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darren mcneill

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  1. Wednesday 25th December 2019 Firstly, merry Christmas!! It has been a while since I last posted, and tbh I had no idea just how long!! I have just checked back and August was my last post, which has shocked me. I have just been so busy these last few months. I kept thinking about popping on for a quick update but then I would become distracted with something from work and another 2 weeks would pass by. It has been a very busy past few months. If you are interested in what I do then I do post daily updates on Instagram, which is probably the easiest way to follow what I am doing: https://www.instagram.com/finnigan.mcneill.properties All properties have their own unique hashtag so you can simply click on one and see everything about that property. Soooooo..... where are we up to? Probably easiest to give you some headline numbers I guess: Properties: Now the owner of my 21st property! Property number 20 has just gone onto the market – this is a 5 bedroom monster! Currently have 8 active rentals with 2 more due to start renovation in the next few months Managing 28 rentals for clients with another 17 in the process of being purchased, renovated or advertised online for rent Figures: Sold only 5 properties this year with a net profit before tax of £71,325 (I ended up keeping 5 of my flips as BTL's). Personal rental income after mortgages is currently £3,100 (£37,200 per year) Current income from my new businesses before tax approx £62,000. Current value of owned rental properties - £620,000 Working capital approx £120k once project #20 sells There is probably more numbers that I could find but I think they are good headliners. One thing that I am very happy with for this year is how I have increased my personal BTL's to get me to the point that in my own head I stopped worrying about an income. The flips are great, but if they suddenly dried up how would I pay the bills? This was something that was on my mind at the start of the year, and I ended up keeping 5 properties that were intended for flips as renters. I even ended up purchasing the first house that I had ever tried to buy (for more bloody money I might add) and I get £500PCM for it! Its due to be remortgaged very soon. The next area that has been a massive success has been the introduction of my new businesses. I offer a combined package of sourcing, renovations and then lettings so that I can basically offer clients a completely hands off package. This has been hugely popular and we are on 45 properties at the moment and negotiating on another 3. These renovations have varied massively, some requiring complete rip outs, others have been ready to rent after a lick of paint and a gas safety check. The growth over the year has been nice and steady, so it hasn't felt overwhelming. Adding a property or two every week or so and having various properties at various stages has meant that it has been ok to manage. Yes of course there are bumps in the road but I allow myself the time to plan and organise. I don't work on any properties now myself and I am purely office based and project management orientated. There have been some growth pains, and this has been in getting the right people with me. We have had a couple of labourers that have been and gone (one of which decided to drop at attic ceiling the day before the house was being decorated, which cost me personally around £800 to repair and clean up – no idea why he did it and he didn't see the problem....). The other labourer turned out to be bat shit crazy. Was lying to me about working shifts in houses he did not do and we also think he pinched some of our tools from site as they mysteriously vanished!! Also been let down with a few trades (poor workmanship) so have been trying to find replacements. It can be a challenge but you always get through it in the end. The biggest challenge that I have had this year has been the shop to residential conversion: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/newchurchroad3_fmp/ My god this has been a challenge. As we peeled back the surface of this property we found issue after issue after issue, and the renovation figures got bigger and bigger and bigger. At one point I almost lost my mind when the basement almost beat me. I am not sure what I have wrote about this one before but here is what happened..... Purchased an old paper-shop that is spread over 4 floors; basement to attic. The original plan was to convert to 2 x 2 bedroom duplex apartments and sell to a client at £120k. The works started and one of the main challenges was the basement, which was to become a living room and kitchen. We removed the stone flooring and started the dig out, to find flooding issues, clay soil, a flood next door, rotten ceiling joists, stone stairways that needed moving, broken lintels on every window which were as thick as the walls and took over 2 weeks to replace. Add to this 2 new concrete floors and various other issues and the basement literally ate up money... lots and lots of money. We had the planning permission in place for the two apartments and then one day I was going to a viewing of one of my rental properties down the road. I had got there a touch early and as you do jumped on Rightmove. I had seen a similar property to mine go on the market earlier in the year at £160k. I laughed when I saw the listing price, thinking the EA must be off their head. It had SOLD on the listing. I rang the EA up and she explained that they had loads of interest and it had ended up going to sealed bids and the seller got above the £160k asking price!! Straight away I realised that the apartments needed to become a single dwelling as it was worth more. Rang my architect and we submitted an application for conversion. Now shop to living should be granted quite easily.... not with my council who decided we needed to go through a full planning application. This did not delay my renovation but added more cost onto the figures. Eventually this was passed. Next issue was that the empty building next door had an application for it to become a takeaway!!! As you can imagine my heart sank. It had already been a massive challenge without a bloody takeaway wiping tens of thousands off my selling price and also putting off potential buyers. I ended up printing a letter that I had typed up and posted it through the door of everyone in the area. I think there ended up being 14 objections and the planning was refused...... until I got a letter last week saying the owners were appealing the refusal and now it is going off to an independent to make the decision....... After this it was simply the scale and cost of everything. The property is 5 bedroom so it is literally 2.5 terraced houses... so the re-wire cost was huge, the plumbing cost was huge.... the plastering alone was over £9k!!! Then there were the “bits.” Lots and lots of “bits.” Boxing in here, adding things there. The last 2 months consisted of me checking every bank account daily, forecasting money coming in, forecasting money going out (and when it was due out) and checking the end figure. Most of the time I simply did not have enough money to pay for the work. Somehow though I made it and last week paid my last of the “big bills,” which left me £310.83 in my company bank account. This isn't a made up figure, genuinely had no money left. The last week cost me £12k alone, and the previous 6 weeks around £35k!!! It was a lot of money but somehow managed it. The kids savings accounts are empty again, our current account is empty again, and it was Christmas coming up. I had the biggest smile on my face when I paid the last wages on Friday as I knew I had 2 weeks with no out-goings across the business. To put in perspective I had put an estimated renovation of £40k on the project, and it stands me at £64,664 (and there is still some money to be spent finishing off). Over the renovation period I did have some expenses that I hadn't planned. I had a few large council tax bills from other properties and also bought 2 more properties whilst renovating this one (I will go into them later). These cost me an additional £16k+ in funds that I had put down myself. They were opportunities that I could not miss so did the standard “I will find the cash.” Yes, pressure added by myself but I suppose it keeps us on our toes! So, I suppose everyone wants to know the numbers on the latest project? The total cash input including my clients loan, interest and all legal expenses is £119k... so its pretty lucky that I established a single dwelling is worth more!!! I had planned my re-sell figures on an updated property sale of £150k, which would give a pre-tax profit of £31k. I have however listed the property at £200k. This makes it the 2nd cheapest 5 bedroom property in the entire valley. I doubt I will get this figure but I have had someone showing an interest at the £170k price range, which would make a nice profit of £51k. The actual return on effort, stress and renovation spend isn't actually worth the return. I can make more money off multiple smaller projects that are far less stressful. What I have taken away from this is probably worth more than the cash return. I have been through planning (twice) and dealt with more issues in one single property than I have in probably every other property put together. This has given me more confidence and more experience, and the major major learning is to ensure you have reserve funds, especially on target projects. A smaller terrace would obviously only need a few £k put to one side, but something as big as this one needs significant cash on one side just in case. So here are the images of the shop to house conversion....... 2020 So what are the plans? Personal BTS I am going to assume that I have mentioned this one before but I have bought a block of 7 apartments for £158k (of which £150k is loaned). https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/rochdaleroad_fmp/ This is an interesting project as the apartments are almost fully completed. All have kitchens fitted, some have bathrooms fitted. All are plastered with doors, there is even a building fire alarm system set up. The catch? No building regs have ever been signed off! That's right, the inspector came on site at the very start and was never called back through any of the subsequent work, which there has been a lot of!! When I viewed the property I knew that I had to buy it, and I knew it was going to be a gamble. I should make money regardless, but how much could vary immensely! The property was initially bought under auction conditions but we had this changed to a regular sale (just paid the EA their fee and they were more than happy to change the sale type!). This enabled my solicitor to do a tonne of digging and enquiry work. It also enabled me to delay the purchase as long as a possibly could. I knew that I did not have the available cash to renovate fully so a delay was going to be helpful to me (I didn't realise that the shop would over spend of course so this money vanished). I spoke with the firm who did the initial building regs meeting and even found the actual guy who did it, and started communicating with him. I have established the steps that are needed to be taken to establish if the property will pass. The first step is to get the sound proofing tested. Next is to get the inspector down to have a look around. We have made holes in a few walls to establish that they have used fire board (one tick in the box) and I think the appropriate insulation has also been used (from what we can see so far). The next boxes to be ticked are to sign off the ceilings to make sure they have the adequate fire protection. The property already has the wiring in place and the plumbing, which in theory is a good thing.... but may end up being a pain in the arse if there are issues as locating them when plastered is difficult. The worst case scenario is that we have to strip sections back and re-do them. I also have a leaking roof and the 2 basement studio apartments did not get the correct tanking so they are damp and full of mould. There are however 5 apartments that look in good condition and hopefully can be put on the market quickly. My plan is to upgrade the bathrooms and kitchens so that they are similar to the shop conversion above. To achieve maximum re-sale values these apartments need to look amazing, and this can be done without spending huge amounts of money. The budget..... absolutely no idea!!! I have put £10k per apartment (so £70k). It could be more (if building regs work is needed) or could be significantly cheaper if I am only having to decorate and fit bathrooms in a few of them. What I will be doing is keeping the cash from the shop sale fully to one side until the project is completed. I cannot go through the stress of worrying about cash again. Priority is to have the 4 central apartments completed and listed asap (2 ground floor and 2 first floor). Then the next apartment will be the attic (which I am considering keeping), then the two basement bedsits as they require the most work. I am already 4 months into a 12 month loan term so I really need to get moving on this one. Potential numbers...? If I can renovate the property at the £70k budget then I should be looking at a pre-tax profit of approx £159k, which would move my working capital pot to approx £259k, a significant increase! Here are some images of this property: After this, I am not entirely sure. I will have a significant pot of funds so might start to look at larger renovations where the return on paper is bigger. I could of course simply buy smaller terraces fully in cash, renovate and sell on (or keep if all money can be extracted). I am unsure and will make this decision as things progress. I would like to start building and have seen a plot of land that stacks up for a decent profit. Who knows..... Personal BTL Another Newchurch Road Property!! For those who follow my Instagram the shop was labelled as Newchurch Road 3 (although it is actually the 4th as my first ever renovation is just down the street!). My next BTL purchase I already own, and its a complete shell! This is actually my SIXTH purchase on the same road! https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/newchurchroad5_fmp/ This compete shell has planning permission for 2 x 1 bed duplex apartments. The initial planning is pretty poor so I have changed it. Speaking with my architect the plans should be ok and would make a better living space as the property is a strange angled design. The spec on this one will again be very high and I am aiming for a minimum rental return of £450PCM (but will be aiming for £475PCM). The rough figures for this property are: £42k purchase price £50k refurb £98k total spend including fees Will be looking to get a revaluation of £120k, which should enable me to extract £88k, leaving me with a total cash cost of the property of £10k!! These are the type of BTL deals that when I am looking for my flips I am going to hopefully keep. This would enable me to expand my portfolio without costing a huge amount of cash. The Other Businesses The sourcing, lettings and renovations/maintenance businesses are just going to continue as they are. I am looking to take on a part time person once the shop renovation has sold. The person I have in mind was one of my estate agents who left her job for something that works better around child care needs. I had a chat with her and floated the subject of running my lettings business and also starting to look into sourcing for me. She is only on minimum wage at the minimum at 30 hours, so her cost is low. My plan is to offer a slightly higher basic wage but incentivise the sourcing side. This would mean that she could earn a significant amount the more properties that are found and purchased, and would take a lot of pressure off myself. I already have someone who now conducts the tenant interviews and also the 3/6/9/12 month tenant checks, which has saved me a huge amount of time, so this would be very helpful for me. I would still deal with all clients directly, but would have a lot of the admin side covered freeing me up to give my clients much more of my time, as at the minute there are simply not enough hours in the day. I think the key for 2020 is to try and have other people start to do the tasks that take up the most amount of my time so that I can concentrate on pushing the business forward. What I have to keep note of is wage costs though, as regardless what my bank account shows wages still have to be paid. The lettings business currently generates £1k per month which is due to increase by another £800PCM once the next 17 are added. I will require £300 per week basic salary for the new member of staff for the lettings business, which equates to £1300PCM, so this business will start to make enough money to pay for its own upkeep. I think the knowledge that my target employee will bring for that money will be fantastic and having someone spending more time looking for properties and crunching numbers will also increase the revenue of both the sourcing business and the renovations business. Specific Targets The last few years I have set specific targets, so I want to flip X properties etc. Here are last years targets: 2019 Goals 1/. Complete 20 flips/BTL's 2/. Increase rental income to £3k per month after costs 3/. Manage 10 properties for investors through Finnigan-McNeill Boutique Lettings 4/. Increase working capital to £300k 2019 Results: 1/. I completed 5 personal flips, 5 additional BTL's and have completed 26 renovations for my clients, so I would say that this goal has been achieved. 2/. Achieved (just!) 3/. Achieved.... and a bit more on top! 4/. Missed. Adding the additional BTL's massively ate up my funds as well as having everything else tied up in the current shop conversion. The truth of the matter is is that I simply made those targets up. There wasn't a specific formula or any thought, I just threw in what I thought were big numbers. With this in mind I think my goals for this year will be slightly more structured: 2020 Goals 1/. Try to make all of the businesses require less of my personal time 2/. Add £1k to my BTL personal income 3/. Achieve working capital to £350k (or have that amount being used in various renovations plus the cash pot). 4/. Develop and improve the sourcing, renovations and lettings business through my new employee and set up a structure to reward them to improve and keep developing the businesses. 5/. Post an update on here once per month. OK. that's my update done. I could have just gone on and on and on in all honesty but its actually Christmas day as I type this (14:37) and really I could do with getting ready for my tea. 2019 has been an amazing year, and really I should be patting myself on the back for achieving so much. The reality is that you don't actually think about it, its just another day of the week, another property purchase secured, another property let out. I think the fact that the growth has been nice and steady has really helped me to simply acclimatise to everything that is going on. We currently have the keys to 5 client renovations at the moment with another 2/3 to land in the new year, so it is going to be a really busy start to 2020. Ultimately I would like the growth to continue at the same rate, but be in a position to be able to add people in to help me. People always expect a huge team to be working for me but its just myself and then a few people who work on site. All planning, sourcing, media, renovations, emails, texts, arse scratching is done by just myself, so adding the team member mentioned to take the bulk of the fluff away should really help me to move forward. Ideally by the summer I should have a large amount of working capital, so in a perfect world I will have possibly had discussions with lenders regarding larger purchase amounts for properties. We have a number of large buildings in the area that are screaming out to be renovated, but will need substantial amounts for the initial purchases. Anyway, ramble over. Hope you all have had a great 2019, any movement forward is movement, so as long as you have done just 1 thing you are a step closer. I have been lucky enough to help a large number of first timers pop their property cherry. Looking forward to 2020 and hopefully keep pushing forward. Have a great New Year everyone! Darren BTS -- BTL -- Lettings -- Sourcing  www.fmp-investments.com
  2. Sunday 25th August 2019 Well..... I have hit my target this week, in fact, I have smashed it out of the park!!! Very pleased, but not done yet! The target is now to become lean and then start to build more muscle bulk, so I still have a bit of the wobbly stuff to shift. Set my initial goal now at 79kg and then when I get to that point will assess the physique and whether that is right or if there is a little more to go. A week ago today we got back from holiday and I had put on a touch of holiday weight, but that had been lost in a couple of days, and then the rest just kept falling off. It has been a gruelling week at the gym. The sessions haven't seemed any different but I have absolutely ached after each session. My last session was Friday and my lower back and stomach muscles are still recovering, so much so that I am not going for a run today as I am feeling sore. Now I am not one for fads but this week I have been completing the 16/8 eating regime. So my last food intake is 8pm (normally around 7-7:30pm tbh) and then my first meal is the next day at 12pm. I basically skip my breakfast. It isnt actually that hard to do, and the busier you are that day the easier it is. I have had some days in the past where I have been that busy I can quite easily go until 3pm without eating and not think twice about it. All i consume during this period is water. I wont even take paracetamol, multivitamins etc just incase they break my fast. At 12pm I have been breaking my fast with a protein shake to start, then chicken, cottage cheese (and now rice!! MMmmmmm). Then an hour or two later some nuts and fruit. Then evening meal. This week there has been a real focus on the Macros and also quite a lot of research into getting the right type of carbs and fats. Previously my diet had been very heavy on Protein (about 50%) with carbs and fats not really being looked at. I had just focused on getting my protein, so when you need 190g of the stuff at just 1500Kal it is one hell of a challenge, with most calories being taken up by protein shakes instead of real food. This week we reviewed my macro's and introduced a more even split, so I am 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fats. This has reduced my protein intake to around 150g a day, so suddenly I am hitting that target without trying. What I needed to do was establish what carbs I should be consuming that will aid me in muscle growth (as despite aiming to loose the fat I am still lifting at the gym). Pretty much straight forward so have now introduced those carbs (Brown rice, brown pasta, fruit, veg, oatmeal, sweet potato). Its so nice to be able to eat carbs! lol... I have really enjoyed my opening meal of the day (150g chicken, 125g brown rice, 100g cottage cheese) and I have been unable to finish it in one go! I try and hold off any fat intake until a couple of hours after breaking my fast so that my body does not absorb all of it. With the fats, this has been a little more restrictive, so olive oil, almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, natural peanut butter, avocados, flaxseed oil. I now have 30g on almonds at around 3pm. These have the best nutrients out of the other nuts and I like them, so I am sticking with these at the minute as they give my my best nutrient intake. I have ordered olive oil capsules and also flaxseed oil capsules this week so that I can also get the required fats from them. It isnt particularly easy to incorporate those 2 into my food daily so I thought that this was the best way, I have also ordered some high quality fish oil capsules as well for the Omega 3. My tea then has just been sensible. We had a veg chilli that the Mrs made (The calorie intake was absolutely nothing and it tasted amazing so I have frozen up 250g portions), curry and rice last night (it was a naughty creamy curry but I simply accounted for the calories), and just normal stuff. All I do is try and establish what we are having for tea early on in the day so that I can plan my day correct. What I have found with 16/8 is that my hunger levels have decreased quite a lot (although I did feel hungry yesterday evening!). The fact that I am also missing a meal means that the 2 that I am having can be more substantial, so I feel much fuller. I can have a decent sized plate of food and afford the calories. Really chuffed with the weight loss this week, I know it will probably level off next week but I can see the wobbly bits slowly going, and tbh that is really my main aim, not actual weight loss as I am pretty happy with it now, its more becoming leaner before I start to add. Have a great week! Darren
  3. Sunday 18th Aug 2019 We returned from our caravan holiday yesterday afternoon.... I wasn't good on holiday, ate lots, drank lots. I thought that I had posted last weekend but for some reason it isnt showing it... Anyway, weight rose by 1.0kg to 83.0kg, which I suppose isnt too bad. I am however back into serious mode and it is time to get this sorted and shred this last bit of weight and reduce my body fat content. I did a couple of days (whilst on holiday) of the 16/8 fasting lifestyle. Having a bit of free holiday time I read up about it and it seems to actually have some decent health benefits as well as aiding weight loss. How much of it is true I have no idea. I am not really someone who is overly hungry in the mornings so thought that I would give it a try, basically having my last meal at 8pm and then holding off my next intake until 12pm the next day, with only water being consumed. Each day that I have done this I have seen a weight loss. Unfortunately these weren't consistent days so I had a nice yoyo effect as the next day I went rogue and filled myself with lager!! You can see just how much I enjoyed myself at the start of the holiday above! lol.... Anyway, I am back on it. Went for a run this morning at 05:30am for the first time in a couple weeks. This is now my 2nd consecutive day of 16/8 so will be interested what my weight looks like tomorrow morning. Yesterday I did it for our drive home (5.5hrs). Family stopped for McDonalds breakfast and I just kept sipping my water, so really pleased with myself. Today I have tenant interviews all day and then a viewing this afternoon on a property, so I have already prepped my food for the day. Hopefully this time next week there will be some decent results to talk about! Darren
  4. Sunday 4th August...... So that happened this week! Almost at my 10kg target loss.... and do you know how I have celebrated? My feasting all weekend as the Mrs is away and I am on my own.... I think I will always be greedy deep down. I had a drink and takeaway on Friday, more alcohol and crap last night and I am having a beer as I type this. Granted the beer is Bud Light and the calories are low, but its still empty calories.... However, not letting it upset me as I think I do need the break from constant calorie watching... plus, I have also started doing this now...... Decided I would give this jogging lark a go. 3.5km on my first run, and then another run this morning. I deffo need to miss a couple of days though as my legs are very sore after the 2nd run. No doubt the weight will have increased by Monday but I am also doing 4 gym sessions per week now along with the jogging, and then sticking to my calorie intake all week, so I feel this blow out is not the end of the world. There has to be more to life than chicken and cottage cheese! lol..... In the gym here is my strength update: We started sleigh pushes this week which were interesting. The weights were 20kg and im not sure what the actual kit weighs, so that figure will be higher. Wonder if I can hit the target weight this week??? (I'm saying this weekends splurge is going to say no! lol). Darren
  5. Sunday 28th July Hmmmm... positives.... I managed 4 days at the gym this week! Mon, Tue,Wed & Thurs! So well done to me..... Negatives...? Erm... no weight loss, drank lots of beer (Bit of a hangover as I type), ate lots of crap. Feel fat and disappointing in myself but at the same time probably needed a good blow out to get my mind back on focus as I had been slipping recently. One thing I find is that will power is hard to keep on track when you are in a caravan (not doing a great deal) with time and beer on your hands. I am not going to dwell on it too much as s--- happens and I knew that I would have a bit of a splurge. No scales with me so havent weighed myself, but there will definitely be a weight gain from just these few couple of days. I am now aiming at going to the gym 4 days per week now moving forward, so will see what that does for me. One thing to note is that on the days when I start at 7am I have started to go for a quick jog to get myself warmed up, literally about 10 minutes. Its getting easier and every time I try to run just a little further to push myself, so there is one positive from this week! Darren
  6. Sunday 21st July 2019 Friday was my birthday, so I have now hit 38 years old.... to celebrate..... I was over the moon on Friday when I weighed myself before going to the gym. I think the 3rd weekly session has made quite an impact as since I have started to do that one the weight has fallen off quite quickly. The last 2 mornings however I seem to have gone back up to 84.4kg. Probably nothing to read into but some more focus now on calorie intake and exercise. As Friday was my birthday I did let myself go a little and had nacho's at the cinema and a bottle of prosecco. Last night we also had an indian takeaway. I went for a chicken tikka as this should be the lowest calorie/fat food, but for some reason it was swimming in oil?!? I also had a chipati and a seek kebab. Didnt manage to eat it all, and felt awful afterwards... this was down to the Mrs idea and I regretted it straight away! What I have also done this week is found that I can now wear normal clothes!! I put a shirt on on Friday that used to be a fairly snug fit... it felt like a bloody sleeping bag. I thought then Id try on something that I knew wouldnt fit me. I had picked up a shirt from Next literally months ago and hadnt checked the size. It was the slim fit and as you can imagine, I wasnt slim enough! lol... I tried it on and booom!! Its too big for me!! Massive result. I then picked up 3 Ralph Lauren T-shirts that were all slim custom fit (again, would always be far too big) and they fit perfectly, if anything slightly loose. That really made my day!! It might end up being expensive though as now I want to get new clothes! For my birthday my Mrs got me a fit-bit. Interesting as it gives me my heart rate, sleep patterns and all that stuff. Also connects with MyFitness pal, although I have had to turn off the step tracking that connects with it as it was adding calories to my day because I was walking. Seems a bit silly to me that one. It does have a feature that tracks the amount of calories used in a day. Not sure how accurate that is as I didnt do much yesterday and it had me down for burning 2,897.... think I will be using that with a pinch of salt. This week I also thought it might be an idea to track my strength progress, as tbh I havent paid much attention at the gym. It just gets loaded up (i do get told but dont pay attention) and then I try and lift it. This week I lifted 40kg bench press (I paid attention!) but only managed 6 initial reps. At home I am able to do 30kg dumbell bench presses (15kg each arm) for reps of 10. I can repeat this around 5 times. My plan is to keep practising at home just to get my initial strength up and then go for heavier at the gym as I have supervision. It also costs a fortune buying new dumbbells every time I go up a weight!! They arent cheap but it does enable me to continue to work at home and build strength. I think if I can get to 15 reps at 30kg then I will order 2 x 20kgs and start working on those.... hope the spare bedroom floor can take the weight thats going in there! lol... Unsure of my back squat weight. I am sure this is 50+kg.. I need to pay attention! I think the bar weighs 20kg and I am sure that and other 30kg was added to it the other week. Again I will try to pay some attention going forward and make a note of it. Its easier to push yourself when you have an idea of what you can do! lol... This week we go away camping Thurs-Sun. Mrs has her head set on relaxing and drinking... I must admit that I do feel as though I can treat myself to a few beers. I know it will slow my progress but there is a little bit more to life than protein shakes and chicken! I have however ordered Bud light instead of normal san miguel, so at least the calories being consumed will be much lower! I am also booked into the gym Tue, Wed and Thurs morning, so still getting some sessions in. Have a good week. Darren
  7. Sunday 14th July 2019 Yeay!!! Although last night was a bad night... Had one too many chocolate hob nobs last night. I had one of those craving evenings and gave in. I haven't weighed myself this morning but I reckon I've got a hard week in-front of me to burn off the calories. I have been ill all week. Nothing major, just the onset of a cold and chest infection. This morning its really sat on my chest and it explains why i have felt so tired this week. I still went to 3 gym sessions though despite being unwell, so pat on the back to me. I also pulled my right shoulder at the start of the week and couldn't really turn my neck much. It is still very painful this morning and I can hear the bones clicking in the shoulder when I rotate it. It hasn't affected me too much at the gym, just uncomfortable. I just took things more carefully and didn't push myself too hard. I haven't done much at home as I literally feel like I have no energy. This week my folding bench arrived as well as 2 x 15kg dumbbells. Haven't used them as such. On Friday its my 38th birthday!! I should hopefully be the lowest weight that I have been in 10 years by then, so that would be nice. If I can get myself in the 83kg range then I will be over the moon, so a tough week in-front of me, especially with the low energy levels. Darren
  8. TBH I don't really struggle with hunger generally... IF I am eating my regular meals through the day. Just weighed this morning and back down to 85.6kg! Had a breakfast this morning for 299calories and going to focus on eating my planned meals at the right times. Darren
  9. Yes, completely agree and I think the painful truth behind the matter is that its more because I have had one of these for the last few weeks (each weekend) and that has basically screwed up the rest of my week. I think its also negative because it resets my cravings again, so for example this morning I woke up wanting a hobnob biscuit!!! I haven't done that in a long long time (I didn't give in). I have also re-assessed my daily food intake. I haven't been as good with meal prep the last week as I have been really busy, so have gone for long periods without eating. I am also STILL relying on protein shakes for my intake, despite me saying I needed to stop it a few weeks back. I have just planned out tomorrow fully. I normally start the day with a shake and then do not eat until mid-morning. I am going to scrap that and start having an omelette for breakfast. 1 x egg, 110g egg whites, 50g chopped onions. That gives me 166Kal to start the day and get my system going as well as 18.8g protein. The only shake that i am looking at now is on training days and one every night for bed which is slow release. I will now try to fill the rest of the day with actual food: Darren
  10. Saturday 06/07/19 Pi$$ed off. I have gained weight... I am at 86.1kg, so a gain of 500g. It has been this way pretty much all week, varying between 85.6kg and 86.1kg. Nothing has changed in the eating plan, and if anything I do more exercise. Just spent 5 minutes on the good old google and there are lots of reasons why this could be the case: * Building more muscle than losing fat - Could be possible as most of my exercise is now muscle building rather than cardio. I am definitely getting bigger in muscle mass and much stronger, and I can now do the reps for longer with heavier weights. * Eating too few calories - PT has mentioned this to me. I am at 1500 calories a day. I would say of this maybe 400kal is protein shakes to keep my protein levels up. The rest is made up of chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, yogurt, vegetables. Maybe I should try increasing this just slightly. Over the last few weeks I have had 1 cheat day each weekend. Basically it has been great weather and I have had a beer (lo cal beer) but then I have over indulged in some crap food. Yesterday I have 3 cans of san miguel (my god this tasted amazing! Not had real beer for about a month) and then a load of crap. TBH I just wanted an evening off. Long week and I simply thought F--- it. Of course this morning I regret it! lol..... I know I am making progress but just feeling pissed off, mostly because I have a target weight to get to and I am stalling. I havent helped myself obviously with the few relaxed days that I have, so this should be a kick up the arse for me to get myself back in gear. Darren
  11. Struggling with the sleep side at the moment tbh. Just lots going on, lighter mornings, our bloody son getting in bed with us every night...... Alcohol, I have only recently been having it once a week but in the post below I will be cutting it fully out again.
  12. Tuesday 2nd July 2019 Just a quick update. Been to the gym today and have now got to the point where I am now ready to move to 3 sessions a week. We got to the end of today's session and I was more than ready to keep going (didnt realise the time). Asked what set we were onto next and was told "that's it, your done!." I am now going to try and get an afternoon session in on a Wednesday starting from next week. Darren
  13. Im doing 3 at the minute. Easy enough, broker is doing everything. I just get a list of what he needs (credit checks, bank statements) and send them to him. Then I sign some paper. We are using the same lender for all 3 so have requested the same person to deal with them all and the same valuer etc. Im lucky I have a fantastic broker so I dont have to think about anything really. Darren BTS -- BTL -- Lettings -- Sourcing  www.fmp-investments.com
  14. Saturday 29th June 2019 Morning all. Just sat in my garden in the sunshine at 07:41.... what a lovely day ahead! Anyway..... Its been a tough week.... and tough in the sense that there is a side effect to a high protein diet..... Can you work out what that is? I have been struggling with being "bunged up" for the last 2 weeks, to the point it has been very uncomfortable most of the time. I ended up resorting to over the counter solutions which as can be expected did the trick. Unfortunately this is not a solution that I can rely on so had to look for a more natural approach. This is where I discovered: What they do not tell you is how bloody awful the stuff is. At first I thought it was like any other powder mix, so added it with my protein powder to make a single shake... nope... this stuff turns thick very quickly, almost like a mousse. The next thing I tried was it with hot water as I had something similar that with cold water clunked up, but with kettle water dissolved really well.... nope... wallpaper paste.... I ended up just googling it (should have done this first really), and basically you mix with cold water and neck it immediately. Basically this stuff congeals inside you and then draws in moisture and makes everything move through easily. Apparently it also has a tonne of health benefits as well. So, this stuff really works... worked a bit too well at the start! But, I think now I am finally past that awful feeling all day as my stomach swells up. Now that the above topic has been taken care of (I'm sure that was your favourite part), I am going to tell you about the best thing that I have ever bought.... An air fryer!!! WOW!!! When you eat chicken 3 times a day, EVERYDAY, you need some variation in your life.. This thing is amazing. I basically marinate the chicken, cut it up, throw it in for 14 minutes and I get this: Vegetables...? Cut up sweet potatoes, parsnips.... whatever.... you get these after 22 minutes: Absolute game changer!! Really nice food cooked without any oil or fat, just some powder marinades that have very few calories in them. What is best is that the cooking area is non-stick, so I simply soak it and then clean it off before using, takes about 5 minutes. The problem is however that I went crazy with parsnips and sweet potatoes and have smashed my carbs in the last week, so I need to cut back at the moment and go back to protein whilst I am still cutting weight... speaking of weight.... NOTHING all week..... and I mean nothing..... mainly a lot higher (at one point 1kg) and this is with me eating less calories..... I think the reason may be in the first paragraph, as yesterday morning I weighed myself before the gym: BOOOOM!!! A straight 86kg!! So happy as it had been a tough week (literally) and I must admit on Thursday I did spend the day sulking... lol.... Then this morning...... Another 400g off, so 800g lost this week. Yesterday was gym day, and I have noticed that my appetite is normally quite low, so I have started stocking up on protein shakes in the morning, and then eating in the afternoon evening. Yesterday when I got up (5:30am) I had 1 banana and a 39.2g protein shake (This is the actual amount of protein delivered). A normal shake is only 26g of protein but I have started to up it on training days. I am finding this gives my my energy boost during training (banana) and then the protein is already working for muscle repair. As soon as I get home from the gym I then have another shake (39.2g) at around 08:15am, so this then gives me that immediate intake after the workout. After this I have another at dinner and then introduce food. This seems to work for me and by dinner time I am actually ready to eat properly... then the afternoon I must admit that I am pretty hungry. Yesterday I had a chicken meal at about 1pm, and then had my tea at 4pm. This then did me for the rest of the day though. In the gym I have started to get there on a friday a good 15-20 minutes earlier than my session (7am) and I am getting my warm-up boxed off, this way we are then going straight into proper training and I am getting more out of it. On Friday I think my dead-lift weight was 70kg. Could have been a bit more as I don't really listen, I just lift whatever he puts on! My strength has definitely increased as yesterday morning I did a farmers walk with 2 x 10kg weights. If I recall the first time I did this I managed about 15 lengths and it was hard work. Yesterday morning I did 20 and was almost jogging doing it. Well, that's it for this week. Going to see if I can get into the 84kg range for next Friday. Darren
  15. Sunday 23rd June 2019 So this week I hit 5kg loss! Yeay!! I thought the above weight was quite a good representation since these are the type that i use. I wonder how much my actual loss would be if I wasn't also building muscle at the same time? I hit 5kg on Thursday. I am feeling better and can definitely see the difference now. Tight clothes are now loose which is nice. Still another 5kg to go. I have however had a slight blip.... yesterday (Saturday) I decided that i was having a beer... It was the first sunny day that we have had in as long as I can remember and 4 san miguels later, half a bottle of prosecco, a kitkat and a small snickers... oh, and 4 oreos......... Basically a full days worth of calories in the space of a few hours! The result is that I am back to normal now this morning and have had my little blow out, ready for the next push. I know its hard to be perfect so I am not beating myself up about it, the above would have been an almost daily occurrence a month or so ago, whereas now it is literally once in a month.... In general it has been a hard week this week as I have definitely been ill. Just a lack of energy which I felt on Tuesday at the gym. I was still feeling rough on Friday but absolutely smashed it, we were working on arms Friday and i must admit I enjoy these sessions the most, but we still had some crumbling cardio in there as well. My arms are sore to the touch this morning so I know that I have done some good work, I even squeezed in an additional set when we had finished as I knew I could squeeze a bit more out of myself. My 8kg weights arrived this week, so now I have a set of 2's, 8's and 10's at home. I haven't really done any additional weights this week at home as I felt drained and I wanted to allow myself time to rest, as I might have over done it the week before. You can be too eager sometimes! Tonight we are at an Italian for my sisters birthday, so I will have to study the menu to see what is available that I can keep the calories down on. I will probably have something to eat before I go so that I do not have that hunger when there and thus will not make any silly decisions. Hopefully I can report some weight loss next week and yesterday hasn't affected my progress too much. Darren
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