Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I'm glad I have a trainer. There are days like today where, if I didn't have a standing commitment to be at the gym, I'd shirk it off. Even if I had made it there, I'd have done a less vigorous workout.
But I made it to the gym at my allotted time and walked out an hour & a half later glad that I went, tired, but satisfied that I worked out hard.
I'm a pretty disciplined person, and so every now and then I have to get over the, "I should be able to do this on my own" syndrome. It's just a fact that what works for me is a commitment to get out there and meet someone. It works better on a professional basis; I'm much more likely to call a buddy and cancel. And I really like having someone that knows what they're doing to push me to do things right....do them slow, emphasize correct form, and push me past what i think I can do.
So I made it to the gym today. As I walked up the stairs to the weight room, I had all sorts of thoughts like, "hmmm, I feel like taking it easy today. Maybe I can skip the pull ups. I'm running late, maybe we can do 2 sets instead of 3 on each exercise." I'm real good at coming up with excuses and alternate plans.
But we stuck to the plan trainer guy had written down weeks ago. He's also good at coming up with alternate plans. If I can't get at least 6 reps in on an exercise on the 2d or 3d set, there's no skating home scot free. Oh no, he lowers the weight 20-30 lbs and says, "OK, just do as many as you can until you burn the muscle out"
"Really!?!? Really?!? This is what I pay you for?!? Have you no mercy, no human compassion....have you no soul man!?!"
"Yeah, Yeah, let's go, rep it out, we've still got to do______(fill in the favorite torture device here)
Sometimes it's even simpler than that. A sly comment like, "Hey, have you noticed that old lady there doing the bench press. She's been hitting all the machines since 3:00" is all it takes to keep me from kvetching and get back on track.
What I've come to realize with weight lifting is that it never gets easier. Oh I have good days and bad days. But what I have learned with trainer guy is that the weight itself is not nearly as important as tiring the muscle out. What that translates to is that the goal is to get really, really tired by the end of the workout. It always feels good afterwards....but some days, during that hour and a half, I'm really glad to not have to do it alone.
Then again, walking by the mirror and seeing the shadow cast by a large vein on my arm, or lines of definition on my neck and shoulders as I swing the bottle up for a drink remind me that nothing good comes easily and makes me glad that I've been doing this so regularly these past few years....even on days when I don't feel like doing it.
Remember, there are only 2 times you have to work out; when you want to and when you don't want to!
Good night Spark friends!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Every now and then I have to navigate a tricky eating regimen at work. Most days are great. SWMBO makes me 2 sandwiches to take in and I eat 1/2 a sandwich every 3 hours or so. This and a piece of fruit get me to dinner time where i can eat another 500 calories or so and, with room for another snack, keeps me at about 1800-2000 calories a day.
So about every 2 to 3 months, we do a pot luck with my office staff. I've been pretty good about grazing lightly at these events. I did pretty good today taking very small portions of only the few things I really wanted (one of which was a small square of blondie on the dessert table) and spent most of my time chatting up the pepes.
It wasn't too bad, just not as precisely measured as the calories from my 2 sandwiches (820 cals total if you believe all the nutrition data on the labels). I think I came in around 900 calories at the potluck, but that's all I had till dinner, which was some nicely sauteed napa cabbage, leeks & garlic, topped with a few ounces of pork tenderloin, rounding out the day at about 1500 calories.
Planning ahead helped; I knew about the lunchtime potluck and so ditched the sandwiches. What I didn't like was the long wait till lunchtime, the big lunch, then another 6 hours till dinner. I've grown accustomed to a more even keeled approach.
Anyway, feeling pretty good about staying within limits again. Late afternoon madness making phone calls and e-mails kept me in the office too long to hit the gym after work.....so I am toying with....dare I say it.....working out in the mornings before work.....hmmmmmm....more to follow!
Good night Spark friends
Monday, June 13, 2011
So this weekend, I developed a real hankering (yet another indication I've been living in the South for a long time....Boston boy works the word "hankering" into casual conversation) for a nice, cold, crunchy, flavor-filled salad.
It started out innocently enough. Saturday morning, I'm putzing around the new living room (note use of word "putzing" reflecting New York heritage), getting caught up with SWMBO on the new house adventures and she mentions that #2 son's report card came in and he got all A's. That usually means his choice of restaurant for a going out meal and, of course, he picks the "Panda House Chinese Buffet and Mongolian BBQ" joint. This after I had done so well on the road last week.
I graze the veggie section loading up on stir-fried bok choy, sauteed cabbages, heap on some clear noodles and add a little pepper chicken and some thai satay for flavor thinking I can come out of this OK.
Then I went for seconds...albeit on a smaller plate, because after all it was very tasty stuff.
But, then I had some coconut macaroons.....I love coconut macaroons.
I add it all up at home and sure as hell it's a whopping 1400 calorie lunch....but who knows if I got the portions right. The real deal is that this alerted me to the fact that I had very little calorie room to maneuver for the rest of the day.
I told SWMBO that I was going to load up on salad for dinner, so she was nice enough to go grab a few different bunches of various crunchy, leafy delights I could mix and match. We have had a long love affair with a brand of ginger dressing called Makoto that we have only found in a few grocery stores, mostly in the south (y'all), usually in the fresh vegetable section. SWMBO and I have devoured gallons over the years.
I chucked tons of crunchy leaves and roots into a big bread bowl, dabbed out a little Makoto, spooned in a few dollops of non-fat yogurt, mixed it all up into colorful swirl of summer colors and attacked it with one of our new stainless steel 18/10 forks.
I loved it! Nothing like a cold crunch to a meal on a hot humid day. I enjoyed every bite of my 200 calorie dinner.
So much so that I repeated the ritual Sunday night….and Monday night!
I’ve felt full and satiated every night….no feeling deprived, no thinking, “Oh this sucks, all I can do is to have a salad for dinner.” Au contraire, each night has been very tasty as I add different combinations of leaves, chucking in a little fresh basil one night, parsley on another, some oregano tonight (not so good) making it an adventure instead of a drab lo-cal meal.
Can I live like this my whole life….likely not. But I’m thinking every few days, I can do this and be OK with it.
And looking at the scale this morning to a nicely low 186.2 didn’t hurt my feelings one bit!
Good night Spark friends!
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Ahhhh, it's nice to be back home!
So I got busier than I expected this trip and it was all I could do to log nutrition and aerobic points these past few days. The good news is I got in a workout every day, ate pretty well (except for one night in Albuquerque at a Mexican restaurant with my team that works out there....sheesh!) Most of the time I did very well on my own, avoiding going out for large dinners, settling for gym time and low-cal microwave meals & veggies in the hotel room at night....some of them not bad at all.
Other than Mexican my only other "big meal" was a great bowl of Pho, smack in the middle of Albuquerque, NM. Actually it was very tasty. I love good soups & stews and I've gotten to like well prepared Pho in my travels.
For those of you that know not of Pho, Wikipedia states that Pho is, "a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef (phở bò) or chicken (phở gà). The soup includes noodles made from rice and is often served with Vietnamese basil, lime, bean sprouts that are added to the soup by the diner."
It's a big bowl of clear broth and with the right mixture of basil, lime and (especially in NM) some very spicy peppers, packs a melt your teeth wallop to die for! So, yes, you must enjoy the burn. The good part is that there is a lot of broth, a lot of liquid to fill up on with a few token pieces of protein (chicken, beef, or shrimp). The majority of the calories are in the rice noodles.
Which leads to the difficulty in gauging the calories. These days I'm calibrated well enough to pretty accurately gauge calories, so I wag it at about 400-500 calories depending on whether I eat all the noodles or not. Not too bad for a very filling meal, especially if it's for dinner.
Anyway, like I said earlier, it's nice to be back home. The fruits of Spartan living this last week is a nice 1 lb drop in weight. I'm going to do some re-adjusting of calories, & exercises this weekend to get on an achievable glide-path down to 180 lbs in the next 2 months....I'm a little tired of this plateau thing. I know, I know, I've been preaching body composition for a while, so why the sudden interest in dropping pounds; because I'm vain that's why!
I do continue to notice that my pants are increasingly looser, most recently yesterday when I got groped by TSA on my way back and had to hold them up as I got blue-gloved. It's a nice feeling....guess I just want the scale to show some interest as well
Fairly stable living for the next 2 weeks, looks like the next trip is up to Seattle at the end of the month. Till then, my challenge will be to maintain at home!
See 'ya Spark friends!
Monday, June 06, 2011
So I'm a little competitive. Most times it's good, sometimes it can be a liability, although I don't do as many of the stupid things today as in years past.
Today, I was an animal.
After a full day of meetings, my brain refused to accept any more information and my voice was giving out after talking all afternoon, so by 5:30 I was very relieved to find my day over and skedaddled up to the gym.
I found a nice Lifecycle bike, plugged in this week's playlist, and revved up to 100 RPM. Life was good, heart rate monitor showed I was in the zone, and I cruised happily for about 30 minutes.
As I walked back to the locker room, I passed a big glass enclosed room and saw them setting up for step aerobics.
Step aerobics......hmmmmm, I haven't done that since 1990-something. Should I take a chance on this newly installed bionic hip of mine? What if I trip, or jam it, or do the funky chicken and wind up all over the floor? Probably better to not risk it....but let me see how long the class lasts for.
So I asked a 40-something skinny guy near the door about the class. "Oh, this is the Monday ADVANCED class. It lasts an hour, because, it's an ADVANCED class," he said giving me a condescending stare over his fake-Armani glasses.
I showed infinite restraint, checking my desire to move 2 feet closer to his nose and saying, "Bring it, Dieter", I just smiled and said, "Well then I guess I better just take a spot in the front row!"
Sometimes my brain just over-rides everything else and says, "we're all in"
So, not to brag Spark friends, but I can handle the simple 4 & 8 count step moves, grapevines, lunges, & cross-overs pretty damn well....even while reminding myself to not go crazy and do the funky chicken on the floor. And one thing I have is endurance.....a real stubborn endurance.
But ADVANCED class?!? Please. This 51-year-old dude, recently recovered from hip surgery, taught those people the meaning of the word RESPECT by the end of the class. One thing I do when I workout hard is to give out a victory cry when in the moment. At the end of the class, we started doing 8-count lunges off the end of the step....10 sets of 8 lunges.....I know, because I yelled out each one.
Meanwhile Dieter was a sweaty, uncoordinated mass of arm & legs, who had to strategically stop to "tie his shoe" after the 8th set.
Did I mention this was the ADVANCED class?
So I felt good on sorts of levels afterwards. The nice instructor lady came by to tell me thanks for helping motivate the crowd with my counting at the end and would I be coming to her next ADVANCED class. I got a few backslaps from some of the younger dudes in the class, one even asked if I was, like, an instructor or something. "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night"....he thought I was joking.
Dinner was a simple microwaved 300 calories of chicken and whatever.....I'm enjoying a definite Spartan existence on the road after weeks of plenty at home. I've been pretty steady +/- 2 lbs of 188 lbs lately....it's time to re-adjust the calories and aerobics points to knock off a few more pounds.
Maybe I need to stick my nose in the aerobics rooms back in Florida and be told I shouldn't do something!
Good night Spark friends!
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