Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Told You...

[typos corrected] :(

... That one reason I loved running and felt so poorly when I stopped was because I was addicted to the endorphins that the activity produced.
Well, some lab-coat types have now verified this assertion by abusing some lab rats.
The following article is submitted for your edification....


‘Runner’s high’ can turn into a real addiction

Study finds brain chemicals that mimic same sense of euphoria in opiate use


By Dan Peterson

updated 6:59 p.m. CT, Wed., Aug 26, 2009

Just as there is the endorphin rush of a "runner's high," there can also be the valley of despair when something prevents avid runners from getting their daily fix of miles.
Now, researchers at Tufts University may have confirmed this addiction by showing that an intense running regimen in rats can release brain chemicals that mimic the same sense of euphoria as opiate use.
They propose that moderate exercise could be a "substitute drug" for human heroin and morphine addicts.
Given all of the benefits of exercise, many people commit to an active running routine.
Somewhere during a longer, more intense run when stored glycogen is depleted, the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus release endorphins that can provide that "second wind" that keeps a runner going.
This sense of being able to run all day is similar to the pain-relieving state that opiates provide, scientists have known.
So a team led by Robin Kanarek, professor of psychology at Tufts University, wondered whether they could also produce similar withdrawal symptoms, which would indicate that intense running and opiate abuse have a similar biochemical effect.

Running rodents

The team divided 44 male rats and 40 female rats into four groups.
One group was housed inside an exercise wheel, and another group had none.
Each group was divided again, either allowing access to food for only one hour per day or for 24 hours per day.
Though tests on humans would be needed to confirm this research, rodents are typically good analogues to illuminate how the human body works.


The rodents existed in these environments for several weeks.
Finally, all groups were given Naloxone, a drug used to counteract an opiate overdose and produce immediate withdrawal symptoms.
The active rats displayed a significantly higher level of withdrawal symptoms than the inactive rats.
Also, the active rats that were only allowed food for one hour per day exercised the most and showed the most intense reaction to Naloxone.
This scenario mimics the actions of humans suffering from anorexia athletica, also known as hypergymnasia, that causes an obsession not only with weight but also with continuous exercise to lose weight.
"Exercise, like drugs of abuse, leads to the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins and dopamine, which are involved with a sense of reward," Kanarek said.
"As with food intake and other parts of life, moderation seems to be the key.
Exercise, as long as it doesn't interfere with other aspects of one's life, is a good thing with respect to both physical and mental health."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Brief Date of Up

[typos corrected]

The Friday workout was successful and productive.
Total lifted was about 30,260 pounds.
Total for the week was 175,645.
This was 14,000 more that the previous week and 23,000 more than the same workout pattern the week before that.
So I am progressing.

I "feel" thicker even though I don't see much difference in myself.
So maybe this guy's program really does work as he says it does.
Wee shall see.

IN OTHER NEWS

Friday evening me and a friend were invited to a music party at the rural home of some long-time friends.
I provided some of the sound equipment and they provided the sound.
The Wingate clan is genetically blessed with musical ability.
There were 5 of them there over two generations and each one of them could either sing or play an instrument or both.

The jam went down and the quality of the performances was top notch.
It dawned on me mid-way through the session that this group could plop themselves in almost any club or park in Huntsville/Madison and match or surpass any other musical group in town.
I have bragged about these folks before in this way and those comments still hold.
This is all the more impressive when you realize that they do not get to play together but every two or three months, in sessions like this.
A fun time was had by all.
And it was good to see my long friends again.

My son, Josh and his lovely wife, Tesia (pronounced "Tee-sha", not "Tez-ee-a", as I like to do) were there.
It was good to see them again (I did not know they were coming, it was a pleasant surprise for me)
He did an excellent job on the drums.

In God we trust.
.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hammy Status

Yesterday morning was Arm n Leg day at the local gym (my front bedroom).
Included in the festivities was lunges; the exercise in which I pulled part of my left hamstring bundle last week.
Other than one exercise in the following day's workout, I have had few real problems or pain from the injury (the worst of them seeming to be bruised ego).

So it was with cautious optimism that I approached yesterdays workout.
I was careful to warm up my thighs and joints with 20 unweighted squats.
Then I picked up the 20-pound dumbbells and began the first rep with my left leg.
Left hammy squeaked and complained but did not actually "hurt".
Kneel down, then push back up.
Rep one.
So far, so good.
Step out with right leg, kneel down, push back up.
Rep two.
Still okay.
And so it went in set one.
When I reached rep 35 I became more cautious because it was at this point last week that lil hammy broke with no warning.
But this week, reps 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, and 40, all were without incident (other than the usual thigh burn and rapid breathing of the participant).

Relieved, I entered set one in the official Royal Chronicles and took my planned rest.
I was able to complete all three sets, (and the entire workout) with the planned number of reps and the full planned weight.
Happy happy.

So I am hereby pronouncing my left hamstring injury officially healed, even though there are still occasional twinges of pain/tightness when I make certain moves.

I am very (as in, VERY) blessed to have this level of strength/health at this advanced age (64).
I could be dying of cancer at this very moment but the symptoms have not manifested themselves to such an extent that they intrude on my daily life in any significant way.

At the persistent request of a couple of people who care about me, I have an appointment with a dermatologist next month to investigate some small blotches on my skin.
I suspect he will find plenty to service and thus, enhance his already substantial income at my expense.
Since I am one of the 47/27/12 million (take your pick, depending on who you wish to believe) Americans who do not have health insurance, the cost of this treatment will be out of pocket.
Stay tuned for the outcome of that little doe-see-doe.

IN OTHER NEWS

Yesterday I downloaded a song that I have been looking for since about 1969 or so.
Yea, 40 years.
It was included on an album by a new singer who had a "hit" song (it turned out to be their single most successful recording) on the album.
I never really liked the hit.
But someone loaned the album to me to listen to and this particular song (not the "hit") struck me as unique.
It was different from all the other songs on the album.
I only heard the song one time.

I made a mental note to record the song onto tape for (illegal) further enjoyment, but never got around to it before I had to return the record.

So years later, I tried to find the song.
All I remembered was the singer, the name of the album and two lines from the song.
The first line was, "You came into my life..."
As a few lines later, "You taught me how to fly...".
That was it.
No title.
But I knew I would know it if I heard it again.

Ah, the wonders of Google.
In spite of my past failures to find the song, I tried again yesterday.
And, lo and behold, I found it.
I located a mp3 version of it on one website and the lyrics on another.
Now I have them both. (I paid for the song, BTW)
The name of the song is "I Saw An Angle Die", by Bobby Gentry.
The "hit" song on the original album was "Ode to Billy Joe".
Most of you are prolly too young to remember the song or the singer (who is retired but still alive, BTW).

If you want to hear the song, you can listen to it here -

http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/song/I_Saw_an_Angel_Die/22967936


In God we trust...
.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Date of Up - August

Just in case either of you care....
The total pounds lifted this morning was 21,718.
41 percent of that was from dead-lifts (in spite of the fact that I loaded the wrong weight on the bar -135 instead of 155) :(
Pull-ups were next with 24 percent of the total.
Then came butterflies and bench presses.
I was able to do my incline sit-ups today (no lower back issues).
Woo hoo.

I felt tired again.
But part of that may be from the fact that I did not go to sleep until almost midnight.
I was reading a book (after reading my Bible) and did not feel sleepy enough to put it down and shut off the light.
But when 5 AM rolled around, I had no interest in parting the covers (just a sheet, actually) and doing the Lazarus thing.
So I laid in the bed and listened to the news for almost 10 minutes.
Not that I cared.
I hate listening to the news since about November of last year.
As soon as I hear the O word I am done listening.
The gray rainy weather today will help me take a compensatory nap.

Tomorrow is my "off" day.
No weight workout, just a three-mile walk around the neighborhood at dawn.

The other reason that I feel tired in the morning is that I may be over training.
After I stopped running in late May I increased my workouts from two per week to three and then to four.
My weekly workout totals in June were from 75,420 to 79,973 pounds.
In July my weekly workout totals jumped to 105,522 to 159,415 pounds.
So, depending on how you want to figure it, this amounts to an increase in work load of 39 percent, 100 percent or over 200 percent.
Any way you tally it, that is a lot of work and a lot of weight moved around.

On top of that, I am trying a new program that increases the total volume of reps for each exercise. (actually he advocates doing 7 sets of 12 reps (= 84 reps) for each body area, but I have modified it a bit.)
So, I am looking into changing something in my routine to reduce the overall workload.

Under consideration is changing to three workouts-per-week, or keep doing four workouts but reducing the number of exercises done for each body area from 2 to one.
I don't want to change too much because this new program is working.
It just needs a bit of tweaking.
Stay tuned....

In God we trust.
.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Broken Hammy - Chapter 3

You both may be getting tired of hearing about this but, be encouraged, I sense the end may be near.
The morning workout ended just five minutes ago with no problems.
It was an arms and legs session and I was surprisingly strong.

Going into it I felt tired, lazy and wondered if I was being attacked by some infestation of germs.
Dragging myself into the gym room by the collar of my shirt I began the party with my famous (infamous?) combination V-up leg-lift crunch move.
32 reps later I still felt tired, lazy and wondered if I was getting sick.

Then it was on to incline dumbbell curls.
I managed to do 42 reps spread over three sets for a total of 1,680 pounds lifted.
This was a 5 percent increase over the last time I had done this exercise.
Hmmm, not bad for feeling tired, lazy and maybe sick.
Then it was time for the moment of truth - squats.

I did a warm-up set of 20 with 95 pounds on my shoulders.
No hamstring problems but I could feel him back there on my left thigh whining about the inequalities of life.
Just you wait, I thought not too loudly. (they can hear loud thoughts, I have found)
Then the bar got fixed up to where it weighed 165 pounds.
Time to get serious about this workout.
Get sloppy or distracted in this move and you can break something.

Under the bar I go, checking side to side placement/balance of the bar.
I straighten my legs to get the bar up off the pegs and fully onto me.
We check ankles, knees, hips, lower back for any problems or complaints.
There were faint murmurings from all of them, but nothing to signal a cancellation of the move.
Down I went.
Gently and not too deep just to test how everybody was feeling.
Left ham did not like the depth and squeaked ever louder the deeper I went.
Just you wait... I thought as I came up to complete rep one.
Down I went again, this time a tad deeper.
Ouch! from left hammy.
And up.
With each rep I tried to go a bit deeper to loosen everyone up, but the plan was to finish all three planned sets even if my injured hamstring limited how deep I could go down.
I took set one all the way to 20, the planned end.

After a four minute rest we began set two.
The rest helped and the first two sets (warm up and work set) had loosened up everyone so they were feeling pretty mellow.
Set two went swimmingly.
Twenty-one reps all deeper than those in set one.
Suddenly there were no more thoughts of lazy, tired or sick.
I was good to go.

Set three was a party.
I worked to keep every part aligned vertically using my big wall mirror (often misinterpreted as a tool of narcissism).
The closer I got to twenty reps the deeper I tried to go, eventually bringing the bar to within six inches of the safety rails.
And, in spite of the still-touchy hamstrings on my left leg and the extra deep range of motion, I still knocked out 22 reps.
My, how frisky we get sometimes.
Total weight for the exercise - 17,325 pounds.
Sadly, that was 5 percent off my last session doing this exercise.
I am pondering adding ten more pounds to this exercise.
As I often poetize - twenty is plenty.

So I cautiously pronounce my left hamstring healed.
The true test will be this Thursday when I do lunges again.
Wee shall see...

Next, it was seated overhead barbell triceps extensions, where I managed to squish out an extra rep over the previous go-round of this exercise.
This totaled 2,080 pounds spread over three sets and 79 reps.
Interesting.

I finished the party with seated heel raises with 295 pounds (nearly my entire weight set) sitting on my knees.
My three sets totaled 79 reps for a total of 23,305 pounds - a 23 percent increase from the previous do-wa of this exercise.
That was a surprise kuz I was really weak the last time.
Session total = 47,096 pounds.
Woo hoo.


In God we trust.
.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hammy Update

As both of you know, I injured by left hamstring during my Thursday morning workout.
Today was a walking day and I was curious if my little hammy would have any comments resulting from the Thursday workout where it was injured or the Friday workout where it was tested.
The answer is no.

My leg was in pretty good shape.
There was a slight tightness in my left hamstring (noted especially with putting my shoes on...) but no pain or distress during my 3-mile walk.
This is good news.

I have another walk scheduled tomorrow morning and then Monday is another arms and legs session.
Barbell squats are on tap for Monday and there is a question if the rear bundle of my left leg is ready for such a challenge.
Wee shall see....

In God we trust...
.

Friday, August 14, 2009

MO'NUTHAH HISTORICAL DAY

Yesterday was a historic day for me.
I injured myself working out.
The first time ever (if you don't count dropping a weight plate on my foot a few years ago...)

Um hum, you say. (nodding head knowingly)
See?
All that lifting and grunting and whatnot.
It ain't good for a feller.
'Specially an old geezer like yoo.

Shut up and let me 'splain.
On rep 35 of my first set of lunges(planned reps = 40), I pulled a muscle in my left hamstring bundle.
I tried to finish the set but left hammy would have none of it.
Nuh uh, him say.

After a few minutes of rubbing and gentle stretching to try to salvage the two remaining sets of the exercise, I submitted to the will of the Lord.
He had determined for some reason to cut that move short. (prolly another lesson in humility...)

I finished the other exercises in the workout and was done.
Almost every time I moved yesterday my left leg barked or squeaked in protest.

Today (muted trumpets play fanfare in the background) I wondered how my wounded hammy would tolerate my planned dead lifts (and other moves).
All 36 of them.

Well, the results are in and I win.
My hamstrings put up with (the best that can ever be said about how a part of my body "likes" a particular exercise) my dead lifts just fine.
If fact, I made a mistake when putting on the weights and assembled the weight to be 10 pounds more than planned.
I STILL did three sets of 12 reps with the "wrong" weight.
Woo hoo.

The gotcha today was bent dumbbell rows (after the deadlifts).
I was tired (from a tossy-turny night on the bed, mostly, I think) and not looking forward to the heavy rows. (which consist of lifting an 85 pound dumbell with one arm 12 or 14 times for 3 sets for each arm). [85 x 36 x 2 = 6,120 pounds total for both arms]

Anyway, a test lift in the required position elicited town-hall-meeting level protests from my left ham bundle.
That was enough for me.
I didn't want to do the exercise today anyway.
Thanks, leg.

Thankfully, my injury seems minor and keeping the affected area busy should help it be all better by next Monday when it will be squat time again.
Hopefully, my two planned walks around the neighborhood will help the problem and not add to it.
It's just walking, right?

In God we trust...
.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obammunist Healthcare Tax Bill 2

Below are a couple more tidbits from the giant bill.
........................

SEC. 246. NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.

Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

[NOTE - of course, if all illegal aliens are given amnesty then they will all be here "legally" and we get to pay for their medical care.]

SEC. 1233. ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION.
(a) Medicare
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x) is amended--

‘(hhh)(1) Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the term ‘advance care planning consultation’ means a consultation between the individual and a practitioner described in paragraph (2) regarding advance care planning, if, subject to paragraph (3), the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years. Such consultation shall include the following:

‘(B) An explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses.

‘(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.

[NOTE - I did not see any wording in this section to support "death panels" etc.. Still checking.]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

THE OMAMMUNIST HEALTHCARE TAX BILL

After hearing about "outraged" citizens and "out of control" town hall meetings around the country, I decided to see for mahsef what is in House bill 3200 - Obommunist healthcare tax bill. (Not the official name).
The thing is huge (1300 pages) and it is pretty dry reading, but here are a couple of tidbits from my reading so far.
I have noted the sections, etc, sos you can look it up fo yosef.

Below is a couple of sections of the House bill.


TITLE IV--AMENDMENTS TO INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986

Subtitle A--Shared Responsibility

PART 1--INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY

SEC. 401. TAX ON INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT ACCEPTABLE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE.
(a) In General- Subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new part:

‘PART VIII--HEALTH CARE RELATED TAXES

‘SEC. 59B. TAX ON INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT ACCEPTABLE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE.

‘(a) Tax Imposed- In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of-

‘(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over
‘(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer. [income equal to or in excess of standard deduction plus allowed exemptions - me.]

‘(b) Limitations-
‘(1) TAX LIMITED TO AVERAGE PREMIUM-
‘(A) IN GENERAL- The tax imposed under subsection (a) with respect to any taxpayer for any taxable year shall not exceed the applicable national average premium for such taxable year.

[NOTE - So you pay for health insurance whether you sign up for it or not - mee]

......................................

SEC. 412. RESPONSIBILITIES OF NONELECTING EMPLOYERS.

(a) In General- Section 3111 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (d) and by inserting after subsection (b) the following new subsection:

‘(c) Employers Electing to Not Provide Health Benefits-

‘(1) IN GENERAL- In addition to other taxes, there is hereby imposed on every nonelecting employer an excise tax, with respect to having individuals in his employ, equal to 8 percent of the wages (as defined in section 3121(a)) paid by him with respect to employment (as defined in section 3121(b)).

[NOTE - so, if an employer chooses to NOT provide employees health insurance, the employer must pay an 8 percent tax on each employee's base wages to the government. Think what that will add to the cost of doing business for your local merchants. - mee]

...............................

Is that hope and change stuff working for you yet?
Just you wait....

More to come...

In God we trust.

Monday, August 10, 2009

One Mo'nutha Day

It is Monday.
The start of another week.
As has been my habit for the last year or so, I will start my weight workout in a few minutes.
Today is a session for arms and legs. (chest and back, tomorrow)

I am following a plan suggested by a contrarian trainer who contradicts the common training pattern of working each area of the body just once per week.
He suggests wording each area twice per week.
Since I am no longer running, I have the time and energy to try this plan.
This will be my fifth week on this plan and, so far, it seems to be working.
I feel stronger and a bit "bigger" (I do not see any physical differences).
The bigger feeling could be my normal delusions of grandeur after starting a new program.

According to this guru, I am to follow this plan for eight weeks then take two weeks off.
I am not going to take two weeks off at the end of the month.
I might take a week off.
Maybe.
It depends on how I am feeling (and if am still making progress).

I will prolly change to a three-per-week plan for a few weeks (4?) and evaluate whether I want to go back to the four-per-week, two-way split of this plan, or try something else.
I may go back to the four-way split (arms, legs, chest, back) I was doing before I started this program.

Almost all methods work (meaning they build or maintain strength and muscle mass and burn calories), it is just that some plans work faster than others or work better with your system.
Typically, you cannot stay on one program too long before your progress plateaus and the program becomes ineffective.
At that point you must change your program in some way - take a week or two off, or change the exercises you are doing, change the order of exercises, change the kind of exercises, change the frequency of your workouts, change SOMETHING, to get your body to respond again.

It is hard for me to believe but I have been working out with weights for 14 years.
I stopped for only a few months in 2003-4 when I was shipped off to Oklahoma to work 12-hour shifts for three months.
I ran - for 9 1/2 years - taking about a year off in 2007-8.

Those two activities are very taxing to my system in different ways.
Of the two, I love (LOVE!) running psychologically.
I am/was addicted to the endorphin high it produced.
But it was hard on my overall system.
As I grew older, it began to eat away at my muscle mass (not a good thing for a skinny old man).
That is the main reason I quit this last May.

My body loves weight lifting.
It responds by adding muscle and it likes the strength that it builds.
No real endorphin high is produced by my workouts, but I feel "good" afterward (a mild high?).
At at this time in life, weight lifting is what I must do.
As I said in my previous post when I announced by retirement from running, weight lifting is easier to control time and effort-wise to match my physical constraints as I age.
I hate to even mention age, but it is a fact of life that increasingly intrudes into my ongoing delusion that I am still twenty-something. (I feel like it most of the time...)

So, it is time to walk across the hall, into the room that has been set aside as my gym in my little house.
My torture chamber. :)
And do the moves I have assigned myself for this workout for this day.
Mentally, I don't want to.
But, once I start, I will feel better about doing it and feel better about the whole thing when I am done in an hour or so.

Here we go......
.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

MY HOW THE DAYS FLY BY

I have been busy with the triviata of my life.
Nothing major (that I want to share at this time) going on, really.

I went to my first training course for HR Block last evening.
It is time to get ready for the new "tax season" as they call it.
There are still five months until the end of the year.
Congress and the Ocommunist administration have plenty of time to make changes to our tax laws.
None of them will be beneficial, I suspect.

I just got out of my second shower of the day.
This was done to de-sweat me from mowing my grass.
My mower again used less that a half cup of gas for the whole deal.

Prior to that I did my usual Tuesday morning weight workout.
Chest and back moves today.
Pushing and pulling as it is called by some.
The exercises today were incline sit-up (yippee, no lower back pain!), pull-ups, barbell bench press, barbell deadlift, and dumbbell butterfly (or just "flies").
Total weight lifted was 22,243 pounds.
I think I deserve a nap.

More later.