Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Green Juice, Spartan Pancakes and workout gear

When I returned from Texas the evening of November 3rd, I weighed myself the next morning on the bathroom scales.  To my own disgust I was the heaviest I have been since before June of 2013.
Three days ago I was only three pounds lighter than I was on November 4th, the morning that I weighed.  So I said to myself...Self, get with it!  So one meal a day (it's been lunch) I have been making up a BIG glass of Green Juice.  I use it as one of my meal replacements.
Today was only the third day in a row that I have been juicing for lunch.  Today's recipe was this:
3 green kale leafs
1 handful of parsley
4 celery sticks with the celery leafs still on them
1 whole cucumber with skin on
2 green apples
I feed these ingredients into the juicer and in less than a couple minutes I have my green juice.

I do not know for sure, if juicing for only one meal has anything to do with it, but this morning when I weighed in, I was down to a weight I haven't seen in over 45 days.  I do know that the bloated feeling I had when I first returned from Texas is gone.  I really wasn't expecting another weight drop from the day before because for my evening meal I ate 4 pieces of roasted chicken.  I had 2 wings, 1 drumstick and the thigh, with 3 servings of broccoli and a cup of loaded mashed potatoes.
I rarely eat potatoes.  When I say rarely think of eating them several weeks to a few months between servings.  Anyway, after last night's meal I felt that carb load in my stomach and knew it was the potato's.  I don't get that stuffed feeling when I skip the carbs at night.
So...I'm slowly getting back into my training routine.  I ordered some extra training equipment this time around to really help me prepare even better than I was prepared for the Texas Beast. 
Here is some of my training gear:
This is a 20 foot climbing rope with the metal attaching ring on one end.  I already have a 12 foot climbing rope, but felt I needed more.  I am going to build a small climbing tower (for lack of a better description) and put it up about 17 to 18 feet high in the air.  That will give this rope a little slack at the bottom for wrapping your feet around to get started.  This rope is a nylon fabric, which may make it more difficult to grasp than the hemp kind.  I won't know until I start training with it.
Here I have a 15 pound slam ball, a 20 pound steel mallet, and a 30 pound slam ball.  The slam balls really help get you a whole body exercise experience when done correctly.  The 20lb mallet is for beating big truck tires.  It's an exercise that really works your upper body and helps you build that strength and endurance needed for all kinds of upper body functions.
My new 14 pound Dynamax wall ball.  This ball along with the two slam balls (when used correctly) helps you get an awesome total body workout.  They both involve deep squats and thrusting movements and overhead action.  Your core gets a good workout as well.
The picture above is of one of my last Spartan Pancakes.  This one is a man's 40 lbs pancake sandbag.  All I need to do is add the playground sand that is in the orange bucket.  I put two plastic stretch garbage bags through the double velco sealed opening at the top and start pouring in the sand, one cup at a time.
Here I am adding the sand into the opening at the top.  I put two smaller plastic garbage bags inside the Spartan Pancake first, before adding the sand.  The reason I did this is because the sand is pretty fine grained, and double bagging it reduces the risk of a future leakage that may result from an accidental tear or rip that may come to the sandbag.  I also do not know if the material these sandbags are made from is water proof.  Having the sand double wrapped in plastic reduces the chances of it becoming wet, should the sandbag be dropped in muddy water during training.
Above are all the sandbags (Spartan Pancakes) that I recently purchased and filled up with the required weight of sand.  I actually weighed myself with and without the sandbags to ensure that they were filled to the required weight.  There are two 20 pound sandbags (ladies) and two 40 pound sandbags (mens).
Training by climbing up steep hills and carrying a sandbag exactly like we will use in the race, really helps condition you for that particular obstacle.  Instead of making it a very difficult challenge, it's like...oh, sandbags - okay!
I was going to get these Spartan Pancake sandbags earlier to train for the Texas Beast, but the Spartan website to order these things was completely out of stock on these items. 
So I found a suitable substitute at a website called Perform Better.  It had sandbags already filled and ready to mail for all kinds of events.  It suggested family reunions.  I thought to myself, how awesome that some families actually have physical fun in the form of relay races, or obstacle type races with sandbags at their family reunions.  Family reunions in my family have just been 3 day eat-a-thon's.  The winner is the person that either doesn't get sick and throw up or the one that does not over indulge.  Anyway...here is what Perform Better's 40 pound sandbag looks like:
I've examined this one compared to the sandbag that Spartan makes.  The material used for the Spartan Pancake sandbag seems to be a heavier/thicker material, and the stitching also seems to be more heavy duty than the stitching for the Perform Better sandbag.
I found that the exercises like my box jumps, my tire flips, the weighted carries, the rope climbs, slam balls, wall balls, mallet training, pull ups, ring rows, push ups, toe tappers etc., etc...all helped me to perform better at the obstacle course race than the Olympic barbell training did.  Every time I was lifting the Olympic barbell I was worried that I might injure my back and set back my training. 
When I chose not to renew my monthly contract with Crossfit, it was mainly to avoid all the overhead barbell movements.  There are other ways I can strengthen my back muscles without risking damaging my already crooked spine.
So now I just need to make the time to train regularly between now and go time.  In the middle of creating this blog post my doorbell rang.  I went down stairs to answer the front door.  There were two young missionaries there.  They were young men about 20 years old.  Before they knew what was happening, I had them in the backyard crossing the monkey bars with me.  It felt good because I haven't touched them in at least 3 weeks.  It felt good to successfully complete the bars with men at least 36+ years my junior. 
As we get older, we really do need to do more than just walk.  Men and women alike need to do upper body strength exercises that involve resistance training.  It can be weights, bands, or your own body used as resistance.  It helps us to stay physically active, and the more muscle we can keep, the less likely we will injure ourselves. 
While it is true that Spartan races have a risk of personal injury with each race and each obstacle...sitting on your couch or favorite recliner for hours at a time every day, puts you at risk of all sorts of health problems.
Just because you are a senior, do not be afraid of lifting dumbbells or training for a Spartan Race.  You don't have to get the fastest time.  You just have to cross the finish line.  Which is more difficult than you would think, until you've completed one.
Here are some links to senior fitness articles on the internet:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Finish what you start in life

Click on photos to enlarge size
Finish what you start in life...it makes story telling more fun!