Roundball Roulette is now live for predictions. Summit League basketball fans should give it a shot. I will try to make it fun and interesting for everyone. Orlando is a great city. Weather is fantastic this time of year. I will hate to leave and return to colder climes.
“Almost Live” from Woodbridge, VA, it’s Roundball Roulette. A zero cost but 100% fun prediction game of skill and intrigue for all Summit League college basketball fans, you won’t want to miss it. Feel free to explore the pages. Need some help with that PowerPick game, get a StatSmack preview (I love those “radar” charts) from the Games page. Keep you and your kids occupied with that word search puzzle in the Game of the Week page. Even go ahead and submit some “test” predictions. I plan on going “Live” on Monday, November 26th. Stay tuned for more updates.
For the past few months, I have totally ignored my blog here. I was tweeting a lot and posting a few updates to facebook so it was not like I was really gone from the social media circus. But I guess I have just come to realize that there is a proper time and place for everything. Some things I tweeted I probably shouldn’t have. Same thing for facebook. So from now on, I am going to use my blog as the main source of my posts. I have added a “sharing” plugin to WordPress so that I can easily share my ideas elsewhere if I think it is appropriate. So this is my first official maybe “shareable” post.
During my absence from Chompbit.net, I have tried to live a more mindful life. My days are full of activities and games which are geared to challenge my body and mind. I rely on Lumosity for most of my mind-bending games, but also do some other things like that Simon memory game and some specialized N-Back memory training techniques. I hit the gym at least six days a week. I am taking two certification courses from the NASM (corrective exercise and sports performance) to learn even more about how the human body works and sometimes fails on us. I have a few aches and pains that I am trying to work through. One, a nagging left foot thing that does not hurt so much but it is just annoying and keeps me from really going 100% on some things I do. I have made real progress strengthening and stabilizing my left ankle by simply picking up marbles with my toes. This is also supposed to work wonders for plantar fasciitis and I think I do have a mild case of it. When I first noticed some pain in my left foot about three months ago (after starting a running program), I did some research. Most runners do have issues with ankles, knees, and other body parts. I got to thinking about why this might be the case. Without a doubt, running on hard surfaces is stressful on the human body. Properly fitting shoes are a necessity. But what about a runner’s technique. If you watch amateur/recreational runners, you see all kinds of running styles. Some have long strides, some short. Some are heel strikers, some are toe strikers. I for one had never been instructed on the proper way to run. I guess I just thought of it as a natural activity that anyone in reasonable health can perform. Well, now I know differently. I took a Chi Running class a couple of months ago and I have the Book and DVD as well. Chi Running is all about posture and form and is designed to let one run as effortlessly as possible with minimal risk of injury. I am still in the learning stages of Chi Running, but my impression thus far is that it lives up to its billing. Done properly, this style of running lets gravity do most of the work in propelling the body forward. Shorter strides enforce a nice mid-foot strike instead of banging on the heel all the time with a longer stride. I try to practice a couple of times a week on very short distances. My goal is to be running 5Ks in a couple months if I can beat this plantar fasciitis thing. Well, that is enough for my first official “shareable” post and I think this one just might be tweet-worthy.
I bought a foam roller a couple of months ago. It sat idle for a while as a lot of my fitness gadgets have done but part of my NASM Personal Trainer Certification involves learning how to use it so I did just that. After about three weeks of effort, I must say that I am truly impressed with the way it can help stretch and loosen up tight muscles, especially those in the lower body and pelvic areas. The technical name for the foam roller stretching/relaxing procedure is Self-Myofascial Release or SMR. It is a fairly simple procedure to do. Basically, you just apply a “rolling” pressure over a muscle paying particular attention for any “knotty” or tender areas. If you find a tender area, pause over it for 20 to 30 seconds until the pain decreases. I have found the procedure particularly effective for the calf, hamstring, and piriformis muscles. If you purchase a foam roller, it should come with an instructional DVD. There are also plenty of SMR informational sites and demonstration videos on the internet to assist you. If you are like me, it will take a few trials to find the right body and support positions in order to apply the correct (and comfortable) amount of muscle pressure against the roller. The foam roller is a keeper in my fitness arsenal. Make it part of yours. Stay active and stay healthy!
Spring has sprung around the Northern Virginia area. Trees, bushes, and flowers showing some real life. Pollen count has been very high lately. For that reason, I have been doing a lot more cardio work inside the the gym. Gold’s Gym in Lakeridge just got in a new piece of cardio equipment. It is called the BallBike. It is a nicely engineered piece of equipment, smooth to ride, and very comfortable. The claim is that it works the core muscles at the same time you are working the arms and legs. I have used the BallBike twice (15 and 30 minutes) and really like it. It does not get me to a soaking sweat level quite as quickly as the StairMaster, but comes pretty close. I already own a nice Concept 2 rower for my home workouts, but this BallBike would be a very good choice for a home cardio device.
I have kept up with the yoga sessions in the mornings and evenings. I am approaching one month of yoga work. I think I can say that my flexibility and even balance are somewhat better, especially in the hip area. Most of the poses are of the gentle variety, but some of the PM yoga is pretty challenging. I cannot even come close to resting my head on my thigh as does the instructor on the DVD. I doubt I will ever get there, but I intend to keep going with it. Anyone doing resistance work really needs some sort of flexibility program to keep the muscles loose. Yoga also make you concentrate on some breathing and relaxation techniques, which should pay dividends in our hectic and stressful society. I have not been consistent with the time I do the PM yoga, sometimes late afternoon, sometimes before bedtime. When I do it before bedtime, I do think I fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly than before. I would encourage anyone to try it for 30 days and see what happens. The DVD I use is AM and PM Yoga with Rodney Yee and Patricia Walden as instructors.
My Personal Trainer certification exam is scheduled for April 30th. Plenty more review work to prepare for it. There is an on-line practice exam that should help. I hope to take the practice exam first of next week. Exam format is multiple choice with 120 questions. I need to get a 70 or better to pass. From what I can gather, about one in four do not pass the test on the first attempt. I hope I am not the one. After I get this certification, I might go for another one. NASM offers a Corrective Exercise program as well as a Sports Performance program. Either one would be interesting to me.
That is all for now. Have safe and fun journeys!
Fitness plan is going well. Now that spring has sprung, I want to get as much outdoor cardio as I can. I am shooting for a 25 mile bike ride a couple of days a week and some running/sprint intervals on a couple other days. When in the gym, I will continue to hit the StairMaster at least one day a week. The resistance work in the gym is now ramped up a bit, doing upper body and lower body on alternate days. All of this with one thing in mind and that is to eliminate the remaining belly fat. That stuff does not disappear overnight but I am seeing some progress. My weight is about 175 now. I have not seen that number in a couple of decades.
One of my high school classmates posted a status on facebook about doing some AM yoga one day earlier this week. That reminded me that I bought a Rodney Yee yoga DVD soon after retirement. I tried it a couple of times but felt very uncomfortable trying to get into the various poses so I gave it up. Well, now I am ready to try it again and this time I am giving it a full 30 day commitment before deciding whether or not to continue. My first session was ealier today and it did seem a little easier than my earlier attempts, probably because I have been doing some stretching work at the gym. However, my flexibility is far from where it should be so it will be a bit of a struggle. Like most things, the flexibility should improve over time if I stick with it. One of the major benefits of yoga is supposedly that of injury prevention so I think the program should be a nice supplement to everything else I am doing. However, somewhere I also read that yoga can actually increase your risk of back injury so I have to be a bit cautious as I have had a couple of fairly serious lower back issues in the past. I will let you know in a week how the yoga thing is going. That is all for now.
March is here. I love this time of year. Weather is warming up which allows more outdoor exercise. Plants coming to life again although I can do without the pollen. Plenty of sports to pay attention to with college basketball in “March Madness” mode and spring training in full swing for us baseball junkies. The Western Illinois University (WIU) men’s basketball team made it to the championship game of the Summit League tournament this year. Lost in heartbreaker fashion but their season may not be over as they could get an invite to one of the other post-season tournaments such as the CIT or CBI. Their program looks to be in good shape for the next couple of years and I think they will finally earn that much coveted trip to the “Big Dance”.
I did some traveling over the past month. Took a long weekend trip to Evansville, IN to see the WIU men take on Evansville in a Bracketbuster game. Evansville was too tough and WIU was over-matched on that particular night. I did my usual week in Myrtle Beach. Weather was great, saw some college baseball, and even went down to the boardwalk for the first time. Not a lot of crowd on the boardwalk this time of year. There was actually no line to ride the big SkyWheel. While at the beach, I did my usual fitness stuff but also some serious beach running. Mixed in some distance runs for endurance along with some shorter sprint intervals for strength. My legs were sore so I know I was working muscles in ways that the gym equipment just can’t do. After Myrtle Beach, I then spent a weekend in Richmond, VA to take in the CAA basketball tournament as I have been doing for the past few years. Always enjoy the on-court action as well as the Breakfast with the Pep Bands shindig. The CAA has the best pep bands in the country, in my opinion.
I am still working on the Personal Trainer Certification course. Need to wrap that up and take the test. I have until May 7th to take the test without penalty.
I keep saying I will post something here each and every week, but it seems I have been doing most of my posting of late on twitter, facebook, or one of the sports blogs I follow. That is all for now. See you again in a week (I hope).
I just returned from a five day trip to Orlando. My main reason for going was to attend the AAU International Men’s Fastpitch competition held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. This event will probably be added to my yearly must-do list, much like the ISC World Tournament which is held in August. My playing days are probably over but certainly not my interest in the fastpitch game. I captured some video of Australian pitcher Adam Folkard at the AAU. I put it together into a short movie and uploaded to YouTube. Feel free to check out my new YouTube social media site. Hopefully, more and better video posts will be coming in the future.
At the gym, I have started messing around with a softball, trying to learn the mechanics of throwing a rise ball, etc. Long way to go on this endeavor but once warm weather gets here, I will start working on it again. I try to mix in various kinds of ball tossing (softball, basketball, medicine ball) for a little variety now and then. Recently, I have started using the StairMaster for my cardio routine. At first, I shied away from it because of a right knee issue that I did not want to make any worse. But I think my strength training for the legs has payed dividends and I do not seem to be having the knee issue at this time (knock on wood). My StairMaster routine is slow and easy right now but very effective, especially on the glutes. I think I have lost another four or five pounds since starting it in January. I still mix in the other cardio devices as well. It amazes me how some people can do the same workout thing every day. Not me, I need some variety to keep from getting bored. For whatever reason, since starting the StairMaster, I have a desire to take the steps I encounter during the day at a faster pace, even running up them and hitting every other step.
I know I missed a couple of weeks without posting. I will try to do better but for now, that is all. Stay Healthy!
I have had a blood pressure monitor for quite a while now. Prior to this week, I would only check it monthly or so. Readings were usually within the good range (115-120 over 75-80). About 10 days ago I checked it in the morning just after rolling out of bed and found it be in the 125-140 over 85-100 range. In fact, it pretty much stayed in that range the whole day. I started doing some research to look for things in my current lifestyle which may have triggered the sudden increase. Was I hydrating enough at the Gym? I do drink a lot of iced tea which contains caffeine and caffeine is known to cause an elevation. Within the last few weeks I have been doing some heavier weights for resistance exercises. Maybe too much added stress on the body? Plus, I can’t eat anything without a few shakes of extra salt on it and salt-intake is definitely a factor. Also, over the holidays, I started indulging in an alcoholic “night cap” drink or two each evening as a Jack and Coke or cup of hot chocolate with a shot of Kahlua just seemed to hit the spot for some reason. Maybe the alcohol was messing up my sleep as I seemed to be tossing and turning a lot. Oh, one more thing comes to mind. Lately, I have had certain maybe unwarranted feelings of desire for a special someone whose path I wander down a bit too frequently. Well, any or all of the above could have been the culprit(s). Over the past 5 days I have eliminated those night caps. At the gym, I switched to lower weights with more reps and now carry a water bottle with me instead of just running to the water fountain occasionally. I have told that special someone about my feelings and that act alone seemed like a huge load off my chest but maybe a shock for her. I even came across something on the internet which pointed to simple and common ordinary housework as having a calming influence on the soul and therefore, a lowering of one’s blood pressure. So I vacuumed the carpets and steam-mopped the kitchen floor. After all this, to make a long story short, my blood pressure now seems back to normal. But I will be monitoring it daily now, at least for a while.
There is lots of stuff on the internet about blood pressure and how to measure it accurately. I rely on an OMRON automatic blood pressure monitor model BP760. It has on-board memory for storing a complete history of your daily readings. So just what is normal blood pressure for an adult person? Well, it varies from person to person and even hour to hour during the day. This Vaughn Blood Pressure Chart is the absolute best one page all about blood pressure summary that I have found. I just love one-stop shopping for information. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not urge you to work with your own doctor to manage your own blood pressure.
‘Til we meet again, try to stay within range!
Well, it’s almost a full year into retirement, so I though I would share a couple of things. First, A Happy and Prosperous New Year to everyone! Second, my New Year’s Resolutions. Nothing too exciting, but I just want to be a bit more focused and organized in my daily life, especially when it comes to financial matters. I eat out too much and need to do some more home cooking. I have also done some spur of the moment traveling the past year which was nice, but I really do need to get it under control. In fact, I took a one night trip to Chicago a couple of weeks back to see the Western Illinois Leathernecks take on University of Illinois – Chicago. Attended a little alumni gathering near the UI-C Pavilion arena before the game. The game did not go so well for the Leathernecks, but was a fun time anyway. I have traveled some much the past year that I am at Platinum status as a Marriott Rewards Club member. It does have it’s advantages. I stayed at the JW Marriott in downtown Chicago and got a free room upgrade to one of the bigger rooms they offer. It was very nice. The bathroom itself was huge and complete with both a soaking tub and walk-in shower. Room had a great view of the Willis Tower, previously known as the Sears Tower. I took advantage of the Health Club at the hotel which was awesome. I always try to stay in a hotel which either has a fitness center of its own or has an arrangement with a nearby health club. The year 2012 will also be a year where I try to turn the house into a little more of a home. A little overdue cleaning, some paint here and there, and some new carpeting/flooring are on the agenda for 2012. Maybe even a small pool table or game table for the basement. And there might be a couple of other major changes coming in 2012. For one, I want to either volunteer my time a few hours a week or pick up a part-time (20-30 hours) job somewhere. I just need a little more activity in my daily life other than the Gold’s Gym routine. At the same time, I don’t want to cut back on the 15 or so hours per week that I spend at the gym. The benefits of regular exercise are just too great to give up. So, rather than writing more about this stuff, I had better get working on it. That is all for this week.