Saturday, January 14, 2012
So I'm kind of a fitness "Gadget Guy"
Actually, I'm an extreme "Gadget Guy"....I love 'em!!
I don't come across like an uber-geek, but I have a secret fascination with the little (and not so little) beasts. I love to track and measure, I hook 'em up to wi-fi, USB, bluetooth, dropbox, memory sticks, just about everything except pencil and paper. I like to stalk them, hunt them in their natural habitats like Amazon, fitness sites, running stores, bike stores, mega-outlets, and watch them in their natural habitat before I swoop down and capture them for my own private petting zoo.
I feel naked if I got to the gym without gearing up with a minimum of;
on weightlifting days;
and all the other regalia that gets strapped on to my weight loss machine:
At home I've had "things"...some long gone:
Some that need to go:
Some I can't yet bear to part with:
Some still in use:
Those I keep for sore muscles, post-workout;
And some I still dream of capturing for that long dreamed of "Home Gym"
So what does all this mean? I've had a lot of crap over the years. I get trapped, like many, thinking this or that gadget will make working out easier, or more fun, or I don't know what. That there is that "One Thing" out there that is the key to living a fit and happy life:
But there isn't! There's tons of them!! And I love 'em and want 'em every now and then!
Lately I've been stalking Fitbits, stealthily coveting the two folks on my staff I see wearing them:
I'm telling myself how cool these Lifeline "jungle straps" would be on my travels in faraway hotels with no gym;
Maybe I need Buddy Lee's Rope Master Jump Rope action to spice up my cardio;
I've got a digital scale, so I probably HAVE to get something to start measuring body fat too;
So will this madness ever stop? I don't know....most likely not. It's more of a hobby than anything else, which is a pretty cool way of looking at fitness. These are just motivators, rewards for good behavior rather than saviors from bad behavior.
In the end my 2 best fitness investments ever have been:
a good pair of sneakers to get my ass out the door
and a good gym bag to put all my "stuff" in on my way to workout
Have a great night Spark friends!
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Ahh life on the road! You know, the great thing is, I'm not as anxiety ridden as I was this time last year, when toad trips meant overeating and no exercise.
Now there's still some incredibly long meetings to sit through, but hey, I either do it in Vegas or do it from home....pretty easy choice!
So I got in yesterday afternoon (Mussolini's ghost had the airlines running on time), got my car, checked into the room and before I could read another e-mail on the berry, I suited up and went to the gym.
It was packed!! Looks like there's been a lot more New Year's resolutions taking hold in Sin City than in Ft Walton Beach (the crowds at my home gym have already tapered off). So I looked around for a some free equipment and spotted a young lass wearing cycling shoes heading towards a room in the corner. So I tailed her and sure as hell, there was a spinning class about to start. SCORE!
So I went in pretty cocky as usual. And why not. I've upped my cardio game lately, been doing some pretty intensive cardio intervals, have almost doubled the weights on squats....time to show these Vegas yahoos who's boss! So I grabbed a bike in the front row, and smiled to the instructor at my 1 o'clock.
Of course they kicked my ass!!
Now I kept up real good, but man 'o man, 10 minutes into it and I was a sweaty mess! I felt damn good, but I got a serious resentment when the instructor shouted out, "OK one more minute, push it up!' and I pumped up my cadence hard.....then she had the gall to say, "I lied!! Let's go another minute!"....and she did this repeatedly throughout the session!!!
Now I'm all for playing hard here folks, but I demand honesty and integrity from those in positions of authority....especially when I'm out of Schlitz, and looking for a cold one. In the end, I kept having to save a little gas in the tank because I never knew how many "I lied's!" would be coming
It was all in good fun though. Came back to the room, showered, changed, then hit the convention center where they had all the hoopla and had a chance to see most everybody in my business while they served up good food and drink, snacks and tons of tacky promotional items.
The good news came when a buddy of mine I haven't seen in a while said, "Dude, you look like you've lost 30 lbs!"
Of course in my meticulous demand for accuracy I replied, "Thanks, actually, I've only lost about 15 lbs, but I've lost a lot of fat and added a lot of muscle"
He harumphed and grabbed a chicken cutlet from the blonde cutie passing the tray around.
I decided to continue the workout trend, and thanks to the 2 hour time difference from home, got up at 5:00 AM today and hit the gym for some more cardio....on my own....with no one to feed me lies!
I'm glad I did too, because the rest of the day went wicked long.....and they put the worst speakers in right after lunch....bad move....bad move....
So I'll survive this trip pretty well. Another day of speakers and some working group sessions tomorrow, then a flight home Saturday.
Have a great night Spark friends!
Monday, January 09, 2012
Well what better way to celebrate Year 2 on Spark than to eat well and exercise!
This morning I rejuvenated my smoothie routine, blending up a nice green smoothie (2 apples, a banana, fresh mint leaves, some parsley, a little yogurt, and coconut water) that tided me over nicely till lunch, where I dined on my standard sandwich SWMBO makes me in the morning
Work was uneventful, especially since I got way ahead yesterday in preparation for my trip Wednesday, so I ducked out a little early to get a haircut & swing by the tailors to.....have some clothes taken in!!
The nice, elderly Korean gentlemen took his time. He yanked & pulled, hemmed & hawed then looked at me sheepishly and said, "You should just buy some new pants & shirts"
"What do you mean, I just got these shirts last year (OK, I've had the pants for 10 years, but I really like them). Can't you take them in?"
"Yes, but you're body very different, I have to...." Then he went into a long explanation, full of slicing hand gestures meant to communicate to me that he'd have to take the shirts apart and totally reconstruct them if I wanted them to fit right....so much for a quick $5 nip and tuck at the waist.
So I left with all my garments in hand, somewhat frustrated, yet somewhat happy as well. I hate shopping, but he basically told me it would be cheaper to buy new stuff than to pay him to alter these....I think that's what he told me anyways.....I'm not sure, he lost me with the third downward hand slicing maneuver, which appeared to be the most expensive one.
I just went to the gym to work off the frustration.
Good news, the body keeps changing....bad news, I need to go shopping or risk looking like this:
Which is still better than this:
But then again, I could get creative and try to make it work:
Nahhh, I just better resolve myself into the dreaded clothes shopping routine!! ARRGHHHHH!
That's all for now, have a great night Spark friends!
Sunday, January 08, 2012
So as I start off my second year on Spark people, I’m pretty amazed at the progress in what now seems like a very short year. This time last year, I was sitting around the house recovering from some pretty massive surgery that had me laid up on crutches, keeping me from bearing any weight on my left leg for about 3 months. Since I couldn’t workout much, I had all the potential in the world to balloon up into a massive couch potato.
As I sat around the house in Jan 2011, I had 2 weeks off from work to recover, so I read like crazy, surfed the net to figure out how to not balloon up like a couch potato in the coming months. And I chanced on Spark people!
Everything I read (and intuitively knew) said it really came down to the food. If I had little opportunity to work out, then I had to cut down on the food intake. But my God that’s hard to do!
I spent hours on the sight reading, blogging, logging, friending, doing everything I could to stay motivated and on track….even when I wanted to wolf down some leftover XMAS cookies or snack on anything to alleviate the boredom of sitting around.
But here I am a year later, much the better for it. It’s still tough to stay motivated and on track all the time, but it really is about steady progress and remembering that we humans are imperfect beings that slip and indulge every now and then. We are sometimes even lazy and need to take breaks. But the key is to get back into it quickly.
And the progress is very satisfying! I can look in the mirror today, or see myself in photos, and I like what I see (always have, but now it’s even better!).
So a good colleague of mine is very fond of speaking in “Truths”. He really enjoys emphasizing things by using these “Truths” to make his point, then using history to back up all his assertions (“Humans are more important than hardware” and “Quality is better than quantity”). He can be a real pain in the ass, but he’s had a positive influence on my life.
Here are some “Truths” I have learned along the way that work pretty darn good for me:
YOU CAN'T WORK OFF A BAD DIET:
I’d like to think I could just work out harder to burn more calories and slim down, but all the evidence of my life points to the fact that eating right is the real key to staying at a healthy weight. I think it’s about 75% diet/25% exercise…staying within or under calorie limits leads to weight loss in a way that working out more can’t. I should stop fighting against this one and accept it.
TRACKING FOOD WORKS
My internal food estimator is broken. I have to log in everything I eat to know how many calories I've taken in and face the hard numbers every day, good or bad. When I stop logging food, I gain weight, pure and simple.
THE SCALE CAN'T BE THE ONLY MEASURE OF SUCCESS:
There are a whole series of “Non Scale Victories” out there. The numbers on the scale are just a measure of gravity. Yeah it's nice to see the scale move down, but when you lose fat and add muscle, your weight can stay the same, but your body shape-shifts into a whole new leaner you. Sometime the fit of the clothes is a better measure of success. Here’s a link to AprilRain and CMJ4V13's photo blog illustrating the same point;
Now I’m no saint about this one….I still put a lot of credence in weight, but I’m willing to accept that tightening belt notches are indicators of success when the scale stagnates.
GOT TO DO CARDIO / GOT TO DO STRENGTH TRAINING
Strength training has really done wonders helping me lose a lot of inches all over the place, and adding inches, and shadows, and muscle definition in all the right places. Got to burn off calories with cardio and have got to add muscle with strength training otherwise you get out of balance. And they have to be changed up periodically. Due to the surgery, my running days are over, but now I mix up biking, ellipticals, rowing machines, walking, and Hi-intensity intervals. ST has to change from higher weight/lower reps to lower weights/higher reps to keep from stagnating.
YOU GAIN WEIGHT BACK MUCH QUICKER THAN YOU CAN LOSE IT
There is no justice! It can take weeks & months to drop a stubborn 5 or 10 lbs, but they can gain come back with a vengeance in just a matter of days! This truth really sucks, but it’s still the truth
SPARK PEOPLE WORKS
Don't ask me why, it just does. Tracking food, logging workouts, blogging about my successes & failures, interacting with friends and teams, encouraging others. It just works!
So 2011 went pretty darn well, and I’m hoping 2012 goes even better. It doesn’t come naturally and it doesn’t just happen. I have yet to achieve health Nirvana where my body mystically transports itself to the gym or naturally craves only good & healthy foods. Nope, it only comes about through daily accountability and effort….and a handful of some pretty good Spark friends!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Friday, January 06, 2012
I'm glad today is over.....I'm glad this week is over!
Now one should never wish time to go by quickly, but I found that coming back to work after the holiday break, everything seemed accelerated. I spent almost the whole friggin' day on the phone today, mostly on personnel issues, trying to hire the right folks for jobs this coming summer, placing some guys that are likely to move on, and I did four interviews in my office.
But what seemed to go the fastest was this past year. I'll have a year on the Spark board in a few days and it's amazing to see how fast it has gone by. I'll not dwell on that yet, I want to collect my thoughts this weekend (in between helping SWMBO take down all the XMAS decorations which she just informed me was our job for tomorrow....so much for me and Kindle time)
But in between the hectic pace this week, I got in some great workouts, and tonight my chest and shoulders are just singing with glee at what we did to them today!
I'm also revving up for some more on-the-road adventures this month. Wednesday-Saturday I'll be in Vegas, a quick turn to Norfolk, VA right after that, then Kansas City here I come at the end of January. As always, I'll need to keep my Spark friends close while on the road....no matter how fast time flies!
Have a great night Spark friends!
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