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Up the Irons!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Packing stuff away for moving, and I came across my sadly unused dumbbells. Now, they're not large weights, a 20 pounder and a couple of 15s, but they exist in a state of dustiness, for lying unloved and untouched beneath the bed. I guess the same can be said for my resistance bands, which hang on a hook physically near but psychologically far away from where I lie at the moment.

At this moment, I am wondering whether to try and do things on my own rather than paying for a membership at a gym after I move, while simultaneously remembering that I have all this STUFF, exercisey stuff, acquired piecemeal over years, which I rarely use. Somewhere, I suspect in the trunk of my car, there are the 5 lb ankle weights which in my younger, more flexible days, I'd occasionally use for leg lifts. Over in the corner of the room, there's an as seen on TV gizmo which is used basically as a stool these days rather than the ab workout contraption it purports to be. Put them all together, and plenty of pieces exist for exercising at home. And I'm sure I could raid my brother's basement for a basic weight set and more crap. But the bottom line is, as it always is, whether I'd actually be able to generate the will to exercise at home.

I've made a big deal out of the t shirt I'm chasing at the gym I'm about to leave behind as I move, and KMM1123 somewhat accurately portrayed it as a big shiny thing that I covet...but there's a little more to this talisman. It has to do with the short time frame I had in which to chase it, it had a bit to do with trying to prove to myself that I could hit the gym regularly. And yes, it is a free shiny thingy that I'm going to score soon enough.

Might have made it happen Thursday, but I got seduced by bacon gravy. The Free House posted on Facebook about a special they were running, with meatloaf, cheddar jalapeņo cornbread and a bacon gravy. Apparently, I wasn't the only person who saw this advert. And I wasn't the only person intrigued. So, off we went. The majority of the reason for my going was because of who it was that ended up going...after all, I'm leaving these people to move 400 miles away in two days, and it's sinking in. But, I'll admit, BACON GRAVY did play a role.

The plan tomorrow, then, is to hit the gym and work off some of the bacon gravy, and also get the metabolism boosted for what might be a decently long night of drinking, as the evening will be spent at a brew pub, saying bye to friends. Bit ambivalent about that, but people insisted, so...yeah.

You'll have to excuse the full on ramble mode I've entered, feeling a touch of emotion here, odd memories bubbling up from the years...like, how I was a night owl when I arrived in Madison , and would send my grad school classmates e mails at 3 AM, which mirrors my recent spate of 3 am blogs on this space, or the ski lift ticket from February 13, 2004 (the first and last time I ever went skiing) where I listed my weight as 165, which is the basis of my goal weight. A few other kernels are popping off in my head at the moment, thoughts both happy and sad, and running the gamut in between. I suspect I'll be awake a bit longer this early morning.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLPURNELL 12/14/2012 7:25PM

    It is very hard to work out at home. I have equipment but find it very difficult to do. I don't know maybe I like the gym atmosphere or something better. i think we all have had the unused equipment lying around. Moving can be very emotional. Hope everything goes well with the move!

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AHTRAP 12/14/2012 12:18PM

    I certainly intend to take the stuff along...just a matter of discovering the wherewithal to use it! I suspect it might be a case of creating my own carrot (rabbit?) to chase, as suggested by Sexbobomb on a previous entry.

Appreciate the thought, folks.

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THOMS1 12/14/2012 10:59AM

    Time to dust off those weights so to speak. I go to fitness 5 days a week and do upper body one day and lower body strength the next day along with cardio. I guess we just have to make up our minds to do it. I wish you success. emoticon

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RABBLERRABBIT 12/14/2012 10:31AM

    About the weights vs. gym: can't we do both?
I work out with a trainer once a week and she gives me "homework" for when I can't make the time to get to the gym -- and sadly, the gym is only three miles away. However, going to the gym involves showering, "gym makeup" and brushing one's hair and teeth... while home workouts, well, don't.
I hope you get your tee shirt soon - I made a goal to complete 3 5Ks sponsored by my local Y so I could earn a sweatshirt in addition to the usual race tees. Having finished the Thanksgiving Gobble Wobble I will be receiving the shirt soon.
Good luck with your move.
I enjoyed your blog, thanks!
PS. Let's not discuss the bacon gravy. Oh. My. God. Thank god you're young. On my side of the map, it's sausage gravy with pepper over homemade biscuits. With a side of Lipitor.

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1CRAZYDOG 12/14/2012 9:14AM

    good luck on the packing, and don't abandon the weights! Take 'em with you. Go for that t-shirt!!!

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PEACOCKQUEEN 12/14/2012 9:08AM

    I thought this post was going to be about Iron Maiden lol. I agree with the previous post, take the stuff with you, and go online for some exercise ideas that will keep you motivated.

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GARDENCHRIS 12/14/2012 7:19AM

    so take it with you ... hang up your funky gym t shirt in the new place in a corner and make that your exercise area.

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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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SISYPHUS_CLIMBS 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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