SERGEANTMAJOR's SparkPeople Blog SERGEANTMAJOR's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community TEMPUS FUGIT, CARPE TEMPUS My apologies for the perhaps faulty Latin but I think it is appropriate for this blog.The world in which we live now seems to be like the title of the Beatle's song "Helter Skelter". We are constantly simulated by conflicting inputs throughout our days and nights. Breaking News!, Breaking Whatever! saturates us throughout our days as we fall victim to the electronic devices we now find indispensible and borderline addictive. <BR> Here is an experiment I would like you to make. Starting tomorr... Tue, 3 Oct 2017 21:20:14 EST May Be not maybe <BR> <BR> "APRIL is the cruelest month" is a quote from T.S. Elliot's poem The Wasteland however it seems at times that May carries that over into the early part of the month of May. The days alternate with the promise of Spring alternating with carry over vestiges of the rain and even snow of April here in the Northland. <BR> The vagaries of the weather can cause us to change our workout resolution of May Be into a maybe. We want to transition over to more out of doors activities and wor... Tue, 2 May 2017 13:37:10 EST The Streak did not end Thanks to the universality of the World Wide Web and my Kindle I was able to access Spark every day of my trip. <BR> <BR> Having now been home for 10 days I want to share some observations which we need to consider and some general observations. <BR> 1. Public transit is the way to go in urban areas. Germany and Austria offer streetcars, buses and subways in every major city. Intercity travel is by high speed train run by the government railway and various private railways all using the same... Tue, 15 Nov 2016 14:41:52 EST The streak ends <BR> I am off on a trip to Europe begining tonight 18 October at 1930 so my unbroken skein of successive days will come to an end. I will return on 4 November to start a new run. That will also start a new traiing programme and I will try to refresh all of the programmes I have written for my teams. Mon, 17 Oct 2016 22:46:21 EST Musings and commentary Having spent more time out of my day than I should have watching the recent Summer Olympics and now being confronted with the so called "America's Game" i.e. NFL football I have some thoughts as to conditioning and fitness. <BR> First a reality check, the average NFL football game averages 6 to 8 minutes of action and replays command more time than that. A play has to be executed on 30 seconds or the offensive team is penalized. On a passing down the quarterback has 3 to 5 seconds to get rid ... Sat, 17 Sep 2016 15:02:56 EST Not Your Grandmothers Oatmeal Not being a fan of high carbohydrate high sugar breakfasts but being a fan of oatmeal I came up with this savory version. <BR> <BR> Not Your Grandmother's Oatmeal <BR> <BR> 1/3 Cup of Old Fashioned Oats 95 calories <BR> 2 Tbsp precooked real bacon bits (Kirkland) 60 calories <BR> 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese 55 calories <BR> 1 tsp butter 35 calories <BR> Total calories ... Sun, 28 Feb 2016 12:26:48 EST Burn Baby Burn BURN BABY BURN! <BR> <BR> <BR> Watching the current iteration of "fitness" commercials on television and in other media I notice an emphasis on how many calories each piece of equipment or technique "burns". Burn is a handy but inaccurate term to use, <BR> Definition: Calorie: A unit of food energy. The word calorie is ordinarily used instead of the more precise, scientific term kilocalorie. A kilocalorie represents the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a liter of water ... Mon, 4 Jan 2016 15:29:27 EST Things that make me go hmmmmmm? As I monitor the research and articles on exercise and fitness I post to the forums hyperlinks to those which I find most relevant. In the recent past I have posted two which I found very relevant to the people here on Spark, One cited a study which demonstrate that electronic devices, iPods, MP3 players and the like tended to degrade the quality of a workout to say nothing of the fact that they can be a safety issue. shielding you from the events around you. The other had to do with the rel... Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:02:47 EST Let's Talk As we rocket around the world wide web checking out fitness sites and information we run into TMI (too much information) almost instantly. As a trainer I am perhaps more guilty than many since I feel a need to be current so that I can answer questions my clients may have. One of the things which I have found is that most of the fitness” information” is not based on any research but rather on anecdotal information or opinion.This is going to turn into a bit of a rant as I share my thoughts and... Fri, 21 Mar 2014 15:03:10 EST Looking Ahead N.O.W. <BR> Another year has passed and we now have another to use to our advantage. While time is divided into the past present and future the only time over which we have any control is the present, yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not yet occurred. Now is where we are and now is the time for us to do those things which benefit us the most. <BR> Since fitness and fat loss are the topics which have brought us to Spark how can we use the now we have in hand to prioritize them? Since it is one of ... Mon, 30 Dec 2013 13:57:13 EST No New Thing <BR> <BR> <BR> Ecclesiastes 1:9, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” <BR> Without getting into a long discourse about electronic innovations and so forth I will restrict my application of the quote to exercise programmes. It seems that almost daily someone produces a forum question on some “new” fitness routine which they have seen on an infomercial or some other form of advert... Fri, 8 Feb 2013 00:02:02 EST IS A PUZZLEMENT As I wander through the pages of Spark people and other publications I notice the pictures of people running since I am a running coach. I am continually amazed or appalled; choose one or both, at the faulty running mechanics displayed in those photographs. The runners are over striding, landing heel first with knees locked and with their centre of mass behind their foot strike. Why are these pictures which are used? Is a puzzlement <BR> I would think that a fitness website would have an obli... Wed, 26 Dec 2012 14:17:02 EST DISTRACTIONS <BR> There is a recurring question asked on the boards which makes no sense to me and that question is; what is the distraction you use to “get you through your workout?” What distraction do you use when brushing your teeth, taking a shower or any of the other things you do every day which relate to your health and well being? Note the first four letters of the word, w o r k. Our health and fitness is something we need to work at maintaining if we are going to maintain our health and ability... Fri, 3 Aug 2012 13:46:51 EST YOU WILL THINK YOU ARE GOING TO DIE Just finished reading a new book on bodyweight training, “Ultimate Physical Fitness in 5 Minutes” by Johnny Grube. His website is He has a no nonsense, blunt, no holds barred approach to getting and staying fit using nothing but bodyweight exercise. He has a penchant for attacking world records in bodyweight challenges. While his newsletters often are often polemical rants his workouts are straight forward do almost anywhere, limited equipment ones. <BR> He has a majo... Sat, 28 Apr 2012 11:30:44 EST Gadget Review I was selected by Spark People to be a tester reviewer for fitness products from Best Buy. I was given two products to test and review, the fitbit ultra and a Perfect Portions food scale. <BR> <BR> The fitbit ultra. <BR> <BR> The product measures multiple fitness related activities and calculates them in the form of a graph. You download the fitbit programme to get started. The instructions are 42 pages in length which are best when printed out for reference. Some of the data has to be obta... Wed, 28 Mar 2012 23:16:28 EST Bodyweight Training: conditioning or strength ? <BR> What is the difference between the two types of bodyweight training? <BR> <BR> For an individual who can do 75 push ups dropping down and doing 10 push ups between Plyometric springs those push ups are conditioning exercises. For someone who can barely do 5 push ups and does them in sets of 1 or 2, a few times a week they are strength training. <BR> <BR> The same can go for any other exercise, for someone who can do 50 dips in one set, dips are conditioning. But if someone can only ... Thu, 1 Mar 2012 16:56:59 EST BASSACKWARD Every day I read over the postings in the Fitness and Exercise message boards and every day I see almost the same questions, statements and comments posted. <BR> <BR> What was your Cardio of the Day? <BR> How many minutes exercise have you done today? <BR> My doc said to stop cardio, what do I do? <BR> Should I add strength training into my workout? <BR> Lifting heavy or lifting light <BR> Does anyone Zumba? If so have you lost weight? <BR> Did you exercise today? <BR> How far did you... Thu, 9 Feb 2012 21:50:38 EST A SERIES OF STRENGTH EXERCISES What is circuit training? <BR> <BR> Contrary to the popular marketing gimmick the current boot camp and other exercise programmes alternating bouts of strength training and cardio training are not circuit training. Circuit training was developed as a form of strength training where you moved from one exercise station to the next and performed a strength training exercise. The stations were done without a break between each until all stations were completed. At this point a recovery break wa... Fri, 30 Dec 2011 00:25:28 EST MINI WORKOUT <BR> <BR> <BR> This is just a quick and dirty mini workout to leep things rolling. <BR> <BR> <BR> WARMUP AND UPPER BODY <BR> <BR> I begin by swinging 2 pound Indian clubs for upper body flexibility and mobility and to warm up.. All exercises are done without a break. <BR> <BR> 15 external rotations with each arm in sequence, clubs held upright at shoulder height then raised to full arm extension swung around and returned to shoulder height and stopped then the swing repeated. <BR> <BR... Sat, 3 Dec 2011 00:06:05 EST THE CASE AGAINST HIBERNATION <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> I find that not being willing to be out of doors in the winter is a rather strange position to take in that every four years the world celebrates an event called the Winter Olympics. If I remember correctly these are not held in an semi tropical environments. Living in Minnesota if I feared the cold I would end up looking like Jabba the Hut having just hibernated for several months. <BR> <BR> Man has survived and functioned in the cold for millennia by ada... Wed, 23 Nov 2011 14:45:04 EST This is the Winter of our discontent <BR> <BR> Listen up people, this is the Sergeant Major! <BR> <BR> To paraphrase “September Song” the daylight hours dwindle down to a precious few as we lurch grudgingly into winter, We can “Fall back” with our clocks so have to now ensure we do not fall back on our fitness. It is time to reassess our fitness routines since for many of us winter is only indoor workout time. That does not have to be the norm since there are ways to adapt our programmes to the winter without becoming hea... Fri, 4 Nov 2011 23:08:14 EST Metheads Anonymous <BR> <BR> My name is Rich, I am a recovering meathead. In the past I spent, hours, days, weeks and months in weight rooms and gymnasiums chasing the chimera of turning myself into some form of clone of a Greek god. <BR> <BR> I leapt on every new “flavour of the month”, anecdotal “this technique worked for me” and new pronouncement of the guru of the month with reckless abandon. In my quest for godhood I did trisets, supersets, drop sets, single sets and isometric sets. I used the Nauti... Thu, 6 Oct 2011 14:09:11 EST LIES, DAMMED LIES and FITNESS From time to time I review the fitness infomercials on television. “Mercial” they are, informative they are not. Most of them produce more disinformation than any dictator’s propaganda bureau can produce. Under the guise of something new and revolutionary they repackage the same exercises that everyone uses and lay claim to having created a new approach which will magically burn away the pounds and give you the body you have always dreamed of having. <BR> <BR> Most of these info whatevers m... Sat, 13 Aug 2011 14:52:02 EST IS SLOW GO A NO GO? <BR> <BR> There is a lot of discussion about going slow when initially starting a fitness or weight control programme but is there a difference between starting with an essentially slow go/ no go programme or one which take a moderate approach recognizing that the change in physical activity will cause some discomfort? Expecting a change in ones activity level will be without discomfort is to engage in a form of self deception. While age and gender may have some bearing on what an indi... Thu, 14 Jul 2011 00:25:31 EST A SEQUENCE OF RESISTANCE EXCISES. WHAT IS CIRCUIT TRAINING? <BR> Circuit training was created as a sequence of strength or resistance training exercises to be performed non stop until all the exercises were completed. It was called circuit training since it was originally done by moving around a series of preset stations. When the circuit was completed a recovery period was taken then the circuit was repeated. The circuit was a combination of anaerobic and aerobic work. The number of stations varied and the number of circuits varied depending on th... Fri, 24 Jun 2011 12:44:07 EST IS IT REAL OR IS IT MEMOREX? <BR> <BR> In reading the various postings here on Spark People be it exercise routines, choice of equipment or even recopies I am struck by the prevalence of �substations� where something engineered is exchange for something real. My immediate question is why replace something real with something engineered. <BR> <BR> Case in point, by original definition circuit training referred to a series of strength exercises performed in succession, X repetitions of Y exercises for Z repeats with... Mon, 6 Jun 2011 12:57:09 EST TRUTH or DARE? <BR> Go with whichever you enjoy more, as you are more likely to stick with it, and thus burn more calories in the longer term. <BR> <BR> <BR> This is an oft repeated mantra but how accurate or relevant is it to getting fit, reducing weight and ensuring constancy? <BR> <BR> I think it is misleading and is better applied to some form of active recreation pursuit than a fitness programme. The first part of the misleading aspect is that you subordinate something which may work better fo... Wed, 11 May 2011 14:14:54 EST WANT TO GO CLUBBING? <BR> Once again an ancient training method has been “rediscovered” and become the latest training flavour of the month. Indian clubs have reappeared from the ghosts of the physical culture movement of the lat 19th and early 20th Century. They became a part of physical training In Europe when the British “discovered” them when the East India Company and the British Army took over in the Indian subcontinent in the early 19th Century. How long they had been a part of physical training there is ... Thu, 24 Mar 2011 18:13:45 EST CONFESSIONS OF A LUDDITE, MAKING A FITNESS BIBLE <BR> <BR> I confess to being a Luddite, I have a dumb phone, it only makes phone calls. In my house a tablet is a stack of paper joined in a manner which allows me to remove one sheet at a time. A reader is what I am when I am enjoying the printed word. I am even a Luddite when it comes to fitness using such archaic technology as bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, Indian clubs and kettle bells. <BR> The history of bodyweight exercises are lost in the mists of time being featured in t... Mon, 14 Mar 2011 13:35:03 EST The Numbers Racket THE NUMBERS RACKET <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> When I was a young construction laborer during college summers the other laborers were “playing the numbers” everyday. In some areas it was called policy, it was a illegal penny ante form of Lotto America where you put three to five numbers on a slip of paper and gave that and your money to a runner. The way you won was if those numbers came up in sequence as the last digits in the attendance at whatever horse racing track was in season. <BR> <BR> ... Tue, 8 Mar 2011 22:32:44 EST "MY WAY?" This is the title of a great song recorded by Frank Sinatra but it has little application to weight control and fitness. People who attempt to lose weight or get fit in “their” way are flying in the face of reality in my opinion. Just as the mantra “an experiment of one” it has some limited validity. That validity is about how each will develop the proper mental attitude and make the commitment to follow though with a programme however it is not valid for self selection as to method. The rese... Sat, 22 Jan 2011 15:01:04 EST AN EXPERIMENT OF ONE? This is an oft repeated mantra in the forums but what basis in fact does it have? Where did the phrase or concept originate, does it have credentials or has it simply grown legs from repeated assertion? We all have individual strengths and weakness, physical, mental and emotional however the human body has a basic set of design criteria notwithstanding individual cosmetic variance. The human musculoskeletal system and neurology is the same in all individuals assuming normal development. <BR> ... Fri, 14 Jan 2011 14:32:20 EST Eleven for 2011 Here are my initial eleven ruminations thoughts and rants for 2011. I propose the following, your mileage may vary. <BR> <BR> 1. That all gyms ban TV's, cell phones and any other items which distract people from the business at hand of working out. <BR> 2. That all personal trainers be certified by something other than the gym where they work and sell memberships <BR> 3. That the number of cardio machines in any given gym be reduced 75% so members can get a quality workout and not simply pu... Mon, 3 Jan 2011 14:15:01 EST CONVENTIONAL WISDOM IS? <BR> <BR> This phrase was coined by the economist John Kenneth Galbraith who did not consider it a compliment. He said” We associate truth with convenience, with what most closely accords with self interest and personal well being or promises best to avoid awkward effort or unwelcome dislocation of life. We also find highly acceptable what contributes most to self esteem. Economic and social behaviors are complex, and to comprehend their character is mentally tiring. Therefore we adhere, as... Wed, 3 Nov 2010 15:38:24 EST Preaching again Strength or resistance training is not rocket science or in any way some mystical secret formula. Strength training is simply challenging your muscles with a restistance which works them and fosters increased ability to use a greater resistance. <BR> <BR> Note I said challenging muscles. Barbie weights do NOT foster increases in strength. The workouts displayed in DVDs such as 30 Day Shred are misleadingly promoted as strength workouts when in fact they are cardio workouts which only build ... Mon, 27 Sep 2010 13:31:20 EST New rants and ruminations First rant is about cardio again. Rather than subject anyone to my well known personal opinion I will direct everyone to an abstract of a research study on the topic of cardio and fat loss. <link><BR>ian_Study.pdf </link> . This one of many articles which come up if you Google "research on importance of cardio in fat loss" <BR> <BR> Next rant is about the misleading "fitness workouts" pm FITTV. Yesterday I watched one which had five size 2 twenty somet... Sat, 4 Sep 2010 12:40:49 EST SEX. LIES and VIDEO TAPES My first comment is that I lied, there is neither sex or video tapes in this rant but I wanted a "cute" title to sucker you into reading it. I want to start with a link to an email I got from one of the fitness people I regularly monitor for new and updated information and opinions. <link> </link> You are looking for Lean Body Fitness Secrets Ezine with the title "Do You Really Need Cardio?" If you can not locate it contact me directly at a... Thu, 22 Jul 2010 13:58:30 EST Is a puzzlement Pardon the bad quote from "The King and I" but I am as befuddled as he was. As I read the various messages, questions and posts on the message boards I see what I consider to be an unwarrented emphasis being placed on how many calories did you burn or how long did you workout. It seems as if exercise is causing some form of OCD. <BR> <BR> Calories burned by any activity can only be measured accurately in a laboratory setting, any other method is at best a SWAG (scientific wild ass guess). ... Wed, 16 Jun 2010 13:40:51 EST A MONDAY SERMON <BR> <BR> <BR> Why does exercise have to be fun? I am not inferring that it can not be fun but in general that is where active recreation fits into the equation. Those who play a musical instrument have fun doing it only after the “drudgery” of practicing. The perfect tennis forehand or perfect gold swing is the result of practice. Is brushing your teeth fun, is taking a daily shower fun? There are many things we do daily which are to our benefit which do not fall into the fun category. ... Mon, 24 May 2010 14:07:42 EST Cardio, cardio, cardio ad nauseum and other rants Pardon me while I scream in anguish and agony but if I read another post saying that cardio is the answer to anything other than endurance and cardiovascular fitness I will go over the edge. "Burn more fat", "Increase your calorie burn" "break the plateau", "More is better; urban myth has more heads than Hydra. While cardio does have a place in every fitness programme it is not the be all and end all and only a person training for an endurance event needs to do cardio workouts more than two o... Mon, 10 May 2010 15:34:43 EST WHAT WAS OLD IS NEW AGAIN <BR> <BR> <BR> There is truth in the old saying “what goes around comes around” and recent trends in the fitness world have borne it out. While kettlebells were reestablished as a fitness tool about ten or fifteen years ago they date back to the 19thCentury as a gym standard. Now almost every sporting goods store and department carries some version of them. The vaudeville strong men of the late 19th Century and early 20th trained with them along with cable pullers which were a form of re... Fri, 26 Mar 2010 13:08:23 EST Another rant from the curmudegeon Why do the hucksters continue to use nonsense marketing phrases such as "body sculpt' "toning" "fat burning workouts" and the "super secret to fat loss only I know". I admit they must be making money with looking at the production vales and associated costs of their TV infomercials or even shows on Fit TV which are basically adverts for their DVDs. None of them whom I have review have created any break through or new workout programmes , all they done is repackage or reorder things which are ... Wed, 17 Mar 2010 23:42:22 EST Observations and rumminations I never realized how many individuals think that the duration of their exercise programme is the key to making progress instead of concentrating on the doing of the exercise. There seems to be a quantitative theroy over a qualitative one in the minds of many. Dr Tabata demonstrated at the proper intensity a workout as short as four minutes was effective and I know of at least two multiple variation DVDs which are built around that protocol. <BR> <BR> Circuit training for strength has stood... Wed, 10 Feb 2010 12:20:20 EST The Curmudegeon Reawakens <BR> Today is a day for questions about things which bug me as a trainer and contributor to the message boards. <BR> <BR> 1. Why do so many join the Hamster/Gerbil Club and asume that hours of cardio is the way to lose weight and get fit? <BR> 2. Why do the informercial and Fit TV "trainers' patronize their potential buyers or viewers with routines of recycled 1980's vintage aerobics workouts by adding barbie bells and calling it a strength workout? <BR> 3. Why do people assume they c... Mon, 25 Jan 2010 11:49:39 EST Major Rant! <BR> Friday night and I am home and bored so i decide to monitor FIT TV. What a major mistake that was. I tuned in to Hollywood Celebrity Body Challenge(?)and was appalled. Have these trainers not bothered to take any continuing education since they were "certified"? This is worse than the things they do on "Biggest Loser". Meaningless "strength" work, promotion of cardio and all the excuses why they are too busy to work out. Everything with one exception was gym machine based and isolati... Fri, 21 Aug 2009 23:54:01 EST The insanity continues Will all apologies to Susan Powter I continue my journey into insanity fitness. Last week I completed the One hundred Push ups programme with my final test. I only accomplished seventy one not one hundred but since seventy one matches my age I will stop that particular insanity and move on. <BR> <BR> Today I executed a different insanity challenge. In response to a challenge from another team I belong to I did 150 lunges in one day instead of one week. I did three sets of fifty with five to... Mon, 10 Nov 2008 15:00:31 EST Called up for disaster relief I have been called up by the Red Cross to go to the flooded area in southeastern Minnesota. I am not sure how much I will be in contact here but will have my laptop with me. I will also have my resistance bands, isn't that a surprise. I will try to keep things updated as I can. Mon, 20 Aug 2007 22:40:51 EST Weekly cardio weekly cardio goal: 90 minutes/700 calories done 142 minutes/2157 calories Sat, 11 Aug 2007 14:30:42 EST Random thoughts and comments. Wondering what to post to the team site today with the hope of eliciting some responses, Trying to keep it active and give team members some ideas as to how to incorportate various non machine non gym non tv basedworkouts into their routines in order to provide any time any where workouts. Thinking about creating a fitness program for seniors to have included in the local community education for the fall. Looking for people who want a personal trainer to assist them with their programmes Mon, 6 Aug 2007 13:23:22 EST