Category: steelie

Run for the cure…

This year I’m participating in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure on October 2nd. I’ve been meaning to do it for a number of years and I’ve finally decided to stop just talking the talk, and start walking the walk.

Well, running the run, actually.

First and foremost, I am running in memory of my wonderful Aunt Anne, a hilarious woman with a huge heart and brilliant spirit, who passed away from breast cancer a few years ago.

I am also running for the estimated 23,000+ women (and 500+ men) who will be diagnosed with breast cancer, in Canada, this year alone.

I am running in support of the brave souls currently going through treatment, on their way to overcoming the disease.

And I am running for all you amazing survivors who have stood toe-to-toe with breast cancer and kicked its sorry tail.

For those not running, you can still make a difference! With your support, the Foundation will continue funding breast cancer research, education and health promotion initiatives across the country, making a difference from coast to coast. To learn more about the work the Foundation does, visit www.cbcf.org.

Every donation counts and helps the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation move closer to achieving its vision of creating a future without breast cancer.

If you feel moved to make a donation, please visit my personal participant page at www.runforthecure.com/goto/sesc. Any amount of would help.

Thank you for considering my request. I really appreciate it!

[steelie]

Workout slump…

Well… I haven’t really been able to track much running or cycling lately. Haven’t been to the gym in forever either. I have, however, been playing soccer this summer… first time in a couple of years.

And soccer, let me tell you, is an exhausting activity. An activity that has been taxing my body like a… well, a lot.

(I can’t think a proper way to describe it that doesn’t involve at least one swear word so, we’ll leave it at that.)

The first two weeks back my team played five games in a little over a week and a half. My initial contribution was a whopping two ten-minute shifts in a ninety minute game: serious 22% contribution.

For the next two days I hobbled around like someone had beaten me with pitching wedge. And it only lasted for two days because I had to suit up for my next game and do it all over again.

A few weeks later I am just as exhausted, however, I can play the full ninety minutes before I get there. Feels good.

Gotta find a life rhythm for it all though… one that lets me do everything I want but doesn’t leave me exhausted. Is there any such thing?

Fill me in if anyone knows.

[steelie]

Moving past the 2-day split…

Well, I’ve been working out at Goodlife Fitness following this 2-day split exercise routine from Bodybuilding.com for a little over four weeks now. Though I’m virtually the same weight as when I started, I’ve leaned out some and feel significantly stronger. This 2-day split has been good to me so far but I feel like I’m ready to move on to a 3-day split.

The main reason? I’m really tired.

Doing the 2-day split twice a week — Monday and Tuesday, then a variation of those again on Thursday and Friday — at 5:15 AM, is exhausting and difficult for me to maintain with consistency. The early mornings are a drag but it’s the only real time I can get into the gym.

Beyond that, I’ve read on a number of sites that taking more time to rest muscle groups between workouts is better for their overall growth, and while I’m not looking to get huge, the idea of adding size quicker is a tad appealing. On the 2-day split, I only had a three to four day rest before working the same muscles again. The 3-day split will allow them to rest/heal/grow for a full week. Plus, it will allow me include more exercises per muscle group per workout, which I like.

I have to admit, it feels bizarre, almost counter-intuitive that fewer workouts per week could yield bigger results but I have yet to read an article that contradicts this. So, there must be something to it, eh? ?

Of course, now that I’ve decided to change my workout, I’m going through the same indecisiveness I went through last time when trying to pick my exercises. Thankfully, it’s a bit easier since I can pretty much combine my favourite exercises from the past four weeks to give me a solid workout plan.

I was just going to go on to the next phase in the Bodybuilding.com workout schedule. However, I have no interest in doing specific exercises for my forearms nor do I care to spend the amount of time in the gym required to complete that workout. In fact, one of the things I’m hoping to accomplish with the switch to a 3-day split is a quicker, more efficient plan.

Another bonus to this is that it will allow for more cardio days throughout the run of a week. Or, perhaps more truthfully, it will allow for more opportunities to get at least one dedicated cardio workout in each week.

I’m very much looking forward to Monday. Day one: chest and triceps. ?

[steelie]

the Goodlife and the app for that…

So, I started this post over two months ago to say I’m tired of feeling sluggish so, I’m thinking of joining the gym, blah, blah, blah…

Goodlife Fitness

Well, I completely stalled on that post and soon after joined Goodlife Fitness. They opened a new place near my house, with “24-hour” access, it was only $17 per paycheque, and the first four weeks were free. This essentially eliminated the usual excuses I had for not joining. So, I did. :^)

A couple of months in to it, I finally feel like I’m finding my groove. It took me a while at first because I couldn’t, for the life of me, decide on a workout schedule that I liked. Yes, I had to have a workout planned in advance because I cannot stand wasting time in the gym trying to figure out what I want to do next. I looked into a few from the Men’s Health Fitness site but I either didn’t like how they split the exercises, or I wasn’t nearly in good enough shape to tackle the more interesting ones — that was a blow to the ego.

After an annoying amount of searching, my best friend “Big C” (who I’m sure was ready to slap me by this point) found a solid 2-day split workout for me on Bodybuilding.com. It’s essentially chest+back+shoulders+abs on the first day, biceps+triceps+legs on the second, then the third is typically taken off but I’m looking to make it a cardio day. Then a variation of the whole thing gets repeated for days 4-6 with the seventh day reserved as the rest day.

I’ve been doing that for the past couple of weeks and I’m finally starting to settle into it.

It also helps that I’ve finally settled on a workout app for iPhone too. ;^)

I tested a handful of less expensive ones hoping one would fit my workout to a “T”. Most of them were decent in terms of functionality with a few standing out: All-in Fitness ($1.99 CDN), Full Fitness ($2.99 CDN), and the Men’s Health Fitness app ($1.99 CND). I played with these three for a while but never really felt any of them “just worked”. They all had little quirks about them that required me to fiddle with them more than I’d have liked. AND, and this is a big “AND”, none of their exercise libraries had all the ones that were in my workout, which I assumed were fairly standard.

Well, like I said, I tested a fair amount if the less expensive ones but didn’t find that perfect fit. And so, I looked to the more expensive ones — one in particular, to be more precise.

Fitness Builder app logo

I had been eying PumpOne’s Fitness Builder app for a while but it’s $10 (CND) and that’s generally more than I’m willing to drop on an app without being able to test it first. Plus, it has a lower rating than cheaper ones listed above: three stars at the time of writing this. The others have four stars, four and a half stars, and four stars, respectively. So, needless to say, I kept looking elsewhere. However, after a while of not yet being able to settle on an app, I went searching for video samples of Fitness Builder’s interface and functionality. The first one had me sold and the others just reinforced that feeling.

PumpOne’s Fitness builder app has, what I would consider, all the great features of all of the solid workout/fitness apps out there: extensive exercise and workout libraries with images and video samples, progress tracking for weight and reps, rest timers for between sets, custom workout builders, etc. On top of those features, the first thing I fell in love with was that it INCLUDES ALL OF THE EXERCISES FROM MY WORKOUT! Pretty stellar first impression. ;^)

Regardless, even if it didn’t, Fitness Builder allows you to add custom exercises to the library with the ability to add support photos right n the app. Sweetness? I think so.

Another great feature is that it allows you to schedule your workouts and will even sync them to your iOS calendar so you can plan around them without having to check the app.


The rest timer is one of my favourite “little” things in this app. Most fitness apps have them but either the numbers are too small or you can’t do anything else in the app while you wait. With Fitness Builder’s timer, the numbers are small but it has a brightly coloured band that visually counts down your rest so you don’t have to pay attention to the numbers at all.

Additionally, you can log your previous set and browse through various other sections in the app to prepare for following exercises. :^D

I know this app probably has a gazillion other features I have yet to discover but for now, what I do know is that Fitness Builder does everything I like from the other apps, and does everything else I currently want it to.

All that praise aside, there is one thing that does bug me probably way more than it should: a good portion of the text and graphics are high enough resolution for iPhone 4’s Retina Display the rest is not. Seriously? How hard is it to up-sample all of your images at the same time? Sigh. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

Now, I guess all I have to do it take my “before” photo. OH WAIT! The app does THAT too. :^P

[steelie]

slowly getting back into running…

Over the past week and a bit, I’ve been really wanting to get back into exercising. I’ve been feeling really sluggish and rather down as a result of it… and not opposed to whining about it, either. Well, my wife can only take so much of my whining (go figure) and the played the “I don’t want to hear another word about it unless you plan on doing something about it” card. Crap. I was already feeling down about it and now I’m not allowed to complain about feeling down? Well played, Lovely. Well played.

Long story short (which is rare for me), I’ve decided to make this my infomercial year. Y’know, the one where I get to say “I’m in the best shape of my life.” My older brother and his wife have been running/walking/quite a bit over the past number of months and they’re like brand new people. My brother alone has lost about 30 lbs and has done a few running races. Since I am no longer allowed to complain, I’ve decided to be inspired and start running again too… in the Winter. Not one of my smarter ideas, but par for the course. Whatever, I’ll just blame my brother. He showed my some of the winter running gear he got for Christmas and it made me want to go out and start running that very evening, proper clothing or not.

It wasn’t that evening but a few days later I managed to get out for my first run in months, perhaps even a year. I wore long johns and my soccer track suit and managed to run 2.5-ish km (all downhill) before I turned around and walked/jogged back home. Holy, I was sucking wind. Overall, not bad but what came of that was I knew I needed better winter running gear. Sweating in the cotton LJs in freezing temperatures was a special kind of awesome.

I checked at Costco for the same running suit my brother has but 10 days after Christmas I was told “Sorry, we won’t be getting anymore in. We’re already bringing in our Spring clothing.”

No joke.

So next, I tried to get all my stuff at my favourite store, MEC. I bought a nice and bright, manly “Orange Spice” running top with some gift money…

…but they too were sold out of the pants until next winter.

What. The. Focaccia.

Yesterday, we decided to try a different Costco. We called in advance to make sure they had some. “Our system shows we have 35 pairs of the pants in stock but it doesn’t tell us what sizes they are.” Really?

Of course, we drive over only to find out that “35 in stock” doesn’t mean they actually have them. So, now I’m whining and complaining all over HRM ’cause I’ve turned into a giant baby.

My wife, wanting to stop the whining before it got too pathetic, convinced me to go look at SportsChek, not too far away. Well, they were more than I wanted to spend but at least they had some, and they’re kinda wickedsticks…

Nike Element Shield Tights.

 

I went for a run this morning in a mini-blizzard (-2°C) and got to use my gear for the first time, and I gotta say, all the parts that these two pieces of clothing covered were impressively cozy. My hands and forehead, however, froze.

Looks like I’ll need to grab some new gloves and a new hat next payday. In the meantime, I’ll just have to freeze because being able to run again is worth it.

 

[steelie]