These Songs Helped Me Power Through My Races – They’ll Help You Smash Your Workouts Too!

November 29, 2017

About two months ago, I added a bunch of new songs to my iPod. And I started getting huge PRs at my races: I shaved seven minutes off my time in Palm Springs, and nearly four minutes off my times in Chicago. Coincidence? Maybe! (I’ve also been training like a madman.)

I know for sure that the songs keep me moving, keep my spirits up, and keep me motivated, and those are three things I need during a long and challenging race. Maybe these songs will help pump you up during your workouts, too! Read the rest of this entry »

3WAYS2 Pump Up Your Running Playlist… with Songs that Have ‘Run’ in the Title!

September 16, 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve shared songs from my workout playlist. It’s the perfect topic for 3WAYS2, my new recurring post featuring tips, tricks and suggestions across the entire health, fitness, and weight loss spectrum. Today’s topic is (obviously) workout music. Good music makes my workouts (and races!) fly by, and here are three songs that I currently love to play while Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Hot on My iPod

January 29, 2014

I’m happy to report than this week has been going very well. Eating well, and getting in my workouts: last night was Slimmons, the night before was upper body weights, and on Sunday, good ol’ cardio. I hope to take a Powerwave Battle Ropes class tonight, but I’ll be on a waiting list to get in, and it’ll depend on how many people show up (so send your good group fitness class vibes my way, por favor!)

I know I’m not alone when I say that music really helps push me through my workouts. My iPod and earbuds are at the top of my workout necessity list (along with water and heart rate monitor).

It’s been a while since I’ve shared the songs that keep me moving, and I’ve been loving my workout playlist lately, so… here are some of my favorites!

Read the rest of this entry »


May 25, 2012

I had to buy a new iPod. I last wrote about my iPod in March, when I dropped it on cement and cracked the glass. My iPod rebounded from that trauma, and the cracked screen proved not to be a fatal wound, just an unsightly cosmetic one. What did my iPod in was some sort of faulty, damaged battery. I didn’t get the specifics, nor did I care – what was important was that I got a new iPod, and, once again, all is well in my mobile music world.

The iPod wasn’t the only thing that came home with me from the mall. That’s because the Apple store I frequent, at the Glendale Galleria, is right next door to one of my favorite stores in the entire world: a store that whisks me immediately back to my childhood and fires up every creative and design-related synapse in my brain…

…The Lego Store!

Read the rest of this entry »

Workout Playlist

April 17, 2012

I’m moving slow today, folks. Quite literally. I’ll get to that in a second.

Yesterday was a day for the books, in both good and bad ways. It began with me dropping my car off to be serviced, thanks to the Check Engine light coming on a few days ago. I waited around until they were done with the diagnostic, when I learned that my car needed a new thermostat. I’m not a huge car guy, but I learned that the thermostat regulates the coolant that enters the engine. Without enough coolant, the car will overheat. The thermostat has a valve that opens and closes to allow the coolant to enter, and my valve was sticking shut.Not good.

  • The bad news: I had to spent a few hundred bucks on a new thermostat.
  • The good news: I brought it in at the right time: had I continued driving with a closed thermostat valve, the engine would’ve surely overheated and caused thousands of dollars of damage.
  • The best news: I learned that Fiona, my amazing service advisor, has been featured in a series of Ford commercials with Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs and Ford spokesman for the past 5 years! She’s wonderful in the commercials, but she’s completely embarrassed by them, so she’s gonna love that I’m posting links. Watch her here, here, here and here.

What does any of this have to do with health/fitness/weight loss/food/the usual topics I blog about? Nothing. But I did go all day without my car yesterday, so I didn’t make it to the gym. I got my car back around 6:30 and then had evening plans that went a little longer than I was anticipating, so I didn’t make it home until about 11pm. It wasn’t until close to midnight that I went down to the little gym in my building to get some exercise in. I ended up using the elliptical for 46 minutes, and I felt great, and slept wonderfully afterwards.

This morning, I woke up to a throbbing, painful left foot. That’s why I’m moving slow today. I think I must of twisted it or something, although last night it was fine before I went to bed. The pain has subsided a little bit during the past few hours, and I’m icing it right now, as I type. I’m going to see how it progresses over the course of the day before deciding whether or not to see my doctor.

My first thought, when I woke up, was OH SHIT, This better not be anything major, 5 days before my big 163-story stair climb fundraiser. I’d feel TERRIBLE if I need to postpone the stair climb, because I feel like it’s all I’ve talked about for the past 2 months. Even I’m sick of hearing myself talk about it. Plus, so many amazing donors have ponied up over $1,300 for Whaley Children’s Center in Michigan (DONATE HERE!) – even though I’m sure they’d understand, I’d still feel awful having to push this to another day. But I’m thinking positive. It’ll all be a moot point, because I’m going to be FINE by Saturday.Do you hear me? FINE!

At 12:30 last night, while churning away on the elliptical, fighting fatigue (both from the workout, and from the fact that it was 12:30am), I was incredibly grateful for my iPod. I have a special playlist that fuels me through most of my workouts, filled with my favorite songs that make me move. In the past, I’ve written posts about my go-to songs of the moment (like KT Tunstall’s “Push That Knot Away,” Snow Patrol’s “Open Your Eyes,” and Honorebel’s “Now You See It”), but I’ve never shared my entire workout playlist.

Until now.

My workout playlist is continually being tweaked. I add or remove songs every couple weeks, as my moods and tastes change. At the moment, it consists of 46 songs, and here they are:

For the sake of this post, I organized them alphabetically by artist, but in the gym, I listen to it on shuffle. It’s a pretty eclectic collection – here are some notes and thoughts on some of the songs (with links where you can listen for free):

My current go-to song, that I’m listening to at the start (and often end) of every workout, is Cee Lo Green’s “Bright Lights Bigger City”. It has a great beat, and I love its use of violins and sirens. Here’s the video:

The most recent additions are three songs from Madonna’s brand-spanking-new album, MDNA. I like most of the album, and I’ll probably add more songs from it to my workout playlist, but right now, my favorite track for exercising is “I Don’t Give A.” Nicki Minaj is featured on the track, and the final minute, which layers increasingly dramatic choral voices, is quite striking:

There’s a lot of tracks that might be unexpected on a workout playlist. There’s a showtune: “America” from West Side Story. There’s an Bluegrass/Classical crossover track called “Attaboy,” from an album called The Goat Rodeo Sessions that I’ve loved ever since I saw it performed on The Colbert Report last fall. There’s a couple uptempo classical pieces, as well: the final movement of Prokofiev’s 2nd Piano Concerto, and the final movement of Haydn’s 92nd Symphony. (I’ll admit that sometimes I’m not in the mood for orchestral stuff, and will jump to the next song if these come up, but sometimes I’ll base an entire workout around listening to pieces like these). There a couple more orchestral pieces that are parts of film scores: “The Adventures of Mutt” is from the most recent Indiana Jones movie, and won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition. “Bolero” plays over the end credits of Moulin Rouge, and is a favorite for cardio, because while it starts slow, the tempo get ratcheted up to a fever pitch.

Most of the rest of the tracks are pop, dance, or R&B, although lately I’ve been really enjoying a couple rock songs, which traditionally haven’t been on my radar for workout purposes. In addition to the aforementioned “Open Your Eyes” (Snow Patrol), I’ve also love Silversun Pickups’ “Panic Switch” and Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer” (I love the “Paralyzer” video because the Aon Center, which I climbed a few weekends ago, is in the background).

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, my workout playlist. I’m always on the lookout for new music, so let me know, in the comments section, your favorite songs to exercise to!

All this talk about music has me jonesing for a workout! I’m weary, because of my foot, but maybe by the end of the day if it’s better I’ll go to the gym and try some seated upper body weightlifting that doesn’t put any weight or pressure on my feet.

Keep it up, David!

Broken Technology

March 16, 2012

The technology is my life is crumbling around me, but I’ll survive.

Exhibit A: Padlock. I have a cheap little padlock that I use at the gym to lock up my stuff, and the other day, it wandered off. It’s nowhere to be found. It’s not the end of the world – I only spent $6 on it, and I’ll swing by the store and spend another $6 on a new one, but it’s still annoying. Especially since, in all likelihood, the minute I come home with a new one, the old one will miraculously appear.

Exhibit B: iPod. I go through iPods much quicker than any normal person should. I use mine all the time – for all my workouts, and whenever I’m driving. I’m currently on my fourth iPod in a year. I can’t remember what happened to the first – I think I lost it. The second was a Shuffle that I left on an airplane (that wasn’t the end of the world, I didn’t really care for the Shuffle anyway). The third was a Nano Touch that stopped working altogether. I took that one to the Apple store, and they replaced it, free of charge, with the fourth, my current Nano Touch.

Recently, I had my arms full of stuff as I headed down to my car – gym clothes, a bag of recycling to drop off in our trash room, reusable grocery bags to put in my trunk, and I ended up dropping my iPod. Twice. Once on cement. And this is what happened:

D’oh! Thankfully, it’s just the glass that cracked – the screen itself is fine and readable and the iPod still works. I’m not going to rush out to buy iPod #5, mainly because I don’t want to spend the money. I plan on nursing this injured baby as long as I can, hoping, the entire time, that its injuries are indeed just cosmetic and not fatal.

Exhibit C: Microwave. My microwave stopped working. Microwaves are one of those appliances where replacing them are often times more cost-effective than servicing them, but my microwave is a built-in microwave/hood dealie above my stove.

I was lamenting to my sister about my broken microwave, and she goes “I thought hippie healthy people don’t use microwaves.” I laughed, but I do use a microwave regularly: reheating leftovers, making oatmeal, cooking frozen veggie burgers when I’m too lazy to use a skillet. I’ve gotten really cook at cooking eggs for breakfast sandwiches in the microwave – and that’s one of my favorite grab-and-go morning meals.

A comparable replacement microwave would cost in the neighborhood of $300 – a lot of money that I don’t have. So I started doing research. After scouring the interwebs and taking note of my unit’s symptoms, I was pretty confident in my own diagnosis: My microwave had a faulty/broken door switch. All microwaves have door switches – they’re sensors that tell the machine the door is closed. The microwave won’t turn on if the door is open, so a door switch is a key microwave component.

I live down the street from a Sears, and they helped me identify which door switch I needed. They also recommended a new fuse, in case that was blown. They couldn’t get the parts in stock for a week, so I didn’t order them – I figured there had to be some place in Los Angeles, the second biggest city in the country, that had these parts in stock. Sure enough, I found a place that did. The very next day I had a new door switch and a new fuse, and I was determined to make the repair myself.

With help from the interwebs, I figured out how to take my microwave apart, and I found the door switch in the microwave’s innards. And this was where I encountered my first problem: my microwave has two door switches, and I didn’t know which was the broken one. I don’t own the equipment (an ohmmeter?) to test them, either. Then I realized that even if I knew which door switch to replace, I was lacking some tool that was needed to remove them from their internal homes.

I ended up calling a repairman from Craigslist, who came the next morning, charged me $80, swapped out the fuse and the door switch, and got my microwave working again. Add in the $65 I paid for the parts, and I spent $145 – significantly less than a new microwave, and significantly less than having a professional diagnose the problem (I had priced that out, and it would’ve cost $139 just to get a technician through the door, before parts and labor). I’m a little bummed that I wasn’t able to actually fix my microwave myself, but I’m incredibly proud that I correctly identified the problem, ordered the right parts, and saved myself $150 (at least)!

A few updates before signing off: Thank you all for your input on my rest day dilemma – I ended up taking a rest day on Thursday, and I’m glad I did. I’m off to the gym now to hit the weights for the first time in almost a week – looking forward!

Lastly, A big thank you to everyone that’s donated to my two upcoming stair climb fundraisers! Between the two events, over $1,000 has been raised – a figure that completely bewilders me! I’ve upped my goals multiple times for each event, and there’s still lots of time for you to get in on the action. All the money goes to one of two great charities: Whaley Children’s Center or the American Lung Association, and every little bit, even $5 or $10, really makes a difference. Have you donated yet? CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT MY STAIR CHALLENGES AND MAKE A DONATION!

Keep it up, David!


Workout Motivation

September 23, 2010

I got a question from a reader, via Facebook, that I thought I’d try to answer.  I say ‘try’ because, well, this whole answering-reader-mail thing is new to me, and who knows if my answer will at all be satisfactory.  But I’ll give it a go.  Here’s the question:

“Do you have any suggestions on how you keep motivated with your regular workouts? Seems like that is really a strong suit for you, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s curious about it 🙂 90 minutes of exercise is no cake walk!”

Good question, reader, good question (that seems like a polite way to start).

The 90 minutes she’s referring to was my Wednesday workout, which I mentioned in this post.  And, to answer the question, there’s a couple things that keep me moving.  One thing is that I sometimes set smaller goals for a  given day’s workout and then end up exceeding them, which makes me feel fantastic.  Yesterday, for example, my goal was to do 45 minutes of toning and then 20 minutes of cardio.  As I was working my way through the toning, I set a little plan for which machines I’d use to get me to 45 minutes.  When I hit 40 minutes, I saw that the last 2 machines I wanted to use were in use, and instead of waiting around, I thought ‘screw it’ – and jumped on the elliptical.  I felt really good on the elliptical, and when I hit about 18 minutes, I decided that I could keep this up, and bumped my target time to 30 minutes instead of 20.  30 minutes then turned into 40 minutes, and at 40 minutes, I knew I was only 4 minutes away from the machine turning off (because the ‘Quick Start’ program on the machine is a 44 minute program), so I decided I could finish strong.  A ninety minute workout seems daunting, that’s for sure.  But a shorter workout doesn’t, and when I push myself past my goals, there’s a really incredible sense of accomplishment.

Another thing I do is constantly switch up my workouts to I don’t get bored.  If I work out 5 times in a week (which has been about average for me the past couple of months), there’s a good chance that none of them will be the same workout.  Right now I alternate between classes at Slimmons, going for a jog, doing cardio at the gym, lifting weights at the gym, and for the last month or so, I’ve been taking a Latin Jam dance/aerobics class at another gym (it’s on my list to blog about).  Very rarely the same thing twice in a row.  Taking a class almost always results in a good workout for me, because I’m naturally a competitive person, and I don’t want to be the slacker in the class that can’t keep up.  Even if you don’t have a gym membership or classes available in your area, you can still find ways to switch up your routine, by alternating between going or a walk or jog, riding a bike, doing a workout video, or doing toning exercises in your living room (you can find articles like this one all over the interweb).

Right here was where I wanted to insert a photo of my iPod, but my camera’s batteries are charging, and we all know what an iPod looks like, don’t we?  But it brings me to my last tip – Bring great music for your workouts!  I keep a “Workout” playlist on my iPod.  It’s not a terribly long list – about 25  songs or so, but I’m constantly moving songs on and off the list, because I get sick of songs quickly.  Right now, the new Kanye West song keeps me moving.

And last week, I added Gwen Stefani’s “Wind It Up” back onto my workout playlist.  I had forgotten about that song, but it’s silly and bizarre and I get a kick out of it.

Well, those are some of my tricks and tools…  Hopefully this was helpful!  Keep it up, reader, and…

Keep it up, David!