Sunday, June 27, 2010

But Its A Dry Heat...

Nothing like a warm summer day in Vegas - 109 degrees - but its a dry heat!  As one who lives on the steamy coast of North Carolina, I can respect that little detail, but hot is hot - and I love it!  Shedding pounds means getting rid of insulation, and I can deal with the heat quite well as a result.  But 109 is a bit warm for power-walking, so I chose the early morning when it was only about 90 degrees in the desert.  And yes, I was in the desert, not on the Vegas strip.  The hotel is listed as a Vegas Resort property and to give it credit, if you are on one of the top floors with a pair of binoculars you can actually see the strip. (But it was only a $45.00 cab ride each way... ) With that said, the resort property was top-notch and since it was the location of the conference and trade show I was working, it made sense to stay there. 
The property had its own workout facility, but I hate gyms and chose to get my exercise in by venturing out into the desert heat and doing some intensive walking.  The M Resort has a sidewalk around the perimeter, which is about 1.25 miles in length, so 4 laps was ideal.  And the scenery was pretty cool even if the temperature wasn't.  I don't get to see the desert too often, so it was another adventure of sorts.  Of course I was hoping for some kind of exotic encounter like a set of bleached bones shimmering in the heat, or a giant taratula, or even a rattlesnake sunning itself on a rock... or not.  Instead I got a decent calorie burn in a great setting.

One thing about Vegas, you can't give up your exercise routine, cause you need something to counter the margaritas.  So regardless of the heat, I kept up with my walking, but at least it was a dry heat...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Watching Shoobies

So what's a shoobie you ask?  I had to ask the same question of my children, as they are the ones who brought the term into the house.  Turns out it's a reference to tourists who are visiting our area. 

Now it helps to know that I live on the coast of North Carolina where we are deluged with tourists every summer who come down to visit our great beaches.  Being the good locals that we are, we draw a line between the tourists and ourselves. 

Don't take that personally, its just the way it is.  We love where we live and are proud of it.  And, we have our ways, which really does separate us from the visitors, who definitely stand out when they hit the beach.

Ok, so back to what a shoobie is.  Sadly, we see many visitors who are improperly dressed, and one of the most bizarre examples is wearing socks with sandals and shorts.  I mean, come on, this has got to be the silliest combination of all time.  Why take off the long pants, only to cover back up with socks.  And why would anyone wear socks with sandals?  The wholes purpose of sandals is to go barefoot with a little extra protection for the soles of your feet.

Oh yeah, and I should mention that most of the locals don't wear sandals at all - uncool. Flip flops are king and Rainbows are the most popular brand. Yep, they cost $50.00 but they are a sure fire symbol of being a local.

So that is what a shoobie is - a sandal and sock wearing tourist!    And when I am out walking I see these kind of things routinely.  Of course, it just adds another element of humor to the daily walk, which is a big part of why walking is fun for me.

Shoobie watching while walking - another benefit of daily walking, and you thought it was just about the calories...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Calories Burned Off - Shoes Blown Out

@#$%! Another 90 days, another pair of walking shoes blown out.  So I guess thats not such a bad thing cause it means I'm keeping my feet moving and the calories burning.  But it does get expensive.  I don't buy cheap shoes!  I spent a lot of time testing brands until I found shoes that not only feel great, but actually seem to give me a boost of energy.     Not to sound like a commercial, but I finally settled on the asics brand.  At an average price of $99.00 I end up spending about $400/year on walking shoes, but its a small price to pay for the benefits I get in return.  They don't wear out because of workmanship, but because I wear the soles down to nothing.  In fact, every pair I have worn out looks brand new until you flip them over and look at the bottom.  Keep in mind that I walk a minimum of 35 miles per week and sometimes hit 50 miles, so its really a matter of excessive use, not poor quality.

So by now I'm starting to look like a walking fanatic - maybe I am - but it keeps the weight off and works for me...  And if you are just starting out and my numbers look unachievable, just remember that I didn't start out at that level.  In the beginning, I found 15 minutes of walking 3 days per week to be tough!  I was lucky if that was 1 mile total!  Choose something that works, keep with it, gradually increase your levels, and one day you may find yourself cussing at blown out shoes as well.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Walking Into History

On Wednesday (I was still on a business trip to Charleston, SC) I decided to find a different place to walk besides the Ravenel Bridge.  The bridge is really cool, but the winds were blowing pretty hard at ground level, so I figured it must feel like a small hurricane up there above the harbor.  Besides, I like a bit of variety.  Sooo, I decided to combine walking with a bit of history and headed over to Fort Moultrie on Sullivans Island. 

Fort Moutlrie was a Civil War Fort and now is a State Park kind of thing.  I wasn't planning on touring the fort, but rather walking the grounds, as most Forts I have visited in the past, have some extensive open areas around them.  As it turn out, it wasn't as conducive to power-walking as I had hoped, but I managed to get in about 3 miles over 45 minutes. 

I will say the views were good, as the Fort is on the tip of Sullivans Island right at the entrance to the Charleston Harbor.  That means plenty of water views and I caught a freighter heading out to see.  Of course the Fort makes a interesting backdrop and the breezes were really good.  Oh yeah, and there was free parking!

I know, I know, I am a walking freak.  I do it pretty much everyday and it works.  But as I keep saying, in order to stick with it, there has to be an element of fun and that is my focus.  Balancing this with a lot less food than in my former life makes all the difference.  And another point is that walking can be done anywhere anytime.  No excuses!  Just because I am away from home, doesn't mean my exercise program stops.

Never forget, that whatever you do to lose weight, you will have to continue to do to maintain the weight loss. So choose your methods carefully and make sure its something you are willing to stick with for life.  You will be wasting your time if you lose weight then go back to your normal ways.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Great Walking Spots - The Ravenel Bridge

So today I crossed a bridge - literally!  The Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, SC is a great opportunity for burning a few calories.  Some bright people way back in the planning stages decided to add a pedestrian lane to the bridge to accomodate walkers, runners and bikers.  It makes for an interesting journey up and over the Cooper River.

I gotta tell you, the views are incredible.  You get a fantastic look at the skyline of Charleston, from up high.  You can see down the river to the ocean and watch freighters pass under you as you walk. 

The 5 mile round trip (shore to shore and back) took me about an hour and 15 minutes, even with the uphill portions.  So far it ranks as one of my favorite walking places and works well for keeping me on track when I travel.

If you get a chance to visit Charleston, SC, try to schedule in the "bridge".

Monday, June 7, 2010

Where Are All The Fat People?

That sounds like a nasty thing to say...  But its an honest thought I had while doing a 4.5 mile power walk on Friday. I was doing my favorite walk on the loop at Wrightsville Beach and happened to noticed that all the others (runners, walkers, joggers) were pretty much in shape - there were no fat people.  Ok, so it was 93 degrees in the middle of a bright sunny day - call me crazy, but its my preference - so the heat factor probably was keeping most sane people indoors, certainly the bigger ones cause they typically have a lower tolerance to heat (I know, I used to be there).  But this observation of no fat people is really applicable to all times of the day, not just the furnace phase.

My point is that those who seem to need the exercise the most are the very ones not doing it.  I skim through hundreds of blogs and see soooooo many people complaining about not being able to lose weight, yet I don't see a lot of heavy people on the move.  I lost 70 punds in 10 months and not one ounce came off from sitting on the counch (or the computer) whining about not being able to lose weight.

I purposely chose walking because I can do it anytime, anywhere and it doesn't cost any money.  I can't run due to prior knee surgeries, but I can walk my @#$% off.  Yeah, I had to work up to it over time, but I shoot for a minimum of 5 miles everyday, at an average speed of 4.25 miles per hour. 

So maybe all the other "fit" people that I see in motion on the loop are just like me, someone who was big and now is much smaller.  Or maybe they were born that way and want to make sure they always stay in shape.  Gyms seem to be the same way - full of skinny people, not fat people.

With that said, I do see heavier people once in a while trying to get into walking and when I do I want to applaud.  It would be nice to give them encouragement, but on the other hand there is a good chance they would rather not have the spotlight turned on them, especially if they are self-conscious about their weight, which is understandable.  So I will just say it here "good for you - go for it and stick with it!"

But if you are one of those who finds it easier to complain about your weight than to do something constructive about it I say "shut up and get off your butt!"  I'm a meat and potatoes, semi-lazy guy and when I finally did the same thing, it made a difference.  If I can do it, anyone can.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Two More Following In My Footsteps For A Healthier Lifestyle

Amazingly, I have done several consecutive days of 6 mile walks - 90 minutes in length.  Still hitting the beach area, but not the sand!  On Sunday and Monday two of my kids starting on a walking routine.  Of course they are not at my level by any means, but at least they had desire to follow in my footsteps.  The real test is whether they will stick with it or not.

Unfortunately, my daughter had some serious blisters after two days and took the third day off.  Can't blame her on that!  I told both of them not to overdo it and to keep it fun.  It takes them about a hour to go 2.5 miles, which is ok for someone just starting out.  I would be happy if they could do that about 3 days per week.  I'm really excited that they found the motivation on their own and hope for the best.

I try not to get too overbearing with them - bad habit of mine when it comes to weight loss strategy... bu tI do hope for the best with them.