
Bridgeport Pasty (773-254-7441, @bridgeportpasty)
This comfort food truck (technically a Mini Cooper) was born via a trip to London where owners Carrie Clark and Jay Sebastian discovered pasties, a traditional English pastry filled with meat and vegetables.
Starfruit (773-868-4900, @starfruitcafe)
Forget about those red, white, and blue rocket popsicles. This ice cream truck is scooping frozen kefir with your choice of fresh fruit, nuts, or candy topping.
5411 Empanadas (773-755-5411, @5411empanadas)
Find these Argentinean empanadas ($2.25 each) during the lunch rush in the Loop. Avoid lines by calling in your order before 10:30 a.m. and picking it up at the truck. Babycakes. Pancakes on the sidewalk. Why not?
Babycakes (773-517-4454, @babycakestruck)
Chef/owner Leah Wilcox has created more than 150 sweet and savory pancakes, which include strawberry margarita, maple bacon, and chipotle chicken tamale.
La Adelita (312-869-4413, @adelitatruck)
Brothers Alexis and Teddy Vegar revive Mexican street food with a menu of Yucatan-style pulled pork, chicken in a creamy chipotle sauce, and summer squash and zucchini tacos.
Bombay Wraps (312-739-9727, @bombaywraps)
Indian street food served in portable wraps, such as samosa, chicken tikka, or lamb curry in a flaky paratha or whole wheat roti.

Meatloaf-A-Go-Go (773-698-6667, @meatloafagogo)
Savory cupcakes are the star here. Chef Cynthia Kallie’s meatloaf cupcakes range from traditional (the Mother Loaf: a beef, pork, and veal topped with mashed potatoes) to unconventional (Loaf-A-Roma: beef and Italian sausage loaf topped with angel hair pasta).
The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck. Goo to go.
The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck (773-342-1840, @thesouthernmac)

The mac ‘n’ cheese changes daily in the hands of executive chef Cary Taylor. Varieties can include spinach and artichoke, Mexican chorizo, and pulled pork with barbecue sauce.
Getta Polpetta (312-804-0405, @gettapolpetta)
Owner Anna Caterinicchia is serving up an Italian family favorite: meatballs. In fact, the recipes come from her own Italian mother.
Taquero Fusion (773-321-6777, @taquerofusion)
These tacos have a twist: ground beef with plantains, or shredded chicken with adobo and potato.
Dokkaebi Tacos (202-316-7793, @dokkaebitacos)
Barely a year ago, this truck started serving Korean tacos: Korean-style barbecue beef or spicy pork with Asian slaw on a corn tortilla. No word from them lately on Twitter—fingers crossed we’ll see them again this summer.
The Tamale Spaceship (312-909-7009, @tamalespace101)
One of Chicago’s original food trucks, you can find the Spaceship’s tamales (pork, beef, chicken, poblanos and cheese, and roasted veggies and mushrooms) around the Loop most weekdays.
E.leaven (312-202-0899, @eleaven)
The everything-from-scratch bakery takes to Chicago streets for breakfast and lunch: bagels, artisan breads, homemade soups, and sandwiches.
The Slide Ride (312-925-1911, @theslideride)

Executive chef and owner, Nida Rodriguez, creates mini sliders ($3.50 each) made with certified Angus beef.
Curried (312-977-9999, @getcurriedaway)
This truck features classic South Asian curry dishes: chana masala, saag paneer, chicken tikka masala, and more.
Giordano’s (Multiple phone numbers, @giordanospizza)
Hitting the streets of Chicago for the first time on Tuesday, June 4, this local institution’s new truck served its debut deep dish at Michigan and Congress.

How to Shoot Great Skin

Most photographers are aware of how difficult it can be to take really good quality photographs of a subject and enhance their skin’s look and appearance. I shoot many weddings and engagement photos and the number one thing that the bride or bride to be says to me is “Please make my skin look glowing and pretty”. Let me tell you, that can be a very difficult task, but I believe that I have found some great processes to ensure that my photographic subjects will have glowing, beautiful and smooth skin in my photos.

Shoot in RAW:

Shooting in the RAW (there is not an acronym for RAW. It simply means that the data type is more raw and unfiltered) is one of the best ways to really bring out beautiful skin tones in your photographic subjects. Shooting in the RAW is now even better than using other photo formats since camera processing speeds has gotten so extremely fast. There are many reasons to shoot in the RAW to enhance skins tones, but the main reasons are: you are able to adjust color temperature (cool and warm skin tones require different lightings to bring out the best in them) and the amount of data contained in an image shot in the RAW is much larger than that of other photo formats like a JPEG file.

Use great lighting rather than a great background:

When shooting it is always best to opt for better lighting over a great background. You may have the most beautiful background possible and still have poor quality photos due to poor quality and quantity of lighting. You want to be able to make the best out of your photographic subjects. Nothing is worse than a picture of a beautiful person with muted skin tones and a pretty back drop. It is really all about the quality and quantity of your lighting source. Different skin tones are enhanced by different types of natural light and you may also use hand held lights at different angles to enhance them even more. You may even want use yourself to test the lighting and how it will look on your subject’s skin. Put yourself in the spot you will shoot and see how the lighting looks on your own skin. This will help you determine if you need any hand held lights to improve the quality of the photo and your subjects skin tones.

Exposure:

The most important element to taking beautiful photos of your subjects is exposure. I cannot stress enough the importance of proper exposure. Do not under estimate the importance of using proper exposure techniques. One of the great benefits to using the RAW data format is that you can make exposure mistakes and easily correct them. It is obviously better to use the proper exposure right out of the gate so that your photos require less editing and manipulation, but at least when using RAW data you have a bit more cushion that with other formats. Definitely use a histogram when shooting in natural light as it will help you determine the proper exposure to shoot glowing and beautiful skin tones. The use of a handheld light meter is great when you are shooting in an indoor setting for the most part, but does have some added benefits when using natural light. I always keep both in my camera case and use them whenever possible. I like to edit my photos as little as possible, so I try to get the lighting right from the get go.

Overexpose:

Yes, that’s right I said overexpose…but just a little. This is one of the tricks to shooting skin tones. Our eyes confuse brightness for smoothness and a slightly overexposed shot will create gorgeous, smooth and brighter skin. This is however a very delicate and tricky thing to do as overexposing too much will lead to a very hazy and unattractive picture.

Photography – What is it and what do I need to learn?

Being a photographer can be a long and bumpy road but it can be a rewarding skill. You can begin a business, you can have your own photo collage or even a photo exhibit or you can just capture magical moments with your friends, family and the places you went.  Whatever your reason for starting to venture into the world of photography, expect to have ups and downs but lots of enjoyment while learning the trick of the trade.

Many found that photography is also an art, which can be a source of great happiness, gloominess or other emotions. When you go to online photography websites, you can see images that can move your emotions, they can make you laugh or cry depending upon the setting and shot. That’s why being a photographer is much like being a painter: you need to know how to capture a moment, place, thing or person in order to bring impact to those who will admire and look into your work. If you want to be a good photographer, there are certain things and rules that you need to learn.

Nikon-Df-Silver

Basic Photography Tips, Jargons and Techniques

The first and foremost is the Rule of Thirds. Photos are better if your subject isn’t centered all the times. The rule of thirds is observed by dividing the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically so that you have nine parts. The main reason of this rule is to discourage the placement of the subject in the center or to prevent the horizon from appearing to divide the picture in half. This will encourage a viewer to move through your photograph to stimulate interest.

Then, we have the ISO/Exposure, which defines how sensitive the camera is to light. Generally, higher ISO will make it possible to take photos even in low light; however, the resulting photograph will be grainy or noisy. Lower ISO will be better, but it’s only great for a well-lit situation.

Aperture is what determines the focal length. This is the size of the lens’s physical opening. A higher number will result in sharper, focused background because of smaller hole letting the light in. A lower number will result on a non-focused background.

Shutter speed tells how long the shutter will remain open, which will allow more light in. If you allow it longer, motion will be shown to the photo while in shorter speed will capture a single moment.

There are also different camera modes such as manual, automatic and programming. Manual more lets you specify everything, adjusting each setting to your liking. Automatic will let the camera take the best settings for each photo. Programmed are a set of predetermined settings. If you want to be a professional or good photographer, I advise you to stay away from the latter two: automatic and programming, and try to learn to configure settings for yourself. This way, you can apply settings that you think will be the best for your style and subject.

Health Benefits of Vegetables

Plant based diet

Are You Eating Enough Of These?

Vegetables are vital in building a strong and healthy immune system in order to stay healthy and safe from chronic diseases. By meeting a daily quota of five to nine servings a day, you are on your way on building your body’s natural shield against cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illnesses. Eating vegetables alone can grant your body an array of important vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and hundreds of other phytonutrients.

People who eat daily servings of vegetables and follow a plant based diet have a stronger overall health than those who do not or those who only takes multivitamins or food supplements in place of vegetables and fruits. Many of us have a busy schedule that oftentimes we don’t have the time to cook a healthy food. Therefore, we resort to vitamin pills or food supplements to “cover” the hole that we miss from eating vegetables. However, research shows that eating true vegetables rather than consuming multivitamins and food supplements are hands down better and will provide you with a stronger immune system.

Benefits of Eating Vegetables

It is recommended that you fill half of your plate with vegetables to complete daily-recommended servings. By getting the recommended amount of vegetable servings every day, you will achieve the following health benefits:

  • It may reduce overall risk to heart attack and stroke
  • Putting vegetables on your daily diet may reduce overall risk against cancer
  • Vegetables are rich in fibers which reduces obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • They contain a lot of antioxidants that helps remove toxins from our body
  • Potassium rich vegetables can help reduce blood pressure, prevent kidney stones and increase bone health

Aside from that, there are certain vegetables that are known to provide the body with a particular vitamin and/or minerals that can greatly help those who need a certain vitamin or mineral.

Healthy Vegetables to Start your Veggie Diet

Broccoli – This vegetable is packed with antioxidants that help reduce the risk of different gut cancers such as stomach and rectal cancers. It is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and folate, which will significantly improve your body’s defenses against colds and flus.

Carrots – The best job that it can do is enhancing eye, skin and hair. It is also rich in antioxidants such as Vitamins A and C and due to that, it can protect your cardiovascular system from damage.

Beets – it contains betacyanin, a powerful antioxidant that has cancer protective effects. It is also a good source of folate that can help cut down the risk of premenopausal breast cancer by 40%.

Onions – they are well known for their cancer fighting skills and powerful oxidants especially if you ate them raw. Cooking them at high heat will significantly decrease their phytochemicals, which are beneficial against lung and prostate cancer.

Peas – daily consumption of peas will lower the risk of stomach cancer, according to a study conducted by the International Journal of Cancer.

Squash – This is a good source of anti-inflammatory nutrients such as beta-carotene and vitamin C. It can help treat dozens of conditions including asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also rich in other minerals such as potassium, magnesium and fiber: essential part of a healthy body.

Eggplant – other antioxidant rich vegetables is the eggplant, which contains nasunin, a unique compound that protects brain cells from damage. It is also believed that eggplant’s high potassium and fiber content helps prevent dementia.

Taking a daily serving of vegetables can help prevent a wide array of sickness, illnesses and disorders. It also helps keeping the body function well, doing what it needs to do efficiently and giving you more opportunity to enjoy life to the fullest. If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate vegetables into your diet visit this website.

So I’m Growing a Beard!

I’m growing a beard

So with winter pretty much in full force already, and Movember just recently passed, I’ve decided that now is the time to grow a beard.

I haven’t actually had a beard since college, back when you could just let it go untamed and look like a mountain man (wearing a bright yellow Nike shirt, of course…I really had the look down). The ladies seemed to like it then, but now I’ve come to realize that using a beard trimmer is an absolute must.

My facial hair is pretty thick and grows quickly, so it’s important that I give it a trim every couple of days to keep my look just right. I’ve been experimenting with the look so I can find the best style, and when I let it grow out fully for more than 3 days, I just look ridiculous. I’ve got a high hair line on my cheeks, and the hairs get too long to look acceptable in any kind of professional setting in my opinion.

What I have been doing is growing it out for a couple days, using my trimmer to go over the entire beard and mustache, then I’ll use the small edging blade (also on my trimmer – it’s sort of a multi-purpose, all-in-one kind of thing) to cut away the right cheek and neck line. After that I get the old razor out and shave my cheek and neck line fully for a clean cut look.

So far it’s been an extra 5 or 10 minutes every morning, but totally worth it, I think, for the final product. I’m pretty sure I look more manly now, which I’ve read is actually helpful for appealing to women and seeming more powerful at work (seriously, here’s just one of the articles I read about it). Now to secure my future wife and a raise…

Anyway, one of the other things I’ve been reading is how to keep your beard groomed, and there are all sorts of things that I had no previous clue about. This seems like it’s an actual industry (duh). There are waxes, oils, kits, shampoos, conditioners, it’s crazy. The thing is, it totally got me interested in the beard culture and sort of manly grooming in general.

I picked up what I think is the best nose hair trimmer recently, the Philips Norelco NT9130. It’s so handy keeping my stray nose hairs at bay and works well for smaller grooming projects like eyebrows if you really wanted, neck line, cheek line, ears…it’s an all-in-one and I dig it so far.

I’m thinking I’ll actually check out some of the grooming products next because I’ve noticed my beard gives me a bit of skin irritation, but nothing major. Probably pick up a shampoo or oil or something to keep my hair and skin healthy. No point putting a bra on your car if the paint underneath is going to be peeled and crappy, right? Same thing goes with your beard and face.

Own Guns? Do You Own A Gun Safe?

Raffle Prize Winner

How many times have you been out at a fair or festival and there is a raffle for a prize?  Tons, I’m sure.  You have to guess the jelly bean in a jar or the tennis balls in a really big jar!  At a rural fair you might even get to guess the weight of a piglet (like in “Babe).  I never win, but often enter because the proceeds usually go to a good cause…and…why not?  If you don’t enter, you have no chance of winning (that’s what we always say about the lottery).

A Gun??

Recently though, a friend of mine did win the prize, and it was a new rifle!  He was very excited; he grew up on a ranch so is familiar with firearms and firearm safety, etc.  He lives with his wife and two dogs in a small house, and this wasn’t the first firearm in their home.

Gun Safety

Even though they don’t have children, I am encouraging him to purchase a gun safe for his weapons.   To me, it just makes sense.  If you have a safe, and are the practice of using the safe, then you won’t need to change anything once you do decide to have children (or at least not as much).  Also, they have friends and visitors over often.  What about contractors?  If you have someone working on your house, are you going to be in the room with them 100% of the time?  Probably not.  If your guns are hidden, but accessible, when will you notice if a friend (or stranger) took one?  It might not be awhile, and then once you notice how will you possibly be able to figure it out?  These scenarios might sound fantastical, but guns have been stolen before – it happens.  We have a biometric gun safe which was very expensive but faster than the traditional gun safes with a dial. Curious children have temporarily escaped from a mother, father, or babysitters watchful eye.  Why not be as safe as you can possibly be?

Biometric Gun Safe

Fingerprint Gun Safe: Credit Flickr

Workout Smarter, Not Harder

I’m a big proponent of healthy living, to me it starts with eating. If you want to get skinnier and decrease health risks eat better. If you want to put on muscle mass and add definition to your body workout AND eat better.

There is no option to eat poorly and workout to get fit. That doesn’t exist. You can get well and lose weight, you can’t eat like crap and expect to lose weight. Even if you’re working out 1-2 hours every day. It just doesn’t work like that. We all have friends who are gym rats and aren’t fit. It’s not because they’re genetics suck (yes they play a huge part too), it’s because they drink 24 beers every weekend and crush pizza at 2 am.

I workout four or five times a week, two or three of those days are gym days. Days where I spend forty five minutes to an hour weights, doing HIIT training and lots of body weight work. Just as I’m a believer in work smarter, not harder, I also believe in workout smarter, not harder. In this case harder translates to “more”. While I’m at the gym or at home using my exercise resistance bands I workout hard. I’m not there to waste time, but you also won’t find me in there for more then an hour at a time. It’s a lot harder to be extremely efficient at the gym. It requires some planning and commitment. There are days where you don’t feel like doing squats, or doing interval training, or using kettle bells. And those are the days where a PLAN is most important. If you decide what you’re going to do right before you start doing it, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

On days where you aren’t at your best, maybe you’ve had an emotionally draining day, or you didn’t get the best sleep or perhaps you had a lousy lunch if you don’t come to the gym with a plan you’re going to defer to the easy exercises. The easy ones usually only involve working on muscle at a time and are a colossal waste of time. I’m looking at you isolated bicep curls. By performing compound movements, such as squats, you activate hormones that allow you to build more muscle. You’re also working significantly harder – to me a hard fifteen minute workout is better than a lazy hour workout. Proper rest between sets is important to ensure you can maximize each set and work to failure as frequently as possible.

If you’re going to the gym without a plan, unless your in a great space physicall and mentally you’re going to have a subpar workout. So why not follow a routine? Both in terms of when you workout and more importantly HOW you workout.