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The speed at which you walk, for example, can be eerily predictive of health status.  In a study of nearly 35,000 people aged 65 years or older in the Journal of the American Medical Association, those who walked at about 2.6 feet per second over a short distance — which would amount to a mile in about 33 minutes — were likely to hit their average life expectancy.  With every speed increase of around 4 inches per second, the chance of dying in the next decade fell by about 12 percent.  (Whenever I think about this study, I start walking faster.)
  — James Hamblin, MD
From his article: “The Power of One Push-Up: Several simple ways of measuring a person’s health might matter more than body weight.
Appearing in:  The Atlantic, dtd: Jun 27, 2019
The specific article can be found on-line at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/06/push-ups-body-weight-bmi/592834/
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On This Day In:
2018 Modern Day Behaviour
2017 On Misogynist Tweets From #DumbDonald
2016 Cowboy Boots & Missing Teeth
Or Electricity
2015 Oh, To Be Vulnerable
2014 Neglected Horror
2013 The Price Of Illusions
2012 Once Again
2011 And The “Market” Isn’t Always Right
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Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
  —  Quoting one of my Drill Sergeants and numerous other NCO’s I knew while in the Army
Today was supposed to be Day 6 of my juice diet / fast.  I fell off the wagon hard…
The plan this morning was to get a number of little chores done and then relax with the wife.  It didn’t end up that way (so far).  To start off with, I woke up feeling bad – nasal congestion and overall feeling “off”.  I was supposed to get a blood test in advance of a doctor’s appointment.  They were closed for the 4-day holiday weekend.  (The things you don’t think about when you’re retired and everyday is a holiday.)  Check, next.  Pick up brake light for car.  Check.  Wow!  Do I have a bad headache!!  Plug on.  Get cash at the bank.  Check.  Look for cooking book for wife.  Check.  Well, so-so.  I can’t find the book for her so I get myself a book from the $3 rack.  Does that count?  Yes.  Okay, check.  Wait.  I already gave myself a check for that…  On to the drug store to pick up some topical disinfectant.  Check.  Since the sporting kit store is right next door, why not?  Lots of interest, but nothing I want enough to spend money on today.  Check.  Man, my head is pounding…  I’m considering taking a Ricola drop for a shot of energy, but decide against because my stomach is also a bit upset.  I can’t tell if I’m going to heave or get the runs.
I got home and decided I was going to eat something bland-“ish” to settle my stomach and maybe help my head.  I settled on a square of cornbread.  It does help both my stomach and my head, but I’m still congested and feeling drained.  The wife says: “Just take a pill.”  I do and by the time I’ve finished walking the dog, the nasal congestion is clearing and my stomach is feeling better (more settled).  The wife asks me to go to the store and get some soup and ginger ale for her (she’s been under the weather for two days).
…Bad move!  Sending me to the store without adult supervision.  I buy her requests, but also get myself some “unhealthy” stuff for myself – as well as some okay stuff.  And…  We both have lunch.
And that’s why I didn’t make it through Day 6 of my seven day “diet / fast”.  Lesson learned?  The 6-P’s.
Moving forward, I’ll be taking tomorrow (New Year’s Day) off from the diet and I’ll be trying to start back up on either Wednesday or Thursday.  My initial plan for those two days was salad and more salad (and maybe some soup), so maybe I’ll just go ahead with that.  At this point I’m playing by ear.
And the results:  Starting weight on 26 December: 360lbs.  Ending weight on 31 December: 343lbs.  The scale is analog and was fluttering between 340lbs and 343lbs, so I’ll be conservative and call it 17lbs for the five days.  The question is was that any more than my other fasts?  Only slightly.  My last juicing fast (started in July) I lost 15lbs in the first five days and I was swimming for at least an hour three of those days.  I put it (the slight difference in weight) down to hard workouts on three(3) of the five days.  The workouts were 90minutes, 2 hours and 2 hours.  So, really, the longer duration of the workouts is marginally responsible for the extra pound or two of loss.  The big difference is how I felt.  The pool and veggie juice was invigorating me.  The weights and processed juices has seemed to be making me feel exhausted.  Well, it’s all purely subjective, but it’s something for  me to consider going into my next round – this week or next.  Small steps to better health…
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On This Day In:
2017 Best Wishes For 2018!
2016 Best Wishes For 2017!
2015 Better Red Than Dead
Tomorrow Starts A New Year
2014 Recovering
Best Wishes For 2015!
2013 Best Wishes For 2014!
2012 My Creed
2011 It Probably Isn’t So

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Okay.  So, yesterday went well.  I was not “hungry” per se, but I was missing chewing and the act of eating.  Anyway, I got through it.
Last night was my first visit back to Planet Fitness in ages.  Well, in ten days; but it felt like ages.  Nothing was “hard” like when you’ve stopped exercising for six months and you’re just starting up again, but I had little to no energy stores.  I walked / jogged 1.27 miles in 26:15 minutes.  Yes, I know.  Most people walk faster than that.  The truth is sometimes I do, too.  Rarely, but sometimes.  Anyway, it felt like I was in molasses.  I was okay for my 2 minute warm-up walk, but as soon as I started to jog – forgetaboutit.  So, I had to alternate slogging and walking to get through it.
I moved on to the calisthenics portion of my workout.  I have a cycle of crunches, inclined pushups and air squats which I run through.  I started out at five cycles, then eight cycles and for the last couple of days (about a week) before my Christmas break, I was up to ten cycles – about 45 – 50 minutes.  Last night I struggled to get to eight.  It wasn’t “hard”.  I just felt exhausted.  After my cycles, I did a few minutes of rowing.  And that was it.  My “normal” workout usually runs about two hours and includes stretching and lots more weights (light weights, but high volume reps).  Last night was cut short and was still about 90 minutes because I was moving so slow.  Still, I went to the gym and plowed through it…
One interesting point:  My face is already starting to get the “oily / waxy”, moist feeling on my forehead, nose and cheeks.  This normally happens around day 6 or 7.  I don’t know why it seems to be happening sooner than “normal”.  At first, I used to worry about acne when this started, but in all of my fasts (long and short over a dozen in my life), it has never ended up causing a breakout of  acne.  Actually, I find it kind of makes my face look younger – smoother and better hydrated.  So, that’s a good thing.
And before I forget:  this morning’s weigh-in was 349lbs.  That’s down from Boxing Day weight of 360lbs.  Day Two’s weight was 353lbs.  Basically, that’s water retention loss from all the salt and sugar consumed on Christmas day.  My weight on Christmas morning was 355lbs.  So, really we’re talking about six pounds from then, and not  eleven pounds from the “start” of the diet / fast.  Please recall I am trying to not worry about day-to-day losses and gains as much as I am three and four day trends.  Of course, first I have to get past four days…  LOL
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On This Day In:
2017 Daily, Mr. President, Daily
2016 We Did This
2015 I’m Talking To You
Forced (Again)
2014 We Are Not A Fearful Nation!
2013 Risking Truth
2012 Working On Reality
2011 Massive Contradictory Changes

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Back in July / August I completed a 42 day juice fast.  It was originally scheduled as a 7 day starter to kick off an attempt at changing my eating habits.  I began the fast at 380 pounds and finished at 311 pounds.  In the past, I tended to regain any weight lost from fasting at a rate of about 5lbs  per year (after regaining immediate stomach content and water weight).  This time, that hasn’t happened at all.  As of this morning, I am at 353 pounds – give or take 5 pounds for variations in clothing.  While I am still down 25 pounds, I’ve regained (almost immediately) close to  2/3rds of the weight I lost in the fast.  That’s the bad news…
The good news is that I joined Planet Fitness at the end of last month and the results of the workouts have been good physically, even if not demonstrated on the scale (yet).  I promised a review of Planet Fitness and the rest of this post will be about that…  (This is kind of a long post.  So, if you are not interested in a Planet Fitness review for any reason, feel free to leave now and come back tomorrow…)
Planet Fitness (PF) is a relatively low cost, 24 hour access gym who’s mottos are: “no intimidation & judgment free zone”.  In other words, it caters to those who don’t have money to go to a “normally” priced ($50-$100 / month) gym AND to those who really don’t know much about working out (newbies) AND those who are not serious about lifting heavy weights.  FP has two plans: $22 and $10.  The “Black” card membership gets you access to a few “perks” (bring a friend, use any PF facility, free tanning and free hydro-massage bed).  The cheaper, “White” card is the plan I chose.  I don’t have any friends to come workout with me.  I don’t want to travel to another facility.  My club is a 3 minute drive from my house.  Five minutes if I miss the one light on the way there.  And lastly, I’m not sure I’m interested in tanning or massages.  In addition to the monthly dues, there is a joining fee ($40) and there is always an annual fee ($40).  The joining fee is normally discounted at least one week a month.  I waited until  it was $1.50 to join.  The annual fee is normally scheduled at two months after you join and payments are auto-debited from your bank.  So, reaaalllyyy, it works out to either $13 / month for the “white” card membership or $24 / month for the “Black” card membership.  Either way, it’s less than $1 per day for 24 hour access.
There are three things which always get a lot of comments in reviews of Planet Fitness:  Pizza, Bagels and Tootsie Rolls.  A slice of pizza is free on the first Monday of each month at 6pm and at 8pm.  (These are the times for “my” gym.  Yours may vary.)  Bagels are for the morning of the first Tuesday of each month.  And, Tootsie Rolls (mini’s) are available 24 hours at the front desk / reception area.  If you want one, take one.  I have not indulged in the pizza or bagels, because I wasn’t there at the correct time to receive them.  I have had a single Tootsie Roll and, yes, they are the same as when I was a kid.  Are these items helpful to those of us trying to shed pounds?  NO!  But, if you are that upset by the give-aways, don’t take them.  I’m not normally one to promote temptation, but I also believe in a little personal responsibility…  In other words, they don’t bother me.
Facilities:
Weights:  limited.  There are free benches, fixed-weight barbells (up to 50 pounds) and fixed-weight dumbbells (up to 70 pounds).  There are also a number of racks for lifting (called “Smith Machines”) which can be used for variable weights and go up fairly heavy.  I believe the maximum weight would probably be “around” 450 pounds with 5X45lbs on each side.  I don’t care for Smith machines because they are designed for safety and sacrifice free motion for the increased “safety”.  Because the barbell / weights follow a track, you don’t really get to “feel” the weight the same as you would if the weight / bar were free.  If the machine happens to be a good track for your particular body structure, more power to you.  If it doesn’t, I believe you are more likely to get injured by not following a path “normal” for you.  Still they are better than nothing.
Other Weight Machines:  The PF I go to has 2 or 3 of about 15 different types of weight machines.  This include the basic “Nautilus” style circuit / cable setups and fixed “iso” machines.  I like the cable machines because I can alternate between one or two handed grips and they allow you the more natural range of motions which the Smith machines do not.  I have not used many of the “iso” machines, but they have the same issue as the Smith Machines and are even more limited in weights because you can’t add more weight to them.  Having said this, for the target membership of beginner users, the amount of weight is generous.  All the ones I’ve actually looked at went up to at least 250 pounds.  That is FAR more than any (99.9999%) new lifter will ever need.
Aerobic Machines:  PF probably has 75+ aerobic “type” machines…  Stairmasters, treadmills, stationary cycles (normal and recumbent), and elliptical.  Interestingly (to me), they don’t have any rowing machines (which I like using).  They do have cables rows and iso-machine rows, but not actual rowing machines.  This means you cannot exercise both your arms and legs concurrently.
Specialty Rooms:  PF has three “specialty” rooms.  One is for “Hips & Abs”.  One is for an “express” 30-minute workout.  And the last one is for Synergy 360.  These can be used for classes / group workouts or individually.  If you are not “in” the class, you may be asked to leave the room.  I have not joined any classes (and probably won’t).  I use everything by myself.  There are also a few (I’ve counted three) mats for you to use for stretching / floor workouts.  All in all though, there is not a lot of free floor space for stretching / yoga type activity.
Changing Rooms:  The changing rooms have toilets, showers and lockers.  The lockers are “supposed” to be day use only (take your lock with you when done), but there are four full sized  lockers and they seem to have permanent locks on them.  I have been there when there  were fewer than five male patrons and over 15 locks were on lockers, so obviously, the “day use” locker’s rule is not enforced.  Generally, the changing rooms and toilets look well maintained.
Staff:
So far, I’ve found the staff to be friendly, professional and competent.  They greet me when I come in and say good-bye (or wave) when I leave.  They will come help you with a machine, but they do not appear to watch the users to see if they are struggling or need assistance.  If asked, they will give you a tour of the facility and highlight the functions of some of the equipment, but I had the tour and they never specifically showed me how to use ANY single piece of equipment.  In theory, the labels on the kit solves / explains most of  this, but I still prefer human instruction.  But that’s just me…  They will stop their own “personal” conversations if they are approached by a member with a question.
Conclusion:  The price is very reasonable for the facility and access AND the gym is less than a mile from my front door.  Most of my initial soreness is gone and I’m just in my go and get sore for the day phase.  I will admit, I do NOT like crowds and I actively avoid going during their busiest times.  I have been there one time when almost every aerobic and weight bench was in use.  There were still some free iso-machine stations and you just have to get on with whatever you can.  Fortunately, few folks seem to stay as long as I do, so eventually, the machine / space I want to use opens up for my use.  After just about completing my first month (I’ve been 13 out of 24 calendar days), I am pretty happy with my decision to join.
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On This Day In:
2017 The Great Leveler
Conservative Depressions
2016 Election + 1 Month
2015 Dance And Sing
2014 A Measuring Stick For Progress
2013 Courtly Love Or Victory Over Habit
2012 Have We Met?
2011 Efficiently Useless

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