Five exercises that sound like they’re … er … something else!!

Happy Friday, everybody! Are you ready for something a little … different today?

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Have you ever noticed that some exercises, which may be perfectly nice and normal and good for you, have names which are kinda, um, risqué? Or just plain gross? For example:

  1. Burpees
    burp barney
    Actually, “burpees” are this full-body exercise where you get down on the ground in a “plank” position, then jump back up again.
    burpee chart.jpg
    It looks horrible to me, probably because it is! Still, it’s said to burn a lot of calories, so I may try it someday. Really, really slowly, though.
    standing up
  2. Squats
    squat cip.jpg
    Of course, the squat is a legitimate and very healthy exercise. But please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks about … er … something else, when I hear the word.
    cat squat
  3. Thrusters
    thrusters clip.jpg
    It’s basically just doing a squat and thrusting your dumbbells into the air. So why does it sound like a potential lawsuit?
    thrusting.jpg
  4. The Snatch
    snatch.jpg
    Probably getting into NSFW territory, so ’nuff said!!
  5. The Clean and Jerk – 
    clean jerk.jpg
    (Honestly, these things kinda write themselves, sometimes!)

That’s it, your grossly disgusting Friday Five! Have a great weekend, everybody — see you Monday for the weigh-in!

 

Monday Weigh-In: Finally, Fall!

And the first thing that’s falling is — my weight! Let’s start with that, shall we? ‘Cause I’m pretty happy about it! Remember last week when I was up to 186.2, post-potluck? Well, feast your orbs on THIS!

183.6
scales
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Yes, the weight is falling — and that’s appropriate, ’cause it’s finally FALL, y’all!

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OK, yeah, I know, Fall actually started a couple of weeks ago (September 22, to be exact), but out here in sunny Southern Cal, the temps were still climbing up into the 90s (even close to 100) for several days after September 22, 2018.

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So it didn’t really feel “fall-like” (or “autumnal” for those of you still trying to expand your vocabulary — never too late to fulfill those New Year’s resolutions!) if you know what I mean — till this morning, when the thermometer finally broke the 60-degrees barrier.

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Yes, it’s a chilly 57° Fahrenheit out here in the Valley, and while those of you in West Yellowstone, Montana (current temp: 28° F) and the Vostok Station in Antarctica (current temp: -62° F) may sneer at the idea that 57° F is in any way “cold,” it’s definitely coldER than we’ve been used to for quite a while!

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And as I always say (well, as I always say NOW, because I’ve started exercising!), cold weather is great walking (and biking) weather! So no matter how cold it is where you are — even if it’s colder than 57° F, which is hard to imagine …

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… why not go outside today and walk, run, bike or just generally move around a bit? You’ll warm up in no time!

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And oh yeah, a belated happy Fall, y’all! Get ready for the deluge!

bracepumpkin

Weekly Weigh-in: On Fluctuations and Freakouts!

(sigh) OK, let’s get right to it, shall we, ’cause this is one o’them “teachable moments” y’all’ve heard tell about. Ready? Let’s go!

Today’s Weight:  198.0
d'oh

And what was last week’s weight? Let’s see … oh yeah … 194.8. Which means since last week — a mere seven days — I’ve GAINED 3.2 pounds!

Oh no!! Could it be my diet is at fault??

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Er, no. While I have to admit I was tempted to have a minor freakout at the number on the scale this morning, I realized that it wasn’t really as bad as it might seem. Here’s my rationale:

  1. I’ve been sticking close to my basic daily calorie allowance every day. Sometimes a little higher, sometimes a little lower, but on average, I’m okay.
  2. I’ve been going out on long walks, not every day but every other day. And since the weather’s warmer, I’m drinking more water than usual.
  3. Ipso facto ergo sum: the extra weight’s probably water, hun! (I know that doesn’t quite rhyme, but gimme a break, I haven’t had my coffee yet!)

This may well be just one of those dreaded “weight loss plateaus,” where you’re doing EVERYTHING right, but the scale doesn’t seem to agree. If you haven’t already, really, you NEED to bookmark this great blog, aworkoutroutine.com/blog, which talks you through all this stuff:

Problem is, most dieters (and I include myself, the last few times I’ve tried this!) get panicky when the scales don’t change, and after a while, they decide, “Aw, I give up! This diet isn’t working! Exercise is for suckers!”

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And they head straight for the nearest KFC, order the Big Giant Fried Chicken O’Death (with Mac & Cheese AND Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, puhleese!), and go back to the way of life which led them TO the diet in the first place!

And guess what happens next? Yeah — you veteran dieters are nodding. We know this all too well, right? As Flora, a Weight Watchers leader, once put it (at one of the few meetings I actually sat all the way through), “All those pounds will come back, and this time they’ll bring their little friends!”

 

Hey, if it happened to Doctor Who, it can happen to anybody!

So, I REFUSE to freak out and make any radical changes to either my diet or my exercise plan. I *will*, however, make the following (re)commitments for the week ahead, and see if that makes any difference next Monday:

  1. Be more diligent about writing down my food calories. I’ve allowed myself to get a little lax in the past few weeks, sometimes just keeping a running total in my head. Writing everything down, even those 15-calorie Ricola cough drops, may seem overly nitpicky, but that way I can be closer to 100% sure I’m in compliance with my daily calorie allotment.
  2. Go to the gym at least twice this week. Yeah, yeah, yeah, walking outdoors is more fun, exercising outdoors is more fun … I’m the one who always says that stuff, right? Still, going to the gym is good because you’re less likely to be distracted by interesting stuff along the trail (SQUIRREL!) and lose your exercise mojo. Plus, it’s gonna be super hot this week (yay!) so I’ll get to enjoy that sweet, sweet air conditioning.
  3. Weigh every day, check the averages. Again, from aworkoutroutine.com:

…if you weigh yourself every day and then take the AVERAGE at the end of the week (and base your decisions on THAT weekly number)… then you’ll have the most accurate figure you could possibly get. Doing it this way actually serves to eliminate the potential of daily weight fluctuations throwing things off. (from How Often Should You Weigh Yourself & When Is the Best Time?)

So — MAJOR BLOG FORMAT CHANGE! ALERT THE MEDIA!! — starting today, I’m going to post my morning weigh-in EVERY DAY!!

Wow — bet you didn’t see that coming! Guess what — neither did I! But ya know, it seems plausible, so I’m gonna try it for at least this coming week. (If it gets to be too much of a hassle, I’ll pretend I never said it, like people used to do in pre-Twitter times.)

Man, sounds like the week ahead is gonna be hard … I better get that coffee going! OK (deep breath) … see you TOMORROW then!

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The “Saturday Some” — a new thing, kinda sorta

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you may have wondered what happened to my regular “Friday Five” post.

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Yeah … well, the long answer is, “It was sunny and bright, so I decided to go out for a long drive to a wonderful place I haven’t visited for quite a while,” and the short answer is, “I got lazy,” so feel free to take your pick.

Anyway, in lieu of the “Friday Five,” let me offer the very first “Saturday Some,” which is basically just a bunch of stuff I’m rambling about, off the top of my head. Plus memes! Lots and lots of memes!

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Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot more walking lately, and really enjoying it, too. Now that the weather’s getting nice and hot, though, I may have to go back to the gym and hop back on the treadmill. Which doesn’t particularly bother me. As I’ve said before, I do enjoy the video treadmills at Anytime Fitness (AF).

However, it does bother me in the sense that, given a choice, I’d MUCH rather do my walking outdoors. There are so many great places to walk in Southern California (yes, people actually DO walk in L.A.!) that I hate to give that up.

But once the temps start climbing up above, oh, 85 or so, it’s either the treadmill or the pool. And I do love me that 24 Hour Fitness pool, too, as you may recall!

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Still, it’ll probably be the AF treadmill more often than the pool, mainly because it’s much closer to home, and also right next door to a Ralphs. Which means I can do a couple of miles on the treadmill, then trundle over to the grocery store and do ANOTHER half-mile (I measured it!) in the store.

(And get cat treats, of course. That’s the main reason humans go to the store, according to certain purrsons.)

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Where was I? Oh, yeah, walking! And walking, although it probably doesn’t burn anywhere near as many calories as, say, kickboxing or weightlifting, if you do it every day … or every other day … or at least on a fairly regular basis, you’ll burn a few calories. Even if you can only walk around the block a couple of times, that’s some quality exercise there, my friend.

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More importantly, you’ll relax and enjoy life a little bit more. There’s just something about seeing the world at two or three miles an hour that makes everything else seem oh, so right. Except maybe your knees, if you have arthritis. Which I do. And I have to admit, my knees do get a bit sore the day after a really long, satisfying walk.

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Still, it’s the price I pay for staying in such fabulous shape! And we’ll find out how that translates into actual weight loss on Monday. Hope you’ll join me then! Meanwhile, have a GRRRREAT rest of your weekend!

(unused WordPress Daily Prompt: all of them! read here if you’re interested in some kinda “inside baseball” stuff!)

 

 

 

Friday Five: Yes, you CAN get in shape without a gym — here’s 5 ideas to try!

While it’s true I’ve been going to the gym a lot more lately, it’s NOT because I think going to the gym is the only — or even the best — place to exercise. Au contraire, Pierre! As a matter of fact, during this past week, I haven’t set foot in a gym, and yet I managed to get some perfectly cromulent exercise under my belt!

See, out here in sunny Southern California, we have this annual weather phenomenon known as “June gloom.” According to the always reliable Wikipedia entry:

 june.jpg

June Gloom is a Southern California term for a weather pattern that results in cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer.

It’s usually in June (duh!), but sometimes, like this year, it stretches its icky tentacles back into May. The City Council unanimously voted to rename it “May Grey” (though they continue to dispute the “Grey/Gray” spelling), and it seems to have become a more or less permanent fixture out here these past couple of years.

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However, as depressing as all those icky clouds may be, there’s always a silver lining, and that silver lining is that May Grey (Gray) and June Gloom (Glüm) are GREAT for outdoor exercisers! I’ve actually enjoyed bypassing the gym this past week, and ambled all around the achingly beautiful San Fernando Valley.

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Old Stagecoach Trail, Santa Susana Pass

And there’s lots of other stuff you could do outdoors, too, thus seguing neatly into my Friday Five list:

  1. Walking. (See above!) In case you didn’t already know, walking outdoors is my all-time fave exercise. Mainly because it’s so interesting — you can walk around the same area multiple times and see something different every time. Whereas on the treadmill, I’m pretty much seeing the same thing: a TV screen and a brick wall. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Still, given a choice, I’d prefer this — wouldn’t you?
    path.jpg
  2. Biking. Pull that rusty ol’ Schwinn out of the garage, wipe off the dust and spiderwebs, pump some air into the tires, and roll! More and more cities have dedicated bike paths, so if it’s been a while, you should be able to find someplace to practice without worrying about evil bike-hating drivers.

    bikehating

    Don’t Shoot the (Bike) Messenger,” by Eben Weiss, Outside Magazine, 05/02/2018 

  3. Exercise with a friend, or perhaps just a casual acquaintance. I go to the Sepulveda Basin sometimes to do my walks. It’s a great place — basically a big giant neighborhood park on steroids. But even in the smaller neighborhood parks, there’s groups of people who work out together. Some groups do yoga or Tai Chi, others do more strenuous stuff.
    exercise.jpg
    The basic idea, I guess, is that if you’re embarrassed to move your body around in public, you’ll be slightly less embarrassed if a few other people are standing next to you doing the same thing. (Hmm, wonder if that’s how churches got started!)
  4. Get your game on. I’m definitely NOT a sports aficionado, but I understand there are people who enjoy throwing or hitting balls, aiming for things like nets or bases or goals or some such nonsense. Maybe you can find some other like-minded people who want to throw or hit things, gather them onto an appropriate field of some sort, and throw/hit some balls together. It may not be MY thing, but it’s definitely exercise, so go for it!
    jd scrubs.jpg
  5. Swimming. I left this for last, because honestly, who wants to jump into an icky, ice-cold lake or, God forbid, ocean when it’s cloudy and gloomy? Still, there are a lot of nutty people out there who prefer the cheap showiness of nature to that beautiful, clean (or at least clean -LOOKING!) pool at the gym. So, if there’s some form of water near you that’s big enough to swim in, go for it! That’s definitely some good cardio there, if you don’t get eaten by sharks, which, as I understand from my TV viewing, happens quite a bit.
    sharks

So definitely, enjoy the outdoors before the temps zoom up into the stratosphere and we have to go back to the air-conditioned treadmills. Just watch out for the sharks!

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Unused WordPress Daily Post Prompt: Archaic

 

Is weight gain on vacation inevitable? Not necessarily!

Good morning, everyone, and welcome! Time once again for the Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, and of course, this is the Post-Vakay Weigh-in, so there may be some issues to deal with! Ready? Here we go!

197.0
scales
d'oh.png

Yeah … it’s a slight gain! Oh well…inevitable, right? Because I was on vacation for a week, and it’s perfectly normal to overeat, cut back on exercise, laze around by the pool, etc. etc. … right?

Wrong! Now, true, I DID do all those things. Here’s a list of the goodies I noshed on:

  1. Barbecued pork ribs with mac ‘n cheese on the side (mmm!)
  2. Homemade Thai sticky rice and mangos (thanks, Sri! And no, *I* didn’t think it was too salty at all!)
  3. Simply Organic Doritos White Cheddar
    and finally, the coup de grace:
  4. Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with Extra Whipped Cream

Mmmm!! They were all oh, so yummy, too!

And, in spite of my good resolutions (to use the hotel fitness center, to do exercise videos, to get up early and walk every day), I wound up not doing a whole of exercise at all, because, vakay, amIright?

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So because I ate those particular foods, and didn’t exercise, it was inevitable that I’d gain some weight…right?

WRONG, oh cromulent one! It’s NOT inevitable, and I didn’t have to gain ANY weight! In fact, I could have done all (or most) of those things, and LOST weight … if not for one little thing:

I DIDN’T TRACK MY DAILY CALORIES.

Yeah, that’s it. That was my one and only mistake. If I’d counted my calories, and made sure that I stayed in that magical caloric deficit (as explained so well over at AWorkoutRoutine), I’d probably be sitting here bragging about how I’m the only dieter in North America who went on vacation and LOST weight!

And I meant to! I usually write everything down in an app (like MyFitnessPal) or even just a piece of paper. But last week, I threw the paper away, unplugged the devices … and just like that, weight gain! So there you go.

However, I don’t want you to think I’m upset, or shocked, or even disappointed. The truth is, I kinda KNEW this would happen, and I was okay with it. See, I was on VACATION! I decided to let myself relax, for a period of one week, knowing there was a good chance I’d have a slight weight gain when I got home — and ALSO knowing that I’d jump right back on the horse when I got here.

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And I am! Today I’ve got my pen and paper, I’ve logged my breakfast calories, and now I’m heading for the gym for that sweet, sweet calorie offset.

That extra couple of pounds won’t be around too long. In fact — if you want to look at it from a totally weird, yet very Doctor Who-ish point of view — it’s the FAT that’s on vakay this week … at my place! And next Monday, we’ll have said our goodbyes and the fat’ll be on its way home! Yeah, that could totally happen.

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Doctor Who, “Partners in Crime,” Catherine Tate & David Tennant

Meanwhile, me and my new fat pals are heading to the gym! Have a great week, everyone, and remember: KEEP TRACKING THE FOOD!!

Five ways to keep from gaining weight on that summer road trip!

Hey everyone — it’s that time of year! Everyone’s loading up the minivans and heading out onto the Great Open Road! But be careful — it’s way too easy to get all cramped up and sore in the car, when you’re strapped in and having nothing to do but watch the scenery. I get it — cows, man!

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Gary Larson, 1973

You really should try to move around when you can. Even if it’s a long way between rest areas, here are some great ways to stay flexible (and even burn a few calories), even on the longest road trip!

  1. Abdominal Contractions (in the car): Draw your belly button in toward your spine as you contract and hold your abdominals tight while you continue breathing. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, release, then repeat another one to two times. (Sparkpeople: Road Rules: 10 Exercises Designed for Long Trips)
  2. Calf and Toe Raises (in the car): Raise your heels as high as possible, putting your weight in the balls of your feet while contracting your calves, then rock back on your heels to stretch the shins. Repeat eight to 12 times to complete one set. Work towards completing three sets total. (Sparkpeople: Road Rules: 10 Exercises)
  3. Rock your oblique stomach muscles. Flex your lower and upper abdominal muscles and then raise your right hip as high as it will go. Hold for 3 seconds and then lower and repeat on the left side. Repeat 10 times on each side or until you feel muscle fatigue. (Wikihow, Exercise While Commuting)
  4. Do isometric exercises. Imagine you need to flex every single muscle in your body. Begin by wiggling your toes and then flex each muscle 1 at a time for 3 seconds, until you reach your arms, neck and top of your head. (Wikihow, Exercise While Commuting)
  5. Raise the roof: Sit tall, with your spine straight and your abdominals engaged. Extend both arms above your head and push your palms into the car ceiling. Hold for three seconds and release, bringing your arms back down to your sides. Repeat for one full minute. (Best Health Mag CA: The Best Workout for Road Trips)
  6. AND A BONUS TIP! Food: Of course, there are tons of convenience stores and fast food places along the road. I’ll do another post on those later, but for now, just remember that even in the wilderness of the junk food aisles, more and more places — even gas stations — have healthier options like string cheese, bananas, and even my beloved Buddig slices! Look around, you can always find *something* good. And when you can’t — well, just count the calories and do the best you can!
    buddig.jpg

And OF COURSE, whenever possible, get out of the car, st-r-e-t-ch, and WALK! You’ll burn some calories AND stay flexible, which is really important because if you’re like me and have arthritis, you’ll get all cramped up and sore in the car. That’s no way to spend a vacation from your problems, friends – that’s a way to invite MORE problems!

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Whatever you’re doing on YOUR vacation, enjoy it! See you Monday for one last weigh-in before the freeway!

(unused WordPress Daily Prompt: tide)

On becoming a Gym Rat

Wow. Well, I never thought this would happen, but as of this past Wednesday, I’ve actually got TWO gym memberships, simultaneously!

In addition to my on-again, off-again recurring 24 Hour Fitness membership (it’s all about the POOL, people!!), I’ve just signed up with Anytime Fitness for a year.

And THAT one, my friends, is all about …

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Yes, Anytime Fitness has beautiful new equipment. And yes, it’s in a super-convenient location: just down the street from the Ralph’s, the train depot, and of course, the chili cheese dog place.

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But what sold it for me was: THE TREADMILLS HAVE LITTLE VIDEO SCREENS ON THEM CONNECTED TO YOUTUBE!!

And YouTube is currently the only place I can watch my all-time favorite sitcom, “Canada’s Seinfeld” … er, “Corner Gas“!

So now, I can walk or cycle while enjoying the exploits of Brent, Lacey, Hank, Emma, Oscar, Davis, Karen, Wanda and, of course, Mayor Fitzy!

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Of course, they have no idea that was the main selling point. And unless they read my blog, they never will! Bwah hah hahhhh!!

Anyway, as I said, I’m not ready to give up on good ol’ 24 Hour Fitness just yet, because:

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Worst case scenario, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the view.

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(And that’s authentic!)