Monthly Archives: May 2009

Summer Starts with Simple Syrup

It starts with simple syrup and it ends that way too.

Basic simple syrup is 1 C. of boiling water and 1/4C of white sugar.  I make it up all the time, as it’s the ideal hummingbird nectar.  In the summer, it’s also the best way to sweeten various drinks.

So my fresh-squeezed lemonade begins by making simple syrup, which gets shoved into the freezer as soon as the sugar dissolves.

Then the lemons I’ve picked from my trees get cut in half.  I get a nice chest press kind of workout in by squeezing the juice out of the lemons by hand.  It would be easier with a juicer – yes – but I don’t own one.  Can’t even find my manual reamer, so it’s the old-fashioned squeezing for me.

After this, I measure to see how much juice I have.  Last weekend, 12 lemons yielded about 3 cups juice.  To this I added first 1 cup of simple syrup, tasted.  Added some plain water to simply dilute the strength a bit and adjusted with a bit more simple syrup.

Then, as the thermometer climbed to 100, I sat in a cool shady place and sipped.

Simple syrup can be added to brewed iced tea (either by the pitcher or the glass) and to any kind of fruit ade.  It can gussied up with fresh herbs (mint, lemon balm, pineapple sage, etc.).

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Good News

So much for dedicated, planned ahead writing that leads to consistent posting.  (and so much for quality editing and grammar, too). Again, I’ve been thinking and living and wasting time playing Bejeweled on FB.  Who can blog with all that going on?

However, I do some news:  On Tuesday of last week (that would be 5/12/09) I took and passed the NASM Certified Personal Trainer test.  Yippee for me!

Now I have to find a gym willing to hire me/or let me work there while I get some experience.  At most facilities, the new member is a woman of about 40.. and since many of them want a trainer who they believe will understand their challenges, being about the same age/sex should be a good thing for me.

We’ll see.

Shaking up Breakfast

I’ve eaten primarily the same thing for breakfast for the past several years: oatmeal with some protein added and a piece of fruit.

Lately, though, I’ve been frustrated that I gained some body fat, and seem unable to shake it lose. So I’m taking a step and shaking things up.

I’ve read a bunch of blogposts by fitness folks suggesting ways to cut some that stubborn body fat. Most of them have suggestions that I know I can do.

All of them have made two suggestions that conflict with that oatmeal breakfast:

1. eat some kind of vegetable every time you eat. (I am still completely confabulated by this one).

2. save your grain-based meals for only after a workout.

I’m going to give this a try. One month as much as possible.

Today I’m having a egg/eggwhite kind of frittata- lots of veggies gently sauteed then stuck together with one egg and some egg-white. However, I know from experience that I cannot do this every day without my cholesterol rising. So I need to figure out other things to have for breakfast that aren’t egg based, feel like breakfast to me (instead of eating supper first thing in the morning), and contain vegetables and protein.

Any suggestions?

Why We Need Rest: Part Two

In the first post, (was it really 2 month ago?)  I explained the two main types of muscle fibers and how they worked.

Review: each muscle has many thin Type One muscle fibers that work for endurance – they help keep upright and are the main muscles used in cardio exercise.  Type One muscle fiber uses glycogen and oxygen for it’s energy and cycles quickly through all the fibers -working similarly to the pistons in a engine.

Muscles also have Type Two muscle fiber which is thicker, more fiberous, and which is mainly used when we demand more “oomph” from a muscle for a short period of time.  This fiber works anaerobically and runs out of fuel within a minute.

So what happens to these muscles when we exercise?

Type one muscles, because of their size and function, are meant to heal to quickly.  Do a cardio workout and you might feel a bit sore that day, but within 24 hours you’re feeling better.

A HARD cardio workout -or a demanding strength workout -will recruit your Type two muscles.  Because these muscles don’t cycle like the type ones, when they are put under demand, they become physically damaged.  They shred like dental floss.

These microtears are now believed the cause of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) along with any immediately after workout soreness.  And these tears can take time to repair.

Your body will immediately begin to replace damaged cellular fiber and start to repair it.  However, when we are awake most of our energy is taken in maintaining our posture, digesting food, and other functions.  When we sleep most of the repair work is done.

On a cellular basis, our bodies spend the first hours rather like a demolition crew cleaning out the spots where all the damaged muscle fiber is.  We are also roaming through the entire body cleaning out older and damaged cells.  Then the construction crew comes in and begins to repair the damage.

Like when you break a bone, these microtear sites are built stronger than the spots were before hoping to stave off further damage.  This repair work can take several days to be completely finished.

And it’s this damage that requires the rest time.  Damage to the type two cells.

The good news: on the days that we are healing we can still do some cardio-just make sure it’s not demanding enough to recruit those fibers that might be rebuilding.  Also, while the body is fixing these damaged fibers, it is burning more calories to make the repairs.  So demanding strength training not only burns calories while we are working, it continue to do so for up to 48 hours after we’ve stopped.

At which time, we’re ready to start the whole routine all over again.

Ten Minute Challenges

I have missed a week or two of these challenges.  Did you miss them?  To remind us all: do  the challenge of the day either for 10 minutes straight or -most of the time – for one minute at a time, ten times a day.

Monday: Counter push-offs. Stand about 2-3 feet away from the edge of a counter.  Hands on the edge, drop down into the counter and push yourself back away.  Yep, push-ups from the counter instead of the floor. Adjust your feet so you get a nice stretch along the back of the legs when you drop. Do for one minute.

Tuesday: Knee ups. Stand erect with butt slightly tucked under, if you need the support stand against a wall.  Pull one knee up to your chest, using your hands to assist in completing the move.  Alternate legs and do for one minute.

Wednesday: Leg Swings. Stand along side a chair or counter with your weight supported on the inside leg. Swing the outside out to the side and then in crossing over the body.  Keep your back neutral -don’t let it arch.  Do about 30 each leg.

Thursday: Skip. Ok, we might not want to be seen in public skipping around the neighborhood – though if you do, I completely applaud.  But when you’re inside, decide that today you will skip around the house.  Notice if you feel younger -or just start smiling when you do this.

Friday: Arm Circles. Stand with your arms out to the side.  Make giant circles, then small circles.  Circles all around for a minute.

Catching Up

Like the way I blog consistently for 3 days then disappear for a week?  Yeah, neither do I.

Last weekend I attended a 2 day training seminar given by NASM, which is my personal final step before taking my CPT certification test.  Yeah.. that’s coming soon.  I will not tell you when I’m taking it.  I will tell you when I’ve passed it.  (or failed it, but that’s not going to happen).

I’ll you about the seminar in a separate post.  I still need time to digest my impressions and get a reasoned reaction down.

Anyway, my real life kind of got in the way of the bloggy life.  sorry.

I’ve realized that if I spend a couple days during the week thinking about what I want to blog, I can spend a couple hours on Sunday actually writing things.  Monday -if needs be – I can film any video.  And get the whole week done in advance.

All I have to do is get that week under my belt and it will be golden.

Right.