Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gave myself a present: Daily Exercise

I gave myself a Christmas (OK, Hanukah) present this year: I'm going to exercise everyday.  OK, it's also a little like a challenge but the idea is that I'll make it a priority ahead of racing into work at 8am  and of going with the flow.  I'll do it since I want it.

 It's now a little more than two weeks and I feel great.  I haven't missed yet and it's carried a few benefits with it.

  1. Continuity allows me to focus on improvement. So I've upped my game all around:
    1. The gym.  I use to go to  warm up with 5 minutes of rowing, do the weights, and done. I've decided to add cardio to each visit so I'm up to 10 minutes of rowing at the start, weights, then 10 of stair climber and 10 of elliptical. I'm both increasing the intensity of them and would like to make it to 30 minutes of cardio at the end.
    2. Biking. I'm up from my 13 mile ride to a solid 20.  
    3. Swimming. The biggest change. I was doing batches of two or four lengths and working towards getting 20 done in a work out. I pushed hard and am now working with batches mostly of 10, sometimes 5, and have done several 30 length workouts.  I'm also timing this so I started when the pool opens at 8 so I'm done by 8:30 and in the office around 9:15.
    4. Nicole and Focus Studio. I see her 2x a week working on building the stuff (intrinsics, posture, certain stretches) which will help with my managing my back problems. I was showing up at the hour and not being that intense. I've stepped this up to showing up early so I can do the warm up before the hour begins.
    5. Nutrition. I'm indulging my focus on the scale. I step on it a lot. I like to see how my weight varies during a day and a week. I can move up or down by five pounds in a day.  I've decided, starting Jan 1, to drop sugar and alcohol from my diet (almost entirely) until I see less than 200 pounds consistently on the scale. I did have one drink with DJ to celebrate him being alive and out and about adn tonight, going out, I might try one too but mostly, I've been nutty good about eating this year. I have big size sugar-free yogurt which I mix with nuts (no salt!) and blue berries as my go-to snack and light dinner.
To lay it out there, here's the goal. Get below 200 in January and stay there all year. I'd like to range between 194 and 199 for Feb through December. Actually, I'd love to average 190 and it was only a few years ago that I was there but without the 4-5x thrill of a martial arts workout and people to live with who are also actively health conscious, this takes more discipline and sacrifice than I'm likely to make.

PS.    I'm also trying to get in shape to ski with my son in early February.  Vail.
PPS.  My doctor retired and I need a new GP.

Working on Something at Nicoles
Psture? Intrinsics?

Monday, January 02, 2017

A Black Belt at 50....Approaches 60

 I've had this blog for a little over a decade now.  I started it a decade ago when I was 48 when I was training for my first black belt and now, I'm only 13 months from being 60!  It's time for a little reflection on the fitness and health big picture. Partially because it's the start of a new year. Happy 2017 to all!

How am I doing?  Well, not as well as I would like. I have some serious challenges and the objective data is that I'm messing.  As background, I had to give up karate in 2013-14  since my hip stiffened up so much that I couldn't kick and my recurring back problems were being aggravated by it and made training regularly nearly impossible. Karate for me had meant intense training sessions 3-4 per week along with strength, flexibility, and cardio training. Mostly, my weight took care of itself back then. I then had a reasonably good two years of triathalons, boxing, swimming, and tennis.

But 2016 has been a tough one with a series of back spasms and recoveries that have left me unable to train regularly and generally, having trouble getting the activity I need to feel good and remain fit. However, December went well so the year finished strong leaving me optimistic about 2017 despite the obvious problems.

Obvious problem, the elephant in the room. I just bought my first pair of 36" waist pants since the mid to late 1990s. Since I started to manage my health around 1998, I've mostly been at a 34" waist since then except for the glory years of a 32" waist: 2003-2005. My weight too has recently peaked at a terrifying 210 but I am determined and optimistic.  I'm now on a tear with fifteen straight days of
Chocolate Rich Kitchen Counter, Jan 2
Chocolate Rich Kitchen Counter, Jan 2
exercising and so far this morning, I've ignored the amazing array of chocolate cakes half-eaten in the kitchen and instead, I breakfasted on cold turkey and coffee. (The holidays are just passing, we don't usually stock such deserts).

What am I doing about it?

I'm making a bigger effort this year to now just eat well most of the time (which I do) but to lower the number of binges from weekly to maybe monthly. Binges usually take the form of a big dinner out with multiple courses and desert.  I'm trying to switch on these occasions from just ordering what I want (usually a ribeye steak) to something more reasonable (perhaps a salad with flank steak on it, no dressing).

The most regular thing has been a biweekly personal training session with Nicole of Focus Studio but during the year, I've always rotated among my own time at the gym, swimming laps, and biking. More latewr

Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Greatest Passes On: What's My Name, Fool?

Mohammed Ali 1942-2016
Mohammed Ali

I looked at my phone this morning and here's the news: Mohammed Ali is dead.  

Mohammed Ali was and is the greatest. I'd say that he was one of the best-known individuals of the second half of the 20th Century up there with John Kennedy, FDR, Pele, the Beatles, Gandi, Mao, Thatcher, Castro, and so on.  I've been a fan of his for a long time watching the films and reading the books. Here's my martial arts bookshelf from a few years ago (it's moved forward since then) which featured two books about Ali: King of the World and What's my Name, Fool?. What's my Name, Fool? .  

My Martial Arts Bookshelf, circa 2009
My Martial Arts Bookshelf, circa 2009
Today, I'm indulging and watching ESPN2 which is   running Ali fights and stories, all day.  

What a life and history. A kid in Louisville who discovers boxing, an Olympic Gold Medal champion who is the All American kid, the professional boxer who is original and fast and beautiful, the personality and promoter, the striving identity when he adopts the Mohammed Ali name and beliefs, the twists and turns of alliances with Malcolm X and others within the Black Muslim movement, the incredibly principled political statement made by going to jail for over 3 years for refusing to go fight in Viet Nam, the years of comebacks and wins against both age and incredible fighters, the incomprehensible ability to absorb pain and to keep fighting, the astounding fights around the world, and then the long sunset as a legend and icon as his body and control disappears.  And of course, he was a human like the rest of us with eras, inconsistencies,  vanity, evolution, some cheating, and some luck.

He was the Greatest. And the young Billy Crystal wasn't too bad either. Here's Billy Crystal presenting Mohammed Ali in 15 rounds.

Life and history does not get more interesting than this. If  Gods walk among us than he was surely one of them.  Truth is stranger than fiction.   And good biographies are among the best entertainment and study.  

Amazing Photo, Amazing Man, Amazing Life