Where did 2015 go?

Wow, I’ve been really bad at posting….I’ll have to fix that. There’s lots to update….Watch this space. Oh, and Happy Festivus!

 

red coffee cup

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Working Out in Asia…while eating and eating….

ImageI’ve managed to maintain my workout schedule despite being in India for work. You can follow my progress on the facebook page if you’re interested. It can be particularly challenging to keep fit while working long hours away from home, eating at hotels/restaurants, in conference rooms with few choices….sometimes as the guest of someone who wants to show you every bit of really good local cuisine. Now, you can’t out-exercise out-of-control eating (we’re way more efficient at eating than at burning those calories), sticking to one’s exercise program….even a modified version of it….is essential.

I’ve tried to use the whole jet lag thing here in India to my advantage. Since my internal clock is all off anyway, I’ve attempted to reset it (as much as possible) to getting up and to the gym by 5 AM (sometimes 4 AM). All in all, I’m still in the game on keeping fit and dropping the 20 lbs I gained while I was injured (plus the 5-10 I had before that)….even if I’m just in a holding pattern until I can get back to paring my exercise with healthier eating. I could go through “7 things to do to prevent business travel from derailing your fitness goals”, but its been done….*a lot*. Here’s one from CNN. I just wanted to put myself out there as someone who’s doing it for real (with all the bumps in the road, setbacks, etc.)….and sticking with it. Perhaps posting it here gives me a little more incentive to stick with it.

With the return to targeted, high-intensity training after recovering from my knee and shoulder/chest injuries, I am hoping to be back at my “fighting weight” and in my best Tough Mudder form in a few months….and with a little diligence and discipline (and tact so that none of my hosts are offended that I didn’t eat all the food they put in front of me), I’m sure I will.

ImageStick with it, my friends…and remember, we’re only renting the coffee.

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Happy New Year!

Hello All!. After over a year off relating to the main blog (this page), it is time to reconnect with it. Mind you, I have maintained a presence on Facebook fairly frequently (feel free to follow me there too)…and I  will continue to do so, but I’m going to be re-adding some longer pieces here in 2014.

2013 has been a very busy year for me, during which I’ve come in to my groove on the West Coast (after relocating to Orange County, CA from NJ in late 2012), found my stride in the new job (that necessitated the move in the first place), turned 40, had some training injuries (knee and then chest/shoulder) and the associated recoveries, and have generally refocused my life. 2014 is going to be a good year….And you can be sure that I’ll be renting the highest quality coffee possible.

~RtC

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California Dreaming

Well, I’ve been absent from this blog for some time now. Work has been crazy….way too crazy. Actually crazy is a mild way to put it, because everyone has some crazy stuff at work. I’ve had bat-shit crazy at work and that is never a good thing. Stress was very high. Alcohol consumption followed suit with the stress. Workouts were ok, but I’d ceased to make any real gains in fitness. On top of that, I wasn’t really doing much socially either. I was in a rut and a bad one at that.

A funny thing often happens when you get into a rut, if you’re paying attention. An opportunity will present itself; often quietly and often in the guise of something silly, something not even worth considering. That’s what happened to me and I decided to make a change.  After nearly 15 years of calling New Jersey my home, I took a new job and moved my family to sunny Southern California.

The move itself has been fast, furious, and full of stress. That being said, we’re on the tail end of it now (closing on our house in a little over a week). We’re already seeing the positives manifest. Although  a relocation company was moving our stuff, we’ve gotten rid of a lot of it. Stress levels are decreasing. Alcohol consumption as well. I’m getting up earlier and running in the AM (which I’ve always found difficult). There’s actually time for both my wife and I to run (one after the other). I’m also finding I’m running farther and more often. All good things.

I guess the take home is that it is important to step back, to reset…and yes, sometimes to change course. Life is an adventure. It is temporal and brief. And most of all, remember that we’re only renting the coffee.

Be Well!

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Tough Mudder Training – Core Principle 3 – Pick a Base Workout

After outlining The Coffee Renter’s Tough Mudder Training Core Principles and fleshing out our first two principles, Identify an Inspiration and Assess your Fitness Level,  it is now time to delve into Principle 3…

3) Pick a Base Workout(s) – Total Body Strength Training, Core, and Cardio.

This principle could (should?) have been entitled “Design Your Workout Program”, but that sort of implies that you can’t just use something out of the box; that you need all sorts of research and analysis to get started…All discouraging thoughts.

I’m trying to be helpful, encouraging, and inspiring in any way I can. So I want you to know that there are plenty of off-the shelf workout programs that will work just fine to prepare you for the Mudder; You only need to design something new….IF YOU WANT TO. The key is that whatever workout program you pick, it needs to include total body strength training (especially core strength training) and cardio training….and you should enjoy it (or at least parts of it). Here’s an example Base Program from the Tough Mudder site.

So just to be clear, Principle 8 “Mix it up” will encourage us to keep changing up the exercises we’re doing so as to train the whole body in all sorts of ways and to avoid any “plateau effects”. The body will adapt to any workout or exercise at some point so to avoid this, we will keep switching it up. The Base Workout Program is the essential exercises that will be the bulk of our training, that we’ll vary from, that we’ll keep coming back to. It is the default. OK, I think I’m clear on that…Here’s what  I used for my Basic Workouts:

Day 1 – Upper Body: 5 sets of the following: Chinups, Pushups, Plank, Inverted Pushups, Crunches, and Dips.

Day 2 – Lower Body: 5 sets of the following: Scissor-kick lunges, calf dips, step-ups/step-downs, and Deadlifts

Day 3 – Cardio: 1 Set Strength Exercise (usually burpee pushups), Run 1 mile, assess joints/muscles, rinse repeat until “done”.

Day 4 – Recovery/Stretch

I may need to elaborate on these in a later post, but that is essentially what I did as basic workouts. Notice, it is not a lot of exercises….And once you start mixing other elements in, you may simplify the basic workout even more. That’s it for now. Pick your program and get to it…..

 

The Coffee Renter’s Tough Mudder Training Core Principles

1) Identify an Inspiration – To keep on doing…

2) Assess your Fitness Level – At first and Often.

3) Pick a Base Workout(s) – Total Body Strength Training, Core, and Cardio.

4) Incorporate Functional Exercises – Pick Pushups over Bench-press.

5) Focus on the Exercise Intensity, Not Duration – Short Intense Burst are Best.

6) Exercise Outside as much as possible – Get used to the elements.

7) Include Recovery Days in your Workout Plan – Plan them, don’t just take “a day off”.

8) Mix it up – Avoid that plateau by doing different exercises.

9) Share your progress – To keep you honest and accountable.

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Tough Mudder Training – Core Principle 2 – Assess your Fitness Level

After outlining The Coffee Renter’s Tough Mudder Training Core Principles and fleshing out our first principle, Identify an Inspiration, it is now time to delve into Principle 2…

2) Assess your Fitness Level – At first and Often.

To maintain momentum on our Journey along the Tough Mudder Trail…and that is exactly what it is, a Journey, seeing progress is critical. With measurable progress being best, we need a yardstick.

Now, there are any number of ways to do this. Most workout programs include some sort of initial/periodic assessment. I looked at a lot of workout programs in constructing my own. We’ll talk more about these programs in relation to Core Principle 3 – Pick a Base Workout, but for now we’ll focus on the component that I used most to assess my progress…The Pushup.

Quite possibly the most ubiquitous of all exercises, its simple elegance and effectiveness,  coupled with the fact that it requires no equipment of any kind, makes the Pushup ideal to use in our self assessment.

For my Pushup self assessments, I actually used the Hundred Pushup program, in which one works over 6+ weeks to the goal of doing 100 pushups in one set. That sounds like a lot…and it is, but the feeling when you bang out the 100 is amazing. And we’re talking about the Tough Mudder here!

Another thing to mention is that you can vary the types of pushups you do (there are lots of variants) or do similar programs for other key exercises. For example, after I did the #HundredPushups, I went on to do the #TwentyPullups Challenge. The key thing is that you keep on measuring. Your progress will keep you inspired. Doing programs like this…you will feel strong!

OK, technically, it should be hyphenated as “push-up”, but I, like many others, have chosen to take the liberty of dispensing with the “-“. Deal with it. Now drop and give me 20!

 

The Coffee Renter’s Tough Mudder Training Core Principles

1) Identify an Inspiration – To keep on doing…

2) Assess your Fitness Level – At first and Often.

3) Pick a Base Workout(s) – Total Body Strength Training, Core, and Cardio.

4) Incorporate Functional Exercises – Pick Pushups over Bench-press.

5) Focus on the Exercise Intensity, Not Duration – Short Intense Burst are Best.

6) Exercise Outside as much as possible – Get used to the elements.

7) Include Recovery Days in your Workout Plan – Plan them, don’t just take “a day off”.

8) Mix it up – Avoid that plateau by doing different exercises.

9) Share your progress – To keep you honest and accountable.

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Cold

It was cold outside
And because the kids were away
It was quiet in the house
And it would be all day.

I was working from home
with three cats sleeping near
That I’d be getting lots done
was ever so clear.

So I routed the laundry
While I reviewed a technical doc
Planned out my day
Using my calendar and clock.

There’d be time for a workout
and a quick bite to eat.
But mostly there’d be email, reports, and phone calls
while I sat in my seat.

So I wrote this quick poem
To add a little fun
While I considered the weather
and whether it was too cold to run.

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