Saturday, January 25, 2014

It's an Upper Body Day

For those of you wondering what I'm doing to get in shape for the UGRR tour, I am happy to say that I've been able to get myself to the gym six days a week since I left my job. That's particularly good since I have had no schedule these last few weeks. Considering myself to be on vacation, no two days have been the same, and I have only done what I feel like doing, when I feel like doing it.

My workouts started out easier than I expected. I'm not sure if I was in better shape than I thought (hard to imagine) or if the excitement of having time to myself carried me through. Week 2 was a bit of slogging agony but, even so, I didn't have trouble getting myself to the gym. At this point, I feel my body beginning to reshape itself; I love feeling my muscles get stronger.

I begin every workout with a ride on one of the various stationary bicycles. I ride 20-25 minutes. Between the warm up and cool down, I move from a low-intensity level up through four or five more difficult levels, changing levels every minute, repeating this progressive pattern three more times during the ride, and culminating with an all-out high-point minute. If you want to know more about this, there is a video online about this 20-Minute Aerobics Solution.

After the aerobic workout, I do two exercises to strengthen my abdominal muscles (ex.: Exercise Ball Crunch, Cable Seated Crunch) and two exercises to strengthen my back (ex.: One Arm Dumbbell Row, Wide Grip Pull Down). Then I spend some time stretching.

Then, I work with weights to strengthen either my upper-body or lower-body muscles. I alternate days, so on a day that I'm shredding (er, strengthening) my upper-body muscles, my lower body is recovering, and vice versa.

Today was an Upper Body day. That means that I did two exercises to work on each of these sets of muscles:
Chest (ex.: Dumbbell Flys, Chest Press)
Shoulders (ex.: Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Side Lateral Raise)
Triceps (ex.: Dumbbell Extension, Close Grip Tricep Push Down)
Biceps (ex.: Dumbbell Biceps Curl, Bicep Curl Machine)
I work each set of muscles in a progressively intensive way--moving my way up through two or three levels of weights until I hit my high/exhaustion point.

I did not have to do a lot of research before beginning this program because I had done a lot of research and experimenting about 15 years ago. When I set foot in the gym (and even though the gym owner confirmed that the last time I had stepped through their door was ten years ago), it all came back to me. Those of you who know me will be surprised to learn that I have not yet recorded any of my workouts (is it really legitimate if no spreadsheet is involved?)...but I may yet.


  1. As a contender for "Biggest Fan" on your tiny home construction site, I figured I should let you know that I'm following here too. Even though this sort of thing is definitely not for me, I'm impressed not only by your goal and enthusiasm, but also the steps you're taking to prepare.

    One other thing, a friend of mine who still rides, (alas, no longer with me) uses some app that auto-posts his rides to Facebook. Have you considered some sort of progress tracker that you could connect to your blog?

  2. Good morning, DWR! I am glad you found your way here, since I am expending more energy on this endeavor than the housebuilding at the moment. Interesting that you should ask about a progress tracker...After much research into apps and such that would give me an easy way to post my geographical position with a little map in my blog while on my tour, I thought I had my solution. Unfortunately, the highly-rated app I chose is currently displaying my location (at my house) as being about a half mile away from here. Good for providing a little mystery and anonymity I suppose, but doesn't seem so great for providing an accurate tracker for my tour. Since the geo-positioning technology must be based on satellites, I am wondering if all similar apps would potentially be off by this much. Maybe some field testing is in order...