I Never Thought I Could Dunk

Dunking a basketball simply wasn’t something my brain would accept as a possibility. At 32 years old, and being a  5′ 10″ white guy – I’ve done an excellent job of building an argument against myself.

Here are the main points:

  1. I’m too old. If I was ever going to be able to dunk, it would have been when I was younger and in my prime… whenever that was.
  2. I’m too short. How many guys do you know under 6 feet tall who can dunk? The shortest person I’ve ever seen dunk was 6′ 2″.
  3. I’m white. Everyone knows white men can’t jump. They made a movie about it. But wait! Harrelson dunked in that movie, no? Harrelson, also standing 5′ 10″, did dunk in the movie… but the rim was 6″ lower than the standard 10 feet.

Lame. Look at how they avoid showing how far his feet get off the ground:

The belief that I was not physically capable of dunking was holding me back for one simple reason: it became my main excuse to not train harder.

Then something changed when I saw this 5′ 8″ white kid dunking on YouTube:

And again when I learned that this guy is my height:

The main difference between Anthony Lugo and myself, is Anthony has put in the work to get that explosive. And I haven’t.

So I bought his “Flight School” vertical jump program, and I’m 5 days in. This is as sore as I’ve ever been in my life – and that alone tells me something. A new level of sore probably indicates a new level of training. A new level of training probably means a new level of jumping.

So, without any concrete evidence whatsoever, I now believe I will be able to dunk.

To put a bit more pressure on myself, I’ve made a bunch of $20 bets that I’ll be able to dunk a basketball by the time volleyball season returns in September. 5 friends have put $20 down, so I’ve got $100 on the line.

This money and social pressure adds motivation to my workouts.

Publishing this blog post further commits me to training hard.

If the 8 week Flight School program doesn’t get me dunking, I’ll re-commit by getting an online assessment with Chris Korfist. He’s a trainer with experience consulting for the NFL, Big 10 Universities, US Olympic team and U.S. Special Forces.

Update: before doing the Korfist one, I’ll try coach Donny: http://www.elevateyourself.org/online-training.html

Here’s my starting point:

 

Postgame Report on my 1000 Burpee Month

If you don’t see any change whatsoever, except for my pants – that’s because there hasn’t been any. Not a damn bit!

I almost didn’t finish. Half way through the month I was lagging way behind and a friend of mine (Shaggy – we rented his place for a bit in Hawaii) texted me that he was almost done the 1000 burpees. So I had to finish. I couldn’t have Shaggy finish my own god damn workout without me.

So I did somewhere between 50 and 70 burpees each day and caught up, and it sucked and I hated every day of it.

But the overall purpose of all of this – which is to force me to exercise every day mainly so I don’t end up staying indoors for 3 straight days and not changing out of my track pants – was a wild success.

I haven’t had that cagey feeling, that restless shitty “I need a shower” feeling – and not from exercise but from precisely the opposite. Nobody should ever need a shower because they haven’t exercised. And I was doing that. Or not doing it. And it felt like shit. So now I’m needing showers again because I stink because I worked out. And I feel way better for it.

This month, 1000 deadlifts.

Maybe there will be visible change, but probably not. I’m feeling the internal change, so that’s enough to keep me going.

That and god damn Shaggy texting me every few days with an update that he’s ahead of me in reps – again.

Check out my face in this picture. Looks like I have half an orange in my mouth and I’m about to cry. Probably was about to cry.

Ryan deadlifting in the snow

Retirement Progress Report 5

This report is going to be a little wild again. Leading up to tax season we’d stopped investing the HST we had collected, and starting withholding income for tax payment to compensate for the HST we had invested over the majority of the tax year.

This effort was in hopes that we could avoid selling any of our mutual funds to pay our taxes, and instead replace the HST we’d invested earlier in the year with out-of-pocket income.

It seems to have worked. We were able to cover the HST we’d invested, successfully exposing those funds to market appreciation over the majority of the tax year. That said, appreciation currently lags at +1.61%, which is actually great (I think). It means we’re buying below normal (7%ish) growth. Just as long as the market picks up again at some point in the next 10-20 years before we need to sell!!!

One solid decision was made regarding whether to pay off the mortgage more aggressively – which was not to do it. The main reason we’d relied upon in our past deliberation over this idea is our mortgage rate of 2.92% should underperform index funds on average (7%). But this choice is vulnerable to instances like this past quarter where our portfolio lagged brutally at 1.61%… though really that doesn’t matter until we sell… I think. We’re still good as long as we never sell at 1.61%!

But the decisive reason for not paying back our mortgage more aggressively is this: we have mortgage life insurance. I think we pay a combined $12/month for this insurance, so if either of us die, the mortgage is paid off.

It would suck to pay the mortgage aggressively only for one of us to die and have the remaining (much smaller mortgage balance) forgiven, AND have no other investments. Better to sock our money into indexed mutual funds and pay the mortgage at our normal rate for the time being.

If we max out our TFSAs, and/or we renew for a higher than 7% mortgage rate… we’d probably switch tactics… and we’d likely keep the mortgage life insurance anyway.

Another trap people fall into with paying the mortgage off early is this (thanks Kyle Collins for pointing this out!): once they no longer have a mortgage to pay each month, that “extra” money starts to feel disposable. Hedonic adaptation kicks in, and most people (and I would probably do this too) simply end up spending the extra cash on silly shit every month.

Winter-long trip to Costa Rica? Fuck it! Our mortgage is paid off!

This extra cash is only useful to our long-term financial stability if invested. For this reason, in comparisons between people who invest early in mutual funds versus people who pay off their mortgage early, the investors generally end up way ahead come retirement.

It just requires too much discipline to take all the money you would normally put toward a mortgage and immediately transition into socking that cash right into index funds… especially after the marathon of paying off a house!

After all that rambling, here are our retirement figures for the quarter:

TFSA: $36,829.37 (up $12,459.54 from last report… again this is a bit blown out of proportion because we’d been sandbagging leading up to tax season)

Mortgage: $163,575.34 (down $1,782.65 from last report)

Net worth shift: + $14,242.19

NEW METRICS! 

I’m going to attempt some forecasting here. I want to bake two new and exciting metrics into these quarterly retirement reports.

Metric 1 is a percentage representing our progress toward the $800,000 retirement goal.

According to the Mr. Money Moustache equation of “multiply your annual spending by 25 to see how much you need to have invested in order to retire”, my family would be comfortable retiring on $800,000.

MMM’s “safe withdrawal rate” of 4% works out to $32,000 – which would cover our annual spending. Assuming our mortgage is paid off, we can retire once we’ve invested $800,000.

Metric 2 is the number of years remaining until we can retire, calculated based upon a $30,000/year rate of investment.

Here we go.

To make things easier, I’ve added our mortgage onto the $800,000 to represent the total amount of money yet to be invested/put toward the house. That leaves us with a target asset value of $963,575.34.

Retirement Progress = $36,829.37 / $963,575.34 = 3.8% of the way there! Pretty fucking low, but far better than 0% haha. The early years are the hardest.

Here comes the compound interest. According to the moneychimp.com compound interest calculator, if we invest $30,000 per year for 15.6 more years at 7% we’ll end up with $964,882.15.

So at our current rate, it will take Lia and me 15.6 more years to reach retirement. If this is true, our 48th birthdays will be epic!

 

 

 

Baby Grip For Dad: The Jaguar

Mostly, us dads lack breasts. And when we have them we’re shy about using them to sooth our babies.

A solution – The Jaguar.

The Jaguar swaps mom’s nipple for dad’s thumb, and baby doesn’t know the difference. In fact, there may be ways in which The Jaguar is even superior to a boob.

In the remainder of this article, I’ll point out a few key reasons why I’ve relied so heavily upon The Jaguar in soothing both of my daughters during infancy.

1. The Thumb Nipple

The hand that cradles the face and head doubles as a suction opportunity for the baby. Your thumb becomes a pretty damn “handy” nipple! Just make sure you keep those nails trimmed and smooth, and obviously wash your hands before trying it. No need to give baby an unintentional first taste of wing sauce left over from lunch.

2. Better Scenery

I’m convinced having things to look at makes babies less pissed off. The Jaguar allows your baby to point outward, instead of inward at a hairy dad bod – making for a more enjoyable ride.

3. Single-Handed Operation

Being able to totally comfort your baby with one hand leaves the other hand free for all kinds of useful things.

One of my favourite uses for my other hand is to pat my daughter on the back for added soothing power. Though removing the other thumb first is a good plan if she’s just eaten (so vomit can get out).

So go ahead – give The Jaguar a try! Leave a comment if it works as well for your little one as it has for mine.

 

1000 Burpees? WHY!?!

So, without being obligated to post a workout video for the past couple days – I just flat out stopped working out. Damn! So much for a habit forming. And last night I had a crazy hard time falling asleep. Probably because my body is used to expending at least a bit of energy every day – and I didn’t do a damn thing.

Everywhere I look, it seems like people are talking about burpees. In the audiobook I’m listening to (Spartan Up) the author talks about doing 10,000 burpees in a week. Another author I follow talks about his aunt committing to 40,000 burpees in a year.

After a little Googling and YouTubing, I’m now convinced that burpees are awesome and that I should do some. So this month I’m going to do 1000, all of them outside. I’ll even post before and after pics to see if there’s any notable change.

Before pic:

Ryan before 1000 burpees

So far I’ve done 43 (18, 15, big rest, 10) and felt close to vomiting. Guess we’ll see how it goes!

The 1000 Rep Month: Day 70

I go for the 2 minute handstand in this FINAL DAY of this video series.

My goal in publishing a short workout video each day was to force myself to form a new habit of working out each day (in accordance with Google’s estimation that it takes 66 days to form a new habit).

Despite having completed the series, I won’t know if the habit has formed until I’m no longer socially obligated to post these videos. So we’ll see.

As for the deeper reason behind working out every day – which was to improve my mood – that has been a total success. I had been finding myself getting frustrated and cagey if a day or two went by without any outdoor time or exercise, and simply doing a couple minutes of (even super light) exercise (and preferably outside) has 100% abolished those shitty feelings.

Keeping that realization at the front of my mind in upcoming days will help keep this going off-camera. It feels great to get outside and move a bit. It’s not intimidating if I don’t have any expectations of myself in terms of workout intensity.

Along the way, I discovered that skipping and handstands emerged as being great fits for me because they weren’t intimidating at all, and yet forced a minimum effort (ie jumping high enough to get over the rope, or holding 175 lbs overhead for over a minute).

Even entering into either of these exercises with an internal motivation level of “half-assed” – the very nature of the exercise forces you to perform at a reasonable level.

So, after all that rambling, here is my final video in this series: