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Playlists, abs, and how deerhunting saved my marriage!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

So my first meeting today started at 7:30 AM. They were actually a series of working meetings, which I much prefer to the "sit back and listen to this presentation" type. Still, we were at it pretty hardcore for the next 9 hours.

Then a bunch of my colleagues wanted to hit this BBQ joint for dinner. I told them OK, but I had to hit the gym first, so we agreed to dinner at 7:30.

I lifted yesterday after landing, so today was cardio. I found a lone spin bike in the over-crowded gym here. It had an interesting set-up, with a big video screen that you could adjust to show you either a) bucolic scenes of winding roads, b) an effeminate male instructor urging you to "pedal faster", and c) A readout of all your vitals (heart rate, cadence, calories, etc)

I went with C!

For the last few weeks, I have been tweaking my "Hard Interval Cardio" playlist. It's not an HIIT workout (i.e. short bursts of all out sprinting interspersed with 60-90 second breaks), instead I wanted something that I could sustain for about an hour that has alternating hard hill climbs and sustained sprints.

I downloaded a pretty cool library of kitschy workout music free from Amazon (see blog:
) and I've been messing with my playlist to the point where I've finally got warmup, hard climbs, flat road sprints, and rest breaks all alternatingly built in just right for a good 60 minutes.

And today it paid off! I really like having audio cues to kick in that guide the workout. It helps not having to keep looking at my watch. When a particular tune comes on, I kick it up a notch or relax as needed. Hey, it works for me.

I then tackled the Nike Training Club's "Ab Burner" workout, the one that kicked my ass last week.

Well, I can't say yet that I kicked its ass, but after adding abs back into my routine (I've done this 15-minute ab workout 4 times since the 20th), it was decidedly easier. If there is any consolation to this tale it's that we can get back in shape quickly once we've built a good foundation. But those first few tries are rough!

The last piece of trivial knowledge I feel compelled to share with my SP friends is the coolest so far!

Don't know if any of you is troubled by your gym gear getting a little "stale" after repeated use to the point where even after a good washing they're never quite as good as new.

Well I do, and I have some favorite shirts that need constant washing and SWMBO is on the point of revolting, threatening to stop doing my laundry! Yes I know I could go buy some more, but I REALLY LIKE THESE SHIRTS!

So last weekend this buddy of mine was telling me of his deer hunting adventures (he has totally bad luck out there, but every now and then he bags me a few lbs of fresh venison)

He starts telling me how he washed all his clothes the night before in some Gucci new deer hunting detergent to get rid of the human smell (deer have very sensitive noses) and that leaves no UV reflecting light (they also have great eyesight into the UV range)

I ask him to tell me more about this magic elixer and he claims that it is super-charged stuff that gets rid of every possible trace of human scent...."even a bloodhound couldn't track you!" he tells me (not sure what he meant by that, but I tried not to take it personally)

It's called....wait for it.....Scent-A-Way!

Intrigued, I called up the local Bass Pro Shop and sure enough they had some in stock. So before flying up to Virginia this weekend, I gathered up everything in my workout clothes drawer (yes I have a "workout clothes drawer") and emptied about a half gallon of this stuff into the washer.

So far so good! So far pretty incredibly good! My fave shirt has survived 2 solid workouts this trip and is in perfectly clean smelling shape for a 3rd one tomorrow before I fly back home.

More to if I can just find something to get that cat smell out of the catbox!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PLMITCH 1/31/2013 9:08AM

    Thanks for the tip on the Scent-a-way. My workout stuff is in OK shape, but if it does reach that "stale" category, I'll be sure to pick some up.

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GREENGENES 1/30/2013 9:15PM

    Sounds like a great product. I'm curious what the ingredients are. I'm fortunate that I get a locker at the gym, including laundry service for only $75 per year.

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YOUNGNSMYLIE 1/30/2013 8:29PM

    Best tip ever about the scent-away. I hate admitting this, but I smell like a wildebeest after most workouts, and sometimes the smell lingers in the clothes even after a good washing. Luckily I live in a prime hunting area, so I'll probably be able to find a store that carries this stuff. AWESOME! emoticon

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BILL60 1/30/2013 7:09AM

    I guess my days/weeks in the field, while in the military, have made me real sensitive to the re-wear of workout clothes. Meaning, I cannot wear the same clothes more than once w/o washing. Thus the reason for having many bike shorts and jerseys.

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HEALTHIERKEN 1/30/2013 3:45AM

    Scent-a-way sounds like a damn good product. I bought supposedly odour-resistant compression shirts online. pfffffft! after one wearing they smell like stale sweat no matter how often I wash them, or hang them out in the fresh air and sunshine. Scent-a-way, here I come!

And here, from your blog title, I figured I'd have to go out and kill Bambi ; )

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BERGBA7 1/30/2013 2:11AM

    Congrats for telling the co-workers that you wanted to hit the gym before dinner! BRAVO!!! Fabulous example for us and others!
Who does not have a "workout clothes drawer" and takes out the same shirt every single workout anyway...
I have a cat allergy and never dealt with cat-smell - help from Belgium...and by the way... your sun did not arrive, yet...come on sent some over!!

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    I need the link to the kitschy free workout music on Amazon, please! I've been taking to spinning on my own some days (since I've taken up running the elliptical just does nothing for me now, and spinning is awesome).

And the litter box smell would go away with the elimination of the source problem.

Maybe bath the cats in scent-a-way?

Comment edited on: 1/30/2013 12:21:46 AM

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WOUBBIE 1/29/2013 11:01PM


Cool info! I have teenage boys and NEED this stuff!!!

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I never regret working out....but I always regret NOT working out!

Friday, January 25, 2013

So here's an interesting insight I had into myself today....I look forward to my Strength Training workouts all week....until I actually get to the gym!

Three times this week, as I changed in the locker room before hitting the weights, I had this nagging voice saying, "Oh man, this is going to hurt today" and I wanted to think of an excuse to not go in.

Weird huh?

I don't experience this at all on cardio days, even when I know I'm going into a tough session, either on my own or in an advanced spin class, or a scheduled HIIT day, I am digging every minute of it (well almost every minute.....HIIT days are pretty tough too!)

And I look forward to my ST days as well...except for the 30 minutes from when I change my clothes and go into the weight room. I think it's mostly due to the fact that I'm at my limits for most all of the lifts I'm doing, gains are very incremental, adding maybe 5 lbs every 2 weeks as I increase my reps.

One of my new pictures on my SP page says, "It never gets easier, you just get stronger" captures my current ST regimen. The pain, the strain, the effort, call it what you will, is the same every workout. You get stronger and are able to lift more, build more muscle, lose fat, gain definition....but it takes work....mostly physical....all mental!

So maybe that's why some part of my brain wants to stop, drop, and roll when I know what I'm about to go through in there.

The workouts are tough, and that's why I work out with a trainer, because I really don't think I would do as much, as hard as I do, on my own.

Today for example we moved up on squats. 240 lbs, 4 sets of 5 repetitions...after 3 sets warming up with lower weights. Then 4 sets of deadlifts....5 reps with 280 lbs (I do find these "easier" than the squats), then......

This is where Stasi-trained trainer guy earned his pay. He spotted me well, took just enough pressure off the bar when I stalled, then had me repeat when I thought I was out of Schlitz.

It's slow, it is painful.....but when it's done, I find myself already thinking about how great the next ST session is going to be, and how cool it'll be to do so many of this and that exercise, and man look at how great my arms are looking!

So what's my point? None really, it's just a personal observation I need to say out loud about myself, recognizing that I've got little voices that want me to quit, that don't want to exert or feel strain or pain or discomfort.....I need to know that they are always there and be mindful that it could be real easy to give in and let them have their way, keeping me from feeling discomfort.....and keeping me from getting where I want to be!

I never regret working out....but I always regret NOT working out!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

YOUNGNSMYLIE 1/29/2013 9:03PM

    I love that quote: "It never gets easier, you just get stronger." So true. And the voices telling you to quit can be pretty loud sometimes--I think it was a great idea to write down your thought process here. Great blog!

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KIMBERLY19732 1/29/2013 1:28AM


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BERGBA7 1/26/2013 11:35AM

    very true! Maybe I can use this idea for my eating motivation... It never regret NOT having eaten that piece of chocolate...but I always regret HAVING eaten it... or something like that!
Have a great weekend!

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WOUBBIE 1/26/2013 10:53AM

    Good self-analysis! Most of the time the anticipation of pain is actually (mentally) worse than the pain itself. It's like ripping off the bandaid. You have to steel your nerves to actually do it, and yes, it hurts like hell, and then it's over and you've moved on.

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BILL60 1/26/2013 7:29AM

    The essence of self-discipline.

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GREENGENES 1/25/2013 10:07PM

    I agree, the psychology of fitness is fascinating.

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Tuesday Cardio-Spin Challenge

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

So today was fraught with all sorts of potential landmines. Tuesday is my designated meeting hell day for the week. It's where I run our staff meeting, finance meeting, personnel moves & hires, yadda-yadda-yadda. I cram them all into Tuesday morning so as not to have huge "death by a thousand meetings" with tons of people in them the rest of the week.

Needless to say, this sometimes cramps my ability to duck out for a lunchtime spin class. On top of that, my afternoon today was packed with a slew of other to-do items to include phone calls, reports to get out, and a few visits from out of town contractors trying to sell me crap.

But there was a small window where, if my timing was perfect, I could split work, change, ride, shower, change, and get back to the office in time for my 1:00 PM appointment.

Did I make it?

You bet your Sparky ass I did! It was a thing of beauty....Stephen Spielberg couldn't have choreographed it any better.

What was especially good was that I got there just in time to land a bike.....5 minutes after I got there, they were turning people away because all the bikes were taken. Apparently, the January gym effect is still strong here in Florida.

The workout itself felt good. Curvilicious instructor updated her playlist with some pretty hardcore jamming tunes and gave us nary a break for the whole 45 minutes. On top of that, I was still recovering from yesterday's leg & back ST session. Monday was my medium weight/hi rep day.....sets of 15 squats, deadlifts, leg extensions, pullups, seated rows, etc.....the days I hate the most because there seems to be no end to each set. The time between the 12th squat and the 15th is sometimes infinite.

On the plus side, I'm back into a good eating routine too. I pack 2 salads to work and eat these around 10:00 AM and another around 3:00 PM. I load it up with spinach and lettuce, put about 2-3 oz of whatever protein SWMBO has in the fridge (of late the little vixen has been buying some most excellent Gulf Shrimp!), a tablespoon or 2 of my favorite ginger dressing (Makoto), a dash of olive oil, and a tablespoon of cottage cheese.

Each salad comes in at about 300 calories and tides me over quite nicely till dinner. I also keep a stash of almonds or pecans in my desk drawer and these provide a little crunchy snack if I feel like noshing in between salads.

I'm pretty happy with this routine.....I feel like I could maintain eating like this indefinitely. So far I'm back down to 181 lbs, hoping to get below 175 in the next few months. I may have to goad a couple of my Spark buds into an informal challenge to make sure we all get there!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BERGBA7 1/25/2013 1:04PM

    wow spin class for lunch between meetings... that's stressful! Congrats on doing it! You are super-spinner-man!
Interesting idea to have 2 salads during the day instead of a "lunch" - tempted to try it at work...
Have a great weekend!

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CLAIREINPARIS 1/25/2013 8:09AM

    Woohoo! It sounds great!
"Stephen Spielberg couldn't have choreographed it any better."... LOVED it!!! emoticon

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YOUNGNSMYLIE 1/24/2013 7:16PM

    Awesome job! It always feels good to make it to a class when you've got a crazy schedule.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 1/23/2013 9:34AM


.*) ✫ .*)
(. . .`.✫
.*) ✫ .*)✫ Spread the Spark
(. . (..`.✫

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BEATLETOT 1/23/2013 3:59AM

    What a fabulous blog! I've been eating my salad usually at home for dinner. I pack fruit and the last couple weeks, a frozen entree for lunch, though yesterday was soup. Since I don't like to cook, I usually top the salad with taco meat...that's all I really bother with. =)

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Neglected abs.....WTF!

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);

Toe Touches

Russian Twists

Planks (I add the rising twist)

"Crazy Ivans"

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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBECCATKD 1/21/2013 8:39PM

    Looks like fun! How many reps?

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HANSBRINK 1/21/2013 5:13PM

  Yes to all, along with some bicycle crunches and some reverse crunches. You call them planks, I call them side planks. Can really feel those when I'm done.

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LISAINMS 1/21/2013 3:57PM

    I had stopped doing pushups and planks because I get so much core and shoulder work anyway. I decided to do an old bootcamp routine last week and made a similar sad (and painful) discovery. That routine is going back in rotation.

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MYLADY4 1/21/2013 3:49PM

    Love Russian twists

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NAYPOOIE 1/21/2013 2:56PM

    Abs are my least exercised muscles. I should probably change that

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HEALTHIERKEN 1/21/2013 2:35PM

    You're scaring me : ( Clearly, I'll never look like Conan by Hallowe'en unless I get back to dedicated abs workouts. Thanks for the wake-up call.


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GREENGENES 1/21/2013 2:25PM

    I also haven't done push-ups in a long time thinking that I'm working those muscles with other exercises. I fear that I am sadly mistaken. I think I have to start mixing things up some more. Thanks for the reminder.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 1/21/2013 8:14AM

    Love the look of the Crazy Ivans! Need to try that!

My favorite overall core workout is the Turkish Get Up. As I get older, the idea of falling and not being able to get up scares me. This exercise makes me feel like I'm helping to mitigate that possibility... or at lease delay it as long a possible!

Check out:

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BILL60 1/21/2013 6:54AM

    I feel the burn!!

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BERGBA7 1/21/2013 3:07AM

    As a singer, my first concern in this blog is Steven Tyler' vocal folds...
He sure needs some serious rest after a performance with multiple of those high notes... so I hope you did not actually strain your abs the same way he is misusing his vocal folds. Otherwise they will need a week or two of rest to recover!
You are very right saying that if you stop doing an exercise, you loose your ability to actually do it... this is even true in singing high notes... train them or loose them-but with good technique, Steven!

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    Seriously couldn't agree with you more. I haven't done a series of push-ups in a couple months (since I shifted from bootcamps to spin classes) and ....I fear how much I've back-slid in that body-weight department. Keep it up!

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