Category Archives: Workout

One week of strong

So, I think that one of the really positive outtakes from “Muscle over 40” for me has been just a little more desire to be active. And this week’s “Fitness and Freshness” shows a pretty strong uptick:

I’m finally back to where I was at the beginning of April, when I stopped running for a while due to a gimp ankle. The ankle’s feeling much better.

Today was a day off. Originally, I thought I was going to study, but there’s some local drama going around, so my sleep game has been off. Plus, the kids went off to work and school, and Mrs J looked at me and said “Wanna go?”

“Yuh.” ;)

“OK”, she said, and tossed my running shoes at me. Let’s go.

Le. Sigh.

The run was strangely, strangely good. Which either means I’m about to break again, or that I may actually be getting better. Short run, just a couple miles.

After the run, it was on the bike again, down River Road, soaking in the light and air, and just kind of being joyous. It was weird being on River Road during the part of the day when most folks are working – most Saturdays and Sundays, it’s tons of “Always Wave at your fellow cyclists who you see out there on the road“. But this time, not so much. Like two other cyclists. On the other hand, the fishermen under the IH-95 bridge seemed pretty friendly, though Narragansett tallboys at 8 AM will do that for you.

Workout at the YMCA was humbling. Lessons learned:

    DOMS* is most definitely a thing
    60 year old ladies can kick my butt
    I have the upper body of a cyclist and the midsection of a football fan
  • RE: DOMS – I think it’s mostly the body saying “OK, I gave you the one day, but you really want to keep doing this?” But it had set in for certain this morning, mostly in the quads and glutes after doing the trap bar deadlifts on Wednesday. The run did a pretty good job of shaking it out, but still.
  • Re: 60 year old ladies – Today’s workout was mostly arms, but it also included a set on the squat machine. In which, when I got there, there was a fit 60 something woman saying “Just one more set”. Fine, I said, as I didn’t necessarily mind the recovery.
  • When she was done, I fiddled around trying to figure out the machine, thinking I would need to add some weight. Turns out, I didn’t have to to add an ounce. Woman was crushing it, and much like Mrs. Jank, could easily take me in a fair fight.
  • Re: My upper body – for the flys and the other arm exercises, I used a pathetic amount of weight as judged by the portion of the stack that I moved. Luckily, the woman from earlier was finished after the squat machine, so she didn’t stick around to kick sand in my face.
  • Oldest kid works at the Y. He’d been up at 4 and out of the house at 4:30 in order to open the pool for the 5 AM swimmers. So, as I was finishing up, he was getting off, so we headed downtown for coffee and bagels. Really proud of the guy he’s growing into; happy to have him home for the summer.
  • On the way out, I realized that I’d carried my new camera like 50 miles at this point without snapping any snaps. So, I parked the bike outside Harp and Hound.
  • Probably should have stayed there for 3 hours.
  • Muscle after 40, Week 1, Day 2

    Cut out of work early today. Beautiful day, so instead of just stoping at the gym on my way home, I went home first, and rode the bike to the Y.

    What a time to be alive! The ride was awesome, but it usually is – down hill from the house, then a cruise down River Road, through downtown, and stop at the Y. The Mystic Y is about 6 months redone, and it is amazeballs. Lots of natural light, and, a decent number of people. Felt good to be using something other than the pool.

    Regardless, today’s activity was harder than Day 1. Not sure if it was residual tired from Monday, or if I used weights that were too heavy, but I’m pretty sure that it really was some muscle groups I don’t usually hit. Doesn’t matter, because I got ‘er done.

    Rode home up the other side of the river, stopped at Kelley’s Pace for another ankle brace. I think the leg is mostly good now, but i’m going to keep using the brace as a prophylactic probably through the end of the calendar year.

    Pshew. Run tomorrow and Friday, rest Saturday, and then do the flyaway leg of the Vermont City Marathon on Sunday. Life is hard.

    Muscle After 40 – Week 1, Day 1

    One of the glories of being a reasonably successful and financially secure professional is that I can indulge in buying bad books that generally sit on the bedside table collecting cat hair.

    Latest case in point might end up being Muscle After 40: Build Your Best Body Ever in Your 40s and Beyond. It came in over the weekend while I was on the bike, and I did the first workout on Monday. Initial impressions:

    1. I dig the book. There’s 5 whole pages of introduction, and then it’s into the first set of workouts. Good layout, spiral bound so it’s easy to use in the gym.
    2. The illustrations are awesome. Each workout has a pretty good illustration of the exercises to do, and a space RIGHT THERE to write your reps.
    3. Bryan Krahn’s instructions are top notch – no real technical words, pretty much just “pick a weight you can lift for a complete set” with guides as to when you’ll tire easily, and when you can probably lift more than you think.
    4. He doesn’t really repeat himself much. I’ve thought for a while that most fitness and business books were a 10 page paper repeated 20 times to pad out a book that will have the first and last chapters read after someone buys it in the airport. Muscle after 40 fits this description, except it doesn’t repeat and doesn’t waste the pages in the middle, instead providing a useful log.

    The 12 week program is divided into 3 parts: First, it’s “Full Body”, which I think is mostly getting slugs like me into the bodybuilding parts of the gym. Second is Upper/Lower, where the workouts will either focus on the upper body or the lower body. Finally, it’s “Push-Pull”, which focuses on the whole body again, ‘cept better.

    First workout was in the books. I kinda screwed up and did it as a circuit instead of straight sets – still sweated. My guess is that I’m probably best just resting today and then going to the second day.

    Workout was good. Eating was not good – little bit of stress snacking in the AM. Weight is down slightly from where I’m redrawing my peak, but still 20 lbs above where I consider myself fat but healthy.

    Spinning, spinning, spinning

    Unlike Dianna, I avoided running in Snowmageddon 2014-01 this morning, and headed over to the YMCA to hit the 0515 Spin class. Good times.

    I will accept a certain amount of guilt about heading over for spin class instead of, say, actually riding a bicycle on the actual road, with some insulation and some reflective materials, except for:

  • There’s like three hours total of daylight up here at the high latitudes
  • Unlike when I run, when I ride I do generate at least enough wind to get some effective windchill
  • While drivers up here are pretty accommodating when it comes to cyclists, there does seem to be an open season between November and February where drivers seem empowered to act like jerks
  • It’s cold as balls
  • Which is why I head to spin.

    The 0515 spin instructor, Noreen, is AWESOME for being up at the crack of dawn. She’s usually got some pumping tunes, and hits exactly the right tone – reassuring and competent, which is what you want at 0515.

    I’ve heard my wife talk about some of the other instructors who cover the classes later in the day and say things like “high energy” and “perky” – this early in the morning, instead of being motivating, I’m guessing that I’d probably throw a water bottle instead of responding well.

    Playlist is excellent – good, solid rock and/or roll, with a couple of throw-aways (I’m sexy and i know it). And, every month or so, we do “Dark side of the Moon”, usually on a Friday morning. It’s dark in the spin room, and lit with blacklight, so the combination of still being mostly asleep, fluorescent lights, oxygen deprivation, and eventual endorphins – wow.  Almost as good as beer.

    So, I’m there for about the next 4 or 5 months, Monday and Friday…

    Racing Weight – Plugging Away

    Hey, y’all. (Hey, Jank!, I hear you say)

    Plugging away up here. Starting the 4th week of Racing Weight. Haven’t been completely strict on either diet or exercise, but I’m batting about 80% on workouts, and diet appears to be working – I’ve gone from 186 to 182 in a month. Nothing breathtaking, but steady progress beats no progress, right?

    Working swimming back into my routine has been a key. Working out form through the Triathlon classes at the Mystic YMCA a couple of years ago made a giant difference. Swimming’s always been a great way to get exhausted quickly, but it’s nice to be able to knock out a mile of laps in 45 minutes instead of maybe 600 yards for the same level of exhaustion. I’m by no means a good swimmer, but the sensory depravation one gets in the pool is close to zen. 20 good flip turns in a row feels like carving a good line through moguls – something you can’t think too much about but need to be completely conscious of to make it happen.

    Commuting on the bike is awesome, BTW. Need to spend some time documenting my current system. But that’s a post of a different color…

    He’s not dead, Gym

    In advance I’ve got to apologize to the woman who was doing crunches almost the entire time on the rowing machine – I did not mean to stare – I was looking at the TV in proximity to you. And, by all means, continue what it is you’re doing – it is working wonderfully.

    In the spirit of my 2007 resolutions, I did not take my rest day lightly. At lunch, I headed down to the gym, and gutted out 2878 meters (15 minutes) on the rowing machine, and a quick 10 minutes of intervals (40 seconds spinning easy at 90 RPM, 40 seconds hard at 105-115 RPM) on the stationary bike. Plus some stretching, and the before-mentioned sightseeing (Again, I apologize.) All-in-all, a very effective cardio workout.

    Though, the part that impresses me most is that I ended up with a blister on my left hand – clearly, life has been way too easy for me.

    Susan in Dallas (not to be confused with Susie in Virginia) turned me on to Traineo – not quite sure what it does, but I think I’m going to give it a go as a public way to commit to weight-loss. It’s full of all kinds of Ajax-y goodness.

    A couple of personal notes this evening:

    First, I did a quick “StrenghtsFinder” profile today at the behest of my boss. it’s based off of the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” – won’t link to it as I think they’ve got enough press. I don’t place a whole lot of stock in any of the “pop” leadership/management books, but the guy I’m working for does, and I think he’s a pretty sharp guy. So, I clicked through the survey, being as honest as I could be.

    No huge shocks – my five strengths came out as

    • Learner
    • Ideation
    • Activator
    • Woo
    • Responsibility

    Actually, the “Woo” kind of took me for a loop – I did not think that I had much in the way of people skills at all, but “Woo” makes sense – I’m all about selling people on wild ideas, ‘specially if I’m convincing them that they should be the ones really taking the risks.

    “Learner” was a no-brainer – show me something I’m not at least conversant in, and I can show you a credit-card charge later that week for an O’Reilly book on the subject. “Ideation” – likewise, let me read the book, and I’m hatching all sorts of “what-if” plans.

    “Activator” – if there’s a group sitting on its duff, I’m incredibly impatient. Do something, don’t just sit there. And “Responsibility” – well, the description said that:

    Your Responsibility theme forces you to take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion. Your good name depends on it. If for some reason you cannot deliver, you automatically start to look for ways to make it up to the other person. Apologies are not enough. Excuses and rationalizations are totally unacceptable. You will not quite be able to live with yourself until you have made restitution.

    Wow – talk about the story of my freakin’ life. Actually, this was a relief to me to read – even though I’m not a planner and have no real skills at execution once a project is started, my dad drilling into me “Ultimately, all you have is your name” seems to have stuck.

    Now, to re-examine myself and see how to build on my strengths…

    Second, I went and watched the first three quarters of the BCS game. I was on the OSU bandwagon, as it turns out that my wife’s Grandfather is not only an OSU grad, but an Engineer (I knew about the engineer part, but not the OSU part). I would have cried, but I got to watch it with a couple of friends in the Harp and Hound in downtown Mystic. There are few things better than a winter’s evening in a 200 year old pub where you can actually carry on a conversation and watch football.

    Lastly, a huge and belated happy birthday to my little brother, Doc. He’s a good man.


    Managed to drag myself to the pool this evening after scrubbing the bathrooms ’cause my mom’s showing up tomorrow. I even picked up my room. Funny how, even with kids of your own, your mom can make you feel twelve when you don’t see her so often.

    The pool was wet. The pool was cold. C, my erstwhile swimming partner, decided to stay at home and eat chocolate. Something about wanting to get off early this weekend. Tall guy stood me up, too – this is like a week without seeing him at the pool.

    The first 500 yards were good. Second were pretty good, too, but there was the feeling at the back of my mind that something wasn’t quite right. Probably wanted to get home to clean something. Started the third 500, and at the end felt really winded. Fourth 500 – pushed off the wall to get going, and just decided to bag it right there.

    So, I didn’t make my workout goals, but I also didn’t push myself into extremis. I’d be upset, but I’ve gotten off of the couch three days in a row. There’s something to be said for that. Though I wish I’d snuck in a run on Tuesday.

    Sorry – nothing earth-shattering tonight. Maybe Friday.

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    Billy and the boob tube

    Heh, heh – he said “boob”

    So, I haven’t run since Monday. The littlest of the two disease vectors is suffering from some sort of snuffley nose that apparently only strikes during the middle of the night. He was up most of Monday night, and a little last night. Plus, Monday night the dog had what we like to call “bad butt”. There was nothing but blaming it on the dog, and the wife was tempted to exile him to the garage for the evening. I was more understanding, but for the first time in years, he woke me up in the middle of the night to ask to head outside. I grumbled at first, ’till I realized that the alternative was picking up whatever was pushing out the stink prior to heading off to work at oh-dark-thirty.

    Work has been great – I completely love the project I’m working on. The downside? Been busy as all get out. So between Nate, the dog, and the office, I convinced myself to blow off yesterday as a “rest” day. Was close to doing the same today, ‘cept guilt got the better of me about 9 tonight. So I broke down and popped in the Pilates DVD my lovely wife picked up for me after I’d offhanded mentioned that I was interested in learning it.

    Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the program. The DVD’s set up so that, using a normal DVD player, you can customize a workout. Having no clue what I was getting into, I chose the “Abs” workout that the perky host (is that what you call them on workout tapes? Instructor?) recommended for a daily workout, and also chose the “Flexibility” or something similar, since I’m about as flexible as you’d expect a thirty-something who hasn’t taken the best care of himself to be.

    20 minutes later, I’m feeling energized, happy, and thrilled that I was alone in the basement during the workout. But, basically, it kicked my butt.

    Think I’ll be adding that to my quiver, for sure.

    Pixiland Rag from the album “The Leprechaun” by Chick Corea

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