Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Talk about a beautiful day!
We woke up to a cool DRY morning here in the FL panhandle. Temp in the 60s, clear blue skies, and NO HUMIDITY!
Happy, happy, joy, joy
So I stuck around the house this morning while SWMBO got ready for lunch with some gal pals. I had already arranged to have the bug guy come out and spray around the outside of the house (ants) and roof guy to repair some shingles that blew off in the storm. I also tackled our home office which I've been putting off since we moved here in May. I put the whammy on some bookshelves and a closet....this will be a week long project while I'm home.
I was going to take the bike out for a ride, but made a last minute change to hit a new gym nearby. I wanted to do some more Hi-Intensity Intervals, but I also wanted to stretch. I blogged about this super-cool stretching "cage" a few months ago:
I knew they had decent cardio equipment as well as the cage so, since it wasn't too far away, I went there.
After a 10 minute warmup, I did 6x 30 second intervals on the stationary bike, with a 60 second break in between. I pumped up the intensity to about 7-8 on the Borg RPE (Rated Perceived Exertion) scale. I was drenched in sweat after the 3rd interval
I cooled off, hit the stretching cage, then went over the Concept2 Rowing machine. I knew these would be tougher (and they were) so I did the same 30 sec intervals, but took a 90 sec break in between. But during the hi-intensity part, I pushed the RPE up to 8-9.
Cooled down, stretched some more, then hit an elliptical machine for a steady 20 minutes of cardio.
In no time at all, 70 minutes of cardio were over, and they were (except for the last 2 intervals on the rowing machine) quite enjoyable. The stretching was like having a good dessert after a great meal
And here I am 3 hours later blogging about it, still feeling a burn from the exertion!
Good night Spark friends!
Monday, September 05, 2011
Well it turned into a busier labor Day than I had planned...but it went very well.
I started out the morning at Starbucks to have coffee with a 30-something friend of a friend who wanted some career advice and mentoring (I think he wants my job....Ha! Old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!) We talked for about 2 hours until SWMBO called and told me the wind was gusting to 40MPH, that sheet rain was whipping around the house, and that the waves were crashing into the backyard...."Are you coming home soon?!?"
So I told 30-something guy to finish his degree, work even harder, get out of his comfort zone, think hard about the kind of boss he would really be and to give me a holler in 6 months, then drove back home....
....right into the heart of the Storm! I forget what the meteorological term is, but as a rotating storm moves from the water over the land, in it's trail is a low pressure front that pulls and sucks ocean moisture in it's wake, generating some very impressive winds...it was pretty cool. SWMBO however doesn't enjoy nature's fury as I do and had prepared for the worst; Cat was in it's travel kennel, bike helmets were arrayed in the hallway (in case tornado blows roof off), lanterns lined up in an interior hallway with no outside walls, and a case of water in the bathroom....she's my little disaster response queen!
But our little home survived, just a few roof tiles blew off. So after stir-frying up a quick lunch, I drove on over to the gym for Monday's ST session on legs & back.
Now those of you who have read my past few days' blogging have seen my recent obsession with Hi-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Well, note to self....HIIT is not a good warmup routine for Strength Training!
I got to the gym early and hit a stationary bike to get warmed up. After about 10 minutes, I thought, "Hmmm, I can speed this up a little with some intervals, and still have time to recover before we start lifting."
Yeah, if I were 20 yrs old, maybe. But at 51, it's probably a better idea to not combine intense cardio with intense weight lifting.
Overall the session went fine, I was just a little tired going into it. But a few months ago, it probably would not have been fine....it's about the consistency. I've seen great improvements these past 3 weeks since I've been home long enough to do the ST 3x/week (Duh, winning) and the months of regular cardio and ST have helped me build a strong foundation. I'll just tone it down so that I do cardio on cardio days, ST on ST days....the two shall never again meet on the same day!
That's all for now Spark friends....good night!
Sunday, September 04, 2011
So, some changes are afoot!
I'm feeling pretty darn good and enjoying it. I decided to "re-commit" to Sparkpeople a few weeks ago, to work harder at living healthier (working out, eating right, logging it and blogging it) and it's not so bad...I feel adventurous, somewhat like I did when I first joined and started checking out this whole Spark thing.
The weather here in NW Florida has been pretty nasty with TS Lee. SWMBO and I had to clear the lawn chairs & plants off the deck as the winds started gusting. I spent about 30 minutes on the roof cleaning out gutters and downspouts, coming down when she informed me that we were in a tornado warning (my comment of, "well I don't see any from up here" didn't calm her down any...I did come down, though when I heard the lightening alerts come on)
Rather than stay cooped up all day, I took #2 son to go see "Spy Kids" for a matinee. Apparently, so did 100 other parents...they even bought their newborns, God bless 'em!
So after an hour and a half of potty jokes and newborns crying, scared silly from loud cinematic sounds effects (Really people!?! What is up with bringing kids that can't walk or talk to the movies?!?) I needed a workout.
At first I was just going to do a nice, long, slow ride on the stationary bike....but then I got to thinking.....I don't want to overdo these Tabata intervals I've been obsessing about lately, but I really have enjoyed the Hi-intensity workouts.
A quick side-story....this is no sales pitch mind you, and I have no affiliation with these guys, but I did download (and paid $20 for) this amazing series of mp3s that have numerous sets of varying intervals. The music is all very techno/industrial, but the beauty is that I don't have to time a thing or look at a watch. They cue you pretty good ("get ready to go in 3-2-1....push....OK, now slow down for 30 seconds, you have 4 sets left to go") and have lots of Hi-intensity workouts as well as specific Tabata intervals, with warmup and cooldown on each. Anyway, take a listen and see if you like them:
(BTW, it took me 5 days to order these....I kept thinking it could be a scam. I couldn't find any reviews about the site. I finally used Paypal just to be extra safe. Bottom line; no problems and the download all checked out clean and music is as advertised)
So then I decided to explore some new equipment. I'm pretty set in my ways; I tend to gravitate to the same machines for cardio when I can't go riding my bike outside. But today I decided to try out the Concept2 rowing machine:
I haven't been on one of those since quitting the crew team at college many, many moons ago, so it was pretty cool.
Then I decided to do some intervals!
These were a little tamer than all-out Tabatas because I didn't want to get overly sore, breaking in a whole new set of underused muscles, so I tried 30 sec hi-intensity and a 60 sec slow & steady for 8 sets. It was great!
From there I went and did the same on a stationary bike then an elliptical....SWMBO always jokes that I should ask the doc for some Ritalin. Maybe doing many different types of intervals on different machines appeals to my inner ADHD-child.
Anyway, while the workouts are tough, I find myself looking forward to them, which is all any of us can ask as we strive to improve our fitness
Good night Spark friends!
Saturday, September 03, 2011
So who knew that there was a large enough of a Greek Orthodox population here in the Ft Walton Beach area to hold an annual Greek Festival!
Now I'm not Greek, but I certainly enjoy a well-baked phyllo dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese (spanokopita);
nicely layered moussaka;
baklava, appropriately crisped;
and my all time favorite, the "bird's nest" kadaif;
You see, Labor Day weekend is our anniversary weekend, so this was as much a date for SWMBO and I as it was a culinary adventure. After hanging out on the back deck all morning watching the whitecaps generated by Tropical Storm Lee, we decided to hell with it, we're going out!
It was a pretty decent time, and we also got some shopping done (SWMBO had a long list of items from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, as well as me making good on the promise I made to buy her some new running shoes....cha-ching!)
So Spark friends, what else could I possibly do this afternoon except to get my a$$ over to the gym to burn off the generous helpings of olive oil and feta I consumed today!
I hit the stationary bike, got warmed up, then went into the Tabata intervals I've been talking about these past few days. I am most definitely digging them! Those short bursts of very hi-intensity, going all out, are tough as hell, but they get my heart rate way up there, I get a great sweat going, and I find that my mind is totally focused on exercise and absolutely nothing else....no work, no home, no "I should take care of...." thoughts, just right here in the moment.
These are very short bursts over a period of just 4-5 minutes with recovery time built in. What I have found is that I can do these 5 minute Tabatas on different equipment. I started off on the stationary bike, then did some on the elliptical, then picked up a pair of dumbbells and did shoulders. So at the end of a 60 minute cardio session, I had worked out a great variety of body parts, some of them very intensely and 2 hours later, I still feel a very invigorating "burn".
That's good because my Big Fat Greek Lunch cost me 1000 calories, so burn, baby, burn!
Good night Spark friends!
Friday, September 02, 2011
Well I took today off to make it a 4-day weekend....then I also decided that I'd take Tues-Fri off next week as well, so I'm about to enter 10 straight days off from work.....unheard of I tell you. It's OK though, I rarely get the full time off and will likely go in a few hours a few times next week.
But I digress....Today, I was a workout animal! And the plan is to continue that trend through next week.
First off I helped SWMBO with some household chores this AM....mostly being her pack mule to move boxes and "craft containers" from her studio room to our garage storage shed. I don't have the heart to claim it as cardio, and any ST benefits I got from it were from exercising patience as I arranged, then re-arranged the "craft containers" in the storage shed by season. Oh yeah, each 25 gallon tub is marked "Fall decorations", "Christmas ornaments", "Easter", "4th of July".....I could open a Micheal's franchise in our backyard. Apparently the goal is (for me) to rotate the most recent required containers to the front each season....I'm very happy to be so needed
But I finally broke free and made it to the gym. I actually went a little early to warm-up before lifting and decided to try the Tabata Intervals I blogged about a few days ago ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4453107 ). WOW!!! I had downloaded a playlist that times various intervals and used the beginner set of 10 seconds all out/20 seconds rest (actual goal is 20 second full out/10 seconds rest)
Well I got to admit, they were pretty amazing! I tried them a few times on the stationary bike, then on the elliptical, then again on the bike (trainer guy was late). I feel pretty motivated to start doing them as part of my regular cardio workout. I was warmed up and sweating in no time. Overall, it felt great to change up the pace frequently; it helped to stay focused in a way that just droning on and on for 30-40 minutes doesn't do. Here's a link to an article that gives a pretty good explanation of them:
Lifting went great too...like everything else, consistency is the key for me. I've been able to get in 3 good sessions a week these past 3 weeks and have felt massive improvements. I'll keep it going next week, then see what I can do on the road through the rest of September.
That's all for tonight Spark friends, have a good night!
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