Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Muscle Focus

I've been preparing a post in my mind on the details of how I'm currently lifting and how much I'm enjoying it.  My current routine wonderfully combines efficiency, effectiveness, and safety.  So much so, that I don't even head to the playground to do my workouts anymore.  It takes me less time to complete my lifting than it would to actually get to the playground.  If I head there these days, it's to play.

I've been doing it this way for a few months now and kind of just drifted toward it as I refined my technique of muscle focus.  It wasn't some laid out program I found in one place.  It also didn't just pop into my head, I study this stuff a lot and it's been a natural progression as I learn more and more. 

Having said all of this, I just read a post by a personal trainer that spells out what is going on in this type of workout infinitely better than I ever could.  The trainer's name is Drew Baye and his post is here.  I highly recommend you read it, even if you don't plan on changing things (it's required reading for you Mom). 

I personally only do one or two reps with six different exercises, split between two workouts during the week.  As you will see in Drew's article, the number of reps, weight, and time under load are not the goals, they are a means to an end.  As he perfectly sums up:

Don’t think of exercise as using your muscles to do something to the weights – think of it as using the weights to do something to your muscles

In times past I would get a wee bit anxious right before workouts, trying to psyche myself up in order to lift heavy weights or get a certain number of reps.  Now all of that is behind me.  I only have to think about what exercise I'll be doing because I know damn well I'm going to hit muscle failure one way or another, and how many reps or what the weight is becomes irrelevant.  

    Mama Aspen Paleo lifts superslow BBS style once a week at her local fitness center and I couldn't be more proud.  It's not her fave, but for such a small investment of time she knows the benefits are well worth it.  Rock on Mom!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Tour in Aspen

Just a note:  this has nothing to do with Paleo, it's about my hobby of watching pro cycling

A circus in the form of a professional bicycle race rolled into town today.  Well, last night actually.  The USA Pro Cycling Challenge finished here today and also departs from Aspen in the morning.  We're the only town acting as both a finishing and starting point in this years race so it's making things a bit more interesting.

Looking West toward the finish line

First, town is almost unnavigable by car.  We don't have a very big town to begin with.  Actually, I'd say it's down right small.  So when you block off major sections of it, including most of Main St., well, things get gummed up in a hurry.  It started the night before as they needed to put barriers up in advance.  Check out the photos of Main St. I took earlier in the day.  It may be hard to see, but three quarters of it is blocked off (for 2 days).  Good thing I ride my bike into work :)

Looking East
Second, all of the riders and staff are staying in town tonight.  Last year they finished here, but started the next day in Vail, so they skedaddled out of town pretty quickly.  And that's exactly what they'll be doing in all of the other finishing towns in this years race as well.

Because of the overnight stay, this evening I rode into town to see if things were hopping.  Not so much.  There was live music in the park and a fair amount of people dining out, but downtown felt very eerie.  Especially the streets.  You see, they are still blocked off so there is no traffic, and all of the team vehicles and buses from the race are parked throughout the core.  But there is nothing going on right now.  All of the riders and staff are in the hotels eating, getting massages and turning in early.  Tomorrow morning should be a different story as I expect a beehive of activity as the teams get prepared for the days racing.  The riders will be warming up (it's uphill right off the bat) and meeting in the team buses to go over strategy.  The mechanics will be tuning up the bikes and prepping the cars.  The official start time isn't until 11:35 so I'll just take a break form work tp head up there and check it out.

Last year I rode up to the top of Independence Pass to see the race go by as they headed into town.  It was a blast and the atmosphere up there was a riot.  Hard to describe though.  Think along the lines of a great Halloween party.  Anyway, the weather turned sour just as the riders started the descent and the organizers were unable to provide pics or video of the race as it headed down the pass into town, which was a bummer for me because I know every inch of that road and was looking forward to seeing the pros take it on.  It was also a bummer because me and a thousand of my close cycling friends had to ride back down the pass in the rain.  Oh well.  This year, however, the weather held out and we got some great footage of the riders tackling Independence pass.

Chicks racing bikes ... yes please
So today I stayed in town to watch the race.  I totally missed all of the activity that preceded the finish last year ... like the pro women's criterium that started at noon thirty.  A criterium is a closed circuit race in a city center that finishes in a set amount of time (an hour in this case) as opposed to a point to point race.  The women just swooped around town at high speeds in a big loop.  It was fun to watch.

Also, there were a bunch of cycling related kiosks around with swag and gear to show off.  It was basically a mini carnival of sponsors that travel around with the race, setting up at each finishing town.

I do love to watch cycling and it's awesome that a pro race has come to us here in the middle of the Rocky Mountains twice now.  Who knows if we'll be on next years route, but either way it's fun to see cycling up close and personal.
Cadel Evans riding through town

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mixed Bag

I had a couple of encounters with veg heads again at work today.  One said she 'is trying to be vegan' while the other was a vegan for 12 years, 2 of which were raw.  I'll skip the commentary I've put up here before about how people are surprised I'm not in this camp and how I even think it's not best for one's health.  Same old story.

But pondering it a bit more, I believe it's a mixed bag.  On the one hand I genuinely want people to become healthier.  Healthy people potentially bring so much more to the table of Life.  Enjoying life, sharing it, exploring, singing, dancing, raising children, relaxing, loving ... you name it, it's all better and brighter when you're healthy. 

On the other hand, the more vegetarians and vegans there are, the more pastured meat there is for us Paleo folks ;)

Hmmmmmm.  Is it my fault they can't figure it out?

The many fires in the West right now make our skies hazy in the day.  And light up our sunsets.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Angry Bears

Isn't there a game called Angry Birds or something?  Well, forget that.  If you want to see some angry bears in real life, drop by the compost container outside of the market where I work tonight.   Should be a good time.

It all started when the city put a compost container next to our dumpster, oh, maybe a week and a half ago.  Great idea for our little place which also has two restaurants in the same building.  The compost will go to the dump and hopefully make its way back into the circle of life.  Anyway, we didn't give much thought into the safety of the thing as it did have chains and O rings securing the lids.  Well, the bears are apparently pretty hungry right now as the early season drought dried up a lot of the wild berries and such.  So to find food they make their way into town.  And last night they easily ripped open the top of our compost and had a feast.  They must've thought they had hit the jackpot ... I mean, usually they have to sift through the garbage, or if you're unlucky, through you're cabinets, to find some morsels of food.  At our little compost bin though, it was like a big buffet for them.

So the city dropped by and wanted to fine us this morning for not having a bear proof container (which is the law up here of course).  After nicely reminding them that this was their idea (and their container) they quickly made plans to switch it out.  So, quite the opposite of what we've come to expect from government these days, the compost bin was switched the same day!

As you can imagine, there are going to be some bears dropping by tonight with some high expectations.  Quite angry they will probably become.  Should be a hoot.   We'll see how 'bear proof' that bin really is.  I told our produce manager to hide in there and pop out 'jack in the box' style tonight when they stop by.  Now that would've been entertaining (or more likely, very gruesome).

On Sat. morning there was a big bear (450 lb) downtown during the day that, at one point, ran right through the Farmers Market.  I'll bet that scared some people.

Bears are a part of life here in the mountains.  Seeing them around reminds us that we are indeed just sharing the land.  I've had far too many encounters with them, three of which involved cubs and their mothers.  Staying cool and not gawking over them like they're zoo animals is important (I'm talking to you - tourists).   Well, the only tie into paleo I can think of here is that I hear bear meat tastes pretty awful.  Have you ever tasted it?