Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2009 (Minneapolis, MN) with:

Project HUGE: WTF, Waist Line, And Money

Posted by Ben Nadel
Tags: Project HUGE

It's been a long time since I've written anything for Project HUGE. And frankly, that pretty much mirrors my recent dedication to it. For the last few months I have been dealing with a scary wrist pain and a hectic job. At the end of the day, my wrist hurts and I've been just too tired to care. In the past month, I think I've worked out like three times. I've also stopped buttoning my pants cause they don't quite fit anymore around my waist. Did I mention that I also stopped drinking tea and am now trying to get over a head cold?

I have also been budgeting quite poorly lately. Due to the success of the company, I have been living a bit beyond my means. This one is completely my fault. I generally don't spend much money at all. But the last few months have been out of character - eating out a lot and treating people to food and movies. I guess it makes me feel good and I like to share the success that I've had.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel - a silver lining to my recent slothly demeanor; my wrist pain has gotten much better. The time away from the gym has given my body plenty of time to rest. In fact, I had a really good workout on Saturday with Big Dave and my wrist felt great. To aide in my recovery (and further injury prevention), I have invested in some WSF wrist wraps:


 
 
 

 
WSF Wrist Wraps - Keep Pressure Around The Joint During Compressive Movements 
 
 
 

These help to keep pressure around my wrist during compressive lifts (pushing) which helps keep my body's protective joint fluids in the right places. They also keep me more aware of my wrist alignment so that I don't lose my form during movement in such a way that will stress my ligaments.

What about the money and the waist line? I think these are two problems that I can actually attack at the same time. One of my biggest money draws is food. I eat out a lot and I never bring food to work. I'm spending a good 20-30 dollars a day just on office food! That's outrageous! ... and that's not couting dinner or anything else. I am going to start bringing food to the office to help curb that cost. But, also, I am looking into some MRBs - Meal Replacement Bars. These are just what they sound like - a nutritional bar that you eat instead of a meal.

I had my first one yesterday - a DETOUR Oatmeal Bar. It was actually pretty good and it filled me up for the rest of the afternoon (much better than I thought it would). And, the best part is that for the cost of one standard Ben lunch, I can get three lunches' worth of MRBs. For $15, I can buy lunch for the entire week.


 
 
 

 
DETOUR - Oatmeal Meal Replacement Bar (MRB) 
 
 
 

Now, don't get me wrong - I know that nothing beats "real" food when it comes to proper nutrition; but the fact is, I wasn't eating very well to start with. It's not like I'm going from organic salads and fruit to MRBs; I'm going from salty, deli, buffet food to MRBs. When you come at it from that perspective, the MRB might actually be an improvement (and at less cost). And, I hope to start brining in vegetables (carrots and broccoli and such) to snack on during the day.

In regards to tea drinking, I tried going with loose tea for a while. That just added too much overhead to the tea making process. And so, I stopped drinking it. But, I just ordered a good amount (3 cases of 12 boxes) of bagged tea from Eden Foods.


 
 
 

 
Genmaichai Green Tea With Brown Rice 
 
 
 

That should help me get back on that horse.

But what about my workouts? With my wrist getting better, it's simply time to make those a priority again. I am confident that I can do that, especially with all the other efforts above falling into place. It's time that I rise above my baseline, which is, as Big Dave sums it up, "Bitching out."

And now, for our moment of Zen:


 
 
 

 
Arnold Schwarzeneeger Lifting Weights In Pumping Iron 
 
 
 


Reader Comments

oi mate...

probably a silly question.. and I could probably google it, but... what is the benefit of drinking tea? are you drinking it in place of sodas, etc.. ?

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@Critter,

Tea has antioxidants and other plant chemical goodness. Plus, as you mention, by drinking tea, I am getting a good source of water and limiting the amount of other crap that I might drink. Granted, Green Tea does have caffeine, but I also ordered Kukicha, a twig tea, which is the lowest caffeinated tea of all.

For more information, check out this article:

The Miracle of Green Tea:
http://chinesefood.about.com/library/weekly/aa011400a.htm

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I hear you on the money stuff... we had to move to a cash based budget. Which is absolutely no fun as you cannot go just a smidge over when you have no cash left *grumble* Also, I had a friend with forearm and wrist pain from working out... his had something to do with the strength in his upper arm out pacing the strength in his forearms and wrists which put strain on the tendons or something like that... after the injury healed he had to be sure to add exercises to strengthen his lower arms as well...

Anyway... I'm just saying Ra Ra Ra you can do it... eat good food... your body will thank you... get lots of protein!

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@Christine,

I have been doing exercises at home to help strengthen the forearms - extension, flexion, rotation, etc. I think it is helping and will definitely help to prevent injury in the future as well.

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Nice. Keep up the Project Huge, encourages me to hit the gym. Which now that the weather is cooling down, I have to fight the urge to hibernate. I should dust off Arnie's Encyclopedia and maybe re-watch Pumping Iron.

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Ben, I have to admit that after listing problems of health, spending, and diet, I found it ironic that the first solution you mention (wrist straps) is more spending. I hope they weren't too expensive! ;)

Seriously, good for you for getting back into shape. My company has moved to a new office building that has a small gym that I've joined, and I've found that I really love working out again. It feels especially good to do it in the middle of the day when you should be working.

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@Seth,

Definitely check out the 25th Anniversary Edition of Pumping Iron. Tons of great extras.

@Tom,

Ha ha, good point - the wraps were like 10 bucks - I think well worth the investment in my wrist health.

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Ben-

I think you look hot just the way you are, the thicker the better ;) but, exercise is always healthy and eating right is always important, especially since you're getting so old this weekend :). goooooooo Ben!

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Ben-

Noooo, I like you just the way you are. No matter what you look like I will still be your secret admirer, you don't need to do a single thing ;-)

Work out because you like it and it makes you feel happy. :)

ps. celery sticks are good to munch on at work also I like them dipped in lemon, and they have a ton of benefits. They are diuretic which helps regulate fluid balance. Not only that they are rich in vitamin C, and we all need that for the cold season. Anyway, just a thought for my dreamboat ;-)

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Ben-

I was recently diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy (latin for "pinched nerve, $800 please"). As I researched the various treatments relative to most repetitive stress injuries, one common prescription continued to surface: isometric exercises. Stressing the muscles near and around the affected area while limiting the range of motion will help on a multitude of levels while not aggravating the condition any further. Give it a google and see what comes up, but my condition affected my life and livelihood so much I actually started a blog posting on it and have partnered with a massage therapist with whom we will actually start posting short video clips on helpful treatments, movements, therapies, etc. for most of the common repetitive stress injuries. I'm about 99% better now, but it took some time.

Hang in there and good luck!

Rich

PS Try some liquid calories, some protein powder and frozen fruit in a blender makes for a really tasty but inexpensive, quality meal!

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I used to lift a lot myself in college and I kept breaking down (which what sounds like what is going on with your wrist).

Granted if I didn't work out for a few weeks the pain would subside, but the downside it that I "didn't work out for a few weeks"...bad

A buddy of my got me hooked on Crossfit (http://www.crossfit.com/). It's an awesome workout and every work out is different so I don't break down at all!

And best of all the WOD (workout of the day) is posted on the site for FREE! There is a Crossfit affiliate in NYC that has classes but you can do it on your own.......for free (did I mention it's free?)

Hope your wrist feels better.

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Hey Ben,
For the finances thing:
My wife and I started to spend too much money, so I ended up writing a one page app to keep track of my finances, and standardized it for my iPhone. Nothing spectacular, but enough to see where the money was going. I started off by removing all regular expenses (mortgage, car payment, cable, etc) from the monthly income, and then saw how much we had left for the month. I then divided this into a weekly balance. Each time we used the credit card to buy something or withdrew cash, it got put into the app. This way I could still use a credit card for all my purchases, but I was still able to see how much money we were spending. For larger purchases, I added a "distribute over" to spread it out for the month. This then reduced how much we could spend in other weeks, but wouldn't force us to completely scrimp for that week. This also helped us to start saving as I could say "oh, we've got $50 left for the week, let's put that in savings". Just make sure you're honest with what you're buying and entering everything (my wife forgets and then adds it at the end of the week sometimes, which makes it somewhat difficult to figure out how much remains for the week), but it certainly helped us keep on track financially.

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Dude! I know how it is trying to fit a fitness lifestyle into a web developer's world. Your food is your first concern. To get a good grip on your diet, you MUST be in control of the food intake. I know it seems like a lot of time, but it really isn't once you get a rhythm going. I usually do my major grocery shopping and cooking on Sundays. Fire up the George Foreman G5 (AMAZING) and grill about 10 chicken breasts & 3 steaks, cook 2 cups of brown rice, and I am nearly set for the entire week. No more reaching for chips or ice cream when I have a craving. I add spices and different fruits and veggies to mix it up. I still mix in other meals now and then as well, so I don't get too sick of it, but you will find that your workouts will improve, your waist line will trim, and your wallet will fatten. All good!

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@Rich,

That's interesting - the use of isometric exercises. I have heard of those for use in breaking through training plateaus, but not as a rehabilitative move... I'll look into that.

@Bob,

I'll take a look into that.

@Gareth,

That's cool - sounds like a food diary :) I actually tried that once - I carried around one of those small pocket-sized note books and was keeping track of my expenses. My problem was I just couldn't seem to get dedicated about it. With the iPhone, it might be a bit easier.

@Mark,

I tried the George Forman plan of attack - I even have it at home next to the sink right now. My problem is I could never make any of the food taste good. I need to take a cooking class. But, I 100% agree that food intake is the biggest factor here.

@Tony,

Damn straight ;)

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Sheesh! I thought a $3.75 a day Starbucks habit was bad, which led me to quit. This let me save $26 bucks a week and a little over $100 bucks a month and over $1200 a year. Isn't it amazing how it adds up after a while!?!

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My sister works in a local Emergency Room. She's been telling me that she sees a lot of people coming into the ER and the reason they are there is because they are drinking too much tea! People have been buying into the hype that tea is good for you, and although it is good in moderation, you need to only drink a couple of cups a day.

Please be careful with this

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@Julie,

I've never heard of such a thing. Do you have any idea how the tea is causing trips to the emergency room? I can't Google anything about this? Do you know if its the tea, or the caffeine? I try not to drink any caffeine after 12pm (otherwise my sleep will be junk).

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I think you're on the right track. Nutrition is key.

When I didn't have a gym membership late last year--for 3 months--and had no access to free-weights (although I was still working out, bikes, runs, planks, push-ups...), proper nutrition ensured I still lost weight. The only problem was my face. As soon as I dropped below 7% body-fat my face looked really thin. My friends thought I was sick with something: cancer, or worse. No joke. So I now maintain 9% body fat, easily, obviously, and have all the strength I had 10 years ago (plus more, since I weigh less than I did back then). And my face looks normal. It feels good to be wicked strong and shredded. The 9 to 10% body fat I have is all at my gut, but like I said, I have to maintain that, going below 9% will make me look strange to people. Right now I look young and healthy and powerful. So simple to maintain. And people look at my arms and marvel how I got them this way (duh, 19 years of lifting). Again, my arms aren't the most massive ever seen, but they do have a lot of mass and are completely shredded and have visible veins running all throughout them. (My forearms look scary to some people.)

Nutrition, people! It is the saving grace for hard-gainers.

The Arnold pic is classic. Thanks for that. There is no other. The Chael Sonnen of his time.

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