Monday, April 01, 2013
So today was great...actually an ideal day.
I clambered out of bed, showered up and made some breakfast. I thought about having a bowl full of cantaloupe and some yogurt, then laughed at myself and grabbed 3 chocolate bunny rabbits leftover from Easter and wolfed them down with can of Pepsi. Just what I needed to make it through a day full of meetings!
As I waited in line at Starbucks for my Grande Americano, I noticed that the fruit cup was more expensive than the cheese danish and the toffee bar combined. Well I know a bargain when I see one so the big decision I had to make was whether to eat the toffee bar first or AFTER the danish. I'll let you imagine what I chose ;>)
I forgot to bring my lunch from home, so I went out to eat with some of the folks in my front office. I watched the idiots around me order the salad, but I knew the lasagna was especially well-prepared here.....hell I might even get seconds on the garlic bread! It was alright, the lasagna was a little salty, so I grabbed a couple of Twix bars on my drive back to work to balance out my palate.
I got pretty busy in the afternoon, but had a hankering for ribs around 3:00, so I asked my front office assistant to run out and buy me a pick-me-up rib basket. But I only got a half rack (I was pretty full after lunch, but this was some mean BBQ!) and I decided to be good and skipped the potato salad and baked beans....just had the coleslaw (veggies) and corn bread (veggie AND low carb!)....I think I probably saved 100 calories choosing wisely and having a diet coke instead of regular. I'll use those savings to have something special after dinner tonight.....
I finished my last meeting and lo and behold my secretary had brought in some Cadbury caramel filled eggs.....man Easter never ends! They were great.....between the 2 of us we cracked every one of those bad boys with our muscular teeth! It was a little too much chocolate though, so I swung by the snack bar for some potato chips to get something salty back on my taste buds. Mmmmm.
I had a weight lifting session scheduled today, but I felt I deserved a break so I cancelled and called SWMBO up and asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner. She had baked some tilapia and stir fried some veggies, but I told her to save it for later or stuff it in the trash, we should do something special like Mexican or try out that new Chinese Buffet that opened up (Big Chow) down the road. (I didn't feel like Italian after those two servings of lasagna at lunch anyway).
Well the buffet was fantastic! You really do get your money's worth at these places, but you have to plan it out right. Like don't fill up on the green beans or soup on your first plate or you may not get around to sampling everything they lay out like the sweet and sour pork or extra crispy chicken wings. And don't waste time on the peel & eat shrimp, you can get those anywhere. I recommend the crab in cheese sauce or some salmon rangoons (the good thing is these probably have like 10 less calories than egg rolls.....I just wish I could stop after eating only 4....sigh)
Afterwards, since it was so nice out, we walked over to the Marble Slab Creamery and had a family ice cream night. I really like how they work the ice cream so hard on that cold slab, and they take the time to make REAL WAFFLE CONES, not the fake plasticy kind you get at Baskin Robbins. And the scoops they give you are twice as big as anywhere else. Talk about getting your money's worth! I admit, I cheated and had them sprinkle on some Jimmies, but it was a special night out for all of us and again I deserved something special, it had been a busy week right?
As I sit and finish up this blog, I had a real hankering for some Peanut Butter. What a great food idea! But, I'm only using a teaspoon this time, not a tablespoon as usual. I think that actually helps me lose weight because I use more energy with that arm.....in reality, I'm expending 3 times more calories to get the same amount of peanut butter....I read that somewhere.
Then Holy Christ I woke up and found myself drenched in a cold sweat still back in my bed this morning, no sweatpants in sight.....The ghost of April Fools past must have visited me late into the night!
Today, I chose the opposite of everything I wrote about here.....I ate well, I lifted weights, and I thought about where I wanted to be tomorrow and a year from now. But the choices, the desires, the temptations, and worst of all, the excuses and rationales are always there.
Have a great night Spark friends!
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!
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!
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
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!"
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!
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)
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!
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