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Moving Forward While Cutting Back

Sunday, February 26, 2012

With gas prices rising so I've been cutting back a bit by passing up on the fitness center occasionally...especially on Sundays when I'd have to drive both ways. During the week the fitness center is less than a mile from where I work.

So...that means I've been reacquainting myself with my treadmill again. Dusting it off, getting a new stereo to replace my old receiver which blew a fuse ($85 just to bring the old one into the repair shop!) and clearing out more of the clutter which had gathered in my workout room. It's a struggle to "rehabilitate" what used to be strictly a "stuff" room!

It's been great to get those 4 speakers cookin' in each corner of the room!

My usual cardio at the fitness center is 30 mins. each on the elliptical and stationary bike...at least that's my usual when I'm not Spinning! My old treadmill was my first and long-standing cardio outlet. And I was able to really crank it up to some long sessions. I believe my longest was over 80 mins. with the incline at "10" and going between 4.5-5 mph.

I was surprised to find myself "feeling it" more on my old treadmill than my elliptical workouts at the fitness center! Back in my first times on the elliptical I remember THAT being harder than the treadmill. I guess it's getting used to another type of movement. Mixing it up!

Which is why even though I am not a fan of running / jogging, I DO like ramping up this time of year so that I'm ready to return to our local Binghamton Bridge Run in May:


We had a nice contingent of fellow local Sparkers running last year and I'm hoping we'll be pulling together again for more fun this year!

Today I managed to hold a 4.5 mph pace for 60 mins. which felt good. Makes me wonder about the difference in cardio benefit when one pours it on for 2 thirty min. sessions vs. one sixty min. session. I'm hoping to keep kicking it up a notch. Soon when the weather warms up enough I'll be commuting by bike to work (20 mile round trip) and stopping off on my way home to jog a 5K at Otsiningo Park as the treadmill is NO comparison to getting out there on the trails!

Getting back to the treadmill is sorta like getting back to my roots and what got me rolling back around the beginning of my journey toward living a Sparked life! It's been a little nostalgic and WAY cool to listen to my tunes LIVE, not on the headphones! :-)

Hope you all have had a super weekend and enjoy a great week ahead everybody!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHIROIHANA 2/28/2012 3:40PM

    WTG Don! I should learn to "rehabilitate" myself as well-- if I can't run outside, I don't run at all. (There's a treadmill in the gym in the building but I can't help but feel like a hamster going nowhere.)

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WATERMELLEN 2/27/2012 8:19PM

    Totally impressive back to the future!

You will be sooooo fit when biking season starts again!

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EAGLES_WINGS 2/27/2012 5:01PM

    Home is where the heart is. I just took a few walks this afternoon and have seriously felt great in the sunshine. Hope you were able to ride when you got home today. Marvelous day! emoticon

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DAYHIKER 2/27/2012 2:13PM

    It's a 15 mile round trip to a fitness center so my workouts are home based by necessity and I have been thankful for my old treadmill! I'd rather get out on the road but that's not always possible. Your rehabilitated room sounds great! Spring is not far away now! emoticon


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GIRANIMAL 2/27/2012 12:04PM

    Wow, your bike commute is twice as long as mine AND you just "stop for a little 5K" along the way? No WONDER you are so awesome! But dear Don, where do you find the time!? LOL

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JESPAH 2/27/2012 11:02AM

    You are awesome.

But you already knew that.

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JLITT62 2/27/2012 8:52AM

    I was telling Julie that I looked at the bridge run, but I would've had to start training like this weekend & I'm really not ready for that. Maybe next yr.

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BILL60 2/27/2012 8:48AM

    My home gym is in our garage. I have a little corner where I keep my pull-up bar and crunch strap. Also have a bench with dumbells underneath. That's all that I need.

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TOOTHFUL99 2/27/2012 7:57AM

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. It will be interesting seeing the changes people make as the price of gas increase.

I will probably start running more errands on my bike. Granted, I live 7 miles from the nearest post office and about 12 miles from the nearest bank. Club rides will decrease for me, too. I live 30 miles from Chattanooga, where most of the rides start. (Unless I lead them. I make them closer to my house!)

Your home gym sounds like its good to go. Now, you can turn your music up as loud as you want and no one will complain!

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VALERIEMAHA 2/27/2012 7:38AM


Rock on!

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FERRETLOVER1 2/27/2012 7:26AM


You go, Don!!!

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XENA1956 2/26/2012 11:48PM

    Great job on setting up the old gym. Sounds like you got use to the exercise at the gym. That old treadmill may kick up your weight loss again. I know how you feel about gas prices. I can at least walk to the gym I belong too. Just have been able to since I had the problem with my ankle. You are doing a great job very impressive 4.5 for 60 min.

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L*I*T*A* 2/26/2012 10:17PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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2BMYOWN 2/26/2012 10:14PM

    Awesome job, Don, kudos for 'getting back to your roots'! LOL Sounds like you have a busy, busy summer coming up. I can't even freaking fathom riding 20 miles on a bike....OMG. Have a sparklin' week, sparky bud!

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JOPAPGH 2/26/2012 10:12PM

    Sounds like a nice room. I have our basement set up with a TV, blu ray player, music inputs and center, left and right speakers. There is a treadmill and old bike on a rear wheel trainer for my exercising pleasure.

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PUDLECRAZY 2/26/2012 10:05PM

    It s much more fun to listen to music not on the headphones.

4.5 for 60 minutes - Woohoo!


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Sharing Guilty Pleasures from My MP3 Player

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Most folks who know me know that I can be a bit of of music snob. I love music and a wide range of music, but: if it doesn't grab me I make no bones about music that leaves me, well..."meh." There is music around that people can be raving about and I can listen to it and even appreciate what has gone into it, the musicianship, the heart & soul of the writer, performer...but in the end if it doesn't grab me I cannot react with anything but..."meh." A few artists out there I can really appreciate for their performances and how much they put themselves into their music would be Lady GaGa and Adele. But try as I may to listen to their music it just hasn't grabbed me.

So being the fussbudget I am it's tough for me to admit to these songs which are on my mp3 player. I mean...what is a song with lyrics like THESE doing pumping up my workout?

"Cuz we're gonna boogie oogie oogie
Till you just can't boogie no more" ....?!?!

But you know? Disco has left it's stamp and there are a few traces of it in me which, when I discovered health & wellness and working out my musical tastes began to morph and make room for music I once upon a time shook my head at. This is MOVING music! Time get up and BOOGIE!

A Taste of Honey: Boogie No More

Wild Cherry: Play That Funky Music

(most "white boys" have NO business trying to be funky, but these guys really do NAIL IT!)

Bee Gees: All that Saturday Night Fever stuff...You Should Be Dancin'

Lipps, Inc.: FunkyTown

And for the occasional chuckle I enjoy this one by Dr. John, not a workout tune...just fun travelin' down Nawlins way and hearing his creole soaked voice and clever, wise-cracking threats at the end of this honky-tonk tune:

How Come My Dog Don't Bark When You Come Around?

Anyone out there have some fun, silly music you like to listen to?

In other humdrum news, got the wood pellets moved to the porch...probably not a ton left after all, but a bunch. The nice part is that the two tons I got at the beginning of the heating season in October is STILL lasting...! Usually by December / January we've burned 'em up and have to go get more! So it's a pleasure to be still burning 'em and not need more just yet. Guess climate change has a few perks. Cross country skiing isn't one of them!

Sun was shining, still too cold for hopping on the bike (30 degrees) so I pulled out the poles and had a great walk / jog up through town & back. Nice to get my outdoor fix on this pretty decently laid back day!

SuperBowl's looking pretty close! I'm not for one or the other team really, just enjoy a close game!


PS...there is more of my particular mix of jazz, world, folk & new age music here:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOPAPGH 2/26/2012 10:08PM

    Average White Band: "Cut the Cake" & "Pick Up the Pieces"

Finest in white boy Scottish funk.

And Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" does work for me when exercising

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HEARTOLOVE 2/13/2012 12:02PM

    Love the Why don't my dog bark song.
My favorite ol' silly song from the past.


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    Hey, Don. Coming by to catch up and thank you for encouraging me by coming by my blog. So cool to see some of the songs you enjoy when you are out and about. I'm kinda glad to be missing the NY cold - we have a cool day today after much needed rains.

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REDSHOES2011 2/11/2012 10:28PM

    Love the why don't my dog bark lol..

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2BMYOWN 2/11/2012 3:19PM

    Thanx for posting this, Don!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 2/10/2012 8:51AM

    Thanks for sharing your personal secrets in music. Funny that I have the BeeGees collection too. I have mostly 80's music from all genres... I let the music decide my momentum for my running...slow and easy or hit it hard, music is the spice of life.

I can totally see you peddling to Play that Funky Music.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Enjoy your weekend.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 2/7/2012 6:53AM

    I love the above tunes you posted! Heck, who doesn't! Here's a silly tune I download (and still have the 45 to). Enjoy! Here's the link:

For some odd reason, it didn't hyperlink, sorry. You will have to cut and paste

Comment edited on: 2/7/2012 6:56:31 AM

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JLITT62 2/7/2012 5:05AM

    I don't think it's climate change - just look at last yr

I'm not a music snob; I like pop music, including Lady Gaga - altho I have to agree on Adele - she is incredibly talented but she doesn't grab me. Taste in art, in any form, is very personal!

Let's see, I like Wham!, even if it isn't on my MP3 player.

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SUNONMAPLES 2/6/2012 7:50PM

  Those are terrific workout songs! I love most anything from Cher! I'm sure she is my guilty pleasure, my husband likes to rib me about her! The "Believe" album has some good stuff -- "Believe," the title song, and "Taxi, Taxi" are up-tempo. Plus I really like hearing her sing in Italian, like "D'ove L'amore" (I am sure I just slaughtered that bit of Italian, I don't know the language!!). I'm a very big fan of girl-singer songs for working out, I guess. I like Gloria Estefan and Madonna for this, too!

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GIRANIMAL 2/6/2012 5:58PM

    *crooning* "Won't you take me to...Funky Town!"

I don't really remember disco, but I have loved that particular song since I was a little bitty kid! To me, that makes it a classic. emoticon

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JESPAH 2/6/2012 11:25AM

    Most of what I listen to is poppy and junky and silly. Well, you hear the stuff I put in my blogs. The whole thing is a playlist. It is now a very LONG playlist. :)

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SHIROIHANA 2/6/2012 9:21AM

    "Anyone out there have some fun, silly music you like to listen to?"

There is one song in my mp3 that I play whenever I feel silly...
B52's Rock Lobster!

As far as fun, Devo's Whip It is a fun song to listen to...

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    I LOVE Funkytown.

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L*I*T*A* 2/5/2012 11:40PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FITFRIT 2/5/2012 11:34PM

    Love it! going to have to go looking for some of those tunes myself. I like variety, especially when I am working out. Thanks for the info!

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TAMPATINK67 2/5/2012 9:59PM


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TRAVELGRRL 2/5/2012 8:00PM

    I've got a few "guilty secrets" on my MP3 as well, but I'm not brave enough to 'fess up! I'll have to check out the Dr. John tune; I don't believe I've heard that before.

Enjoy the Super Bowl; I'm just watching for the commercials....

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Shoulda Moved The Ton!

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!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 2/11/2012 3:10PM

    Love the artists, but then ya know I **cut my teeth** on Led Zeppelin, still got their album sitting in my bureau. LMAO And the Rolling Stones...and the Beatles.....and Jimi Hendrix.....and Janis Joplin.....need I go on? LOL Wow....laundry, cooking, cleaning.....can I clone a female version of you to take home with me???? Oh wait..... I could never keep up with her....or you! LOL Kudos for having such an awesome meet up with your buds!

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MYLADY4 2/5/2012 12:30PM

    Music makes all the difference. Glad you had a great day.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 2/5/2012 10:49AM

    This blog is truly inspiring! Who DOESN'T like that music! emoticon emoticon Keep up the good work, glad you had a great day emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 2/5/2012 9:29AM

    Sounds like a fabulous day!

You are so right; it is important to stay in touch with family and friends. Just a call or a card can, any way to reconnect can change a day... a life.

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FERRETLOVER1 2/5/2012 9:24AM

    Sounds like you really had a great & productive day. It's always so great to connect & re-connect with current & old friends!

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L*I*T*A* 2/5/2012 8:10AM

    sounds like a very fruitful day all around...
enjoy your Sunday too....
cool idea to use your pools to walk instead of driving!!!
blessings and hugs.........lita

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SHIROIHANA 2/5/2012 6:49AM

    Wow! Great blog! I remember taking a spinning class where the sub instructor played my kind of music and I got an extra burst of energy. So I know what you mean! Do you also like Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf? That was one of the first songs on my Sansa. I used to have Kashmir but played it so much that it's on my reserve folder when it's time to switch to a different set of songs. Do you also listen to Hendrix? He also has lots of great songs to run to.

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VALERIEMAHA 2/4/2012 11:32PM

    What a spirited and wonderful story. All-in-all a great day! I'm so glad...you need a few'a those here and there to help push through bleaker times.

Whole in the Wall sounds like the perfect place for old friends to gather too!

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WATERMELLEN 2/4/2012 11:22PM

    Wow! Sounds like good times! I've been mostly moving office today -- started at 8 am, finished at 10 pm. Should be good to go on Monday . . . computer's humming, files all put away!!

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Putting the Hammer To It & Great Finger Lakes Bike Tour!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I've been on and off the nutrition tracker and of course paying for this by muddling along with my weight. Feeling a bit down on myself today, but somewhat more motivated after meeting with my fellow bike club members at today's annual meeting as so MANY of them are looking SO slim & trim here in the dead of winter! Fellas with bellies-no-more! And here I am doing same-old, same-old...argh!

Here I am chatting with everybody about my plans to do a multi-day cycling tour...yet feeling like a FRAUD with these extra pounds!

Gotta put the hammer to it and get as serious with the nutrition tracker and accountability with my food choices as I am with my workouts and exercise!

Spring Ain't Here Yet


...but it will be before you know it and I want to be ready to SPRING ahead and celebrate hitting the road again on my bike!

I gathered lots of information on my idea of cycling to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania as well as Plan B of heading north to the 1,000 Island area bordering Canada up north of the Adirondacks and even a smidgen of info on the rail-trail that connects Pittsburgh to Washington DC.

I also signed up for my third or fourth time at the Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour up around Watkins Glen and Keuka Lake wine country! This is a SUPER DEAL if anyone is interested in joining the fun! Our bike club sponsors and organizes this and offers a weekend of great cycling in June for only $75 (including meals!) if you camp, $85 if you stay in a cabin...which is always my choice...no camping for me, thank you...lol! I'll probably haul my guitar along for some fun.

Here is the link to more info and the form if you want to sign up for this wonderful weekend of fun:


It would be so cool to have share this with some members of my SparkFamily!


Updated thoughts: Thx everybody for your support. I've always been my own worst critic. While I *know* I'm not a fraud...sometimes I get to feeling that way when it seems like there is such a disconnect between grand plans and aspirations of cycling the globe over yet not shedding the pounds that would truly free myself up to do so!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 2/11/2012 2:57PM

    You are so hard on yourself, Don....I suppose all of us are our own worst critics, but this is one of the things I've chosen to leave behind, now. I would rake myself over the coals repeatedly for not living up to my own expectations, and it actually became a totally self-defeating thing, for me. I can't labor under the burden of any more guilt. I know all about feeling like a fraud...I have spent most of my life there, for one reason or another, and that is also what finally caused me to leave nursing. It all adds up to a total lack of self-confidence in your own abilities, and all that does is defeat you. I'm choosing to just plain live, now.....I work on each day, and leave it go at that. I don't worry about ***the big picture***, or the following day, or the following week. And if I have a day where I just wanna toss it out the window and enjoy pizza with my kids or cookies with my grandkids, I just do it now without viewing it as any kind of cosmic failure. I know that when a new day comes along, IF a new day comes along, that it will be a whole 'nother day to make better choices and then call it a day. And it's making those better choices for the vast majority of days that keeps you going, I think, just one day at a time.......and no guilt about the slight 'tumbles' here and there, 'cause we ALL have them. Hugs, sparky bud.

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ZELLAZM 2/3/2012 4:49AM

    Read your last couple of posts this morning and it does sound like a case of cabin fever along with frustration at your ST "wall" - learned a lot from reading other poster's comments, so thanks for sharing your dilemma so we could all benefit! ;)

Spring WILL come!

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LADYGWEN25 2/2/2012 4:03PM

    you'll get there DOn... I agree..we are always our own hard critics. Just tackle it one day at a time and we'll both be chasing each other around the Southern Tier..

BTW...those bike tours look AWESOME!

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JESPAH 2/1/2012 9:51AM

    Yanno something - the pounds - they are a pain in the patoot but they are not a fraud or any indication of anything, except maybe that you're not 16 years old anymore. Don't shweat it.

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DAVEINSEOUL 1/30/2012 11:04PM

    First - I really love the background pic as well.

Second - unfortunately, a little weight backsliding happens to all of us - it doesn't make you a 'fraud'. Just get back to the tracker (I fall off the use of the tracker far, far too often - always sets me back when I do this)

Third - your spring bike plans sound like soooo much fun! Should be motivators for you to shed those winter pounds!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 1/30/2012 9:26PM

    A fraud?? Oooh no far from it! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/30/2012 7:02PM

    Oh that "I'm a fraud" thingy . . . yeah, been there, struggle with it all the time. Can't get my weight to budge back down below 140 GRRRRRRR and it's annoying me.

But: you know we are NOT frauds, we are just human and we keep right on working it. I'm focusing on on my nutrition tracker a little more stringently too: gonna do my best to make February the month that sees middle 3 again!!

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GIRANIMAL 1/30/2012 3:53PM

    I know how you feel since I have a handful of pounds (and the flabby proof) creeping back on -- and that's while still biking! -- but trust me, you are no fraud, my friend! Winter is sometimes unkind to the best intentioned of us. But you are doing just fine because you are being mindful and accountable and as active as possible. Be nicer to my friend Don! emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 1/30/2012 11:38AM

    here are some definitions of your word fraud!

1. A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.
2. A piece of trickery; a trick.
a. One that defrauds; a cheat.
b. One who assumes a false pose; an impostor.

you are a work in progress and definetly not as you describe... it looks like many here agree........
all the best with your plans and sure you will reach your goals.......
blessings and hugs.......lita

m emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SHIROIHANA 1/30/2012 9:57AM

    You are no fraud. A fraud would not be attending his Spinning classes nor meeting his fellow bike club members all while calling himself a cyclist. A fraud's only means of cycling is 'pedaling' to the kitchen and back to the couch. The good news is that you are holding yourself accountable and know what to do to get out of this. Continue preparing for the bike tour, Don! You will rock this!

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BILL60 1/30/2012 7:42AM

    Best of luck with you nutrition and bike plans for the summer. Don't forget to consider RAGBRAI.

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VALERIEMAHA 1/30/2012 7:28AM

    I'm with FERRETLOVER 100% Don. Get ride of *that* word (not repeating it!). Maybe we can somehow encourage and call one another on staying with the food tracking. We KNOW beyond a doubt that IT IS THE KEY!

Your touring plans all sound awesome. GO YOU!!! Curious where the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania" is. Guess I'll have to google it. WOW! Dream on...on doing your local club's bike tour.

What smooth mellow Pat Metheny...the rhythms of spring. Gawd, they're having SUCH a good time.. Ahhhhhh....I was just about to say that it looked like UC Berkeley's Greek Theater where I saw him around that time..and then I saw it was Austria!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Hahahaha Freudian slip up there on the "ride" typo? Or...pun intended? LOL -- and NOW I see that Chris slipped in while I was writing with her crazy-fun humor. LOVE IT/HER!!!
Laughing is ESSENTIAL in this crazy life!
This is "laughing so hard I cried":

Comment edited on: 1/30/2012 7:34:02 AM

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PUDLECRAZY 1/30/2012 7:20AM

    Oooh, yes! Haul that guitar along! emoticon

You are NOT a frog! emoticon

Oh, you said FRAUD emoticon You are not one of those either.

Can't wait for spring and breaking out the bikes.

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FERRETLOVER1 1/30/2012 7:12AM

    First off, I have to tell you how much I LOVE your background picture!!

Now, on to your blog - you are NOT a fraud in any sense of the word, so take that word out of your vocabulary, Don!!

Comment edited on: 1/30/2012 7:12:49 AM

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Up Against The Wall...!

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 2/11/2012 2:49PM

    Wow, Don, did you get this worked out, I hope? I also have to go with BOBBYD....that is exactly the same thing my buddy, Derek, told me when he worked me up a weight routine, and he used to bodybuild professionally so seems to know his stuff. I never went beyond 12 reps in any of my workouts, tho. And he said that when I began noticing that it was fairly easy for me to do my routines, it was time to upgrade some. I only reached a certain point with it and never chose to go beyond, tho, so I was happy to just keep doing what I was doing, which I suppose is not a 'good' thing! LOL

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WATERMELLEN 1/30/2012 7:06PM

    Totally agree -- time for a tune up with the trainer. But I'm thinking the trainer is likely to tell you pretty much what BOBBYD thinks: that is, 8-10 reps rather than the 15 . . . and the "rest" weeks too.

Are you doing cardio first, then ST? Apparently that does help as well.

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ABURRIS2 1/28/2012 12:37PM

    Another suggestion is to change up your lifting occasionally by lowering the weight significantly and doing each set to muscle failure, perhaps stepping down the weight between sets if you need to.

It seems counter-intuitive but perhaps more rest days between workouts would help prepare for a leap forward.

You are an inspiration, Don!

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GIANNA345 1/27/2012 9:53PM

    Are you eating enough protein to build muscle? I've read that you need 1.5 grams per pound of ideal body weight. If not, you may be losing the muscle you are trying to build. The book I've been reading is called: "You are your own gym," by Mark Lauren and Joshua Clark.

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BOBBYD31 1/27/2012 8:19PM

    ok i think i can help here don.

* keep at 2 sets only per session
* you are at 15 rep per set, what you need to do is increase weight but reps drop down to 8-10 for 3-6 weeks then increase reps by 2 (10-12), your last 2 reps should be a struggle to get them up. once you build to 15 increase weight and reduce reps
* one week per month cut back ST sessions to max of 2

cut your cardio workout every 3rd week by 30-50%

reasons for the cut back is a recovery week for you body allowing the muscles to heal all the micro tears you cause when working out hard.

you should notice improvements in both areas in a short time

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PUDLECRAZY 1/27/2012 7:09PM

    Do they have a fitness trainer at the gym? I would check with someone there with this question. I just don't know the answer to that.

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FITLIFE6 1/27/2012 1:19PM

    It sounds like your body has adapted to your routine and might want to switch things up a bit.
For myself, using a stability ball or BOSU in my workouts have given me increases in my fitness level. Combining weight training while on ball or BOSU creates instability and forces more muscles to be involved ie bicep curls while seated on stability ball, lift a leg for extra fun - not easy!

If you've never used stability balls/BOSU you could see if your gym offers classes or maybe a PT could create a routine for you..

Try not to get frustrated and push for too much from yourself - there's a risk of overtraining there, and that would actually hinder strength gains.

Good luck!

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GUITARWOMAN 1/27/2012 12:19PM

    No expert here either.....

But, if the last few reps in weightlifting are just about impossible, that is the right amount of weight and repetition, as far as I know.

Are you taking days off between lifting sessions? The muscles need the recovery time.

I kind of had the thought that you may be doing too much.

But, talk to an expert, maybe see your doctor.


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AZIMAT 1/27/2012 12:04PM

    I would talk to an experienced trainer.

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SHIROIHANA 1/27/2012 10:54AM

    I was thinking the same thing as our fellow Sparkers. Is it because your body is exhausted and isn't going through change to prevent a breakdown? Maybe you can change things to trick your body. Good luck.

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L*I*T*A* 1/27/2012 10:19AM

    i have no real comments as i too have been sitting on a long plateau......
are there any trainers at your gym.....
perhaps speak to them for suggestions....
i say keep on keeping on.....
stick it out...i can relate your frustration....
all the best and hopefully someone here has your answers
blessings and hugs..............lita

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/27/2012 10:19:32 AM

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BECKYANNE1 1/27/2012 10:17AM

    I agree that maybe you're just doing too much. I just read an article on the web about this topic. I'm not sure where I found it though. To me, it always seems harder to workout indoors when your used to working out outside. I miss my long outside walks. The treadmill just doesn't do it for me. The advantage though is I've started running and can't wait to do it outside. Just don't beat yourself up. Change things up a bit and I'm sure it will get better.

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JLITT62 1/27/2012 9:49AM

    Having read about some of your workouts, it's actually crossed my mind that maybe you're simply doing too much. Just throwing out food for thought! Muscles get stronger during recovery, when they can repair themselves.

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SKINNYPOWELL1 1/27/2012 9:21AM

    WOW, you are doing a lot to keep busy during the no-biking season. I don't know alot about weighs but I do know from doing P90X that the last two or three reps of an exercise should be hard, and this sounds like your case - so to me...you're doing it right. And mixing up all the different forms of exercise is a good thing, muscle confusion...excellent. I would just keep on doing what you're doing - staying busy, mixing it up, working hard. I'm no expert and I would like to see what others suggest, to see if you are missing something, but I don't really think so. The only thing I can think is maybe you are NOT eating enough for all those calories you're burning - just throwing that out there, something to look at.

I'm sure you're probably suffering from a touch of cabin/spring fever amd Vitamin D withdrawls since you are such an outdoorsy kinda guy. Hang in there.

Comment edited on: 1/27/2012 9:21:51 AM

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