Here is a link to my A Fractional CFO blog page. As many of you know I do a quick video everyday that highlights a hint, topic, something to think about. Today I discuss becoming a Student of the Game. How are baseball player and business owners alike. How can they each become better at their craft? Give the video a watch and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
By the way…Happy Spring Training Day…Pitchers and Catchers Report.
You can check out my business blog for A Fractional CFO here.
So as I spent hours cleaning up from the latest weather gift of 12+ inches of snow, it really got me thinking about snow, and how my perception of snow and winter has changed throughout the years.
I remember as a kid enjoying the snow, actually looking forward to it. As a Chicagoan, born and raised, we just knew that the snow would come. Hopefully on a school day to give us that “Snow Day” we all wanted. I remember as a kid we had to watch TV as the scrolled through the list of all the schools, or listening to the radio, learning where in sequence your school would be listed or announced. To think that our kids today won’t ever know that…in this day of technology, that message is transmitted to the entire district and the world in an instant, and the information is available on demand.
Well as we get older, and I’m not sure if it started when I needed to work, drive to school, something like that, that the allure of snow started to dissipate. I do remember driving the rear wheel drive cars, and the ass end of the car all over the place. Some of it was fun and a challenge to make sure you could actually keep the car on the road. Pumping the brakes in the days before anti-lock brakes, all that fun we had.
Paczki’s and Paczki Day
Back to the cars…we are so spoiled, Anthony and I did a mini road trip to Weber’s Bakery for Paczki today. For those who don’t know what a Paczki is…for starters, you are missing out…but here is a link to educate you. 😉 Well worth the trip, but I thought as I drove how spoiled we are with today’s cars. All Wheel Drive, anti-lock brakes, anti-skid, traction control, etc. Our drive down I-55 was kinda fun…like one big wide lane…everyone jut kinda drove today. Left lane, middle lane, right lane, shoulders, whatever…just keep it on the road. I will say the the ride was totally worth it. Take a look at today’s Paczki.
I hate that damn Snow
Back to the snow and winter issue. We’ve had some mild years with respect to snow…Mother Nature is catching up over the last few weeks. As the snow piles up, I dread looking outside and seeing the snow. More to clear…The packing snow we loved as kids…forget that…I want the light fluffy stuff. The snowblower prefers that too. The issue is now that the snow in many places is so much higher, hard to find a home for it as the piles grow…I feel like it’s a workout to clear it. I am thankful that I don’t have a job that requires me to be somewhere at a specific time.
It Could be worse
I was texting back and forth with a prospect this morning who lives in Dallas. While here in Chicago we laugh at -17, like, just another winter day in Chicago. In Dallas, this has been devastating with the loss of power. He’s been without power for 36+ hours, his house temp is down to 49 degrees. Makes the 18 inches of snow we got seem so much more tolerable. I do remember once we had our furnace go out on a cold day…it got down into the 50’s in the house, and that seemed cold. Remember, we are Chicagoans. I wear shorts in Fort Myers when it’s in the 60’s, and people there look at me like I’m nuts.
I guess this is enough ramblings for the day…enjoy Paczki Day, or Fat Tuesday. Which only means tomorrow is the start of Lent, which means Easter is just 40 days away, which also means Spring has to be right around the corner, Right?
In this video post, I discuss the need to plan for any type of business disaster. What happens if you get sick or injured for a prolonged period of time. Who will run your business? Do you have proper insurance coverage to make sure that this does not ruin you? Have you reviewed a plan with key people in your organization so that they understand what they will need to do and how to “Step Up” to keep the business running. Contact A Fractional CFO today to discuss this and other business issues. www.afractionalcfo.com
So the home gym started with the Bowflex weights and the adjustable bench. For anyone looking to start a weight training regiment at home, in my opinion, this is a fabulous start. It gave me enough weight to do chest exercises (bench pressing dumbbells is harder than a straight bar, so 90 lbs on each arm allows you to do a lot), back exercises, arms, shoulders, even legs. You would be amazed at the workouts you can put together with just dumbbells. This lasted for a number of years, as part of the process we updated the cardio equipment, and added a spin bike. I love to cycle, however finding the time, and having the weather cooperate was always a challenge. So the spin bike with clips for the pedals was a great addition. The Keiser M3i is the bike we have. For all the years of the home gym, it existed in our enclosed loft area, which worked…until I decided I needed to add more weights, and bought my half rack. My half rack from DICK’S Sporting Goods was a Christmas special a few years ago, that and the Olympic bar and weights gave me more options. So after everything was shoe horned into the loft area, we decided that we needed to convert that space to an office area for Becca, and the gym needed to find a new home.
Home Gym 2.0
The move to the basement was something I wish I had done years ago. As you can tell from the photos above, I had strategically placed all the equipment. It worked, but was a pain sometimes to move things around to workout. The other issue, I am 100% a morning person, so exercising at 6am, weights banging around, did not exactly make my family happy. Now that the equipment is in the basement, I have room to move around. It’s more quiet for the family, I no longer need to wear headphones to exercise as I can turn on the music on the stereo system. It also allowed me to add some additional pieces, namely a lat pulldown machine, that also lets you do pulling exercises.
When COVID struck and all the gyms closed, weight training and cardio equipment disappeared from the stores, I could not have been more thankful for the home gym. While friends complained about the inability to go to the gym…my routine did not change. I actually think I may have missed an opportunity to run my own gym from home…or maybe not. I enjoy never waiting on equipment, or wondering if the guy ahead of me wiped down equipment, or put away the weights.
So even though I have the full home gym, I do enjoy getting outside and exercising. In 2018 I trained for and ran in the Chicago Marathon 4:25:52, 8 seconds better than my goal. I cycle outside, still enjoy running outside, and even just taking a good long walk. For me…I need that exercise as a stress reliever.
Is a Home Gym right for you?
I’ll honest, getting to this point has taken years, somewhere in the 10+ range. If you can be patient to grow a home gym, and actually use it then go for it. I traded the monthly gym membership for saving up for new equipment, and growing the gym. At the end of the day, it’s all about getting moving. For me I love the gym, for others it’s about walking outside. The key is to find what works for you.
I’m just going to say it…I LOVE to workout!!! If I could be a gym rat I totally would. Every bit of it I enjoy…well not every bit…I hate to stretch, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve needed to add that in. Free weights and Cardio are totally my jam.
The Early Years
Video games were in their infancy as I came to age as a kid. Sure I had a gaming console, but if I had my choice, I was OUTSIDE playing. Baseball, Football, street hockey, riding bikes, basically whatever, and whatever the weather. That activity served me well. As an active kid in my high school days, I played sports, and was always on the go. I could eat whatever and whenever I wanted…nothing says I’m a high school guy like eating a large sub sandwich from Sub City (shout out to my Carl Sandburg days) at 10pm on a Friday or Saturday night. I was always a big eater, I grew up in what I’ll call the clean plate club, with a Mom who cooked enough for another family or two to come eat dinner. I made it through College with working and going to school, mixing in some “weightlifting” classes for credit. Really it was like 4 or 5 different classes, each worth a credit or two, that even though they were named differently, it was really code for go to the gym for credit. Once college was done, and I began to work full time, my diet caught up to me. Fast food for lunch everyday, not exercising…the weight started to appear. I’ve thankfully been lucky over the years that with a little exercise, usually running, I can lose some of the gut. I remember vividly, going for runs the week before I got married since my tux pants all of a sudden felt a bit too tight.
Gina and I have had kids as part of the marriage equation forever. We were married in June of 1994, Anthony was born in July of 1995, Becca soon thereafter in March of 1997. So my wife did not grow up in the clean plate, make enough for 5 meals household (mostly because I know my father-in-law hates leftovers). She’s also a picky eater…but when she was pregnant…some of that changed. Nothing sounds better than a Pop’s beef sandwich and fries at 9pm on a Tuesday. So when she would crave it…like a good husband…I went and got it…and some for me as well. Let’s just say that Tony Fremarek was getting a little large.
The Day of Rekoning
Oh how I remember this day…It was my cousin’s wedding day. I had not worn a suit in I can’t tell you how long…well, it took every bit of sucking it in to get my pants on…then I had to stop and buy a belt on the way, since mine no longer fit around my waist. I had grown to a not so healthy 225 +/- pounds. Gone was the 30″ waist of my high school days, replaced with something larger. That for me was the day I decided I needed to start eating better, and exercising.
So I joined a gym. I instantly enjoyed it, I started the routine of exercising before work, literally rolling out of bed with my bag packed the night before, and was usually at the gym I joined at 5:30am when they opened. That became the new routine. Another motivator was traffic, I worked in DesPlaines, and lived in Plainfield…I quickly learned that traffic at 4:30am was considerably less than traffic at 6:30am. This was my first experience of the gym, and I enjoyed it. I made some friends, the guys who like me worked out every morning before work. We were mutual spotters for each other, and did the chit chat of sports every morning. For years I was the member of a gym, small gyms, larger gyms, Lifetime Fitness (by far my favorite of gyms), and the local Y (on more than one occasion). When I say years it was easily 15+.
Working from Home / Home Gym Time
As I started to work from home more often, going to the gym took too much time. The 15 minutes to the gym, the 5-10 minutes getting settled in, working out, then showering, then the drive home. Soon what had been great when I was beating the commute, became a fact that I felt like I was losing hours in the day, and needed that time for the rest of my life. That was when I decided to start my home gym. Gina had already been an at home exerciser, so we already had a treadmill and an elliptical machine. So I quit the gym, bought the Bowflex 1090 weights and an adjustable bench. My love of exercise was even more now…since weather no longer mattered, I didn’t need to battle rain or snow to trudge to the gym, plus my time was spent actually exercising.