Tag Archives: exercise

Christmas Stocking Stuffer

If you or yours are runners, walkers, bikers, any kind of exerciser or wannabe exerciser and are looking for a great Christmas present, stocking stuffer or just a fun read, my book Ipeaked, A Reluctant Runner’s World is for you.  This is about my 30+ years and over 30,000 miles of Ipeaked book coverrunning.  It’s not your typical runner’s book since my passion is more about quality of life than running.  I am truly a reluctant runner who embraces and enjoys the benefits of the world of running rather than the act.  I am very competitive, but have a training regimen which keeps me fit without making exercise torture.

Meet my guardian angels, race and train with me, share my life with family and friends, and learn a few things about running (run walk method, paying forward, training schedule, how NOT to run a marathon and more), cross training (biking and swimming), first triathlon, beginning road biking, and runner gift suggestions.  I have mastered the balance of being competitive while adhering to a “don’t hurt yourself” training mantra.  It seems to have worked since I’m still at college weight, my butt hasn’t fallen off yet, and most of my family and friends are still talking to me.

Some reader reviews:

This book is well written with much humor. You can actually relate to the actions of the author and although I am not a runner after reading this book it makes me want to be one. I REALLY ENJOYED IT

This is a must read for all wanna-be road warriors and experienced runners!! I found this to be both entertaining and informative!

This was first published in Fall, 2012 but the read is timeless with a blend of motivation, advice, how-to’s, inspiration, and mostly fun with my cartoons illustrating the stories.  It’s a quick read and the paperback (kindle downloads available) can be purchased at Amazon (click here).  $10 for a unique, cool stocking-stuffer ain’t bad and with 999,500 more books sold I can hit 1,000,000!Santa leaving book in stocking

Fitbit Addicted

A couple years ago my daughter gave me a Fitbit One as a Christmas present. It was one offitbit one those “what the hell do I buy a person who pretty much has everything and if he wants something he buys it” gifts that was fairly new on the market and there was a good chance that her dad had not purchased.  She was right. As a very active person with a competitive attitude I had always kept track of my running and biking (pace, time and distance) and purchased the latest tech watches and GPS to log my miles but the Fitbit had not been on my radar. At first glance the Fitbit One is a glorified pedometer which tracks your steps taken, stairs climbed, calories burned and distance traveled and an OLED display tells you the progress of your daily stats with a digital flower growing or shrinking based on your recent activity. It can be linked to the Fitbit site and you can synch all your activity to a very user friendly dashboard logging your active world, diet, and sleep.

As per the Fitbit site their whole line of exercise trackers are “more precise than other pedometers” with a “3-axis accelerometer”.  That’s impressive I think but to me the beyond cool thing about Fitbits are the cheesy motivational messages: Hey Thomas, Howdy, I like u, Go, Hello, Climb it, Woot! Its on! Faster, I’m ready, Stepitup, Hey hey! Move it, Cheers, Ucandoit, Lets go, Hug me, Ready? You rock, Burn it, HIGHFIVE, LOVE YA, WHATS UP, and WTF (not really but would make a cool comment), simplicity, and magic that stimulates your competitive spirit and craving to constantly want to take more steps and climb more stairs—fitbit addicted.

My love for the Fitbit and my quest for more steps came to an abrupt end when I looked down one day and it was GONE–lost somewhere in my travels. I quickly retraced my steps (pissed that they weren’t being recorded) but no sign of my little buddy. I contacted the Fitbit people to keep an eye out for my Fitbit being used by someone stealing my steps and their great customer service department helped me get a replacement—they rock. I quickly registered my new buddy and Woot!  I was logging steps again always trying to do more pushed by my own personal Hal (intelligent space ship computer in the 1968 epic science fiction film, 2001: A Space Odyssey). Thousands of steps and months passed when one day a former co-worker found my long lost friend and mailed it to me so Fitbit one became two. I did the logical thing and gave one to my wife—mistake?Fitbit cartoon

As I mentioned earlier, the Fitbit fuels your competitive drive like lighter fluid on the barbecue. That’s fine for a sedentary person but when you give a Fitbit to an already overly competitive athlete the message should be, “hang on we’re throwing gasoline on the barbecue”.  My wife is a very competitive athlete who starts with a run in the morning and throws in some biking, tennis or kayaking later in the day. She has always used GPS watches to log her activity but never counted our casual walks in her activity logs. She clipped on the Fitbit and was off on her maiden trek—message should have been, “step aside coming through“. At the end of the day she wanted to compare steps to obviously claim victory, but I had logged more steps. How could that happen when she had run 5 miles in the morning as compared to my pathetic 3 mile walk and we had tallied the same thousands of steps during our tennis match?  I lucked out because she forgot to clip on her One during her run shorting her about 10,000 steps so I made up a rule: unless Fitbit records the steps they are not part of our step war. Sorry I said anything because it guaranteed my beyond competitive wife would never forget her Fitbit since it would be anatomically attached from this point on and my hopes of ever outstepping her again would only be if I became a professional Polka dancer or we mysteriously lose her ONE—how would that happen? She has joined my SIL (another long-time Fitbit princess) in easily outdistancing any other mere mortal.

The point of this post is to highly recommend this little exercise whip. It becomes your exercise coach and motivator where the most remote parking spots become the most desirable as long as you log more steps. Considering cost/benefit this is one of my favorite gadgets that anyone who needs a little kick in the ass should purchase and become an addicted Fitbit prince or princess.  Follow this link to purchase your own Fitbit and take a few more steps to balance out that double cheeseburger and beer.
Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Black

Addendum: Today (10-22-15)

On a long run every runner knows that strategically placed porta-johns are sometimes a godsend and we plan our routes accordingly. This morning my wife needed a porta-john pit stop and in the process dropped her beloved Fitbit. Since neither of us are willing to do the dive I guess I will pull away in our step war at least until we can visit Amazon and with 2 day prime our battle will be rejoined. Going on Fitbit Three.

Easy Exercise

I’ve been one of those pain in the butt exercisers who comes to work Monday morning and when someone asks how my weekend was my reply: “great 40 mile bike ride, amazing 10 mile run, early morning swim and tight tennis match”.  This was not intended to be a brag because exercise is my wife and my entertainment actually enjoying the strenuous activities—the more miles the better.  We are fit and able to enjoy food and beer without expanding our waist lines.  But I can see where most of my co-workers and friends think our exercise is way too much work and think that if that’s what it takes to stay fit they’d rather put a stick in their eye and loosen their belt.

If you count yourself among the people who have given up on exercise because it seems like way too much work I’ve got good news for you in that it really doesn’t take that much effort and can actually be fun.  I’ll start with a disclaimer in that the only credentials I have is my experience and my “don’t hurt yourself” exercise program assumes that you are healthy and are at fighting weight and just looking for a reasonable way to stay in decent shape somewhere between Hercules and the Michelin Man.

Most hyper-exercisers including myself have forced periods of inactivity due to injuries from long periods of intense activity, often questionable technique, and the curse of an aging body.  The pain of injuries is often magnified by the symptoms of exercise withdrawal manifested by intense crabbiness and a paranoia of ballooning.  Most of these activity injuries are short term but as you get older the periods between injuries seems to shorten. I never got to the point of getting out of shape but the injury merry-go-round had taken some of the joy out of my runs.

I was recently recovering from a nagging back injury which seemed to never really heal and decided that I had to do something to keep me in shape without creating aches and pain.  One evening I pulled my iPod armband on, located satellites on my Garmin and started on a brisk 3 mile walk rocking to my 1960’s-70’s biased song shuffle. Now I’m not talking about a dawdling step above not moving walk but a 14-15 minute/mile borderline run trek.  I loved it and the combination of music, no back pain, and Lewis Black rants put a big smile on my face. I started a routine of after work fast walks, 4 days of 3 miles and a weekend 4 miler. In the past my main objection to walking had been the extra time it took to walk 3 miles rather than run but with the up-paced walking the difference in the time it takes is minimized.  In addition to the walking I do 15 minute morning weight-lifting, pelvic tilt partial sit-ups, planks, and balancing on one leg exercises three times a week (details below).  This has been my routine for the last couple months and it is actually enjoyable, doesn’t take a big slice out of my life, easy on my aging body, and most importantly has kept me fit without gaining any weight. I still eat my balanced food and drink diet of healthy and unhealthy without any apparent negative effects.

I think if you follow this “don’t hurt yourself” program you won’t be showing off your six pack stomach but will stay in decent shape with few injuries and a lot of enjoyment and self-esteem.  Just remember that staying in shape is about lifestyle and is actually about being a little selfish.  The lifestyle thing is just a little attitude adjustment in being active in everything not just walking, sit-ups, weights, and planks. Take the stairs, pick up the pace of your casual walks, swim some laps, go for a bike ride, and park way out in the mall parking lot.  The selfish thing is about staying fit to play with your grandkids. Revisit the joy of hide and seek, pitch and catch, walking on the beach, and avoid the theme park or zoo shuttle.  Obviously everyone is different so you may have to modify to keep in shape.  Keeping fit is not an elite thing but open to all—go for it!

My weight program:

1. Curlweight lifting curl

  1. 2 to 15 lb weights depending on your size and fitness
  2. Hold weights in each hand with arms at your side about 90 degrees to your body
  3. Curl up to chest
  4. Repeat 20 times
    (you may have to start with fewer)

 2. Liftweights-overhead lift

  1. 2 to 15 lb weights depending on your size and fitness
  2. Hold weights in each hand with arms against chest–wrists in, fingers over top of weights
  3. Lift straight up fully extending
  4. Repeat 20 times
    (you may have to start with fewer)

3. Side to frontweights-side to front

  1. 2 to 15 lb weights depending on your size and fitness
  2. Hold weights in each hand with arms fully extended close to 90 degrees to your sides
  3. Keep arms straight and bring weights 90 degrees to your front
  4. Repeat 20 times
    (you may have to start with fewer)

4. Modified sit-upsit-up

  1. Lay flat and pelvic tilt (tighten butt to flatten back)
  2. With hands behind head and knees lift up 6” off floor–hold for 5 seconds
  3. Repeat 20 times
    (you may have to start with fewer)

5. PlankExercise plank

  1. Arms bent supporting your body with straight back and legs up on toes
  2. Hold for 60 seconds.
    (Hold for less time if your shaking like a baby)

6. Side plankside plank

  1. Support your body on side with one bent arm body and legs straight one on top of the other
  2. Hold for 30 seconds.
    (Hold for less time if your shaking like a baby)
  3. Repeat on each side

7. Leg balanceOne legged balance

  1. Balance on one leg with other leg extended back and arms out to your sides
  2. Hold for 10 seconds
  3. Repeat on each leg 5 times

This improves your leg strength and balance. It also provided entertainment to my wife watching me continuously fall over before I mastered the exercise.