I said I wasn’t going to write about writing for a while, so I guess I’ll write about fitness instead.
There are certain things that I like a lot of structure around; exercising is one of them. I mentioned yesterday that I have a deck of Strength and Toning cards. Gwen gave these to me for Christmas a few years ago, and I’ve gotten good use out of them. Each card has single exercise or stretch on it. The front side has illustration of a person performing the exercise, and the back has instructions. The design works really well. The first time or two I tried a new exercise, I looked at the back to figure out how to do it. After that, I just looked at the front to spur my memory. The illustration was the key part, as just reading the name wouldn’t have worked as well.
The idea with these cards is that you assemble them into a set of exercises and stretches for a workout. The included booklet has a few different suggested sets, depending on how long you have or what you want to focus on. I’ve built a few of my own, and I’m happy with my current one, in no small part because of the soundtrack.
I really enjoying working out to music. It helps put me in the right frame of mind for whatever it is I’m doing. Last summer I was putting together playlist for the 5K races I was doing, based in part on where on the course I expected to be at a given time. My running workouts aren’t nearly so structured; I have a large playlist of songs with the right rhythmic structures that put on shuffle.1
For my card-based workouts, I have synchronization points, where each song on the playlist should start and stop. This ensures that I don’t go to slowly or quickly through the set, and it lends and overall structure to the workout. What’s it like? Have a look (and listen):
Don’t Stop the Pop by DJ Earworm [5:10]
- Calf raises (x12 each side, 10 lbs.)
- Toe raises (x12 each side)
- Standing calf stretch (10-15 sec each side)
- Standing quad stretch (10-15 sec each side)
- Lunges (x12 each side, 10 lbs. x2)
Just Stop Believing (Lady Gaga vs. Journey) by DJ Tripp[4:37]
- Seated leg extensions (x12 each side, 10 lbs.)
- Foot presses (10-15 sec each side, 5 sets)
- Push-ups (x12)
Black Sabotage (Led Zeppelin vs. The Beastie Boys) by DJ Moule [2:32]
- Chest flies (x12, 10 lbs. x2)
- Bicep curls (x12 each side, 10 lbs.)
- Upright rows (x12, 10 lbs. x2)
- Lateral raises (x12, 10 lbs. x2)
- Outer-thigh Leg Lifts (x12 each side)
- Inner-thigh Leg Lifts (x12 each side)
- Leg-press bridges (x12)
- Foot turns (10-15 sec each way, 3 sets)
- Crunches (x24)
- Oblique crunches (x12 each side)
Dynamite Pressure (Taio Cruz vs. Queen and David Bowie) by DJ Tripp [4:11]
- Heel dips (x12 each side, alternating)
- Plank (60 sec)
- Back extensions (x12)
- Lying hamstring stretch (15-20 sec each side)
- Lying inner-thigh stretch (15-20 sec each side)
Fireflies by Owl City [3:48]
- Lying outer-thigh stretch (15-20 sec each side)
- Full-length torso stretch (15-20 sec each side + both)
- Deep buttocks stretch (15-20 sec each side)
- Lying knee-hug stretch (15-20 sec each side)
All together that gives me about half an hour of a good mix of upper-body, lower-body, and core exercises. Plus it’s got a good beat.
Fitness: Ran 2.25 miles
Writing: 264 words
1 The rhythm is important. Think about trying to run to Take Five.
2 By rule, this must be included in every workout playlist I make.