Sunday, January 22, 2017

Working Out before Working Out

I was discussing exercise and workouts with a family member during the start of the year. It's one of those typical 'new year, new you'discussion. It got a bit funny when he brought up the fact that he was looking at getting a spin bike. I was in one of those moods because I asked if he would keep it near the treadmill. Sadly some of the comment has the truth, they do have a treadmill and yes it's in the basement. To be fair, he has done Disney runs a few times so he has some cred as far as I'm concerned. However it's some of the equipment that people have bought has ended up being the place to put the folded laundry.

His plan is to go back to the gym, I can't recall if he still has membership or is going to get membership to this one gym in the city he lives in and it's going to be good. As you know I've got membership with a gym and I truly enjoy my membership. Plus I manage to get out about 2-3 times her week which I feel is a good use of my time and effort. I like it because not only is there a lot of equipment but there are classes that i can take. I have to also say there is a very nice hydro massage bed, two of them so thee is always a nice opportunity to relax and have a nice massage. It is good and makes it's a nice way to end the workout.

So where was I? Yes he wants to get a membership and then have a personal trainer help him to get the right workout that he needs.

I have to say this a good plan, one that should be able to help him gain his strength and health back to where it can be. I made one suggestion and this is a suggestion I think we should all have. He wants to start exercise in February, I made the suggestion that he start right now. He has a iPhone and has an iPad and if you have read this blog for a few years you know what I'm going to suggest, and that is Skimble. My thinking is this, before you start a serious exercise program and if you are going to have a personal trainer, then you should do something to get starting. Let me say it's not like the old 'clean the house before the cleaners get here'. What I think is that one of the problems with starting an exercise program is that you will be using muscles that are not used, at least not on a regular basis. If muscles get used, then they begin the micro-tearing and you will be stiff. Stiffness is one thing that will kill the motivation to exercise. One person made the comment that they did 100 sit ups and were stiff for days afterwards, I think they said for three days. This is a motivation killer. If, however, you start with some exercise program, especially one that uses the muscle groups that are going to be worked closely with the trainer, then one will be ready for the exercise program. I know one could ask why do you need to go to a Personal Trainer if you go to Skimble? The reason is quite simple, because at the end of the day, having a person looking you over is better and one can get good feedback. Also the Personal Trainer will be able to push you when you need to be pushed and give suggestions or push back if he or she senses you are working too hard and could injure yourself. The challenge of self starting is the risk of injury. Most of the injury will be small and will only set you back a few days, but there is also the risk. One of the risks and this is a danger we all face is that you will have an injury and you will have the attitude that you can work your way through the injury. It's never as bad as you think it is, but let me tell you, injury even the smallest ones, can lead to something worse. Never think you can work your way through the injury because the risk is that it will get worse and you will be off the exercise program for a very long time. Trust me I know this fact.

My recommendation is that a person starts slowly and accept that fact that you are not going to be able to do all you want right away. Right now I finally got my running back on after not running for over a month. The problem is I had a recurring head and chest cold so I didn't want to push it and risk it becoming even worse. After having pneumonia a couple of times, I am not going to risk anything at all. I have missed running and it feels good. I'm only running a little over 5K for now but I want to get back to adding the distance in the next week.

I'm going to ask him how his workout program has started and hopefully there will be a some good news.

Monday, January 2, 2017

What's ahead for 2017

Alright, this is the second blog of the year. I gave my report over the events and situations of last year and how it was. Generally I feel good about what was done and while I am disappointed that no running took place in December, I know that things happen. Right now I'm fighting a brand new cold, yeah illness, and so running is going to be postponed until such a time as I stop coughing a lung out. This is not to say I plan to stop all exercise, I will keep going. I have activated the LG Health app on my smartphone which contains the challenge of a 30 minute daily walk. It remains to be seen how long I will allow another app to annoy my life and make it my slave. It's bad enough with the FitBit Flex with its accompanying app that is now controlling my life, although I am slow to the mark when it comes to the whole water drinking thing, plus that sleeping is both a good thing and a bad thing. But when that little devise buzzes and the lights do the dance that demonstrate I've reached 10,000 steps it does make me happy. I have enough apps to keep me going. I'm not sure if this is all a good thing or a bad thing, perhaps I should research this and find out if there is such a thing as too many fitness apps.

I am not calling this a Resolution Blog, since that word has sadly becoming a mockery today. What it has come to mean is goals set with the desire to either forget them in a couple of months, or remind you what a undisciplined individual you really are and that means simply sitting around on the couch watching TV. However, even if I don't use the word I want to consider what I need to do this upcoming year, because there are some good goals that can be stated, things attainable and will be good for me. Let's get started:

1)Running As I wrote yesterday, I wanted to curtail my running and develop my other forms of exercise in 2016. As such, mission was accomplished. Well in 2017 I want to get my running up and going, again waiting for this ridiculous cold to pass. I'm going to give myself a week of walking and perhaps some jogging before I get back to running. I want to say that I enjoy running, it is fun to do and when I go through different neighbourhoods and see what's happening it is fun. Plus I've added some urban trails to my efforts and it has been challenging and good for my fitness. I plan to enter some races and perhaps this year run another half marathon. The first one I did was great for the first 20 km, it was the last 1.1 km that was the problem. I plan to spend more time running outside of the city, along the regional roads for example and take on those challenges.

2)Weight. Normally this is not a topic I touch upon because it is the truest road to failure, however I've got to come to grips with one horrible truth, I have developed the dad bod. Yes I've put on a few pounds and while nothing is terrible, it's snug. While I do joke and mention the fact that my six pack is kept insulated, I can lose a few pounds, probably between 5-10 pounds. I think this can be done by ramping up the cardio work and just watching what I eat. I don't have a huge diet of what would be considered junk food and I'm not going to start eating nothing but salads. There's not much else I need to cut out, not a big pop drinker for example although I do like the snacks. It is something I will keep an eye on and watch things. I don't think I'll follow any of those strange youtube channels.

3) Cycling. Going to keep this a priority for the new year. This year it will be 100 miles on the bike. I plan to start in March, providing the weather is good, that is no snow on the road and try for one good hour ride a week.

4) Gym. Still a good thing to have the gym now at 8 minutes away. I've got a few ideas. The main one will be fewer bike miles and more elliptical miles. I'm thinking I may have to get back to the treadmill, which I hate. I'm really like the elliptical machine and they do have a lot of very nice ones. I know I've got to steel myself for the sudden influx of new people, but hopefully many of them will discover the joy of fitness

5) Home Exercise Program. The workout program is still on and going strong. I will continue to make a priority of starting my day with a workout program that will get the heart rate up and myself ready to face the day.

That's my plan for 2017. You might say there are no goals, and you're right. I don't believe in goals, I believe in doing.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Looking Back at a Year

Happy New Year all my faithful readers. So it is now the official put the new calendar up on the wall and throw the old one out day. We should make something to celebrate the act of getting rid of, or recycling the old calendar and putting up the new calendar. I recall a few years ago when the people were getting upset with the Mayan Calendar it was running out and therefore the thought was the world and Universe was coming to an end. What actually happened was the calendar was coming to the end, and all that was required was to go to the local kiosk at the Mall and get the new Mayan Calendar.

So I'm looking back to the year 2016 and considering all that has happened and what it means with my exercise: 1) The Big thing on my wrist over the past year is the Fitbit Flex; I've wore it practically every day over the year and to the end of the year, I have, done 4,256,701 steps, which translate into 3,355 kilometers. Now to help understand these numbers, it means everything that the Fitbit considers as steps is part of those numbers. My last badge has been the India badge so I've done the equivalent of the coastline of India. That is quite interesting and i do look forward to another year wearing the devise. I've got to purchase a few more wristband over the next year to make sure it stays colourful.

2) When I started 2016 I decided I would cutback on my running; this was due to the number of injuries I was starting to develop and keep, especially the knees, I wanted to make sure I didn't overdo it last year. The good news in 2015 was that I surpassed 800 miles. I wanted to rest up my body and then add some other activities. I will be honest and say the I took off the month of December, due to a stupid chest cold that started the month, plus being busier more then I should have been and so I didn't have any activity for the entire month. Still I reached over 500 miles which works out to 841 kilometers, which is still acceptable. I remember when I reached over 300 miles and that was something that impressed me and it is good. Now the number of road races went down to 1 but I did do 3 virtual runs. Which was still good and I have the medals, tee shirts and the stickers, the latter are on my new laptop. They look good and I am glad to participate in the virtual runs. What is nice about the virtual runs is that they take place everywhere and anywhere so instead of going to some place special at a specific time, I just choose when I'm going to wear the tee shirt and the number, they supply the pins which is neat. One of the best runs I did was a result of a bike ride, which meant I ran down the regional road to one of the regional forests which was a great experience, and I plan to have some more of these type of runs

3) One part of my exercise I wanted to expand was the bike riding. A couple of years ago I had to buy a new bike due to an accident which destroyed the bike I had. I truly enjoyed that bike, it was great and I put a lot of distance on those wheels. Sadly, it was destroyed, not on the road but in the garage. I still get upset when I think about it, so please give me a few moments to compose myself before I continue.

Okay I'm back, the year 2015 when the old bike was destroyed and I bought a new bike, I put a whole 20 miles on it. This past year I managed to get 86.98 miles As I mentioned in the part about running, one of the places I biked to is now going to be a part of my regular running route. It's out of the city and along on the regional road. It is going to be great. It's a good route and I look forward to the new route and the new year of running. Some of the peripherals for the bike has been the handlebar mounts for my smartphone, I'm using it for my Strava app on my phone so that I've got the distance, time, calories and so on registered and uploaded. It is great, looks good and keeps the phone solid on the bike. I've got one mountain bike jersey that I plan to wear when the weather gets warm enough, plus there's a long sleeve one that I have my eye on and I will probably purchase it shortly. I'm still learning to get used to the disc brake system and I am getting better.

4)After teasing me and a lot of people for more then six months and probably closer to a year, the World Gym opened up in the downtown core of the old city of Galt. It's 8 minutes from home and 5 minutes from my office. It is great, it's not as large as the main one, but it has all the equipment that I need to have a good workout. Since it has opened, I've been to the main gym only once, and I think that's going to be it. I like the location, the way it's set up for everybody and while the lockers may be a bit small, it's okay. I'm using the main row of the coat rack to have my coat and boots so I'm not taking up a lot of space with the locker. Plus I've got a good time for a few classes and there is the hydromassage bed. I've been using the recumbent bike and now I'm going to use the elliptical machine as my cardio.

5)Yoga I went to the Yoga Conference in Toronto and I plan to get to it next year. I bought myself a new mat, Dusky Leaf, the most I've spent on a mat. I've found a lot of great videos on YouTube and are making them a part of my weekly workout.

6) My morning workout is still an activity. It gets me going and I think Eowyn enjoys having me workout downstairs. Plus when the weather was warm I was outside and it was fun.

So that's what happen last year. The next blog will consider what I want in 2017. Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Being Outside

Summer is great for a number or reasons. The weather is warmer, the amount of clothes becomes less and even in the heat it is possible to be comfortable. As a runner, I feels it's always a great experience and even though I might have to run later on in the day to avoid the hot humid conditions, it is a great feeling.

It's also a great time to do the morning workout outside. As I've have written I take time almost each morning to do a series of workouts from Skimble

Each morning, I get out my yoga mat, a thicker one that I purchased a few years ago from Giant Tiger. It's a bit of a regular kind of mat so I don't mind using it outside. This is actually the answer to the trivia question, why do I have more then one mat? I have more then one mat because of different conditions and locations. Okay the Dusky Leaf one was because I wanted a different colour and was inspired after the Yoga Conference to get something different. Plus Dusky Leaf is a great Canadian company.

After the mat goes out, so does a few hand weights and any other prop I many require, plus the radio. Here is another plug for satellite radio, great variety of music and tastes. I turn on The Spa channel and listen to the bliss. Much more then the music, it's the entire experience. It's listening to the sounds of the morning. There is a lot that happens, wind sounds, bird songs, and even the neighbours part of the sound. For some of the neighbours, it's the start of the day, either getting ready for work, or jumping into the car, or the motorcycle as one neighbour does, or walking the dog.

Plus where else can you go into a tree pose by looking either at trees or some of the flowers that are set up at eye level. So everything works with this weather. It is good to be able to enjoy the outside. I know I run and bike plus walk- but to start the day outside, that makes a special experience.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Yoga Conference Toronto

I saw the information last year for this conference and my curiosity was piqued. I do enjoy going to conferences and so when I read of the Toronto Yoga Conference I thought it should be something I needed to see and experience. After all, this is called, "Miles and Mats", so any and all exercise is part of the information I want to make part of my knowledge. I will be honest, I didn't what to expect, besides the usual collection of a lot of booths with all sorts of things that would be an interesting to learn about.

While there was a cost of $15.00 for tickets that would be good for the entire four day show, I was given a couple of free tickets, and also found that there was plenty of people on Twitter that had links to even more free tickets. Now the tickets were good to get a person onto the show floor and to try out some yoga workouts and a few other things that were free. What I didn't realize there was also various meetings and learning sessions that at a cost would open to some good learning.

With free tickets I went down to Toronto. I wore comfortable clothes to try out some of the workouts, brought my travel mat and headed down there. Parking at my usual spot I jumped on the subway and off to the Metro Toronto Conference Centre. I saw a few people with mats and knew I was on the right way. Usually when I go down to the MTCC, I am in costume going to FanExpo.

I entered the Conference Centre, showed my ticket and got my bracelet. So I went up the stairs and entered the conference. It was quite the experience, there was a lot of booths which had all manner of products and services. It went from food, to mats and equipment, and all things related to Yoga. Clothes to jewelry was there for the purchase. What I was interested in was taking some of the courses. I had noticed there was a course on dealing with Yoga for Runners. It was there for all who wanted to take part. It was part of the purchase price and since the ticket was free, it was worth waiting for and having the time done. The person who was to teach was Christine Felstead, who from what I learned, had written a book with that title and produced a number of DVD's which would be there for purchase. This was a person who knew what they were talking about. So was going to wait.

While the conference was packed with booths, the middle area was called the Yoga Garden and it was here the various classes would take place. From the brochure, there would be classes one right after the other in quick succession.

What was impressive was the number of people who were putting their mats down and experience the various yoga styles. It looked good, so I took one workout before the Runner one. It was a Kundalini Yoga class. Since I am still a newbie, I didn't have much of an understand as to the style. It was taught by a very good teacher. There was a concentration of breathing, both breathe through the nose. What I have noticed is that Yoga concentrates on breathing, and it seems that Kundalini takes it a step up. I am not an expert nor will I claim to understand Kundalini at all, so I won't pretend to have an awareness, it's probably something that takes a life. It was a 30 minute class and very well attended. In fact a lot of people took advantage of the free classes, if anything this made the conference. A taste of free classes that exposed to various styles and teachers. I was only able to get over in the afternoon and I'm thinking next year I will spend more time at the Garden.

The Yoga for Runners class was an hour long and a very challenging experience. She wanted to work all those muscles that would be hard used during running. Certainly it was a good course and afterwards I felt it, especially in the leg muscles.

After those classes I walked around to see more of the conference. So many great booths and items to buy. I learned there is a program that if you bring an old Yoga mat, you can get a credit of $10.00 for the purchase of a new mat. There were the main yoga mat companies represented; Gaiam Yoga, Jade Yoga and even a new company B Yoga. There was also an announcement of Kulae opening up a Canadian website, selling great mats. This is a note to myself, next year bring the funds and purchase a new mat. Get one from one of those interesting companies. I'm thinking of the everyday style of mat, the travel seems a little too thin and I need something to bring when I travel, but give that extra padding.

One aspect I wanted to have a Thai Massage. I've heard it's an interesting experience and so I noticed a number of booths that offered massages for 10 minutes or more. After a wander, I went to the Urban Nirvana booth for a 15 minute massage, the price was $20.00 and thought it would be a good experience. Also with all the walking and Yoga, why not have a massage. It was great. Yes a lot of stretching, which was a bit intense at time, but wow, the after affect, felt so great. While the therapist did stretch and use muscle manipulation, it felt super afterwards. He gave a massage on my calf muscles that felt so good. I have got to say, the staff from Urban Nirvana was very polite and friendly. I think if I ever wanted to have another Thai Massage, it would be from Urban Nirvana.

After enjoying the sites, sounds and some free food, plus a coconut water; it was time to go. The experience overall was positive. It was a good location with lots to see and experience. Plus I did buy a towel from Jade Yoga.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Getting Ready for Bike Season

Like I mentioned in an earlier blog, I've decided I needed to increase my bike riding for this year. I just checked my mileage and I managed a whole 20 miles on the bike. Wow, over the course of 12 months, that's like 1 and a half miles a month, or a whole 2.6 kilometres. Of course I look at the fact I did run 800 miles. At the same time, I do spend a fair amount of time on the recumbent bike at the gym. Still we're talking about an imbalance when it comes to considering something else besides running as exercise.

I have always enjoyed bike riding, if I decide to go on a trip, it's a great way to see a new community or even what's around the community.

Now the issue last year, which I have mentioned was the fact that my beloved K2 Zed got involved in an accident, in the garage, and I was nowhere near it. But this is just bringing up some very harsh memories and it's not something I want to go over in my mind. The new bike is a Diadora Orma Mountain Bike. It's the first one I've owned that has a disc brake system and from what I have experienced is going to take a little time to get used to, and so the plan is to just do some safe little riding for the first little while, say the first month until I get comfortable experiencing the feel and ride of the new bike.

So to start the process, today I pumped up the tires. Got to start somewhere and it's important to have the right pressure when going for a ride. It will be a good time to start biking again.

I've bought a few small items to enhance the bike riding experience. I've got the lights on the front and back to make sure I'm seen. This is still important to do, even though I do have my doubts on the drivers in this community, much like every other community. I decided to try one of those LED lights on the front and keep the back lights the one I was able to get off the former bike. I've got a holder on the bike for my smartphone. I want to make sure I get some good statistics for each ride. I figure with a good smartphone, and I know it's good because of what I use with my various runs, I want to ensure I get the right stats from each ride. I'm debating where I want to ride. I've spent some time riding to the north and a bit to the west. I will check the maps and calculate which directions I want to go. Perhaps down to some of the local conservation areas to enjoy the areas that are set about. I won't spend a whole lot of time in Cambridge, because it's not the best place to ride. Sadly I've got to say that because of the traffic conditions and the roads that are around here. Plus there is a good strategy to get out of the city and see what's happening. A while back I went for a ride and found this interesting historical site, it was an old Mennonite church, and it wasn't on the map but there it was, so that made the ride very worthwhile.

I've also purchased one of those sports camcorders, not the GoPro make, because that's nothing I can afford, but one of those cheaper versions, let's thank a big 'thank you' to ebay shall we?

I haven't thought out how I will totally use it, I want to do more riding off-road this year as well, so perhaps a few scenes of me hitting trees or falling over rocks, that will make some interesting viewing. I want to get out more and enjoy all that biking can give me. I do need to do a bit more cross-training and not put too much pressure on my joints.

In other exercise news, the snow looks like it might be going and that will mean I'll be working again in the garden. I'm pleased to say that the crocuses survived that horrible two day ice storm that we just went through and so that augers well for a good gardening season.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you're getting out and enjoying do something that gets your body moving.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Pull Up

Another blog in which I do some confessions. The last time I did one of these was to admit I hate burpees. I realize I'm probably not alone in that matter, on the other hand I have talked to people who say nice things about burpees. Not sure why, but they do.

A couple of years I bought myself a pull up bar, and understand I mean the type you can place at the top of the door frame and do exercises on, with the hope I could do something about the pull up. I will say, I am totally awful when it comes to pull ups. Understand I'm not talking about the ones you do the training on with the toddlers, or the ones that inevitably wait all those who age, but the pull up.

At the gym I watch people do the pull ups, or chin ups, which ever phrase you want and it impresses me. There is a level of grace to them, it is effortless and when you see those deltoids fully pumped, you understand they've done a lot of them and it has paid up very well for them.

Me? Probably the last word I would use is 'graceful'. I'm trying to get up and do as many as I can before simply collapsing.

However this year I am going to strive to make myself not as awkward when I do them. Will I decide to do something like that at the gym, as I look around, I'm going to workout at home for the next year and continue to make it a part of my morning workout.

There's a large number of sites that can help me. I'll investigate them.

Cheers all.