Category Archives: exercise

random musings

always a dog on the couch

This is the view from my treadmill.  Do you notice that the view directly in front of me is the (electric) fireplace?  If I want to watch tv I kind of have to turn my head the whole time.  Oddly enough, if you’re on the elliptical, you’re staring straight at the tv.  For a brief moment, we discussed moving the tv to where the fireplace/heater is, but then we’d have to buy a new corner tv stand and it’s just not a priority at the moment.  I just try to watch shows that I can mostly listen to and not have to watch for important visual cues.

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who knew?

yay, giraffe!

yay, giraffe!

When we were in San Francisco, we went to the Acadamy of Sciences.  They have oodles of animals posed around the museum.  How much would I love to have this giraffe in my living room?  Maybe a baby giraffe would be better… after all, my ceilings aren’t that tall.

Last month I started all my little seedlings and almost all of them have sprouted and grown.  Now I’m just waiting for them to get big enough to plant outside.  I was smart this year and only started one of each of the squash plants and kind of went overboard on the tomatoes.  But it’s okay… I have a feeling there will be some plots of dirt just up the road that would be willing to take the overflow seedlings.  Because we live in spoiled-weather San Diego, it’s probably warm enough outside for planting, but those little plants just aren’t ready.  I’ll have to remember to get them started earlier next year.

So, I’ve been on this new diet.  It’s called eating less and exercising more.  Revolutionary, don’t you think?  Someone should write a book about it.  My iPhone has an app to track weight and calories, and I’ve actually been using it, except on weekends.  I’ve also been getting good use out of the DVDs from Blockbuster, and the elliptical has totally not become a coat rack, although we totally gave up the plan of running that 10k.  Honestly, I’d probably be more inclined to run after work if I had a sidewalk the whole way home.  Stupid house construction.  But, apparently this fancy concept has been working.  Cami and I went jeans shopping over the weekend (this works because we both hate trying on clothes, which makes us very efficient); my jeans have started this annoying habit of falling down by the end of the day.  I thought I would just get a small size and be done with it, but apparently I had to go down two sizes.  I’m sorry if that sounds like gloating, but I’m kind of tickled about that.  Of course, it’s completely feasible that Gap has funny sizing and that I started with too-large jeans to begin with.  But I’m still happy. I also fit into a pair of pants I’d stuffed in the back of my closet because they were too small.  And now they’re not.  Yup, this whole eating less and moving more thing might just have something to it.

On a completely different note, I watched American Idol and was completely underwhelmed.  Maybe it was because they were singing country, but trying to make country not sound like country and it just wasn’t sounding good.  I mean, it wasn’t sounding like good music, even in a non-country way.

things of note

I’m sorry to have left you with my unending hatred of Splenda all weekend.  I am still torn between feeling grateful that dieting people have a no-calorie sweetener alternative and being annoyed at the companies marketing chemical additives to the unsuspecting public.  But, whatever, it’s their choice, not mine.

Speaking of sweetener alternatives, apparently stevia will now be marketed officially as a sugar substitute, under the name “Truvia”.  I find it ironic that in order to market stevia they also added erythritol, but I guess it’s also a natural sugar substitute?  I wonder what percentage of Truvia is actually stevia.  If anyone tries it, please let me know how it tastes.  If you tell me it tastes exactly like sugar, though, I’m going to call you a liar.

Speaking of diets, I am horrible at diets.  While I’m good at self-control, I don’t like the idea of certain foods being off-limits.  I also don’t really eat a lot of snack and junk food, so when most diets start off by telling you to just cut out your daily snack of two cookies, I don’t really have that.  I think this means that when my jeans start to get a little tight, my only real option is to start burning more calories.  I actually did 30 days of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, to see if you could really get all fit in 30 days, just doing 20-minute workouts.  I did more or less the full month of workouts, but I certainly didn’t alter my eating habits.  I think I lost 5 pounds… I don’t think I lost any real inches.  Her videos are pretty convenient, though, since they’re all about 20-25 minutes long.  If I can find time to squeeze in a half an hour of exercise, I think anyone can.  Plus, 20 minutes of exercise is better than none!  What I don’t enjoy, though, are her random burst of hilarious laughter.  It doesn’t make sense… it’s kind of like she’s just cracking herself up thinking about how much money she’s making hopping around for 20 minutes for a DVD.  Anyway, if you’re looking for an exercise video to add to your collection, I’d recommend any of hers (like the ones from her Biggest Loser set).  I started with renting some from Blockbuster.  Netflix probably has them, too.

I am also pretty sure that I will forever be stocking my kitchen with cornmeal and eggs.  I made a batch of polenta (or whatever you call the polenta-ish stuff that is made with simple lowly cornmeal) and then spent the week eating leftover polenta, leftover cooked veggies, and a fried egg for dinner.  It’s so perfect.  First, it takes no time at all because you’re just reheating food plus frying an egg.  Second, there is no better food than something coated in runny egg yolk.  Third, well, it’s just delicious and so easy.  For the rest of my life, if I’m ever at a loss for what to have for dinner, I’m just going to make polenta and a fried egg.  Chances are, there will be something else in the house that can be added to that.  Except, maybe not Spam.

Non-visual farmers market

I am so sorry. I have no pictures for you. I packed a small backpack with my wallet, keys, and a camera so I could take pictures of our small but lovely Poway farmers market and it turns out that the memory card had been left at home in the computer.

T has started taking tai chi classes on Saturday mornings. I opted out, as I think it’s okay for us to do things separately, and I can use the time to just hop on the elliptical machine. This morning, though, I woke up oddly early so I got my exercise done before T even woke up. Because the tai chi class is so close to home, he rode his bike over and we made plans to meet up afterwards to ride to the farmers market. I spent some time cleaning, folding laundry, then hopped into the shower, gathered my things, and rode off on my bike to meet T. We’ve had some trouble with my bike lately, where every time we get ready to take a ride, a spoke has broken. After numerous trips to REI, they finally replaced both wheels and now I don’t have to deal with defective spokes. With a functioning bike, I was looking forward to getting to finally ride it around town again.

The Poway farmers market is pretty small in comparison to others around the county (Hillcrest being one of the most popular ones). It’s held in on Saturday morning, from 8 am to 11:30 am, in Old Poway Park, with two outside rows of produce vendors and a middle row of “other food” vendors. We have organic fruits and vegetables, flowers, plants, the Ramona egg lady (good eggs, by the way), olive oil, honey, a cheeseball guy, hummus and pita breads, and a lady that sells healthy soup mixes. For prepared food, you can buy samosas, crepes, ceviche, and coffee. The gyros guy and the tamale lady are over at the Scripps Ranch farmers market… too bad for us. The crepes are outstanding and the samosas are fresh and hot (and heavily spiced). Don’t forget, most vendors either put out samples of their fruits or let you taste one so you can decide if you want to buy them. I tend to feel guilty about all this free fruit, so I try not to take samples unless I’m genuinely trying to decide on the quality of the fruit. Because we get an ample delivery of vegetables through our CSA, I was only looking for fruit on this visit, although I did pick up some lovely looking okra.

market

As you can see, we didn’t bring home a large haul. This was partly because whatever we bought, we’d have to carry home on the bike. Eggs seemed too fragile for such an endeavor, melons and pumpkins seemed too heavy. There was one stand that had pluots and golden pluots, regular and white nectarines, regular and white peaches, and gala apples. He had a try out with samples of each fruit and I bought the pluots, nectarines, and peaches based on those tastes. There was another stand with peaches that smelled divine, but after a sample they tasted almost overripe, so I passed. My favorite fruit stand is near the samosa stand, and they have little sample bowls of just about every fruit they offer. If there isn’t one there, they’ll offer you a taste of whatever you’d like. From them, I bought some guavas, a pomegranate, and something new to me – jujubes (all organic). No, not the chewy candy jujube; this one’s a fruit and is actually good for you.

jujubes

The jujube is a drupe fruit, where the flesh of the fruit covers a pit. They range from golden to red in color and resemble a date in shape. In fact, when the jujube is fully matured, it resembles a date and is also known as a Chinese date. When I asked what a jujube tastes like, I was offered one as a sample and told it tastes similar to an apple. But when I bit into it, the first thing that came to mind was the texture of a date, albeit much less sticky. The flesh is very soft, but not mushy, and the flavor is reminiscent of an apple – like a soft dried apple ring. Next to the baskets of jujubes was a sign claiming that eating them alleviates stress and is good for sore throats. I guess everything can have a medicinal use.

I’m glad I bought a basket of jujubes, as it’s fun to discover a new fruit at the market. They’re fun to snack on and if they do alleviate stress in my life, well, isn’t that just a bonus?

Our farmers market is just right for our needs and having it just up the street is quite convenient. We don’t go often, as it’s rare that we’re home on a Saturday morning, but when we are the market makes the perfect excuse for a morning bike ride and a stroll among fresh foods.

detoxing

I hate testimonials.  On infomercials, on diet product websites, in books, and even on Amazon.com.  There are so many wacky methods out there that that you don’t know which ones really work, how well they really work, and if the people who lost 50 pounds immediately gained back 45 of those pounds the next week.  When people rave about something so blatantly, I feel like there’s something they’re not telling me.  Like, in order for the diet pills to work, they actually ate nothing but sesame seeds for a month.

I’ve tested the South Beach Diet (I was so grumpy after 2 weeks I quit and ate a sandwich to celebrate), my mom’s done Atkins and SlimFast, we trained to run a 10k (and did), we try to eat well and bought an elliptical machine.  I’ll try Hydroxycut, but this detox will be first to see if we actually feel “cleaner” and if it drops any weight.  And if the weight stays off.

Yes, we’re going to test out a detox.  Not that stupid Lemonade Diet where you drink nothing but lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup – no, I don’t think all your essential nutrients are provided by maple syrup – but a detox program based loosely on the book 21 Pounds in 21 Days.  28 Cooks did a detox based on this and she was happy with the results. 

First, I read the book.  It’s good in theory, but the book is kind of useless.  You don’t really need to buy it.  The website for the detox is also kind of useless unless you want to pay a bunch of money.  All you need is the last chapter of the book or so.  Most of it is searchable on Amazon.com.  Also, hardcore people do the colonics and deep cleanses; real people think it’s icky.  We’re doing this the real people way.

Second, if you do want to do this and think it’s easier to pay $200 for one package, please don’t.  It’s not like the products have been specially-formulated and concocted just for this detox program.  The products are all from Garden Greens (BerrySplash, VegeSplash, Essential Greens, Inner Cleanse, even the Protein Shake) and you can buy them everywhere.  I found all products except the Inner Cleanse at Henry’s, so I imagine you can buy them at Whole Foods.  Or GNC.  Or online.  Even at Amazon.com.  I’d put them on a page for you, but Amazon.com isn’t actually the best price.  Start with local health food stores and then order online if you can’t find them.

What will you learn here?  Obviously, I’ll let you know how we feel, how long we put up with it, and if we lost weight.  The program calls for a berry drink, a green drink, vegetable juice, more green drink, more berry drink, and soup and broth.  No chewing.  There is also an herbal cleanse with pills and fiber, so you bet I’ll be telling you if it’s a scary process. 

Do the drinks taste good?  Is it a pain to keep up with the program during a normal day?  Do you go crazy with cravings for something non-liquid?

Wait and see.  Anything you want to know, I’ll tell you. 

We start Sunday, September 16, 2007.  We’d do it Saturday, but we have Poway Days to celebrate and a pancake breakfast that I already bought tickets for from the Lions Club.

I don’t think I’ll put up posts throughout the process, but I will put all my thoughts onto a separate Page.  We start for 2 days, but I’ll go as long as I can stand it.  Wish us luck.

Schwinn Elliptical 438

Update: the 438 model is no longer sold, but the 431 looks to be the comparable current model.  Plus, the side grips don’t interfere with magazines on the console, like our 438 does.

Once upon a time I joined 24 Hour Fitness.  I thought it would be good to have weight machines and ellipticals and stairclimbers at my disposal and, at the time, the nearest one was only a mile from where I lived.  I prepaid for a 3-year term and now my annual renewal is only $20 a year.  For the first 3 years, I actually went pretty regularly.  Let’s just say I had a lot of time on my hands after work and on weekends.  Then I met T, and suddenly the gym didn’t seem like the best option of what to do after work.  Granted, I still went a few times here and there, and we did go together that one month we were training for the 10k, but for the most part the gym and I don’t see each other much.  I had been gone so long I didn’t even know they added fingerprint scanners as their entry system!

Now, T has a membership to 24 Hour Fitness and he has access to the gym in his office building.  But he started looking into home elliptical machines to make it more convenient.  I had an elliptical once, a cheap one, and it made a nice coat rack in my guest room.  I just didn’t like it and it seemed like every time I stepped on it, the dogs were getting into something and I’d have to check on them and then I’d lose motivation to get back on.  So, at first, I was not very positive about home machines.  T was pretty determined, though, and researched all sorts of models and brands.  If you’re going to buy one, you really should spend the money to get a good one.  Otherwise it’s a total waste of money because it won’t be easy enough to make you use it.  I offered to split the cost with him to 1) speed up the process and get the darn thing in the house instead of waiting months and months for more research and 2) because I would probably use it, too. 

schwinn

That’s what we bought: the Schwinn 438.  We bought it from Amazon.com after we found out no sporting goods stores actually carried it and Amazon.com gave us free shipping!  We’ve only had a couple of weeks, but it’s nice and smooth and has pretty good programs.  The fan is pretty useless and on hot days I have a fan in front, a fan in back, and possibly the AC unit going (we set the elliptical up next to the AC window unit).  It’s in the dog/TV room so we can watch whatever program is on the DVR.  The 438 works with heart rate monitors (not just the handheld grips), the 418 and 430 don’t.  That’s one of the features I wanted.  I also like that it tracks how many workouts you’ve done and your results. 

What I don’t like is how the magazine “rack” is set up.  On the other two models, the handlebars are positioned so they don’t get in the way of a magazine, but on the 438 they are to the side and raised.  The only thing holding the magazine are 2 tiny tabs at the bottom of the console and the handlebars don’t let the magazine lie flat.  Plus, the fan gets in the way at the top.  I’ve actually sent an e-mail to Schwinn to ask them why they made the design the way they did and if there’s any way to make it work with my magazines.  In the meantime, I watch Big Love or some MTV HD show or Food Network.

The best part of having this elliptical at home?  It’s not the fact that we don’t have to drive to a gym, or that we can work out at a moment’s notice, or that we have control over what’s on the TV.  No, for me, the best part is that I don’t have to adhere to the gym’s dress code.  Shorts and a sports bra and I’m good!  No heavy t-shirt as a cover up, no long workout pants. 

Now, if I can build my list of dinner meals that require 45 minutes of unattended cooking, it’ll be even better!