Saturday, August 16, 2008

working toward trekking again

Having recently joined the Adventure Cycling Association, I've been getting mail (and cycling route maps) to help me think outside the gym.

Although I've started working out and tweaking my diet for general fitness and health, quality of life is bigger than just that. Pretty much everything has been getting easier as I lighten the load (to the tune of 1-1.5 lbs/week) and increase in strength & flexibility.

And that includes cycling! I just returned from a bike route featuring some challenging hills. We call it "the Booger route" in honor of a friendly dog named Booger we used to encounter along the way.

One hill in particular is traditionally a real beast, and more than once I've run out of steam before making it all the way up. But today I made the entire route with a few additions in about 55 minutes without even taking a break.

My workout routine is a combination of resistance training, cardiovascular work, and stretching. I believe each of these is making a meaningful contribution to my ride.

But not every workout should be in the gym. Just as in golf playing a round isn't treated like a trip to the driving/chipping/putting facility, I don't approach the gym the same way I'd approach cycling, swimming, canoeing, or going for a walk.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

hit the Anytime Fitness in Richland today

I am finally able to enter the Richland location, which is much closer to my house.

At first glance, I can see some obvious points of comparison between the two.

First off, the one in Madison is very quiet. People watch TV on personal-sized flat screens with headphones while on the cardio machines, but there's not a lot of background noise.

In Richland, there are TVs, but they're massive things and not dedicated to individual workout stations. Local radio station Y101 is playing loudly through the place, commercials and all. But it was tolerable, if only by a slim margin.

There are more stationary bikes in Richland than in Madison. I tried out a recumbent today, and found it to be more feature rich than the 'bent in Madison, as it's loaded with electronics. The electronics made it a stone cold mystery to figure out at first, though. But it was great to be able to monitor my heart rate on the bike.

The rest of the bikes I saw today appear to be fashioned after time trial bikes, and I will definitely give them a good checking out soon.

I discovered quickly while on the treadmill that some of what makes the magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray a fun read for me makes it terrible reading on the treadmill. The articles and features are fantastic for short attention span reading while waiting in line or killing a minute, but no good for long stretches of time.

I put in 37 minutes on the treadmill, varying the speed and incline for an interval session. Then I put in about 32 more minutes on the 'bent, sticking to around 90 RPM with varying resistance levels (10-15, mostly) for more interval work, recording a distance of 7.68 and 253 calories.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

while ducking the #%$!ing heat....

I've ordered up several Adventure Cycling maps of routes in and around Mississippi. And my main riding partner has been threatening to get a bike mount for his Tom Tom.

We've been making noise about doing one or more Longleaf Trace Trail rides before long, as well.

Alas, we've had some pretty sketchy weather lately. Temps (not even counting the heat index) have gone over 100° F some days, and it's been consistently as hot as hell. And summer here also means spontaneous storms, of course.

So having a place to get some exercise and blow off steam without having to be out in that misery is great. Hooray for the gym, I guess.

I'm already seeing some results in both strength and cardio activities there. I look forward to putting my conditioning to the test outdoors when the weather cools more to my liking.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Today I made it back to the gym after a weekend of more normal life. (It'll be 30 days before I can go to the other locations close enough to home for me to go on weekends.)

Saturday morning I got in a vigorous bike ride, and Sunday I took a "recovery day" to let my body catch up with me a bit.

The gym was packed with people after work today, which was almost a surprise after my visits Thursday and Friday, during which I only saw a few people. One of the many people I saw today turned out to be an "ex" I didn't care to see, but I guess it's the nature of the beast.

During my orientation workout Friday, I was introduced to so many activities and machines that I was only able to figure out most (but not all) of it today. I'll have to see if I can find out what the remaining few items on my workout list are.

I put in half an hour on the recumbent stationary bike (by far my most favorite piece of equipment at this point), which reported that I had burned off 250 or so calories. I can't imagine that the calorie estimate is reeeeally accurate, but I do know that a steady half hour of cycling with resistance is a good way to get the heart beating.

I was unable to complete 2 sets of 10 reps on some of the machines, but feel that I gave it a fair effort for today.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

enter Anytime Fitness

I've done something I always assumed I'd never do: joined a [gym|fitness center].

This just never seemed like my sort of thing. I associated them with jockstrap football players like my brother, then later heard the universal story of joining one on some draconian contract only to never actually go and work out.

But I'm 37 now, well-fed and overweight. Sure, I can bike or walk in the hills, go play golf, or take a swim, but I haven't been really doing what needs doing to get and stay fit.

In between the workday and the commute, the harsh reality is that when I finally get out of the car at the end of the day, my motivation is drained.

A friend of mine who fell into the "sign contract but don't work out" trap a while back had brought my attention to Anytime Fitness, and I checked out the location near the office a few days back at lunch.

After a really brief look-around, I signed up. The next afternoon I showed up with a list of things I can already do and one of fitness goals. The manager looked at this and went through a session orienting me to the equipment and writing up a workout plan I can follow.

In a month, I'll be able to go to any Anytime Fitness location at any time day or night, a few of which are near my home (so I don't have to go all the way to Madison to work out, which is out of the question).

I haven't checked out these locations, and understand that there's considerable variation from location to location. But the one by the office is pretty nice in my book. I can watch the golf channel (or whatever else is on cable) while doing cardiovascular work, which is fine by me. And the prospect of an on-site shower expands my options.

I have some ideas in my head about how best to get into a workout routine, but I'll have to see how the realities of my situation play out.

Of immediate interest is the prospect of stopping for a workout while the rest of the cagers ride out the evening commute. But I may have to check out some sessions during lunch to see if this suits me. I often go out to lunch just to escape the office at lunch, so if I can hit the stationary bike and a shower instead on some of these occasions, I may even be able to save a little cash.

We'll see. The real trick is to get into a workout habit, so that's my most immediate goal.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

back in the saddle again

In between illness and foul weather, getting outside hasn't been super fun lately.

I took private lessons with a golf pro all winter, so I at least had something going on, but it was nice to spend some quality time on the bike here lately.

Yesterday, although feeling so sick I was white faced and nauseous, I cycled 12 miles, mostly with companions.

Today I did another 16 miles solo and in mild-to-moderate traffic. It was gorgeous.

I'm pooped, though, and have a bit of a headache.

I was down so much last year from injury that I'm really chomping at the bit to get out and do cool stuff this year.

I took a few pics of things seen during today's ride, btw, which I posted via picasa.