I hate missing a workout. As a result, every time I travel I always check to make sure the hotel I’m staying at has a gym. My personal “best hotel gym award” goes to The Signature at MGM in Las Vegas. Not only is their gym immaculately clean, but it has free weights, a good selection of cardio machines, a pull-up bar, barbell, the works. The last two years I’ve gone to CES I’ve stayed there and always worked out. Other times, I’ve just done push-ups, crunches, and squats while inside my hotel room.
This weekend, however, I was at Blackberry Farm in TN. Aside from a yoga area, I didn’t see a full-on gym, so I skipped one workout last week. Not so bad, but I do hate when that happens. Today I jumped back on the treadmill and I felt pretty refreshed. And it also made me realize — it’s ok to skip a workout once in a blue moon. It’s good for your body, it helps it recuperate.
And speaking of recuperating, while I was at Blackberry Farm I signed up for a Swedish massage. I’m not a massage person, but I must say it felt great! The masseuse told me I need to stretch after my workouts. This will prevent any tightness and help my muscles grow even bigger. The more you stretch, the fuller they fill in. So I’m gonna try to incorporate some stretches into my workouts this week. We’ll see how it goes.
As for Blackberry Farm, it was great if you ever get the opportunity to go!
A new study by the The Harvard Medical School shows that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat can increase your body’s level of good cholesterol. The study shows that for every 5% increase in polyunsaturated fat consumption there was a 10% fall in heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, foods high in polyunsaturated fats include soybean oil, corn oil, and safflower oil, as well as fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and trout. Other sources include nuts and seeds like walnuts and sunflower seeds. Monosaturated fats are equally good for you. Foods high in monosaturated fats include olive oil, peanut butter, and avocado.
“Good fat” cuts heart risk by a fifth, study shows via BBC
This was my second workout of the day. I walked from New York’s Union Square Area to Hell’s Kitchen in 25 minutes flat. Not bad, especially since I had already completed a 3.5 mile run during lunch.
I don’t normally think of “walks” as workouts, but in reality, they kind of are. I was walking at a pretty brisk pace and right now I actually feel a bit sore. Tonight’s walk made me want to do more walking workouts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not gonna quit running, but on a crisp. cool day, I think it’d make for a nice change of pace.
Running a marathon is a painful experience. It’s rewarding, but also painful. I remember the first time I ran 18 miles. I thought I was gonna pass out. I did 3 laps around Central Park’s outer loop (which is about 6.1 miles in length.) By the time I was 1/2 way through the third loop, I wanted to stop and lay down on the floor. My feet hurt, my legs burned, and my entire body was down for the count. Yet I ran it and finished it. I embraced the pain.
I sincerely believe that training/working out is 70% mental and 30% physical. A lot of times you stop doing an exercise because it’s uncomfortable, and not because the weight is too heavy or your muscle has reached its failing point. So if you train your mind to embrace the pain, you’ll find you can do much more.
I’m not saying this is an easy thing, but it is something that I have learned to do. Sorta. The trick is to focus. Focus on the “pain.” Then try to convince yourself that it feels good. Convince yourself that it’s like a “runner’s high.”
I did that today while I was doing shoulder presses and it worked. I wish I could say this works all the time, but you really have to be in the zone for it to work. In other words, you have to focus like nothing else exists. Trust me, if you do it once, you’ll want to keep doing it over and over.
Well, folks, it’s official. Today I applied for the 2010 NYC Marathon lottery. Entrants will be randomly selected on April 7th. I’m both nervous and excited. Excited because the Marathon is one of the biggest rushes I have ever experienced and nervous because, well, it’s 26.2 miles! That said, I want to share a quick story about the Marathon.
Obviously, I have many awesome memories of the Marathon, but the one that stands out the most involves a billboard I saw just before entering the 59th street bridge (which is the half-mark point of the marathon). My legs were starting to burn, I was moderately tired, and I knew the bridge was at an incline and would be tough. But just above the entrance, Nike (it was either Nike or Reebok) had a massive billboard all in black with giant red letters. It read: “26.2 Miles Can’t Stop Me.” I can’t begin to explain how I felt after reading the billboard. It was a rush of adrenaline, a rush of confidence. It was at that moment that the marathon went from a physical race to a mental race for me. I get goosebumps just recalling that moment.
So that will be my mantra for 2010. 26.2 miles can’t stop me.
I admit, when it comes to workouts I tend to ignore my legs. I rationalize it by saying my cardio workouts count as leg workouts (I run and I hit the stairmaster 2x to 3x a week). While they do count as leg workouts, they’re not really dedicated leg workouts. So today I’m getting back in the game. One step at a time.
During my shoulder/biceps workout, I did leg lunges in between each set. 8 repititions for each leg, 4 sets total. I’ve done this routine before and my legs are usually crazy sore for days after. Maybe next week I’ll do them with weights.
I’m pretty sure I’m gonna apply for the NYC Marathon, so I better get those legs strong and sturdy.
Here’s a small secret. I’d love to teach a spinning class one day. Not for nothing, but my class would be amazing. I’d play awesome workout music, I’d spin alongside my class, and I’d make every effort to really get myself and everyone in the room into it. I mean seriously into it. I’d encourage people to grunt, yell, grind their teeth. For those 45 minutes, I’d make them forget who they are. I’d push everyone as close to the edge as I can. And just when they’re about to give in to exhaustion, I’d blast the music louder, speed up the tempo, and start sprinting right beside them. I’d create a frenzy of energy and have everyone in the room feed off of it. I’d flick the lights on and off rapidly. I’d yell at people to spin faster. Anything. My goal would be to work people up into a stupor so they exceed their physical threshold for pain.
For me personally, cardio is 80% mental. There are times I run and I’m so “in the zone” that I don’t feel tired. Anything can get me in the zone. Maybe a song. Maybe I had a good day. Maybe I had a bad day. The point is, every cardio workout should take your body to its breaking point. Make your heart work super hard. Otherwise, you’re just doing a routine.
Today I ran for 30 minutes and got my heat rate up to 179. Not my personal best, but it sure felt great. I’d love to one day help someone else reach that level of energy where the mind takes over the physical and you feel invincible. It’s the biggest rush ever.