Garstor's World, My realm of 3D art, LEGO and atheism

Posts Tagged ‘Fitness’

Bicycling Around The World–The End (Of Posting About It…)

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Like my dearth of recent blog posts in general, I have not provided an update on my cycling since December.

One big problem is that the bike computer I was using fell apart a few months back. I was using Excel to track my weekly progress. The last entry I had made was on February 22, 2011 for 2871.5 kilometers (for those of you who refuse to learn metric; 1784.267 miles). My last Streets & Trips check was for 1440 miles, so I’m quite sure that I easily exceeded the crow’s flight distance from Dallas to Seattle.finalCyclingChart

Another reason to stop tracking the distance is that I could easily see that I was making very linear progress. There was very little variation in my week to week distance. So tracking this began to feel redundant.

The large plateau here was my month-long vacation to Australia. The smaller taper at the end was the trip to the Dominican Republic combined with some inclement winter weather that forced me to take a bus to work a few times.

Still, this was a mildly interesting experiment.

I recently had to replace the tires on my bike and I was stunned that I had worn the tread away to nothing! That really drove the point home for me of just how much I ride and how dependent on the bike I am.

threadbareOf course, I had to take a picture of the old tires!

I wonder if I’ll ride my new tires to this point of destruction too?

Two Years Of Working Out

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Somewhere between the middle and the end of January 2009, I walked into the local Gold’s Gym that was a few blocks from my apartment. The management had big plans for the place and I can barely remember what the old gym looked like back then.

I had a fitness assessment with a trainer named Patrick. I had no idea that this would be the start of something awesome.

The sales pressure (not from Patrick) to buy personal training sessions on top of the membership was a bit on the hard side. But I did it and bought some sessions – and have not looked back since. I keep renewing sessions with Patrick – who has since been promoted to Fitness Director – and my life has been completely changed by it.

It was tough at first. My diet was terrible (it still needs work). I used to get breakfasts at IHOP on my way to work 3 or 4 times a week. It took time to wean me off of that addiction; now I will go to IHOP 3 or 4 times a year. Perseverance has paid off and I do not doubt that I am in the best shape of my life now.

The time has come to take the next big step. Gold’s is starting their annual Transform Your Life contest and Patrick convinced me to sign-up for it. I am also trying to convince my friend Mark to join this too; the personal competition will be helpful to us both.

The last remaining challenge for me (like a lot of guys) is my belly. This means another big correction to my diet and Patrick will be guiding that very carefully for the duration of the contest. Hopefully, it will turn into a lifestyle change that I stick with for the remainder of my days.

Later today, I’ll be having some "before" photos taken for the contest. I’m anxious to see what the next 12 weeks holds for me and my body.

Bring it on!

Diving Into 2011

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

I intentionally delayed my first post of 2011 so that I would not get caught up in the hype of summarizing 2010 (though my hero Paul Randal did make an excellent summary of the books that he read during 2010) or making silly resolutions.

I have a few things planned for the first half of this year – yes, this are dangerously close to being called "resolutions." I think they are different though.

More Ray Tracing

I am really enjoying experimenting with this. It is fun to see what can arise visually from one’s "programming" efforts. I’ll be exploring POV-Ray’s color_map feature as it is something that I see used quite often but didn’t grasp. A shout-out must go to Friedrich Lohmueller again for helping to explain color_map in an approachable way.

I am going to be purchasing Daylon Graphic’s terrain editor Leveller program in the very near future. I am excited to see what I can create with this. One of the key reasons that I chose this program is that much of what it produces can be exported to POV-Ray.

Work With The SharePoint Team

I have proposed to my manager that I leave the DSD team for the last quarter of our fiscal year and incubate with the SharePoint CSS team. We help that team a great deal since SQL Server is the back-end storage support for it and few SharePoint engineers really understand the nuances of that.

My goal is to be the first point of contact for all things SQL Server related. After directly assisting with their cases; I will be producing training and exploring ways to improve our data collection and analysis tools. I am hoping that ultimately both CSS teams will benefit from this in the long run.

Improve The House

This coming May will mark two years of house ownership. It is time that I make my mark with this place and turn it into my home instead of just a place to store my stuff. This goal is still very fuzzy on details and I am open to ideas in the comments (Oh! That could be a mistake…).

Keep Working Out

back workout 12-22-2010It is around this time that my second anniversary of hiring Patrick as a personal trainer is due. I have made a lot of progress. I have no doubt that I am at the healthiest that I have been in at least 20 years.

This picture was taken by Patrick on December 21. He says that my back is getting into great shape and now has some clear definition. Of course, I cannot see my own back so I’ll try taking some pictures here at home (I’ll spare the global community the horror of that and keep them for my eyes only!).

My last body fat percentage was 17.3%. I’d like to get just below 15%. My diet is the toughest obstacle there, I have always known that. The fact is, I dislike a great deal many vegetables; I find that their flavours are unpalatable. I also dislike cooking; so I am often consuming quick and dirty options like frozen dinners (even brands like Healthy Choice probably do not stack up to doing it yourself).

There are new tools that are helping me. Gold’s Gym now has an online food journal that can total calories, fat and other dietary statistics. This is giving me quick visual feedback – especially when I slip and consume some fast food or make a poor snack choice. I also bought a Polaris watch to monitor my heart rate and compute calories burned.

Read More Books On Religion

Last night I finished Bart Ehrman’s excellent Misquoting Jesus. The subtitle, "The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why" drew me in right from the start. I have a certain conservative, Christian friend who immediately rolled his eyes upon hearing the title. It is sad that people dismiss things out-of-hand without first seeing what the subject is really about.

Textual criticism is a fascinating subject and it is a shame that our children do not learn about in school.

I need to finish Ehrman’s Lost Scriptures too.

He has a superior style of writing that takes a complex subject and makes it accessible to the lay-person.

Sam Harris (another hero of mine) recently blogged the Afterword that he wrote for his Letter To A Christian Nation. Both are excellent reads. I was very glad that my father read Letter twice while I was visiting him in Australia last year. I will definitely be reading Harris’ newest book The Moral Landscape very soon.

To be fair to my former Christian beliefs, last year I read Patrick Glynn’s God: The Evidence. This was, unfortunately, pitifully written. It was unconvincing on all levels. To me, it felt like just about every chapter stopped short. Almost as though Glynn believed that he had presented his "evidence" sufficiently for anybody to connect the "obvious" dots together. He failed. Badly.

I have many others in my ever-growing queue thanks to Amazon constantly recommending purchases.

Bring It On 2011!

In one month, I’ll be heading to the Dominican Republic for a week to attend a friend’s wedding. All the old crew from my Proctor & Gamble slumming days will be there and we’re all looking forward to ensuing mayhem we’ll cause. A vacation is a great way to start a year!

So now, we’ll see what the next 50 weeks bring!

Bicycling Around The World – Part 5

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

It has been a little over four months since I posted an updated map of how far I have cycled since April. The biggest reason is that I rebuilt my machine that had Streets & Trips 2010 installed on it. However, I remedied that yesterday and plotted my latest distance of about 1440 miles.

image001Wow! I am almost in Seattle, already in Panama and into Quebec from my house in Irving. When centered on my apartment in Etobicoke, I am nearly in Mexico and just outside of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

I am using Excel to keep track of this progress. It fascinates me how linear the chart is. So all this bike riding doesn’t vary much from week to week…it covers me going to and from work, the gym and grocery shopping.

I’ll probably take the bike into the shop for a complete overhaul in January. It could probably use the tune-up.

It Happened Faster Than I Imagined…

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

810 pound leg press 01

Back at the end of April, I wrote about leg pressing 590 pounds. At the time, it seemed like I had achieved something impossible. At the beginning of this month, I completely crushed my previous personal best of 650 pounds.

900 pounds! I managed two sets of 12 reps at that weight.

An astute observer will notice that this picture is only 810 pounds. That is true, this photo is from an earlier set. We added one more plate on either side after this was taken.

My sights are now firmly set on getting at least 1000 pounds pressed before the end of October.

Bicycling Around The World – Part 4

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

I am now at about four months of regular cycling – well three months technically since I spent nearly a month in Australia recently. Late last week, the distance radii that I was tracking in Streets & Trips 2010 intersected. Later this week, I expect to ride past the 1000 kilometres mark.

bikeDistance_All_Week_20From my old apartment in Etobicoke, I have ridden past Thunder Bay and up north past James Bay. To the south, I have passed Charlotte, North Carolina.

From my house in Irving, I am nearly all the way through the state of New Mexico and I have passed Omaha, Nebraska to the north.

I guess the next visual goals for this map is when each circle reaches the other’s center point.

Treadmill Tunes

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

For the past two years, I have been working out with an awesome personal trainer – I’d give you a link but Patrick won’t take my advice and create a personal website. The results have been worth every penny.

Although I often have my Zune playing when I am on the treadmill or elliptical machine, it is only recently that I put together a playlist of songs that I really want to listen to during a cardiovascular workout. I want music with a good beat and that can be turned-up loud enough to drown out the gym’s radio.

Here is a sampling of the 232 songs that make up my Treadmill Tunes:

Faith No More – We Care A Lot

REM – What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?

Shock Of Pleasure – Xenophobia

Sarah McLachlan – Vox

AC/DC – Thunderstruck

Teenage Head – Tornado

Blur – Song 2

Diesel – Sausalito Summer Nights

Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet With Butterfly Wings

Trooper – Raise A Little Hell

Garbage – Only Happy When It Rains

The Tragically Hip – My Music At Work

The Butthole Surfers – Pepper

Eels – Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues

Rob Zombie – More Human Than Human

Rollins Band – Illumination

Lily Allen – Fuck You

The Grateful Dead – The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)

Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning

Faith No More – A Small Victory

Transvision Vamp – Evolution Evie

Phish – Bouncing Around The Room

Bicycling Around The World – Part 3

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Yesterday marked two months of using my bicycle computer to track the total distance that I bike ride.

th_bikeDistance_All_Week_8 In eight weeks I have covered just over 585 kilometres (363.5 miles for my American friends). This means that from my house in Irving, Texas I have now:

  • crossed into the state of Mississippi to the east
  • passed Wichita, Kansas to the north
  • am just inside the New Mexico border to the west
  • am in Mexico to the south-west

I figure that in a month or so my two radii will intersect. Well, not quite, because I am taking a month-long vacation to Australia next week (keep reading this blog for updates).

From my old apartment in Etobicoke, Ontario; I have travelled past Montreal, Quebec, Washington D.C. and Timmins, Ontario. I am approaching Cincinnati, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.

Bicycling Around The World – Part 2

Monday, May 17th, 2010

At the five week mark I had put 331 kilometers on the odometer. I was well past Oklahoma City to the north, Austin to the south and Shreveport to the east. On the Toronto map, I was just at Sudbury to the north, just past Detroit to the southwest and closing in on Ottawa to the northeast.

As of this post, the odometer sits at 416 kilometers. I’ll update the Streets & Trips maps when I start my work week on Wednesday. You can see the current maps on my Flickr site here and here.

590 Pound Leg Press

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I never would have thought earlier in my life that I would be capable of leg pressing 590 pounds. Thanks to the amazing work of an amazing trainer; I acheived this back in February 2010.

The sights are now set on managing to do this with 720 pounds – that would be eight plates on either side.