Long time no see…

So, I am back..

Many will not even have noticed that I have been away from blogging, but life has been busy and with the relatively few readers I have, the blog has been low on the list of priorities, unfortunately.

However, that does not mean that I have also been lazy with regards to my diet and training. I have to admit that I have not stuck with the six times per week that I started out week (that was just too ambitious), but I am training regularly and the result is that I have lost a little more than 11 kilos since I started my regimen in the beginning of May. I can really see and feel a huge difference, so I am very happy with what I’ve done so far.

Right now I am weighing in at about 83 kg and ideally, I’d like to get down below 80 at least. The weight in itself is not so significant, but there is still some fat here and there that it would be nice to get rid of. Once that is done, I will keep on training, but at that time I think the main focus will be on getting stronger and hopefully put some muscles on the matchsticks that I have for limbs 😉

My son, Kasper, just went back home after visiting for about five weeks. It was great to have home around, and though I had to work during the whole period he was here, I think he had a good time. I know that I certainly did. And only two weeks ago, my wife Alena came back after a long visit to her hometown, Minsk, so for a week I had all my family in one place :)

I also had a quite busy time at work over the summer, with some of my colleagues being away enjoying a well deserved rest. Luckily, my turn is coming up very shortly, so on August 31st, Alena and I take off for sunny Mallorca. We have rented an apartment in the center of Palma and will be staying for 14 days. We will get both a city break and to spend some time at the beach, so in my opinion, we will get the best of both worlds. I must say I am really looking forward to this trip, and I am counting the days until we are on our way.

That’s it, really. I will try to update the blog a bit more often, but time will tell. Hopefully, there will be a lot of interesting things happening in my life, in which case the blog will get plenty of attention.

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Back on the horse

After a couple of days of rest, it was time to get off my backside and get some training done again.  Thinking back to how tired I was on Sunday, I was very concerned about how I would do, even to the point where I was considering not going. However, I suspect that was just my latent laziness trying to get the better of me.

So… off I went to the pool, and except for the fact that there it was way too crowded, everything went fine. I aimed for doing 1,500 meters, and if not for the local swimming club insisting I get out when I had 50 meters remaining, I would have reached that goal quite comfortably. I was swimming in my normal tempo, and it felt like I could have continued for quite a while longer. The main thing though, was that I had a positive experience my first time back, and I feel ready to continue my quest.

I don’t think I will go back to six times per week, at least not at once. Maybe I will do five times, but since I want to do a 50/50 split between the pool or the gym, I am thinking to do an eight day rotation where I fit in three swims and three gym sessions. That would give me one day off every fourth day, something that should help a lot compared to one day off per week. I haven’t made a final decision yet. Right now I will play it by ear for a week or so, and make sure that I don’t overdo it like last time.

 

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Exhausted

You know that nice tired feeling you get after a good workout? I do too, but right now, I haven’t got it.

As planned I went swimming yesterday and to the gym today, but my body wasn’t very cooperative. Even though I managed to get through my planned program both days, I could just feel that i had no energy to put in it. I’ve been feeling weak for a few days, and yesterday I thought I was getting a cold and that it was the reason. However, no cold materialized, so that was not it.

I had a chat with Ronny, who gave me my gym program, and he suggested I take a couple of days off from training, and then do a reduced program for a few days before I resume the normal program. Going from no exercise to six times per week can be a shock to the system, so it is probably best to do a soft re-boot and then get back into it.

As you may know, I have also been following quite a strict diet. And while that has certainly helped me to lose weight (6 kg since I started), it is probably not ideal when it comes to having enough energy to work out as much as I have been doing. I don’t think I will change the diet very much, but maybe try to add a few more carbohydrates. If my weight loss slows down by a fraction is not so important. The main thing is to reach my goals, and I know that if I am left feeling as lethargic as I have been doing over the last few days, I will not get there.

 

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Friday is the new Sunday

I did bring my swim-gear to work today, I really did. And I had every intention of going to the pool as usual. I just didn’t have the strength…

As I wrote in my last post, I am supposed to increase the number of sets I am doing in each exercise in the gym. I was also thinking that I should put that off until next week, but when I got to the gym yesterday, I decided that there is no time like the present and got on with it. Instead of my familiar three sets, I increased to four, and it had an immediate effect. Not the effect you can see, but I could certainly feel it.

When I left the gym, I was tired, but it wasn’t really so bad. However, when I woke up this morning, I was completely shot. It wasn’t so much that I was sore, but I just felt drained of all energy. I am sure it was not only the workout from the day before, but also the fact that it was the sixth workout in six days. Normally, I have been taking Sundays off from training, but since I took last Friday off instead, the schedule changed somewhat. Anyway, I got out of bed and off to work and was planning to go to the pool around lunchtime as usual. However, when that time came, I understood that it was no point. Six days in a row is apparently all I can handle.

So instead of trying to work out eight days in a row to get back to my ‘normal’ schedule, I have decided to make Friday my new day off. It makes a lot of sense in other ways too. The end of the work-week is not exactly the time where I have the most energy, and on Sundays I can sleep longer and feel more refreshed for an hour in the gym.

Hopefully it will work out as planned :)

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Closing in on the mile

As I wrote in the last post, I decided to step up my efforts in the pool, and today was the day to put my plans into action. The itinerary called for a 1,500 meter swim, and I must admit that towards the end I had trouble keeping the pace up. The technique was floundering and I swallowed quite a bit of water, but in the end I managed to make it through in 37 minutes.

Considering that my goal is to do 2,000 meters in 50 minutes, it is quite good, but I am not ready to take that on yet. The next 500 meters, assuming I don’t drown, would go a lot slower, so I still have some way to go before I am where I want to be.

Soon, it will be time to go to the next level in my gym program as well. I am supposed to go from three sets in each exercise to six. However, I don’t think there is any way that I can do that without gradually increasing via four and five sets. Another concern is also that the program already takes me about an hour to finish, so I am wondering if I am really supposed to work out for close to two hours in each session. Might have to reduce the number of reps in each set and go for more weights. I will make some research and see what comes of it. For this week, at least, I am going to keep on as I have been until now,

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Records will fall

Well, nothing dramatic or anything, but I managed 1,250 meters in the allotted 30 minutes of swimming today. Only 50 meters extra, but progress nevertheless. The best part though, was that I really felt good all the way through the swim. I finished faster than I started, and I could have gone further if I needed to. Most likely, it is time to go a bit further.

Not that I have all that much experience with getting in shape, but I do know that in order to improve, you have to gradually make your training harder. It doesn’t matter if you are lifting weights, running or in this case, swimming. If you just keep doing what you have been doing, you will reach a certain level and just remain there. Your muscles and cardiovascular system only improve if they are pushed to do something that is a little bit out of your comfort zone.

So… I need another goal, and I think I have it. 1,250 meters in 30 minutes, means six minutes per 250 meters. Multiply that by eight, and you get 2,000 meters in 48 minutes. Considering that it will be difficult to keep that tempo all the way, I am going to try for 2,000 meters in 50 minutes. I will not be able to do it immediately, but it is a good goal to aim for. I will start out by doing 1,500 meters on Wednesday and take it from there.

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Sunday morning workout

If you ever want to have the gym to yourself, show up on a Sunday morning. I was there at about 9.30 today, and there was not a single person there. Now, some of you might think that is quite uninspiring, but for me it is perfect. To be honest, I don’t feel that I am at my most graceful as I do my exercises, so the fewer who are there to witness it, the better. The main benefit, of course, is that you don’t have to wait around for others to finish their programs, and enables you to get through your routine in the tempo you are comfortable with.

I haven’t changed my program much over the last few times I’ve been there, but all in all, I feel like I’ve made good progress. I am keeping a diary, and it is interesting to see where I am compared to when I started. I don’t think it is too interesting to list all these figures here, but I would definitely suggest that everyone who is training keeps such a diary. If for no other reason that it is very motivating to see that you are making progress.

So… what to do with the rest of my Sunday? Well, I have some work related stuff to take care of, but apart from that I will watch Rafa Nadal hopefully taking down his eight French Open title. He is just an amazing athlete and we are very lucky and proud to have him represent PokerStars.

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Parties and fireworks

Been a busy few days here on the island. Thursday, there was the PokerStars Summer/TT Party which also coincided with the 100 Billion hand celebration. It was an amazing event, with a good food, great entertainment and that all important open bar. I must admit that before the party started, I was in two minds on how to deal with it with respect to my diet. However, when I arrived, any considerations to that went out the window. I’ve basically been eating just meat and salads for a month, so I thought I deserved one evening of indulgence. I did watch the calories with my selection of beverages though, as I spent most of the evening drinking Vodka mixed with soda water 😉

I mentioned the entertainment, and that was handled by local Manx-Man Davy Knowles. He didn’t get the job because he is a local, mind you. He is an incredibly well respected guitarist among his peers and has good commercial success as well.

And to give an impression of the theme for the evening:

100B Ice Sculpture

Yesterday, was the final and the  highlight of the TT Races, the PokerStars Senior TT and the subsequent closing party on Douglas Promenade. Unfortunately, I missed most of the party, but I did catch the fireworks that marked the end of the event:

TT Fireworks

So what about my training….?

Well, I worked out in the gym as usual on Thursday, but yesterday (Friday), I must admit I felt the effects of the party, so I decided to take the day off from exercise. Instead, I went to the pool today and I will go to the gym tomorrow, on what would normally be my day off. So come Monday, I should be back in my normal routine again. I haven’t seemed to have any ill effects from the deviation to my diet either, so it seems that even when keeping a healthy lifestyle, it is possible to enjoy life from time to time.

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Morning Glory

No, this is not another movie review, even though it is understandable if you expect it when reading the title of this post. Instead, it reflects the fact that I today decided to go to the gym at about 8am.

If you know a little about me, you will know that me and mornings have never been particularly compatible. And considering that I, up until a few weeks ago, only occasionally got near a gym, you will understand how unlikely today’s event is. I didn’t think I had it in me, but just after 8am I was walking in the doors.

I did the usual program, but I must admit it was a bit more difficult to get through it than usual. I am going to blame the early hour for that, because I think I was mentally still in bed for most of the session. I am not entirely sure that I will continue to work out in the morning, but it is a lot more practical than going in the middle of the day during work. I’ll try it out a few more times, and hope that I will get used to it.

On a different note…

Tonight, there was a motocross race on the beach outside our house and in addition the Red Arrows came for a visit. The latter, in particular was a great spectacle, and I was lucky enough to have pretty much the best seat in the house. You can click the images for a larger version.

Red Arrows

 

Red Arrows

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Searching for Sugar Man

I am sure some of you have seen the movie, but for those of you not in the know, the title of this post refers to the documentary with the same name. I saw it with Kasper and Alena in a cinema in Oslo when we were visiting a few weeks back. And while I liked the story that was told, I was really taken by the music of Sixto Rodriguez. Here is a guy who has gone virtually unnoticed in most parts of the world for more than 40 years, and as far as I can tell, he’s as talented as Dylan or any other contemporary singer I can think of. Actually, I much prefer him to Dylan, but that is just my opinion.

I will not write any spoilers here, so if you want to watch the movie I suggest you access your favorite means of of getting hold of it. Meanwhile, you can have a look at the trailer:

Those of you who use Spotify, can use this link to hear the soundtrack.

Besides contemplating movies I’ve seen in the past, I also started Week 5 of my workout regimen. The location was the pool at the National Sports Centre and the routine was the familiar 1,200 meters in 30 minutes. I felt a bit sluggish when I arrived, but it didn’t take long before I understood it was going to be a good session. Yesterday’s rest has worked wonders, and I had no problem getting my laps in. I must say, I feel a lot different than when I started. I can push myself a little further each time (both in the gym and in the pool), and I recover so much faster than I used to. And yesterday when I was out walking, it literally felt like I was floating. It probably sounds corny (does anyone use that word anymore…?), but being significantly lighter and also having added some strength to my legs, really makes walking feel completely different.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Maybe if I manage to run just a little bit faster… 😉

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