Saturday, February 19, 2011

How I've lost 7 pounds since Christmas

As someone who has always wanted to be healthy, in order to do the things I love to do, I spend a bit of time every once in a while searching the web for a better exercise program. I have thus created my own program from various sources, and if it can be useful to others, that's great. That's why I posted it here. Granted, this method isn't for everyone...maybe it's not even for me in the long run. One thing's for sure, it works. I have been able to lose weight and become more fit at the same time, and that's important to me.

Mondays: On Mondays I have to be to work a half hour earlier, so I do one of my easier workouts. I get on the treadmill and run at a fairly easy pace for a while, then I speed it up incrementally, like up a tenth every four to five minutes. I do this for 40-45 minutes with the goal to use up at least 500 calories, according to the treadmill instrument panel. Depending on the treadmill--there are some made by different companies at the Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center--I either burn 500+ or 600+. I imagine the real total is somewhere in between.

Tuesdays: I begin again on the treadmill, running gently for five minutes to get warmed up. Then I jack up the pace, going from about a 9:30 mile pace to about an 8 minute per mile pace for about a minute. I slow back down, but not quite to the 9:30 pace, maybe 9:20 or so for four minutes, and then run 1 minute at about 7:50. I keep this up, each time slowing down but slowing down a little bit less, and speeding up a little bit more, until I've used up 600 calories. Then I go to part B of Tuesdays workout when I do a variety of pushups, found here: . After that I do two sets of bench dips, and two sets of any kind of triceps exercise. Sometimes my interval training changes to a slower pace but with a steep incline, changing the incline every four minutes instead of changing the pace. It adds variety when I'm feeling like not doing my workout.

Wednesdays: Once again I'm on the treadmill, this time to run at a comfortable pace for the entire time, not too fast, not too slow...more of a recovery day, so I try to keep it slow enough that I could still talk if I wanted to, without getting out of breath. Since Wednesdays are my arm and back workout, I then move to the machine and do two sets of 12  bent "V" rowing, with 100 lbs. Then, because I'm having trouble with my left elbow and biceps tendons, I do two sets of 12 on the lat pull-down machine with 60 pounds. Then I do two sets of 12 curls with the curl bar at 45 pounds. So much for the easy day! When I really need a break, I eliminate all the cardio on Wednesdays, but I haven't done that in February because it's fitness month at the gym and I'm trying to go every day except Sundays. The 12 reps is just what I'm on now. I'm building from 10, trying to make it to 15, but going up a little at a time.

 Thursdays: This is another killer day! It begins with ten minutes of a warm up jog on the treadmill. Then I walk around and stretch for a few minutes getting real loose. After that I do M100s, which you can see here: M100s . BTW, I cannot do 100 without stopping. The most I've been able to do without at least stopping for a few seconds is about 34. So, when I get to that point, I walk to the next corner in the basketball court area, and go again until I can't do any more, on and on moving to another corner until I complete the 100. After that I go back into the treadmill area and try to get my 600 calories burned off (I estimate the M100s burn off about 200, but I have no way of knowing how accurate that estimate is). Then I do a variety of abdominal exercises that I don't know the names of, except one is called "Roman Chair Situps". Then I'm done. I was so worn out after Wednesday this past week that I abandoned the M100s and instead did an extra interval workout.

Fridays: By Friday, I really need an easier workout so, like Wednesday, I run at a fairly easy pace for 45 minutes. Then I do two sets of leg press with 200 pounds, two sets of lunges with each leg, two sets of 20 calf raises, two sets of leg extensions, and two of leg curls. Then Friday is done.

Saturday: The gym opens at 7 on Saturday and I have to be to work at 8. So I do a five minute warm up run, and then do a race pace 5k on the treadmill. That's it and the week is done I can go on to Sunday when I

REST!!! It's not enough rest, but it's REST!!

For my diet, I just try to eat healthfully, avoiding red meats more than I used to, eating less goodies, eating Clif Bars to supplement my diet. More bananas for potassium etc. Yes, I still eat desserts, but I keep it under control. That's about it. I'm needing a break, so after next week I'll do an easy week, and hopefully be back to killing it by the next week.

I hope this has helped anyone looking for an exercise program. In a perfect world, I would definitely recommend alternating this with an easier week, as far as the treadmill stuff goes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Utah Bear Trial: Questions that affect us all

This week the trial began in the case of the Ives family who lost their son to a bear last year versus the U.S. Forest Service. Sad though it is that this family lost their son, it brings up two questions in my mind that must be answered. Number one is, who has responsibility for the death of the boy? And number two is, should the parents be suing?

So, who has the responsibility? First of all, the family does. As the Forest Service claims, there are signs everywhere reminding people that bears frequent the area, and to use precautions necessary for such an area. That being said, the area in which the people were camping was in particular danger–increased danger, because a bear had been in the very campground earlier in the day on which Samuel Ives was dragged from the tent and killed. This specific danger required specific warnings.

Here’s an example of why. Suppose that on your street in your neighborhood a known child molester had been spotted earlier that day trying to get a kid into a car. Now, suppose that nobody let the families living on that street know about the incident. Suppose further that your child was abducted and killed by this creep. What if you then found out that the police had known about the molester trying to pick up another kid earlier that day, and didn’t bother to tell anyone. Would not the authorities share the blame for what happened for not warning the people about a specific threat in the area? Sure, they could use the excuse that there are always bad guys out there, and people need to be vigilant all the time. They could say that. But there are times when people need to be more vigilant than at other times.

Like the anecdotal child molester story, the bear incident shows that in this case, more stringent warnings should’ve been given. And who should they have been given by? The people who knew what had happened earlier in the day–the U.S. Forest Service.

That brings us to question two: Should the family be suing? My initial response is yes. That’s the only way the Forest Service will do things differently when confronted by a similar situation in the future. On the other hand, maybe the things they do differently will effect large numbers of people, like closing whole canyons down because a bear has been seen–just to avoid potential law suits. And another thing that bothers me about suing, is that it comes out of taxpayer’s pockets. Granted, there are a bunch of things that my money goes for via the Feds that I don’t like, that I probably don’t like much more than giving this poor family who has lost a son some money.

It’s a complicated question with no easy answers. Now that it’s in court, I’m not even sure that I hope they win the lawsuit. I’d like to see the Forest Service admit they should’ve done more to warn people, but I don’t want to see more and more people suing for incidents such as this.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Questions of Life

The questions of life...why are we really here? Obviously, I have my own thoughts on this. For many years of my youth, I struggled with various opinions and theories, flitting this way and that like some kind of bird that had lost its bearings. It’s not easy being sure about things in life. What I became more sure of as time went by is that things matter. What a person does effects not only himself, but those around him. When I act, there is a reaction, and it’s not always what I intend it to be.

Funny, but people can change over time, without a really good explanation as to why, or at least, maybe we don’t know what happened in their life to make them change. That can make it difficult for those of us trying to understand why that person changed. Was there an event that triggered it? Was it the influence of persuasive friends or mentors? Did they just drift because they weren’t sure about things, finding themselves much further off course than they had originally intended?

I ask myself this knowing that when some people reject God, they not only become ambivalent towards believers, but eventually come to despise them. Atheists, who don’t believe in God, many times make it a large part of their lives to convince, or at times, even force people to not worship the God they believe in. Why is this? Could it be that some become atheists because of their trials, and can’t believe that a loving God would’ve put them in this situation, therefore making it easy to rail against the God they once believed in, or at least tried to believe in? That’s really the only way to explain the irrational hatred of believers by non-believers.

I pity those who have lost their way. I hope for a change in them. It bothers me to see such railings against people whose desires are basically good—Christians want to love others, and serve them. They want to be good and moral people. Yet we often fail in these attempts because mortal weaknesses get in the way. Mortal weaknesses also plague atheists, but since they profess no beliefs, they are not failures at living up to them.

I wonder, who is better off, the man who has ideals and tries to live up to them, but fails often, or the man who has no ideals to live up to, and thus never fails to live up to any because he doesn’t believe in any. For example, a guy might believe that it’s wrong to lie, and then find himself doing just that for fear of telling someone the truth. He has failed, true, in not lying, but perhaps he has lived a higher ideal, like not hurting someone’s feelings. Who can know? On the other hand, a guy who has made no such goals as to not lie, has not failed at anything if he lies. Kind of like, if I don’t plan on exercising, I haven’t failed when I don’t do so. The other guy who made an exercise plan and failed to strictly follow it has failed. He may have exercised only five days of the week instead of six. Yet which person is better off really? The guy who exercised some, but not up to his goal, or the guy who never had the goal, and never exercised?

Well, I’m drifting. Needless to say, there’s a lot that goes into life. But let’s not get off track for the wrong reasons. If we don’t make an exercise plan ourselves, let’s not rail against those who have the compunction to do so, for the bigger failure is not the guy who takes a day off from his plan once in a while, but the person who never makes the plan in the first place.