Thursday, November 29, 2007

Eating well

I ate at three different locations today. Breakfast at my home camp. Lunch downtown. Dinner at the airport. Unfortunately there were 14 hours of work bracketing the three meals. No PT today.

It rained for the first time since I arrived here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No PT today

No PT today. We worked until 10PM last night and my supervisor said we didn't have to report until 9AM today so we had a bit of a sleep in. I woke up at 7AM but skipped PT and went to breakfast to eat pastry. Now I'm farting around on the computer for a few minutes until I have to go to work.

Back on track

This morning I worked out from 06:00 to 06:45. Did an upper body workout with three set of each of these:
J complex 5 kg, 6 of each exercise
bench vsit 20
bench press with olympic bar + 10 kg 12 reps
bench with dumbbell 10 kg 12 reps
military press 5 kg 12
tricep pressdown 12 kg X 12 reps
medicine ball kayak (abs) 20/side
crunches 20

Overall, it started out slowly but I feel pretty good about today's workout. Had lots of energy when I was finished. The workday has been long and tiring and I still have about four hours to do tonight. Hopefully it goes well and I can be back here by 10PM or so.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Short jog followed by a busy day

This morning I hit the treadmill again at a slower pace than last time. Max heart rate was 157 bpm which is closer to my target zone. Work done was 4 km in 28 min. Very slow. The goal is to get a faster pace with more distance and a lower heart rate.

The rest of the day was very busy. We moved a lot of boxes and pieces of equipment. It was a lot of work but it was great to be outside enjoying the sunshine. The temp here is still cold at night but is warm and sunny during the day. The air is very dusty and smoggy, though. I don't think this place will become a tourist destination any time soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cycle on

Patricia made an excellent suggestion to keep on cycling. By 16:00 hours today I was mostly over my cold so I went to the gym for 45 minutes on the spin bike. 20 km total. Feel great - lots of energy.

Walking uphill

Woke up feeling like crap today but got out of bed at 5:30 anyway. The local mosque was broadcasting prayers louder than usual but I didn't get any kind of religious feeling from it.

Today did 3 sets of:
lunges 15/leg
dead bugs 25
squat with med ball 20
crunches 20
Then didn't want to do anything else so got on the treadmill for 20 min. Put it at level 6 incline, speed 5.5 km/h and walked uphill for a bit. Heart rate max 130 bpm.

It was more than lack of motivation affecting me this AM. Even at breakfast I didn't have much of an appetite and had no motivation to drink coffee, which isn't like me at all. It wasn't a very good start to the day but I have made it to lunch time and am now feeling better. The cold symptoms are disappearing and my energy level is higher.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Low energy

Energy was low today from a combination of a late night and a touch of stomach flu. My friends had more than a touch yesterday so I think that I came out fairly lucky compared to their misery. When you are living in close quarters germs tend to travel quickly. We're all sharing the same meal facilities and washrooms so once one person starts feeling sick, it travels. Hopefully this bug has run its course now.

5:30 - 6:45 AM
Bench press with dumbbell
10 kg X 10 warmup
15 kg X 12
15 kg X 9 + 10 kg X 6
10 kg X 12

assisted chins Level 14 X 10 X 3 sets

Olympic bar + 10 kg 12 X 2 sets
bar + 5 kg 12 X 1 set

lat pulldown Level 4 12 X 3 sets
J complex 2 sets
bench dips 15 X 3 sets

That's all. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Cycle on a spin bike

Jumped on the spin bike today for a slow cycle. 11 km in 30 minutes. My hamstrings are hurting a bit but can't figure out why. Probably something left over from two days ago.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Upper body

This morning was an upper body workout from 5:45 to 6:30 AM. Basically the same exercises as last Tuesday but my performance changed slightly. I was a little bit sore when I started the routine but the soreness went away after the warmup. The routine went well but now that I have finished breakfast and relaxed a bit my arms are killing me. This is surprising since I was only using girly weights.

Bench press with dumbbell 5kg X 12 reps; 10 kg X 12; 15 kg X 12 X 2 sets; 10 kg X 12
jack knife on bench (abs) 15 X 3 sets
assisted chins 4 X Level 12 + 4 X level 14; 12 X L14; 10 X L14
olympic bar + 10 kg 12 reps X 3 sets (arms weren't shaking today so this exercise went better than on Tuesday)
lat pulldown Level 4 12 reps X 3 sets
J complex - same as Tuesday
bench dips with swiss ball 15 X 3 sets (the last few were really hard)
bicep curl w/dumbbell 5 kg 15 reps X 3 sets

All this followed by a good stretch and a hot breakfast. Think I'll take time at lunch to do some more stretching.

Treadmill jog

From 16:30 to 17:00 did a jog on the treadmill. 3 miles in 27:30 exactly. Finally dug my heart rate monitor out of the luggage and had a max reading of 167 bpm which is way too high. It will come down once I work on my cardio consistently. Recovery was rapid, though.

Hitting the mat

We worked late yesterday so I didn't get the ab workout in that I wanted. I made up for it this morning, though. Worked out from 06:00 to 06:45 using only a small corner of the gym. 3 sets of each

lunge 15/leg
front and side plank 3 sets: 1 minute, 45 seconds, 30 seconds
squat with medicine ball 20
dead bugs (abs) 20
straight leg deadlift (hamstring) 5 kg dumbbells 20
Vsit kayak with med ball 20
reverse plank with swiss ball 1 minute
crunch 25
supermans 15

I'm writing this entry at 15:00 in the afternoon and am feeling some stiffness in my arms from yesterday and my legs from today. This is a good sign since it means that I am hitting the muscle groups that I want to exercise.

Nutrition has been great the last couple of days. A good variety of meat and veggies with some dairy and breads. Could use more whole grains in the diet and will try to eat some tomorrow.

Energy: great
Injuries: none

Monday, November 19, 2007

Weak and flabby arms

05:30 was the start time for today's workout. It seems pretty early but there was only one other person in the gym so I think that this will be a good time to workout since there are no lineups for the equipment. The Brits started rolling into the gym around 06:30 which was about the time I was ready to leave.

Today I did upper body. I haven't been working this consistently so had to start with some low weights to get back into it. My shoulders and arms gave out before my chest and back were feeling anything so I'll need to keep working arms for a while before I can see progress in other areas. That's ok, though, because I have six months to go in the fitness challenge and I'm sure there will be some good results by the end.

Bench press with dumbbells:
1 set 10 kg X 12 reps (warm up)
3 sets 15 kg X 10 reps (would have preferred 12 kg for the third set but they don't have any dumbells that size)

Assisted chins (level 12=48kg, level 14=56kg) This seems like a lot but the machine wasn't properly maintained so I'm not sure if these weights are accurate.
8 X level 12 plus 4 X level 14
4 X L12 plus 8 X L14
10 X L14

Bench press with olympic bar (45 lbs)
bar + 10 kg 10 reps
bar + 5 kg 2 sets of 10 reps
arms were shaking at this point

lat pulldown, wide grip (level 4, not sure of weight)
12 reps X 3 sets

Javorek complex 2 sets with 6 of each exercise
had to use one 3 kg and one 4 kg dumbbell because they are deficient in small weights and I was not ready to move up to 5 kg. This morning I felt a burn with the 4kg, but felt nothing with the 3 kg weight

Dips on bench with feet on swiss ball
15 reps X 3 sets

That's all for this morning. I have a lot of work to do to get my upper body in shape and to overcome the muscle imbalances but I'll keep working at it. If the guys go for PT after work today I'll go do some ab work.

Candy house

The rec area is called Canada House but it should really be called Candy House because of all the junk food in it.

Canada House is loaded with pop, sweets and lots of junk food. Luckily there is some healthy food there too like yogurt, granola bars and crackers with peanut butter. You can tell that it is almost dinner time because all I can think about right now is food. Another half hour and I'll be shoveling supper into myself.

The guys went to the gym after work and I decided to go with them. Did a slow 30 minute jog - 5 km same as last time. Wasn't sure how it would go after doing lunges and squats this AM, but the legs don't hurt. Tomorrow I will give the lower body a rest and will do an upper body workout.

The guys are using a supplement that is loaded with creatine and caffeine. They claim that it helps them lift bigger weights and is speeding up their metabolism to help with weight loss. They don't seem to notice that they get slightly hyperactive when they take it.

Supplements don't interest me at all so I won't bother taking them. Sticking to plain old "4 food groups" nutrition and a daily multivitamin will be good enough. Staying away from treats will be hard. Not only is Canada House loaded with treats, but there are halloween candies, chips and bags of cookies all over the tech shop.

Hot and dry

Day 2 of the new workout routine started at 6AM. I was dehydrated and only managed to do a half hour routine. I drank lots of water yesterday but the heater in my room didn't seem to shut off during the night and I woke up feeling parched and cranky. Tonight I'll keep the window open a crack even though it goes down to 5 degrees at night.

3 sets of each
situps 30
squats 25
med ball ab twists 15/side
dead bugs (abs) 25
lunges 20/leg
side crunch on swiss ball 15

Had good intentions of eating healthy today but the cooks served pastry for breakfast so I had a danish after the eggs and such were finished. It tasted so good that I went back for a croissant. So hard to say no when it comes hot and fresh from the oven.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Altitude training

The altitude here is 1800 m and I have been feeling the effects for the last few days. The time zone change has been a challenge and I am going to bed early and getting up in the wee hours. It is also very dry and dusty here.

Today I decided it was time to stop sitting around on my butt and get to the gym. Started off with an easy workout on the treadmill 5 km in 30 min (avg speed 10 km/h). Didn't have any problems so I went to the weight room and did 3 sets of 20 Vsits and 2 sets of arms. After this short set I was sucking wind pretty hard so called it a day and hit the showers.

The gym has a good selection of cardio and weight equipment in it. The only challenge will be finding time to go when there are not a lot of other people in it using all the equipment. I'll see how things go and will get into a steady routine soon. There is no scale in the gym so I can't track my weight but I'll use the measuring tape to see if I gain or lose inches as this trip goes on.

The food here has been pretty good so far. It is not as good as at home, of course, and some foods are limited. Milk is only available in the UHT containers (long life) and I haven't seen any cheese yet, but yogurt is available. Fruit and vegetables are available but are not served at every meal. Fruit and salads are only served at lunch, but cooked veggies are served at both lunch and supper. Breakfast is the usual Brit meal so I have been choosing cereal, eggs and toast. I did try a bite of the fried bread just to say that I had done it but the taste didn't agree with me at all. Treats like peanut butter and granola bars are plentiful as well as lots of junk food.

In the interests of healthy eating I have been staying away from desserts. This has been a shock to the system but I am going to try to keep a schedule of six days healthy eating balanced with one cheat day. I'll keep you informed how this goes.

Have you had your flu shot this fall?

The med staff announced that flu shots are now available so I made a bee line for their office and got my shot. My friend wanted more info and here's the response.

The doc told him that the best time to get a flu shot is before you get the flu. The second best time to get it is after you get the flu. Wise words!

There are two types of vaccines:
  • The “flu shot”—an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm.
  • The nasal-spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu.

Each vaccine contains three influenza viruses-one A (H3N2) virus, one A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus. The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year.

About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Just say no to denying yourself sweets

Babe was wondering if her family had wandered off in search of better blogs to read. There were relatively few comments during the last week and almost no takers on the exercise challenge.

This all changed yesterday, however, when lava cake erupted on the scene. Interest is high and the comments are plentiful. Perhaps I should change the title to "Babe's Best Dessert Blog". There would be a lot more to write about and the pictures would be fun to post.

Anyway, I'll be off-line for the next week or so. Hope you all have a fun and exercise-ful week. If you are looking for interesting articles try visiting this website:


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Lava Cake

Today was a day for errands and running around town. Not running in a literal sense, I used my vehicle to get around. This evening I went for dinner with Running Man and had a nice salmon and rice meal followed by a delicious lava cake.

Yumm Lava Cake was a terrific invention. I love it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Yesterday I felt a heaviness in the major muscle groups that were exercised on Sunday. There was no pain, though, which is a great sign. Today I did the identical workout and hope to see good results from it.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fitness leftovers

Doin' better today. I re-did the workout from Thursday and it was even better on the second go around. Just like Thanksgiving leftovers - they taste better and there are no pans to wash up. Why have only one helping when you can have three? 3 Sets of exercises,that is. (You thought I was being a food glutton, didn't you.)

Here it is:
pushups - a bunch using the balance board
lunge press with medicine ball 12/leg
Vsit with med ball twist 20/side
squat with 18 lb barbell 20
Vsit 20
J complex (back) 8 lb dumbbells 6 of all 5 exercises
full situps 50
calf raise 20
horizontal woodchop 15 lb X 12/side
swiss ball with hamstring 15
tricep pulldown 20 lb X 20 (2 sets) and 15 lb X 20 (1 set)
bicep curl 15 lb dumbbell 12/arm

Overall, it went better than last time and I was able to increase reps on a couple of exercises. I changed the last couple of items to add calves and biceps, which had been neglected prior to now. I found the lunges and squats were not as challenging as when I started doing them a few weeks ago. This is an encouraging sign and I hope to see more progress in the next little while. Right now I am increasing reps instead of weight to get a good "body weight" workout. There is still lots of scope for improvement with body weight exercises before I get crazy with dumbbells and barbells.

Overall very good workout. I enjoyed it a lot and am curious to see which body parts give me twinges tomorrow.
Weight 158 lbs
Injuries none

Friday, November 2, 2007

Walk in the park

Today was walking day. The park called out to me and since it was sunny I took advantage of some outside time. The workout yesterday must have been more effective than I thought because I'm feeling pain in several different areas. Therefore, today is active recovery day - aka rest day.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Still trying new workout combos

The search for the ultimate workout continues. Today I tried a combination of body weight exercises and core exercises. Here's the rundown.
Pushups - a bunch using the balance board
lunges with medicine ball 12/leg
V-sit with medicine ball twist 20/side
Squat 18 lb X 15
V-sit 20
javorek complex 8 lb dumbbell X 6/exercise
full situps 30
bench press (smith) 50 lb X 12
leg raise on bench 12
hanging leg raise 12
forward roll swiss ball 12
Finished with plank forward 60 sec, each side 30 sec

Overall, shoulders and triceps are tired and sore. Will take tomorrow off in those areas. Abs and legs are not feeling challenged. Will try more reps tomorrow.