Sunday, February 26, 2012
Well I've got to admit Spark friends, I'm feeling frustrated today....not for anything about weight or health or anything else other than trying to put the finishing touches on our summer vacation plans.
Last week I booked our Alaska cruise. It leaves out of Seattle on 22 Jul and returns 29 July. I saw the airfares the travel agent offered and figured I could do much better on my own booking through Delta and using my Skymiles. So last weekend I took a cursory glance at the website and indeed, I could get all 3 of us to Seattle and back for about 95K miles.
Of course I got distracted and didn't book them, and so today as I sat down with my morning coffee, I decided to put the finishing touches on our trip.
The same trip would now cost me 150K miles.....that's about $1000 if it were real money!
Now I know that all these rewards miles for airlines, hotels, and credit cards are kind of like monopoly money, but it really pisses me off when my sense of balance is kicked around like that. I try to figure out the cash value of these things to get the best use of them and hate feeling like I'm getting ripped off.
But enough of my venting. You know, If I didn't have last week's figures anchoring my brain, I probably wouldn't have thought twice about it (I think it's called "anchoring" in negotiation theory if I remember my business classes from way back when).
So of course I didn't get them yet....I'll climb down off the ledge soon and book them later this week....unless they decide to raise prices again, upon which the whole damn family and I will drive cross-country before I feed those ravenous, money-grubbing basterds any of my hard-earned miles!!!
Anyway, today I spent my cardio time stretching instead of sweating, which was a very smart move because I felt 3 inches taller and much less stressed out about the Delta debacle above (grrrrr!!). Then #2 son really, really wanted to see Ghost Rider 2, so off we went for a matinee showing....so-so overall.
The rest of the day I spent in some contemplative thought developing a strategy to survive almost 7 weeks on the road starting next weekend. It's going to be a wild March and April. I'll be in San Antonio from 4 - 23 March, come back home for a day, then Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, & St Louis in a 6-day whirlwind. Back for another day, then to.....I forget, but that takes me into April already.
I'm pretty serious about getting the bodyfat percentage down in the next 6 months, so I'm going to focus on doing a lot more cardio these next few months. I'll keep doing ST, but mostly body weight stuff like pushups & squats....I'm going to lay a tentative mark to put in 2000 minutes a month and see how that pans out.
I'm also going to start substituting fruit, maybe in the form of smoothies which I'm really getting into, for snacks like peanut butter and nuts. I'm planning to take a travel blender with me on the road and stock up the hotel fridge with tons of fruits & veggies to kick start the whole process. Here's my beautiful little machine!
One of the things I haven't done as well is to focus on breakfast. I have a snack before 9:00 AM, usually half a sandwich to keep from getting hungry. On weekends, I have a smoothie and find it much more satisfying, so I'll try to get this into my weekly routine as well.
I think the 3rd part is to get back into the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), I did real good with these in the fall, then tapered off for no good reason, so 2 or 3 of those cardio sessions will be HIIT as well.
Well those are the large muscle movements of a plan....as always, my first measure of success is going to be my ability to make these changes in a sustainable way and not in a 2-3 month gut it out free-for-all.
That's all for now Spark friends, have a great night!
Friday, February 24, 2012
Greetings from Oklahoma City.. ..y'all!!
It's a pretty quick trip for me....just a few hours worth of meetings this afternoon, which worked out quite well. I did a little prep in my hotel room this morning, then hit the gym for an hour before the meetings started. We finished up about 3:00, so I decided, "why the hell not" and went back to the gym for another 45 minutes before dinner.
DINNER!!! Oklahoma City.....cowboys, stockyards, and steaks!!
Now truth in advertising....I lived here many years ago....SWMBO is from OKC and her mom still lives here, so I took mom-in-law to.....Catttlemen's Steakhouse! ( cattlemensrestaurant.com/ )
Now let me tell you, these guys know steaks! There's a cut called the Blue Ribbon Ribeye, 14 oz of aged beef that's so tender you don't even need a knife to cut it, served by blue and pink haired waitresses that call you sweetie-pie and honey-bun. I had been saving up all day for this, hence the 2 workouts (breakfast was a sesame bagel, lunch a cup of Starbucks oatmeal)
Anyway, we had a nice little time out and now I've got money in the bank for the next time SWMBO says I'm insensitive...."Oh yeah, ask your Mom how nice I was to her at Cattlemens!"
Of course 14 oz of tenderly-aged beef for dinner is not the right start for Phase 3 of my life make-over.
Oh, did I not mention before that I have decided to create a Phase 3 plan?
Yes, Phase 3 Spark friends!!! Phase 1 was the old, pre-Spark me, plodding along, exercising on and off, not watching what I ate.....a 200 lb fun guy
Phase 2, was post-Spark (Jan 2011) me....a health conscious, athletically-minded, food-tracking, slimmed down to 185 lb fun guy.
But that's not enough.....must move on to Phase III.....get rid of more body fat!! I had a fairly accurate body-fat measurement done this past week ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4750201 ) and decided that, even though I've made some great progress this past year (down to wearing size 34 jeans!), that I can do better....science demands it!!
What use are Heart Rate Monitors, GPS Trackers, Air Displacement Plethysmography (Bod Pod), fitness trackers, nutrition trackers, and all these other gadgets if I don't have a plan to use all that data towards a meaningful goal?!?! Yeah, weight is sort of important, clothes fitting good are pretty important....but I think I need to use all this info at my disposal to shoot for an even leaner me.
So more to follow on this front....I'm going to try to make it fun and challenging, otherwise I'll end up hating the journey.....but that's been the great thing about Sparkpeople....it's been fun so far every step of the way....it's good to have the happy meter go up while the scales go down.
Here's a good Non-Scale Victory on that point for you. I got in to OKC late last night (Delta delays once again....go figure). I go to the Avis counter to pick up my ride, and the 20-something gal asks me for my license and credit card....then starts asking me to tell her all the info on the cards;
"Ft Walton Beach, FL"
"Expiration date of your credit card?"
"Date of Birth?"
"Yeah, Dec 1959"
"So, you're like 50?"
"More like 52"
"Wow, you look like you're about 35!"
"......Why you sweet little thing....are you working for tips here at Avis?"
Have a great night Spark friends!!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Well your trusted, number-crunching, geek author finally got his Bod-Pod measurements done today. Interesting little contraption....and no there isn't any alien technology involved, nor does it transmogrify you into a pod-being.....here's a link to the company's website:
All in all, it was sort of what I expected, here's the story. First of all, it appears this service is offered as a part of our company's "health plan"...I had no idea of this until my secretary mentioned that she was having this Bod-pod thing done last month ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
Overall it went pretty quick. Preparation included no eating, drinking, or exercise for 2 hours prior, and coming in with a food log of everything you've eaten for the 3 days prior. The nutritionist/dietician checks you in, weighs you, asks a few basic questions, then you strip down to some compression shorts (think under-armour), put on a skull cap they give you, and into the pod you go. Like a hydro-tank, they measure the displaced pressure of the air on your body to get a read of your "volume", then spit back a sheet full of numbers....the only ones I really cared about was % fat and fat mass....really have no use for "thoracic gas volume".
Once complete, they sit all of you down (there were 3 of us in this group; me, a chunky 30-something guy, and a chunky 60-something matron) and the nutritionist goes over the meaning of the numbers, then discusses goals and strategies for weight loss. I expected them to take all sorts of other measurements like hips, arms, thighs, etc. but that was a no-go....more to follow on that.
Well thanks to Sparkpeople, I was like a an idiot-savant in the group session! I had my print out of the nutrition tracker going back a week and started making a plug for Sparkpeople to the whole collective. Now I have a naturally competitive nature and tend to dominate meetings when I'm in a room (actually I think political scientists would characterize me as a "Benevolent Hegemon"), so next thing you know, she's asking me to tell these other two about strategies for including more fruit in your diet (smoothies), how to eat vegetables without butters and cheeses (lemon, cracked pepper, garlic), and how to incorporate good exercise habits (gain Sparkpoints for every minute in the gym!)
OK OK, but what about MY NEEDS!!! I didn't come in here to be the poster boy dammit...but apparently a year of Spark living has given me the equivalent of a Harvard MBA in nutrition and exercise! (30-something guy thought a good strategy would be to switch from eating Oreos to Fig Newtons)
So my percent body fat came out to 27%...for whatever reason, I was looking for a number closer to 20%. To get there apparently I need to lose about 18-20 lbs of fat, keeping the muscle in tact.
I took SWMBO out to lunch and went over the above with her too, trying to figure out what changes I need to make to get there (the nutritionist basically gave me the "keep doing what you're doing" answer.....FAIL! I wanted something more concrete than that....good thing she doesn't work for me!)
The good thing about SWMBO is that she knows how to talk me down off the ledge. She reminded me of dinner last week with a couple we hadn't seen in about a year. The first thing each of them said was, "Wow, you look great! Looks like you've really been working out!". Then she reminded me that last year this time that number was likely in the mid to high 30-percentile. Then she asked if I had asked the nutritionist for an age-adjusted body-fat to determine what was "normal" for a 52-year old...."CURSES, no I didn't, I was too busy gloating in my hegemony, telling everyone else how to improve their lives!!"
So I'm going to plug these numbers in to the "weigh in and measurement" tracker, then SWMBO said she's going to get smart on how to take tape measures and I'm going to start tracking hip-to-waist, thighs, upper arms, neck, etc.
And to do so, here's the new toy I ordered on Amazon!
Apparently, you can do the Bod-Pod thing every 3-4 months, so you're trusty Spark geek will put this in his ever-growing repertoire of statistics to follow....one of my favorite sayings to my guys at work is "That which is measured, improves" they hate it, but I love it....and now it's time to use it on myself!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Monday, February 20, 2012
So days off are kind of relative affairs for me. After my standard putzing around this AM (coffee, news, smoothie), I started looking for things to do around the house.
Cleaned out the gutters that had gotten leaves & sticks piled in around the downspouts, finally organized the storage shed where SWMBO had stored all her various tubs full of XMAS decorations and the like, then took my car to an electronics shop to see if they could "unstuck" the GPS DVD stuck in the player--no luck--so I spent 2 hours cruising around e-bay and various auto parts websites trying to find a new GPS player--not much luck there either.
Played HALO with my son when he came back from school (one bennie of having time off), then hit the gym for cardio and ST....still have to modify the leg routine to keep from aggravating my back, so instead of doing squats, I did leg presses on the sled...not too bad. I want to get back to squats soon, but not at the expense of a messed up back.
Came back home and SWMBO had somehow caught the microwave on fire cooking baked potatoes...don't ask me how, she is special that way (her other nickname is Grace...she's kind of clumsy). So I did a quick Amazon search and ordered up a new one that will hopefully get here before I go to OKC on Thursday.
Tomorrow I do the Bod Pod thing at 9:00 AM (See my blog: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4692067 ). It better be quick, 'cause SMWBO and I have a lunch date at 11:00....have got to keep her out of the kitchen!!
Hopefully, that will be a more relaxing day off!
Have a great night Spark friends!
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