Sunday, January 31, 2010


Not bad for my first time. A Better Homes and Gardens modification to make it sort of Primal like at Mark's Daily Apple.
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk (could have used almond milk but I had none on hand - had to go with skim)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • beat eggs, combine with milk and vanilla, top with nutmeg and cinnamon
  • cook at 325 for 45 minutes in the oven in a water bath (baking dishes filled with 1 inch of boiling water before placing into preheated oven) until a knife comes out clean
Et voila! Yummy!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Relay day and weekend decompressing

Yesterday I followed the normal weekday SOP:
  • SO seen off to work
  • coffee consumed in adequate quantities (one whole French press + 18 % cream)
  • kids, dogs and me fed, dressed, prepped and then walked to school with the dogs (and then a little more, about 40 minutes)
  • midterm prepped for next Tuesday (thanks for to my TA, JF for the help!)
  • hit the pool for a slow 1,000 m (in 22:57)
  • eat some lunch and some more work back at the office
  • purchase some running shorts for daughter number 1 (for the track meet later on last night) and a sweet pull-up bar (I'll post on that later) for me
  • pick the dogs up and walk to and retrieve the dogs from school
  • get ready and go to the Harrier Relays in Edmonton at the Kinsmen Sport Centre
I'll post some photos later.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rest day

From exercise, at least, it was a restful day. (Unfortunately the same can not be said for work etc. but that's life and the weekend is almost here!) The dogs and I went for a slow walk after dropping the kids at school, about 45 minutes of so in a crisp -20 C (with the newly exchanged down jacket that performed perfectly, I might add!). Then I did some work, went to the University, did some more work, taught a lecture, came home...and cooked this dish that started as left over roast beef and veggies and ended up as a curry.
Follow up: After a 20 minute putz around the block so the dogs could do their thing, and thinking about some of the great points in this post by Leo at Zen Habits (that I was pointed to from Fitness Spotlight that I also read) I thought I should add this as we all can use some more Zen in our lives. Namaste.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ashtanga yoga (and Eddie Bauer) to the rescue

The kids and dogs and I walked to school in the "brisk" weather, - 20 C or so (and picked them up via a walk at the end of the day, too). On the morning walk I again noted a cold spot on the arm of my new Peak XV down jacket and called Eddie Bauer about it. They exchanged it with no questions asked. Very good service, and now my warmest jacket ever is warm all over, even on my right forearm!

I got worked pretty hard in my Ashtanga Yoga class at the University but I needed it after the "cramping" incident yesterday. The legs are almost back to normal. A nice slow swim tomorrow will be good.

The lecture for tomorrow is fixed up and posted, and the practice exam is ready. Tomorrow I will spend the day before and after class working on various research projects. When are we going to invent a 48 hour day so I can get more done?

Cramp my style

I did a sprint workout yesterday (Tuesday) and it started great with a good warm up. After about the second faster (~80%) sprint I got a wicked cramp in my right calf. Being the clever fellow that I am, I kept going and simply stretched and walked between each sprint from that point onward. I got through it and this morning it feels pretty good. The Tiger Balm likely helped too and yoga today will be timely.

Here's the deal:

  • very light stretching
  • warm up jog for (5:30)
  • stretching
  • 6 X ~20s ~60-70% sprints on 60s gos, walking in between (around the track; 6:00)
  • 6 X 20s ~ 80% sprints with ~ 60 - 90s rest (calf stretching; 9:00)
  • walk, run, walk, run, walk, walk (60s each; 6:00)
  • stretching
The sprints were not likely as intense as I would have liked, but I was still in a lather when I was done, so mission accomplished, at least it was the best I could muster at the time.

Speaking of time, its time to ready my wee charges for school and a walk (kids and dogs) and myself for work. Oh yeah, did I mention it's also coffee time?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Super slow Monday

I saw the SO off early and then tried a super slow LHT workout similar to Doug McGuff's Body by Science type of workout. It would have been optimal to use weight machines, but the free weights worked fine. This was my first time attempting this kind of workout, and I learned a lot.

I confirmed what I already thought, that it would give quite a burn in not much time. I learned that it looks easier than it actually is to perform the exercises super slow, with good form, and keep track of repetitions and time under load (TUL). I did each exercise for the number of reps and TUL noted and took just enough time to get to the next exercise and begin (as it turns out, less than a minute according to the math).

I'll make some adjustments next time but for now, here's the deal.
  • Jumping jacks - 60 s (warm up)
  • Biceps curls - 22 reps, TUL = 4:11, 2-20 lb dumbells
  • Shoulder press - 10 reps, TUL = 2:25, 2-20 lb dumbells
  • Squats - 20 reps, TUL = 3:43, 70 lb barbell
  • Bent -over rows - ~ 16 reps (lost count), TUL = 2:49, 2-15 lb dumbells
  • Bench press - 7 reps (that's it!!), TUL = 1:36, 70 lb barbell
  • Total TUL = 14:44
This was all done, from start to finish, in 20 minutes. I hope I can move tomorrow! Next time I have to move even slower to get more burn with fewer reps. Either that or up the weight, or both.

Later on the dogs and I took the kids to school and went for a nice, slow ~ 3 km walk in about 50 minutes. It was nice and brisk at - 17 C. I think I need another one tonight. Or not. Tomorrow is either and easy swim (tender arms!), sprints, or perhaps I'll just crawl to the van to drag my carcass to my lecture and hope I don't seize up in the process!

Here is a neat picture I snapped in our back yard a few days ago after some cool frost action.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Finn yoga and buttercup squash soup

Had a relaxing day starting with a steaming pot of El Salvador Pacamara coffee and my "Daily dose of Bliss" 40 minute yoga practice with Eion Finn'sDVD.

Later on I made some crazy good Buttercup (not butternut) squash soup. I overcooked (read: dried out) some squash yesterday, so I made it into soup today. It wasvery easy and wicked tasty. I checked out some recipes online and just took the bits I needed, keeping it very simple with only

Here's how:
  1. in a large pot, sautee 3 cloves of garlic and about 1/3 of a diced onion in 2 tablespoons of butter (cultured, non-salted); add some ground sea salt and ground pepper
  2. add cooked and hand-mashed squash to pot
  3. wisk in 4 cups chicken stock and about 1 cup of 18% cream
  4. bring up to heat; add some ground sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  5. puree for about 1 minute in blender and eat
Here's what it looked like.

After all that cooking, we were invited to our friends' house for dinner! We had a good time and some laughs (and a good dinner); the soup will have to wait until tomorrow night with our roast beef dinner...

The dogs and I went for a saunter around home this afternoon and will go for another short one tonight before bed. We all seem to settle in for a sleep better by taking a slow walk right before bed. I need the rest, as I have a LHT workout tomorrow morning, and I am attempting to do a super slow set keeping track of Time Under Load (TUL). Gulp!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sprinting into the weekend

I had a reasonably busy Friday of seeing the SO off early, dropping one kid at a track try out, walking the other kid to the school, getting some work done, running errands, booking some flights for a conference and a trip to Costco for some essentials (like 3 dozen Omega 3 eggs, for instance). I also worked in sprint workout at the University's indoor track.

Here's the deal:
  • 5 min jog warm up
  • stretching
  • 6 X ~ 20 s sprints @ ~ 60-70% on 60 s gos (6 minutes total)
  • 6 X ~ 20 s sprints @ ~ 85%+ with ~ 60-90 s rest (~ 13 minutes total)
  • 5 minute cool down, run/walk/run/walk/run alternate laps
  • stretching
The whole thing was all done in less than 30 minutes. I definitely got a great workout. The only lasting effects one day later are some slightly tender Achilles tendons, but otherwise, pretty fine for an old guy.

The dogs and I and then the SO and I went for a short (~ 20-25 minute) walk last night and today, and I think I'll go for one tonight, too. Nutritionally today was great for a recovery day: bacon, eggs and a banana for breakfast with a French press of Dark French; chicken wings and a huge spinach salad for lunch; baked chicken breasts with some buttercup squash and steamed broccoli for dinner washed down with some yogurt and 90% dark chocolate. Yum and yum!

Tomorrow: Yoga for the impending, and increasing, leg stiffness, and coffee (lots) for grant reviewing, manuscript revising and whatever else needs doing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An "easy" day

Yesterday the dogs and I had a nice 35 minute-ish walk in the morning before work. I then had quite a workout at my aptly named Ashtanga Workout (~ 50 minutes) at the University. By the end of it my muscles were done and so was I especially after having swam 1,000 yards on Monday and done a LHT/HIIT workout on Tuesday. Last night's walk was just enough for the dogs to do their thing and then back to the house and to bed.

With all this in mind, today's activities will be limited to walking (with the morning 35 minute-ish walk- the-kids-to-school-and-keep-on-trucking-walk, or WTKTSAKOTW, already in the books). Maybe another short walk tonight, but I need some rest as I plan on ending the week with a sprinting workout tomorrow at indoor track. Now to finish some reference letters, review grants and edit manuscripts before class today at 2:00.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

At home and with child

Not really "with" in the reproductive sense, but rather at home with my sick daughter #2. Spent the day doing all manner of catch up work (office and home varieties). I threw together a LHT/HIIT workout just before I received Body By was a bit of a mixture, but effective, I reckon. According to what I have read of the book thus far, this will be my last intense LHT/HIIT WO until next week. Let's hope yoga isn't too tough tomorrow!

Here's the deal.
  • Prisoner squats - 60 s
  • Lunge jumps - 60 s
  • Wall sit - 60 s
  • Plank - unilateral each leg once then normal - 60 s per leg with ~ 20 s while switching poses
  • Tree - ~ 30 each side (thought I had better prep for yoga tomorrow!)
  • "Large muscle lunatic combo" were all done with a 70 lb barbell consecutively - bent over row (10), deadlifts (10), squats (10), calf raises (10), squats (10), deadlifts (10), bent over rows (10)
That all was more than enough and all done in less than 15 minutes. My arms feel it tonight typing this post. The dogs and I also managed a 35ish minute walk picking up daughter #1 (we took the long way to the school).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday, Monday

Today went pretty darn well. Especially for a Monday.
  1. SO off to work - check!
  2. Coffee brewed and drunk (1 entire French press with 18% cream) and some breakfast downed - check!
  3. Kids up, dressed, fed and off to school - check!
  4. Dogs fed and taken for a 35-40 minute walk - check!
  5. Swim 1,000 yards in 19:25 - check!
  6. Lab meeting - check!
  7. Submit manuscript & troubleshoot/plan other projects - check!
  8. Productive procrastination consisting of rearranging office and shredding old materials - check!
  9. Drive home, eat, shuttle kids - check!
That'll do for one day.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday ice time

Yesterday (Friday) morning I was up early, as has been the norm lately, to see the SO off to work. I then went to the basement and, perhaps against my better judgement, did a LHT workout. My left shoulder was, and still is, a little tweaked, so I made sure to do my moves slow and controlled and did not do any overhead shoulder press or pull ups that might aggravate it.

Here's the deal:
  • Pushups - 4 X 25
  • Squats - 3 X 10 (70 lb barbell)
  • Bent over rows - 3 X 10 (70 lb barbell)
  • Lunge jumps - 60 s
  • Biceps curls - 3 X 10 (25 lb dumbbells)
  • Plank - 60 s
I also made a vow with myself that there would be nothing other than walking with the dogs for at least the weekend to give my old body time to repair itself. I really need to get the book, recommended to me by Aaron Blaisdell, Body by Science, that talks about intense 12 minute workouts followed by 7 days of rest! Here is the link to the author's blog...ok, I just went to and purchased this before finishing my post - I can't wait to read it!

I got the kids off to school with no fuss, and then went for a long, slow, meandering walk with the dogs. In sum we were out and about for about an hour and fifteen minutes. About and hour of this was spent walking and the rest spent chatting with friends (human and canine) along the route. I think every day should be required to start, and possibly to end, this way.

Later on the whole family went into Edmonton to the Ice on Whyte festival. The sculptures were amazing and we had fun tooling around, drinking some coffee and hot chocolate and listening to the Karaoke singers/entertainment. The outing was finished off with a trip to a donair shop on Whyte Avenue (the name escapes me). Ice sculptures, hot coffee, and donair meat; works for me!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday night hockey

Not for me, but as per usual there was a game going at the neighborhood outdoor rink so I snapped a pick on my nightly stroll with my furry buds (about 33 minutes in the perfect -2 C weather).

Other than the walking I took it easy on the fitness front with just a short nearly 30 minute Rodney Yee yoga practice (for flexibility, nominally) done this morning after the SO left for work and before the kids were awake. Power Yoga: Strength and Flexibility I got them off to school and took a bit of a walk (30-40 minutes) and upon returning home I taught the remainder of the Indonesian Parcamara who was boss (delicious) whist completing some work at "Campus St. Albert" as I like to call our house. I went into the office following this for more work, teaching, meeting etc. When I returned home I cooked a great coho salmon steak (baked with butter, garlic and dill) and ate it with a large mixed green salad with olive oil and balsamic. No pics this time, I was too busy eating it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Olympic torch relay day

The torch relay came through St. Albert today and the kids and I were downtown to check it out. It was quite cool, and luckily, not too cold (about -6 C) given that we were outside for about 2.5 hours. Here are some shots of the torch including former Olympian Tim Barret who competed, if I am not mistaken, in 4 games in race walk.

The dogs and I had a short 20ish minute walk in the morning and one at night. I resisted the temptation to lift, practice yoga, or any other form of strenuous activity and instead took it quite easy and just had a great day and soaked in the atmosphere. The question now is what to do tomorrow. Yoga? Swim? LHT/HIIT? None of the above? Who knows - I'll decide tomorrow.

Back-tracking follow up: Here is another fantastic sunrise on our way to school. I had to add it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Duathalon" Tuesday

The weather has been outstanding lately with lows of about -5C and daytime highs of about 0-5C, perfect for walking. The dogs and I went for a 35 minute walk yesterday morning before the sprint session and the SO took them again last night for about the same so they are getting seriously spoiled.

Today, I did a "Duathalon" of sorts, but this one involved walking with the dogs this morning (about 35 minutes), swimming at lunch (about 1 km in a little over 22 minutes - I took it 'easy' but it wasn't easy, if you know what I mean) and then the dogs and I wandered around for a little more than a 50 minute walk tonight. My shoulders are a little tender, most recently from the swimming, so I think that there may be no LHT or HIIT workout tomorrow if the shoulders continue to feel like this tomorrow. I'll just have to see how I feel tomorrow. This was definitely a "Move Slowly" kind of day, to paraphrase Mark Sisson.

I should get some work done before hitting the hay. Or perhaps I should just go to sleep, perchance to dream...they say getting a good sleep makes you smart(er). I think I can use some more 'smart' in my life.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Indoor track sprint session

I was going to swim, but decided to do a sprint workout indoors at lunch today instead. The University of Alberta has outstanding athletic facilities including an excellent indoor track and I decided to use it. I haven't done sprints (other than swimming sprints) since the snow flew, so I was looking forward to it.

Here's the deal:
  • ~ 5 min of alternating jogging/walking on the track warm up
  • stretching
  • 6 X ~ 60 m sprints @ 50-60 % with ~20-30 s walking between each
  • 6 X 60 m sprints @ 85% in about 12-14 s with ~ 60 s rest between each
  • ~ 5 min of alternating jogging/walking on the track
  • stretching
I definitely felt it when I was done. I need to do this more regularly. This break led nicely into a productive afternoon and undoubtedly will lead to a solid sleep tonight.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baby bodyweight workout

Just enough to get the blood pumping. I couldn't resist.

Here's the deal:
  • Pushups - 2 X 25
  • Planks - Unilateral (one leg in air, one on the ground), 60 s each leg, then 60 s normal (3 minutes total)
  • Prisoner squats - 60 s
  • Triceps dips - 60 s
  • Wall sit - 60 s
That ought to hold me over until my easy swim tomorrow.

Weekend round up

Blue Rodeo (here is a way off shot of them), with the opening act Cuff the Duke, were fantastic on Friday night. The show was amazing with many sweet solos, lots of crowd participation encouraged by Keelor and Cuddy and a fine encore that ended with Lost Together, the song we had as the first dance at our wedding. Very cool.

We bought Cuff the Duke's new CD (Way Down Here). It's very good and has many hooks that I find myself singing, especially Follow Me.

Weekend fitness activities consisted of many walks with the dogs about 60 minutes on Saturday (2 walks) and a long almost 40 minute walk today with the dogs and the SO. Great weather, right around 0 C, and felt like spring. I am contemplating either a heavy workout or yoga later, but I may have overdone it a bit at dinner with the roast beef!

I think I hear a manuscript calling..."Edit me, edit me now...". I had better listen.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Short and sweet HIIT

I was up early again yesterday (and today too, for that matter) and "HIIT" it with an early morning workout but didn't get to post until today.

Here's the deal:
  • Jumping jacks - 60s
  • Pushups - 60 s
  • Prisoner squats - 60s
  • Triceps dips - 60s
  • Lunge jumps - 60s
  • Wall sit - 60s
  • Pain train - 5 burpees, run up 2 flights of stairs, 5 burpees, bear crawl back down 2 fights of stairs, 5 burpees (ouch!)
  • Plank - 60s
Done and done in 15 - 20 minutes, out of breath and in a lather.

This morning I went skating (I am thankful for an easy day with play and walking!) with the kids on their school field trip. It was fun and with me having only one fall, not so bad. Here is a sweet shot of the amazing sunrise we witnessed on the walk to their school.

Tonight the SO and I are off to see Blue Rodeo (my excellent Christmas gift from her). Here's a review of their show in Edmonton last night. Looks like it will be great

Time for some coffee and lunch and then to take the dogs for a walk now that the warm (-5 C) weather is here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Early morning "Quickie"

I thought that title might get some attention.

Up early again, 5:00 am; practiced yoga for 30 minutes from 6:00-6:30. I did Eoin Finn's "Quickie" routine from his Power Yoga for Happiness 2 DVD set. It went not too badly considering my home practice has been sporadic since the end of Ashtanga class at the University in December. I got the kids off to school for a half day and took the dogs for a crisp (-22 C), short (~30 minute) stroll before returning home to write recommendation letters and various other work chores.

Grabbed up the kids at 12:30, ran some errands, fed the dogs, shuttled daughter number 1 to dance and then took the dogs for walk number 2, a 50 minute affair. Nice and cold and still. I kind of feel like the dogs look in this shot from Christmas break.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Rise and shine and LHT

I was up early with the SO, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 5:00 am, and saw her off to work. My arms were still dead from the swim sprints yesterday, but heck, you only live once. So at 6:00 am, with the dogs still sleeping soundly in our bed, I made my way to the basement to have my way with the weights (or the other way around, depending on your point of view). It was brief, pretty intense given the hour and yesterday's workout, and all in all, quite great.

Here's the deal:
  • Bent over rows - 5 X 5 (70 lb barbell)
  • Bench press - 5 X 5 (70 lb barbell - I know this is a bit weak)
  • Pull ups - 5 X 5 (70 lb barbell - THIS was not weak and more than made up for the slack weight on bench)
  • Squats - 5 X 5 (70 lb barbell - a little soft)
This did not take all that long (maybe 25 minutes). Some of the weights were a bit light, but given that my arms were a shade tender, not a bad call at all.

After walking the kids to school the dogs and I only braved the chill for about 15 minutes before calling it a morning. All this done before 9:30 am. Not bad. Oh yeah, then I got some work done at home, went to the University, delivered a lecture, etc. etc.

There were no photos of lunch or dinner but they were sweet Primal affairs: lunch of mixed greens, home made bacon bits from last night, half an avocado, pecans, cranberries with olive oil and balsamic vinegar - yum! Dinner was steamed broccoli and cauliflower (with real butter), some thick sliced fried ham (in its own fat) - yum yum!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Productive Monday

My SO got off to work, the kids got off to school, and then the dogs and I went for a nice 20 minute walk. We came back home, they went to sleep, and I got to work on a manuscript revision. I went to the University and had my first swim in a long time. I should have just done an easy 1000 m swim, but instead did sprints.

Here's the deal:
  • 250 yd freestyle warmup (~ 4:43)
  • 6 X 50 yd sprints (85-90% max) in about 40-48 s each (slower at the end) with about 60 s between each
  • 250 yd freestyle cooldown (~ 5:00)
Total time about 22 minutes and nothing left in the tank.

Later on, after some more work at the University and child shuffling back home,
I made a sweet Primal dinner (ham and red onion hash with 2 eggs sunny side on top with a mixed greens, 6 year old cheddar, walnuts, cranberries, balsamic vinegar and olive oil salad) with similarly Primal dinner for the SO (ham and salad, no eggs). Yummy. Here's the evidence.

Then, on a roll, I rendered some bacon grease
from some smoked bacon purchased at the Grapevine Deli in St. Albert, a great local shop. It went well. I strained the grease through a coffee filter into a jar. Excellent, clear, yummy!

Just to round it all out, the dogs and I went for a 45 minute bedtime stroll.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Last night of Christmas break

The dogs and I went for a very nice 30 minute stroll, -16 C and no wind, a very mellow way to end the holiday. Swim sprints are planned for tomorrow and should be a blast. I haven't been in the pool for a swim workout in about 2 weeks. Maybe more.

I'll say a preemptive "Ouch" now.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bodyweight HIIT or Burpees, we meet again!

Today I remembered the adage about discretion being the better part of valor and tried a more manageable HIIT workout with descending sets of burpees (a "Mini Grail" if you will). For fun, I did this in bare feet as I have been trying with a few of these workouts. So far, so good, and it feels great just like in yoga class but with a lot more jumping around!

Here's the deal - 15 minutes (7:44 - 8:01 am) with just enough time between exercises to catch my breath (sort of):
  • Burpees - descending sets of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 4, 3, 2, 1 (total = 55) in just over 9 minutes
  • Wall sit - 60 s
  • Lunge jumps - 60 s
  • Plank - unilateral (60 s each leg - I saw this on Bryce Lee's blog and am quite happy my yoga instructors don't make me do this pose)
And done, in 15 minutes.

Coffee, anyone?

Post script
: I went for a 40 minute walk
of about 3 km with the dogs later in the day, something I need to keep doing, especially now that it has "warmed up".