Road Picture




This is just cresting the hill at the top of Flanders Rd. I’m always tempted to shout “Hey doodly,” in this area.

When I finally slowed down, I saw this four foot long black snake, just basking at the roadside. He didn’t seem to mind posing for this shot.


More fitness

Weight: 188
Waist: 38

I didn’t wander off – not by much, anyway. I’ve still been working out and dieting, but I’ve stopped using this blog as a daily recorder and have been using Fitday. It’s a web-based diet, exercise, nutrition, etc. tracking guide.

It’s a bit of a pain to set up at first, but once you take the time to learn the interface, it has calorie and nutrition info on just about every food you’re likely to eat. You can adjust the portion sizes to match what you have for lunch, breakfast, snacks, etc. You can even create custom foods; for example, I eat a particular granola bar that’s not listed, so I entered the data for calories, carbs, sugar, etc. Then I simply pick that food when I eat it (which isn’t often).

It has exercise and activity guides, and you can enter the number of minutes that you spend in, say, yard work, or lawn mowing, or house cleaning – and get a calorie count. Using this, you can get a better idea of your calories in vs. your calories out.

You can even enter your body measurments, if you’re tracking those. I’m just sticking with weight, fitness activities, and food.

No More Sit-ups!

Trainer Craig Ballantyne is a bit of a contrarian. In “3 Substitutions for Situps” he writes:

Conventional thinking says we have to do a whole bunch of sit ups and crunches to get six pack abs. But don’t most people hate doing sit ups and crunches?

That’s why I don’t have these exercises in my workout plans.

Neither of the exercises is necessary to get six pack abs.

Crunches are a huge waste of your time. Such a small movement does little in terms of burning belly fat or sculpting your abs.

Every smart trainer knows that if you can do a resistance exercise 50 times in a row, like you can with crunches, that there is little benefit to body composition.

Situps are a more difficult exercise, but like crunches, sit-ups are hard on the low back. Spinal flexion – when you round your low back – compresses the discs between your vertebrae and is actually the same mechanism that causes disc herniations.

So both are un-necessary and risky moves. Too risky for my tastes.

It’s frustrating for the beginner to try to get into a routine, only to see that somebody else has completely different ideas. On the other hand, I’m going to see which of his exercises I can incorporate into my current routine.

Ab Routines

I have a core Ab routine, which I stick to 3 days a week: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Depending on time I’ll do more sets, or augment it with other exercises. Some of these exercises probably have common names, but I don’t know what they are; I’ve just picked them up over the last year.

I don’t have a lot of room, nor do I have much equipment, so I picked exercises that I can do quietly in my home office. I have a small area rug, and I put down a folded quilt for padding. I do have a weight/exercise bench in the laundry room for doing free weights.

Timed Front Crunches: 24
I put my hands behind my head or neck, my feet flat on the floor, my knees pointing up. I raise my shoulders up off the floor and hold for a 2-count. Be careful not to “pull” your head with your hands, it just strains your neck.

Timed Side Crunches: 24 each side.
Similar to the Front Crunches, I push my knees to the side to touch the floor (or as much as I can flex them), and raise my shoulders off the floor and hold for a 2-count. I try to twist my body to the opposite side from my knees to get the maximum range of muscle.

Bicycle Timed Crunches: 12 to 24 each side
Similar to the Front Crunches, but I  twist my left elbow to my right knee, and alternate. When I’m feeling energetic, I keep my legs off the floor for the entire set; that is, I stretch out the alternate leg, but keep it an inch off the floor. 

Jackknifes: 24
Legs and arms stretched out, I raise my legs straight up and try to touch my toes… okay, my knees with my  fingers.

Push-ups: 24+
Just like a regular push-up, but I’m consciously holding my stomach muscles flat. In essence, I turn it into a moving plank.

Decline Situps: 48
Yeah, I know that they say situps aren’t all that wonderful, but I can set my weight bench to about a 30º angle, and I hook my feet under a support. Sometimes I will hold a weight on my chest for a little more resistance.

That’s the core routine. I started with 12 reps of each a while ago, and worked up in increments of 6. Sometimes I’ll do12 reps, then switch to another exercise, and come back around for a second set. Sometimes I do all 24 at once. Sometimes I skip the sit-ups and do some other body core exercise, or perhaps go for another round of the above, but only 12 instead of 24. When the number gets easy, I add another 6 reps to the routine. I try always to make sure that the muscles I’m working are actually sore by the last few reps.

Diet & Exercise

This is so I can keep a somewhat regular track of my diet and exercise routine.

Friday: 5/9/08
Arm Rows

Saturday: 5/10
Abs (6 @ 30)

Sunday: 5/11
Forehead Crush
Barbell Press
Reclining bicep curls

Brunch: Sea bass, mashed potatoes, green beans
Dinner: Baked eggplant parm, whole wheat spaghetti

Monday: 5/12
Arm Rows

Snack: cinnamon donut, nuts, apple wedges
Lunch: Turkey & rb on grain bread
Dinner: Ground turkey, pepper & onion goulash w/ brown rice