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The Triad - Cardio, Strength....and Flexibility!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

So I freely admit, I enjoy working out. It wasn't always so, but it is today. I enjoy both cardio and strength training. I like pushing my limits on both, whether it means getting my heart rate up doing interval training for cardio, or adding more weight on the bar for squats, deadlifts, presses etc.....I even (though not as enthusiastically) like combining the two, lifting mid-level weights for lots of reps in a short amount of time.

But there is a part of my fitness life where I have to admit to being a total slacker.

Yes, I'm not afraid to admit that I slack...it's the truth and there's no use hiding it....I'm a slacker.

I don't like stretching.

Actually, I kind of do like stretching....more like I enjoy the feeling after stretching.

You see, while working out, I enjoy the exertion, whether it's breathing hard as I peak during interval training, or pushing with all my might against the force of gravity with a heavy weight on my back....I'm OK with that.

But sitting on the floor, reaching for my ankles, trying to pull my back & hamstrings into extension is....not fun.

Maybe it's just that beginner's mentality thing....everything is hard when first starting out. And I've gone through bouts where I stretch regularly for a few days....then slack right back off.

I've even got all sorts of gadgets to make it easier and more fun. I do admit to liking this nifty little roller from Trigger Point;


It's an evil little device (as are most foam rollers) but I have to admit, when I'm done rolling it over my back, hams, quads, you name it, I feel like I've had a high end sports massage.

I also like it's evil side-kick, the Trigger Point Massage Ball. This little thing beats the pants off of tennis balls for finding those little spots in between the muscles; it forces them to separate and release. He hurts like a 'mo, but I can't deny his effectiveness.


I've found these little bad boys to be quite less painful, but they took a lot of getting used to....mainly because they weren't so painful (Why do I always go back to thinking that stretching has to be painful?)


They're kind of cool (SWMBO likes them too)...they just don't work fast. You basically relax into them as you place one or both on your lower back and gently press and relax into it. As you do so, you're supposed to breathe into it and let your lower back stretch, while keeping your abs somewhat tight. Not bad....I just have to get my Type A personality to accept them.

The last tool I have is a Stretch-Out Strap;


It looks dangerous, but it actually works pretty well for a not-so-loose guy like me, allowing me to hook hands & feet at various tension levels and just relax into them.

A few years ago, SWMBO and I went to a couples yoga class....while it was a pretty good date night event, it was an unmitigated disaster for me....it was worse than being the kid who couldn't climb the rope.....I was the kid that couldn't hold the downward facing dog pose



Needless to say, what started this blog entry today was coming back home from an hour of cardio and 30 minutes of farmer's carries (see my blog www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5298569
) and noticing I felt a little tight.

So after feasting on our Easter Ham (I make one hell of a good ham!), I got out a few of these torture devices and proceeded to stop, drop, and roll many of the various kinks out.

And, of course, I liked it....when I was done.

I make no promises....but maybe....just maybe....I'll find a way to work in this third leg of the fitness triad; cardio, strength,.....and flexibility!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJCANNON 5/1/2013 10:55AM

    emoticon It took the Trainer at my Gym 2 YEARS to talk me into Stretching! I can be a Slow Learner, LOL! But when I finally really did it and did it correctly, I fell in love with it!
emoticon I wouldn't dream of leaving the Gym without Stretching now.

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KA_JUN 4/1/2013 11:37PM

    I'm the same way. Have a love/hate relationship with my roller. That thing hurts if you're doing it right, but worth it in the end. While you're doing it, though. emoticon

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ATTACKFATCAT 4/1/2013 2:50PM

    I think a lot of people overlook flexibility, but I think it can make a huge difference in loosening tight muscles and even help improve hip flexibility for squats and other ST exercises. I try to make sure I do a long stretch after an intense cardio or intense cardio/ST combo and I've seen a lot of improvement over the past 3 months. My foam roller, aka "Jillian" is also a lot less painful that it was for the first session.

Hopefully you can make it a regular part of your workout routine. It does get easier over time, just like cardio and ST. That strap contraption looks a little scary though. It almost looks like one of those things those people hang from during Cirque du Soleil!


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BERGBA7 4/1/2013 11:43AM

    I introduced some of the yoga exercises to my routine since January and I feel that they do me lots of good. Flexibility is important - especially to stay fit in older age, what I want to achieve with my program. My downward facing dog is not very pretty though....but it is getting better.
emoticon
I will call Amazon and see if they will replace the DVDs. Never did that, so it is going to be a challenge in itself
emoticon

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PMRUNNER 4/1/2013 4:47AM

    Thanks for sharing! Stretching is too often an afterthought, if I have time, if I remember it, if it is convenient. A good reminder that it is an integral part of the whole fitness picture.

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BOB240 4/1/2013 4:32AM

    We're both too old not to do it. I force ten minutes stretching at the end of every routine. I hate it but it must be done.

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ADVENTURESEEKER 4/1/2013 3:20AM

    I *love* working out as well. I don't do enough stretching, either. I need to get back into it! And do more yoga, which helps the flexibility as well.
I bought a foam roller the other week. I've used it once. I was so sore before, and it was so painful I was tearing up during (IT bands from running and lower body workout) but then after- it was a miracle!

Keep up the stretching!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IMREITE 4/1/2013 12:55AM

    i like exercising but i do get sick of doing some of the same things over and over. i do get bored with jumping jacks and lots of pushups. but i try intervals, different dance classes, yoga, strength training and HIIT.

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CHRISKENANDKIDS 3/31/2013 10:22PM

    Great job on the stretching but it's really much better to stretch RIGHT AFTER working out! Then you don't get as much pain and it helps your muscles not tighten up as much in the first place. It doesn't have to hurt and it really gets better the more you do it. And that's my soapbox. So there. :)

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HAWAIIANMAMMA 3/31/2013 9:52PM

    What a great blog! I also tend to think that stretching needs to be painful, but I'm kind of masochistic and I enjoy that pain while I'm stretching. Lol I came in from my run about an hour ago and started stretching and for about the tenth time in the last week I thought to myself, "I need to buy a foam roller". Those things are amazing! I might check out that torture ball you posted also. Sounds like it'll do wonders on my back!

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RISAMEANSLAUGH 3/31/2013 9:39PM

    Dear GettingStrongerr,

I guess as a person who's had quite a few injuries, I've become adept at stretching AND I know that without it, I might not walk the next day (no lie). But I can see that it takes some patience and practice to get into stretch. I think it's become so ingrained, that I just DO IT, didn't say I had to "like it". I hope this third leg of working out becomes more routine for you and therefore easier to get into.

I do wish you all the best of success in your weight management journey!
All the best!
sincerely,
Riisa

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VHALKYRIE 3/31/2013 9:30PM

    Flexibility is something that I've lost! I hope it's one of those things that you can get back with practice.

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Leaving it all at the gym -- Farmer's Carries and Bowling

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Well today SWMBO and I threw #2 son's birthday party. We invited about 20 of his good pals to a bowling alley where we rented a couple of lanes and fed them pizza, cake, and soda for 3 hours....man am I glad that's over!

Last week was #2 son's actual birthday, but he had a Special Olympics event to go to so we held the party today. He's a special needs boy and we had a good mix of boys and girls from the specials class from both school and church in attendance. They all had a blast! SWMBO and I know pretty well how to deal with most of the kids that have more serious handicaps and/or emotional needs and we helped them along as best we could, making sure they partook and felt included. They're a great bunch of kids that do some pretty incredible things, struggling but never giving up. SWMBO is fond of saying that watching them makes you want to both sing with joy and cry in sorrow.

Hell I felt so motivated I even had pizza and soda with them!

But to gear up for this event, I needed to get to the gym early and knock out some serious cardio intervals....and to try out a new exercise that has intrigued me for a few weeks now....Farmer's Carries!



I hit the bike hard for about 45 minutes, doing some pretty hardcore intervals that got me up to 90-95% of my max heart rate a few times, bringing it down to a more sustainable 70-80% in between. I had a chance to try out a new playlist and that really helped, especially with the peaks.

Then I grabbed a pair of 50 lb dumbbells.....and walked.....and walked.....and walked.

I gotta tell you, it was pretty energizing! It's quite a different thing to just hold on tight to some mildly heavy weights and walk. I felt it right where I wanted to....right in my forearms....pretty much everything below the elbow....I felt like Popeye after a can of spinach


And that is exactly why I wanted to do them. I think it's a very functional exercise, learning to walk and maneuver while carrying some heavy weights (I did a circular loop in and out of the weight room down the connecting hallway). By the third set, my forearms were radiating fire, so I re-racked the weights and went to my car.

Then #1 son called. He's our 25 year old who lives in North Carolina.....and a true gym rat. I gave him the blow-by-blow of my workout and then he asked, "Sounds good dad....did you leave it all at the gym?"

"Yeah, I had a good workout, I feel pretty good"

"I know dad.....but did you leave it all in the gym or did you have any left in you?"

I'm thinking, "who the hell raised this little son-of-a-bitch" but I knew the answer so I just answered, "I might have another rep or 2 in me, so what?"

"If you're still in the gym, you should leave it all there"

At this point, I've already walked out the door, my car is 20 yards in front of me....but the front door is 5 yards behind me.

"Seriously, you're challenging me? You're playing the guilt card on me? This from the kid who routinely complained about being too tired to take out the trash or empty the dishwasher?"

"You're call dad, I know I left it all at the gym today"

"OK, you're on! Don't forget to call your brother at the party today or I'll take these Popeye forearms of mine and crush you like an empty soda can"

"That's cute dad, considering I did my warm-ups today with your max effort!"

Children truly are a blessing!

So I went back. This time I picked up a pair of 55 lb dumbbells, cranked up the volume on my new favorite motivational song (Nickelback - "If Today Was Your Last Day")....and walked until I had absolutely nothing left and the weights were slipping through my jelly-like fingers.


Needless to say, I truly sucked at bowling....even the kiddie weight balls were tough on my grip. But my horrendous bowling brought squeals of delight to all the kids, so I didn't really care!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJCANNON 5/1/2013 10:47AM

    emoticon I have been Looking at Kettle Bells for awhile now. I think this might be a really good reason to Stop Looking and Pick a Couple of them Up, LOL!!
emoticon Son #1 sounds like a Fun Guy to have around!!

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KA_JUN 4/1/2013 11:36PM

    I love farmers walk! Sounds like your family can really throw it around, I like what your son said, I'll keep that in the back of my mind the next time I lift, for sure!

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HAKAPES 3/29/2013 3:27PM

    Thanks for sharing this!
For now about two years, I decided to make all my shopping with a backpack, and handbags, and carry it home. It's another easy way to cram in some exercise minutes, and I'm also more conscious about what I shop ... I have to carry it to home. Now I'll have the proper name for it, Farmer's Carries! :-)

Thanks for sharing! I enjoy your blogs all the time, you write in a lively way that cheers me up.

And also thanks for the comments!

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WHOVIANPRINCESS 3/27/2013 2:21PM

    Love this! I only hope to one day have my children challenge me and keep me on my toes.

Awesome!

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LEANJEAN6 3/27/2013 8:10AM

    Great--motivating----Lynda emoticon

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/25/2013 9:51PM

    What a motivational blog! I know I have been going to the gym and definitely not "leaving it all there" In fact, I've been "phoning it in" the last few days. Tell your son "thank you" for me. Will leave it all there tomorrow!

Ha! I've been doing those Farmer's Carries for a while now! Called them 'Suitcase Carries" but I only use one 20-35 lb kettle bell and switch from hand to hand as I walk around the track.

I also do "waiter carries". And then there is one in between, shoulder level, but can't remember the name of that one.

Check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBSd
jLBL1Tc

Take care and keep spreading the Spark!



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ATTACKFATCAT 3/25/2013 2:35PM

    What great motivations from your son and way to take him up on that challenge! I saw the farmer carries during an episode of Extreme Makeover: WLE and it looks like a great exercise that will help you build muscle for everyday life. I am constantly carrying in heavy grocery bags and 42lb containers of cat litter, so I'm sure exercises like this would help because I know I'm straining my back when I'm doing it...no bueno!

When I was student teaching I had a student with Down Syndrome in my class. It was an elective class and I had never known anyone with DS before. But he was one amazing kid. He was always saying hello and would always give his all on any assignment I gave him. He gave way more effort than any other student in my class and he always had a great attitude. He was in the paper a few weeks ago for a special program they are doing at the school and I'm proud of all he has accomplished. He was definitely a joy to be around and inspirational as well!

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DOUGDC 3/25/2013 1:24PM

    Delightful story. Thanks for sharing!

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VHALKYRIE 3/25/2013 1:09PM

    Never heard of farmer carries before!

Your son seems to have inherited your gift of persuasion! ;)

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HANSBRINK 3/25/2013 11:44AM

  I do paddling. During competition the coach reminds us to leave it all on the water. Thanks for your blog. Its another idea on how to train to do just that.

And I admire you for you work with the special needs kids.

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HANSBRINK 3/25/2013 11:44AM

  I do paddling. During competition the coach reminds us to leave it all on the water. Thanks for your blog. Its another idea on how to train to do just that.

And I admire you for you work with the special needs kids.

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BERGBA7 3/25/2013 3:41AM

    Framer's carries... never heard of that before. I guess, I do this exercise every week when I walk with my heavy bags grocery shopping for 1 mile. I sometimes reach home and my hands and arms are falling off.
emoticon
Your son might be stronger than you but surely not wiser. You've got the brains more developed than him!
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Great bowling event and good for you for making their day! I am sure they will be talking about it for weeks.
emoticon

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BEATLETOT 3/25/2013 3:41AM

    Wow, these sound like a fun idea, though maybe not the best idea before a bowling birthday party! =) Maybe someday for me....

The birthday party sounds so lovely, and your description of it made me want to go bowling! emoticon

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CHRISKENANDKIDS 3/24/2013 9:42PM

    LOL! Good for him! I've never thought of trying farmer's carries or even heard of them. Now I'm intrigued! :)

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IRISHBEANERGAL 3/24/2013 8:49PM

    LOVE THIS! And I love farmer's carries. Trainer #9 used to make me do them on "light days" (yeah RIGHT! His idea of a light day would make some shudder lol). He had me walk the track outside - pair of 35# dumbells for one lap, pair of 50# 2nd lap, pair of 45# 3rd lap, and then pair of 40# for the last - some light day indeed! I felt like I'd run a marathon instead of walking a mile lol.

Keep up the farmer's carries. They improve your posture and your core, as well as all of the other benefits...

Glad the birthday party went so well!

~Irish



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GIANTMICROBE 3/24/2013 7:40PM

    Hahahaha that's so awesome :) I do walking lunges with weights but never just a farmer carry. Will have to try it out!!!

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ALIWVU121 3/24/2013 7:39PM

    Great blog! You and your son made me laugh. Awesome that you went back in though! And that's really great that you had everyone come out for your son's bday party!! Have a great week!

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Strength Training, Cardio....and Twinkies!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So I'm very pleased to report that rest days have their payoff (see my last blog www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5288651
)

I felt totally refreshed and raring to go for a heavy legs ST session last night. I freely admit, these are tough days where I push my max loads for squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, etc. doing anywhere from 5-10 reps depending on the specific exercise. Luckily I only do these heavy days about every 2 weeks to build in enough time to recover.

Well yesterday I rocked the house! I felt nice and rested with 2 days totally off from working out over the weekend. I set PRs on squats (4 sets of 6 with 240 lbs) and deadlifts (3 sets of 5 with 305 lbs) my absolute favorite lifts.

But man was I sore today! I slept like a rock for almost 9 straight hours and must confess, I was a little slow this morning (I run our staff meetings on Tuesday mornings.....I was uncharacteristically quiet!)



By lunchtime, I knew I needed to do something, so I ducked out for a Spin Class, quite possibly my smartest call of the day. Curvalicious instructor gal worked us hard!




When I got back to the office I was in noticeably better spirits and not nearly as stiff.

This week I'm going to focus pretty closely on diet. I've been stuck in the low 180s for a while. I have no idea what my goal weight should be, but something tells me I'm within 10 lbs of it.....I'd like to stay between 170-175. So I'm going to pay a little closer attention to calories. Since going low carb, I've not worried much about total calories, just trying to keep carbs below 50 gms/day. It's worked great, but I think I'm up for a change.


So I'm going to track and maintain within my ranges for a while and see what happens.

On a totally unrelated note, someone at work mentioned (with quite disturbing glee) their utter joy at the following news release;

"Twinkies are Back!"
money.cnn.com/2013/03/12/news/compan
ies/twinkies-buyer/index.html



So the North Koreans are bonkers with nukes, Syria is imploding, our federal budget is on par with Cyprus, yet the resurrection of Twinkies as a food source is grabbing the headlines.

Must be the same folks that came up with the 90-day "Think About It" exercise weight loss challenge


Try to have a good night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARRENLYNN 3/24/2013 4:59PM

    Way to keep taking care of yourself! I don't know why but I was surprised by the amount of attention that the disappearance of twinkies receiced!! emoticon

Karen

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STRONG_SARAH 3/24/2013 2:47PM

    Ha ha ha ......great blog. I live in Italy and don't miss Twinkies AT ALL! I wish they would go out of business actually.

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LOOLLY2 3/22/2013 7:31AM

    Ur blog is genius especially the "think about it" pics.....lol

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JULIAMOONCHILD 3/21/2013 8:33PM

    You're a MACHINE!!!
In fact, I wish you were my gym trainer. No wait, you would surely KILL me.

Anyway, I love reading your blogs - No matter what the topic, your humor always leaves me laughing out loud and your illustrations are PERFECTLY Hilarious!

emoticon

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/21/2013 2:50PM

    Really? Twinkles are back? And that makes the headlines? I never understood the attraction for them, never liked them at all. Certainly never shed a tear when the were gone and shook my head in disbelief at the people lined up at the outlets to stockpile Twinkies before they were all one. And now they are back, just what the people need.

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YOUNGNSMYLIE 3/20/2013 10:17PM

    Haha, love the think about it campaign pic; glad you aren't just thinking about it--you are DOING it. Great work, hope you are doing well with nutrition this week.

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BOB240 3/20/2013 2:45PM

    twinkies are the unsung hero of those wanting to lose weight. Try the twinkie diet:


http://www.cnn.co.
uk/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.di
et.professor/index.html

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 3/20/2013 11:45AM

    LOL I love the "Think About It" before and After

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ATTACKFATCAT 3/20/2013 11:26AM

    I'm glad you managed to take the rest weekend and that it really paid off for you! I've found I wind up doing my best PRs on the bike after a lighter weekend of exercise, so I really believe in rest/recovery time.

I don't get the Twinkie obsession either. I mean, I do like them personally and will eat them on a rare occasion, but it wasn't one of those things I was shedding a tear over or anything if they were gone forever. It is a little disturbing that people get more riled up over a food that brings back memories for them (but that I'll bet they rarely eat these days) than they do over things that are a little more concerning to them right this minute. But unfortunately we have a society that would riot in the streets if junk food was banned, but could care less if we have a government that can't seem to reach a consensus on anything.

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BEATLETOT 3/20/2013 10:17AM

    Yay! I always enjoy reading your blogs!

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BILL60 3/20/2013 9:15AM

    Way to go!!

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GIANTMICROBE 3/20/2013 8:21AM

    Hahaha, I love all your illustrations.

I don't get why Twinkies are so popular. There's no chocolate in there, so who cares?! :)

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BBECKER1955 3/20/2013 6:59AM

    Those are some PR's!
emoticon

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BERGBA7 3/20/2013 3:37AM

    emoticon
Great job knowing what you can and need to get where you want! The pic about the gym and the kitchen is perfectly right... and the zombie pic... just too funny!
Have a great day and thanks for the idea of the loop running during long days!
emoticon emoticon

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KA_JUN 3/19/2013 11:28PM

    Dude, you're a monster! Hardcore, for sure. Not going to lie, I laughed at the Full Metal Jacket spinning pic. Great job! Twinkies on the news...next, breaking news on Ho-Hos.

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CHRISKENANDKIDS 3/19/2013 10:54PM

    Great job on the ST and very good call to do spin class to get all that lactic acid out of the legs. Rock on!

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ADVENTURESEEKER 3/19/2013 10:48PM

    Woot woot! on the heavy legs day!

Haha on the twinkies bit. Isn't it sad what captures some people's attention?

Keep on pushin'!

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Rest....gotta do it!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

So I like to work out. Since 2007, when I stopped smoking and decided to get up off the couch, I have found immense pleasure in moving, running, cycling, lifting, pushing, pulling....almost everything except jumping.

Being a bit of a data hound, I measure everything; max heart rate, resting heart rate, BMI, bodyfat percentages, hip/waist ratios, one rep max deadlifts, squats, etc, and even some old-fashioned measures of success, like can I fit in to those old pair of 33 inch jeans (YES I CAN!)

I've been very happy to find that on almost all of my ST measures for various types of lifts, I am firmly in the INTERMEDIATE range for my age and weight (here's a link to some pretty cool charts)
lonkilgore.com/freebies/freebies.htm
l


I try to lift 3x/week, alternating between heavy and medium weight days, working out everything from legs, to back, to chest, to shoulders. I also try to get in 3 days of cardio, anything from biking, to spinning, to ellipticals, and rowing machines. Overall about 5-6 days a week.

One of the oddest mental shifts I've made is that in the past I would look for reasons NOT to workout.....today I look for reasons TO workout....motivational posters like these now make perfect sense to me;






Having said all that, one of the great (and hard won) lessons I have learned is the need for proper rest. This is a tough concept to get right.

Used wisely, rest allows your body to heal up and build strength & muscle through a program of periodization, the idea that you cycle through periods of putting stress on the body to progressively improve, while building in time for rest and recovery before putting it under more and increased stress.

Used un-wisely, rest can lead to inaction and longer and longer times between workouts, until, one day, you realize it's been months since you've hit the gym and you need to start breaking out the sweatpants because nothing else fits!



Like I said, I've been averaging 5-6 workouts a week for the last 2-3 months. This week, even though I did very good in the ST and cardio department, I noticed I was mentally dragging quite a bit. Nothing specific, just a slight sense of fatigue. 2 weeks ago I pulled a hamstring. Thursday, my calf tightened up on me during a spin class.

So I decided to listen to the signs, heed the voice of trainers and authors who emphasize rest and recovery as part of a total program of health & wellness.

This weekend, I shall do nothing!


Well, not exactly....just no working out. Today we've got family pictures planned, so I actually have to bathe and shave. Tonight, I'm escorting #2 son and his date to go see "Oz, the Great and Powerful" and we're going to take them to Golden Corral for dinner before the movie (teens can eat like crazy and not gain a pound!)

Tomorrow is #2 son's birthday (Yes, he's a St Patty's Day baby!) A friend of ours is a restaurant owner in town and is throwing a corned beef and cabbage charity event for lunch, so we're going there at noon. Then, for his birthday, #2 son wants to have what we call "breakfast dinner" in our household....mom scrambles up eggs, fries some bacon, browns up some potatoes, and even makes pancakes for dinner.

So yeah, the do nothing weekend coincides with a high potential for high eats as well. This might just be a weekend to write off on all SP measures of success.....but I'm surprisingly OK with that. One of the great benefits of finding discipline about food and exercise through SP is that these INFREQUENT detours are OK. This'll be a lazy, eat without remorse weekend....then right back into it on Monday. As another kitschy motivational poster says;


Have a great weekend Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JULIAMOONCHILD 3/18/2013 10:31PM

    PS. OMG! "I beat anorexia" t-shirt will have me laughing in my sleep tonight! Priceless!
emoticon

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JULIAMOONCHILD 3/18/2013 10:28PM

    Your weekend sounded just lovely and, perhaps, much needed for that 'recovery' period to happen. Hope you're feeling rested and much improved for having taken that bit of time off.

Now, the birthday breakfast/dinner idea of number two son was sooooooo up my alley of what would totally rock for any celebration on my calendar! Breakfast foods for dinner - that's REAL LIVIN', in my book! LOL, I even asked my number 1 neice to do breakfast foods at her wedding, if she ever gets married, that is. emoticon emoticon

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ATTACKFATCAT 3/18/2013 3:24PM

    Hope you had a great "no workout" weekend! I think we get so engrossed in our routines that we freak out over the least bit of variation. Like if we get sick or injured or some other major break in our weekly routines. I think two of the things we need to include in our "mental" workout routine is listening to our bodies and flexibility in our schedules.

There is a huge difference in not wanting to workout because of the "I don't wannas" and genuinely being worn out mentally and physically. And not being able to make that distinction is what winds up causing most of us to burn out with exercise or wind up really getting injured. Or we panic if we have to miss one workout for some reason (flat tire, illness, etc.). It's like we think all our hard work is going to be undone with that one missed workout or that we might as well quit if our schedule isn't perfect.

I can say those things because I've experience those exact same slipups. I've burnt myself out and I've just given up because I had to skip a few workouts due to injuries (from overdoing it and not taking proper rest). That is my real challenge this time around. Going home instead of the Y when I am just exhausted, but getting back to working out the next morning or evening. If I have to skip a workout due to something like a doctor's appointment, I find another day or time to make it up if I can, but if not, I don't sweat it.

Like everything else in my life lately...I can control what happens, but I can control how I react to it. And if I react to bumps in the road by just giving up entirely, then that's when I undo all my previous hard work. Not when I have to skip that one workout.

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/18/2013 10:27AM

    I'm sure you enjiyed your restful weekend just make sure your rest day doesn't turn into 2...or 3...or more days or weeks!

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GOODGETNBETR 3/17/2013 4:15PM

    Sounds like an awesome weekend. As long as the wagon isn't too far off the ground the fall shouldn't do too much damage. Enjoy.

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LEANJEAN6 3/17/2013 9:01AM

    Enjoyed yer blog so much------sounds like you are successfully Sparking-Lynda

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DDOORN 3/16/2013 11:18PM

    Hope you're enjoying your restful weekend! It can be such a tricky thing...I always cite Newton's Laws of Physics: An Object at Rest...yadda yadda, but also and Object in Motion...? Which is why stopping for me is sometimes risky. AND tough to get 'er MOVIN' again!

Don

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BEATLETOT 3/16/2013 8:32PM

    I LOVE that last picture!!! Enjoy your rest week!

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ADEWYN 3/16/2013 7:45PM

    Huugs... completely made sense... good for you to realize you need the rest.. and as far as the eating.. track anyways and no worries... I am 5-6 day at te gym person too until i moved to t and i have only made it 4 days a week but i am still getting 8 classes in .. in those 4 days.. hang in there .. hgs and love.. enjoy the weekend!


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DOUGDC 3/16/2013 4:10PM

    Great reading, and Happy St. Patrick's Day to you and to son #2 (and the rest of the family -- don't want to leave anyone out). It's great that you share your understanding of how exercise and strength training work for the rest of us who are a bit more puzzled. Thanks!
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HEALTHIERKEN 3/16/2013 2:31PM

    "So I like to work out. " I almost laughed out loud when I read that monumental understatement!

But you've hit every nail on the head at least since I've been reading your blogs here on SP, and this is another one full of wisdom and common sense. Yes, work hard; yes, eat carefully; yes keep the temptations in check. Most of the time. Yes, take the occasional return to hedonism in stride; and yes, definitely, definitely yes, incorporate strategic rest periods into the fitness/wellness regimen.

You rock, GETSTRONGRRR!


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BERGBA7 3/16/2013 1:04PM

    Enjoy your weekend and food without remorse! I know you will be hitting the gym on Monday and pushing it to the max as usual! It is very wise to listen to your body's sings of fatigue.
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Maybe you can train you vocal folds under the shower as kind of alternative to hitting the gym on rest days.
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IRISHBEANERGAL 3/16/2013 11:54AM

    Well thought out! And I love the last *motivational* poster - made me laugh out loud. How many times have I thought that (and thankfully, most times turned myself around before doing it). Now I will have the image of me stomping on my phone firmly in place -- quite the visual motivator for sure!

Enjoy your weekend - you've EARNED it!

~Irish

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ADVENTURESEEKER 3/16/2013 11:33AM

    Love this! Enjoy your rest day. I also find them important in feeling better and recovery!

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CHRISKENANDKIDS 3/16/2013 11:06AM

    Great decision! I decided that today is a rest day for me, too. I've worked out hard three days in a row and my entire body is sore so I take that as a signal to rest. Have a great weekend!

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REBECCATKD 3/16/2013 10:55AM

    Thanks for all the motivational posters -- I especially like the one about dedication vs obsession. Enjoy the birthday tomorrow!

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ALIWVU121 3/16/2013 10:54AM

    I've got to say your plans sound like fun! (Maybe minus the awkward feel of being the chaperone on a date, lol) Have a great weekend and remember this nice little rest will make working out on Monday feel that much better!

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YMWONG22 3/16/2013 10:42AM

  Rest is important in weight loss. I need to work on getting adequate sleep.
Happy birthday to your #2 son and have a great weekend ahead.
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VHALKYRIE 3/16/2013 10:33AM

    All makes sense to me!

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You're doing the right thing. I find that mental fatigue is a warning bell that my activity has exceeded my body's rate of repair.

Your 'rest' days sound exhausting, though! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/16/2013 10:37:24 AM

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ALL-IS-AMAZING 3/16/2013 10:29AM

    Enjoy your weekend emoticon

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First, do no harm!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

So one of the great thing about being 53, as opposed to being 23, is that I have a much better appreciation for what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong, what is important and what is not important.

At 23, I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound. I could drink like a fish and wake up fine the next morning. I could party like a rockstar all night and not miss a beat the next day. I could workout hard ignoring all sorts of aches and pains.

Not any more!

I can't eat a tenth of what I consumed in college; I don't drink any more; a hard night of partying now means watching the fireworks on New Years Eve and going to bed at 12:01

And now I pay attention to aches and pains.

Some of my long time Spark buds know my story. The Reader's Digest version is that I joined SP in Jan 2001, 2 weeks after I had Hip "Re-surfacing" surgery (instead of a replacement, the doc went in and installed a modified ball & socket joint in my left hip). It really was a miracle....I woke up after the surgery, pain-free in my left hip for the first time in years!

My path to getting there was long and tedious, but it mostly consisted of ignoring a lot of minor aches & pains, toughing out things I should have been smarter about, telling the docs much earlier than I did.

Anyway, post-surgery the ortho doc said, "Enough of the high impact running, you're done. You need to start cycling, working out on rowing machines, ellipticals, etc. And you probably need to drop 20 lbs"

So I revamped my whole approach to exercise and fitness. I hired a trainer to start working on getting me stronger again (hence my SP name) and the first thing I told him was, "First, do no harm!"

I wanted to exercise right, I wanted my form to be perfect, I wanted all around total body improvement, I wanted to gradually build muscle & lose fat....I wanted to be the poster boy for recovery to the ortho doc who did my hip re-surfacing surgery.

And it has worked!

And so one of the good things about being 53 is an enhanced ability to recognize the difference between good pain and bad pain.

Even with all the care and attention in the world, even doing everything exactly right, even with having a professional trainer watch and assist when things get tough, sometimes weird muscles can tighten up, seize up, do whatever the hell they want, and cause a sharp, sharp pain.

At 23 I ignored them.....at 53 I pay attention and honor them! I know what good pain is and I know what bad pain is.

The burn of doing 15 squats with 170 lbs on my back.....good pain
The strain of deadlifting 300 lbs off the floor....good pain
The white hot fire in my legs at 110 RPM on the spin bike....good pain
A sharp tug in the hamstring doing hamstring curls....bad pain

So Monday night, I'm working legs out pretty hard and my hamstring seizes up on me....not too bad, but I feel something there that's not quite the burn of a good pain....but I decide to do one more curl.

Bad move....bad pain....bad, sharp pain....bad, stop all movement pain!

Too late, I felt a big fat knot, smack in the belly of the muscle, just radiating soreness, refusing to be ignored.

I told Stasi trainer guy, "we're done with legs today, let's finish up doing back and arms"

Monday night was not fun. I kept waking up every time I rolled over in bed. The next day I was walking around work trying my best to disguise a slight limp. Needless to say, I decided against a spin class Tuesday.

But today I woke up and most of the pain was gone. Even so, I focused on upper body only at the gym tonight, wanting to give whatever demons that still reside in my hamstring no reason to stay there any longer.

So, again, the good thing about being 53 is to not be the fool I was at 23 (even the fool I was at 33 and 43!) I may have done one too many hamstring curls that aggravated something deep inside there that seized up....but right as that kicked in, I knew it was time to stop and to give whatever was in there the time to heal back up.

And it's gotten better...2 to 3 days to recover and I can get back into it without major damage.

Patience, attention, awareness, maturity....yeah, growing old may not be for sissies, but there sure are a lot of advantages to knowing when to push hard and when to ease up!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 3/12/2013 1:00PM

    Kudos to re-inventing yourself and to be celebrating your health & wellness!

Don

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VHALKYRIE 3/10/2013 10:44PM

    I definitely take better care of myself at 38 than I did at 28. I used to down a bucket load of margaritas the night before and still manage to show up for school and work the next day! Not anymore - there are consequences! And so now I have a freaking halo - eat right, exercise, and have just one.

I just want to grab some of the kids half my age I see who are overweight and say, "Don't waste your pretty years on bad food! Eat right and get some exercise!" But I figure that isn't a good idea. I'm saving my crazies for my cat lady days in two or three more decades.

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PROT358 3/9/2013 11:35PM

    It was really interesting hearing the back story of how you came to sparkpeople. Young and reckless go together for a reason! "Do no harm" is a good lesson for all.

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DOUGDC 3/9/2013 8:54PM

    Really well described. Glad you're healing quickly. Glad you're keeping active. Glad you put the event out for the rest of us to learn from.
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VEEJAY3 3/9/2013 1:37PM

    Rage! Rage against the age!

OK: paraphrasing a famous poet there, but I'm in your boat, and you're a lot more graceful about dealing with those kinds of aches and pains than I am. I have an arthritic knee, and I'm soooo aggravated! I've always had such robust great health that the things that have come my way the past two years are an affront! A slap in the face!

Thanks for showing an example of good grace in the face of pain. I'll TRY to learn from you.
:)

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MOM23JS 3/9/2013 12:12PM

    Great job listening to your body!

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/8/2013 4:39PM

    IDK, us cats are smarter than that, we prefer to avoid pain altogether. And they have drugs for when it is unavoidable. emoticon

I've always been "smart" about pain (read that as "a wimp") and inclined to stop at the slightest hint of anything resembling bad pain. Being accident prone makes one slightly cautious. But I know what you mean, which is why tonight I skipped the run even though I can't afford to miss any more training I can afford an injury even less.

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CHEEKYGEEK 3/7/2013 8:47PM

    BTW--excellent descriptions of good pain. That's exactly how it feels.

Here I always thought my common sense, slow and steady wins the race attitude was a result of being a Capricorn. LOL It's bad enough I let my own mind derail me--but stupid injuries are infuriating, so whether it's age or astrology (haha), I'm glad to stay bad-pain free.

Glad you are feeling better and didn't push yourself into a more debilitating pain. :)

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/7/2013 8:07PM

    emoticon

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JTROBERTSON 3/7/2013 9:55AM

    Even at 33, I can tell a difference in my body's tolerance level for things, so I get what you're saying.

Also, I know how unenjoyable and unrestful a night can be with a painful leg. At least it's settling down. I know you know what you're doing, so no need to tell you to take it slow and get it better. emoticon

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MOBYCARP 3/7/2013 7:30AM

    Thanks for this blog. It's a good reminder of how I need to deal with training. At 57, I'm learning the same lessons later and perhaps slower than you; but I'm learning them.

One of the more frustrating things is that there's no good way to learn what bad pain is other than by making mistakes. I hope I've made enough mistakes to recognize bad pain soon enough now; but time will tell.

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BBECKER1955 3/7/2013 5:40AM

    "To soon to old - to late too smart" one of my father's truisms. Guess it applies to all of us in one way or another!

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BERGBA7 3/7/2013 1:37AM

    Very true! I try to do the same - stop as soon a "bad"pain appears - but sometimes I still push a little too far.. that might be age related, if I understand you well.
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One definitely has to learn to feel and listen to ones body.
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IRISHBEANERGAL 3/7/2013 12:35AM

    An important lesson! And one I have learned as well. At age 47 (almost 48) I can't abuse my body like I did in the 20s and 30s. And quite frankly, I don't want to!

Glad you listened to your body and things turned out as well as they did. Carry on!

~Irish

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KAYZAKCX 3/6/2013 11:43PM

    The One More monster got you.... emoticon Glad you fought it smartly after getting bit.

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ADVENTURESEEKER 3/6/2013 11:34PM

    Take it easy! So often we want to do more than we should. We need to listen to our bodies.

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GREENGENES 3/6/2013 11:05PM

    No kidding. That sense of good pain vs bad pain can make a big difference. Way to go.!

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KICK-SS 3/6/2013 10:39PM

    As we get older, we pay more attention to what our bodies tell us. Maybe we've just gained common sense over the years?

I'm like you, at 23, I'd of tried anything hurting or not - now, at 74, I think twice! And do NOT do a lot of things that I did.

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