Archive for the ‘ Exercise ’ Category

Mixing it Up: Indoor Rock Climbing

So, this past week, I have been pushing my boundaries, re-assessing where I am, and want to be, and overall, taking stock. As such, I found myself looking for new hobbies and activities to try. Somehow, climbing popped into my brain.

Now, I enjoyed my school’s climbing wall back in high school, and have done some low level bouldering and rock climbing in the wilderness. Nothing to brag about, but enough to know how to put a harness on the right way. It’s a fun, and strenuous activity, kind of similar to my karate class in my mind as a form of cross training. Enter the internet, and poof: Vertical Dreams.

Vertical Dreams is an indoor rock climbing gym in downtown Manchester, NH. Looking at their site, the place looked interesting, the hours are great during the week (4 to 10 weeknights, longer hours on weekends), and the rates were reasonable with a nice little beginners lesson with equipment included for $35.

What’s a guy to do with this information? Well, I grabbed my buddy Kyle, and we went for a lesson on a Friday night. It was fantastic. Vertical Dreams is set up on the 5th floor of a Mill Building downtown, and is immediately welcoming when you walk through the doors. Couches, good music, and just a friendly vibe are what greet you. The owner, Lee is a nice guy who is more than willing to help you out, and get you going.

Well, Kyle and I got through our lesson, and spent the next hour and a half climbing the walls, and belaying each other, getting a decent workout all around. I was able to get myself re-acquainted with something I had forgot that I enjoyed, and push myself with my newer in shape physique. All those pull-ups really do pay off when it comes to something like this, but even I was shaking a bit by the end.

I can’t wait to go back, but I really need to find someone to go with. You really kind of need someone to belay you, otherwise you’re stuck on the bouldering walls. This is fine, but they are a lot more challenging. Still, this place may act as my new cross training site with it’s great hours, great environment, and not to mention great rates with a year membership only running $430. We’ll have to see what comes about from this, but anyone in the area should head on over and say hi to Lee, and have a great time climbing at Vertical Dreams in Manchester, NH


No Pain, No Gain: Returning to a Routine

So, let’s review. Vacations are awesome. They are a great time to relax, escape from the pressure, and monotony of work, and have a little fun trying new things. My recent trip to Scotland was all that and more. Two weeks away, to clear my head and relax…

Well, sorta… I remembered one thing while I went on vacation. A diet is not something that ever ends. An exercise regimen is not something that can be picked up, and dropped like an old hat. If I completely turned off for two weeks, I didn’t want to think about what it would be like to get back on that horse again.

So what did I do? I did what most people would call crazy. I just call it enforced sanity. While overseas, I did let myself try the local flavors, and have fun with what I ate. At the same time, I challenged myself to exercise self control. I have a problem with overeating when I let myself go, even a little. I’m working on that, but that’s another post.

Still, the thing most people would call crazy is that I packed my running shoes, and clothes in my suitcase, and got up every morning (give or take), and ran. Now, I didn’t do my full routine that I have back here state-side of running4+ miles in a certain time yada, yada, yada. Instead, I got up about an hour before my travel companions, and just went out and jogged (not ran). It was relaxing, and I saw tons of cool countryside, unaffected by the business of people. In the early morning, I was able to enjoy my own little Scottish paradise. I didn’t have to share with anyone (except the sheep and cows).

So what was the end result of all this? I managed to walk away from vacation without some horrible weight gain (I actually stayed about the same), and a bunch of new memories of some of the most serene jogging I’ve ever done.

Now reading this, and looking back at the title of this post, you may be a little confused. Well, for all of my effort, and success at continuing to be a health nut, returning to my full on routine the next Monday was still agonizing. My body revolted, it was sore, and it took everything I had to push myself through to get back on track. It sucked. There’s no other way to put it, it was just painful, and no fun. Still, after a week, I’m feeling back to my old self. I just don’t want to imagine what it might of been like had I not jogged like I did in Scotland.

Rant over folks. I think the message I was trying to get across here is that you can be really pro-active on vacation by not letting your entire diet/workout lifestyle land in the hotel waste-bin, but don’t expect everything to be sugar coated and gum drops when you pick up where you left off back home. Here’s to the hard road.

Mixing it Up: Shaolin Kempo

Don’t worry folks, I haven’t gotten tired of running yet! Actually, I’m still on my running regimen, putting in about 4.2 miles in 32 minutes 6 days a week. (That number will be a little less precise with the nice weather coming in, and me being outside) Still, it helps to grow your workout so that you can constantly be learning something new, and keep yourself interested.

With that in mind, I decided to try something that I have always wanted to do since I was a little kid: study martial arts. I figure that I can now afford it, get there, and make the time to enjoy it. (Being an adult is great *corny thumbs up*)

After finding what looked like the right place for me location-wise, I started classes at Tim Barchard’s Professional Martial Arts Academy. I’m now on my fourth week there, and still can’t get enough. What I’m learning is still considered “basic”, but it is one heck of a workout. It’s never the same twice, and I always leave in a sweaty, smiling daze.

The point here is that I understand that running is not for everyone. It works for me, but even I like to mix it up once in a  while with something new. Exercise in any form is the best thing for you, and you simply need to find the kind that appeals to you. Give the Professional Martial Arts Academy a try if you’re in the Derry/Manchester area, or find another martial arts school near you. You won’t regret it. (Well, you might when you see how sore you are the next morning, but keep at it!)

And I Ran (Insert Rest of Song Here)

So, as part of my diet, I also partake in that oh so shameful pastime of exercise. I know that no one wants to hear it, but eating healthy isn’t the only part of losing weight; exercise is a major player as well.

For exercise, I’m always willing to try something new, but my standbys are jogging, and swimming. Any person trying to lose weight probably groaned at the thought of that. Add that I do these things at five in the morning, and I know that some people are already moving on in search of an easier solution. Trust me, exercise is your fastest, and easiest way to lose weight. The hardest part isn’t the exercise; it’s getting into the routine of exercise. The first week of five AM’s was pretty tough, but if you really want to succeed you can. Also keep in mind that you can pick any form of exercise you like, these are just my two choices based on convenience and personal preference.

To the point. Running every other day is great, but sometimes you need to shift your routine, and try something new to keep it interesting. This past weekend, I went home to get my car worked on, and grab some BBQ with my Dad. All that was great, but how did I chose to spend my Saturday morning. As crazy as it sounds, I joined my best friend’s Mom, and her coworker for a jog. I usually run on Saturdays, but not like this. I signed myself in for a 10 mile jog around North Conway, NH. Please note that the farthest I’ve ever ran is four and a half miles. This was something new for me, and simply due to that, I was excited. Don’t worry, my parents think I’m sick and twisted as well.

Well, I have to say that it was very fun. The pace was much easier than my usual runs to compensate for the compounded distance, and throwing in some intense hills worked different parts of my legs that a treadmill just never touches. The end result was that I accidentally ran about 10.5 miles, and felt great afterwords. I was in better shape than I thought, and was able to go out and wing it without any repercussions. Note that I have been on a running regime for months, so don’t just go out and try to run 10.5 miles at the drop of a hat unless you are actually at a point where you can.

The point of all this is that exercise is a key to dieting, and losing weight, but beyond that, keeping exercise fun is the best way to live a healthy lifestyle. Go out, and have fun being active. I’m actually starting to play dodge ball once a week. It’s fun, interesting, and great for you. Get out there and do what you like!