Monday, March 3, 2014

#477: Snow Day

After dinner last night, I needed to burn off some calories, so I headed off into the sleet for 4.5 slow, slippy miles. It was not the most fun I've ever had on the streets, but the payoff came this morning when I stepped on the scale. I'm down 13 pounds from my still unpublished but trust-me-its-awful maximum weight at the start of my current reboot.

Several inches of snow followed the sleet overnight. Woke up to some serious weather and road conditions. The Y cancelled classes, but I wasn't sure how many of my LIVESTRONG at the YMCA participants could get the news, so I volunteered to drive in and help make the calls to everyone. The Honda was not happy about having to be out and about this morning, and expressed her displeasure with a door latch that froze OPEN after I managed to pry the thing open without busting any of the door seals. I sent out a call for advice, and my friend C suggested dousing it with WD-40... which worked, of course. I believe that anything that's worth fixing can be repaired with a can of WD, a roll of Duct Tape, and a 12-inch pair of judiciously applied Vice Grips.

At the gym, the boss and I sat down and called everyone. My favorite response: "Are you crazy! I wasn't going to tread a foot out in this!" Something tells me I have failed to instill an appropriate level of fear in my charges. Since I was already there, and the crowd was decidedly thin, I decided to hit the weight room for my "Never Skip a Monday" workout.

Conventional wisdom says that you do your hard cardio AFTER you lift weights. Otherwise, you are too tired to give the iron your all. I was able to validate that today. Started out with 30 hard minutes on the treadmill. Longest jaunt so far. Also my quickest. I was able to sustain 12:00 miles for nearly the whole workout. That's almost 3:00 slower than what I was doing a year ago, but you know... it was quite a year. So I felt pretty spent, but encouraged by my progress.

After a little walk around the hall and some water, I checked my print-out... Deadlifts. Naturally. And my legs were already feeling puny. Then of course, there was someone using the power rack. Now, you don't actually need the rack to do deadlifts, but that's where the free barbells live. I hate taking one from the bench press boys... especially on Monday which is the high holy day for Cult of the Pecs. So I stepped over to the New Thingy. 

I don't remember the New Thingy's real name. It isn't a Smith Machine. The video shows you one of those. I don't like the Smith. The New Thingy has lots of rods and slides and bearings that allow the weight to move forward and back, not just up and down. I don't trust the straight lines that the Smith machine forces you to track through. Especially on big lifts. I hate squats on the Smith, and I would never use one for Deads.

Since I was already tired, and using an unusual apparatus, I switched from full Deadlifts to straight legged Deads. Here's a pretty good demo of that variation.

This lift still hits the hams and glutes, but doesn't require the same full body effort of a Deadlift that pulls from the floor. To be honest, I didn't think I was up for too much iron anyway. After the Deads, I took advantage of the open space to do some walking lunges with dumbbells, then arm work, including a very unimpressive three sets of assisted pullups.


I really like this machine. One of my life goals is to someday execute 10 unassisted pullups. This is a tool I'm using to get myself to the first one. I have a loooong way to go. (note to other pullup aspirants... weight gain make this a much harder goal to achieve.)

After finishing up with some of what I think of as "vanity work"... curls and presses designed to make my pathetic upper arms look big and strong... I did my core exercises on the mat, then staggered back out for a 10 minute wring down on the Vario... another very cool and versatile machine. Here's a pimped out promo from the manufacturer... lusicious patio companionship not included with the family friendly YMCA model...

Its basically a sexier version of an AMT, and I like it for the range of motion and what feels like zero impact on the joints.

And as a special added bonus, guess what came on my iPod as I was finishing up?

Even with the Inferno, this snow day workout wore me out. Once I had stretched and cooled down, I came home, had some leftover spaghetti squash, and crashed. In the long run, I'm hoping that exercise will give me more energy, but for the time being, these long workouts take just about all I have.

Woke up feeling fidgety. I would go for a walk,but the streets are still hazardous, and even the best citizens are having a hard time keeping their sidewalks clear. And the truth is, I'm still feeling spent. So I'm writing instead. And you know what? You've really helped me to feel better. Thanks for listening.



  1. Good job Pennsy! Living in Northern Illinois during this hell of an awful winter, I too have learned to embrace the treadmill, and you're doing the best we can do right now. But you're doing a way better job at it than me, and I thank you for the inspiration.


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