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Solid Muscle

Friday, April 22, 2011

Did I mention before that I'm a people watcher? Not in any creepy way, but I pay attention to how people hold themselves, how they walk, stand, sit....basic body language. At work it helps me understand what people are like, what their confidence levels are, etc. As I've become fitter since joining Sparkpeople, I've taken to noticing folks in many more "public" situations (like the airport).

Well today one of my guys came in and said, "hey boss, there's not a lot going on later this afternoon, it would be a nice gesture if you cut people loose a little early for Good Friday and Easter weekend." Hmmmm.

Now I'm not a Christian, but everyone has been pushing it up pretty hard lately, and my front office staff had kept the afternoon pretty light, so around 3:00 PM I started walking around, wishing people a Happy Easter and told them that if they were pretty well caught up on stuff to beat it.

Then I called my trainer and asked if he could meet for an earlier workout!

He said he could, but would I mind if we did his workout together?

Sure, whatever, why not.

So the gym was pretty empty at 5:00 PM and we concentrated on arms & shoulders, doing different combinations of exercises at different angles than I have been used to, but it felt great and wore me out.

My whole point here though is I took time during our workout to closely watch his form, posture, breathing, joint angles, etc. then started noticing how others in the gym did their exercises. In the past, I focused on guys doing stuff "wrong" (for example, wild jerky movements that avoided working the targeted muscles, heaving maneuvers that placed joints at risk, etc., etc., etc.)

Today I saw a master at work! He's in his early 40s and has been lifting weights since his teens and is very lean and solid. I hired him with explicit instructions that I wanted to lift weight with textbook form. His job was to develop me a full body plan and to make sure I did them right (and slow), with full range of motion, with no injuries or undue strain to joints. I told him I was less concerned with the amount that I lifted than in gaining overall body strength and symmetry. He's done great meeting those objectives.

What I noticed watching him today was how engaged his whole body was in doing even simple bicep curls. His core was engaged, his body did not sway at all, his feet were planted solidly on the ground, his breathing was well-timed to the movement. I did the same as we swapped out and noticed how much more "solid" my body felt. As we debriefed in between sets, he said, "yeah, all these exercises should make your core burn, don't wait to do abs"

It always come back to that core doesn't it. A few weeks ago (after my last blog entry on people watching
) I started making determined efforts to stand, sit, and walk "taller", focusing on core, back, & butt during the day, pushing the upper body up through the waist. Same idea, now applying it to exercising. It gives a very good sense of being "solid", of feeling strong, of being in control, of being centered.

And of course, being slimmer!

So yet another lesson in lifelong habits that need attention and changing. It's not going to happen overnight, but nothing good ever does....this is all a process to tie together, nutrition, exercise, body confidence.

Good night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 4/27/2011 5:35PM

    Glad you were able to watch him "close up and personal!" I've done the same thing and learned a lot.

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BRADOS 4/22/2011 10:45PM

    sounds like a great trainer

have a great weekend


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SAFARIBABE 4/22/2011 10:32PM

    Gee I wish my boss had given me half a day off! Oh right...she couldn't she took the whole day off and not for Good Friday! LOL

One more week and I can start hitting the weights in earnest. I will definitely be taking your obserations with me!!

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JONESINATOR 4/22/2011 10:23PM

    An exercise without a braced core is a wasted exercise! I get my core working in every movement I perform, even pull ups make my core hurt. This trainer sounds excellent, and your observations keen. Keep up the awesome work!

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Avoiding Future Guilt

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ahh, back home in springtime. Omaha was cold & wet, interspersed with hail & ice....downright unnatural I tell ya'. Stepped off the plane in Ft. Walton Beach to a tropical 78 degrees and a tropical 85% humidity.....I know, I know, 3 months from now I'll be cursing the heat and humidity, but today it felt good.

Nothing of note on today's uneventful travel adventure....planes ran on time,TSA had the full-body scanner so I breezed through without the full-body groping, and other than trying a new sandwich at Atlanta Bread Co. in Terminal C at Hartsfield Airport (a turkey & roast beef baguette....checked the Spark app after I got the sandwich....too late 750 calories! I had to chuck the chips, couldn't bear adding 140 calories on top of that) all went well.

Luckily when I got home, SWMBO had just started dinner. One of my favorite sides these days are sauteed napa cabbage with leeks and garlic....squeeze a little lemon on them and yummm-city. She had cooked up some chicken breasts to go with it, so I had a nice, filling, 350-calorie dinner, which was just what I needed after the festivities in Omaha.

I already told you about the steak dinner from Tuesday night. Well Wednesday never seemed to end. I rolled out of bed at 5:00 AM, debated about the gym, knew we had a banquet to go to at night and couldn't stand the guilt of not working out with 2 big dinners back-to-back, so I trotted to the car (Mr, Biped can trot some now!), ignoring the 35 degree Arctic blast, and drove to the gym for some alone time on the bike.

A full day of slides and presentations, handouts, and snacks....more crap I had to avoid (the handouts and the snacks). Lunch was a salad with balsamic vinaigrette and some beef & barley soup. The presentations got done at 4:00, then we had only 45 minutes to change into our tuxes for this banquet! Arrghhh! I just gave myself a pat on the back for having worked out early; I'd have been screwed otherwise.

Luckily the menu was light, a 2-3 oz filet mignon, a 2-3 oz slice of salmon, some veggies, and potato. But when I added it all up later, between dinner rolls, butter, etc, it was a 950 calorie dinner....gotta avoid those dinner rolls.

But then this thing went on and on and on. Speeches, awards, music, videos and me, who has perfected the art of sleeping with his eyes open, patiently sitting, checking the Sparkpages on the iPhone during the musical interludes (I commented on a few feeds throughout the night, but posting a blog would have been too obvious), and finally applauding as our host gave the wrap up speech and we were driven back to our rooms....midnight and 32 degrees outside I might add.

Now I can power through on a few hours of sleep for a couple of days at a time, but my get up and go was gone when I woke up 4 hours later. It was touch and go in the AM about working out this morning before heading to the airport. Standard fare, "Maybe you can workout when you get home?" Yeah right, that'll happen! "Well you worked out 2 days in a row, missing Thursday is no big deal" Exactly who is it not a big deal too, huh? "Yeah, but look at how cold and blustery it is out there." It came slow, but future guilt is such a great motivator with me (e.g. do I really want to suffer later today because it might feel OK to laze around now), that I went out into the brisk Omaha air and found my bike at the gym, empty and calling my name.

All is now well. This is going to be a fun-filled weekend as we get the house ready for my mother's visit next weekend....standby for fun-filled adventures in May!

Good night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAFARIBABE 4/22/2011 10:40PM

    You're too good! You make me feel like a slacker that I didn't get to the gym today. And I can't even say I walked to work because it was too cold outside and my back was really sore after last night. UGH! You may have avoided your own guilt but you shipped it over here!

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BRADOS 4/21/2011 11:51PM

    whew - that is a busy week - glad to hear you made it home safely - have a great Easter weekend.


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REBECCATKD 4/21/2011 10:44PM

You are truly your best motivator. I'm glad your healthy conscience got you onto the bike.

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Omaha Steaks

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Well cold as Omaha is, I do understand the's the steaks!

It was a long, long day, non-stop action that started with me rolling out of bed at 5:00 AM to a bolt of lightening and a thunderclap right outside the hotel. WHAM-BOOM! I could hear the crackling air sizzle. So, wide awake, I suited up and drove over to a nearby gym, AND THE GROUND WAS COVERED WITH HAIL! It was wet, it was cold, it was dark, and it was slippery....where was the upside to working out this early again? But I stopped puling once I got in there and 5 minutes into the ride I felt OK.

The conference had standard fare; doughnuts, bagels, cream cheese, muffins, danishes, madness. I walked right by (although I did cast a covetous eye at a cheese danish) and loaded up with cantelopes, pineapple, and strawberries, same at the break. Loads of coffee got me through the days' discussions and slides. Lunch was deli meats and sandwiches and during the afternoon breaks I looked away from the cheese tray, avoided the basket filled with chocolates, ignored the fresh baked cookies ("must be strong") and grabbed a chilled vanilla Yoplait out of the ice chest. So by dinner I was sitting at about 700 calories (had an apple in the room before we went out).

But then our bus pulled up to the 801 Chophouse!

We had a private room, and young, blonde Vanessa showed us samples of tonight's aged meats wrapped in saran wrap for our viewing pleasure; Bone-In Delmonico Ribeye, Lollipop Veal Chop, Double Bone Iowa Pork Chop, Double Cut Domestic Lamb Chops....chop, chop, chop!

So I whipped out the iPhone, added up the calories for a 14 oz Ribeye and Sauteed Brussel Sprouts, decided I didn't need no stinkin' starches and had one hell of a great dinner. If I hadn't had the few slices of fresh, warm sourdough before dinner (fresh, warm bread straight out of the oven, can anyone out there honestly tell me they can resist it?), I'd have stayed within range, but 150-200 calories over was worth every tasty bite.

It just now means that thunderclap or not, tomorrow I'll need to get myself out of the room same Bat-time to get in a workout before the conference session kicks in.

I'll expect to hear the same from all of you!

Good night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEEBREW 4/20/2011 7:17PM

    Your willpower is amazing. It isn't so hard when you don't travel and you have your cupboards stocked with your "allowed" foods. I'm so glad to see that you can manage "real life" and still succeed!

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HEALTHIERKEN 4/20/2011 10:27AM

    Oven-fresh warm sourdough bread? That would have done me in too : ) And a good steak contains lots of valuable nutrients, don't forget ; )

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STARL_73 4/20/2011 8:42AM

    hmm - we'll have to check that place out.

If you're ever up in SD - Mad Mary's in Flandreau is the place to go.

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TEXAS_GRL 4/20/2011 8:16AM

    Now I am want a steak. emoticon Bread would have been my downfall too. I don't need a potatoe or rice but bring the bread basket by.

Glad all is going well in Omaha.

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SAFARIBABE 4/20/2011 6:44AM

    I would have gone for those lamb chops!! Can't blame you on the bread. That's always my biggest weakness. Keep your stinkin' danishes and chocolate...give me BREAD!!! You're doing awesome!! Keep it up!

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IPA-RAY 4/20/2011 4:57AM

    emoticon emoticon
My mouth is watering.

When I go to a conference it always seems like there is time available for plenty of exercise, even if I know most attendees spend that time in hospitality suites eating and drinking.

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BRADOS 4/20/2011 12:17AM

    I grilled steaks in the rain on Saturday - and it was definitely worth it - glad to hear your trip went well

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Wicked Cold in Omaha!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Brrrr! Omaha is one cold town in April! I don't think I've ever been here when it's warm. We landed today and it was barely 40 degrees. Why the hell does Warren Buffet live here (must be the steaks!)

Anyway, it was a somewhat uneventful day...standard TSA groping, although the flights ran on time today (WOW!). I did get seated next to fat-guy-that-reeked-of-cigarettes (it was bad, I was afraid my Scottevest would develop tobacco stains...he must have puffed down a pack before boarding). Luckily SWMBO made me some travel sandwiches, so I had some low cal snacks all day.

Oh and for all my travel fans out there, my erstwhile traveling pal (aka "ooey, gooey, cheese guy") is now on a diet! His wife put him on some weirdo 500 calorie a day diet.....I know, I know I shook my head too and said "Really?!? 500 calories?!? You think you can sustain this the rest of your life?" Anyway, it's between he and his SWMBO on how that works out. Needless to say, I no longer have to witness his lunchtime debauchery in Atlanta's many fast food traps.

When we arrived here, we did a quick change, then hit the icebreaker for the group we're meeting with. That wasn't too bad. A few slices of nice Roast Beef, some Smoked Salmon, and I snuck in 2 Crab Rangoons that looked severely neglected when the wait staff brought them by. It was about a 350 calorie dinner.

But then we walked out into 30 degree weather with a howling wind (it really howled I tell you!)....I've been spoiled in Florida this past year....April should be warm with rain showers, May flowers and all that.

So I'll be here for 3 days, tons of meetings all day, then dinners every night, so I'll have to get my gym time in wicked early....therefore, I'm off to bed.

Good night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 4/20/2011 6:14PM

    I hope you took your long underwear! What? You didn't have a steak???

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STARL_73 4/19/2011 10:45PM

    Gotta what the heck you're doing in Omaha! I have ties there (family, school).
Still - weather down there is better than up here! So - when you heading up? :-D

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BRADOS 4/19/2011 8:22AM

    welcome to my world - literally - Omaha is just a few hours away and their weather is sitting on us as well - glad to hear you survived your trip to the frozen tundra of the great plains and that even your travel partner is going to be less of a landmine on future trips (except 5his 00 calory plan won't last more than a day or 2)


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SAFARIBABE 4/19/2011 6:56AM

    ROFLMAO!!! That wasn't the wind was Ooey-gooey's stomach growling!!! Give his wife the book! Or send her an SP invite. Now I feel terrible for him. 500 cals??? Sheesh!! I had over 500 cals for dinner last night! Please try not to freeze in Omaha. But you can send your SP friends some of those steaks!!

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Growing Old is Not for Sissies!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I am newly inspired! With all the goings on this weekend, I found some time to look up an image that had been nagging me for some time. Here it is:

The man in the photo is John Turner, a California psychiatrist at age 67.

Don't know if it will move you the same way it moved me, so your mileage may vary. I'm getting those arms, it's the chest & waist to work on the rest of this year (and next, and next, ad infinitum). It reminds me that this is a lifelong transformation....and my goal is to strive for consistency, which is how John looks that way at 67.

Today started off slow enough, but picked up speed soon as SWMBO geared up for her scholarship awarding ceremony this afternoon. Luckily it went quicker and smoother than I expected. We left the house at 2:00PM and the whole thing was over by 4:30. Of course there was cake & refreshments, brownies and other madness. I walked out of there with my integrity intact, just scarfed up one chocolate covered pretzel stick (sweet AND savory!)

I was pretty amazed at the awardees though. These kids all had amazing GPAs (how do you get a 4.67 GPA anyway? 4.67! Really?!?), they were on all sorts of student committees, sports teams, and did community service! Christ sake they sounded busier than I am now, forget about high school.

After we did the cleanup (the real reason I was there apparently), I told SWMBO I was heading to the gym before going home. Thank God for my emergency gym bag in the has destroyed many an excuse and allowed me to go to the gym on days when I would have blown it off because going home to change "would have been too hard" Wahhhh....

So I hit the bike for a ferocious 30 minutes (what's up with the fitness tracker anyway? I did 10 miles in 30 minutes, but I could just as easily have done 5 miles and would have logged the same points....hmmmmm). Did some crunches and lower back presses, then finished up with some squats.

During my bike ride, for whatever reason, the image of that poster floated to my memory. I had seen it years ago (many years ago) and was determined to find it when I got home. About 45 minutes on google and there it was. The image was still compelling and moved me, so I ordered a poster. Not sure exactly what I'm going to do with it (SWMBO gave it the hairy eyeball), but I'll find something.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Off to Omaha, NE tomorrow....Good night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUGRAD1995 4/20/2011 10:00PM

    I'm with you-and the bag in the car trick works for me too-if I go home, I get sidetracked.

I have a whole new appreciation at this point with my g-grandmother's complaints on "rheumatism"! The weather, my arthritis and my swollen bionic knee have made this spring a challenge. emoticon

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REBECCATKD 4/18/2011 10:59PM

    You and Dylan Thomas are both right; keep fighting the good fight!

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SAFARIBABE 4/18/2011 9:02PM

    I thought your hairy eyeball days were behind you once you got your medical clearance! Hehehe Guess SWMBO can still find reasons to give you the eye. Not that you probablly don't deserve it! I'm SURE you do! Yeah it's not about the's about the calories burned! And DAYUM! 3 minute miles?? That's awesome!

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BOBF15 4/18/2011 6:12AM

    I am not ready to pack it in either, I love gardening... but not pushing up daisies.

emoticon emoticon

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S3XYDIVASMOM 4/17/2011 10:41PM

    I find the photo inspiring, too.

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SKUTRGAL 4/17/2011 8:41PM

    Concur with the "not for sissies!" sentiment.

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BEVLEGILL 4/17/2011 8:38PM

    Gotta stick together through this journey into aging.

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