Friday, 2 December 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Weeks 38 & 39

Well, I haven't been doing too well with my diet and exercise since the last post. While I managed to cut back slightly on my consumption of confectionery, I haven't yet managed to eliminate it completely and stick to my daily diet plan, so my weight has been creeping up again. I usually start out well enough each day, sticking with my planned breakfast and lunch items, but I'll then have a 'snack' while shopping or preparing dinner, and then also browse on confectionery after dinner while watching TV. My 'plan' is always to only have some fruit after dinner as dessert, and then to avoid snacking until bed time. The trick is to work out how to stick to my plan! Since it is too hot and humid to go for a long walk at lunchtime, I need to start going for an evening walk after dinner. While I've been doing an hour or so of air pistol 'dry fire' training using my SCATT most evenings, I haven't started doing daily 5BX.

To make my SCATT training sessions more productive, I decided to try the 'kindergarten' training method outlined by Anatoliy Piddubnyy. I wrote out a 'script' for a single 1-minute 'shot' sequence, and dubbed the narration on top of a free classical track (Handel's 'Andante' from the 'Water Music'). Initially I was going to record the narration myself, but after getting poor recordings using a cheap USB microphone I decided to use a free online text-to-speech app to simply create a suitable MP3 file. Loading the two MP3 files into audacity was very simple, and it only took a few moments to edit out some unwanted parts of the narration and replicate it 10-times to create a recording for a 10-minute, 10-shot 'card', followed by a 3-minute rest, all accompanied by a loop of  3-minutes of Handel. I was initially going to create a 90-minute track for an entire 60-shot 'match' training session, but after trying out the 10-shot 'card' track I decided it was better to simply re-play that track for every 10-shot 'card'. That way it is a lot easier to take a break between 'cards', and to have amply time to get back into position and check my natural aim before starting each 10-shot sequence.

The first evening I tried using the 'kindergarten' method with my home-made sound track it seemed to work quite well - I got  nearly all 9s and 10s, and only had one 'wild' shot (an 8) out of my 40-shot training session. However, the second night I tried training with this track I tried being a bit 'flexible' about adhering to the exact timing of the commands, and ended up holding my aim too long and getting five bad shots out of 40 (4x8s and a 7). So, I'll probably have to create a modified version, as the timing of some parts of each shot isn't quite right. Once I get the sound track exactly the way I want it, I'll use it for daily SCATT training sessions for a couple of months and see if I can consistently shoot 95+ on every 'card'. Currently I'm shooting between 89-96 for each 'card' of ten shots while SCATT training at home, although I tend to not shoot as well at the club on Saturday's, or when at a competition. Hopefully with enough training my shot timing will become 'second nature' and I'll be able to consistently shoot as well at competitions as I do in training.

At the moment the SCATT traces are showing my natural AM (arc of movement) when I initially 'take aim' is a 'random walk' lying mostly within the '9-ring', and then tightens up as I commence my trigger release ('squeeze'). Using the sound track for training helps my shoot within 5-10 seconds of 'taking aim', rather than holding way too long waiting for my aim to be 'perfect'. Currently the SCATT results show that around 35%-40% of the final second of the trace before my shot fires is falling within the 10-ring, which matches with my result of getting slightly less than a 50:50 mix of 10s and 9s. I still need to avoid holding too long and trying to 'force' a bulls-eye - which sometimes works, but is almost as likely to result in a 'wild' shot of an 8 or a 7.

My initial training goals are:
1. Habituate a natural 'rhythm' for taking aim and releasing a 'surprise' shot within 5-10 seconds of taking aim. This should help eliminate any shots that are worse than a '9', and, based on my current AM, should result in a score of around 550-570 for a 60-shot match (averaging around 92-95 per card, and eliminate any 'card' scores below 90).
2. Add daily 5BX and light weight training (and loose more weight!) to improve my overall fitness, muscle tone and core strength. This should (hopefully) improve my natural AM ('arc of movement') over the next couple of months - ideally my SCATT traces should end up mostly lying with the 9.5 region. And should (theoretically) improve my 'card' average to around 94-97, and result in 'match' score of around 565-575. My SCATT traces should improve to around 50%-60% of the final second falling with the 10-ring.
3. Use mental rehersal and regular training to develop 'muscle memory' and make the shot timing 'second nature'. This should  enable me to reproduce my training session performance during club shoots and local competitions, and get my 'live fire' match scores up around 550-560. My last two weekend club shoots were both in the mid 530s, so I still have a way to go to translate my SCATT results into live scores of 540-550+.

Depending on how much I can improve my shooting through regular training and improved fitness, I'm hopeful that I *might* be able to get a competition score in the 'top ten' during 2017. To achieve that goal I'd need to shoot around 565-575 in a 'sanctioned' (nationally recognized) match, based on previous national 'top ten' scores:

Range of 'Top Ten' score in Mens 10m Air Pistol in recent years:
2016: 568 - 579
2015: 568 - 578
2014: 569 - 577

It is somewhat depressing to realize that these national 'top ten' scores generally would not even be good enough to make the final of an ISSF 'world cup' in Air Pistol! I guess that explains why Australian's only came 36th and 44th in Men's Air Pistol at the 2016 Rio Olympics (the cut-off to even make the final eight was 580). The targets of the best qualifier at the Rio Olympics are very impressive.

Anyhow, my 'dream' goals in shooting for 2017 are somewhat more modest (although probably still not realistic):
1. Shoot an 'A grade' score at a sanctioned competition (in Air Pistol, 'A grade' is 560+, and 'Masters grade' is 575+. I'm an 'A grade' shooter on the basis of having shot 560+ in a competition .... a *long* time ago). [If I achieve this goal I may 'reward' myself with a new Air Pistol, as my trusty old FWB model 100 is looking a bit anachronistic when I go to sanctioned competitions... the Steyr evo 10 looks nice]
2. Shoot a 'top ten' score at a sanctioned competition (Ie. around 569+)
3. Shoot a 'Masters' grade score at a competition (575+). [If I achieve this goal I'll definitely get a new pistol!]

If I'm serious about these goals I'll probably have to also radically cut back on the amount of 'diet coke' that I consume each day (~4+L/day!), as that amount of caffeine can't be doing my AM any good.

Anyhow, here is how my 'diet' has been going recently. Not looking too good ;(

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 34       50.9       63.7     21.4    115.6      3,353     94.2      9,071
Week 35       33.3       63.0     22.2    118.9      3,434     94.6      9,149
Week 36       36.7       60.2     24.3    129.9      3,578     95.2      9,592
Week 37       43.2       60.5     22.9    127.7      3,208     95.6      6,560
Week 38       36.1       59.4     25.7    118.8      3,187     95.8      6,602
Week 39       44.3       64.5     20.9    111.3      3,253     96.2      4,972

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Net Worth: November 2016

The 'Trump bounce' (apparently every random movement in the stock market has to have a root cause attributed, and a catchy name assigned by the financial media) during November saw the value of my geared stock portfolio and retirement savings each increase by around $20K. Sydney house prices continued to rise, pushing up the estimated valuation for my half of our house by around $24K. The mortgage balance was unchanged as last month we did a 'redraw' of the small extra amount we had paid off the interest only, fixed rate home loan (DW needed some extra spending money for a short holiday to China).

The long-awaited 'Hospital Precinct Plan (draft)' came out yesterday - it looks like the council is only planning to rezone the four properties at the end of our street (adjacent to what is being transformed into a main road past the hospital) as 'high density', and not the bulk of the area falling within the 'hospital precinct' (at least not yet). That will probably mean we won't make any 'windfall' profit selling to a developer in the short term (2-5 years), and will stay put until we've retired and DS2 has moved out (since he's only starting Yr 5 OC next year, and will probably live at home while attending uni for at least his undergraduate studies, we might 'stay put' for another 12+ years!). Looks like I'll have to think about budgeting for some home maintenance costs after all.

Overall, my net worth hit a new 'all time high' of A$1.974m, and I *might* just scrap into the 'multimillionare' club before the New Year.



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Monday, 14 November 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Weeks 36 & 37

Another couple of weeks where I didn't manage to stick to my diet plan (too many after dinner snacks) or reach my exercise goals (too little walking at lunch time to reach my daily step count target). On a positive note I did manage to reduce the amount of snack food I ate last week, and seem to finally getting back into my diet routine. I've been doing some regular air pistol training with my SCATT apparatus, but although I can shoot well when using SCATT at home it hasn't yet resulted in any improvement in my scores when shooting at the club or at competitions. Hopefully that will come when I get conditioned by doing daily practice (and if I start doing daily 5BX aerobic fitness exercises).

The swimming pool had started to turn green once the weather warmed up in October (the pool pump had stopped running a few months ago), so I spend some time getting the pump working again and cleaning the salt chlorinator (so it doesn't keep triggering the 'no flow' warming and stopping the pump every 5 minutes!). After scooping out a whole lot of leaves and palm fronds from the bottom of the pool and 'super-chlorinating' it a week ago, the pool is now looking OK for swimming (DS2 had a quick dip yesterday), and I'll vacuum it and backwash the sand filter tonight. Now that the weather has warmed up and daylight savings time is in effect, I'll be able to start swimming some laps every day when I get home from work. A combination of walking 12,000 steps, swimming 50x8m laps, and doing 5BX and some weight and SCATT training every day should get me quite a bit fitter over the summer months, and help me shed some more kilos (if I can cut out the junk snack food!).


.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 32       35.8       58.5     27.1     96.3      3,223     93.2      7,746
Week 33       51.1       60.9     25.6    120.2      3,747     93.9      8,214
Week 34       50.9       63.7     21.4    115.6      3,353     94.2      9,071
Week 35       33.3       63.0     22.2    118.9      3,434     94.6      9,149
Week 36       36.7       60.2     24.3    129.9      3,578     95.2      9,592
Week 37       43.2       60.5     22.9    127.7      3,208     95.6      6,560

My main goals for this week are to stick to my diet plan, walk at least 10,000 steps/day, and start doing some daily swimming and 5BX. I should also keep up my daily SCATT training, and do some preparation work for resuming my Msc/PhD enrolment in the new year... lots to do!

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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Net Worth: October 2016

The weakness in the stock market during the past month adversely affected my retirement savings and geared stock portfolio. This was somewhat offset by the increase in valuation of our home. As usual I used the purchase/transfer value for my hobby farm, rather than attempting to calculate a current 'market value'. I also haven't included the 'stock units' recently allocated to me by my employer, as they don't 'vest' for three years. When the time comes I'll start including the current market valuation of any 'vested' stock units. The annual amount isn't material to my overall NW, as the stock allocation is based on 5% of current salary, but may accumulate to a nice little 'nest egg' if I stay with my current employer until retirement.



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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Weeks 34 & 35

I came down with the 'flu a couple of weeks ago, and I'm still getting over a persistent cough. So my daily step count was below my target for the past couple of weeks, and I also didn't go to the Thursday evening 'social' squash comp (the hour of squash with the family on Sunday was hard enough while having the 'flu). I also still haven't managed to completely eliminate 'junk' food from my diet, or avoid buying confectionery when I go grocery shopping. So not too much progress on the 'diet' side of things.

I've started going again to target shooting (air pistol) at my local club again on Saturday mornings (I hadn't been since the beginning of the year), and I entered a couple of local competitions during the past month. I scored around 515-520 at the club shoots and the state championship, so my initial goal is to get back to my old 'A grade' standard (of 20+ years ago) and I aim to be shooting around 540-560 by the end of this year.

I set up my old SCATT training system (fortunately I still have a desktop computer that has a serial port, and could install a more recent version of the SCATT software that still supports the old SCATT hardware) so I can do some regular 'dry fire' practice in the evenings. I will also need to start doing some conditioning training (5BX every evening would be a good start), and do some regular weight training with light weights and high reps to improve my AM (arc of movement). If I improve enough to be regularly shooting 550+ again at competitions (which would be good enough to get me into the 'finals' of most events), I'll think seriously about upgrading my air pistol next year. I'm currently still using the old Feinwerkbau model 100 that I bought in the early 1980s, so upgrading to a new Stery EVO 10 would make sense (and look less ridiculous at competitions) once my scores are back to 'A grade' standard. While the cost of a new target air pistol is fairly modest (~A$3400), it will be a hassle to get the required paperwork from the state firearms registry, and to fabricate a part to mount the SCATT sensor onto the new pistol. I also no idea how I will manage to find the time to resume working on my part-time PhD in 2017 and fit in daily target practice - but not watching any more TV in the evenings will be a good start!

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 30       39.2       53.2     31.7    119.6      3,499     91.6      9,685
Week 31       38.8       55.2     30.5    126.6      3,820     92.3      7,111
Week 32       35.8       58.5     27.1     96.3      3,223     93.2      7,746
Week 33       51.1       60.9     25.6    120.2      3,747     93.9      8,214
Week 34       50.9       63.7     21.4    115.6      3,353     94.2      9,071
Week 35       33.3       63.0     22.2    118.9      3,434     94.6      9,149

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Monday, 17 October 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 33

Another unsatisfactory week overall. I did manage to play a game of 'social' squash comp on Thursday night, as well as the usual hour of squash practice with my kids on Sunday afternoon, but I still haven't started doing 5BX as I'd planned, and I also didn't reach my daily step count goal (or even the recommended minimum of 10,000 steps/day). My weight has continued to creep back up, so I *really* need to get back into the habit of only eating per my diet plan, and not having any extra 'snack' foods in the house. Playing a 'hard' game of squash on Thursday left me with sore heels (plantar fasciatis?) for a couple of days, but the easier session of squash on Sunday didn't make it any worse.

I had an appointment with my allergy specialist last week. My IgA levels are almost down to 'normal', so my gluten-free diet seems to be working in terms of my Coeliac disease. Unfortunately it hasn't done anything to improve my eczema (and my IgE levels are still ridiculously high). The blood tests I got prior to the doctor's appointment also showed my cholesterol are within the 'normal' range, and my triglyceride levels have gone back down into the top of the 'normal' range (and should improve further with diet and exercise). My blood sugar levels are still fine, so I'm fortunate that being overweight for decades hasn't led to diabetes (yet!). The sooner I get down into the 'ideal' BMI range the better.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 27       39.0       55.7     26.7    132.4      3,024     91.6     12,653
Week 28       38.7       52.0     32.4    109.5      3,281     91.9     10,911
Week 29       33.3       53.6     28.9    120.3      3,469     91.5     11,568
Week 30       39.2       53.2     31.7    119.6      3,499     91.6      9,685
Week 31       38.8       55.2     30.5    126.6      3,820     92.3      7,111
Week 32       35.8       58.5     27.1     96.3      3,223     93.2      7,746
Week 33       51.1       60.9     25.6    120.2      3,747     93.9      8,214

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 32

I didn't stick to my FMD plan over the weekend, but at least my average daily kcals for the past week weren't quite as excessive as the previous week. But I still gained some weight during the week, and I am still struggling to cut out confectionery entirely, especially in the evenings.

The weather is starting to warm up, so I need to service our pool pump and get the pool ready for the swimming season, so I can do some laps every day when I get home from work. The gym where I play squash with the kids on Sunday afternoons is starting a casual squash comp on Thursday evenings this month, so I might drop in while DS2 is at Cub Scouts and see if I can fit in a quick game every Thursday evening. I'll try it out this week and see how casual/competitive the squash is - I want to get a bit fitter, but not get an injury or have a heart attack!

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 25       41.2       64.8     21.7    120.2      3,555     91.9     12,955
Week 26       33.1       65.9     19.3    115.1      3,388     91.3     12,424
Week 27       39.0       55.7     26.7    132.4      3,024     91.6     12,653
Week 28       38.7       52.0     32.4    109.5      3,281     91.9     10,911
Week 29       33.3       53.6     28.9    120.3      3,469     91.5     11,568
Week 30       39.2       53.2     31.7    119.6      3,499     91.6      9,685
Week 31       38.8       55.2     30.5    126.6      3,820     92.3      7,111

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Monday, 10 October 2016

DS2 OC result

The results of DS2's OC (opportunity class) test were emailed out on Saturday - he got a score of 236.37 and an offer of a place at his 'first choice' school - Artarmon. I'm very happy that he 'got in', as I enjoyed attending 'OC' school for years 5-6, and he should have a fun time going there. I phoned the school to check on the enrollment process, and there will be an information pack sent out once all the 'acceptances' have been processed. There will be an orientation day for incoming OC students in November, which will also be an opportunity for DS2 to look around the school and for DW to buy the required school uniform items.

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Friday, 7 October 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 31

Yet another week where I over-ate and under-exercised ;( I caught the last ten minutes of Dr Mosley's "Eat, Fast and Live Longer" doco being repeated on TV last night, so I've decided to salvage this week (and hopefully kick-start adopting a 5:2 diet lifestyle indefinitely) by doing a basic 'fasting mimicking diet' plan this weekend (loosely based on the carb:fat:protein mix reported for Dr Longo's FMD plan). My diet plan for this coming Saturday and Sunday is:

Brunch: 1 egg (fried with 1 tspn olive oil), 1 slice Gluten free white bread, 1 tspn 'proactive' margarine
Afternoon Snack: 50g of 'Authentic' French Fries (pkt crisps)
Dinner: La Zuppa Gluten free minestrone soup, 100g mixed frozen vegetables
Dessert: 1 apple, 1 Bulla split ice cream

Dr Longo's research used a dietary protocol that provided 34%-54% of normal caloric intake, with an overall composition of 9%-10% protein, 34%-47% carbohydrates and 44%-56% fat. From my previous experiments with the normal five day FMD program, it seems that it is the relatively high fat content of this composition that helps prevent any serious 'hunger pains'. For my two-day version of FMD, my overall dietary composition will be  11.9% protein, 53.6% carbs and 34.5% fat, and the 1019 kcals is roughly 40% of my 'maintenance' caloric requirement.

I tend to not be hungry in the morning, so this plan should be fairly easy to stick to. I'm doing target shooting on Saturday and Sunday morning, so not cooking my usual porridge for breakfast will save a bit of time. In any case, I have to get a 'fasting' blood test done on Saturday morning anyhow, so it's a good time to implement this weekend plan.

For the rest of the week I'll stick to my 'standard' meal plan (but hopefully cut out any extra snacks!).

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 25       41.2       64.8     21.7    120.2      3,555     91.9     12,955
Week 26       33.1       65.9     19.3    115.1      3,388     91.3     12,424
Week 27       39.0       55.7     26.7    132.4      3,024     91.6     12,653
Week 28       38.7       52.0     32.4    109.5      3,281     91.9     10,911
Week 29       33.3       53.6     28.9    120.3      3,469     91.5     11,568
Week 30       39.2       53.2     31.7    119.6      3,499     91.6      9,685
Week 31       38.8       55.2     30.5    126.6      3,820     92.3      7,111

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Net Worth: September 2016

Very little change in my net worth during the past month. The estimated value of our home was unchanged, due to no change in the average sales price for houses in our suburb. Our mortgage also stayed the same, as it is 'interest only' and we haven't made any additional payments. A slight decrease in the value of my superannuation savings was offset by a slight rise in the value of my geared share portfolios.

As usual I left the value of my 'hobby farm' unchanged, as it was a gift from my parents and will be left to my kids, so any change in its estimated current value isn't really relevant to my personal net worth position. If I was reporting our family net worth I would of course be including it, as well as the share portfolios and retirement savings accounts of my sons, and my wife's personal net worth.

I've just transferred $5875 from our SMSF to pay this year's PAYG tax bill, so that will impact the value of our SMSF in next month's report.



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