Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Made the Cut

Thanks to all of you that called or texted or thought about me yesterday. It was confirmed that I have so much to be thankful for, especially the fact that I have some pretty AWESOME friends. It was a bitter-sweet day for me because even though I am still employed, many of my colleagues were let go. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they start this new, exciting chapter of their lives.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Power to Choose

Well, most of you probably know by now that tomorrow is the big day for me and thousands of other folks I work with. Some of you may not know, but our company is yet again having "deep" cuts or reduction in force. We were told a couple months ago that is was not going to be pretty and that we should have a plan B. Unfortunately, I was notified yesterday that my manager had lost his job. I pray for him and his family. I find out tomorrow at 11:00am est.

We called it Bloody Friday two years ago when it happened. Many of my close friends and co-workers were let go then and many will be let go again tomorrow. I, myself included in that mix.

As I've talked to people this week, some close and some not so close, I've seen how people react sooo differently to the circumstances and perceived trials in their lives. Quiet frankly, some are scared to death. Even people that aren't going through this, people that just feel bad for me, are nervous and wonder what's going to happen. It's not just our company but thousands of companies around the nation/world are laying off tens of thousands of employees. What are we going to do? What can we do? How do we respond?

Thank God that we have the POWER to choose our responses to the many circumstances that we face. Whatever we are faced with in this life, death of a loved one, severe illness, hard economic times, war, job loss (wow the others make this one seem insignificant, huh?) we can decide how we are going to respond.

The way I look at it, whatever happens tomorrow will be the right thing for me. Does that make sense? I have no power over the circumstance or the outcome at this time, but I do have the power to respond a certain way. So, I choose to be thankful! I choose to be diligent. I choose to be faithful. I choose to be positive. I choose to move on with perseverance and commitment. I told my wife the other day that when Friday comes and, if I no longer have a job with Pfizer, guess what? We still have our marriage. We still have our three beautiful children. We still have our Faith in God. We still have soooo many incredible friends. So, with that said, I choose to be glad in those things and trust that God will provide a way for us! He never said it would always be easy, or that we would always be financially stable, or that we would always have any of the things we perceive as good, but He did promise to take care of us! Thanks for listening. Sorry to get all sentimental on you but I thought I would share this so you can get to know me a little bit beyond the 45 mins to hour that we have for spin class.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

IJA-Intensity Junkie Annonymous

I talked a lot about that in class this morning. I subbed for someone this morning and boy was it fun. Some people in the class knew me but many of them didn't have a clue who I was which, by the way, is pretty challenging as an instructor. They didn't know what to expect from me, I didn't know what to expect from them. Like most, they were probably there to get their intensity fix for the day/week and feel good about themselves. If you do know me, you know my thoughts on the "harder is better" mentality. Trust me, I've been there. I was a three sport athlete in school and was in the Army after college so I understand what it means to "work as hard as you can every time no matter what".

I think several of the members stopped by Starbucks this morning around 5:00am to get their daily double shot of espresso because they sure were chatty. That just told me that A) they had a lot of energy and wanted to kill themselves in class because that's what we do, or B) They just didn't know any better. So, uncharacteristically, I gave them their intensity fix.

Over the past few months, I've been trying to educate myself and class on the benefits of aerobic and anaerobic training and the different zones associated with that. That all went out the window this morning! Anyway, simply put, when you work in your aerobic zone, below 80% of max heart rate, you are training your body to use mostly fat as the primary source of fuel. When you cross over that 80-85% of your MHR, your body starts using primarily carbs, sugar, and eventually some stuff in your muscles as your primary source of fuel. Instant energy if you will. Do you burn calories at lower intensity? Absolutely! Do you burn Fat at High Intensities? Yes! But, like I said, the primary source of fuel at a lower intensity is primarily Fat.

Do you want to become a fat burning machine? Then you might have to have a shift in thinking. Are you an intensity junkie? Do you think that if you don't kill yourself in the gym then you are not getting a good workout? IMO, that mentality needs to be thrown out the window. There is something to be said for frequency too though. If you are only working out once a week, then by all means, it's probably safe to say that high intensity is OK. If you are working out 4-5 times a week as you should, then you have to STOP the addiction. Get off the intensity drug.

Stay tuned for a more about the tangible benefits of aerobic workouts. Not only do you train your body to become very efficient at burning fat, which lasts all day, there are other benefits. Disclaimer, there needs to be a balance in your workouts. I am not advocating that you abandon anaerobic workouts at ALL. And, you have to know what your are trying to accomplish, why you are working out. That's another topic. What are your goals?

Please give me your thoughts or questions. We are in this together. It's your class and your workouts, so please tell me what you think.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Can't Believe I'm Blogging

Welcome to my brand new blog! I never thought I would start one of these but I thought this would be a great venue to discuss and share information about cycling and spinning. I have found that there are some talented writers out there that provide loads of valuable information for all to read. I wanted to personalize it and create this blog so that we as a class or group of friends could learn and grow together!

Congratulations to those of you who have agreed to take the "How to Become a Fat-Burning Machine" challenge. Hey, maybe that's what I'll write about first. Just to let you know, I stole this idea from another blogger. I know it's going to come as a huge surprise, but a lot of the stuff I teach and talk about in my classes aren't original to me. I know, I know, I bet you are shocked because you thought I was the MAN, but I have never been one to re-invent the wheel. There are some talented folks out there that have been doing this stuff for a lot longer than I have. Although I will say that we are all different in terms of delivery and style. That's what makes us unique. So, I hope you will stay tuned and follow this blog. I'm going to try to provide you with some great information that will help you on your journey to good health, or whatever your fitness goal may be.

New Year's Resolution?

How many of you set New Year's Resolutions? Now, how many of you are frustrated year in and year out because you never keep them? You probably have great intentions but have found that sometimes you have poor follow through. Here are several ways to keep your New Year's Resolutions and stop feeling guilty for letting yourself down.

Be SMART! Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely

Your goals must be Specific and and Measurable. What is it that you want to accomplish? Is it to lose weight, how much? Is it to lose body fat, how much? Maybe you just want to be in better cardiovascular shape. Get a Heart Rate Monitor so you can measure improvements. (more on HR Monitors later) Maybe you want to complete a 100 mile bike ride. (you know who I'm talking to) Maybe a triathlon. Whatever your goal, make it specific and measurable.

Your goals also have to be Attainable. You probably won't set a goal to win the Tour de France this year right? However, there are many challenges that you can achieve with your current skill set. Find something that you really want to accomplish that is in the realm of your capabilities. Don't sell yourself short. Set your goal just beyond your current level of ability. Challenge yourself but make sure it is attainable.

Be for real! Be Realistic! This is very similar to attainable. You are the only one that can determine how high your goal should be. It can be very high and realistic at the same time. A high goal is often easier to achieve than a low goal because low goals bring low motivation. Your challenge or goal must be equal to or just beyond your skills or else you will be board. There has to be a balance.

Lastly, your goal must be timely. When do you want to see results? With no time frame there is no sense of urgency. If your goal is to lose 10lbs, "whenever" is not good enough. You have to set a specific date or else the chances of you achieving this goal is highly unlikely. You need a time frame.

So, it's not to late to set New Year's Resolutions. I actually don't like referring to goals as New Year's Resolutions but I thought it would make for a better story. You can set goals anytime of the year and you probably should. So, what are you waiting on? Set some goals and be SMART about it.