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Rain & Cycling - How do YOU cope?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

We're having a wet summer here in Austria. As a consequence, more often than not, I get wet when I go for a ride. It used to be that rainy weather meant that I skipped exercise on that day. Not any more! Now I have a strategy to 'rain-proof' my exercise routine.

Depending on the distance I have to cover and on what I am doing that day, such as work, commuting or leisure, I use different strategies. I have expanded on that in the post on my website here.

Last week I had a great cycle ride of 3 hours during which I covered 70 km (44 miles)…....... and some of that was in rain!

On that occasion, I took shelter under a nearby roof for the first few minutes and waited for the heaviest part to pass. After that I put on my rain jacket and continued. A few months ago this felt like a huge challenge. Now, I don’t worry.

What are your best strategies for coping with rain?

If it's raining already, before you start..... does that put you off, or have you a 'can do' attitude and the right clothes?

What do you wear?

Any tips, suggestions, ideas, welcome!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 8/25/2014 6:12AM

    If you always stayed inside in Germany when it rained, you'd miss out on a lot of exercise! Good suggestions!

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SHOOPETTE 8/7/2014 5:21AM

    I am moving to the North East of France where it rains a lot, your blog couldn't help me more !

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HAKAPES 8/1/2014 1:14AM

    @ONEKIDSMOM - This is why I bring dry clothes with me, so I look "as new" when arriving. :-)

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/31/2014 8:06PM

    Oh, I am the worst about this... going to have to work on it. On triathlon day, if it's raining, you swim, bike and run anyway. I run in rain. Why would I not cycle? Because usually I'm cycling to work and then I care about arriving looking/feeling like a drowned rat. But you are so right... commitment is commitment.

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PMRUNNER 7/31/2014 4:00PM

    It is great that you adjust for the rain and weather rather than cancelling because of it. Sounds like a great ride!

I have a short commute that I do rain or shine. I try to get in 3-4 road rides a month and have to admit I have been a fair weather rider. With the roads, shoulders, and traffic here, I feel safer running in the rain than riding in the rain.

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Bike tour in Slovenia (pictures) - burn calories like a train...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Last weekend we had a 4 day holiday in Austria, and we visited a friend in Prevalje, Slovenia, near the Drava river. We had been there last year with the bikes, so it was an easy decision to go by bike again.

It's surprising, how much easier is to ride a road that we already know. We look forward to the nice views, remember where we stopped last year, recognize small details that I never thought I would remember again. It also felt easier, because we knew what is ahead of us, and we could dose our energy easier.

We followed the following path, first the river Mur, then the river Drava:
Gleisdorf - Graz - Leibnitz - Spielfeld - Maribor - Dravograd - Prevalje.

On the way we stopped in Maribor, to have a look at the city center. Everbody was watching the soccer world championship, big huuuu-haaaa from every corner when there was an action. On the picture, you can see our favourite ice cream shop in Maribor (well, we don't know any other place). They give a huge portion, which is a good indulgence on a bike tour, where calories burn fast.

Our friends were very happy to host us. They live in a beautiful region up in the mountains, our days there felt like therapy both for the eyes and the body. And, we enjoyed lots of fresh and healthy food from their garden. All produced organically, without pesticides.

Altogether we rode three days to go, had a rest (with other exercise) on Saturday, and came back partially by train on Sunday.

I like so much bike touring, it feels so free, easy, we can meet so many people, see the country very differently vs. traveling by car or plane. Everything is close, around us, and it takes just a sec to stop and enjoy the view, smell the air, or talk to the sheep. :-)

Do you think that you need some fancy gear and bikes for bike touring?!

Well, my wife has a simple city bike with 7 gears (hub gears), while I have a city bike with 8 gears. We were complaining on the hills, and had to get off on 10% slopes, but it didn't stop us from touring.

If you want to get off some pounds, this is a great way to do it. As we rode 3 hours every day (which doesn't feel much at all), 2000 kcal flies off so easily. Which is a LOT! Otherwise, when doing exercise at home, it takes so much effort to go to run for an hour, burning 7-800 kcals. Here, we have lots of fun, enjoy every minute, and don't even notice the "workout" part.

If you need any advice on how to start with bike touring, drop me a message!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURIE9404 6/29/2014 1:13PM

    Beautiful Trip!! Looks like you had a great time!

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GLORIAMAJDI 6/27/2014 9:39AM

    Beautiful pictures Oliver, and what a great way to stay fit and have fun!

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BARB4RICK 6/26/2014 11:35PM

    All sounds great, but talking to the sheep!! Ha! Ha!

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ZELLAZM 6/26/2014 6:27PM

    If it weren't midnight, I might just be inspired to hop on my bike right now! Thanks for the tour!

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NOTSPEEDY 6/26/2014 10:28AM

    Lovely pictures. It looks so peaceful.

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KANOE10 6/26/2014 9:36AM

    That looks like a lovely bike tour. The pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing. You are right about burning off lots of calories with biking!


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JSPIN74 6/26/2014 9:34AM

    Wonderful pictures & method of travel (for the sights & the burning with ease). I would love to have the time for this! Someday I will be able to make it (the time). For now please keep sharing your travels...


emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CLAIREINPARIS 6/26/2014 8:29AM

    Wow, such a wonderful, beautiful way to enjoy a vacation (and burn calories too)! Thank you for sharing your adventure with us!

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SIRIUS2014 6/26/2014 8:26AM


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DONNABRIGHT 6/26/2014 8:23AM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I always love your pictures.

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INGMARIE 6/26/2014 7:54AM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing, seems you had a great time.
Beautiful area and great photos Thanks, Loved the tour. emoticon

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MYTURNNOW2013 6/26/2014 7:14AM

    Wonderful pictures! Thank you for sharing them with us!

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TERI-RIFIC 6/26/2014 7:08AM

    emoticon beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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DMEYER4 6/26/2014 6:29AM

  love the scenery. The pics are beautiful and it sounds like you had a great time. I would love to bike tour someday. Have a great day

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PICKIE98 6/26/2014 5:37AM

    Our friends live in Czech Republic and I wish they would bike and take pics. Now they are older and her vision is not so good. Thank you for the great views!

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I love to workout on Friday night, because...

Friday, May 30, 2014

... anyway I am just mentally tired after the week.

I used to wait for the Friday night: finally I'm free, I can do something, no work coming on Saturday, and so on.

However, over the years, I learned that it's not worth to plan high-value things, creative tasks, and very engaging "private-work" projects for Friday evening.

It turned out I was already too tired to study something new, plan big personal projects, or solve big problems.

So lately, I started to use this time for sports.

Today, I did a 1h bike ride to the nearby Weiz, then had Yoga for 1h 40 minutes, then rode back to Gleisdorf.

All the stress of the week was digested in my exercise. Clean head, re-energized mind!
And I look forward to the weekend refreshed, and I have this good feeling that I have accomplished something good already for the weekend.

The only thing about it that I have to plan ahead and organize my environment in a way that can easily start doing it.

Otherwise, my mental tiredness builds up an anti-motivational resistance, and I just wander around in the apartment, without doing anything sensible, I mean I don't really do anything, but I don't have a good rest either.

When is the best time to plan a Friday workout?
Monday of course, at the beginning of the week! When I don't plan it on Monday already, chances are on Friday I don't have enough energy to plan it in.

This picture is on the way to Weiz (from Gleisdorf).

It says "Vulgo", which means that before the family Färder was there, and people know it as "Bauernhof Färder" (Farm of family Färder). However, the family Schwarz bought the place and uses it now. But they continue to use the name "Färder", as this how everybody refers to it in the region.
It's kind of branding/franchise of local agriculture.

I learned this word last week in my German class, and was happy to see it immediately in real life! Funny! :-)


Do you exercise on Fridays?
If yes, what is your experience about it?
If no, why?
Any tips, ideas, suggestions welcome!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INGMARIE 5/31/2014 11:49AM

    Being a morning person ,not by choice at first(because my dear husband is)
we go to gym early before work and the weekends we sometimes go some not
If I run 5 k races ,they are usually on Saturday mornings.
But it is a great feeling no matter when you go ,you clear the head of all sorts of stuff.


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KANOE10 5/31/2014 10:39AM

    That is a great way to work off the stress of the week and to enter the weekend. I stopped in the gym on my way home on Friday. I felt better also.

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DONNABRIGHT 5/31/2014 9:59AM

    I am definitely a morning person so I have learned that intentional exercise must happen early in the day for me to stay consistent. That doesn't mean I sit the rest of the day but plan less strenuous activities for the afternoons. Right now I am refinishing two side chairs so have had fun sanding, painting, etc. I found some material yesterday so will begin re-covering them next week. For the weekend we plan to have fun with our granddaughter.

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ZELLAZM 5/30/2014 7:20PM

    Actually, my Saturdays are kind of like that too - I mean, that I'm too tired to do anything very mentally challenging! But I like that you are listening to your body's signals on Fridays and setting yourself up for success.

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DIANNEMT 5/30/2014 6:46PM

    You have the right idea! Just working out the stress of the week!! I am trying to finish up "stuff" that didn't get done this week but working out all evening would have been a great idea! I did my run this AM--felt good!

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A difference good weather makes for me

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's still May, but it feels like summer is here. The weather is wonderful here in Gleisdorf, and although I do go out to exercise in winter, this beautiful warm weather does make a difference. It feels just so much easier to do all sorts of outdoor activities.

For example, today I:
1. Commuted in Graz by bike (about 30 minutes)
2. Walked with a friend for about an hour
3. Rode home from Graz to Gleisdorf by bike (1h 30 min)

It all felt easy to do, no effort, no struggling, and on top of it, I burned 1500 kcal. Usually, if I do exercise, I never do so much in row, not time wise, and not effort wise. But as it was commuting in the countryside, having fun with a friend, it didn't feel neither long, neither difficult.

See the landscape - it's just asks for riding more and more!

When it's winter, and cold, probably I would have done a short run, or a longer walk, but for sure wouldn't have done all these together.

I'm in maintenance mode, and regularly go with my bike, so 1-2 h with bike, and 1-2 h of walking feels easy. If you just get started, maybe 30 min light biking is what you feel comfortable with.

How to get there? Not so difficult. You just need a bike, and experiment a couple of times, when you have more time, how it is to make part of your commute with the bike. At the beginning, all sorts of obstacle can come up, problems with the bike, you don't find the right way to ride, the clothing is not good, and so on. It takes a couple of occasions to sort these out. After all these are in place, it gets easy.

Don't think you need some special bike, big gears, or expensive equipment. I have a 20 year old citybike, with 7 gears. I do have to get off for steep hills, my gears just cannot do it. In fact, I find that a simple bike is easier to commute - less fear that it get's stolen, less fancy.

Here are screenshots from my Endomondo tracking, and a picture from the way home. It shows that a part of my journey was actually within Graz itself, in an urban area (until the first dot on the left). It means that even if you live in an urban area, you can do quite a long part of your commute with the bike.

Here you can see that speed is not my main objective. I did only 20 km/h on average, an easy tempo. I found that when I go with a comfortable speed, I have more motivation to do it again. When I stress myself too much, all sorts of resistance feelings pop-up.

Are you doing more exercise when the weather is good?

If yes, what do you do more?

Any tips, suggestions, comments, welcome!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANOE10 5/28/2014 7:43AM

    I love your pictures. I am enjoying my walks with the sun up and seeing the lovely flowers and green mountains. I am definitely happier in warm weather.,


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PENNYPEARLS 5/27/2014 10:36PM

    That is a beautiful landscape. Thanks for sharing.

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KALISWALKER 5/27/2014 8:00PM

    I enjoy your blog. I remember reading your first one, and it's good to see you still do it.

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INGMARIE 5/27/2014 6:18PM

    I am definetly an outdoors fair weather exersicer . I do work out at gym too when it is cold.
You are doing great. emoticon

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ZELLAZM 5/27/2014 5:38PM

    I definitely like getting out more when the weather is nice. I've already arranged to go pole-walking on Thursday with a friend.

By the way, one of my students is getting married in Graz this July!

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HAKAPES 5/27/2014 5:04PM

    During summer it gets hot here, too, so this time of the year is the best. During the hot summer, I only like to exercise early in the morning, or in the evening. This latter is less preferred, as it wakes me up - after a great run in the evening, I often need several hours, until I finally can fall asleep.

Comment edited on: 5/27/2014 5:05:17 PM

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GLORIAMAJDI 5/27/2014 4:23PM

    Way to go Oliver, that is so awesome! And what a beautiful photo of your journey! I do enjoy the spring weather but it has been much more like summer here, very hot and beginning to be humid. I don't let that stop me from getting outdoors, I firmly believe in getting outside some each and every day if at all possible. However, I have noticed that I am slowing down considerably in the past few days that it has been hot.

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DIANNEMT 5/27/2014 3:37PM

    I love the cool of spring and fall!! I run when I can outside but do work outside so get to hike/walk a lot more in the fall and spring. I spend more time outside in the summer but, when it is hot, I'm in the shade with a good book!!

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DUSTYPRAIRIE 5/27/2014 2:26PM

    I love the "in between" weather. Perfect for walking. When it gets even warmer, swimming.

You always share such beautiful pictures. Thanks!

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Do you have a Plan B Exercise for bad weather?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Do you have a plan B to do exercise when the weather is not what you wanted?
What is your usual plan B?

One thing I learned from project management is that it's good to have a plan B, even when the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and there is no sign of rain.
The time to develop the plan B "for times when it's raining", is when it's not raining.

I apply this attitude also for my exercise habits.

I decided already that weather won't keep me off from doing exercise, I have proper clothing, and I have been through this countless time: it's not as bad as it looks. From inside, it looks like a terrible weather, but actually when I'm out there it's really not that bad. So, I don't care about rain and wind.

But other things can however bring change that I need to adapt to.
When biking, my bike can go wrong; when running, there can be ice; when swimming the pool can be closed.; my membership card can be expired in the gym; it when going for my contact dance class, the teacher can be sick; when doing yoga based on a Youtube video, my projector can refuse to turn on.

So, I always have a backup option - in case I cannot do my first choice of exercise, I always fall back on option B, and I do some other type of exercise. Maybe it is less motivating, less calories, less comfortable, or whatever more "style-B", but I still do some exercise.

This Saturday, around 19:00, finally I made it and was on my bike ride.
"Finally", because, I was struggling the whole day to simply get out and go.
I don't know why, I just found a million things to do before doing exercise.
In the morning, I was fresh, and so learned German. Then the shops were closing and I had to do the shopping. Then I just had lunch and didn't want to go with a full stomach. Then I was sleepy in the afternoon, then I wanted to finish cleaning before my wife was back, and so on. Sounds familiar? :-)
However finally, at 19:00 pm, I was on my bike, riding. My plan was that I ride to "Raabklamm", a beautiful valley about 40 minutes ride from us, and do a little walk there, and ride back.

However, 10 minutes into my ride, the noise from my back wheels started to be really disturbing. I got off and checked it, and found that a screw was too lose, and hit the tires. It looked scary, if the screw comes out a bit more, it can make a spectacular puncture.
To repair it, I would need to dismount the whole rear-wheel setup, fasten the screw, and then remount and adjust the wheel. Although not a complicated job, it would take at least an hour.

Huuuuuhhhh... finally I'm out, and now my bike is down.

Shall I just skip exercise for today?!

Here came plan B:

I already wore my running shoes, running shorts and T-shirt for this reason.
I got home, parked my bike (doing some pretty angry faces), dropped my wind-jacket, and hit the road immediately to run.

It was windy, it was close to sunset, I was totally upset about the silly screw that screwed up my ride... I didn't feel motivated to run... I was nearly dragging myself forward. Physically effort wise, it was not that bad, but in my mind it felt like it.

However, after 15 minutes, this feeling was over, and I was in my usual happy running mood, enjoyed the trees, the changing colours of the sunset. It even started to rain in the end, but I decided to enjoy running int he rain, I had enough being upset due to my bike. :-)

Here you are some pictures and selfies from my run.
I was angry to my bike, so I didn't make any photo of it! :-)

My take away:
if I had to come up to the apartment, search for my running gear, and then go, there would have been a high chance that I get sidetracked, and my exercise plans for Saturday go down to zero. So it was a good decision to factor in going to my bike ride in running gear, "just in case".

is to always have a "Plan B Exercise" in your pocket, ready to do: beside your main exercise, or favourite activity, have some other options that you can do. This way, when difficulties arise, you can still stay on the bigger track.

So, what is your plan B exercise for "bad weather"?

Do you have several fall back options, or just one?

Or if you don't have any - what would it be?

I'm interested - give me some tips!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 5/24/2014 12:44PM

    My plan B is exercise videos. Or sometimes I just put on a CD and dance! I've also been known to walk up and down the stairs when I need a few minutes to get in my 30 minutes a day. I once did that when one of my piano students was late. She never did show up, but I got a good workout while I waited.

Your ideas are more resourceful...but the important thing is to DO it!

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GOGETUMX2 5/20/2014 10:03PM

    Good food for thought.

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LAURIE9404 5/20/2014 11:37AM

    That's pretty impressive! I don't think I would have had that kind of Plan B about wearing the running clothes when the weather looks great for the bikeride. You were all set for that! I have so many stinking backup plans for exercise that it's almost silly. I have 3 gym memberships so if I'm not looking at one, there are 2 others that might work. I have bookcases full of DVDs to workout to. My boyfriends video game system XBox1 has fitness programs. I also have my running shoes. There is always an option unless my evening is super busy and I have slept thru the morning workout. Then I'm taking a surprise rest day. But to counteract that, I plan for working out 7 days a week. You never know when you'll get a surprise rest day.

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KANOE10 5/20/2014 7:24AM

    That was smart of you to head right out in your bike clothes. Your Plan b worked. My plan b is to do exercise videos indoors or to walk I often put on my exercise clothes early to make myself motivated to actually do the exercise.

Keep up your healthy life. I loved the pictures.

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DONNABRIGHT 5/20/2014 7:03AM

    I have a treadmill and a stationary bike for when I can't get out but find that if I have to be inside I like walking with Leslie Sansone much better. Of course, I will take outside exercise over anything but living in central Florida lightning is a big issue.

Recently my aunt was in the hospital and then in Hospice so I spent hours at the hospital but I can only spend so much time sitting so I would get up and walk up and down the halls and do "Leslie" type walking beside her bed. I easily got in more than 120 minutes a day doing this.

We can exercise anywhere if we really want to.

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GETSTRONGRRR 5/19/2014 6:57PM

    In my running days I made sure to "take away" all my excuses in advance. To run if it was raining, I bought rain gear ahead of time. Too cold....I bought layers of running clothes. Too dark, I bought reflective gear, etc, etc. etc.

These days I spend most of my exercise time in gyms, lifting weights and kettlebells. My biggest distraction is time...sometimes not enough of it. So I have developed 15 min, 30 min, 60 min, and even a 90 minute workout plan that I can kick in anytime depending on how much time I have.

For travel, I always have a few back-up gyms I can go to in advance.

Bottom line, like anything else in life, good planning makes for good execution!

Good luck!

Comment edited on: 5/19/2014 6:58:11 PM

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JSPIN74 5/19/2014 2:56PM

    Plan B for indoor exercise...it's just too beautiful out & the kids need to get outside....I get out the jogging stroller & saddle up the little one. The big one hops on her bike & we walk/run & bike to our content!

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KRISZTA11 5/19/2014 2:44PM

    Your plan B worked very well! Great job you had the running shoes on.

Walking is my general plan B, there are hardly any conditions when walking is not possible. Not in Hungary, at least, I guess this is not true for places with extreme cold / heat/ wind and so on.
And I can now use yoga as well. I'm in training but know enough poses and flows now to to do a 45-60 minute workout by myself if I have to.

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HAKAPES 5/19/2014 1:03PM

    And what would be your backup for home or for your inside exercise?

I like to have a plan B for my at home workouts and yoga, too.
Although it wouldn't rain, but my equipment can broke, distractions can come in.

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GOOSIEMOON 5/19/2014 12:55PM

    I almost always exercise at home inside, so I don't need much of a back-up.

Sounds like you have your plans all in place! emoticon

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JSPIN74 5/19/2014 12:38PM

    emoticon emoticon

At this point I'm exercising more indoors then outdoors,: partly holdover from the long winter we had & partly because the time of day i usually get to workout is once the kids are in bed. So in the house workout it is...

Right now I have been doing T25 (Alpha segment) I just finished week 4. It' sbeen a good program for me. Regimented 25 minutes a day...I generally schedule it to 5 or 6 days a week. I know I will get a good 25 minute workout in no mattter what & by the end of the week I have worked my whole body. During the day I am at work & I usually walk 3-4 miles on my lunch break. Luckily the building is very large & even in bad weather I can get in plenty of laps.

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