Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Well, well well.....'tis been a while since I've blogged!
Man have we had some major life changes....much too many to put into one blog....so here's a quick reader's digest of the last month;
We packed up our Florida household goods at the end of June and moved into a 2-bedroom place until I finished up work. We hit the road north on July 10, taking our time driving up I-95 to Virginia. On the way we stopped in North Carolina to spend a weekend with our older son (#1 son). He and I lifted in the gym where I promptly kicked his ass on deadlifts! (335 lbs....he got the bar 2 inches off the floor and dropped it....I got in 3 reps!)
We arrived in Virginia and took possession of our new home....SWMBO loved it....it's 4500 ft2 on 3 floors and she has a jacuzzi tub with double sinks in a bathroom she can call her own! The packers arrived with our stuff on 18 July and they spent the next 3 days unloading, uncrating, and unboxing all our stuff....during the 3 hottest days of summer! I checked in to my new job in DC, then told them I needed a few weeks to settle in to the house and take some time off before starting up full time.
SWMBO, #2 son, and I got things as settled as we could at the new house....found all the stuff strewn across all the various rooms of the house (dining room dishes in the basement, bath towels in the living room, etc), then drove up to Boston to spend some time with my mom (she lives in Andover, a small 'burb on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border.)
Man it's beautiful up here! I grew up in Boston and love it every single time I make it back. The summer weather is incredible! SWMBO and I spent a day in Lexington and Concord and just about swooned at how pleasant it was.....70s, breezy, and dry!
We're here until Aug 7, then back to VA to finish up the house and I start work officially on 12 Aug.
On the fitness front...well my victory against #1 son has been short lived because....I must confess....
....I went 10 days without working out!!!
New town, new job, no gym, lots to do.....blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH!!!
So we get up to Boston to spend 2 weeks at my mom's.....my Mediterranean immigrant mom, who loves nothing better than to cook for and feed people.....and I could see a looming disaster.
But thanks to the wonders of Google, Google maps, and a credit card, I found a very cool little gym JUST AROUND THE CORNER FROM HER HOUSE, and paid them $30 for a 2 week membership....unlimited visits, and unlimited classes!
So last Thursday I went in and faced the music. I did a light legs & back session that day and a light chest & shoulders on Friday. Hit a spin class on Saturday morning, then rested Sunday.
I was a little sore...and humbled. Nothing was easy....and I had to de-load about 10-20 lbs on most exercises. Then I planned out my new routine and am giving it a go this week. Stasi trainer guy and I developed a 5-day/week lifting regimen...something I can do in about 30 minutes then do some cardio as well. I think, with my new job, I'll be able to get in about an hour-long workout each day.
The new schedule will be;
Monday - Back (deadlifts, seated rows, pull-ups, chin-ups)
Tuesday - Chest (Bench press, incline press, flyes)
Wed - Shoulders (Overhead press, lateral raises, shrugs, rear delt rows)
Thurs - Legs (Squats, leg extensions, hamstring curls, thigh adductor & abductors)
Friday - Arms (Dips, triceps ext, triceps pushdown, bicep curls, hammer curls, reverse curls)
Each of these ST session should take 30 minutes. After each ST session, 20-30 minutes of cardio intervals and voila...an hour!
Yesterday, I did deadlifts after a 2 week hiatus from kicking #1 son's ass....but I had to back the weight off to 315 lbs....and could only knock out 3 reps.
As Henry Rollins says, "The Iron Never Lies"
(Henry Rollins, for those of you old enough to remember, was the singer for the ultra-hardcore punk band, Black Flag, back in the 80s....he's mellowed out some now)
Yes, sometimes it feels like there is no justice.....how can 2 short weeks cause such a setback....hell if I know. To kickstart my system, I did a spin class after lifting yesterday.....I was beat, but it was well worth it.
Today, we drove up to Boston's north shore (Gloucester, Salem, Rockport) for another gorgeous day watching the Atlantic, then I did the chest routine....and walked into a "Bodypump" class.
Bodypump was pretty hardcore.....it's basically an aerobics class with barbells. I kept the weight low just in case (40 lbs) and was glad I did. We worked out the entire body in 45 minutes, moving the weights in all sorts of directions doing pretty much every lift I have planned for the whole week!
But it's helping me survive vacation here at my mom's.....physically and mentally. SWMBO gets up every morning at 5:00 AM and goes for a nice long walk.....and we keep each other from snacking on the myriad of crap my mom keeps pushing on us ("have another biscotti....they're so delicious!")
We go back to VA on Aug 7.....my goal is to get in 1000+ fitness minutes for our time here and 500 fitness minutes for those first 6 days of Aug!
It's good to be back Spark friends....have a great night!
Thursday, June 27, 2013
OK, life's about to start picking up speed for us here.
Tomorrow (Friday) we've got packers coming to our house to start boxing up all our household goods. The plan is to box everything up Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Simultaneously, on Sunday, the moving truck is coming, where another crew of guys will load our stuff all up on the truck, which should then depart for Virginia that night.
Saturday, in the middle of all this, SWMBO, #2 son, and I (as well as one fat, white cat) will move into a 2-bedroom apartment (furnished) nearby for the next 10 days. Monday we clean out this house and turn over the keys to the owner.
Meanwhile, I've still got a bunch of things to finish up in the office between the 1st and the 10th of July when we hit the road. Stasi guy and I agreed that our last ST session will be next week on the 5th....he gave me that evil interrogator's smile as he described our next few workouts ("Zince you vill be drivink so longe, ve vill vocus on legs (Since you will be driving so long, we will focus on legs)"
Bring it Comrade!
Once we hit the road, we're taking about 5-6 days to get there. We're taking 2 cars; SWMBO takes the mewing cat, I take the mewing #2 son. We're a good team, I keep her in sight in the rear view mirror and she calls me every 20 minutes on the cell telling me to slow down. SWMBO's usually only good for about 6 hours of driving a day, so we make plenty of stops and ususally get checked into a hotel by 5:00 PM.
As we head up I-95, we're stopping in North Carolina for 2 days to see our #1 son (the 25 year old gym rat....can't wait to get him in the weight room to see if he can out dead-lift his old man!). If all goes well, we should arrive in northern VA around the 15th, get settled in to a Residence Inn near our new place, take possession on the 17th, and hopefully.....HOPEFULLY, take delivery of all our packed up household goods on the 18th.....here's hoping!
That'll give us the weekend to get settled in then I'll start the new job on the 22d
Then will come all the usual relocation hassles; finding good grocery stores (I'm digging the Wegman's chain in Virginia....it's like Whole Foods on steroids!), getting #2 son registered for school, learning our way around the neighborhood, finding a gym, and, yes, maybe even finding a trainer!
Bottom line is we're an adventurous family, so this is like going on Safari across America....just need to make sure we don't start fattening up by eating out for the next month or so!
I'll be on SP as much as I can, but it might be episodic at best....or I might get bored out of my mind in hotel after hotel and have to blog all about it!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Thursday, June 20, 2013
About 6 weeks ago, I got hired for a new job in Virginia. We're looking forward to the move, but in the meantime, I am still plenty busy in my current job.
Last month, during a weekly scheduling meeting, my 20-something front office assistant throws down on me.
"Hey boss, maybe you should come do one of our spin classes one of these Thursday mornings....you'll see how it's done!"
In my head I quoted Richard III, "So wise so young, they say do never live long", but out loud I just peered over my glasses and said, "Maybe I should just come in and teach one of your damn spin classes and kick all your asses while I'm at it"
20-something perks up, "Do you want to teach? That would be cool!"
"Sure sign me up.....and bring an oxygen tank, you'll need it"
With everything else going on, I relegated this conversation to the interesting but irrelevant compartment of my brain. But bright and early Monday morning he hits me up with, "So are you ready for Thursday.....I put the word out, it's going to be packed! Everybody want to see what's on your playlist. I bet them it'll be full of KC and the Sunshine Band!"
"Listen you little sh!t you just make sure I get a clean bike, that the sound system works when I plug in my iPhone.....and that I have your mommy's number to call when you collapse onto the floor and start crying out her name!"
Needless to say, Wednesday night I got to cracking, putting together a high energy playlist for Thursday's class
Sure enough, it was packed this morning. Every bike was taken and everyone smiled a sh!t-eating grin that said, "get ready, the boss-man's gonna take us to Funky Town!"
20-something guy comes over to me, "You OK boss? You know it's totally different being up here in the front of the class than being one of the riders"
"Listen monkey-boy, I have spent my whole professional life enjoying being in charge, I think I can handle a spin class.....now pass me your mommy's phone number"
I gave everyone a couple of safety cues (have water handy, ease up on the resistance if you get tired, slow down if you need to), then eye-balled the front row that filled up with slim-trim Crossfit beasts and said, "All of you guys keep up the best you can....raise your hand and I'll administer CPR if you need it"
And off we went!
I gave them 50 minutes of fast/low resistance down hill, slow/hi-resistance uphill, got them out of their seats, back in their seats, had them belt out victory cries when we pushed real hard....it was a beautiful thing!
At the end we stretched it all out for 10 minutes and took a group photo (I suspect it'll re-appear in some gag going away gift). A bunch of them came up and said, "Wow, that was brutal", "Man you made us torch off some calories today!", and my favorite, "Hey those were some great tunes!"
One plump lady in her 40s came over and said, "Wow I can't believe what a sweat I worked up!"
"That's good," I said, "sweat hardens up into muscle!" She grinned and walked away happy
So now I know that I have some post-retirement options.....apparently I can successfully plug in an iPhone and get a room full of people to pedal in unison!
Here are my Digifit results
I actually got in a good workout while I was at it!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Saturday, June 15, 2013
So this was an interesting week.
I took Thursday & Friday off. Thursday, since #2 son is out of school already, we went out to Gulf Islands National Park and had a photographer friend shoot some family photos. They're getting developed now, but here's what this area I call my backyard looks like;
It really is a national treasure. If you've never been to the Florida Panhandle before, put it down on your bucket list
Friday, I took my car to the shop to get the brakes fixed, tires rotated, etc. Lo and behold, they needed to keep it overnight, so I got a lift back home and tackled the never-ending chore of getting rid of crap.
I went through 2 closets and my man-cave, getting rid of junk. Old college notebooks (I graduated in 1981), photocopied articles I knew I'd never get around to reading ("The New Technology of Compact Discs" from Scientific American, 1982), consolidated tons of wires & cables spread out over multiple backpacks (Gentlemen, how many of us DON'T have a stash of assorted coaxial cables, telephone wires, USB connectors, extension cords, audio jacks, etc. all jammed into a bag or box somewhere). Today, after picking up my car (and very likely taking #2 son and his girlfriend to see Man of Steel), I'll tackle....the clothes closets.
Yes, it might just be time to chuck out some old clothes, both those that are now too big (I'm down to wearing size 33 & 34 jeans.....yeah baby!), as well as getting rid of those old clothes that may now fit....but look too cheesy (seriously, I've had a pair of size 34 green corduroys in my closet for about 25 years....now that I can wear them, I don't want to!)
The upshot of not having my car yesterday, meant that I had to get my ass over to the gym on my own (SWMBO needed her car to take #2 son to work). It's about 2 miles from my house to the gym, so I decided to walk....in the 90 degree, 95% humidity Florida heat.
The good news is that I found my old Camelback backpack in one of the closets, filled it up with 100 oz of cold water, plugged in some good walking tunes and out I went. Thirty sweaty minutes later I got to the gym all warmed up and ready for medium weight/hi rep legs & back day.
For a little over a week now, my right shoulder has been aching like crazy. Not sure how it happened, but it's caused me to modify some exercises....even squats. Holding the bar on my back puts the shoulder in just the right position to tweak it badly.
So Stasi guy says, "Den vee vill do leg prezzez (then we will do leg presses)"
Hmmm, I didn't like NOT doing squats, but they weren't happening yesterday. But leg presses....me? You might as well have asked me to sign up for a Zumba class
But I got on there....and let me tell you....it was a whole different range of motion from squats
"You vill notiz it more in your beck und buttox (You will notice it more in your back and buttocks)", grinned Stasi guy. "It iz different, no? You leck flegsibility (you figure out what he said)"
In the end I kind of liked them. I certainly feel it today, so it must have activated a whole set of muscles I hadn't fully engaged before....and it was an excellent stretching maneuver too.....360 lbs pushing against your legs has to stretch out something.
Luckily, my shoulder didn't affect my deadlifts. I got in 2 sets of 15 and one set of 12 at 265 lbs....exhausting, but no shoulder pain.
Afterwards, I donned my Camelback, plugged in the tunes, and walked the 2 miles back home, feeling totally energized and surprisingly loose (even my shoulder....but I still popped a couple of Motrin when I got home)
Hope you're all having a great day.....and happy Father's day for everyone tomorrow!
Have a great day Spark friends!
Monday, June 10, 2013
So life is picking up speed these days. We're in the 30 day window where we're getting ready to pack up our home and move to Virginia. The current plan is to start packing up the house on Jun 28, 29, & 30, put it all on a truck on July 1st, then we leave here about July 10 to start driving north.
Between now and then, I've got a ton to do at work, to include a trip out to Las Vegas on Jun 23d to finish up things with my current boss.
This weekend, we invited some close friends over for a Garden Party/dinner. We had a blast. SWMBO and I went a little crazy. We tried to keep things low-carb, so we had nuts & cheese, along with mozzarella & roma tomatoes drizzled with olive oil for appetizers, baked grouper with an avocado/jalapeno topping, brussel sprouts sauteed with mushrooms and zucchinis for dinner, followed by our island favorite dessert, pineapple sorbet in a frozen pineapple seed;
What we forgot about was that all our friends brought food gifts as well. One couple brought a huge homemade blueberry cake, another brought some key lime pie, and the third couple brought cheesecake....I forgot we live in the deep south!
So I said to hell with it Sunday....in for a penny, in for a pound....it was too good a day to worry about a few extra grams of carbs!
I didn't feel too much the worse for wear today....and maybe the carbo-loading did me good, because I had a friggin' awesome day doing heavy legs and back tonight.
Unfortunately, all the squat racks were taken (my timing sucked today...we have 3 racks and each one was occupied by a pair of 20-somethings who just started), so Stasi boy says, "Ve'll just zdart out vit beck (We'll just start out with back)"
Well I wasn't too shot in the ass about that. I had been gearing up mentally to do some heavy lifting with legs, but OK, there wasn't really a good alternative.
Surprisingly, back went very well. I normally do pullups, chinups, seated rows, pullovers, etc after legs, when I'm usually pretty well spent. Doing them first while I was fresh felt nice....I wasn't struggling and cursing....but it did occur to me that doing legs after this would come at a cost.
"Ve'll zee...don't tink aboud dem now (We'll see, don't think about them now)" counseled my ever enigmatic communist trainer.
So going into squats, I spent a lot of time building up to 265 lbs. I start out with just the bar (45 lbs) for 10 reps, then go to 95 lbs for 10, then 135 for 10....185 for 10....225 for 6....then 265...for 5 reps. It wasn't too comfortable, but I knocked out 3 sets of 5 at 265. Got a little help on reps 4 & 5 of the last 2 sets, but that's why Stasi boy is there.
Then we went to the deadlifts. We were scheduled to go up on these....325 lbs.
"Vocus on dat virst pull...get eet off the grount....tink about getting tree reps efter det (Focus on that first pull...get it off the ground....think about getting three reps after that)"
"Ent keep your butt beck! (And keep your butt back!)"
Apparently, my butt comes a little forward, moving my center of gravity too far in front of me. His cue was to think of falling backwards when pulling the bar.
I gave him the hairy eyeball, "I really, really don't want to fall backward pulling this bar off the ground....too many people know me in this gym....I have a reputation to uphold"
He assured me that in the history of the world, that no one has ever fallen backwards from pulling on a deadlift.
Yeah and Karl Marx promised a worker's paradise after the Proletarian Revolution overthrew the landed gentry!
But I got my mind tight, focused everything on that first hard pull....and imagined sitting back on my butt as I pulled those 325 lbs off the ground.
And up they came! Four times in quick succession....but #4 was a little dicey, so I set the bar back down after 4 pulls.
Second and third sets were a little rougher....and the 4th pull on the 3rd set was about as ugly a deadlift as has ever been seen in the sport, so down the bar went after that.
But I actually got a fist bump from Stasi boy afterwards!
Maybe it was the carbo loading from Sunday.....maybe it was the mental prep and cueing ("keep your butt beck!")....or maybe I'm just getting stronger a little bit at a time....either way, I'll take it!
I'm going to take Thursday & Friday off to get some stuff organized around the house, getting both cars oil changed up, brakes checked, etc, and making sure all our valuables and documents are separated to take with us and not packed away, AND also sorting through things that we'll need as soon as we show up in Virginia before the moving truck gets there. Then we've got some other friends coming over the weekend after father's day, and oodles more before July 10th.
I intend to keep working out till the day we hit the road and Sparking as much as I can in between.....they're the only 2 things that keep me grounded in between all the frenzy!
Have a great night Spark friends!
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