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In which I feel like a Harlem Globetrotter

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, I made the penultimate Trek to the gym in the quest for the ugly t shirt. The alternative was a holiday party at my favorite bar in town, The Library, as mentioned Saturday, and a free beer promised by Tim, the owner of that place and the Free House. I wasn't feeling particularly merry, so I skipped that event. I'll have to stop there some time in the next three days, maybe for lunch on Saturday if packing has proceeded well.

This gym visit took place a little earlier than my usual jaunts there, as I am more likely to head there after 8 pm, than earlier parts of the day. That's not a function of being leery of the atmosphere, as really, I don't give a crap. Maybe because I'm male, maybe from not wandering into the weight room much, this gym didn't seem to have much in the way of the show offs that can give a place a bad rep/vibe. Anyway, due to the timing, there was an active basketball game going on when I arrived, and after an elliptical spin, I wandered over to the court to await the next game.

As luck would have it, that contest was one of those that wouldn't end, both teams having and blowing multiple opportunities to finish. It didn't help that the worst player on the court kept getting the ball, insisted on shooting, and predictably, failed miserably each time.

As a result, once the game ended, the exhausted players mostly left, leaving only 4 people around. We decided to play 2 on 2 eventually, the tall guy and the little guy against the two mid sized guys. Now, when I say little guy, I'm not talking about myself, although at 5'6", I'm never going to be the tall guy. Instead, I literally meant little guy, as that player was a 12 year old who hasn't hit his growth spurt yet. I'm not denigrating him, because the kid could dribble, and was part of the previous contest, and it takes moxie for a dude his size to mix it up with the adults. In fact, the reason the worst player kept getting the ball was because he was being guarded by the kid, and the little man did his part to keep the opponent off the scoreboard.

That said, while I can never claim to be a decent basketball player by any stretch of a fevered imagination, I should hope I could do well against an opponent 2/3rds my size and 1/3rd my age. Finding myself guarding the kid, I had to walk a fine line between just playing, and avoiding being a total dick. I decided to let him shoot outside shots uncontested, while also refusing to let him dribble past me. In the first game we played, I blocked a couple of his shots as he tried to drive, and I felt bad about it. I blocked another shot in the second game, but I swear it was inadvertent! I really did think he was trying to pass to his teammate, and just couldn't pull my hand back fast enough to avoid affecting the shot.

I'll admit to running past him on offense a couple of times, but I made up for it by hitting reverse layups for the scores. Now, that might seem showboat-ish, but for me, a guy who has enough trouble with standard uncontested layups, going under the basket and tossing the ball over my shoulder , off the backboard and into the hoop was enough to let me not feel bad about abusing a pre-teen's defense. Well, it was until I just typed that line, anyway.

So, one more visit remains for that ugly t shirt. I asked if they had them in stock, since collecting from 400 miles away would be a bit of a trick. The guy at the desk assured me they did, and that I'd get mine the next time I visited. I'll be sure to provide the visual evidence when I have that item in hand!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/13/2012 8:57PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KMM1123 12/13/2012 8:50PM

    I'm looking forward to seeing this shirt that keeps getting mentioned. I can't blame you for all the effort you're putting in for it though. I think there's something ingrained in us as Americans to desire the dangling prize that's just out of reach (no matter how tacky it is). The fact that you can't simply buy it, you have to earn it - makes it so much more coveted.

I used to work on a cruise ship and you'd be amazed what people would do just for a simple key chain prize. Oh the fun we had with guests... :)

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EMMAEKAY 12/13/2012 4:10PM

    Nice - bball is good exercise. :D

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1CRAZYDOG 12/13/2012 2:11PM

    I would definitely qualify in the short category being 4 ft. 10-1/2 in. but being a "dude-ette" it's not so bad.

Go for that shirt!

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A thin mint by any other name

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fun fact, you can eat an entire package of Grasshopper cookies (Keebler's version of the Thin Mint) in a day and likely stay below your calorie goal. Granted, you'd be foodbored by the end of the day, as the package would cost around 1400 calories, leaving little room for anything other than the glasses of milk that by rights must accompany such a cookie binge. But perhaps you'd be floating on a cloud of chocolate mint bliss and simply fail to notice?

Of course, it wouldn't exactly constitute a balanced diet, and the balance that so many of obsess over (the evil number demon aka the scale) might not report happily after that sort of lapse, but if the bottom line for weight loss is simply caloric deficit, you could rationalize a single day giving in to those darn elves.

(Mind you, I'm not rationalizing any such thing, as I had 4 cookies and a glass of milk before heading to bed. As tonight seems to be a night where sleep will come hours after reaching said bed, I'll have to defend against an encore performance, but I suspect that won't be difficult tonight.)

Problem is, with every bit of information you assimilate, the grays often become more pronounced. In this case, the confusion has root in the idea that muscle is good for burning more calories, and the articles I glanced through yesterday which suggested that in order to build muscle, an overabundance of calories, in addition to actual strength training, was required. Obviously, I need to do more reading, and open myself up to risk of further confusion. But I am now curious as to what the best strategy for long term success is, and whether a given weight should not be considered the final destination.

In practical terms, I am wondering how much muscle I might have lost in the weight loss over the past year, and whether to push on to my current goal of 165 (and beyond?), or if it would be better to refocus efforts towards strength training? In impractical terms, I'm wishing it were possible to produce green flames by throwing mint cookies into a fire.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JET150 12/12/2012 11:06PM

    5000 blogs behind here... When are you leaving Madison?

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CLPURNELL 12/12/2012 7:27PM

    I am at the same cross roads. I have gone down the muscle building path rather than stay focused on the numbers on the scale. I am trying to bring my body fat% down by building more muscle.


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SEXBOBOMB 12/12/2012 4:33PM

    Betcha can't say the same about a box of Girl Scout Samoa cookies.

(Homer) ...mmmm, Samoa cookies.... (/Homer)

Eat a box of those and you go directly to the ER...

Comment edited on: 12/12/2012 4:33:28 PM

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3016DEBRA 12/12/2012 4:24PM

  I couldn't eat that much sweet stuff! Interesting thinking, anyway. emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 12/12/2012 2:32PM

    Oh my . . . thin mint cookies are one of the only type cookies that I cannot be in the same building with! "Thin Mints in the building" . . . uh oh . . . I need to exit state left.

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KMG3366 12/12/2012 11:04AM

    Randomly_honest is right from the research I've done. When you are trying to do heavy lifting also don't be afraid of healthy fats. It makes your body much more pleasant after putting it through so much strain.

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RANDOMLY_HONEST 12/12/2012 7:23AM

    The way I understand it (and this may not be particularly scientific, or even right), is that for weight loss, you want to use up the energy stored in your fat cells. That requires a calorie deficit - if you were eating more calories than you expend, then the excess would have to be stored somewhere.

While strength training, you actual tear the muscle fibers and they have to rebuild themselves. To do that, they need energy and proteins. If you are already at a healthy weight and balanced calorie input/output, then you would need to increase your calorie (and specifically protein) intake to help your muscles repair. If you still have a lot of plump fat cells then you don't need to reduce your calories as much (or possibly at all), but you still need to take in more protein.

Practical advice: forget the absolute number and focus on what feels good to you. If you want more muscle definition, add a heavy lifting routine and increase your protein. If you're feeling tired or sluggish, increase your total calories slowly to find a good balance. You may find that your weight loss stalls, but your muscle/fat ratio is still improving.

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GARDENCHRIS 12/12/2012 7:16AM

    BACK away from the cookies! LOL

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Advertising 1, Partha 0

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Once upon a time, I used to be able to write, after some fashion or another. I wrote editorials for the the Michigan Daily for a couple of years during undergrad. My first grad stint, the fine folks at Wayne State's The South End were crazy enough to put my name and picture next to my wild ramblings. Somewhere along the way, I became a reviewer for the now defunct music site music-reviewer.com, and when I come across an old review on a dusty cd-r from ages ago, I'm often surprised at how coherent my thoughts were at one time. As is the case with muscle, though, lack of exercise has left any writing abilities I may have once possessed (not that I claim to ever have been any good...just coherent!) rather flabby. I think, recently, I might have been trying to practice some of those old skills. I wasn't doing so purposefully, but in glancing back over a few recent blog entries, I see a hint of the way I used to scribble, with observations couched in a larger framework derived from a day's events. The 'three dog night' entry from Sunday, especially, reminds me of those South End days.

One of these days, I might have to actually try and craft a blog post, as opposed to rambling on in the middle of the night, as most of these efforts have been. I'm a bit curious as to whether that ability has abandoned me entirely, or merely lies dormant somewhere within the dusty inner space of my brain? Or, perhaps more accurately tonight, drowned in the grease clogged regions of my arteries. I happened to crash some dear friends' anime night gathering, for the purpose of hanging out with these people before I ran away. Sadly, due to illnesses, a couple of the people I was hoping to see didn't make it, and as a result, no anime was happening. No matter, it's not an art form I appreciate much. Besides, the lack of on screen entertainment gave me the chance to just spend the evening talking with my friends, plus one new person I'd met only briefly before. A bit sad I won't get a chance to get to know her.

They had enough food to withstand my semi-announced crashing, so I grabbed a small share of the grub, which kept me going for a couple of hours. As the gathering wound up, however, a bit of hunger started gnawing at me. I agreed to give the new person a ride home, as I was the only other person at the gathering who didn't live at the residence where it was held. The extra 15 minutes of driving helped shape the decision to pause at Taco Bell on the way home. The abundance of advertising helped drive me towards picking the XXL steak nachos rather than something smaller. I was, indeed, hungry, as I'd gone to the gym prior to heading over to anime night, and I'd grabbed less than a full share out of politeness. But I wasn't XXL hungry, and a few hours later, I'm slightly regretting the overkill, even as I giggle at these steak flavored hiccups I'm suffering.

Oh well, what's done is done and tomorrow, it'll get flushed. And now, to sleep, and dream tomorrow into being.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/11/2012 7:22PM

    LOL You can still write! Love the Blogs!! yeah advertising gets the best of me at times at well!

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1CRAZYDOG 12/11/2012 8:41AM

    Well, glad you got to the gym anyway! Gotta get that shirt!!

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AMYTRIPP 12/11/2012 8:07AM

    I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised that your writing talents and skills are still there.

LOL on the steak flavored burps - I hope they've all 'passed' by now.

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FLOTILLAM 12/11/2012 4:21AM

    Skills definitely come back. Life can be like a spiral, seeming to move through the same stages over and over again, yet making a greater progress at the same time.

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merry go thunk

Monday, December 10, 2012

Starting to remember dreams after I wake, it's twice in a couple of months it's happened, when the usual rate seemed to be once every two years. But of course, that could be a product of faulty memory in and of itself. Anyway, after about 4 hours of sleep, I woke from a dream of a carousel breaking apart. Rather than do the smart thing of rolling over and going back to sleep, I reached for the phone to soon the darn wheel. 56 day streak, don'tcha know? Feel like DiMaggio. But then I saw on the friend feed that someone listed a blog and it had links, and those links had links and now it's an hour later and I'm awake. Must say, I've developed some bad habits that I'd be well off unlearning.

Anyway, this early AM, I'm musing on the bounty of gym visits I've harvested in the past 6 weeks. In this space, I've previously noted how I'd hardly ever go to the gym when I lived 2 miles away, and am making the effort now that I'm 8 miles away. Hoping to continue going to the gym when I get to Michigan, but we'll see if that happens. Need to replace ugly t shirt with some other carrot, for one thing.

Having gone to the gym so often, Sunday's trip seemed a little tame. About a half hour on the stationary bike, the same on the elliptical, 10 minutes rowing. Didn't shoot a basketball or hit the punching bag, thought about doing exercise ball stuff ( crunches, largely) but declined for going home to watch the Lions and Packers play.

On the drive home, I'm thinking to myself, wow, what a slacker I was today. And it took a couple of minutes to cut through that thought and realize that two months ago, my reaction would have been more along the lines of "good job getting to the gym woo hoo".

Now, I'm not entirely sure that this is a good thing. The accelerated pace is borough on entirely by the need to go often enough to get that t shirt before I move away. If I hadn't been on the verge of moving, I think I'd still go more often because of that dangling prize, but it'd be at a much much more relaxed pace. And as such, even if I find and join a gym in Michigan soon, I'm unlikely to recreate the 4-5 times a week pace I've been hitting lately. Curious how I'll react then, given the (mild) self-critism I found myself indulging in when, objectively, I did put in an hour of exercise.

Given the thoughts above, is the key here that it was an hour, or that the nature of the hour might not have been as intense as recent such hours. My answer's probably changed from a couple of months ago, and might be different yet a couple of months hence.

One other thought occurring to me and needing recording lest I forget about it before I next wake up: despite all this recent exercise...I DON'T love exercise. I don't have a need to get to the gym, except for the incentive mentioned ad nauseum. Fear that's a recipe for backsliding.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/10/2012 8:01PM

    Trick is finding something you do love that's active and doing that. I am not a cardio fan whatsoever never have been. What keeps me doing cardio is trying to go further and faster than the time before. It's a little game I play with myself and it works. Try it it may work for you as well.

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SEXBOBOMB 12/10/2012 12:23PM

    Make your own ugly t-shirt! Or, whatever. Reward system. You know what I mean.

It's corny, yeah, and it does require some self-control to not just go break down and buy whatever it is that you want right then, but rewards are working for me, for sure, this go-around.

Right now, I'm chasing a new pair of workout shorts and my first-ever professional massage. I get the shorts for making it from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day without a weight gain. Since I actually am, right now, fighting back from a weight gain, it was a well-thought-out carrot. I'll make it, though, because I don't have that much ground to gain and I really do want the damn shorts. The massage I get after running my first official 5K in March. That's the one I'm *seriously* looking forward to!

So, make your own ugly t-shirt...or maybe I should make one for you! Maybe all your SparkFriends should! How fun would that be to get random super-ugly shirts from people you've never met, just for hitting your goals!

Just me? Yeah, well... I think it would be funny!

Hang onto your mojo, Ahtrap!

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AMYTRIPP 12/10/2012 9:47AM

    I'm an exercise hater myself - and there's always that fear of just getting lazy about it. I guess we just have to set goals and then stick to them no matter what.

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1CRAZYDOG 12/10/2012 8:45AM

    I hope you earn that shirt!!

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GARDENCHRIS 12/10/2012 7:24AM

    I know the feeling...but we do this because we WANT to take care of ourselves... be your own best friend! emoticon

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three dog night

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Had lunch with a friend Saturday. I got to pick the place, so I went with the Free House, so I could get an ABLT. The owners of that place also run my favorite bar in town, and the ABLT at the bar (The Library) has avocado paste, and one can order Cajun fries on the side. The Free House is a slightly fancier place, with a couple of different bar areas, with distinct looks, and a trio of dining spaces. The ABLT there is similarly upscale with sliced avocado instead of the paste. And, instead of cajun fries, they have garlic parmesan fries with parmesan flakes rather than sprinkles adorning the fries. Delicious stuff, less friendly dietarily than the Cajun fries, I suspect. But no matter, it's what I went there for and its what I got.

I got there a few minutes before my friend, was seated, asked for some water to start. Now, this is a place with quite a good selection of beers from around Wisconsin, and I'd intended to grab one...but I never quite got around to it. It wasn't because we had a quick lunch, as we were there nearly three hours. Might have had something to do with the idea that I was going to the gym afterwards, something that didn't end up happening. Maybe it had to do with the hint of downward scale movement that morning and not wanting to jinx that. Not sure, really. It didn't have to do with the topics discussed, as we were in full ramble mode. Lots of discussion about her golden retriever puppy, as he's a relatively new addition. I guess I just never got around to grabbing that beer.

After lunch (getting on toward 4 pm, as we met at 1), she asked if I wanted to meet the puppy and of course I said yes. Ended up hanging out with her the rest of the day, and playing with not just her golden, but her housemate's Pomeranian, and a mini black poodle they were dog sitting. Lots of puppy love Saturday, just a wonderful relaxing day...at least until a couple more of our friends showed up and we watched the Da Vinci Code. The movie was a lot better than I remembered it being, and I might be tempted to stop the next time I see it on TV.

The weird thing about the day was that lunch was the heavy meal of the day. After we returned to my friend's place, we didn't have a specific "meal" for dinner. Her diet is relatively spartan due to a host of allergies and intolerances, and so when she first got hungry in the evening, she microwaved a steamer bag of broccoli, and that was essentially the main course. Broccoli with some garlic salt (I was offered more condiments, but half the time, I'm satisfied with garlic and pepper...case of simple tastes rather than rude host!). Later, we did a quick grocery store run, to grab a couple things before the other friends showed up. We went by the deli counter, but nothing looked great. I'd had a heavy and later than usual lunch, and a bowl of broccoli, so I just grabbed a bit of yogurt, and that ended up being the second course of my evening, with frozen yogurt as a dessert. It was rather strange for me, as I'm usually doing the traditional heaviest meal in the evening thing, but I wasn't ever really hungry in the evening, so it felt fine. Maybe it was a case of being distracted by the dogs?

Never did make it to the gym, leaving me 6 days for the four visits I need for the ugly t shirt. Suspect I can get there, despite social engagements and other obligations. I have put in too much sweat not to collect on this prize, dubious though it may be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/10/2012 7:56PM

    Awesome Job on the light dinner!

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1CRAZYDOG 12/9/2012 6:49PM

    Well, sounds like a day that was fun, so that's nice. Nothing wrong with a Saturday filled with puppy love!

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SIRENSONGS 12/9/2012 10:35AM

    This sounds like a great day! Of course I think that any day spent chiefly with animals is a great day, especially if they include a pomeranian and a puppy! I also usually have dinner be my heavy meal of the day, and feel kind of off kilter when it turns out to be lunch. But at least your dinner was fairly low on calories.

And I agree with Sexbobomb, you definitely need to post a pic of the ugly t-shirt!

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GARDENCHRIS 12/9/2012 9:02AM

    glad you got the time to spend with friends

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SEXBOBOMB 12/9/2012 6:42AM

    Yay for spontaneity! Nothing like following the path the day takes you, instead of the one you had planned!

They say that making your mid-day meal your biggest meal is best for your body, because you're fueling it at the most active point in your day. Sounds like it worked for you, at least on this day. Maybe something ripe for a Beechnut-style experiment?

Finally, you absolutely MUST win the ugly t-shirt, and when you do, you must post a pic online!

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