Wednesday, October 10, 2012
So I really enjoy my workout schedule. I try to get in 3 days of ST plus 3 days of cardio in any given week.
Cardio varies between riding my bike (my supercool Trek which is also my avatar), working out on the elliptical, taking a spin class, and any other activity to get my HR up to 80-90% of max
For ST it's a little more complicated.
Now I freely admit that I've been working out with a trainer for these past 3 years (I'm pretty sure he received some Sadism 101 training as an East German Stasi agent or quite possibly was a Russian Spetsnaz animal cruelty specialist). He changes up routines on me periodically and definitely pushes me past what I would normally do on my own on a regular basis.
We basically alternate doing a heavy weight/low rep workout, followed by the same routine with medium weight and higher reps.
For example on squats, I do 240 lbs for 5 reps (4 sets total) on a heavy day, then do 165 lbs for 15 reps (4 sets also) a couple days later.
You would think the heavy weights are the tough days.
Oh No! No, no, no, no, no......the tough days are the medium weight/hi rep days. "These are the days we train for endurance", says Stasi trainer guy (imagine Arnold saying this).
Today was such a day!
Now I consider myself a fairly tough-minded Mo-Fo. I can endure all sorts of privations & pains. I've run marathons, spent days in the woods eating only what I can catch, and all sorts of other weirdness.
But endurance ST is a whole other ballgame.....I don't think there's a tougher thing I do (at least I think that right now, at this moment, today)
Right as I get to 8, 9, 10 reps, I realize, "Scheisse, I still have 5 more of these to do!"
Meanwhile, my glutes, hamstrings, & back are screaming, and I am getting an incredible aerobic workout as I am huffing and puffing for all I'm worth (Stasi guy says it's technically an anaerobic workout...."Screw you Stasi guy" I mutter to myself as I focus on reps 12 & 13)
Man, oh, man what a combination though...strength training and endurance. I used to think endurance meant running (or biking) for long distances, usually measured in hours. In the ST world it's about how long can you stretch out that time where you are stressing your musculature with repetitive movements while bearing a load. Yes each set is over in under 2 minutes, but it sure feels like hours to me!
But I've come to believe that you have to do both. Doing heavy weights is good to build muscle and strength, but I know a lot of folks that do just that, and are explosively strong for a minute or 2, but ask them to do something repetitive and they're out of Schlitz pretty fast.
Lifting less heavy weights for a higher number of reps is also great for building muscle strength & tone, but also helps build mental strength where you learn to recognize the fatigue and work through it as well as building up your stamina, which may be a better measure of overall health than just the amount of weight you moved in a day.
By Jove, maybe I've got it....maybe I can fire Stasi guy, quit my day job, and become a Personal Trainer myself!
Have a great night spark friends!
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
OK, I freely admit, these days I've been a blog slacker. No real good reason....it's not like I lack things going on....I'm mostly on a pretty stable glide path working, eating, exercising, life, yadda-yadda-yadda.
I've read a lot of blogs & commentary lately on people in maintenance. Hmmmmm......maintenance.....exactly what is THAT?
I've been a pretty steady 178 - 182 lbs now for 4-6 months. I'm wearing 34 inch jeans....but need a belt to hold them up so I don't look like this
I work out because I enjoy it and feel better when I do. I don't view exercise as a tool to counteract the food I eat....this is a pretty huge mental shift. I recently re-wickered my food plan to significantly reduce my carb intake and feel tons better for it.....I feel in control of my appetite for the first time in......DECADES!
So what the hell is maintenance?!?!?
I don't know, mostly because I don't think I've thought my way through it yet.....most of the stuff I've read from folks in or approaching maintenance have said it's pretty much an extension of what they've been doing to get down to their goal weight anyway......I don't think I'll plant a flag, stake my claim, and say, "Today I declare that I am in MAINTENANCE"
In any case, life goes on and thanks to SP, I can handle all the many minefields out there much better today than I could before I joined. This week I've got a dinner event on Thursday night, a going away luncheon on Friday, SWMBO and I are hosting a backyard party for about 30 folks on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday.....
....I fly to Hawaii for a week!
I got a call from the corporate leadership a few days ago and was told I HAD to attend this meeting in Honolulu.
Oh alright, if I really HAVE TO!
Maybe I'll have an epiphany about maintenance as I sit on my breezy lanai, sipping my morning Joe and gazing out upon Diamond Head
Have a great night Spark friends!
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Ahhh, it's nice to be back home! Here I sit on my favorite chaise lounge, looking out our windows onto the stormy seas as I get caught back up on logging food and blogging adventures.
I got in last night after a surprisingly uneventful flight with stops in Paris and Atlanta (yes Fangfacekitty, I had a nice experience with Air France....good food, lots of decent movies to watch, and friendly flight attendants)
But man I need a vacation from my vacation!
I arrived in Istanbul on Saturday 22 Sept. Checked in to the Renaissance Istanbul (owned by Marriot) which apparently opened up only a few weeks ago. My room had a great view of the bridge over the Bosporus and to my incredible delight, the gym was equipped with the latest Lifecycle bikes, treadmills, & ellipticals.
They even had a squat rack with free weights, a TRX room, a pilates room, and some concept 2 rowers! I was in heaven! I got in a good workout to shake off the transatlantic flight, then went to visit the rest of the family who was in the thick of wedding planning.
Sunday was great....the wedding went off without a hitch. They picked a beautiful spot in a little boutique hotel (Hotel Les Ottomans - www.lesottomans.com/ ) right on the water.
Yours truly danced a good part of the night away with my sister (mother of the groom) and any bridesmaid within reach, then promptly logged about 120 aerobic minutes into my spark tracker later that night.
Monday was supposed to be a recovery day, but after I complained that all of my clothes had suddenly become all baggy this year, my sister insisted on taking me shopping to some of her favorite spots. We may not actually be brother and sister....somehow she has the genes that actually enjoy shopping.....mine are recessive.
She hauled my ass over to a bunch of Euro-boutique men's shops and no matter how difficult or picky I was, just kept hauling sports coats off the racks and telling me all about them ("See this stitching on the lapel, that's done by hand!") After 4 hours of this madness (and the realization that she wasn't going to stop until I picked out something), I settled on a sporty looking dark number with subtle azure stripes that I'd be comfortable wearing on casual nights out.
Tuesday my 35 year old nephew (her other kid) took the day off and we did the grand Istanbul walking tour. We started at one end of the Golden Horn, winding our way through twisting alleys, until we hit the waterside, crossed the bridge across the Golden Horn, wound our way through more streets until we hit the maze of the spice bazaars
Once our noses couldn't take it any more we hit the grand bazaar where I picked up a few trinkets for my front office folks
We found our way out after a few wrong turns, stopped for some tea, then picked up the pace to hit Haga Sophia before a big crowd of German tourists got ahead of us.
Being a history buff, I took every opportunity to school my nephew at every historical monument from the importance of the famed triple walls of Byzantium, to the 1000-year old sword carved initials into the railings of Haga Sophia by Vikings hired to guard the Emperor, to how the first use of cannons in a siege took down those same walls in 1453. Amazingly, he listened and enjoyed my lecturing!
Then we decided to rest, and so took a ferry ride to the Asian side where we walked another 5 miles through twisty streets and seaside vendors as we gazed back upon Europe!
According to my Bodymedia Fit, we walked 35,000 steps that day, which roughly equates to about 17 miles. And if that wasn't enough, we had reservations for dinner that night to take my sister out for her big 60th birthday! We did it up nicely. Nephew found a cute little spot in a high rise where they converted the balcony into a dining area with a view of the Bosphorus.
Anyway, the rest of the week was just as hectic. Wednesday I took my mom for a ferry ride out to the Princess Islands for lunch and a horse & buggy ride, Thursday nephew and I did another walking tour, though this one only logged 18,000 steps, and Friday I took myself out for another adventure where I could just relax alone.
In the meantime, I got in 3 good days of ST at the hotel, stayed relatively carb free (except for some very excellent chocolate cake on sister's birthday and a serving of baclava to die for at the wedding), and felt quite fetching as the good-looking, wide-shouldered, flat-bellied, 52-year old who can still dance up a storm when the music is right!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Friday, September 21, 2012
Well I admit, I have neglected my blogging of late. September has been an unusually busy month. I've been on the road from Las Vegas to Norfolk to New Mexico these past few weeks, all the while still trying to do my day job in Florida. Luckily I've got a brand new VP that is real good about keeping up with the workload while I'm on the road.
But now I have to take some real time off and get my ass over to Istanbul for a wedding this week, so I am likely to be even more off the net next week
All is not lost though. I cashed in some hotel points and am basically staying for free at a Marriot right near the Bosporus that promises wi-fi, a pretty decent gym, and even a modernized Turkish steam bath on the premises!
It's been a mad cap ride these last few weeks though. I finally got back in to the office this past week (I sent my VP on the road to take on some of these meetings instead of me), and got caught up on everything from our budget, to making decisions on some senior manager hirings that absolutely had to get done before I depart. I finally made it home around 9:00 PM last night, but I think I can rest easy this next week that things will run well while I'm away (I always tell my guys, "No one is irreplaceable"......I guess that applies to me as well!)
That basically meant that I had to greatly curtail my gym time this past week. I hit the weight room pretty hard Mon & Wed, but that was about it. However, if I must say so myself, I was fairly magnificent setting some personal bests on squats (225 lbs), deadlifts (240 lbs), overhead presses (110 lbs), and bench presses (210 lbs). Pullups continue to be the bane of my existence. I am stuck at 3 and mildly frustrated that I can't heft these 180 lbs of me over the bar more than that....oh well, just another mark to set on that wall!
I plan on doing a whole bunch of walking around Istanbul though. My biggest challenge might be sticking to low carbs for the next week. All of my classic weaknesses will be on display there.
Fresh baked bread
So I'll focus on those things non-carb like,
And lots and lots of salads
Have a great day Spark friends.....next blog comes from the Bosporus!
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
So I think I'm neglecting one of the tried and true methods of staying very healthy, slim, and fit.....walking.....lots of walking.
I actually love to walk, and in the past have racked up considerable miles walking all across this planet. When I lived in Manhattan, I used to walk from Greenwich Village...
...to my apartment on the Upper West Side a couple of days a week.
When I lived in Frankfurt, GE, instead of driving or taking the train, I'd take hour long walks through forested trails out where I lived by the airport to downtown to go hang out.
When I went to school in Boston, I'd walk 9-10 miles down the Minuteman Bikeway, a Rails-to-Trails project, taking me by Redcoat re-enactors on Lexington Green....
...to wierdos at the Alewife subway station at the end of the trail
There's something about city-life that makes it real conducive to walking. I certainly enjoy it and remember that it has always done me good.
These days, however, my workouts are shorter albeit more intense....I feel cheated if I don't get my heart rate up over 85-90% of max. (my max is 186.....I have found out through exhaustingly hard runs)
But this weekend, I tried a little experiment....I walked to the gym, worked out, and walked back! I did this twice....and my heart rate was a comfortable 110-120....smack in the 60-65% range
I did a leisurely 2 mile walk in about 30 minutes (I did sweat like a dog....it is still very hot & muggy here in the Florida panhandle), then hit the elliptical for 20 minutes of some fairly high HIIT, did me plank intervals....then walked the leisurely 2 miles back home.
It was a blast!
I've also seen (through all the data that my nifty Bodymedia Fit Core Armband tells me), that at work I sit around.....way to much. Yeah, I go in and out of my office, down the halls to the finance guys or my technical guys, but those distances aren't measured in miles.
So I'm going to see what I can do to up these numbers and add just a little more walking around to my daily life....you know, the "other" kind of exercise.....the kind that doesn't strain, the kind that keeps us active, and the kind that has a cumulative effect by just keeping us moving.
Have a great night Spark friends!
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