Friday, January 27, 2012
Just wondered if folks out there have any suggestions as although I've been really dedicated to my workouts I seem to have hit a wall over the past several months which has been frustrating.
My wall: I use the same amount of weights on my upper body / core strength training. I use most of the upper body / core exercises which are part of the Cybex VR-1 system at our fitness center:
I typically do strength training 3 times a week, 2 sets of 15 each with arm exercises, 2 sets of 20 on the abdominals & back extensions. Sometimes I'll throw a third set of 15 on top of them. But most times on the arm strength training I find myself having to back off a notch on the amount of weight I use.
My annoyance is that for all the weeks and months I've been doing this every time I do my strength training I find myself hitting the same wall: being just BARELY able to complete the last few reps of an exercise and sometimes on my 2nd set I even have to back off a notch on the amount of weight. I know it is important to increase the amount of weight one uses when you do strength training, but it just hasn't seemed possible for me. I'm sure doing the same-old, same-old is better than not doing it at all, however I'd like to get the most out of the time I invest in my strength training.
Similarly when I do cardio at the fitness center I do 30 mins. on the elliptical, usually the Octane 3700:
and 30 mins. on the upright stationary TrueFitness CS800 (sometimes rolling hills, sometimes hill intervals):
I find myself able to reach certain fitness numbers, i.e. distance, calories burned, etc. and just all SPENT, totally soaked & dripping with sweat and unable to push BEYOND those numbers. While I realize the calories burned is not accurate in the sense that they measure the actual number of calories that I've burned, but they are at least internally consistent as a means of measuring whether today's workout was better or worse than yesterday's.
I shake things up by going to Spinning class once, hopefully twice weekly and FINALLY got out for cross country skiing this past weekend. Once or twice a week I ditch the fitness center and opt for a fast walk / jog between offices or our local rail-trail for around 3-5 miles depending.
What do you think? Is this just hair-splitting and cabin fever leaking around the edges as I wait to hit the roads again with my bike? Should I just keep on keeping on and be satisfied with this? Or am I missing something that can make a difference in my workouts at the fitness center and bring greater rewards for my time and effort?
Appreciate any thoughts / feedback my wonderful SparkFamily may have!
PS...additional info: I never do my strength training on consecutive days, always a day in between. Despite all this have not been able to increase the weight I use for a LONG long time.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
As I near my first year of membership at the Riverwalk Athletic Center I've come to realize something: since I began last February I missed out on all the "fun" of dealing with the busiest month of the year at the fitness center: JANUARY!
The place has been SWARMING with new & old members and it's been a challenge to get on my favorite equipment (stationary bikes) and into my Spinning classes. Last winter I could just show up for Spinning class...no problem! NOW? I learned the hard way this past Sat. that you have to sign up no sooner than 24 hours in advance of the class because there just AREN'T any no-shows or empty spots you can take advantage of. While I'm pleased to see so many folks tuned into working out I have to admit to more than my share of grumbling over "sharing"...lol!
So now? I've got cell phone and e-mail reminders to SIGN UP for those classes! Hoping to get to two Spinning classes each week instead of just the Sat. and add Monday too...although there are other times, they just don't work for me (5:30 A.M.? forgeddaboudit!).
Swing Dance: I did better than I thought I would @ Swing Dance last night. It's been a month or so since I'd been there. Felt like I had Alzheimer's: basic stuff like "inside" and "outside" turns...? Um, yeah, did those once upon a time...! At least it comes back to me a little more quickly and I'm hoping to have a way to remember: hold my partner's hand up over her right shoulder for the outside turn, left shoulder for the inside turn.
The hardest part? After the initial 45 min. lesson where partners swap around a lot and the lesson is over the dance floor opens wide up and anybody can dance with anybody. So it's up to me to take the plunge and ask someone to dance. Such a simple thing. The club does a wonderful job to promote a VERY laid back, accepting atmosphere. People of ALL ages, sizes, dressed to the nines or jeans and t-shirt...yet inside I'm a jumble of doubt and self-criticism and have to PUSH through that crud to just "ask". Nary a rejection EVER on that dance floor...! I've seen myself at times just be a wallflower without asking a single person for a dance, yet refusing to leave because I know I want to be out on that dance floor just like everyone else!
Last night I was successful in asking for a dance four times. A good night! Hoping for better ones yet to come! To be able to just tune into my natural love of the music, the rhythm and just DANCE!
I'll share again for the benefit of those living in the Southern Tier:
The Southern Tier Swing Dance Society
"Our main activity is a weekly Tuesday night dance, which is held above Rexer's Karate Academy on Washington Avenue in Endicott. The beginners lesson goes from 7:30-8:15, open dance starts at 8:15 and goes until 10:30. All of our events are smoke- and alcohol-free and are open to all ages. We also sponsor live band dances, and our members present a number of swing demonstrations at various local events.
There are several varieties of swing dance that our members like to do. This includes: Jitterbug (East Coast Swing), West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, and Hustle. Our music selections are designed to support this swing dance mix. You will occasionally hear a Cha-Cha or a Waltz, but almost all of our music is aimed at one or more forms of swing.
It is not necessary to know how to dance to attend our dances. We hope newcomers will join us and we provide a beginner Jitterbug lesson at the start of each dance. Dancers can take our beginner lesson as often as they like, and indeed, it is helpful to beginners to have more experienced dancers in the class. We encourage our dancers to become more advanced by taking swing dance classes elsewhere, and we provide information on outside classes and workshops that we are aware of, including those in other towns, such as Ithaca and Syracuse.
It is also not necessary to have a partner to attend our events. We change partners during our classes, and most swing dancers like to dance with many different partners in the course of the evening. We strive to create a friendly atmosphere, where dancers of different levels feel comfortable mixing and asking others to dance. Also, in the swing world, it is common and welcomed, for women to ask men to dance.
Dress is very casual at our events. We ask people to bring clean, soft-soled, non-marking shoes to both protect the dance floor and facilitate your dancing (especially spins and turns).
We ask for a $3.00 donation for admission. Most of the money that we collect goes for the weekly rent for our dance location. Our other expenses include insurance, CDs and tapes, equipment, advertising, and the expenses of our other events. All of our events are organized and run by VOLUNTEERS, and no one is paid for her/his S.T.S.D.S. work."
No smoking, no drinking, just folks looking to have a night of good, clean fun!
I also hear great things about the Salsa Music Appreciation Club in our area:
I plan to check 'em out once I get this Swing Dance down better. I don't want to confuse my dances just yet...lol!
And here's a suggestion for those of you NOT living in the Southern Tier: You may have similar organizations in YOUR community to check out! Google it!
And just DANCE! :-)
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
If you haven't seen this article yet, I highly recommend you check it out: The Fat Trap, by Tara Parker-Pope. She outlines some hard truths about weight loss and maintenance which COULD be taken negatively (i.e. a "why try?" attitude) however I found the information to be SO helpful!
...along with interesting comments posted at this link:
There is a follow up interview, question & answer with folks calling in with testimonies on NPR's Talk of the Nation here:
I share WATERMELLEN's ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4652553 ) sense of relief and comfort in hearing the science behind the experiences of people like myself who've been obese or morbidly obese for a long time. This helps me so much to hear the cold, hard facts! I feel I am in a better position to accept that it is what it is. No amount of whining or playing games with my thinking or whatever is going to alter this. I'm really not imagining things or making them up: it really IS harder for folks like me to lose weight and more importantly to KEEP IT OFF!
There is a reason why I kick into a "food as fuel" mode when I'm SPARKIN' like I WANT to SPARK!
Besides: food is over-rated, compared to the freedom one can enjoy when one looks at eating just enough to keep your body at a healthier weight where you can enjoy your life more fully and heartily!
So rather than looking at this glass as half empty, as a "fat trap"...I find it liberating to realize that, for instance faithful food tracking, weighing in and daily exercise is not being OCD and overkill: it truly is what is necessary for those of us who have been obese or morbidly obese for a long* time.
*How long? Not sure if they've precisely nailed that down...but let THAT be a motivator for those of you who HAVEN'T been obese or morbidly obese for a long time: The quicker you NAIL this healthy and well lifestyle the less risk you run of sustaining lifelong biochemical alterations in the way your body functions.
PS...4-A-HEALTHY-BMI shared a message thread from the "At Goal and Maintaining" SparkTeam where they have been discussing this article:
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
So I've been feeling WAY less than satisfied with the fitness center over the past few days...feeling more & more like a "grind" in which even my hand-picked tunes on my mp3 player weren't much help...might as well have been elevator music! Montavanni or some such...!
Plus today I was cooped up with a conference / workshop which was an attempt to provide some reassurance of the onslaught of Medicaid changes that awaits us community mental health providers...all the while a gorgeous sun outside beaming away.
All right...time to take a breather from the fitness center and get out after work to grab me some fresh air and some of that sunshine!
Great thought and plan, except...the clouds rolled in and by 4:30 it's pretty well dark anyway. But I don't let that stop me from grabbing my Nordic poles anyway and striking off toward downtown. After a few steps I decide, what the heck...let's kick it up to a jog? Working the poles while jogging can be done, but since one is moving along it's hard to really "dig in" with the poles and get any significant upper body work done. Instead of using 'em I just carry the poles along.
Although I've jogged these couple miles before without a break it has been a long time...months maybe? I was pleasantly surprised to find myself able to do this again cold without any practice or building up to it!
So hey, Why Walk When You Can Fly? :-)
It was just the change of pace I needed!
Just wanted to ALSO give a terrific shout out to GUITARWOMAN who has lost 100# and celebrated her first year of maintenance this past Sept. 2011!!
She also happens to share a deep appreciation for playing her Yamaha Classical Guitar...of which I *also* happen to own and love to play as well! Mine looks to be a lower model, the G-231-II which I see bops around eBay for around a whopping $150. Be that as it may, I have played a number of guitars, both electric and acoustic and this is the one with the mellow, rich sound and spacious fretboard that works mighty fine for me!
Now the challenge is: squeezing more time in for my guitar and me! :-)
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