When’s My Next Rest Day?

March 15, 2012

I’m usually pretty good at listening to my body. I like working out and pushing myself, but I understand the importance of giving my body the occasional day to recuperate. Right now, my goal is to exercise six times a week (five is acceptable, but six is ideal), and even though I switch up my workouts, it still takes a toll on my body.

Sometimes, I plan rest days into my schedule. My last rest day was on March 5th, which was my birthday – the perfect day to relax and focus on more important things (like the major fitness challenges I gave myself). Other times, I just listen to my body, which is pretty good about letting me know when it needs a break. My body’s main modes of communication are fatigue and soreness (above and beyond standard post-workout soreness), but it’s sending mixed messages right now. It’s probably because my workouts have been a little bit different this week.

First off, I haven’t lifted weights since Saturday, when I spent about a half hour in the weight room, after using the StairMaster for 20 minutes (more on this later). It wasn’t an intentional plan to go most of the week without strength training – it that happened that way. And now, five days later, I’m itching to lift weights.

Secondly, I tried something new on Sunday, and it was completely successful, and by ‘successful,’ I mean ‘brutally difficult.’ I’ve been doing a lot of StairMaster lately, in preparation for my two big upcoming stair climb fundraisers (donate here or here, won’t you?), but I wanted to climb actual stairs in an actual building as part of my training as well. There are no super-tall buildings in my immediate neighborhood, but I concocted a challenging plan anyway.

On Sunday night, I ran about 3/4 of a mile to a 5-story, completely empty parking garage. Without ever stopping, I ran up one stairwell to the roof, ran across the roof to the stairwell at the other end, and ran down it, doing that loop over and over and over. Sometimes when I reached the bottom, I immediately turned around and ran back up to the roof and continued in the opposite direction. My goal was to do this running/stairs combo as long as possible, without stopping. About 10 minutes in, my side started cramping, but I pushed through it, and I soon settled into a cramp-free rhythm.

After 35 minutes, I knew I was close to calling it quits, so I started running home. Three minutes later, I finally stopped. Add in 5-6 minutes of both warm-up and cool-down, and I was on the streets for about 50 minutes. I lost count of the total number of flights I ran, but it was a lot. It felt great. And the next morning, I was sore in every part of both legs.

My legs didn’t get much of a break, though – I spent all of Monday at Disney California Adventure, which, while not a dedicated workout, still involved a ton of walking – miles and miles of it, I’m sure. On Tuesday, I took one of Richard Simmons’ classes at Slimmons (which always involve a ton of leg lifts), and yesterday, I went on an hour-long early-morning hike (with a substantial elevation change) with a friend.

I feel like it’s time to give my legs a day off. On the other hand, I feel like my upper body has been sorely neglected the past few days, and I wanna do something about it. Help – I don’t know what to do!

I’m writing this post late Wednesday night, and my current plan is to see how I feel on Thursday morning. I have  a hunch I won’t wake up terribly sore (the hike, while rigorous, was still less intense than most of my standard workouts), so maybe I should push myself for one more weight-intensive session at the gym, and then rest on Friday. On the other hand, I have exercised the past nine days in a row. Do I postpone an upper body weight training session another day and rest, just because I feel I’m due for a rest day? I’m not quite sure what to do when half of my body could benefit from a break and the other half is jonesin’ for more!  I’d love your thoughts on the matter – and that’s why I have a comments section, so speak up!

Before wraping this up, I wanna rewind back to Saturday. I’ve already mentioned above that I spent 20 minutes on the StairMaster, and it was a good 20 minutes. I didn’t get nearly as frustrated with the machine as I did last time – I just found a pace that was comfortable, covered the display with my towel, and didn’t overly concern myself with my Steps Per Minute. The end result was 300 calories burned and 84 stories climbed!

EIGHTY-FOUR STORIES! You know what that means, boys and girls – time to add a skyscraper to my collection! The newest addition to my collection is all the way on the other side of the planet – in a country (and a continent) not yet represented. That’s right – it’s off to Australia!

Check out the Q1, the tallest building in Australia:

At 80 stories, the Q1 is the fifth tallest all-residential building in the world, and the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. Located in Surfers Paradise, on the Gold Coast, it has apartments that vacationers and tourists can rent – check availability/pricing here. The Q1 has an observation deck called Skypoint, on the 77th floor, overlooking the beach. Once you’re up at Skypoint, you can then opt to do the Skypoint Climb – where you go outside onto a platform, and climb 298 stairs to the pinnacle of the building – where you’re 885 feet above the sidewalk. YES, PLEASE! I wanna go to Australia just to do that!

I just added the Q1 to my Skyscraper Collection – so click here to see how it compares to the 26 other skyscrapers that I’ve theoretically climbed!

Damn – I love how the Q1 dominates the skyline in that first picture… and I climbed that building, all the way to the top!


More Vegas Fun

August 2, 2011

Hopefully you didn’t miss yesterday’s post – a full run-down of my audition to be a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire!  (If you did miss it, you can read it here).  The audition was the reason I hit the road and headed to Las Vegas, Nevada.  I’ve also already shared my plan for healthy eating in Vegas, but there’s a few more things about my stay in Vegas that I wanna share.  Are you in?

1) Bodies.  The night before the audition, I headed over to the Luxor to check out Bodies: The Exhibition.  Have any of you seen this?  It’s been around since 2005, touring museums, but I’ve never had the chance to see it.  It’s a exhibit about the wonders of the human body, featuring (and this is a quote from their press release):

“…more than 260 full body, organ and partial body specimens. These real human bodies have been meticulously dissected, preserved through an innovative process and respectfully presented, giving visitors the opportunity to view the beauty and complexity of their own organs and systems.”

The fact that the exhibit uses real-life human corpses has been a source of controversy since before Day 1, and even inspired a storyline on Boston Legal.

Basically, the exhibit is a series of rooms, with each one focusing on a different system in the human body – skeleton, respiratory, muscular, nervous, circulatory, and so on, but instead of drawings or models of organs, they display real life preserved bodies and body parts.  The whole thing is utterly fascinating, and I found it also more than a little bit unsettling, even though I don’t have moral objections to displaying human cadavers.  Each room had a centerpiece, which was one of the fully-preserved cadavers, with layers peeled and cut away to show different muscle groups, organs, bones, or whatever.  Here’s an image of one of them from the exhibit’s website (where you can learn a lot more):

Yep. It’s a real body.

I found myself most interested in the systems that I’ve been focusing on myself in the past year and a half – specifically, muscles and the digestive tract.  It was really interesting to see the actual muscles, like biceps, quads, and traps, that I’ve been working so hard to develop lately, and one of my favorite displays was a full digestive tract, from tongue to anus, showing every foot of intestine that every bite of food travels through.  It’s a long journey – 30 feet!

I’m curious if any of my readers have seen Bodies at the Luxor or elsewhere…  if so, what did you think?

2) Gambling.  It’s the first question that asked after learning about a Vegas trip:  How did you make out?  I stuck with slot machines this trip (my favorite slot machine, called Benny Big Game, in particular), and at the end of Day 1, I was up 22 cents (yep, I’m a high roller), and at the end of Day 2, I was down $40 (which I had previously decided would be my gambling budget).  At one point I was up $35, but I thought I was on a roll and didn’t cash out.  Oops.

3) Exercise.  I stayed at Gold Coast, the hotel/casino where the auditions were being held.  They had a fitness center out back, by the pool, and I took advantage of it both mornings I was in town.  And, excluding the final 10 minutes on the second day, I had the entire place to my whole the whole time!  It wasn’t a fancy gym, but it did the trick:

On Day 1, I grabbed two 10-pound weights and did a variety of different upper body exercises: bicep curls, military presses, and a bunch of different things targeting my shoulders, back, and chest.  I also did 60 push-ups, 40 tricep dips, and a shit-ton of walking lunges.  After 40 minutes of all that, I jumped on a crossramp elliptical and went for 20 minutes.  On crossramp ellipticals, you can adjust the incline (like you can on a treadmill), so you can work different muscle groups and add more variety to your workout.  None of the ellipticals at my gym at home are crossramps, so I was excited to use one here, and during the 20 minutes, I worked my way to to level 20 for both resistance and inclination – the highest the machine allows!

On Day 2, I grabbed the 10-pound weights again, but this time, got on the recumbent bike, and started pedaling away while doing intervals of various shoulder and arm exercises, about 7 different ones in total.  After 35 minutes on the bike, I did 10 minutes on the crossramp, and called it a day.  Between the bike and the crossramp, I burned 450 calories – and that doesn’t include the calories burned by the weight-lifting!

Keep it up, David!