Sunday, June 17, 2012
Well Spark friends, your trusted author and SP buddy is about to start shaking things up!!
I'm an avid reader. Some of my most recent conquests have varied from good fiction (Moby Dick), to trash fiction (delightfully entertaining World War Z), to heavy-tomed non-fiction (Daniel Yergin's, The Quest), to niche non-fiction (Starting Strength by Joe Rippetoe)
Well on my trip to DC this past week, I downloaded a copy of Gary Taubes' "Why We Get Fat" and devoured it on both legs of the trip.
It's a paean to a low carb lifestyle. While it doesn't advocate any one of the various diets out there (Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, yadda-yadda-yadda), it's a pretty good survey of the literature, the science, the evidence, and the chemistry of what carbs & sugars do in our bodies.
Being a data hound and a scientist at heart (I was an astronomer with NASA in a previous life straight out of college), I started scouring the web for more info, even downloaded a few more books from Amazon and have spent my weekend reading them.
So I'm thinking about giving this a try....and here's why....
I'm kind of eating like this anyway....not totally, obviously, but I eat starchy things like rice, potatoes, & breads only once or twice a week at most anyway. Every now and then when temptation sneaks up on me (like last week's trip to DC) I'll indulge in some pastries or cookies when they're around.
Now I do eat a lot of fruit.....5-6 servings a day when I can, so this might be problematic.
But here's the main reason I want to give this a go.
What if our bodies' functioning is dictated more by chemistry than by physics? What if instead of the rote calories in/calories out model, our bodies are in equilibrium based on nutrients? What if excess carbs set our bodies in a state of equilibrium where we store more fat, water, & sodium?
That's what I've concluded as a going in hypothesis as I've surveyed what I can find out there.
Now I'm not ready to start having bratwursts and bacon for breakfast every day (but seriously, how cool would that be!!), but I am willing to commit to reducing carbs to a much lower level. My ever-faithful nutrition tracker (and I do track EVERYTHING I eat) shows that I average about 160-180 gms of carbs a day, with occasional spikes (damn conferences!) of 300-350.
I think I can drive that number much lower.....to at least 80 or less.
So I'm going to venture into some uncharted territory for a little while and see what I find out there. As with all things in my SP experience, I'm setting sustainability as my first objective.....nothing drastic, no one hit wonders that can only last a few days, but more of a gradual adjustment of the types of food I eat to see if altering my body chemistry has an appreciable effect on my health.
More to follow.....and your inputs are always welcome!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Monday, June 11, 2012
So for whatever reason, today I felt energized and decided that Monday deserved a double workout: spin class for lunch and ST before dinner!
Now after all the rain here in the panhandle this weekend, it was ridiculously humid today. Just sitting there drawing a breath had us all sweaty before we even cranked a pedal. Not that that distracted the sadistic instructor....we climbed hills like there was no tomorrow. For whatever reason, today's class had a bunch of Tour de France wannabees (and a return visit by one of the "Sisters of Pain" (see old blog:
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4827773 ) which really started to grind on my nerves)
The wannabees (all decked out in multi-colored regalia....and one embarrassing gent who wore a bib overall.....with no shirt....TO AN INDOOR SPIN CLASS!) were in full force, throwing out names like Contador, Evans, Wiggins, as if calling out their names would help them spin faster in the humid Florida air......just shut-up and pedal people!!!
Even instructor guy, a normally level-headed, no nonsense dude, was caught up in the frenzy. His usual brutality consists of a steady 10 minutes of ever-increasing resistance at the end of the class.....every 30 seconds we push it up a gear while maintaining an ever-difficult cadence of between 65-75 RPM.
Today he couldn't resist. "Come on, think about Col du Tourmalet, here we go!!"
Col du What?!?! Why are you pandering to these spandex clad sissies in the back row?!?! I'm here in the front row, keeping the pace and not chiming in like those yahoos with some fantasy about drafting on Lance Armstrong's left side!
Anyway it was a good workout, but jeez, if I'd have known it was bring your fantasy to workout day, I'd have opted for some intervals on the elliptical!
I don't know if that had an irreparable effect on my psyche later in the day or if it was the 110% humidity that crept in through the air conditioning vents, but my ST session was exhausting. Now trainer guy said it was actually a pretty good session, but man did I have to work for it. Today was one of those medium weight/higher rep days where I do 80% of my max weight, but instead of 5 reps we do 15.....it seems like I'm just lifting and pulling against gravity for forever.
I must have drank a gallon of water and it took us 90 minutes to get through the whole routine, but in the end we declared victory....or maybe, in commemoration of the Tour de France I should have declared liberté, égalité, fraternité!!
Anyway, I'm off to DC tomorrow for a few days. Got some meetings here in the morning then I catch a flight out in the afternoon. Maybe I can duck out for another spin class before my flight, this time with the curvilicious instructor so that I can over-ride today's unsettling memories
Have a great night Spark friends!
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
So every now and then everything seems to hit on all 8 cylinders. I have learned to accept those days and be grateful.
Today was such a day!
My secretary was out for 10 days (cruise to Alaska....she's the one that talked me and SWMBO into taking the same cruise in July). Anyway, between her being out and me breaking in a new 20-something office assistant, my schedule has been getting a little out of control.
Now that she's back, and the fact that 20-something kid is actually working out OK, I actually had huge chunks of white space on the calendar today.....time where I could actually think, get caught up on reading, plan for the future, and not be rushed from meeting-to-meeting and decision-to-decision.
It felt GRRRRRREEEAAAAAT!
I was also able to take care of a few personal things (my tail-light got broken in the airport parking lot when I was out of town last week…luckily the guy fessed up and their insurance will fix it…..I found time today to take the car to a repair place to get an estimate at lunch time)
On top of all that I had a fan-frickin-tastic ST session with trainer guy in the gym tonight!
It sounds weird, but after being at it for 3 years straight, I think I’m at a fairly intermediate level of proficiency, where I can discern improvements and make differences by focusing on things like breathing, core firmness & stability, and proprioceptive feedback on body position. While still physically hard, I’ve got the mental focus to where I can still think pretty straight and clear even when my body wants to say, “Basta!”
So tonight I sit back, grateful that I can look back on a day where most everything went like gangbusters….and will try to remember it on those many other days when they don’t!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Sunday, June 03, 2012
So I sometimes indulge a rather rich fantasy life. I chillaxed today on the deck, reading nothing but perfect summertime beach trash (World War Z)
In between asking myself how I'd react to the Zombie Apocalypse were it to happen today (SWMBO's prepared us only for hurricanes and wildfires), my thoughts floated to how I'm in pretty good shape....today
But what about down the road? What about a few years from now, 5, 10, and beyond? Can I still maintain? Will I still be motivated? Will I just retire and shuffle around slowly in white shoes and sansa-belt pants pulled up to my chest, trying to hitch a ride out of town as the undead swarm the condo gates?
So obviously, to avoid this scenario, I need to stay healthy....all my life. And to do so, I need.....
....a home gym!!
So SWMBO and I are lucky enough to own and rent out houses in other states. We haven't decided where to move to when the day comes, although if it were up to her, we'd go to Oklahoma.....her family and friends (one gal she has been friends with since Kindergarten!) are all there.
But rather than dwell on that idea, I made a mental shift as I watched pelicans and herons hunt for fish in the Santa Rosa Sound, and spent a dreamy afternoon planning how I'd take a bedroom (or 2 if I can convince her to let me knock out a wall!) and transform it into my home gym fantasy!
(Now I'm smart enough to know it won't be all mine, so of course I gave due consideration to putting in a some things for her as well.....God forbid she doesn't have a place for her mini-trampoline!)
So, given that in my mind there is almost infinite space, here are a few of the things that I absolutely must have:
Winters are cold in OKC, especially when the wind comes roaring down the plain, so to keep warm, I'll need to be able to do indoor cardio. What would be better than a fleet of machines to rev up the heart rate!
A Rowing Machine:
A Spin Cycle:
(SAFARIBABE already beat me to it and has one of these wonderful beasts in her NYC apt.....GRRRR)
and maybe an elliptical.....not sure yet, but what the hell, it's my dream gym!
This is what really go me thinking! No more having to wait for squat racks or benches! No more wondering where the 40 lb dumbbells went! ST on demand I say....in my own house! (And besides, I can use the barbells to crush a few zombie skulls when the time comes)
The cool thing is that as I travel I get to see a whole bunch of neato gyms and have been keeping notes on stuff I really want (like that Keiser spin cycle Tory!)
First and foremost, a really good power rack:
To keep it fun for SWMBO, I'll even splurge on some colored weights to improve the aesthetics:
Of course we'd need a nice bench:
and a good set of dumbells:
I was undecided about a TV, but in the end, I figure I need to make room for it just in case....maybe I'll put it in the sauna room off to the side:
(of course this means that I'll have to hook up an entire home audio system to the gym as well in case SWMBO wants to pump in Lady Gaga, Fergie, Adele, or whoever is hot on the UK charts in 2025!)
Oh yeah, can't forget about stretching, so we'll definitely need a Tru-Stretch rack!
I figure I'll leave wall coloring and mats to SWMBO. Of course we'll have to have at least one if not two walls mirrored......but then I got to thinking.......
....some of my favorite gyms layouts have been big, open spaces....so maybe we need this to be....
A Solarium Gymnasium!!!
The only real question then becomes, do I keep a personal trainer on the payroll?
So that was my afternoon reverie as I prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse......what did you do to get ready?
Have a great night Spark friends!
Saturday, June 02, 2012
So I freely admit, I sometimes get a notion in my head, and when I do, I pretty much ride that shark non-stop all the way to shore.
Longtime SP friends will know of my fascination with a Vietnamese dish called Pho, specifically, Pho Ga, or Chicken Noodle Soup
Well this trip, since I was hitting 3 cities in 5 days, I decided to sample as many Vietnamese joints as I could, eating the same dish (Chicken Pho and fresh spring rolls) at each
Midway through the meal, I'd started writing a review in Traveladvisor (my most trusted travel website & restaurant app) on my iPhone.
Well other than feeling slightly "Rainman-ish" (as SWMBO describes my obsession) it was quite fun....and it was a sure fire way to keep calories down on the road.....one of the main reasons I like Pho so much (other than the myriad of ways it can be prepared....more below) is because it basically clocks in at less than 500 calories for a whopping big bowl.
So in Utah, I noticed that they grilled the chicken before putting in the liquid. In Colorado, they served the spring rolls on big fat Mint leaves.....what a great burst of flavor! In Vegas I got to try out 2 different places on the north side of Highway 15, where there's a community called "Little Saigon".....I was the only Anglo in both places, and walked in to one where they had a satellite feed piping in some matronly woman singing swan songs of lost love and broken hearts direct from Asia.....my thoughts; "Alright, this is where I get the real deal!"
Well one place was great, the other, only so-so. In any case, I felt pretty darn good just soaking up the atmosphere and staying under calories for six days straight.
The only other adventure I had was to go hit the Premium Outlet mall off the strip and stock up on a bunch of discounted Nike technical shirts and a pair of neato minimalist workout shoes.
Yeah, I know, I'm in Vegas, I should be gambling & carousing, but I come out here all the time and I had a long, long day of meetings starting at 7:30 and by the time I got done and had hit the gym, all I wanted to do was to grab a bite to eat and get back to my room & relax....especially since I have to get up at 4:30 to make a 7:00 AM flight out tomorrow morning.
That's all for now.....have a great night Spark friends!
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