Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: Taking Stock

The Ideal Physique

Year's end is a natural time to assess the past year and plan for the coming one. Considering my goals, I didn't do too badly in 2009.

During the past year, my focus was mainly on basic fitness and staying trim. I concentrated on running, Heavyhands and eating less. The eating less part was the most difficult, but I eventually got used to smaller portions--and a smaller waistline.

As it stands today, I'm in pretty good physical condition. In comparison to the average person my age, I'm in excellent shape: flat stomach, ability to run 6 miles or more and a generally pleasing physique.

However, it is far from ideal. While I'm satisfied with my endurance, my physique could stand improvement. Even though I'm slim by "normal" standards, I'm carrying too much fat. My abs are developed, but hidden under a glazing of fat. And while I'm not puny, I'd still like a little extra muscle development.

So the program for 2010 is to lose fat, build some muscle and maintain or improve endurance. Who knows, I may end up looking like a Greek statue by this time next year.

New workout schedule : 2010

Would like to add a bit of muscle, so I'm including some strength training in the workout program for 2010.

MON  Heavyhands
TUE    Strength training 
WED  Aikido
THU  (am) Strength training (pm) Heavyhands
FRI   Aikido
SAT   (am) Strength training (pm) Heavyhands 
SUN  Rest

Friday, December 11, 2009

A change is as good as a rest...

Last month I started running a bit more. Okay, fine. But this month I got it into my head to start Aikido training again. That takes up 2 nights a week. The nights I used to run. So I'm running less. However, I'm getting in more Heavyhands. Go figure. Seems that I'm back doing the exercise I most enjoy: Heavyhands. I'm still running, but with Aikido, biking and HH, I only get one run a week at the most. That's enough for the time being.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Changing Focus

Now that my heel tendons are healthy again, I'm shifting my training focus more toward running. I'd like to run a half-marathon this summer, so running is taking center stage. Heavyhands is still very important, but I'll only be doing it on my days off from running. So, it's 3-4 days of running and 2 days of Heavyhands and 1-2 rest days. I find running improves my HH performance. And HH is a good break from running. Really works my upper body in a way traditional weight training can't even approach.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Going Low Carb. . .Again

I've known all about the benefits of low-carbing for many, many years. Read the major books. Even went on the diet more than a few times. Every time I did, I met with success. I felt better, my skin looked better and most important, fat melted away like morning dew.

So why did I go off? Well, I like a little pasta, pizza and alcohol from time to time (read: every day). While cheating once in awhile didn't do me any harm, it wasn't long before I'd fall off the wagon. I rationalized that since I was doing lots of exercise (running mainly) I could eat anything. Not so. Maybe others can, but I have a persistent layer of bodyfat that no amount of traditional dieting will get rid of. My face stays round and I look as slick as a seal. With traditional dieting the fat layer shrinks, but never goes away (see recent picture below). Except with low carb living. Fat burns off, my abs come out and I find I have cheek and jawbones.

Why am I going back to low carb? I'm tired of exercising like mad and not losing all the fat I want. It's especially galling when I remember that several years ago, I was exercising less and was losing fat like mad. That was due to low carb eating at the time.

So I'm back to Low Carb Living. This time for good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Achilles Heel Healed

Finally getting back into regular running. Ran 43 minutes the other day with no pain (with walk breaks). No stiffness or pain the following morning, either. So I think the worst is over. However, I'm remaining cautious and will continue non-Heavyhands running only once a week.

Although it's been a couple of months since I've run regularly, last week's run was absolutely normal. Like I'd never quit. Once again, Heavyhands has shown its value for injured runners.

At the end of November, I'll start running longer in preparation for a half-marathon I'm planning to do in the spring.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A little running

Had a half-hour pump n' run last night. Used 1 pound weights and took a minute walk break every five minutes, while still pumping the weights. The workout went well. My tendon was a bit sore at first, but the soreness disappeared after about fifteen minutes. And this morning, I only had my usual temporary tendon stiffness. I'll continue easy running, but only once a week for the time being.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

10+ Calories Per Minute!

Finally cracked the 10 calorie/min. burn barrier. What's the big deal? The big deal is that 10 cal/min was my calorie burn rate when I was running. But during my last workout I burned 10.56 cal/min--while walking.

This is a real turning point for me, and it also shows me I don't ever have to go back to running if I don't want to. The reason I started running in the first place was for fitness and weight loss. In fact, I didn't like running at all for the first 3 months. On the other hand, I took to Heavyhands immediately. A big problem with running was trying to squeeze in weight training. With Heavyhands, I no longer have a time crunch. I get weight training and superior aerobic training simultaneously in the same workout. Talk about bang for the buck!

In time, I grew to love running. It's my body that doesn't like it much. When I'm fully recovered from this Achilles tendon problem, I'll probably do some running once a week--pump n' run, Heavyhands style.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

On Not Running

Been just over 3 weeks since I've been sidelined with a sore Achilles tendon. I do miss running, but this is where Heavyhands shines. I've been getting terrific workouts at the same or greater intensity--without running, walking fast, or walking at all!

Walking is only slightly uncomfortable, so my first gambit is pump n' walk in place. Use 1 pound to warm up with, pumping to level 2 and eventually 3 (shoulder and head height). Then I'll do double ski poling, shadow boxing or figure 8's in cycles, gradually increasing the weight. I really don't follow any rigid sequence of exercises or weight. My heart rate monitor (or perceived exertion) lets me know if I'm working hard enough, so I juggle exercises, weight and pump frequency on the fly. After about 15 minutes of moderate effort (about 70-75% max HR), I spend the rest of the workout at 80-90% of max HR. I've even gotten up to 75% just using arms alone. Very tough. Wouldn't want to make a habit of it, unless I couldn't walk at all.

Don't know when I'll be able to run again, but in the meantime I'm getting all the intense exercise I want.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Workout - Sept. 26

Pump n' walk in place 1 lb., level 2

-pump n' walk in place/on the move 1 lb. - 2.5 kg. , level 2 - 3
-stair climbing 1.5 - 2.5 kg., level 2
-double ski poling standing and seated 1 lb. - 2.5 kg
-shadow boxing 1 lb. and 1.5 kg.

Time: 35 min.
Place: near the computer, listening to Internet radio
Averge HR: 131
Max HR: 151
Calories burned: 314

Fairly vigorous workout. Taking it a bit easy on my back. It's a little tender after a savage double ski poling session (2.5 kg.) the other day. Still, I had no problem pumping the weights high and fast.

The Journey Begins

Age: 54
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 146 lbs.
Waist: 34"
Resting heart rate: 46
Max heart rate: 170

Goal : 135 lbs., 30" waist

I've been exercising with various systems, including Heavyhands, off and on for years. Started running about 2 years ago and ran a 10K race last year. But since my Achilles tendon started acting up 3 weeks ago, I've been doing Heavyhands exclusively 4 - 6 times per week. Until the tendon is 100% pain-free, I won't be doing any more running. With just Heavyhands, I'm resting my legs and generating workloads pretty close to my running workload. I'll be keeping track of my Heavyhands workouts on this blog and will post photos of my progress.

I don't look much like Dr. Schwartz. . .yet.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What is Heavyhands?

Heavyhands is an original aerobic exercise system created by Dr. Leonard Schwartz (pictured at age 80). The principle is simple: pumping hand weights in a virtually unlimited variety of coordinated arm-leg movements such as walking, running, skiing, boxing, dancing, rowing, swimming, stair-climbing, calisthenics and much more.

Heavyhands enables the exerciser to generate enormous aerobic/muscular workloads using tiny hand weights (as little as 1 pound). This translates into simultaneous cardiovascular and muscular work. The results are far superior to the commonly used running/weight training exercise tandem. In addition, heart rates with combined 4-limb exercise are lower than equivalent work with just legs alone. What's more, Heavyhands exercises every major muscle group while burning considerable fat, with practically no risk of injury.

Dr. Schwartz used himself as a guinea pig to test and refine Heavyhands. The results were spectacular. During his initial 5-year experiment, he went from an out-of-shape 55 year-old to the equivalent of an elite athlete. Dr. Schwartz explains and fully documents the system in his two books: Heavyhands-the Ultimate Exercise System and Heavyhands Walking.