Monday, April 17, 2017

Feel The Burn

If you are one of my regular eight readers you may have noticed I have been posting more consistently lately. Rest assured that was a conscious decision. Aside from getting into a regular rhythm for writing, I find it quite enjoyable to crank out 800-1200 words every week and put them out into the world.

If you have been paying attention you may also have noticed some themes developing. That was also a conscious decision.  I took some advice from a good friend and writer, S.J. Cairns, who scooped the tip from BadRedhead Media's Rachel Thompson (who is also a top-notch person in addition to being ├╝ber knowledgeable about all things book marketing).

That is not to say that you will not see posts outside of those themes, but it is a safe bet that if you see a new post on the site that it will fit into one of the following:
  • Views into the world of a new-to-the-industry writer;  
  • Communities (neighbourhood, writing, social); 
  • Creativity (how people find inspiration, what forms it takes, how to recognize it, what to do when it comes to you, the importance of it); and 
  • Self-Improvement, personal growth, mental and physical health.
This week I've decided to share a bit about some self-improvement, physical health division.

As you read a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I started exploring our neighbourhood by walking. Getting our 10,000 steps a day has made a big difference in both our lives but my wife wanted to do more.

So, back in October of 2016, we joined a gym. It was a new "boutique" style gym called Orange Theory Fitness. It was not opening until January 2017 but for signing up early we got special pricing as well as access to sessions before the official opening.

Each class has up to twenty-four participants that are split up into two groups: treadmill and rower and at the halfway point in the almost hour-long class, the two groups switch. Each workout concentrates on either endurance, strength, power, or some combination of the three (or all three). The treadmill folks do interval walking, jogging, or running appropriate for the type of workout that day. The rowers obviously row but also do a selection of cross training exercises, free weights, and TRX.

You wear a heart rate monitor while you workout and your stats are displayed on big monitors in the gym. The goal is to spend a certain amount of time in various zones:
Grey = 60% or less of your maximum heart rate
Blue = 61-70% of your maximum heart rate
Green = 71-83%
Orange = 84-91%
Red = 92% and up
If you can spend a minimum of twelve minutes in the workout in the orange zone the theory is that your body will continue to burn calories for up to two days after your workout.

At the end of your workout you get an email with the number of calories you burned in that workout, the number of "splat points" you earned (1 splat point = 1 minute in the orange zone), what your average heart rate was, and how many minutes you spent in each zone.

Orange Theory Fitness workout summary

For the record, Orange Theory Fitness is not paying me anything to write this post. They will not even know I am writing it until I tag them in the Facebook post and mention them on Twitter when everyone else finds out about it. That said, if you are looking to getting into fitness outside of the house in a fun, respectful, and challenging environment I would recommend them. I am not a fan of fitness and even less of a fan of group fitness and I genuinely enjoy going. 

Whether is is joining a gym, getting out of the house to walk in the fresh air, doing yoga in the basement, or walking on the spot during the ten minutes you have to make lunches when the kids are in bed for the night, I can personally speak to the mental and physical benefits of being active. 

My wife and I have been going to Orange Theory twice a week since December 26 and the results have been noticeable. She has lost a bunch of weight and is jogging on the treadmill the entire block (as opposed to spells of walking) and even increased her speed by more than 2 mph! 

Andrew (5th from the left at the back) and his wife (to his left) at the second
ever Orange Theory Fitness Guelph (Ontario) location

I was in terrible shape when I started and had to walk the entire block on the treadmill. Now, I am close to jogging the entire time. My heart rate still spends a lot of time up in the orange and red zones but it takes a lot more to keep it there and I need to get close to 100% of my max before I start to even feel uncomfortable. I am not sure if I am sleeping any better but I can tell you that I am less tired during the day and generally have more energy. 

I have even started to see some small but significant changes in my appearance. I am still rocking the dadbod, but today I put on my pink golf shirt that I bought a couple years ago with a Golf Town gift card I got from my mom for my birthday, and for the first time since I first tried it on in the store it did not show off my man boobs. 

April 14, 2017 and moob free!

~ Andrew

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