Saturday, February 04, 2012
Great day today! Up & at 'em, off to the fitness center, there by 9 a.m. and got my 1/2 hour of strength training in before my hour-long Spinning Class.
Spinning was even MORE awesome than usual as it seemed the instructor's playlist of songs were lifted right from my own mp3 player! At least from the classic rock portion of my mp3 player. Great tunes from Queen, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, others and Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run which almost ALWAYS pushes me up a notch or two or three beyond whatever I might be doing at the time. Which happened to be a standing climb with the resistance cranked way up...didn't matter: pedal to the metal time! Whew! Great workout!
Next pleasure up? Heading uptown to join my fellow social workers (mostly, one HR fellow too) for lunch at our local health food restaurant, the Whole in the Wall:
They had been badly flooded out during our deluge back last fall, so it felt nice to have the eight of us bringing them a little extra business by eating at a local establishment rather than a big chain of some sort. LOTS of yummy, healthy food there too!
Although I hadn't planned it this way when I chose this restaurant, earlier in the morning I thought: Hmm...it's only a couple miles away (actually closer, but I decided to add a little distance), so why not leave my car at the fitness center and pull out the Nordic poles and walk / jog there?
We had a lovely lunch catching up with each other! Who'da thunk it, social workers actually being SOCIAL?!? Go figure! :-) This was the first time some of us had laid eyes on each other in decades!
Folks were curious about my poles so I gave a little demonstration after lunch and then I was OFF, back to my car!
On the way home I got to thinking...hmm...our 1st ton of pellets on the porch have been used up, mebbe better move the other ton of forty pound bags from around the side of the house to the front porch, since it was sunny and mid-30s.
But after talking with DW I decided that there was too much laundry, housework and cooking to do that I would rather get out of the way today than tomorrow. So I started in around 2 pm.
Shoulda moved the ton. Would've been way easier! Ah well, they'll wait for tomorrow...weather is supposed to be equally pleasant.
Didn't finish up everything in the house until 9 pm. Non-stop up and running around doing one thing or another...oof! Finally settling in for a bit of cyber time and crossing my fingers that tomorrow morning will be one of those rare mornings when I'm WAY successful in sleeping in! :-)
Very fulfilling and rewarding day filled with time well, well spent!
If you've got some old friends, family and/or colleagues with whom you've lost contact I HIGHLY recommend you see what you can do to spirit them up and re-connect. It is SO WORTH THE EFFORT!
Hope all is well with my SparkFamily this weekend!
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! :-)
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