Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fitness update

I ended the week in slightly better shape than it started so I guess I'm pleased.  I'm down three pounds of fat since the end of my road trip so I've just got seven more to go.

I did my strength training this week and went to the driving range, but I haven't done much else.  I'm still having trouble incorporating cardio because I'm a lazy-ass dude.  It's pretty nice out so I should go for a bike ride.

I think I'll go back to just weekly measurements because I'm not adjusting anything based on a daily measurement and too many points seems to obscure the graphs a bit.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A trip to the driving range

After work today I went over to the driving range to practice.  It's been about four days since my first lesson and I forgot exactly which grip to use and how far away to stand.  However, my best hit balls still went 150-200 yards without a tee using a 7 yard.  I think that's pretty darn good.  Quite a bit of them drifted to the right though which may indicate too tight of a grip.

I felt like my posture was good, but my swing still needs a lot of work.  I did whiff a few times and topped the ball a few times more, but I was able to make solid contact most of the time.  I went through two buckets in about 45 minutes, but I made sure to try to develop a routine.

Golf definitely uses different muscles than most of my activities because my right wrist and tricep is sore.  It's possible I'm sore because of a poor swing because I wasn't this sore on Sunday.  However, I did my strength training yesterday and it's pretty tough on the arms.

I'll try to hit another bucket's worth on Saturday and then see how much correction I need during my second lesson on Sunday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Crockpot blueberry cake

For the fiftieth recipe for my challenge, I made a blueberry cake in the crockpot.  The directions were simple enough to follow and I think it turned out pretty well.  It's definitely has a strong blueberry flavor because I used berries that I bought from the farmer's market.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Roast lamb and roasted vegetables

I got a lamb shank at the farmer's market from a hippie with yellow teeth and I roasted it in the oven tonight for dinner.  I also roasted some vegetables in my toaster oven since they needed to cook at a different temperature. The lamb was tender, but a little on the bland side.  The meat was good, but I didn't sauce it up enough.  The vegetables turned out really well.

Two more new recipes means 49 done for my challenge.

Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan by Ronald H. Spector

I just finished Spector's comprehensive book on the battle in the Pacific during WWII between the US and Japan.  He does a great job of capturing the essentials of each battle.  You can tell he doesn't care much for MacArthur, but I don't blame him much because MacArthur was an attention whore of the finest degree.

You get the feeling throughout the book that Japan never really stood a chance once the US entered the war because the US' industrial might was able to churn out plane after plane and tank after tank.  Japan would've been better served by not attacking Pearl Harbor since they ultimately only knocked one ship permanently out of commission and brought the US into the war before Japan was really ready to deal with it.

I didn't realize the depth of the animosity between services, but I guess they both felt they needed to justify their existence.  It seems the same divisions were seen in the Japanese army as well.  The navy was gearing up to one decisive battle like back in the day, but warfare had evolved beyond.

This book is the third book on WWII I've read for my challenge.

First golf lesson

This morning I had my first golf lesson in more than 20 years with Herb at Western Turnkpike.  I didn't hit anything other than a 7 iron off a tee, but I think I did alright for a beginner.  He taught me the correct form and hit a few 150 yards which is pretty good.  My shot is obviously not consistent, but he said I learned pretty quickly and should be pretty teachable.

It was $20/hour more than I thought, but fortunately I had an extra $20 in my wallet.  Crikey.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fitness update

I measured my body composition nearly every day this week and I think I made good progress as shown from the two graphs. I added a new graph with my body fat over time. You can see the summer of 2008 was when I made the most rapid progress.

I've been eating healthily this week and have been consistent with my exercise. I started riding the exercise bike again, but I haven't been pushing myself because I want to ease into it to strengthen my knees. I would rather ride my real bike, but the weather hasn't cooperated.

I found an interesting article online about weight loss. The article is not particularly well-written, but the point seems to be solid. Weight loss isn't always about calories in minus calories out since you need to factor in body type, age, sex and most importantly, metabolic rate. You use energy just sittin' around, but how much depends on how fit you are. If you just cut your intake, you may not lose fat pounds because your body would much rather burn something else than its fat stores which are for emergencies.

I need to be more active to boost my metabolic rate which means more sports since I have a sedentary job.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fitness update

I was down in Fishkill for a work meeting and didn't eat all that well so I chunked out a bit.

Time to get back on the wagon to get everything pointed down again.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fitness update

It seems like I gained back some of the water lost during Saturday's hike.  Net fat loss of 0.7lbs since yesterday.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Crockpot lasagna

I like making stuff in the crockpot on Sunday because it's usually a set-it-and-forget-it kind of operation.  I was poking around online looking at crockpot recipes and found one for lasagna.  I gave it a shot and it's not bad.  It was a little watery, but I think the moisture comes from the ricotta cheese and once you cool it down, it'll firm up.

I would make it again.

I have now completed 47 recipes towards my challenge.

Hiking Blackhead and Blackdome Mountains

Yesterday, I hiked Blackhead and Blackdome Mountains with the usual crew. I like hiking in the Catskills because the trailheads are closer and the trails tend to be a little shorter. They're generally steeper so you get more or less the same workout.

I was haulin' on the flats, but predictably ran out of gas for the steep part. I also tweaked my left knee a bit coming down so I was pretty slow there as well. However, I think I got a good workout and the weather cooperated. There were a lot of flies at the top, but the occasional breeze took care of them.

These two mountains are numbers 2 and 3 for height in the Catskills so we were able to get great views. They just miss out on being 4000ft peaks.

Hiking stats:
Mileage: 5.9mi
Moving avg: 2.4mph
Moving time: 2:28
Overall avg: 1.5mph
Total ascent: 2253ft
Max elevation: 3984ft

The hike was pretty much a loop which is another nice feature about hikes in the Catskills:

Picture vomit:

This hike is the sixth I've done for my challenge.

Serbian moussaka

Last night, I made Serbian moussaka from a recipe from a former coworker who is originally from Serbia. Unlike Greek moussaka, this version is based on potatoes.

It was filling, but a little bland. I think I would add cheese next time to add more flavor. It's also probably more tasty during the winter when it's cold out.

I did get a chance to try out my new cast iron Dutch oven.

I've now polished off 46 new recipes towards my challenge.

I can't figure out why the picture is rotated; it must be a setting on my camera, but if I wanted to rotate the shot, I would've rotated my camera. Gah.

Fitness update

To check the variability of my scale, I decided to measure myself most days this week.  I got on this morning and it says I gained 1.5lbs of fat since yesterday.  I find that hard to believe because I went hiking yesterday and didn't eat all that much.  I think the weight measurement is accurate, but the body fat percentage is a crapshoot.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fitness update

I don't think I exercised as much as I could have, yet I lost roughly 0.9lbs of fat since Wednesday and 2lbs overall.  I have been really hungry this week which is a sign my metabolism is changing.  I tried not to give in too much, but who knows?

In any case, I'm starting to build some downward momentum again so I'll try to keep it up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fitness update

I lost about 0.6lbs of fat since last Saturday which puts me about 1.5lbs below my post-road trip fat count.  The hike on Saturday helped quite a bit, but I've been more diligent about exercise this week.

I know what to do to get into shape, but I need to maintain discipline.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Snowy Mountain hike

I went hiking again yesterday, but this time we drove up to the Adirondacks to do a bit longer hike.  We chose Snowy Mountain and it was a good choice.  The weather looked crappy when we left, but it didn't rain at all while we were hiking.  It wasn't as hot as the past couple of weekends, but it was pretty humid.  There were also a lot of black flies at the top.  I was covered pretty well, but took my long sleeved shirt off and promptly got bit four times by black flies.  Their bite leaves a small welt which itch like crazy.  These bites also seem to resist the power of Calamine lotion.

I had more energy for this like and was able to power through the flat sections.  The last mile is pretty steep, but we managed.  I'm slowly getting into better shape, but a little too slowly for my tastes.

We put my walkie-talkies to good use when I was trying to find the fire tower.  I'm scared of open heights, but went pretty far up the tower just to make myself do it.

Hiking stats:
Mileage: 7.57mi
Moving avg: 2.6mph
Moving time: 2:54
Overall avg: 1.7mph
Total ascent: 2206ft
Max elevation: 3891ft

The hike is a down and back:
It's pretty steep near the peak which misses out being a high peak by roughly 100ft:

Picture vomit:

This hike is the fifth I've done for my challenge.