Friday, April 11, 2014

The 7-Minute Workout...It's Science!

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I'm five days out from surgery and things are looking up. I'll spare you all the gory details. For now. I'm working on my tell-all post and will include all of them there. Just know I've been suffering. But  less so today.

And I'm already dreaming about my post-recovery comeback. I found this article on The New York Times Well Blog, The Scientific 7-Minute Workout. First of all, seven minutes. And further, no equipment required. Well, except a chair. That means you can do it at home. Or in a hotel room while on the road. Or heck, even at your office.

There's a catch though. It should be unpleasant.
"The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant."
And by unpleasant, I think they mean suffering. Anyway, here's what I'm lusting after these days.

"In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science....even a few minutes of training at an intensity approaching your maximum capacity produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding."
I don't think they're proposing that 7-minutes can replace endurance exercise like running or cycling but I know, at the very least, they are saying that you can get more out of something like a 7-minute workout than was previously thought. And at the very, very minimum, something is always better than nothing.

Anyone care to try it out? In case you didn't read the article here's how it works.
  1. Do each exercise for 30 seconds at a high intensity, 8 on a scale of 1-10.
  2. Rest for 10 seconds in between.
That's it! I'm looking for someone to do it and write up a review that I can post on my blog. I'm interested in how easy/difficult you thought it was, how you'd compare it to a longer workout that involved running or cycling and, if you wear a heart-rate monitor, how many calories you burned.  If more than one person does it, even better! I'll edit them so don't worry about grammar. Here's a YouTuber who demonstrates. And she gives alternatives in case the exercise is too difficult, which I like. Anway, email your report to me at funez.michelle at I hope someone does it!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Courage of the Naive

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It's been a nice weekend. I wrapped up the week nicely with a trip to the gym on Thursday. I was proud of myself for squeezing it in between the end of the workday and dinner at my mom's house. Everyone was drinking but because I had to drive home I didn't partake. It would have been nice to unwind a little bit - for some reason I'd felt irritable for most of the day - but I didn't miss the calories. I made up for it with food though, I think. Ate more than I needed.

Friday I wasn't able to make it to the gym. The kids' preschool was closed and I couldn't swing it. But I made up for it on Saturday. We got up and had a lazy morning at home. Marek had his good buddy Gracie over and eventually, we got our adventuring selves in the groove. We started with a stop for sandwiches and then a side-trip to the The Space Station Museum.

The kids had a good time playing with rocket ship controls and trying on space clothes. Then we were off on our real adventure, a hike to a waterfall. We've done this hike a handful of times because it's so kid-perfect, not too far and not too steep. The trail has some rocky bits and with the kids wanting to run they trip over a rock sticking out of the ground. Live and learn, though, right?

3 munckins in middle earth

After the hike we were all ready for...ICE CREAM! I indulged in a scoop of mint chip myself but passed on the cone to save the calories.

Then it was home to meet up with grandma. I was tired but I rallied and rode my bike to the gym. It was a nice day out and I almost had the place to myself. I did back/biceps/core for strength training. I have to admit, I felt really good. Most of the exercises weren't much of a challenge. I love feeling strong and competent in the gym. To capture the moment I asked Ian (my former trainer who happened to be working) to snap a picture of me doing some core exercises on the stability ball.

Prone Jackknife

I do five of those and then, because I'm once again strong enough, I do five of these.

Prone Pike
And then I rode home. Victorious.

So that made up for Friday's missed workout and today would normally involve some kind of workout. But given that I have the surgery tomorrow, I'm still coughing and my nurse friend told me to take it easy, I decided to skip it. Of course that doesn't mean I sat on my rumpus. This morning we ran about a million errands, one of which was to buy Myra a bike. She's been riding Marek's up and down the street and it seemed like time to get her her own.

She's super happy with her new wheels. So we came home and I decided that since our final errand was only a bit more than a half-mile from home, I thought we could ride there.'s quite a step up riding up and down the sidewalk in front of your house and riding .68 miles, crossing streets, navigating even the slightest hill. Whew, it's a miracle we survived.

But Myra was a trooper. She fell several times, had the poop scared out of her when she started careening toward traffic (I had to jump off my bike and grab her bike, I had the poop scared out of me too), and we all learned she's not so good with brakes. But the 1.36 mile ride on relatively quiet suburban streets was good practice (yes, I mapped it when we got home to see the distance). She now has a healthy respect for speed, has a bit more experience with her brakes and above all, LOVES her bike.

This was also Marek's longest ride; his biggest problem was getting tired. It was in the low 70s with no wind and the afternoon sun shining down on us. He's quick to overheat and we'd already had a big weekend so it's no wonder he was a bit whiny. But we all made it home in one piece and I made a big deal of our triumphant first ride. Unfortunately I was too busy riding to take any pictures. And saving preschooler lives. If I'd known what an undertaking riding that far with two munchkins would have been I might have just taken the car. Ahh, the courage of the naive.

I noted that being able (and, possibly more important willing) to do this sort of things with my kids was one of my reasons for wanting to lose and maintain weight loss. I reinforced that reality today, "See Michelle, this is why it's important to stay in shape and invest in maintenance, so you want and can do this sort of thing." I believe these reinforcements are as important in maintenance as they were in weight loss.

Well, that's it from me. You might not hear from me for a while. I'm up bright and early for surgery tomorrow. I'll post short updates on my FB page I'm sure. I hope I don't d.i.e. (we won't dare say that out loud). I'm not thrilled about the recovery process but I'm totally ready to face it head-first.