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New Things: Calories, Music, and Kettlebells

Friday, April 26, 2013

My patience has been pretty good this week. Not perfect. For example, I didn't shout at family members, but I did call some of my fellow drivers names as I tried to navigate the highway on busy mornings. Luckily my destination was the gym, and I was able to work off the stress on the treadmill.

Today when I was counting my fitness minutes, I recorded my cardio workout using the entry specific for Treadmill (with incline), instead of just using an entry for Walking. Wow! According to the new information I've been burning about 1.5 times as many calories per treadmill session as I had previously been counting. I don't know what to do with that information, though.

I recently refreshed my workout music again. I need to do that every three to four weeks or my enthusiasm takes a dive. Some of my new music consists of trance-y, melodic white noise behind heavy percussive beats. (My music of choice for workouts is EDM, or Electronic Dance Music.) I noticed something interesting as I was listening to it while exercising with the heart rate monitor activated. The presence or absence of the background noise has a direct effect on my heart rate: it immediately lowers my heart rate by 4-5 beats per minute when the background noise is there. When the noise is cut off but the beats continue (something that happens every so often with this type of music), my heart rate takes a quick jump -- only to fall again when the background noise returns.

Now, what I am calling background noise here is actually a slow melodic drone that ends up having a calming effect. I think it somehow acts to quell the sense of anxiety that the percussive beat induces. Well, however it works, the difference is noticeable and a lowered heart rate means I can exercise a bit longer without feeling as tired, which is a GOOD thing.

So this morning was my extra session with the personal trainer to make up for the day I missed last week. For the first time, PT had me do some kettlebell exercises. (I think because a kettlebell of the right size was sitting there after someone else had used it. Normally the kettlebells are kept in another part of the gym.) I really liked working with the kettlebell. It's weights and cardio at the same time. Another good thing about today's workout is that I was able to do lunges on the BOSU ball in the middle of the floor, without being near a wall for balance.

And the final thing I wanted to say in this oddly random post is that this evening, a lady I bump into only every few months asked me what I had been doing to achieve my weight loss. People want to know what diet you are following, and they usually guess Weight Watchers. I just needed something quick to say, so my answer was this: We joined a gym and I count calories. It wasn't a situation where talking about SparkPeople would make any sense. I don't know if categorizing SparkPeople as "counting calories" is doing justice to it -- it's so much more than that! -- but the conversation quickly moved on to another topic, so I think I made the right call.
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.