Monthly Archives: September 2009

Color Them Golden and Bright

The fog is hanging over the bay, making  the day soft and fuzzy.   I thought I’d try to shine a bright light in my world. A list of things I love, in no particular order. Color them Golden and Bright:

  • Laughing
  • A face that lights up, happy to see me
  • Mangoes
  • Baseball
  • A bath so hot that my hair sweats.
  • The dogs’ excitement at the idea of food
  • Thick, pliable yet smooth hand-made paper
  • Ripe fresh-picked tomatoes
  • Pomegranates
  • Passionate conversations
  • Spell-check
  • Free and easy hugs
  • Any Thai food
  • The steady rhythm of a good walk
  • Coffee
  • Secrets shared
  • A soft breeze blowing on my face.
  • Ocean waves
  • Crispy
  • Joss Whedon’s Firefly series
  • The weight of a quilt over me on a cool night.
  • Polar Fleece
  • Bench Presses
  • Appreciation expressed
  • A dog’s head resting on my ankles
  • The search for a special item
  • Tivo
  • Pecan pie
  • Strawberry pie
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Positive support
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Someone else combing/brushing my hair (especially when it was long)
  • Giving shoulder/neck massages
  • Singing
  • Cotton dried in the sun
  • The “thunk” of a ball hitting the sweet spot
  • Vanilla
  • The women at BlogHer
  • Very rare beef
  • Sunshine
  • Jeans warm from the dryer
  • Remote control
  • Life told in stories
  • Photos of the universe
  • The perfect drive: fast and slightly curvy
  • Swinging on a swing
  • Military drill teams
  • Fireworks
  • Lemons
  • My East Bay Buds: Vdog, Genie, Maria.
  • Guinness stout
  • Smooth sipping whiskeys
  • Music that makes me want to dance.

What makes you shiny and bright?

Escaping the Plague Ship

So I was AWOL most of last week.  Monday I came down with that cold-like bug that’s going around and spent the rest of the week a snotty-nosed mess hackin’ up my lungs like a 3-pack a day smoker.

If you find yourself getting that little tickle?  This virus seems short-lived – most of us were feeling better in three days- except that every 3 hours or so the sinuses open wide and the coughing becomes uncontrollable.  It lasts about 15 minutes, then goes away until the next bout.

Charming, I’m sure.  Bet you’re glad I shared that.

Anyway, this virus left me foggy-brained and unable to form a clear thought.  So quiet I was.  And while I was unable to concentrate enough to write, I also wasn’t in any shape to work out hard.  Walking, some simply body weight work, some light weights here at home were about the extent of it.

By Sunday, I was plain itching to get into the gym again.  My plans for today:

30 minutes of cardio – the dogs still need walking afterall.

  • Deadlifts
  • Bench Press
  • Leg Press
  • Lat Pulls

A good full body hit that’s not too, too demanding on my “getting over the plague” body.

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Name This Exercise

Friday I did one of my favorite exercise routines. In 20-30 minutes, with no counting and just a little thinking, you can get a full body resistance workout plus a cardio workout plus ab workout.

All in one package. Without using a machine and without lying on the floor.

With a little creative planning, you could do this exercise at a park, in your neighborhood, at a rest stop while driving. Making this a truly functional

Sounds fantastic, yes? So fantastic that I need a name for it. One that wraps up all that potential fabulousness and still kind of scares the bejesus out of someone when they hear it.

And that’s where you come in. Please help me name this exercise.

The details:

The real basics: I pick up something heavy and walk with it.

More: I gather a small variety of weights- maybe a 10#dumb bell, a 25# weight plate, a couple 35# weight plates, maybe a 20# barbell.  Put them in one place with water bottle and towel.

I pick one up and:

  • hug it to my chest
  • hold it to my chest with my arms out to the side
  • hold it over my head -with one or two hands
  • hold it to one side
  • pick 2 up and hold one in either hand

Then I walk one circuit around the gym.  All the while working to maintain perfect posture: head in line with body, chin slightly tucked, standing straight, tummy engaged.  My gym is kind of big and bit crowded, so this takes me between 30-60 seconds.

Then I pick up a different weight, hold it a different way and start over again.

It takes a few laps at the gym before anyone “gets” what I’m doing -at first glance everyone assumes I’m just either loading something up or re-racking a weight.  Then they see me repeating the motion with different weights in different positions – one dumb bell held overhead is often a clue- and smile and wait for my return.

This exercise really does work the whole body and so much better than for a quick workout than any circuit of machines.

But what do I call it?  “Carry Something Heavy and Walk” is just too long.

Plan of the Week

Realized last night that I haven’t written a plan of the week yet.  I’m sure some of this bores the hair off your head (why can’t it bore the hair off my chin?  I don’t want it there anyway.), but it’s a good tool for my own tracking.


M,W,F: Full-body compound movement exercises.  Deadlift, DB bench press, Squats, Rows, Lunges, Lat Pulls.  Monday-medium weight/Wed. light/Friday heavy.

T,Th,S: Stability and balance workouts.  Planks, etc. Foot pushes, agility drills.  Little rest between movements -and do all in a circuit fashion.

Sunday (technically starting the new week): day of full rest.  Let’s hope there are some good football games on.

Besides the stuff in the gym, I walk the dogs each day, work on my garden and other regularly activites.


Back to 1450 calories. Lots of veggies and fruit, good protein, quality fats.  Whole grains before and after a workout only.


Write. Move forward on life plans. Have some fun.

The fun will be easy.  I’m meeting friends at the Coliseum Friday to see my Indians and my A’s battle it out.  Saturday is a brunch/makeup party.  Fun and social activities in one.  Yay!

Back. Up.

I returned from my 4 day retreat in Tahoe – tired. Not exactly what I expected from a long weekend of rest; and rest is exactly what I did.

For 4 days, I knitted, talked, slept, ate too much, enjoyed the scenery, and basically chilled. The most physically active thing I did was foam roll every day. Which, by the way, went a long way on the resting/healing scale to make be feel better.

My eating was not fabulous. If there is one culprit in my less than energetic return, I would have to lay the blame there. I have yet to be successful at planning and enforcing a different diet on myself when surrounded by others who are eating much differently.

Partly, because the food they bring is so damn tempting -chips, cake, breads. And partly because, in my head, I feel judged for what I do eat and what I don’t.

I’m not sure that that judgement really exists anywhere outside of my own head. OK, a little bit of it does. Or maybe some of my friends feel as if I’m judging their diet if I eat differently?

I’m not sure.

But I’m home. Back on track. And feeling a little more energized every day.

Update and I’m off

A quick update on my hgh experimentation: in the last week I’ve changed my workouts to concentrate on:

  • compound joint weight training 3x a week.
  • stability/balance training 2-3x a week.
  • HIIT 2x a week (after stability work).
  • slow cardio 3-5x week (walking the dogs).

I do a variety of these activities as 2 a days.  -resistance train in the morning, walk in the late afternoon. etc.

I’ve worked my eating the way I planned: whole grain around workouts, proteins, fats and fiberous carbs the rest of the day.  Lots of water, and lots of sleep.

And this week, I lost 2.5# -most of it fat and a little bit of water.


Now I’m off for 4 days in Tahoe.  I don’t know about my wifi, so likely tty next week.

HGH, Part Two

Now that I’ve intrigued you about manipulating your natural ability to create HGH… Let’s remember (for many of us, there has been a holiday weekend to fog our recall):

What do I need to keep mind (and what can you do to get hgh working as your friend):

1. HGH is one of the powerful hormones that the body releases.  It’s released is tiny spurts throughout the day and has it’s largest release into the body one hour after falling asleep.  Hard anaerobic exercise (whether HIIT cardio or intense weight training- anytime you work hard enough to be come breathless and stay there for at least 30 seconds) encourages a release about an hour later, and increases the levels released during the night.

2. HGH is used to heal the body.  When we are children, HGH is the primary hormone of growth (hence it’s name); as adults it’s primary function is repairing what is damaged.  It does so by converting the fats in adipose tissue into the chemicals needed to build cellular walls, new blood vessels and connective tissue.

3. HGH is shut down by insulin.  Here’s the key.  When I eat simple carbs -sugars and refined flour products, or white potatoes or rice- the insulin spike these create completely shut down the HGH.  Insulin causes the body to STORE fat and our body’s recognize this as a more important long term survival technique.  (our body’s use millenia old techniques and do not recognize modern diets and lifestyles).  We cannot both store fat and access it to burn.  So the HGH shuts down.  What is circulating in the body goes to waste.

4. Because HGH does it best work while I’m sleeping, I need to plan on getting about 8 hours of good sleep a night.

So my goal:

  • get back to doing what I was doing right last year.  Work out hard, but allow myself plenty of time to heal.  I’m changing up to 3 full-body, compound move hard workouts a week.  Other days at the gym will be for cardio, balance and core training.  At least 2 days a week will be full rest days.
  • All these workouts need to be “metabolic” in nature.  That means lots of moving with very short rests.  I should be breathless, sweaty and red-faced within 10 minutes of starting to exercise and stay that way.  If I sit long enough to lose the sweat, I rested too long.
  • get back to eating the way I was.  It’s not for everybody, but I will look at flour-based products as my weekly treats, one or two a week. I will continue to eat plenty of healthy carbs, but these will be made up of whole grains (mainly oatmeal and brown rice, but others for variety), lots of vegetables and fruits.  Plenty of protein and healthy fats, too.
  • Time my carbs for early in the day- remembering that carbs are energy to fuel my day.  As I slow down in the evening, I stop needed more energy and stop eating carbs.
  • Get healthy sleep.  Go to bed at the same time every night.  My body wakes up at the same time every morning, no matter what, so I must respect this.
  • Fuel my workout.  I need a whole grain meal 2 hours before I hit the gym.  FOR ME, this is crucial.   The timing -again for me- is critical.  Have it too early, and after the workout I’m dying for simple carbs to refuel my muscles.  I will completely defeat the hard work with these.
  • Drink plenty of water.  Not normally a problem, but I must be sure that with the metabolism of fats I get enough water to maintain hydration.
  • Taking 400 mg of magnesium and zinc at bedtime seems to help encourage HGH burn.

My starting numbers: weight, 145# -I’d like to get it down to 128# by the end of the year.  Body Fat Composition: 29.9 %.  I’d like this down to 24# which mathematically means most of the weight I wish to lose should be fat.

Let the engine start burning!

HGH, part one.

Last fall, at a point where I felt really good, I was weight training hard several times a week.  I had begun to do some serious HIIT cardio 2-3 times a week.  I was eating clean and healthy – avoiding processed grains except for one occasional treat a week.  I was suprised how very good felt – and how the body fat seemed to finally be melting off me.  Really.  I’d bought 2 new pairs of jeans and had to add new buttons at the waist -and then move them another inch 2 weeks later.  This never happened to me before.

I mentioned this to Trainer Adam (my bud..) and he casually said: Of course.  It’s all the hgh you’re making.

I stopped in my tracks on that one.  He pointed out that hard anaerobic exercise – pushing yourself to just short of failure- will increase your body’s demand for hgh.  Eating properly will keep the hgh flowing.  And I was reaping the benefits.  After years of fantasizing about hitting the lottery and affording the “barely legal so highly expensive” hgh supplement life, here someone was telling me how to get the same results.

And the only cost was what I was already doing- eating well and exercising.

Between the middle of November and the end of December last year I gained 8# and lost a net 4″ on my body (just rechecked those numbers)  My thighs, biceps and upper back increased slightly in size.  My bra cup size decreased nearly one full size (yes, a good thing); my waist, hips, and thighs decreased. Including losing 2″ on my waist!  I built muscle -more than a woman really should in a month.

Then a combination of prescription drug changes, drug reactions, plus some injuries threw a proverbial wrench into the program.  I have lost the endurance and some of the strength that I had less than a year ago.  I developed deep cravings for carbohydrates.  I’ve lost that killer burn that I had going and have gained an additional 15# that I cannot attribute to muscle.

But now I’m feeling healthy (finally) and I’m ready to get back to where I was early last winter.  It will probably take me until November to get there, but I’ve got the goal set:


What is HGH and why am I fascinated by it?

HGH -or Human Growth Hormone is one of the powerful anabolic (muscle and tissue building) hormones our body creates.  It causes growth, is necessary for tissue repair, burns fat -especially adipose fat in our bellies- and shifts metabolism to prefer fat burning or glycogen (sugar) burning.

In 1990, people started talking about injections of HGH as “the fountain of youth” after a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The researcher injected small amounts (1-2 iu.s) of HGH into men 60-80 years old.  In 6 months -with no change in diet or exercise levels- they showed a 8% increase in lean mass; a 14% decrease in body fat, bone density increased in the spines, and their skin became less brittle and thin.

Until our mid-20s, HGH is produced in large quantities and utilized by our bodies to grow.  It begins to decrease production naturally in our late 20s/early 30s.  It is at this time that some of earliest signs of aging begin to appear:

  • hair begins to dull and change color.
  • begin to lose muscle mass and gain an average of 10# per decade after this age.
  • sleep begins to become a problem with some.
  • skin starts to thin slightly and early wrinkles begin to form.
  • aches and pains become more common.

These can all be signs of a lowering HGH blood level, which we think of as normal aging.

How would a adult over 30 increase the natural production and use of their own HGH?  This hormone is sensitive to:

  • low blood glucose levels
  • higher blood protein levels
  • fasting
  • deep sleep
  • exercise

These factors imply that a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (fiberous vegetables, fresh fruits), low in simple carbs (sugars and easily digestible carbs such as flour, white rice, and sugars), and healthy proteins and fats at each meal will help.

In addition, since the highest levels of HGH are released in sleep, doing what we can to get good sleep every night  increases the access to this hormone.  Hard exercise tears down the muscle and connective tissues, requiring further releases of HGH to aid in their repair.

Do you have any questions on HGH so far?  Tomorrow, my plan.