Category Archives: Exercise

Eating more calories and losing weight

Jon and I are blasting away at our health care kick and I am at a plateau while he is going down. I think we should call it the 1955 diet. I think I have something figured out though. My physician’s assistant told me that my metabolism will slow way down and I might quit losing weight, even at my intake of 600 or so calories per day. So, I went off my diet for a three day weekend, then upped my caloric intake to between 900 and 1000 calories per day and although I am not at my lowest weight, I have started down again. I need to start kicking up the exercise a little bit more now as I get close to my goal weight.

Lorena hits a new PR on the Concept 2 rowing machine

After a month of upheaval, we have to admit we spent most of the weekend just trying to catch our breath and start in again. Now, though, Lorena is back in the game with her rowing. I think this has to be her personal best on the Concept II rowing machine down at Anytime Fitness. Only 400 more meters and she will have hit the goal she has worked on for over seven years now–12,000 meters in one hour. Kelly is on her game, too. She ran five miles on Saturday with plans to run six next Saturday on the way to a half marathon sometime in February. Last night, we called Christian, but he could not talk because he was at the gym. This is all good and well, but it is making me look pretty bad. I am still typing furiously most of the day, but have not lifted a finger to do anything other than to go on some medium distance (4-5 mile) walks and even that is awhile ago. I still have about 15 lbs. to lose on my current trajectory, but hope to be in the gym again before spring.

Fitbit Blaze

I keep breaking my “I have never weighed this much before” record and have decided to try to do something about it. I used the Fitbit Charge Kelly and Christian got for me quite successfully when I we lived in both Wilsonville and Lewisville so I decided to get another one. The problem was that it had a pretty lousy band that was not replaceable. My buddy, Dan in Texas used his Fitbit successfully, but ran into the same kinds of problems.

I ordered a Fitbit Blaze this afternoon to kickstart my new health and fitness plan. The other thing I am going to do when Christian is here is move the treadmill Bob lent us down to the bottom floor of the house from the garage where it is now getting too cold to use.

Sports devotion

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

I ran into an article about devotion to something the author called Athletica that very much resonated with me. It described a phenomena that is epidemic in our society. Our own little family was not immune to this and I am glad some articulated the problem so well. The article is definitely worth a read. Here is how the article starts out:

For decades, demographic studies have indicated the steady decline of religion in America, but new measures suggest that, on the contrary, at least one religion in America is alive and well, thriving in every community, and claiming devoted adherents in nearly every household.

This new religious revival has remained under the radar in large part because its adherents do not claim any religious attachment to this social institution, but by every measure of behaviors typically associated with religion, it is deceitful to label it as anything less. Although it shies away from adopting an overarching organization or name for itself, for the purposes of this study, it will be considered under the name Athletica.

What must first impress outsiders studying the life of Athletica is how wholehearted is the devotion of its followers. These disciples are willing to sacrifice almost limitlessly where their dedication to this faith is concerned. Money, time, health, and even family may all be expended for the sake of bettering oneself within Athletica, and it is no exaggeration to say its members orient their lives around the strictures of their religion’s demands.

We assiduously worked to avoid fanatical devotion to sports when the kids were young. The kids participated in organized swimming, tennis, soccer, gymnastics and other athletic endeavors four or five days per week for the entire course of their homeschool. We belonged to the YMCA or a sports club everywhere we lived and when they were not in an organized sport, they went to the gym to lift weights or work out. But we vigorously emphasized this activity as just exercise–like brushing one’s teeth every day–good for the health of the body, but not something on which to base your every waking moment or life goals. Even (if not particularly) the team and leadership aspects of sports rang hollow with us based on the attitudes manifested by the vast bulk of the kids and families who were so wholly devoted to such efforts.

The treadmill

Bob provides a treadmillSadly, I no longer have any excuses for avoiding exercise. Bob and Gena invited us over for dinner (of course) last Sunday and during the course of the conversation Bob tells me has a treadmill he is not using. Bob gets plenty of exercise at their property and he works out at the pool so he has no plans to use the treadmill for awhile. Honestly, these people are too good for us.

At any rate, not only does he offer to let me use it, the next Monday, he throws the thing in his van and brings it over. I have NO idea how he idea he did that. The thing is a true industrial strength treadmill and a marvel of engineering. He told me Gena helped him, but that makes it even more amazing. I helped him unload the thing into the garage and it took about all we had to do that. Those Northern California logger, Montana/Wyoming people are just made of sterner stuff than the rest of us.

So, as I was saying, I am now out of excuses. Today is the day I plug it in, turn it on and get started. Honestly, I am very grateful for the machine and it is going to be a big help. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

Work and anytime fitness

Lorena at Anytime Fitness in CentraliaWe still don’t have any appliances, but Mark is scheduled to bring them here and install them next week along with the propane tank and gas lines needed to run the stove. In the mean time, Lorena is on a regular schedule at Anytime Fitness again and I am working full time from my (somewhat messy) home office with the view of Rainier. This is ALL a very good thing. Mark will be here to do his work next week while we are gone. It is nice to have someone watch the house. The week after that is painting week and we should be all done.

We will be up in a Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, BC with an Anytime Fitness across the street from us. It does not get much better than that. This is something I think we will be able to do together on a semi-regular basis. My new company has certainly been treating me well so far.

Lorena rowing: Almost there (12km in 60:25)

Lorena just about made it. 12,000 meters in 60 minutes (and 25 seconds)Lorena is so close she can taste it. Three days per week on the Concept 2 Rowing Machine and another couple of days, hard on the elliptical. Her goal is to row 12,000 meters in less than an hour. She is only 25 seconds from that goal, but today (well, she might take one more shot on Thursday, but we are not talking about that) was her last scheduled rowing day in Texas. Of course she will take it up again when she gets to Centralia. One of the reasons we picked the place we picked is the Anytime Fitness right down the road from our new (to us) house. Lorena has been amazingly consistent over the last seven years or so with the last two years focused on the rowing machine. She has shamed me into agreeing to up my game when we get to Washington.

Three weeks of Fitbit use

Fitbit result 1 of 2Fitbit result 2 of 2I have been wearing the Fitbit Kelly and Christian got for me for a present a couple of years back and my miles/steps are pretty good during the week. I kind of fall off the wagon a little on the weekends because of volunteer programming and church, but I am going to try to remedy that starting tomorrow. I have not been so great on the diet end of things–that self denial thing is not nearly as fun as getting outside and getting some fresh air. Still, I am down about ten pounds from my high and going the right direction. My buddy Lyle W. and I are competing a little with the steps thing over the Internet, so that is a good thing too.

Back to the salt mines

I noticed something from a recent family photoDown 7.4 of 60

I noticed something from one of the photos taken over the weekend of Grandpa Milo’s and Grandma Sarah’s funeral. I am WAY fat right now. There is really no excuse. So, at Lorena’s urging, I broke out the old fitbit and have set a goal again to lose 55 pounds (ouch). The good part of the whole deal is that we are moving this weekend to an apartment that is exactly one mile from work. There is a grocery store that is also one mile from work.Kiwi and I setting up my fitbit If I can walk to work and back every day and also walk to the grocery store for lunch every day (I am doing that now), I will have put in four miles and reduced my gas bill. No down side to that.

My hope is that I can get back down to my weight when I left Oregon in a couple of months then spend until August losing the additional thirty pounds. It might be too ambitious because I love to eat too much. Still, I would rather walk a little more than back off on the food, so there is a modicum of hope that I can do this. I will keep you posted.

Walking at lunch time.

Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun.Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun. I walk to and from a grocery store every work day to buy myself some lunch and get some exercise. I am beginning to realize that unless I want to remain damp from the exertion for most of the rest of the afternoon, I need to think about doing my exercising in the gym after work. That is really not nearly as satisfying as walking outside everyday, so I will probably just be damp until things start to cool down in a month or two. The walk was optimal at my last job in Oregon–it was a little further and a lot cooler. Still, I am thinking it is going to be great here in the Dallas area for all but a couple of months in the winter and a couple of months in the summer.

For the first time in a year and a half, I bought new shoes

I am quite pleased with myself. I bought new Rockport walking shoes when I moved to Oregon and wore them out walking five miles per day for over 1000 miles. Yesterday, I was the fattest I have ever been in my entire life, so I bought some new Rockports that should get here tomorrow. I hope to do a lot of walking in them. In addition, I got myself my first pair, ever Chukka boots. Nothing quite as uniquely satisfying as a new pair of shoes.
New shoes

Lorena goes even faster

LorenaConceptII_10k_60minLorena broke her previous personal record on a Concept 2 rowing machine. She was trying to get to 10,000 meters in less than 60 minutes. Actually, the numbers you see to the left are her second best effort. I did not have the best one to put up here which was slightly more. I checked into this and the world record for a light weight woman in her age group is over 15,000 meters and the U.S. record is over 14, 000 meters. Her achievement is an amazing one and she has decided to continue to try to improve on up to 12,000 meters in an hour. Rowing on a Concept 2 rowing machine was my preferred cardiovascular training mode when I was in my mid-thirties. What Lorena has done already is no mean achievement. She started out rowing for around five minutes per session a couple of years ago. I think she will be able to make it to 12,000.

Avocation and life skills as part of homeschool

Christian and I talked last night about avocation. There were lots of things we tried when the kids were growing up as part of our homeschool and just as part of life. We focused hard on specific academic paths that gave the kids as many options as possible when it came to career choices. The reality is we did not do so bad at that part–the kids are now in a place they can go virtually any direction they want career-wise. At the other end of the spectrum were things that would be characterized as life skills and or avocations. We had varying degrees of success with things that were not the central focus of our homeschool academics, but at which we invested time, effort and a fairly large amount of our resources. I thought I might make a list of some of that stuff. I say only some of it because there was so much that I know I will miss a bunch of it. So what am I talking about:

  • Music–Lorena and I are actually very limited in our musical ability. The kids are a lot better than us, but not exceptional. Kelly can play the piano and sing very well. Christian is much better at classical guitar than he thinks he is. All in all, we did not do so bad. Both the kids got ten years of music/instrument lessons and both still love to play. I would put this in the joyful avocation category.
  • Art–We did well in art. Of course there is the drawing (e.g. here and here) and all the crafts we did, but the thing that surprises me most is that we all like to go to Art Museums when we are together. We know some artists we like and enjoy art appreciation as much or more as we enjoy making art.
  • Cooking–Lorena is amazing and deserves a post all by itself. She has followed a pretty incredible culinary path that is wildly eclectic. Kelly is going down that same path, but with here own twist that is heavily influenced, I think, by the fact that she lives in the amazing food culture of the Pacific Northwest. Christian is more utilitarian, but goes on a baking or cooking binge that pushes the envelope on a semi-regular basis. As for me, I make an OK omelet which is also the entire cooking legacy I leave to my children. Well that and how to cook a turkey.
  • Sports and exercise–This deserves a post all by itself because we made a decision very early on to assure that exercise become a normal part of life, but sports, especially football, basketball, soccer and baseball were given very, very low priorities on the list we wanted the kids to do or watch. Part of that is because I had seen this so up close and personal, but part of it was because those sports are a time and resource drain that have negative value as either life skills, avocations or activities that engendered positive values. We tended more toward swimming, running and a little bit of hiking. Both the kids are active as weight lifters and runners these days.

The thing that was great about all that stuff is we got into all of it and got excited about it at the same time we did not over emphasize it. We wanted this all to be something for which the kids could have lifelong enjoyment without it consuming their lives. We will have to wait awhile longer to see if we had any level of success at that goal.

Lorena hits an exercise milestone

Lorena arrived at an amazing milestone today. She rowed over 10,000 meters, burning over 500 calories in a little over an hour. I am sure she will get that time under an hour pretty soon, but the fact that she did over 10K in a single sitting on a Concept 2 rowing machine is an impressive feat. She has worked out hard on an uncompromisingly regular schedule for well over a decade now. Kudos to her.

A visit to Christian in Arizona

Lorena hits Anytime Fitness in ArizonaWe are taking a brief hiatus in Tempe to visit Christian in our road trip to Texas. Lorena needs to get her workouts in. She explained it is not so much that she is fanatical about doing it, she just hates the pain of starting all over again when she has missed a week or two. She is actually up to two 35 minute sessions per week on the elliptical and three 60 minute sessions per week on the Concept II rowing machine with some weight lifting thrown in the mix, too. It pains me just thinking about it.

In the meantime, we get to see Christian mostly just in the evenings because he has to work even though it is spring break for the undergraduates. He remains dedicated to his research. I think the classes are just a pain in the neck for him now even though he says he learns some stuff.

We plan to continue on to Texas right after Sunday morning meeting.

Betty Blonde #494 – 07/08/2010
Betty Blonde #494
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Lorena heard a conversation between a group of middle aged women talking about their kids college choices on her train ride home last Saturday. It seems one of their priorities was for the kids to go to universities with really good football teams. The entire sports culture in America these days seems a little bit crazy. One of my biggest regrets about my high school and college days is how much my studies suffered because I spent so much time focused on sports. I think the problem is that like any other area that, in moderation, can be great, but as a vocation, even at the highest levels, is a waste of time. It is not like art or music with things created that take on lives of their own long after the artist or musician is gone. Sports is irrelevant the minute the game ends.

The sad part is so many kids get caught up in what really amounts to very small time, worthless endeavors. I am talking about the kid that plays college basketball, football, track wrestling or baseball whether the school is big or small. The commitment is so great it is not possible to get a good education while doing it. Of course there are exceptions–I work with a Stanford football player who is a great engineer, but most kids do their stint as a player then spend the rest of their lives mourning for their glory years, doing a job they hate because they got a weak education and pushing their own kids into the same hamster wheel existence. Worse, for all the talk about sports building character, there is little to no evidence of that character anywhere but when young kids are involved and even that fails much of the time. Again, there are exceptions, but you see displays of exceptional character so rarely in college and professional sports these days that people make a big deal out of it when it happens.

Betty Blonde #471 – 04/30/2010
Betty Blonde #471
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Krispy Kreme Challenge – The last one for awhile

Day 832 of 1000
Betty Blonde #15 – 08/06/2008
Betty Blonde #15
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I just signed up Lorena, Kelly, and Christian for the 10th Annual Krispy Kreme Challenge.  It is a five mile fun run to raise money for charity and let the college kids get silly for a little while on what is usually a cold winter day.  I think this will be the kids’ third or fourth time.  Lorena wanted to get in on the fun.  The kids will be moved out to the West coast by the time the next one rolls around.  Lorena will be out there, too, if the house sells.  This is one of those events that makes us love Raleigh and NCSU.

Lorena’s five years at the YMCA

Lorena's five years at the Kraft YMCA
Our family belongs to the beautiful Kraft YMCA in Holly Springs.  We initially joined the YMCA as a resource for our homeschool physical education efforts, but it rapidly became a favorite destination for the whole family to swim, work out, and lounge by the pool.  Even when I had work, I could sit in the lobby, have a cup of (free) coffee, and work (great wifi) while everyone else got their exercise.  Now that the kids are at NCSU and have their PE classes there, Lorena is the main user of the Y.  The good thing is that there is a sister YMCA right by the NCSU campus where Lorena often gets a workout in while waiting for the kids.

My hat is off to Lorena, she has hammered through a hard aerobic workout (usually the elliptical machine) and weight lifting three or four days per week five years.  Longer than that, actually, but five years at this YMCA.  She has the t-shirt to prove it.  No wonder she looks so good.