I was at a Zumba class yesterday and chatting with the only other guy there. He was asking about my routine, how many calories I eat, how many I burn, etc. When I mentioned weight lifting as a contributor to weight loss he sort of raised an eyebrow and said, “That helps, huh?”
I’ve read a lot of books on fitness in general and dozen or so on weight lifting of one kind or another. The one thing that’s consistent is that no one seems to agree with anyone else. One expert says weight lifting is the devil, another one says it’s better than spending all your time in a hamster wheel (aka “the dishonor of aerobics“).
I lift weights for two reasons.
I have to get through airports carrying a heavy backpack. If I don’t stay strong, by the time I get through security and to my gate I’m pouring sweat. Since I’d rather not have to carry a hand towel with me everywhere I go, I keep up the conditioning so the extra weight doesn’t drive my heart rate up.
When I get into the rental car, I like to put my backpack in the passenger seat so I have easy access to my stuff. Without a healthy diet of lateral raises and shoulder presses I have a hard time with that particular maneuver.
Finally, I’d have to say the squats and lunges keep me taking the stairs without any fuss.
More Calories Burned
Without the muscle it would be tougher to keep the per-day calorie burn high. When I’ve hit the gym and done a Zumba class I can get 4100-4200 calories burned in a day. Without any exercise, I hover right around 3300. That means that when I’m on the road missing workouts I need to keep my intake in the 2800 ballpark if I want that 500 calorie deficit. Some trips I’ll come away with a loss, others I’ll maintain. It beats sliding backwards.
All that being said, weight lifting as an activity burns fewer calories than, say, a half hour on the treadmill at a brisk pace. For me, that is. I put in work, but I’m not dashing from one lift to the next without any rest. The real payoff of weight lifting is the higher calorie burn the other 23 hours you’re not in the gym.
On the way into work this morning I stopped at a mini mart for something to drink. At the counter I looked for those 5 hour energy shots. It turned out they were behind the counter. As the kid helping me goes for a couple the older guy next to him chimes in.
“We have 6 hour energy for the same price!”
“No, thanks. These are fine.”
“Why would you pay the same price for 5 when you could have 6? You’re getting 2 extra hours (I was buying two) for free!”
“I don’t recognize the brand and I don’t feel like experimenting this morning, but thanks for the offer.”
He looked at me like I’d said unseemly things about his lineage. I thought I heard him mumble something about “what’s wrong with this one?” as I was leaving. He was really put out that I didn’t jump at his clever 6-is-more-than-5 sales tactic.
It’s entirely possible that he was trying to be helpful. It’s more likely that he was trying to push the higher margin item. Ultimately price isn’t always the deciding factor.
The mentoring continues. Here’s the breakdown for each day since I started with the networking training mind meld picking up where we left off Monday in the Launching post.
We talked a little about IP addressing the day before when we statically assigned a couple addresses to our laptops so we could ping one another. He understood that because we were in the same network he would be able to ping me. I waived away the netmask explanation saying we would cover that later. I didn’t want to wait very long, but I took @rickstah‘s suggestion and started with the OSI model.
Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away = Physical, Datalink, Network, Transport, Session, Presentation, and Application. The 7-layer burrito of computing.
He was amused by the acronym but I’m hoping it’ll make it stick a little easier. He caught on quick when I started throwing scenarios at him – “if I mess up your IP address, will you be able to play WoW? what layer did I mess with?” / “if you can’t ping your gateway, what’s the first thing you check?” / “if you can’t get to a website, how do you troubleshoot it? what layer of the burrito does your web browser run on?”
We talked about classful addressing and the ranges that used to be the A, B, and C networks. I showed him the corresponding netmasks. We dove into some binary. I was tempted to jump into classless addressing, but decided to save that for the next day. We rounded out with some high level DNS discussion (client -> caching server -> web server). I decided to save all the root server talk for the the next day as well.
I’d let classful addressing simmer overnight. Today it was time to jump into VLSM and subnetting with both feet. We wrote down 24 ones and 8 zeros – “here’s the /24 network we’ve been playing with…” We borrowed a bit from the host side, made the analogy of a quarter having only heads and tails, and then parlayed that into subnets that got smaller and smaller by half as we went to a /30.
By the end of the discussion he was able to subnet a /24 for 3 departments. He listened to the requirements (math is a big department, but science and English don’t need as many addresses) and gave one of them a /25 and the other two got /26′s.
We circled back to DNS and covered CNAME and PTR records with a quick tangent to talk about email delivery so the MX record had a little more context. I told him about the good old days when Network Solutions ran the world, took him through the break up of the registrars, and then hooked in with root servers and authoritative vs non-authoritative queries.
We didn’t get any study in yesterday because I had a ton of work to do. Today we dove right in with a discussion about collision domains – why hubs suck and switches rock. We started some talk about how cables are built and how a straight-through differs from a crossover from a rollover. We covered pin-outs and the colors of the wires and he seemed to have a pretty good concept at this point of transmit and receive.
From there we hit low level half-duplex and hubs as dumb electrical devices – transmit frame, loopback frame, collide or not, CSMA/CD or not, etc. Once we he an appreciation of the suck we hit switches and all their glorious full-duplex multi-collision-domain-per-port goodness.
There was new vocabulary throughout – topology, auto-negotiation, and of course NIC. I tested him on his recollection of the 7 layers of the burrito and with the exception of the session & presentation layers he was able to rattle them off pretty easily. Once I got him to stop contracting ‘do not’ he stopped jumping passed the network layer.
Everyone is supposed to get one professional freebie growing up.
If your dad was a mechanic, you probably aren’t afraid to swap out your own car battery. Heck, if you really paid attention you may be doing your own brakes in the front driveway. If your mom worked in law, then terms like plaintiff, deposition, and judgment don’t send send you scurrying for the dictionary. You still probably need to seek some counsel if you’re about to get sued.
It’s a light competence—a familiarity with the profession that lets you dovetail with your own experiences later. If you want to follow in either parent’s footsteps you have an idea of what that work tastes like already. Maybe that’s why parents are always insisting you at least try the new food. If you don’t at least try it, you won’t know if you like it.
We’ve had a pseudo nephew living with us for the passed 10 months or so. He’s one class from graduating with the rest of his high school class. He’s considering some college later but in the short term it’s a job. The opportunity is pretty limited – retail, food service, and possibly some temping somewhere. That’s when it occurred to me that I might be able to improve his options a bit.
I’ve been working with him on his soft skills since he first arrived though sometimes trying to exorcise sarcasm from a youth’s repertoire is tantamount to just that – an exorcism. He’s gotten a lot better and even though he lets it slip every now and then he’s almost immediately sorry he did. I’m still working on the finer points of etiquette a la Professionally Polished by my friend Dallas Teague-Snider (a must-read if you haven’t already).
I know a handful of IT disciplines well enough to teach them to someone else – networking, systems administration, programming, etc. I gave it a lot of thought. While the others might be a nice foothold for getting an entry-level job, I figured that networking was the right choice. Even if he didn’t really dig in and keep going with it, I could at the very least bring him up to speed enough to configure small networks and do some basic routing & switching. I’m shooting for him to pass his CCNA.
Today we talked about the basics – 10baseT networks, coaxial cable, BNC connectors, repeaters, hubs, CSMA/CD, collisions, switches, ping, and a little about NAT & DHCP. We’ll see how much stuck tomorrow. We even broke out an old 1900 switch I had laying around and set up a couple laptops on the same network.
I think we’ll move on to IPv4 addressing next, maybe. What do you think?
That’s right, I’m on another stretch of jobs – Asheville, NC; Austin, TX; San Antonio, TX; and possibly some work out in Dallas before I head back home.
Getting throught he airport was a lot less complicated with nothing but a carry-on. George Clooney was right – checked bags are a waste of life.
The Marriott I landed at this time is pretty bad. I’m glad I’m only staying here a couple days or I would have had to check out after last night. Their treadmill is broken, the water is soft, an outlet by the desk doesn’t work, and the toilet is doing some kind of always-running thing.
On the up side I mastered navigating to the office this morning. I’m finding it’s getting easier and easier. When I first started it would take me until Wednesday or Thursday to get it down, but lately it’s only taking one or two trips to memorize the route.
I’ve started a dozen posts and they’re sitting there in the drafts. I have to sit down and finish them out so I can put them up. Soon. Yes, soon.
Cancer. Ugh, could I write about anything darker? It’s touched my life a handful of times and so far the results haven’t been great. Today is a different. Today, my good friend Sarah fought and beat cancer.
I met Sarah (@strongsarah) on twitter a long while ago. I can’t remember if it was by way of GeekFit or something entirely unrelated, but I’m glad to call her my friend. She found out that she had breast cancer recently. Today was her surgery and she’s now recovering. She’s been chronicling every facet of the experience on her aptly named other-blog named Stronger Sarah: everything from her search for just the right doctors to the surgery itself.
I’m so incredibly proud of her and am inspired daily by her strength. Every morning I wake up to tweets like this one.
The punchline: if you’re not following her, you ought to be!
I thank Jon Angliss (@j_angliss) for my only physical activity beyond changing out the laundry today.
We started talking about his latest geeky interest: geocaching. I must have been interested in geocaching at some point because when I hit the geocaching.com site the ‘mrxinu’ user was already registered. I retrieved my password and checked around my house for the nearest cache. Bingo.
Heck yes, it even had a geeky name.
So I grab Ivy and we bundle up and grab a flashlight. We got in the general vicinity based on the surrounding streets on the map and then I tried to use the Google Maps app on my iPhone to dial it in. I think we got really close, but being dark and rainy we weren’t able to find it.
Precision seemed to be the biggest issue. It turns out that Groundspeak’s Geocaching iPhone Application sorts that out and will not only tell you where the nearest caches are but when X marks the spot. It costs $9.99. I’m going to pick it up as soon as my phone gets done patching because evidently I haven’t connected to iTunes in a while.
For now this post gets punted to the uncategorized bucket, but if this geocaching thing turns into a GeekFit habit, you can expect to hear about many exploits all over the country.
I’m so tired of airport baggage claim.
The typical routine is 1) stand in line to check my bag, 2) hand it off to the folks at scanning, 3) take my flight, 4) head to baggage claim, 5) wait for 30-45 minutes for it to come around, 6) lug all that crap to my rental car, 7) lug it all up to my room. At the end of the engagement, it starts all over. Conservatively I’d say I spend ~2 hours per round-trip flight messing with a checked bag. If you multiply that over my 60 flights so far – oof, I just got sick.
Victorinox WT Wheeled Boarding Duffel
So I needed a carry-on that would hold all my clothes (just a week’s worth – I’m not above doing laundry).
My decision to go with a Victorinox (Swiss Army, essentially) was thanks to my good friend Jerome. He has a slightly different model that he took to Iraq while he was consulting. It carried his armor most of the time along with some other items, but it’s still going strong.
The original plan was to order it online and wait a few days. Ivy insisted we head into Portland and poke at one of them in person. I’m glad we did because she wound up finding it at a local luggage store for less than what it would have cost online (tax + shipping). That, and of course the lovely wife played Tetris with the little cubes to see just how many we could fit in the bag reasonably and still leave room for my TRX.
Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Organizer
Now I can’t wait to hit the road again! I’ll print out my boarding pass before I leave the house, hit the curb at the airport, head right to the security line (and breeze on through), and then relax at my gate with my duffel and my backpack.
Off the plane, I’ll grab my bags and head right for the rental car kiosk. Instead of trying to coax a 360 wheeled bag down the hallway while I drag another behind me I’ll just have the one bag with all of its clever configuration inside.
Oh yes, it will be glorious.
Photo by Nattu
Inspired by Oscar Del Ben’s post on 30 Habits that Will Change Your Life I’m taking on 8 of them for a month to see how I do:
1. Exercise 30 minutes every day.
Yes, I workout most every day. When I’m on the road it’s easy to let this one slip so what I wind up with is this ebb & flow with workouts. When I’m home, they’re solid. When I’m on the road, eh, I get a workout in if I can. What kind of progress could I have made if I were working out *every* day? We’ll find out.
2. Eat five portions of fruits and vegetables every day.
This is going to be a tough one for me. I get veg by mistake most of the time – on a Subway sandwich or alongside something I ordered in a restaurant. I know I’m not getting anywhere near 5 most days.
3. Drink one glass of water when you wake up.
Thinking on this one, I do drink water when I wake up, but not immediately after getting out of bed. Usually it’s after I’ve gotten up, brushed my teeth, checked my email, and then realized “eh, I’m thirsty…”
4. Avoid soda.
Yes, I drink diet pop. Sure there aren’t any calories, but it is loaded with sodium. Just because it says it’s not 200% of my daily recommended intake doesn’t mean that after adding that to the sodium in meals that I’m not way over the mark. That, and the corrosive nonsense. I’d like to keep my teeth. Oomph, okay. No soda.
5. Take the stairs.
When I lost that 22 lbs in Dallas this is exactly what I did. I took the stairs up 7 flights every time I left or returned to my room in the hotel. It was a nice jolt and overall it translated into some pretty good weight loss combined with the other things I was doing. I’ll really try on this one. I took a spill going up some stairs once and tore up my knee pretty good. Ever since then I’ve had this fear of falling in one of those stupid stair wells and then not having anyone around to help. I think I’ll shoot for a 2nd or 3rd floor room from now on. Fewer stairs, but still something I could hit on the way up/down every time.
6. Wake up early.
I used to do this all the time! I’d be up at 4:30am to work out by 5am. The reason I was doing it at the time was so I could get a lane at the pool. Otherwise, I was stuck working out on the treadmill or sharing a lane with someone. 5am it is. Every morning.
7. Wait before buying.
I really need to do this one. Call it whatever you like: sleeping on it, letting it cool down, giving it some thought. My brain is really good with the justification. If I decide I want something suddenly I can come up with two dozen reasons to buy. Slipping the old brain into neutral for 48 sounds like a good idea.
8. Meditate 30 minutes per day.
I’ve read several books on meditation and self-hypnosis and the ideas are really great. I’ve learned how to clear my mind and re-focus when things get cloudy and I’ve helped other people do the same. I’ve never set aside time to do it every day, but knowing what kind of benefit I’ve gotten from my little 5-10 minute sessions this sounds like a good one too.
The palest ink is better than the best memory. ~ Chinese Proverb
My various filing systems work because my brain can trust that I’m going to go back and review them at a reasonable interval.
My to-do items, even the ones way out in the future, are in my Remember The Milk account. My long-term projects (and all the associated notes & research) are filed away in my Action Method account. The bookmarks I don’t want to lose are in my Delicious account. The other random things I don’t want to forget are in my Backpackit account.
Because I’ve written everything down, my mind is relatively uncluttered. If my subconscious reminds me of something it’s because I haven’t captured it using one of these methods. Once I’ve remedied the situation, my concentration is back.
This is one of the reasons I can read like I do. One of the chief complaints I hear from people about why they don’t read is distraction. As soon as they get a few pages into a book they’ll remember something at random. The reason for that is the solitude.
Reading and meditation are the two times you’re completely inside your own head. The rest of the world fades away and you’re left with nothing but the images. With that kind of quiet, it’s no wonder that your subconscious is able to poke at you whenever it thinks it needs to.
So the solution: write it down! Figure out what works for you. Steal my methods. Do whatever it takes, but get all that stuff out of your head!