30 December 2012

Gym: 30 December

Personal training kicked my ass almost more than figuratively. I woke up this morning feeling a little icky and wondering whether I should cancel, but I decided to stick it out and push through.

I had a chocolate almond croissant for breakfast about 2.5 hours before personal training. I thought, "Well, that's not the best thing to eat before working out." So I had some sesame tofu salad a bit later--fresh vegetables, sesame oil, and tofu. Chock full of vitamins and protein to keep me going, right?

Anyhow, after getting to the gym and working in 25 minutes of biking, I felt nice and warmed up. Then 30 minutes of personal training happened. Various types of pull-up rows (1 set = 10 at face level alternating with 10 at chest level)/push up (15 reps per set)/rows (1 set = 10 bringing my arms into a Y shape alternating with pulling my arms straight out like a T) in circuits using straps attached to a pole. Those were fine--my arms, lats, and pecs got a nice workout. The second half consisted of circuits with a Jacobs Ladder (50 feet, 60 feet, and 60 feet for the sets--my pace was a bit faster than a foot per second) with 5 push ups, 7 sit ups, and 9 squats before the next set.

I didn't get to the third set of push ups/sit ups/squats--after the third Jacobs Ladder, I started feeling funky. I needed a pause. I went to the bathroom. Sesame tofu salad came out my nose (and other parts of my face). I smelled it for a few hours afterward, even though I rinsed and rinsed and blew my nose tons of times.

That's a first. I've never worked out to the point of vomiting. I think it's a conflagration of various factors--already feeling icky (more cold-like, but still), eating horribly (Sesame oil? Crazy French pastry with chocolate, powdered sugar, butter, and almond paste? What the heck was I thinking combining the two?), and still not realizing that my body is no longer used to full-body aerobic exercises in quick sequence.

Something that might have made me puff a little bit two years ago now makes me upchuck. I'm constantly learning new things about my body's limits. I just wish I didn't have to learn that particular lesson, and I hope never to be in this place again--I eventually need to learn how to keep myself in adequate physical shape without a personal trainer.

21 December 2012

Gym: 21 December

13 minutes of moderate intensity on the stationary bike followed by 30 minutes of what should be a moderate warmup but instead is a breath-sucking, soul-sapping personal training session. 4 "man-makers" (push up with hands gripping dumbbells, lifting each weight alternatively while still in push up position, standing up and lifting weights over head, then dropping down is a single rep), 10 medicine ball throws (throwing ball as hard as possible on the ground while squatting to catch it, then repeat), and 1 minute of row machine. Repeat 3 times. Then 5 assisted dips, 30 seconds plank, and repeat once.

Made me want to die a little less than last week, but not by much. Arms were immovable for days after last Friday's session and are still weak an entire week later!

14 December 2012

Gym: 14 December

11 pretty intense minutes on the stationary bike, followed by 35 minutes of my first session with my new personal trainer (it's been almost 2 years). Squats, wall throws (squatting with a large, heavy ball; coming up and throwing the ball at the wall; catching the ball and squatting), push ups, horizontal pulls, more squats, and sit ups. I'm wiped!

26 November 2012

10 October 2012

Gym: 10 October

35 minutes on stationary bike. 336 calories burned, according to machine.

Lunch: tofu bibimbap with brown rice and diet Coke. Healthier than the pimiento grilled cheese and coffee I wanted.

Disclosure: 10 October

I rejoined Weight Watchers (online only) yesterday.

It keeps an eternal record of all users' data, it seems--although I haven't used it since the end of 2010, when I reached Lifetime and chose not to pay for online services, it maintained all of my records. I checked my weight tracking chart--I'm not back where I started, but I'm terrifyingly close.

I'm going to the gym for lunch today.

03 October 2012

Gym: 3 October

The last time I posted was in May. It wasn't the last time I exercised, but pretty damn close to it.

Luckily, my new job is just blocks from a Fitness First location--that was a major selling point for the position. Today, I hit the gym for the first time since I started here in September. I spend 16.5 minutes on the stationary bike and sweated like a hog.

I'll surely get back to my old time of almost an hour of cardio every few days, rather than a few minutes every six months. Several of my new coworkers are encouraging me--always great to have that support!

14 May 2012

Gym: 14 May

I cycled on the stationary bike for 49 minutes this morning, burning 390 calories. Not as intense as I usually do, but it has been a while.

24 April 2012


I'm not dead. I won't offer real excuses, but I will mention a motivation: I rejoined my old gym, one that I actually like, and I'm going this evening. I'll be transferring my other (three-times-as-expensive) gym membership to some other lucky person.

27 February 2012

Disclosure: 27 February

This week was insane. Utterly insane. Day 1, although I walked around for a few hours enjoying the holiday, I made a cheesecake for the first time because David prodded me about the several pounds of cream cheese I've had in the fridge--and we ordered a pizza for dinner that night. Day 2, the rest of the cheesecake was my breakfast and lunch. Day 3, I skipped breakfast and had a reasonable lunch--but then I was ravenous and ordered Chinese delivery for dinner. I got a little bit more in control for the rest of the week, but I didn't go to the gym or do anything remotely physical except walk a little bit, and there were definitely things I ate that didn't end up being recorded (perhaps a few ounces of dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, for example).

I expected to be up. I expected to have to re-lose more weight.

I'm down 2.6 this week.

Daily Record
Monday 20 February1,8834,593613 3,9802,097 
Tuesday 21 February1,883 3,405 03,405 1,522 
Wednesday 22 February1,883 2,770 02,178888 
Thursday 23 February1,883 2,235 259 1,976 94 
Friday 24 February1,883 2,105 02,105 222 
Saturday 25 February1,883 1,761 01,761 -121
Sunday 26 February1,883 2,344 144 2,200 317 
Weekly Total13,18119,2131,01617,6055,019

Weekly Nutrient Summary
Fat931 grams43.9%
Saturated Fat360 grams
Cholesterol3,169 milligrams
Sodium29,111 milligrams
Carbohydrates2,099 grams44%
Fiber175 grams
Sugars584 grams
Protein579 grams12.1%

20 February 2012

Disclosure: 20 February

This week, I feel like I started getting into the weight-loss tracking rhythm again. I know it takes some time, and I love weeks like this, where my effort yields measurable results.

Daily Record
Monday 13 February1,9092,4904242,066157
Tuesday 14 February1,9092,6367161,92011
Wednesday 15 February1,9092,8316522,178270
Thursday 16 February1,9092,185622,123214
Friday 17 February1,9092,3512752,076167
Saturday 18 February1,9092,5574812,076167
Sunday 19 February1,9092,5971902,408499
Weekly Total13,36317,6472,80014,8471,485

I did much better tracking, exercising, and eating at home rather than getting delivery--I stayed not too far over my caloric limit, exercised many times (three days in a row on the stationary bike at the gym, but then I told myself I was too busy and sore to do so the other days and ended up walking at least an hour on each of those days, so it balanced out), and ate a bit better as well. I ended up losing the weight I gained last week--and then some: down 4 pounds to 220.6!

Weekly Nutrient Summary
Fat597 grams32.3%
Saturated Fat277 grams
Cholesterol3,017 milligrams
Sodium25,340 milligrams
Carbohydrates2,146 grams51.5%
Fiber184 grams
Sugars632 grams
Protein676 grams16.2%

My nutrient profile is a better balance--more protein, a bit less fat and carbohydrates. I want to work on getting protein up to 25%, carbohydrates to 50%, and fat to 25% and see how easy that is to work with. I drink a lot of coffee with half and half and eat a lot of cheese, which are the primary sources of fat in my diet. Not exactly the healthiest options, so I'll have to learn (ugh) moderation.

15 February 2012

Cycling: 15 February

I met with a fellow gardener this evening--he has offered to share his landlord's backyard with me to grow vegetables in! I met him at the seed exchange a week and a half ago. It's quite a nice yard he has set up, and I'm excited to grow with him and the others who share the yard.

So, I biked 4.39 miles round trip--getting there was hard, going up the hill with my legs burning from the past few days of riding the stationary bike at the gym. But every mile counts!

Find more Bike Ride in Washington D.C., DC

Gym: 15 February

Three days in a row, huh? I guess Monday's Disclosure is having it's desired effect--gotta make up for all that sloth.

It doesn't hurt that I've had a lot of work this week. My hobbies always get more face time with me when I have work to do!

I did another 62 minutes of a random hill program on the stationary bike this afternoon, burning 488 calories over 19.77 miles with an average heart rate of 118 beats per minute and an average rpm of 86. Although I did the same program and time yesterday, I didn't seem to work as hard today--the distance, heart rate, and calories burned were lower, although the rpm was higher. The difference was in the program. Yesterday's had a lot of really intense peaks with only one or two valleys to rest before the next peak. Today, there were two intense peaks toward the end of the ride, with only a couple semi-intense peaks for the rest. So, I got a good workout in--but I am not as exhausted as I was yesterday.

Also, this is my third day in a row, so I'm a bit glad it wasn't as intense. I think I will take a bit of a break tomorrow--I haven't done any weight lifting in the past few days, so I'll do some of that along with a few parkour exercises I enjoy: wall sits, hollow holds, quadrupedal movement, and perhaps box jumps.

14 February 2012

Gym: 14 February

Not to be outdone by a fellow plant blogger in the physical activity area, I went whole-hog today: 62 minutes on the random hill program on the stationary bike, burning 599 calories over 21.17 miles, with an average heart rate of 120 and an average rpm of 83. My heart rate was up a bit, but the rpm went down--because of the length of the ride, there were more hills to climb, and this particular one had some pretty sharp peaks.

I'll need those earned calories tonight for Valentine's Day. Although I had made plans for this evening including eating out and a show at a theatre, David broke his foot while hurtling over the hood of a car last week--so, instead, we'll be ordering in and spending a romantic evening in our little den. As long as I don't collapse from dehydration, that is!

13 February 2012

Gym: 13 February

I'm not happy with my eating and exercise from last week. So, I went to the gym shortly after posting this morning's Disclosure. But, because I have a lot of writing work right now, I spent only 32 minutes on the bike, burning 294 calories over 11.01 miles with an average heart rate of 119 and an average rpm of 88.

I also had a wonderful breakfast of cottage cheese and blueberries, copious amounts of coffee, and now a lunch of egg-n-cheese bagel sandwich (surprisingly not terribly unhealthy when the egg isn't fried, there's only one slice of cheese, it's on a plain bagel, and there's no butter or other spread applied). My protein intake is definitely high so far today!

Disclosure: 13 February

This week was a cluster, in terms of my oral intake. Let's get right into it.

Daily Record
Monday 6 February1,8963,4393453,0941,198
Tuesday 7 February1,8852,3403711,96984
Wednesday 8 February1,8852,807402,766881
Thursday 9 February1,8851,7261611,565-320
Friday 10 February1,8852,885602,825940
Saturday 11 February1,8853,2843632,9211,036
Sunday 12 February1,8852,274612,213328
Weekly Total13,20618,7551,40117,3534,148

The basic summary of the week: I barely exercised and I ate a shit-ton. I bolded Thursday's data because it's all a lie--I didn't track most of my day. I'm definitely over by much more than what my little table says--and the scale reflects that, for a gain of 2 pounds.

Weekly Nutrient Summary
Fat847 grams39.8%
Saturated Fat362 grams
Cholesterol2,718 milligrams
Sodium32,102 milligrams
Carbohydrates2,311 grams48.2%
Fiber156 grams
Sugars687 grams
Protein575 grams12%

Although I decreased my carb intake (from what I tracked, at least), it's only because I ate more fat. At least the cholesterol went down, too. I really need to start entering the for-real nutritional information in the foods that I eat to get a better accounting of my nutrition. I'm sure the Kimchi Puppies I made didn't help at all.

07 February 2012

Gym: 7 February

After Saturday's adventure uphill and in the rain, I took a little break from exercising. Leg muscles I barely use were sore, and I just wanted to relax for a little bit.

Plus, I had catering orders to fill on Sunday, and yesterday was spent catching up on reading and writing I had put off during the weekend. I have plenty of Excuses.

Recognizing that, and the feeling of not wanting to go to the gym today, I got my butt over there.

It's not just psychological, however--my body really didn't want to be working. I feel drained, a bit. It could be my renewed calorie-tracking kick and my body adjusting to a new nutrient profile, or it could be that I'm starting to get sick. I did feel a bit woozy yesterday and was coughing a little bit.

I did get 30 minutes on the stationary bike (I definitely would have had a better workout on it if I hadn't had to get off and move it a few times so it was level on the floor--it kept rocking side-to-side like a defective child's rocking horse) and some weight lifting: 2 sets with 10 reps at 120 pounds of lat pulldowns, with an attempted third set that only got up to 5 reps; 2 sets with 10 reps at 90 pounds of chest presses, again with an attempted third set that only got up to 5 reps; and 2 sets with 10 reps and a 10-pound weight of back crunch things.

I'm sitting in a coffee shop across the street from the gym, arm and leg muscles twitching and feeling like they aren't working quite right--but I know what I did at the gym today isn't even close to pushing myself hard. I want to go to the cardio kickboxing class tomorrow morning--so I hope I start feeling a little more together by then.

06 February 2012

Gut-Spilling Monday

I recently started tracking all the food I eat again. I used to be on Weight Watchers and lost a whole lot of weight on the program--and, most of the time, I tracked. I went through a period where I was almost a raw-foodist (no real cooked foods, very simple meals of raw vegetables, perhaps some hummus or the occasional bread product), so I didn't track for a few months. Once I hit lifetime (I reached my goal weight of 187 [where I had a body fat percentage in the "athletic" range {it was about 11-13%} despite my BMI saying I was still overweight--any less and I would have started to look gaunt] and maintained it for 6 weeks), I struggled to keep up the good behaviour for various reasons--my personal situation changed drastically, several times; I moved internationally, several times; and my professional life has been on a massive rollercoaster for more than a year.

But, the one thing that really helped me stay motivated and going in my previous weight-loss program was tracking. Monitoring everything that goes in your mouth makes you really wake up and realize how much you stick in there--and how much of it you don't really need. Beyond that basic revelation, developing a sense of compromise is integral--for example, is eating Item A worth riding a stationary bike for 1.5 hours to "earn" the calories needed to "pay" for it? Usually, the answer is "no." I'm still working to getting back to considering the effort required to earn each food item--which used to be second nature to me.

On Mondays, I am now going to post a summary of my caloric intake for the week and "earned" calories through various exercise. This is an added level of accountability--full disclosure of all my naughty, sneaked foods and guilty pleasures.

I am tracking my intake with Lose It!, a website and iPhone app that has a lot of food items, so even when I can't find exactly what I'm eating, at least I can choose something to record so the item isn't lost in the ether--although that has its own problems, as posited below.

With a goal of losing 2 pounds per week (which is the maximum suggested for sustainable, healthy weight loss), I have a caloric budget of 1,944 per day. Some things that I wasn't used to tracking on Weight Watchers, such as pears or a handful of carrots, are now included in my budget (small fish though they are, calorie-wise), but sometimes I do forget them. In the same vein, I often forget to log random walks--in Weight Watchers, you pick something along the lines of "Sedentary," "Moderately Active," and "Active" to determine your Points values when you sign up--so if you are a kick-boxing instructor, for example, your usual classroom activities are built into your plan, but if you do additional exercise on the side, you'd log that. With Lose It!, nothing is taken into account when you start the program--even walking to the refrigerator could net you a few extra calories to chew on! But when I'm walking around the grocery store or to a friend's house, I don't always remember to log that, even though it could easily add up to a few hundred calories per day (on days I actually wander around, that is).

With all that potential forgetting in mind, I was still over my caloric budget by 3,283 calories this week.

Daily Record
Monday 30 January1,9443,2758212,454510
Tuesday 31 January1,9442,8414202,421477
Wednesday 1 February1,9443,28703,2871,343
Thursday 2 February1,9442,5052482,256312
Friday 3 February1,9443,6209332,687743
Saturday 4 February1,9443,0531,2781,775-169
Sunday 5 February1,8962,2152521,96367
Weekly Total13,56020,7963,95216,8433,283

I have been using Lose It! on and off for the past year and a half. During that time, I have found that the caloric intake it suggests for me is always a bit low--I end up losing weight even when I consistently eat several hundred calories over what I should, even after eating my earned exercise calories. That happened for the first few weeks in Weight Watchers, too--I consistently overate, sometimes the equivalent of 2.5 extra days worth of food, and lost weight. At the beginning. So although I was about a day and a half worth of calories over my budget this week and still lost several pounds (I can't actually be sure--I weighed myself fully clothed on Friday 27 January and clocked in at 230, way more than I've been in the past two years. Yesterday, I weighed in in the morning at 222.6--without clothes--and that's why Sunday's calorie budget is lower than the other days.), but that buffer won't last. In a few weeks, I'll have to be within my budget in order to see the benefit. Luckily, I have a bit more time to get settled into the habit of tracking!

National guidelines suggest macronutrient proportions of 20-35% for fat, 45-65% for carbohydrates, and 10-35% for protein. Although I fall in those healthy ranges in terms of what I ate during this past week, I'd still like to decrease the fat and carbohydrate portion and up the protein. Those guidelines also say to keep sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams daily (16,100 milligrams per week)--I doubled that. And cholesterol is suggested at 200 milligrams or less each day--I ended up with about 865 milligrams per day. I don't necessarily completely trust this breakdown, but I can't completely discount it either--I search for food items, and often, the closest match in the Lose It! system is an item from a frozen-foods section or restaurant, both of which likely contain a ton of sodium and cholesterol. Even though almost everything I ate was made by my own hands with ingredients I totally know all the nutritional information for (and I'm notorious for not including "enough" salt in my dishes), I searched and tracked items from the app rather than spending the time to add individual recipes and calculating it out. Doing so, however, would give me a much better picture of my actual intake than what is shown below--because now I'm very concerned! No wonder my cholesterol hasn't changed despite having dropped a ton of weight and gone vegetarian years ago--although the overall number is in a healthy range, my HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels have consistently been lower than the doctors seem to like and my LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels are always a bit high.

Weekly Nutrient Summary
Fat727.4 grams31.3%
Saturated Fat283.8 grams
Cholesterol6,060.4 milligrams
Sodium31,923.5 milligrams
Carbohydrates2,914.2 grams55.8%
Fiber254.7 grams
Sugars916.8 grams
Protein673.9 grams12.9%

As you can see from my nutrient breakdown, my carbohydrate and fat intake is a bit high--I eat a lot of baked goodies that I create (the first several days, I survived almost entirely off of leftover biscotti from the DC Grey Market) and coffee with cream and Splenda.

Noticing that, toward the end of the week I started making more bean-focused dishes: Maangchi's kongjang (teriyaki-like soybean side dish); home-made Thai panang tofu; and miser wat, Ethiopian spicy red lentil stew. I'll start adding recipes that help keep me satisfied and losing weight to The House Husband and linking them on my Monday Disclosure posts--I think the miser wat will be the first one! Injera bread is (perhaps not quite) surprisingly uncaloric!

04 February 2012

Cycling: 4 February


Today was rough. Although it was cold (almost freezing when I left the apartment) and threatening rain all day, I did the bike ride I told myself (and you) that I would:

13.67 miles from here to Green Spring Gardens for a seed exchange.

And I felt like dying because of all the hills.

It ended up being 13.81 for various reasons (I had to backtrack once or twice and I didn't follow the exact route out of DC). Then, I did another 3.16 miles to the metro--with David, who randomly showed up right at the end of the seed exchange!

That's a total of 16.97 miles for the day. I call that a good day.

03 February 2012

Cycling and Gym: 3 February

I did a twofer again today--I biked downtown to a gym to work out with David during his lunch break, and I biked back home. I got 5.46 miles in around town, round-trip:

At the gym, I pedaled 35 minutes, working off an estimated 325 calories and cycling 9.25 miles using a random hill program at kind of a medium resistance setting.

While David was still on the bicycle, I went to the weight-lifting area and did a few lat pulldowns: 2 sets with 12 reps at 120 pounds. Then I went to the chest press machine and did 2 sets with 12 reps at 95 pounds. Then I found one of the back-crunch-thingummybobs and did 2 sets with 12 reps holding a 10-pound weight. Then I was about done. I'm pretty sure I should up my sets or weights with the lat pulldowns and chest presses, but AT&T reception was horrid in that location--I couldn't check the stats from the last time I did these exercises. Next time, I'll try to remember to add a full set of lat pulldowns, but with 10 reps each, and ditto for the chest presses.

I'm happy to report that this particular location (which I've never been to) was at least okay--the bike wasn't broken, the machines weren't being hogged by squatters, and the lunch-time crowd was light.

Video: 2 February Cycling

I have been using my iPhone as a video-recording device for some of my rides. It's not nearly adequate--I run out of storage space on the 32-gigabyte phone in a matter of minutes. What if I want to go on a 4-hour ride and share it with folks? David has a battery pack I can hook up to the phone--but the way I have it "mounted" (clipped onto my backpack, so it shakes every time I pedal, and it has to be attached in just such a perfect way or all you get is a view of my hand on the handlebars) and the storage space makes this an issue.

I'll try to figure something out.

In the meantime, here's a shaky, poorly edited video of a portion of my trip around town yesterday. I cut out all the time I spent at the ATM depositing cash from the DC Grey Market last weekend, and apparently the phone also decided not to record the jaunt from 14th Street over to U Street via Florida Avenue (not sure why it stopped recording and started up again later). It finally ran out of space when I was just about at the third stop, where I picked up rice noodles for a gluten-free catering order.

02 February 2012

Cycling: 2 February

I need to start going to the gym and cycling more, but it has been so nice outside lately. Problem is, I think I get a better workout in the gym--the bike controls the resistance when I use a preset program, and I just keep going. When I'm out on the road, I slow down--seemingly more when I'm with David than when I'm alone, but then, I don't usually do anything more than a few miles by myself, anyway.

Today, I wandered around the city for a few shopping errands, getting 3.1 miles in.

It's definitely better than nothing! With all the support my friends and family are showing me in donating for AIDS/LifeCycle, I feel it only fair to do my part and get my ass on that bike seat. I'm still concerned about the brake being bent or the wheel falling off--yet again. But like with the nerve-damaging slice I have on my finger, I can't afford to see the professionals about it, so I'll work with what I've got!

To keep pushing myself, I'm doing a few things in the coming weeks. This Saturday, I plan on riding out to Virginia for a seed exchange. I plan on using this route:

There's a 200-foot climb between mile 4 and mile 7 (of a total of 13.67 miles, one way)--it doesn't seem like that much, but there's an 80-foot climb in the route I took today (going up 18th Street), and although that's only over the course of a mile or so, it always makes me want to keel over (a lot less so than when I first started cycling a year ago, but still). Prolonged inclines are the bane of my cycling existence. I've done that climb in Arlington before, and I'm not looking forward to doing it again. I am, however, looking forward to looking forward to doing it--then I'll know I'm ready for AIDS/LifeCycle's legendary Quad Buster.

One of my DC State Fair comrades encouraged me to register for the Vasa ride in early March, put on by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and the House of Sweden. David rode this last year--in the rain!--almost solely for the blueberry soup, I believe. I'm not doing the 59 miler that David'll surely do; I registered for the challenging-yet-perhaps-manageable-for-me 30-mile ride.

Still plenty of time to train before then!

31 January 2012

Cycling: 31 January

I biked down to Hains Point today with David. It was nice out, so David didn't wear a jacket (I did). But, I don't go fast enough on my bike for him not to get cold, it seems--he was on his uberexpensive road bike meant for speed, I was on my heavy trail bike meant for rougher terrain, limping along with a bent brake disc on the front wheel. My average speed ended up being 8.61 miles per hour (1 hour 10 minutes for a total of 9.47 miles biked). I didn't end up biking all the way back home--I'm not used to biking on the road anymore, and my butt started hurting. I think my legs are still stiff, too, from yesterday around town and at the gym.

I need to do this much more regularly if I'm ever going to make it to ALC!

30 January 2012

Cycling and Gym: 30 January

Today I got a twofer--I cycled to and back from the gym, as well as cycled at the gym!

I didn't go to my neighbourhood location, it was one downtown near David's office. It doesn't seem to matter which location I end up going to, I am getting increasingly fed up with the entire Washington Sports Club chain. The Fitness First gym I used to go to had everything I wanted at less than half the monthly fee and a much more friendly and respectful attitude from both staff and patrons. Maybe I was spoiled that it was my first-ever gym membership and I should just get used to the typical DC-like behaviour in WSC locations, but it grates on me so bad.

I was going to do a rant, but it's not worth it. I just don't appreciate the general attitude and inconsideration of WSC patrons and the random poor quality and lack of upkeep of machines in a gym that charges me almost three times what I used to pay for what I consider to be a superior facility.

So, anyway, I biked 17 minutes downtown to the gym, and another 17 northbound back home, for a total of about 4.25 miles, according to the MapMyFitness route below (it's not exact, because the elementary school is just a start/stop point in the general vicinity of home, to throw off stalkers for a few minutes, at least). The route actually has a climb rating (the lowest, 5--but it's rated, which means I had a significant incline of some distance to overcome!).

While at the gym, despite the stationary bike's proclivity toward deciding that it didn't want to offer resistance when I pedaled--but only on every seventh revolution or so--I managed 19 minutes before the thing decided that I was no longer on the bike and shut down. The first bike I was on felt like something was broken on the inside--it was impossible to get a smooth rotation, and the machine only flickered on, barely registering that someone was trying to use it. I also ended up getting in 2 sets with 15 reps at 95 pounds on the chest press machine as I walked back to the locker room in a huff over the bicycle situation.

I also tried to take videos of my ride--a test for later this year when it's nice and I try longer routes into the nearby countryside. I need a better way to attach my iPhone so it has a more front-on angle. I probably also need some video-editing software or something. I'll be posting that video later in the week once I can get it off my phone and figure out how to speed up the frame rate about 20-fold--no one wants to watch 34 minutes of my hand on the handlebar, I'd imagine.

23 January 2012


I've mentioned before that I'm registered to participate in AIDS/LifeCycle this June.

After my hour-long ride at the gym (in fact, I was just getting out of the shower at home), I got a call from my Cycling Rep for the ALC event. I had recently e-mailed and called her to try to set up Team PFLAG, because David and I preregistered at last year's event, so it was not possible for us to do this for ourselves.

She had a lot of encouraging words for me as a first-time ALC cyclist. I do need quite a bit of encouragement--I'm terrified of the idea of riding 545 miles on my bike in just a few months. I know it'll be amazing--and painful--but I really want to do this. That's part of what this blog is all about, and completely what the little effort-tracking sidebar to the right is all about.

I went back to 22 September, the first date I am counting as part of my ALC Training record, and then graphed the distance I've biked outside and the time I've spent on the bike indoors. Then, I added the distances each day for this June's ride (using last year's mileage, which may vary this year but is still pretty reasonable, I'm sure).

(The first day of the graph is 1 September, even though the first day I'm counting is 22 September. OpenOffice doesn't seem to have an elegant graph editor, so the dates don't show up on the bottom. On the far right is June 3-9, the dates of AIDS/LifeCycle. The purple graph corresponds to minutes spent on stationary bicycles in gyms with the axis on the right; orange is miles rode on my Trek 4300 trail bike [Railbank, I call him] outside, with miles on the left axis.)

I'm even more terrified to know that my longest ride is still only half of the length of the shortest day during ALC. I have a lot of work ahead of me if I want to complete this ride--or even the first, 80-plus-mile day of it.

Beyond the effort I need to put in to get to a place where I can ride 100 miles a day several days in a row, I need to get to a place donation-wise to even be able to participate. I wouldn't mind you sending a few greenbacks ALC's way so I can participate in June!

Gym: 23 January

I went to the gym this afternoon, after applying to a few jobs and attempting to find something to pitch for freelance articles.

I spent 62 minutes on the stationary bike doing an alpine hill program. I thought it would add extra peaks as I doubled the time for the program, but it still had only 3 peaks where I worked hard for up to five minutes at a time, with gradients of less intensity on either side.

I get the feeling that the random hill program has a little more variation in the peak intensity, which is nicer for longer rides (>30 minutes), whereas the alpine hill program is probably better for shorter warm-ups when I plan on other activities in the gym.

Anyway, my stats for this ride included an average of 86 revolutions per minute, an average heart rate at 127, 22.16 miles pedaled, and an estimated 619 calories burned.

21 January 2012

Gym: 21 January

Today was a nice, relaxing day. It started with seeing a friend out at 1 am after a fun night of hanging and drinking coffee. We slept in until 10:30, I transplanted a few dozen seedlings into little plastic shotglasses while David worked on something for work, and then we headed to the gym.

I spent 45 minutes on a trainer in the spin room because the 4 less-professional stationary bikes I prefer were all in use. Half of the trainers in the spin room are hooked up to generate electricity--I made only 45.7 watt-hours while on the bike. David, who spent a little over an hour on the one next to me, reached 200 or so watt-hours. He is able to push himself harder than I do. That's why I like the random hill programs--I work harder that way.

I got off the bike after the TV show I was watching on Netflix on my phone ended and headed out to lift weights. Or, rather, use some machines.

I did my favourite lat pulldowns, 3 sets with 12 reps at 120 pounds (the third set was only 10 reps, with a break between the first 6 and the last 4--I am pushing myself to get better, and I am.

Then I did 2 sets with 8 reps at 100 pounds of chest presses, followed by 3 sets with 10 reps of back crunch things, without additional weight. Adding an extra set would be challenging enough, I thought. Next, if I remember, I'll increase the reps too.

After that, I wentto see if David wanted to practice quadrupedal movement (crawling) in one of the free classrooms, but he was still cycling, so I went to the shoulder press machine. I did 2 sets with 10 reps--the first was at 70 pounds, the second at 50, and even then, I paused after the first 7 reps. I thought about doing something else--perhaps ab-related--but I was (am) wiped. And hungry. So now it's dinner time!

18 January 2012

Cycling: 18 January

I biked 2 miles downtown today--my legs complaining the entire way because of the kickboxing class this morning. Also, the front disc brake is still bent and not happy. I must get that fixed...

Gym: 18 January

I went to the gym earlier this morning. Luckily, it's a regular work day, not a holiday, so there were much fewer people there at 9 AM.

I arrived a bit earlier than 9:30, when the cardio kickboxing class I wanted to take started, and spent 5 minutes warming up on the bike, going 2 miles on an Alpine Hill program. I usually use Random Hill, but I wanted to try something different. The sharp peaks and rests in the Alpine Hill program might make it my new default!

The hour-long cardio kickboxing class was killer. After a few dozen kicks with one leg, I was more just shaking it a little than lifting and kicking. I know how to punch--but not dozens of punches in a row.

If I ever went up against Xena and she just blocked all of my attacks, I'd wear myself out in about 5 minutes. Then again, I wouldn't be worrying about combination attacks--I'd be looking for some sort of heavy blunt object. Oh, how I miss brawling!

16 January 2012

Gym: 16 January

I went to the gym this afternoon with David, after a long day of baking and cooking (french toast and veggie sausage gravy over homemade buttermilk biscuits followed by tests of my veggie Shepherd's Quiche recipe).

Because I had a meeting at 5 tonight, I spent only 25 minutes on the stationary bike (8.15 miles, 86 average revolutions per minutes, 176 calories burned). I then did 3 sets with 10 reps of back crunch things, with the second set using a nearby 10 pound weight. After, I did 2 sets of 12 reps at 120 pounds of lat pulldowns.

Then, I wandered around aimlessly, attempting to find another machine I wanted to use. Unfortunately, squatters had proliferated throughout the gym--each machine I decided I wanted to try had a random dude just sitting on it. Not using it. Just sitting there. I wandered the gym three times--same dudes, not using the machines, just chillin' out on 'em.

Fed up, I wandered out of the door.

I just got an e-mail from my old gym (y'know, trying to get me to join again). It's two miles downtown (the only location in DC), but I might actually go there if it means I can avoid the unmitigated doucheyness of the people who go to the gym near my apartment.

12 January 2012

Activity: 12 January

While in South Carolina for the holidays, David and I saw an infomercial on a hotel TV for Insanity, a max-rep body-weight interval fitness training. It seemed interesting to both of us, what with our move from me cooking homemade General Tso's Tofu to being more healthy and fit, and it seemed as if it'd be a great complement to parkour.

Thus, I did the 25-minute Fit Test today.

First was a warmup, which was fine--jogging, jumping jacks, "heisman" exercises (which I never got the gist of before it moved to the quick-step heisman), butt kicks, high knee lifts, and some sort of arm-scissoring jog-kick things that were called "mummy kicks."

Then there was a few minutes of stretching before the fit test, which consisted of a series of exercises that last for 1 minute with 1 minute or so of rest in between. The first exercise was high switch kicks (whoa, my quads and such are TIGHT), followed by power jacks (jumping jacks with a squat at the end, basically); "power knees"; power jumps (which I just call "jumps"); "globe jumps" (it's just a jump to the left, back, right, and front, in a square); "suicide jumps" (or burpees, which I'm more familiar with--drop to a push up, bring your legs up under your chest, jump, squat, push up, repeat); push-up jacks (as you lower your upper body, open your legs like a horizontal jumping jack--bring your legs back together as you push up); and last but perhaps most fun, the low plank oblique (hold your upper body in a plank position and bring your knee up to your elbow-ish area, alternating each leg). Then a longer stretch session.

For my first attempt, I'm saying I did 0 high switch kicks (I know I did several dozen, but my legs didn't get very high, and I was mostly jogging, so I stopped counting), 29 power jacks, 70 power knees, 20 power jumps (this was more difficult with a not-legal-height ceiling), 0 globe jumps (nigh impossible with the floor space available and low ceiling height), 9 burpees (I was tired, plus ceiling height), 4 push-up jacks (um, no.), and 24 low plank obliques.

I'm a wuss. I was sweaty and tired in minutes. I know endurance is one of my weaknesses--which is why I need to do things like this to build it up. So, I will try.

Let's see how it goes next time!

09 January 2012

Gym: 9 January

Today, after making cream cheese spritz cookies, a roasted apple/caramelized onion/blue cheese tart, and candied orange peel (none of which should ever be included in a weight-loss-approved diet), I went to the gym with David. I biked a random hill program for 52 minutes--the machine said I rode 17.26 miles at an average of 86 revolutions per minute, burning 359 calories with an average heart rate of 116 (I didn't really get my hands on the heart-rate-measuring thing except during the resting periods--I've been wanting a heart rate monitor, but I can never seem to justify the expense when I'm out at a store).

With my legs wobbling and David prodding me to leave after his half-hour of biking and some lat pulldowns I told him to do, I went and did my own lat pulldowns: 2 sets of 12 reps at 110 pounds. I was going to do more, but the number of people in the gym made me less inclined to find an open machine or wait for one, so I asked David to show me some of the stretches he does after cycling (which we did for about 5 minutes).

It has been almost two years since he gave me his old Schwinn trail bike (on which I broke my collar bone the second time), and this is the first time we've stretched together. We'll have to do a lot more of that in preparation for AIDS/LifeCycle!

01 January 2012

Activity: 1 January

For the new year, David and I are pumped--or planning on getting that way. We put on our gym clothes for a little parkour-like activity at Finlay Park, where I made him crawl in the dirt, do push-ups, and jump around like a monkey for 45 minutes. I did a lot of the activity with him, but I spent a chunk of time watching his form while he was crawling and squatting. We ended with stretches, but my right quad still feels a little knotty. It was nice--I enjoyed the opportunity to be in a more instructional role. David says he'd even do it again, and that is quite high praise!