Sunday, January 20, 2013
Well it's not like I really neglect my abs. Hell, almost every workout, every lift, every meeting at work, I make a point of contracting my abs to help build up my core. As a result, a few months ago, I stopped doing dedicated ab routines, figuring I make up for them doing squats, deadlifts, even presses where I suck that belly button right back into my spine.
And believe me, it works. I've noticed the benefits in my posture, in my core strength, and even in the lack of any lower back pains for a long, long time.
So today, after a nice hard HIIT session on the spin cycle at the gym, I figured I'd throw in a little dedicated ab work, using one of my favorite routines, the Nike Training Club app's 15-minute "Ab Burner" workout. It's 3 sets of Toe Touches, Russian Twists, Planks, and Crazy Ivans (medicine ball raise with a twist);
Planks (I add the rising twist)
Each set takes 5 minutes. You run once through the above routines, take a 30 sec break, repeat, rest for 30, repeat.
Well I gotta' tell you, I was whipped! After the first set, my abs felt like Steven Tyler hitting the high notes of "Walk this Way"
And that was totally unexpected! Now I'm not vain enough to believe that I will ever be lean enough to have veins start bulging through my abs (but seriously, how cool would that be!), but I figured that my abs were pretty darn strong.
And so while I guess that they are, they might be strong doing the things they do most (static contractions), but maybe I need to do some ab routines routinely to build up their endurance during movements.
So there really is no let up, no backsliding, no exercise that has no benefit.....there is only one path to success.....continuous application of hard work and discipline!
Damn, I might have to add pushups back in as well!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Ever had a day where nothing went as planned? (If you answered no to this, you may be on the wrong website)
Well my last 2 days have been a whirlwind. Aside from the usual crises of the day, my boss called me up 4 times today (He's in Las Vegas, I'm in Florida....he's a great boss, but still, 4 calls?!?!) Anyway, looks like I'll be flying out to Vegas on Monday for a bunch of meetings I need to cover.....never a bad reason to go to Vegas though!
Yesterday, I didn't even get around to tackling my To-Do list till after 3:00 PM. The good news is that by 6:30 PM, I was on a spin bike working out all the days' frustrations. It was particularly rewarding to raz the 30-something instructor as he slow-pedaled and took a breather while he "checked his music"......Really dude, you don't slow down or take a break unless you let EVERYBODY slow down and take a break....sheeesh!
Today was much the same, especially with the last minute schedule changes for next week. I did manage to get in an incredible ST session where my Stasi-trained trainer and I set some fairly impressive personal records. I'm now squatting more than 50 lbs over my body weight and deadlifting 100 lbs over.....2 years ago I could barely do half my body weight on either of these!
The other thing I tackled tonight was a co-worker in the hospital. Tough situation. A real young kid with some pretty serious personal issues wound up in a psychiatric ward. I visited him and spent about 2 hours talking with him about life, handling stress, expectations, dealing with the future.....all the counsel and experience a 50-something dude like me would like to pass on to a troubled kid in his early 20s. He's got a lot going on and can't see any further out than what might happen to him tomorrow and fears of the immense future beyond.
So when I look at all of the minor annoyances that plague me and the angst of being 7 lbs above my goal weight (Oh my, how terrible!!), I realize that I've really got it plenty good and that my "stuff" and the importance I give it isn't much compared to what could be.
Here's to facing life with a steady gaze!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
So I've been thinking lately.....should I teach a spin class?
Crazy, sure it's crazy! I have a day job that keeps me pretty damn busy, I travel about 2 weeks a month, I've got a family life that keeps me quite nicely occupied.....the last thing I need is another hobby!
Yet, I think I'd be pretty damn good at it! Sure, some will think, "what the hell is this 53 year old dude thinking" but I think I can humble them after just a few songs!
You see, it all started over Christmas.....
This year, I did almost all my XMAS shopping on Amazon (except for the bushel of oranges I sent my mom from a shop here in Florida). Somewhere in cyberspace, I racked up about 20 bucks in credits for free music.
I didn't really have any burning desire for new music per se, but then I thought, "maybe I'll just download a couple of tunes with a steady BPM to try out at the gym"
Next thing you know, I've got about 15 new tunes from the likes of "Workout Heroes", "DJ Shocker", and "LA Fitness Crew"....mostly a bunch of guys that remix various hits with a lot of bass and a steady pounding beat.
And I told myself, "Self, you ought to try these out next time you're at the gym"
So on my last 3 cardio days, I've snuck in to the spin room at the gym, plugged in my music.....and exhausted myself with some pretty intensive HIIT on the bike thanks to my newly downloaded (and did I mention FREE) workout music.
And of course, being the kind, loving, and helpful soul that I am (seriously, ask my mom.....remember, I sent her oranges in winter!) I started thinking, "Hey I can help people get in shape by getting them to rock with me to some of these tunes"
But I'm not a personal trainer.....and I'm not a certified Spin Instructor.....hell, I've never even taken a CPR class. Why the hell would I want to do this?
Because the music is pretty darn good.....and I just like the idea that a 50-something guy like me can probably crush a bunch of 20-something dudes as they walk into the class thinking it'll be a cakewalk.
But that is arrogance....which leads to hubris....and all the sorts of bad things my mom warned me about long ago.
So I'm still working on the playlist....I've got it fine tuned to where I get in an incredible workout in about 30 minutes (15 of which are at a pretty hi-intensity level) and another one that goes on for 60 minutes at about 80% that intensity.
Maybe I'll just schmooz the curvilicious instructor and see if I can't win a "Guest Instructor" slot one of these days!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Monday, January 07, 2013
OK, I freely admit, I have been on a "No-blog" streak for over 2 months. Certainly, not a streak to be proud of and I have no real reason to have been on a blogging va-ca for so long. It's not like my life is any busier than usual (I'm still on the road 2+ weeks a month), nor have I had any "Spark disasters" (other than gaining about 9 lbs during the holidays, 4 of which have come back off since 1 Jan). Yeah, my last blog I highlighted the disheartening news about my cholesterol numbers being sky high, but truth be told, I look and feel healthier today than at any time in the last 20 years! Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!
I guess I just haven't had much to say!
Now none of my friends or family would ever say that I am a man of few words or characterize me as a "quiet man," so why I suddenly canned the blogging....what the hell, I really don't know why. However, as I approach my 3rd year on Spark (join date 9 Jan 11), I look back on the things that have helped me succeed and public blogging is right up there at the top of the list.
The good news is that I can honestly say that I am starting off 2013 feeling great. The past 2 years, but especially the last half of 2012, have given me a degree of control over my weight and health that I had previously viewed as out of my control. Especially over....FOOD!
Right before Thanksgiving, I weighed in at 177.....the lowest I have weighed in probably 20 years. Going into the holidays, I made a conscious decision (yes a conscious one) that I wasn't going to get all bent out of shape about enjoying.....carbs.
Yes carbs, that doughy, sugary, starch-laden food group that comes out in force between Thanksgiving and New Years.
I have been very disciplined since about June 2012 on keeping my carbs real low. Voila, I saw waistline shrinkage, pound droppage, and a sense of appetite control I have never felt before.
Great God in boots, why then would I ever eat carbs again?!?!
Hell, I don't know. SWMBO and I are social animals. We get lots of invitations to all sorts of events.....and I really felt like having some pecan pie....and some brownies.....and some warm, fresh out of the oven, bread.
So I did. Screw the tracker, screw the carbs, to hell with it all, let's just see what happens.
Well 9 lbs happened.....in 3 weeks! The 9 lbs that took me 7 months to drop off came back in 3 freakin' weeks.
Is there any justice in this universe?!?!? Who the hell designs a human body to have to work its ass off to drop 9 lbs in 7 months, only to have them find their way right back on in only 3 short holiday weeks. I wish my bank account worked like that.....work hard to take money out and have it all replaced in no time!
But like I said, it was a conscious decision. I wanted to run a little experiment, and, as with many things I've learned since joining Spark, I will chalk this up as a valuable experience.
Here's the cool part though.....I am not stressed about the gain.....I am confident and know just what I need to do to get back to where I want to be (like I said, 4 lbs have dropped off real quick). Two years of experience here has convinced me that logging food, logging points, working out, checking in with SP buds, welcoming newcomers, and yes, blogging, are all successful tools to get us the healthy body and lives we want.
So coming in to my 3rd year on SP, life is good; I know what works for me (and what doesn't).
I guess my only resolution for this year is to blog more often.....sure, why not!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Sunday, October 28, 2012
OK, I'm pretty pissed off....at myself.....at the world in general.....at so called experts.
Here's the deal;
I had my annual physical done on Friday. Tuesday I went in and gave them a few liters of blood so they could have all the labwork done when I sat down with the doc.
Fast forward to Friday....everything is checking out just fine...hearing, eyes, weight, blood pressure. Even the doc takes a look at me as I walk in and says, "Hey you look great!"
Then we get to the labwork.
Cholestrol is 300!
3 - FRIGGIN - HUNDRED!!!!
Now for the last 25 years my cholesterol has beeped and bopped between 180-210....last year this time it was 202.
So what the hell happened?!?!
Well in my zeal to adapt to a ketogenic diet, I lowered my carbs down to below 50gms/day. Most days I am below 30 gms/day. All the reading I have done tells me I should be in ketosis, that is, switching from burning carbohydrates as a primary fuel to burning fat.
To fuel your new metabolism.....SO THE THEORY GOES....you need to increase your fat intake....of all kinds....mono to saturated fats.
And I did so. For 5 happy months I stopped eating sugars and breads, starches and rice. I watched my waistline and belly tighten & shrink. I saw my bodyfat drop 4-5 percentage points. I started having fresh eggs for breakfast, I ate steaks with the fat, I put butter on my veggies, had bacon every chance I got.
For months I had been waiting for this physical, imagining that I would be the poster boy for this year's "Patient of the Year" award.
Instead the doc had a serious talk with me about starting a regimen of statins to lower my cholesterol!
I confessed to her my recent experiment of increasing my fat intake as I limited my carbs.....she just stared at me and again asked when I wanted to start the statins.
I pleaded for another 3 weeks to readjust my diet....this had to be an anomaly....either that or they switched my blood samples in the lab.
Now I'll admit, everything else looked great.....HDL was way high.....my glucose readings were great (apparently they have the ability from one sample to know what your levels have been for the last 6 weeks....amazing!). Apparently my risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is wicked low (which was my goal).....but I set off the medical alarm bells and warning lights for a potential heart attack!
Needless to say SWMBO was pissed. She gave me the "I told you so" stare. We spent Friday night walking around the beach figuring out how to fix me.
So I've been on a massive re-evaluation these past 2 days.
I think the low carb thing works for me.....I don't think that correlates to increasing my fat intake....definitely not saturated fats.
I track every damn thing I eat, so I'm going to have to do a little chemistry mixing to re-adjust some of my nutrients.
Yeah, I'm pissed, but I've come way to far too screw around. I've been making all sorts of changes in my diet and health these last 2 years on SP and I'm not about to chuck it all out the window because of this. It just means, yet again, a massive re-direction in how I think......how hard can that be?!?!?
More to follow.....have a great night Spark friends!
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