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Misc

pick up sticks

My time is usually tugged in all sorts of directions. Some of these things are rigid. Work, spending time with Eliza, those things are set in stone. Then there's the care and maintenance of my machines, other assorted hobbies, friends, and lately the care and maintenance of me.

I've been working out hard again. It feels good to begin the long march towards fitness. It's also a bit demoralizing seeing how far I am from past results.  I'm well over 50lbs away from what I could bench, nearly 70lbs away from what I could squat. It's amazing what five years spent eating candy can do.

My current strategy in terms of workout routines and diet are easy to cogitate. I'm using a 4 day split weight lifting workout that I've pieced together based on equipment I have. Nutrition wise, I'm somewhat limiting my calorie intake but increasing the amount of protein I take in significantly. For sure I'll need to up the calories over time but I'd like to do that after I get a flat stomach.

I'm about a month in, and so far things appear to be working. Which is a relief. It's hard for me to balance workouts and nutrition. No pictures for now. I've got plenty of fat danny pics. What I'd like is a jack'd danny pic. Hopefully that'll be my birthday gift to myself.

The motor

It's no secret that I'm one of those guys that likes to have nice toys.  At the same time, I'm also one of those guys that agonizes over every dollar spent in pursuit of the best deal.  Lately, all I can think about are computer upgrades and bike upgrades...

Computer upgrades can be expensive, but I typically stay on the mild side of the price spectrum and stay well within my budget.  Bikes on the other hand?  The prices always seem to hover at the high end of my comfort zone and often go into the stratosphere!  Add to that my lack of physical prowess on the bike, and well...  It's hard to justify the spend.  Sure there are going to be wear and tear items.  I will need a new chain this season.  My situation with mixing and matching a decent tire with a horrible one should also be rectified.  For sure I'll need to get new bike clothes.  My bike however, is still far more capable than my abilities to exploit it are.  It's a constant reminder that I need to improve the "motor" and not the bike.

I've been taking it quite easy for the past week and haven't lifted or ridden.  A wonderful rest week.  It's time to get back into it though.  Armed with some new knowledge on off season training, I hope to load up on level 2 bike work this month and then make the switch to level 3 bike work next month.  After that, I hope to start doing some speed work in May and see what happens.  The weight lifting is going to be an ever present part of my fitness routine for a long time.  I've been seeing steady gains.  The coolest part of it all, is the addictive nature of seeing the pounds get added to the bar.

Ha ha!  Who would have thought the fat kid that played video games so much would turn into such a gym rat.  :)

Sizes

It's kind of fun getting together with people that haven't seen me in a while.  They are probably some what shocked by two things.  The pony tail and the fact that I'm considerably thinner.  Just how thin am I now?  The picture above says a lot.  I can comfortably fit into 30" pants again.  Just over a year ago I was comfortably fitting into 34" pants!  I'm still pretty far from having a flat stomach and way way far from having a six pack.  The changes are huge though.  Other factoids are:  I can bench, squat, and dead lift my body weight.  I've seen my body weight drop 30 pounds from a high of 173 to a low of 142 while currently I'm around 145-148.  Happily the weight increase is from added muscle.

It feels good to feel good.  Eliza and I took a break this weekend and relaxed.  My body has been most grateful and is definitely reacting positively to the rest.  I always feel like I need to make up for the lack of fitness by pushing harder and faster.  But the fact of the matter is, my body is still not use to this much exercise and training.  Even with a year of cycling and about 1500 miles ridden last year, I'm not a butterfly in the wind but more like a leaner Dr Who adipose plushy with a pair of wings on it's back doing its best to look the part.

Sick

My first illness of 2012.  I'm still feeling a little down, but hopefully this is the last day of it.  It's amazing how your body will take every last ounce of energy away from you to fight off its own problems.  Often creating new problems in its wake.  Like, I wasn't able to workout yesterday!  Small potatoes, I know.

Lately, I've been giving my workout some serious thought.  It for sure has made me stronger and helped me shed the pounds.  It could be better however.  My current lifting routine has far too much isolation exercises.  I've been adding more compound movement exercises to even it out, but it's still not right and I'm worried I'm going to get hurt soon.  It's also taking much longer to get done.  So I'm pretty sure I'm going to scrap my current weight lifting routine and go with a 5x5.

A Pendlay 5x5 routine appeals to me the most right now, though I will probably make a few minor changes to it.  While the Basebuilding for Cyclists book would have me do a more specific to cycling weight lifting routine, it too is composed of a lot of isolated muscle movements and would take two to three hours to complete.  It's not exactly fair to compare the two though.  The 5x5 is a bulking workout whereas the AA workout in the Basebuilding for Cyclists book is meant to prepare the body for the rigors of cycling.  But you know what?  As much as I want to get as fast as possible on the bike, I really don't want to look like the average cyclist who races.  It will make me slower, but I'll feel better about myself.

We'll see how this works out though.  Along with the weight lifting, I'll continue to add healthy doses of cycling to each week.  In 12 weeks, we should know the answer.  Hopefully I'll have hit a lot my weightlifting goals by then.

Tools of the trade

There are so many apps and websites these days to track your fitness.  It's absolutely bewildering.  No one app does it all, and I've found that you have to mix and match to get what you want.  Here's an update on what gadgetry, apps, and websites I'm using today.

Garmin connect.  Ever since I got my Garmin Edge 800, it has made my ability to capture my cycling and running data so easy.  There really is no substitute for good purpose built hardware.  Having it all synced from the device to the Garmin website seals the deal.  I do wish there were more analysis tools, social interaction, and an achievement system built into the website, but I'm still happy.

Jefit Pro.  I've been using this app for about a year now to track my weight lifting.  It's perfect for what I need.  A no nonsense way to track my current lifting routines.  It's kind of clunky when you're making routines, but once they are in, it's easy peasy.  The ability to view and download other peoples routines is a terrific plus.  I do wish the app had a more social side to it though.

RidewithGPS.  Yeah, this website is only relevant when I get to ride outside.  I use it mostly to create routes and see other bike routes created by the hive mind.

Apps that have fallen by the way side...

Cardiotrainer.  This use to be my go to app of choice.  Now, it's just meh.  The developers have lost their way it seems, which is too bad.  Loseit has a better calorie counter feature.  The HRM comparability is so bad it may as well be broken.  In general, I'm sad I actually spent money on this app.  Avoid it.

Runkeeper.  I went to this when I finally had enough of Cardiotrainer.  It's a great app and the HRM functionality works well.  But...  I have an Edge 800...  This just can't compete.

Apps that I'm evaluating.

Fitocracy is the type of website that I've been looking for.  It mixes in social interaction with the meaningless but somehow satisfying game aspect of foursquare badges.  We'll see if I keep using it.  I really wish that this website ties into Jefit one day.

I hope one day the ultimate fitness app arrives, but until then I'll keep these in my quiver and switch them out as necessary.  I have to say though, I'm turning into a number junky.  I must workout to generate more data to analyze...  ha ha!